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Mr. N. J. Henderson (Bude, Cornwall)

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Sinner Or a Saint
Sinner Or a Saint
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £14.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply sublime pop record..., 7 May 2011
This review is from: Sinner Or a Saint (Audio CD)
I came across Tamar Kaprelian whilst listening to online radio and was immediately taken with her captivating pop songs sung with her stunningly alluring voice.
"Sinner Or A Saint" is her debut album released via Interscope Records and I'm amazed at how this supremely talented musician has remained unknown to the musical mainstream.

Opening track "New Day" is uptempo and catchy and is an excellent choice as first single, "Delicate Soul" is similar in style before the superb piano ballad "Raining in Paradise shows up at track four.
"Should Have Known Better" is another stunning track with a great melody, the only weak track for me is "March Mornings," the string instruments heavily present here don't suit as well as the other album tracks which all follow a similar formula of piano playing intertwined with acoustic guitars.

Interscope have a superb artist on their hands here - such a shame then that "Sinner Or A Saint" seems to have passed the masses by. That said though I certainly don't expect Tamar to remain unknown for very long, it's been a long time since I've heard such and enjoyable pop record from a new artist.

In summary, "Sinner Or A Saint" is a brilliant pop record. Existing fans of Norah Jones, KT Tunstall or Adele should find plenty to enjoy here so I strongly recommend giving this record 45 minutes of your time. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Highly recommended.

Philips DS3000/05 Fidelio Docking Speaker System for iPod and iPhone
Philips DS3000/05 Fidelio Docking Speaker System for iPod and iPhone

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good dock, but I didn't keep it..., 21 April 2011
After upgrading to one of the newest iPod touch's from an old 5th generation iPod video, I was looking for an updated dock to suit.
I caught this Philips dock lucky when it was at a reduced price but overall I was left with mixed feelings.

First up then, the design is superb, very eye catching. The dock charges all the newest iPod's and rather conveniently runs of batteries, which is ideal for taking into the garden for those lazy summer evenings.
Sound quality is excellent too; the unit goes very loud with minimal distortion at volume.

All was looking good then, but you quickly start to notice the negatives...

Firstly, docking your iPod is a complete nightmare.
The design of the dock itself is set back at an angle and my 4th generation touch took ages to slot in properly. Once it is docked, the dock slides forwards and backwards slightly but that's no use when you're actually first trying to dock your iPod.
You almost feel like you're going to break it - hardly ideal.

Secondly, you are constantly prompted to install the Fidelio app everytime you dock your iPod. You cannot dismiss this prompt; the only way to get rid of it is to actually install it from the app store. So I did and although it adds some rather handy features, it has one very annoying flaw - it sets the dynamic bass boost to "on" by default and this cannot be changed. That may not sound like a bad thing but when you consider the dock is naturally very bass heavy anyway it certainly doesn't need any further enhancement. Therefore, everytime you dock your iPod, you've got to go into the app to turn it off - highly annoying.

Thirdly, no remote control is present. I feel that's a pretty poor show on Philip's part really, the vast majority of docks these days come with one and they usually control the iPod menus as well. Philips could have just thrown a basic when in with controls for just track skip and volume up/down, but elected not to do so. (I did know this at the time of purchasing, but I found that it bothered me more than I thought it would)

Overall, just considering sound quality alone, the unit is superb.
If you like your music loud, clear and base heavy, then this could be the exact dock you've been looking for.
However, if you long for a remote, don't like thumping bass and have no interest in the Fidelio app, then you're best looking elsewhere.
I returned it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2011 1:19 PM GMT

Logic3 MIP022K i-Station22 - iPod Speaker Dock - w/Remote Control
Logic3 MIP022K i-Station22 - iPod Speaker Dock - w/Remote Control

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In a word, disappointing..., 21 April 2011
After upgrading to one of the newest iPod touch's from an old 5th generation iPod video, I was looking for an updated dock to suit.
Having not tried anything from Logic3 before, I thought I'd give this dock a go - unfortunately however I was left quite disappointed.

First up then, the unit looks good, folds away rather neatly, plays and charges all of the newest iPod's without a problem, including my 4th generation touch.
The remote is neat and tidy and although plastic is extremely responsive to the touch, navigating the iPod menu's is a breeze.
However, keenest of all, the sound quality is disappointing.
I don't need a unit that goes very loud (after all I generally only use it in the bedroom) but the sound quality is flat and tinny and only gets worse the louder you turn it up.
I listen to plenty of hard rock/metal music and this dock simply distorts, the drums and guitars within such music form a washed out sound that isn't pleasant to the ears.

Any negative I found was some minor interference coming through the speakers, despite switching my iPod to the airplane mode. (This is generally only detectable at low volume)

As I've said, this was my first venture into docks from Logic3 and it's not a brand I'll be visiting again, unless I've been and tested them somewhere first.
My previous docks have all been by Intempo and I've been very impressed with them, however this time around they didn't seem a have a product that matched my needs.

In final summary, you can do a lot better than this dock from Logic3. There's far better out there at this price point and for slightly more money docks from the likes of Gear4 provide far superior sound quality.

I returned it for a full refund.

Wasting Light
Wasting Light
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.70

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight up rock - nothing more, nothing less..., 11 April 2011
This review is from: Wasting Light (Audio CD)
Recorded onto analogue tape in Dave Grohl's garage, "Wasting Light" is the Foo's seventh studio album and their first in four years.
It's a real back to basics record this one. Alternative rock delivered with melody and power. No ballads, just rock from one of the most successful acts of the last 15 years.

Lead single "Rope" sets the tone nicely, certainly one of their heaviest singles for a while with a slick guitar solo. Elsewhere nothing really changes, "Dear Rosemary," "These Days" and the best track on here "Miss The Misery" could be future singles, the latter contains the lyric that makes up the album title.
As I've already said no slower or ballad songs on here, "I Should Have Known" and "Walk" certainly start slow but build up into a rocking chorus. For me a ballad or two often break a rock record up nicely, thankfully though their absence seems to work to the bands advantage this time.

Overall, "Wasting Light" probably sounds the rawest the Foo's have ever been, nothing on here is immediately as catchy as songs like "Best Of You" or "Times Like These," perhaps that's testament though to working with producer "Butch Vig," who's many credits of course include "Nevermind" by Nirvana. (Even original Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic makes an appearance on the track I Should Have Known)

After a four year break then, this may not be the definitive Foo's record we all hoped for, but "Wasting Light" is the bands best work for some time. I for one hope it finally dislodges "Adele" from a seemingly never ending run on top of the UK album chart.
Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2011 10:11 AM BST

GEAR4 HouseParty SmartDock App-Enhanced Speaker Dock with FM Radio for iPod / iPhone
GEAR4 HouseParty SmartDock App-Enhanced Speaker Dock with FM Radio for iPod / iPhone

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gear4's premium speaker dock delivers on all counts..., 8 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Since I brought my new iPod touch 64GB back in March, I've been after a new speaker dock to match. My old Intempo IDS-05 was excellent but alot of the older docks to not support the newest iPod's as Apple have upgraded the docking chip inside them. Having already returned two previous docks, one from Philips and the other from logic3, I finally settled on this model from Gear4 and thankfully I've been really pleased with it.

The dock looks good, sounds good and packs a rather neat 30watts of power, ideal for room filling sound. It may not fill a very large room, but for the average household room the unit packs enough of a punch.
Sound quality is very good overall, the unit goes quite loud for it's size and the sound comes across nice and full, certainly not tinny in anyway.

Dedicated buttons can be found on the top of unit for adjusting volume, track and the EQ, which light up a nice shade of blue when the unit is turned on. EQ wise you get a variety of different options, each of them providing an enhancement to the particular type of music currently playing.
The unit is not particularly bass heavy in sound by default; if you wish to enhance this the EQ contains a dedicated bass option.

Gear4 also include a remote control which contains all the required buttons, it's nice and responsive to the touch and it controls the menu on my iPod perfectly.
The other feature of note is the FM radio; the antenna is the wire version which personally I prefer as you can tuck it away nicely if you don't intend to use it.

One thing I do wish to mention though is the fact that docking the iPod is not as easy as my old 5th generation video. For some reason Apple has re-designed the dock connector and you have to press pretty hard to get the iPod to dock correctly. It almost feels like your going to break it, but you have to press hard or the iPod won't charge correctly. It's nothing to worry about, but you need to be careful. (Thankfully Gear4 provide four different dock adaptors to use with different iPods that help.)

Finally, Gear4's smartdock app is actually pretty good. It does what it claims very well, it starts up automatically, you can browse your iPod music library without exiting the app and you can get other features like an alarm clock. The claim about being able to control the device from another iPod cannot be tested as I don't have another one, but for me that feature sounds more like a gimmick. Overall though, I recommend the download as it's free.

In summary, I've been very impressed with the Gear4 Houseparty Smartdock.
At the time of writing it's probably the best available at this price point.
Happy listening.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2011 9:58 PM BST

XMI X-mini Max 2 Portable Speakers for iPhone/iPod/iPad/MP3 Player/Laptop - Black
XMI X-mini Max 2 Portable Speakers for iPhone/iPod/iPad/MP3 Player/Laptop - Black

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, not bad at all..., 25 Mar. 2011
This is my first venture into the mini speaker market and to my surprise the XMI X mini max II speakers actually perform quite well.
XMI make some pretty bold claims on the box and to be fair there is some weight to them, they certainly go incredibly loud for their size and the companies' slogan of "sound beyond size" is credible enough.

First things first though, let's get things into perspective. These portable speakers are not designed to provide rich, room filing sound to please even the most critical of audiophiles. They are however neat, compact and exceptionally portable speakers ideal for travelling. They go very loud, I can hear them throughout my house but at the highest volume some distortion is heard, although it's fair from being awful.
Overall I found the sound quality to be rather good, the speakers twist as well to provide some enhancement to the bass, (noticeable more so on certain types of music) which is a neat touch in speakers of this size.

XMI supply a rather neat but somewhat awkward cable for connecting the speakers, you get two mini USB's to power each speaker, a 3.5mm line in jack for connecting to your iPod or mp3 player and a standard 2.0 USB port for charging. You cannot however charge these speakers whilst they are being used as interference in the sound can be heard, probably caused by the magnetic field used to hold the speakers together when not in use.

Battery life on the speakers is excellent, lasting for around the 11 hour mark of continuous playback before the audio starts to suffer. They take around 2.5 hours to fully charge back up again, you won't exactly miss the rather bright LED's on the front which turn from red to blue when completed.

As already mentioned, they speakers clip together using magnets on the bottom which when placed inside the protective sleeve make them easy to carry around.
Just don't forget to pack the cable or you won't be listening to anything!

Taking everything into consideration, the XMI X mini max II speakers represent decent value for money. I recommend a dedicated docking station for use in a bedroom or kitchen however, but if you love your music and you're always on the go then the ultra portability of these speakers would suit you perfectly.

All You Need Is Now
All You Need Is Now
Price: £18.14

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still going strong three decades on..., 21 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: All You Need Is Now (Audio CD)
Throughout their career, Duran Duran have had quite a few highs and lows. Most of us rather unfairly remember them for their early 80's heyday although they've never stopped making records, some with greater commercial success than others.

Prior to working on "All You Need Is Now," Duran Duran found themselves without the support of a major record label. Epic Records dropped the band after the lukewarm release of "Red Carpet Massacre" so in order to return to their signature sound they hired self confessed Duranie, Mark Ronson.
Gladly the result is a superb one; "All You Need Is Now" is easily their best collection of songs since 1993's "The Wedding Album."

Lead single "All You Need Is Now" is classic Duran, grooves and rhythms aplenty with a solid chorus. Ballad "Leave A Light On" reminds me of "Save A Prayer" before "Girl Panic" is a likely single release, fast and up-tempo which can currently be found doing the rounds on Radio 2.
A special mention though for "The Man Who Stole A Leopard," a very typical Duran song which borrows heavily from "The Chauffeur" of the "Rio" album.

If you've lost touch with the band over the course of their career, "All You Need Is Now" is good place to pick them up again. Working with Timbaland on their previous record simply didn't work, thankfully though its hats off to Mark Ronson whose production here works wonders, Duran Duran are very much back.
They've been doing decent promotion too, the one night special that aired between Dancing On Ice will do them no harm at all.

If you brought the digital version of the record back in December this physical release is still worth your purchase as theirs enough new tracks present. There's also an abundance of bonus tracks available depending on exactly where you purchased the record.

In summary, "All You Need Is Now" is a superb return to form for Duran Duran.
30 years on, their music is fresh, contemporary and as relevant now as it ever was in the eighties. Forget any stigma you may have attached to the band, "All You Need Is Now" could just be "All You Need Right Now."

5 stars.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2013 7:07 PM BST

Panasonic Lumix TZ20 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP MOS, 16x Optical Zoom) 3 inch Touchscreen LCD
Panasonic Lumix TZ20 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP MOS, 16x Optical Zoom) 3 inch Touchscreen LCD

282 of 294 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As far as premium compacts go, the TZ20 is excellent..., 15 Mar. 2011
With the release of the TZ20, Panasonic has once again moved the boundaries of compact camera technology to a new level.
Building on its excellent predecessor the TZ10, the new Lumix TZ20's key features are a 14 megapixel MOS sensor, 16x optical zoom, touchscreen control, full HD movies and an updated GPS database.

It's worth just revisiting that fantastic 16x optical zoom, for a compact camera that truly is a superb range which is equivalent to 24-384mm on a 35mm camera.
That's giving you some serious telephoto coverage at the zoom end and the 24mm wide angle is great for landscape shots.
Using the intelligent zoom that can be extended further to 21x, for me any image deterioration at this zoom is hardly noticeable and so that extra 5x can make all the difference.
This increase in resolution though for what is essentially still a compact with a small sensor concerned me slightly, but thankfully image quality is handled pretty well.
It won't match a DSLR of course, you may wish to bear that for about the same money you could get a budget DSLR, they are of course much bulkier and so if size is your priority then the TZ20 is the way to go.

Very similar in size and dimensions to the TZ10, one key difference is the location of the dedicated record button, which has shifted from the back of the device to the top.
Apart from that the device is almost identical; the GPS receiver is on the top also along with the two excellent stereo microphones.
For me, the touchscreen is a little bit of a gimmick. It works fine, the display is nice and responsive to your touch but it's nothing that a dedicated button couldn't do just as well.

Image quality is excellent all round. Panasonic has revamped its intelligent auto mode which now features something called "Motion Deblur." The idea is that the camera automatically detects movement or camera shake and deliberately sets the fastest shutter speed possible to counteract. The theory and practice of this feature is great, especially as it also helps reduce blur when recording video.
An abundance of scene modes are also present, plus auto focus and image stabilization for that quick point and shoot moment.
Also a gimmick for me is the 3D photo mode. It certainly does what the manufacturer claims but it's a lot of mucking about and in my opinion not really worth the effort. Perhaps 3D photography will really take off, but for the moment it seems a rather pointless addition.

One other key feature worth mentioning is the 3" display, which has a rather impressive 460,000 dots of resolution. Images displayed on the screen look great, coupled as well with an anti reflection coating they continue to look good even in bright sunlight.

For those of you who feel a bit more creative, the TZ20 features P, A, S and M shooting modes. (program mode, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and manual exposure) Its superb that a compact gives this much flexibility and these modes really can help you utilise this cameras full potential.
For me it would seem a little pointless in spending big money on the device and then always using intelligent auto mode, the TZ20 is expensive because of features such as this so learning them would be to your advantage.

Moving onto video, this has again improved from the TZ10 and now records in full HD, (50i) with stereo sound and full use of the optical zoom. The results are brilliant, easily on a par with dedicated HD camcorders. Wind cut is included to held reduce noise in outdoor recordings and only minimal noise of the zoom motor is picked up during recording. You'll find it's generally masked by the ambient noise outside but in quieter indoor recordings you can just hear it on playback.
Video is recorded in AVCHD or motion JPEG, personally I prefer AVCHD as it's optimised for playback on high definition TV sets.

The final headline feature is of course the GPS. This time Panasonic have upgraded the location database from 500,000 to one million, which is a fantastic feature for travellers that automatically records the exact location into the EXIF data of each photograph.
Like the TZ10 before though, it has an inevitable strain on battery life.
Panasonic include a travel mode and a dedicated option to switch it off, expect a time of around one minute for the GPS to locate itself once being turned on.

Accessory wise, you need at least a memory card with a class 6 speed or later, (class 10 ideally) a decent case, a tripod (try the Joby Gorillapod) and possibly a spare battery if you intend to heavily use the GPS.

Overall, the Lumix TZ20 is a superb camera. Feature rich and capable of some outstanding pictures, it really as an all in one device designed to keep Panasonic top of the compact camera superzoom market.
It's easily worth its hefty price tag, just bear in mind that the TZ10 is still a worthy camera in its own right and can now be found much cheaper.

Finally, I've not seen any TV advert yet promoting the TZ20.
Does anyone remember to dancing Statue of Liberty for the TZ7, then the dancing status in Egypt for the TZ10?
Perhaps Panasonic are working on it, either way I'd expect to see it on a TV set near you very soon...
Comment Comments (24) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2011 9:29 AM BST

Price: £0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to form for the Foo's..., 10 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Rope (MP3 Download)
After a four year wait for new music, "Rope" is the first single from the Foo Fighter's seventh studio album "Wasting Light" due for release on April 11th via RCA records.

Slightly heavier than other 2000's single releases, "Rope" is an uptempo number with a catchy chorus and slick guitar solo. It's probably their best single since "Best Of You" back in 2005, rather disappointingly though the song stalled at number 22 in the UK singles chart. (But did top the rock charts stateside)

I still expect "Wasting Light" to debut at number one in the albums chart when it's released, the Foo Fighters have been throwing out consistent platinum selling records since the mid 90's so I expect "Wasting Light" to continue that trend.

Shame I haven't heard the single more on the radio, "Rope" is a very good song and no doubt a decent flavour of their upcoming album.

Science & Faith
Science & Faith
Price: £3.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning it up a notch..., 8 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Science & Faith (Audio CD)
After listening to "The Script's" highly impressive debut record, I had high hopes for their second, "Science & Faith."
Thankfully, they've avoided the sophomore slump brilliantly, delivering an album that in my opinion tops their first.

It's essentially the same formula, modern radio friendly pop rock full of catchy choruses and modern rhythms.
Lead single "For The First Time" is the albums best, (surprised this didn't top the UK singles chart) before "Nothing," "If You Ever Come Back" and "Long Gone & Moved On" prove the staying power of the band and that their not one hit album wonders.
Elsewhere, the melodic "This Is Love" is a standout track, before the album closes with "Walk Away" and "Exit Wounds."

Overall, if you enjoyed their debut record you'll definitely enjoy this one.
Critics seem to be divided but make no mistake about it, "Science & Faith" is a superb album from a band destined to be around for a very long time.
An essential record of 2010.

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