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Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography: Vol 2
Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography: Vol 2
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Ahoy-hoy! Every bit as entertaining as Going To Sea In A Sieve!, 28 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Every bit as entertaining as Volume 1 - Going To Sea In A Sieve.

If you 'get' Danny's humour then you will really enjoy both of his books. Heartily recommended!


John Grant and The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
John Grant and The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They Released The Wrong Show! Disappointing : (, 28 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My wife & I both love John Grant; his amazing voice, the wonderfully dark yet humorous lyrics, etc. We have recommended his albums The Queen Of Denmark and Pale Green Ghosts to so many people and we've also seen him live (twice for me, three times for my wife).

My wife saw John with The Northern Sinfonia in late 2014 and said it was one of the best concerts she has ever attended (and we go to a LOT of gigs!).

As such we were both looking forward to this album ... and I'd sorry to say that it's a disappointment.

John's incredible voice is really not on form, the orchestrations do not always suit the tracks and the overall recording quality is not that good. Whilst this may have worked as a 'one-off' radio show, sadly it does not stand up as an album.

Had they waited and released a show from later in the orchestral tour when John was more comfortably performing with the orchestra and the arrangements had been fine tuned then this could easily have been a 5 star review. The incredible Gateshead performance that my wife attended was recorded and filmed for a webcast ... THAT is what should have been released.


Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes Novel Book 2)
Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes Novel Book 2)
Price: £8.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moriarty is definitely NOT The House Of Silk !, 28 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have enjoyed Anthony Horowitz’s work for a long time and thought The House Of Silk was a wonderful “page turner” that did justice to the Sherlock Holmes legacy … I have recommended that book to many friends.

As such, I awaited his second Holmes novel with much anticipation. Moriarty is a reasonable story BUT it in no way a follow-up to The House Of Silk (see below for the reason why).

I sincerely hope that Horowitz writes another fantastic Holmes novel … but this isn’t it! For me this book was a huge disappointment.

SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT

The reason I said that Moriarty is in no way a follow-up to The House Of Silk is that, except for a short story tacked onto the end of the book, Sherlock Holmes is not present in the story! He is referenced but the character does not participate in the storyline at all.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones - Black
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones - Black
Price: £112.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING Value For Money! Nothing to beat them at double their price!, 22 Dec. 2014
Whilst working away on tour in the US & Canada I started thinking about treating myself to a new pair of headphones ready for returning home to a package containing my new Pono hi-res music player.

Earlier in the year I had purchased a pair on Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones. I have always liked the sound, style & build quality of Sennheiser but having clocked up a lot of listening hours with the Momentums whilst away, I felt the low end on this model was somewhat too warm / fuzzy / unfocused … I hope you get the general idea I’m trying to put over ; )

Many people kept suggesting Grado models for the sound I was hoping to achieve. Now I also love the sound and style of Grados BUT their open back design is a complete non-starter for me! A closed back design with minimal sound leakage (IN & OUT) is essential for me if I am to avoid drive fellow colleagues travelling with me on tour buses crazy or when I want to listen to some jazz at home (“j-a-z-z” being the only four letter word that offends my wife). So, unfortunately, Grado = NoNo.

Towards the end of my trip I headed to The Headphone Bar in Vancouver ready & willing to spend up to around $500 to $600 (£300 to £400), maybe more, for something that offered the WOW! factor.

Being a specialist headphone emporium rather than one covering all aspects of hi-fi, The Headphone Bar have a very impressive array of products; Grado, Beyer Dynamic, Sennheiser, AKG, B&O, etc.

Having read lots of reviews and articles prior to my visit (I know that one should always treat reviews with a certain amount of scepticism but they can be very useful in pointing one in the right direction in a market with so many possibilities), I thought that one of the models in the Beyerdynamic range may well be THE ones … possibly the T70P.

However, having listened to several Beyer models (T51i, T70P, T90) it was clear that they were not to my taste. These all featured Beyer’s Tesla technology and to my ears all sounded harsh, tinny & thin with no low end “Ooompf” whatsoever. I’m no drum & bass fan, but I do like a solid bass line and good attack on drums. (I know the Tesla models need to be run-in but these were all display models that had had plenty of run-in time).

I also tried the Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ears which whilst representing a step-up from my existing On-Ears shared much of the Momentum sound characteristics.

The B&O H6 sounded quite nice but for me did not warrant their price tag.

Next were some models from V-Moda that I had not heard before. Their M100 model was far more the sound I had been looking for although I wasn’t particularly taken by their design & looks … but a possible nevertheless. Added to the shortlist.

I then happened to pick up the Audio Technica ATH-M50x phones which I hadn’t previously tried as they were in very much the same price bracket as my existing Sennheisers.

The immediate WOW! factor was there from the first few bars of Foo Fighter’s Congregation; solid, rich low end (without being overblown), crystal clear high-end (without being harsh), a great soundstage and a wonderful sense of space around all the instruments.

I’m a drummer, so I tend to always notice how drums sound on recordings. With the ATH-M50x phones kick drums had far more attack and depth than on my Sennheiser Momentums and snare drums and cymbals had great resonance and space around them. Some test tracks featuring Messrs Peart, Hawkins & Collins all sounded fantastic.

I have a very broad taste in music and so tried out the ATH-M50x’s with some Foo Fighters, Nick Drake, Rush, Bob Marley, Genesis, Gregory Porter & Debussy … everything sounded amazing!

SOLD!

The comfort factor was also there; even for a glasses wearer. Over the last few days of my travels I listened to LOTS of music on my MacBook Pro and iPhone and didn’t experience either ’tired’ ears or any discomfort from prolonged wearing of these phones. With an iPhone some people might want them to go a little bit louder if you are into metal or dance music, but a Pono player only needs the volume at around 50% for PLENTY of volume.

There is no in-built mic/remote on any of the supplied cables but that’s not a big issue for me as I usually also carry a set on Klipsch in-ears with me as well.

… and the WOW! factor was taken to another level when I got home and plugged the ATH-M50x’s into my Pono!

Audio Technica market this model as professional studio monitor headphone rather than for domestic use (on their website it shows under the MONITOR category rather than the Hi-Fi category), so you may need to do a little hunting to find them, but it is definitely worth it.

Anyone in the market for closed back headphones up to $600 / £400 should definitely audition this product!

For me, this model represents AMAZING value for money … I was willing to spend more than double the price of the ATH-M50x’s but couldn’t find anything that (to my ears) bettered this model.

Official Website:

http://eu.audio-technica.com/en/products/product.asp?catID=5&subID=39&prodID=4598

Example Prices:

Sennheiser Momentum On-ear £170 rrp but typically around £130

Audio Technica ATH-M50x £180 rrp but typically around £130

Beyer Dynamic T70p £456 but typically around £385

V-Moda M100 £250 rep but typically around £220


Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBL Studio Monitor Professional Headphones - Blue
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBL Studio Monitor Professional Headphones - Blue
Offered by Inta-Audio
Price: £179.99

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING Value For Money! Nothing to beat them at double their price!, 22 Dec. 2014
Whilst working away on tour in the US & Canada I started thinking about treating myself to a new pair of headphones ready for returning home to a package containing my new Pono hi-res music player.

Earlier in the year I had purchased a pair on Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones. I have always liked the sound, style & build quality of Sennheiser but having clocked up a lot of listening hours with the Momentums whilst away, I felt the low end on this model was somewhat too warm / fuzzy / unfocused … I hope you get the general idea I’m trying to put over ; )

Many people kept suggesting Grado models for the sound I was hoping to achieve. Now I also love the sound and style of Grados BUT their open back design is a complete non-starter for me! A closed back design with minimal sound leakage (IN & OUT) is essential for me if I am to avoid drive fellow colleagues travelling with me on tour buses crazy or when I want to listen to some jazz at home (“j-a-z-z” being the only four letter word that offends my wife). So, unfortunately, Grado = NoNo.

Towards the end of my trip I headed to The Headphone Bar in Vancouver ready & willing to spend up to around $500 to $600 (£300 to £400), maybe more, for something that offered the WOW! factor.

Being a specialist headphone emporium rather than one covering all aspects of hi-fi, The Headphone Bar have a very impressive array of products; Grado, Beyer Dynamic, Sennheiser, AKG, B&O, etc.

Having read lots of reviews and articles prior to my visit (I know that one should always treat reviews with a certain amount of scepticism but they can be very useful in pointing one in the right direction in a market with so many possibilities), I thought that one of the models in the Beyerdynamic range may well be THE ones … possibly the T70P.

However, having listened to several Beyer models (T51i, T70P, T90) it was clear that they were not to my taste. These all featured Beyer’s Tesla technology and to my ears all sounded harsh, tinny & thin with no low end “Ooompf” whatsoever. I’m no drum & bass fan, but I do like a solid bass line and good attack on drums. (I know the Tesla models need to be run-in but these were all display models that had had plenty of run-in time).

I also tried the Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ears which whilst representing a step-up from my existing On-Ears shared much of the Momentum sound characteristics.

The B&O H6 sounded quite nice but for me did not warrant their price tag.

Next were some models from V-Moda that I had not heard before. Their M100 model was far more the sound I had been looking for although I wasn’t particularly taken by their design & looks … but a possible nevertheless. Added to the shortlist.

I then happened to pick up the Audio Technica ATH-M50x phones which I hadn’t previously tried as they were in very much the same price bracket as my existing Sennheisers.

The immediate WOW! factor was there from the first few bars of Foo Fighter’s Congregation; solid, rich low end (without being overblown), crystal clear high-end (without being harsh), a great soundstage and a wonderful sense of space around all the instruments.

I’m a drummer, so I tend to always notice how drums sound on recordings. With the ATH-M50x phones kick drums had far more attack and depth than on my Sennheiser Momentums and snare drums and cymbals had great resonance and space around them. Some test tracks featuring Messrs Peart, Hawkins & Collins all sounded fantastic.

I have a very broad taste in music and so tried out the ATH-M50x’s with some Foo Fighters, Nick Drake, Rush, Bob Marley, Genesis, Gregory Porter & Debussy … everything sounded amazing!

SOLD!

The comfort factor was also there; even for a glasses wearer. Over the last few days of my travels I listened to LOTS of music on my MacBook Pro and iPhone and didn’t experience either ’tired’ ears or any discomfort from prolonged wearing of these phones. With an iPhone some people might want them to go a little bit louder if you are into metal or dance music, but a Pono player only needs the volume at around 50% for PLENTY of volume.

There is no in-built mic/remote on any of the supplied cables but that’s not a big issue for me as I usually also carry a set on Klipsch in-ears with me as well.

… and the WOW! factor was taken to another level when I got home and plugged the ATH-M50x’s into my Pono!

Audio Technica market this model as professional studio monitor headphone rather than for domestic use (on their website it shows under the MONITOR category rather than the Hi-Fi category), so you may need to do a little hunting to find them, but it is definitely worth it.

Anyone in the market for closed back headphones up to $600 / £400 should definitely audition this product!

For me, this model represents AMAZING value for money … I was willing to spend more than double the price of the ATH-M50x’s but couldn’t find anything that (to my ears) bettered this model.

Official Website:

http://eu.audio-technica.com/en/products/product.asp?catID=5&subID=39&prodID=4598

Example Prices:

Sennheiser Momentum On-ear £170 rrp but typically around £130

Audio Technica ATH-M50x £180 rrp but typically around £130

Beyer Dynamic T70p £456 but typically around £385

V-Moda M100 £250 rep but typically around £220
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2015 4:21 PM GMT


The Next Day [VINYL]
The Next Day [VINYL]
Price: £19.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Achievement!, 10 July 2013
This review is from: The Next Day [VINYL] (Vinyl)
From Hunky Dory through to Scary Monsters (with the exception of Pinups) Bowie produced a run of 10 stunning albums. Whilst The Next Day doesn't quite match my all time favourites (Hunky, Ziggy, Low & "Heroes") it comes pretty damn close! Which in my book is a fine achievement for an artist's 24th album and their first new work in nearly 10 years!

At different times the listener is reminded of Hunky Dory, Scary Monsters & Heathen ... but the album does not sound dated at all.

Some long-time Bowie collaborators such as Tony Visconti, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick & Sterling Campbell are all present along with some serious guests such as Tony Levin and David Torn (who provides some very Fripp-esque moments of guitar).

I was prepared to be disappointed ... and I wasn't! I've ended up revisiting this album at lot more than I expected to : )

The cover might be a deep & meaningful artistic statement (i.e. re-cycling "Heroes") but IMHO it sucks - by far the worst aspect of this release.

I ordered the double vinyl which is a lovely heavyweight pressing housed in a gatefold sleeve with inner sleeves AND a copy of the CD for your iPhone / iPad / etc.


Lifesigns
Lifesigns
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £12.93

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rock In Every Sense, 27 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
3 incredibly talented musicians making music that they love & believe in with a few well chosen guest appearances. Superbly written, performed & recorded ...

What's not to like!?!?

The music may have it's roots in classic rock from the 70's but this album sounds bang up to date. I use the term Classic Rock rather than Prog as these days the latter label tends to be synonymous with widdly noodly 'look how fast and clever I can play!' boll*cks rather than actual melodies.

The members of Lifesigns are undoubtedly incredibly talented BUT the playing is 100% focused on the music.

Oh, I've thought of something I don't like ... I think the cover looks like an edition of The People's Friend ... but the music is faultless.


The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
by Anthony Horowitz
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for all fans of Holmes, 9 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having read all the original Conan Doyle stories, watched all the Jeremy Brett adaptations and loved every second of Sherlock I was a little cautious about buying this book. I needn't have worried; Horowitz has done a fantastic job.

Horowitz very wisely drew up a set of rules (outlined at the end of the book) for himself before writing this story; a very important one being NOT to mess with the formula.

Dr. John Watson narrates the tale whereby several seemingly unconnected threads of stories are cleverly woven together. I read this whilst on holiday and it was a real page turner.

The only bad point is that Horowitz says he has no plans to write another Holmes novel ... I really hope he changes his mind.


The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight
The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight
by Si King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE STAR FLAVOURS!, 9 Oct. 2012
Like Si & Dave we are on a mission to lose some pounds but also eat healthier and do more exercise.

The recipes in this book are utterly fantastic AND way healthier than they look and taste. The boys have managed to lose lots of calories but keep 100% of the flavour.

So far we've cooked the Chicken Korma, Chilli & Ginger Salmon, Feta & Minted Pea Omelette, Spanish Style Chicken Bake, Cumin Crusted Veg, Lamb Spinach & Potato Curry, Lean Lamb Hotpot, Easy Crispy Chicken and the Bacon & Poached Eggs breakfast ... and they have all turned out REALLY well : ) ... and I am VERY critical of my own cooking!

SO looking forward to trying lots of the other recipes (and repeating some of our favourites).

One of the best recipe books we have ever bought!


The Wall [VINYL]
The Wall [VINYL]
Price: £25.59

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WALL 2011 VINYL REMASTER - Is There Anybody Out There Still Playing Records?, 4 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Wall [VINYL] (Vinyl)
NOTE - THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 REMASTER VINYL EDITION

Played on a Roksan Radius 5.2 turntable with a Roksan Radius arm and Goldring 2200 cartridge.

So that last Fab Four Floyd album gets remastered and re-issued on good old fashioned heavyweight vinyl.

THE VINYL
As with the other 2011 vinyl remasters The Wall is branded as 180 gram heavyweight vinyl and indeed the records feel nice and heavy and it is a great pressing with little background noise. For some reason on initial playing the second record suffered from some static 'clicks' but hopefully that will be cured by a few plays.

As I said in my review of WYWH I'm usually very wary of digital remasters; for many years they often sounded worse than the original analogue versions as long as you could find a well pressed copy in good condition. And as with WYWH this remaster does indeed sound better than my old vinyl copy (still in excellent condition). The drums sound more solid and there is a definite sense of more space around the instruments.The biggest change to my ears is that Rick Wright's keyboards sound more to the fore; something which is evident across quite a few tracks (making me wonder if they were consciously buried on the original release).

Given that there was very little wrong with the original version, are these actual improvements? IMHO the answer is YES. It's obvious that a great deal of care and attention has gone into the audio quality on these releases and they haven't tried to fix what wasn't broken in the first place. Comparing the old vinyl with the new edition, it just sounds like you've upgraded your hi-fi.

THE PACKAGING
Main Sleeve & Inner Sleeves
As with WYWH these are exact copies of the original versions. Good quality card & well printed. Given the price of the remaster I would have liked to have seen a poly-lined inner sleeve included to protect your investment. The front cover has the same 'cling' sticker as the original.

Poster
The "Exclusive Poster" is basically a big fold out lyric sheet ... whoop-de-doo! ; ) It really doesn't add anything to the package.

THE DOWNLOAD
Whilst I always applaud companies who include either a CD or download code in with new vinyl, it is disappointing that only the original tracks are included with the The Wall MP3 download. Again, given the cost of this issue (and the fact that the bonus material is not available on vinyl) I'd hoped to also get the tracks included on the Experience edition as part of the download. What are us Floyd Vinyl Addicts supposed to do; buy the new CD issue as well?!?!?

SUMMARY
Overall this is a nice package - expensive (at typically around £35) but worth it. If your old vinyl copy is getting a bit long in the tooth as mine was then I recommend treating yourself to the 2011 edition WHEN you see it at a good price.

I was tempted to deduct 1 star for the lack of anti-static inner sleeves and bonus tracks on the download but ... maybe half a star deducted ; )

... now come on EMI how about new vinyl editions of Meddle and Animals?!?!?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2013 3:44 AM BST


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