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John Smith (UK)

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Temporary Instant Blind
Temporary Instant Blind

2.0 out of 5 stars A good buy at half the price, 8 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Temporary Instant Blind
I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, to be sure. But to be fair, this product is basically as described: it's a large single sheet of pleated paper. Additionally you get a couple of plastic clips to clip the pleats together when raised. It's very quick to put up and is functional (which is exactly what I needed) - but it sure as heck isn't worth nine quid. Four quid would be as much as I would pay for this if I were to buy another.


The Very Thought of You
The Very Thought of You
Price: £41.25

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just perfect remastering - truly gorgeous sound, 5 April 2011
This review is from: The Very Thought of You (Audio CD)
Mastering legend Steve Hoffman and Analogue productions have done a beautiful job of remastering these recordings. In fact, to be more precise - they have not simply remastered them, they have re*mixed* them from the original 3-track session tapes, using the very best valve-driven equipment available. Remixing meant that the original reverb had to be recreated using authentic methods (an echo chamber was used to get that lovely smooth real-time analogue reverb, no digital facsimiles here).

The result is that you can close your eyes, and it is as if Nat is in the room with you - it really is THAT good. No compression has been employed (Analogue Productions, in true audiophile tradition, never employ any kind of dynamic compression), no bright, tinny EQ was applied. Get this SACD and you will have the closest thing to the actual original tapes.

For those who do not own an SACD player, I might also add that even the CD layer sounds incredible, so even those with a reasonable quality standard CD player (and a reasonable quality amp and speakers) will enjoy gorgeously lush audiophile sound.


The Chirping Crickets
The Chirping Crickets
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.89

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent music - awful mastering quality, 5 April 2011
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
I had high hopes for this reissue, given some of the gushing reviews, one even mentioning the "excellent quality of the digital remastering" so I took the plunge - it's not as if it's expensive anyway.

Let me say in no uncertain terms: the quality of the remastering is awful. It has that all-too-typical loud, compressed, bright, brittle quality that so many non-audiophile remasters have. I just can't subject my ears to this - I have so many more dynamic, smoother, warmer sounding issues of all of these tracks that this issue is completely redundant. It's gone in the bin.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2014 12:48 PM GMT


Pet Sounds [DVD AUDIO]
Pet Sounds [DVD AUDIO]
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £14.99

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too bright and tinny (but not as bad as the 2006 master), 20 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pet Sounds [DVD AUDIO] (DVD Audio)
For me this issue earns 3 stars for the improved clarity afforded by the brilliant remix and the higher resolution format (24-bit/96kHz). It loses 2 stars for being unfathomably bright and tinny. Sure, it's not quite as bad as the later 2006 remaster of the same remix (that 40th Anniversary CD issue is stupidly tinny) but it's still far brighter than is sensible. Vocals can sometimes have so much sibilance as to induce headaches if listened to at loudish volumes, so you have to keep it quite quiet. You never get that feeling of being in the studio with the musicians, as you do with genuine 'audiophile' remasters (from such remastering labels as Analogue Productions, MFSL, XRCD, etc).

Nevertheless, this is still currently the best stereo version available, and a DVD-A player is not required (a standard DVD player connected to a stereo system is sufficient) making it very accessible to mass audiences. It also includes some very enjoyable bonus cuts, including studio out-takes, instrumental mixes and a capella mixes.

I really hope this remix is dug out again in the future for a really good proper audiophile remaster; a recording of such historical importance as this one really deserves it. But until then this one will have to do.


Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Edition
Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Edition
Price: £10.77

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 40th Anniversary issue mixed very bright and tinny, 18 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I won't review the music here - that's been reviewed to death, and suffice to say it is excellent and well worthy of 5 stars.

But this 40th Anniversary Edition sounds just awful. It has been mastered with lots and lots - and LOTS - of upper-mid EQ, the kind of tinny EQ spike that can cause physical pain to the ear drums and induce splitting headaches. It earns the one star that I gave it for the improved clarity, which is literally a revelation. You will hear things in these new mixes that were previously buried in the mud. This is a result of using various original multi-track sources from which individual elements (vocals, bass, strings, etc) could be copied to a digital workstation for re-mixing, with much less of that old muddy reverb and far better separation. I can't fault the actual mixes. But the overall tone of the mastering is just so unlistenable that the improved clarity is wasted. This wonderful work of genius really deserves better mastering than this.

Oh well. For now I shall be sticking to my Audio Fidelity issue.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2016 3:47 PM GMT


Logitech Wireless Desktop Mk250
Logitech Wireless Desktop Mk250

5.0 out of 5 stars Works perfectly, and is cheap, 11 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A perfectly functioning wireless keyboard and mouse for (at the time of writing) fifteen quid? How could this not get five stars?
The accompanying booklet states this thing will work up to a distance of 10 metres - more than enough for most, I'm sure (who would be more than 10m away from the screen anyway).
The keyboard and mouse both come with batteries supplied (2x AAA in the keyboard, 1x AA in the mouse). Each has a small on-off switch on the underside. The keyboard contains a few "hotkeys" (email, internet home, calc, media player, etc).
Not much else to say - mouse and keyboard both work great, I'm writing this review on the keyboard now.


Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale
Price: £41.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Audio Fidelity Remaster - Not Perfect But Still The Best Version, 27 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I won't review the music as that has been done a zillion times, but will confine my review to the quality of this remaster. For Stevie Wonder fans the Audio Fidelity audiophile remasters are essential, to replace some of those poor-sounding 2000 and 2008 remasters. Audio Fidelity (like other reissue labels XRCD, First Impressions Music, MFSL, etc) do not employ any dynamic compression or stupidly bright EQ, so the resulting CD is usually a delight to the ears. Whilst I really despise bright and compressed masters, I do find the Audio Fidelity issue of 'FFF' to be a little dull at the top end of the frequency range, more so than the Audio Fidelity issues of 'Talking Book' and 'Music Of My Mind.' I think they went just a little overboard when aiming for that classic warm, analogue sound.

Still, it's the best CD version of this album currently available by far. Also gives slightly increased definition when played back in an HDCD player.


Denby Natural Pearl Wide Rimmed Tea Plate
Denby Natural Pearl Wide Rimmed Tea Plate

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice when new, but becomes tarnished, 26 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are nice, wide-rimmed heavy, solid-feeling tea plates, and I snapped up a few of them when they were on special offer (half price). I would not recommend them at full price as the white surface shows signs of wear (minor grey marks) after some months of use. I found the same has happened with the dinner plates too. I don't know if machine-dishwashing is causing this, but it shouldn't do as they do claim to be dishwasher safe. Still, I like the smart minimalist design and they will have many years of use I am sure.


Logitech Squeezebox Touch
Logitech Squeezebox Touch

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sound With An External DAC, 26 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First the positives: The initial set-up was very straight forward. It found my network automatically (amongst a list of networks presumably from my neighbours). I entered my password and the Touch downloaded the latest firmware updates. I then found that after connecting a hard drive to the USB port the Touch responded by automatically scanning the drive. I started first with a 2TB drive with probably about 400GB of lossless music on it. Scanning took a good couple of hours. During the scan I was still able to play music that had been found, but it did buffer quite frequently during this time.

Still, once I got this baby working, I was very delighted with the sound delivered via my DACMagic (not exactly a 'high-end' DAC but one of the best in its price bracket). I have previously tried a Boxee Box (which although designed primarily for movies does also support a wide variety of lossless music formats) and even via the external DAC the sound was degraded. Not so the Touch. Happily to me the Touch sounds as good as any other quality component I feed to the DAC, so for the sound-to-price (using an external DAC) it cannot be faulted. Even the analogue outputs give a respectable (if slightly less smooth) sound.

The Touch's sound quality capabilities are maximized when playing 24-bit/96kHz audio files, or even just 24-bit/44.1 files (such as the Beatles 2009 USB collection). This results in something approaching SACD or DVDA quality. MP3 has never seemed so obsolete.

The Touch also plays audio tracks 'gapless' which means that those albums that have tunes that segue into the next track (e.g. later Beatles albums, classical music, etc) there is no annoying little gap between tracks - the Touch plays through the transition flawlessly. Besides this, the Touch can also handle single-audio-file-plus-cue-file, which is always gapless anyway, so gapless capability was always safely guaranteed one way or another.

It's nice that you don't have to browse your massive music collection by tags (which can be inconsistent), you can just navigate through your folders, which for me is a massive plus. I have loads of music, all logically ordered (different genre folders for Rock, Classical, Jazz, etc, then artist folders inside each of these, then album folders in each of those). It's great to be able to quickly navigate to an album in the same way as I would in Windows XP.

The internet radio is nice to have too. I have checked out some talk stations from various world locations, which was fun. Finding new stations is a doddle with the search function.

The final 'plus' is the ability to play music straight off a hard drive connected via USB. This was an absolutely essential factor for me when considering a purchase. My PC (with nice soundcard 'Delta 66') is already hooked up to my music system, but the noise of the PC itself is annoying. With the Touch (+ external DAC) I get even better quality and none of the noise.

Now the only negative for me. It was very temperamental with a large USB drive directly connected. It was frequently stopping mid-song or even losing the connection with the hard drive so all I could do was disconnect and reconnect to get it all running again - which was a big hassle as it then proceeded to scan the whole drive again. I think one of the problems is that it does not give the user the option of selecting which folder to scan once the drive is connected. It just automatically scans and registers every file on the whole drive, even non-music stuff (e.g. movies). This causes needless expenditure of RAM/resources, not to mention very long, slow scans. I have since transferred a smaller music collection (about 200GB) to a smaller hard-drive (400GB) with nothing on the drive but music and scans. Everything is running glitch-free for now (touch wood).

In conclusion I would highly recommend the Touch for the sound quality alone, which is great when it works. I have already had the luxury of listening to several audiophile EAC rips (from such labels as XRCD, DCC, FIM, etc) without the noise of my PC fan or the hassle of having to mess about with the original physical CDs. Not to mention the ability to play 24-bit/96kHz files. One point knocked off for the problems handling directly-connected large collections, which could possibly be partly alleviated with a firmware update to allow more selective scanning options.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2012 8:10 AM BST


Men's "Windbreaker" Super Strong Folding Umbrella
Men's "Windbreaker" Super Strong Folding Umbrella
Offered by Neptune Wares
Price: £20.48

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broke on first use, 9 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll keep it short. This "super strong" umbrella broke the first time I took it out. The reason I have given it 2 stars and not 1 is because it was an extremely windy day and it still held up better than cheaper ones. Nevertheless I now feel I would have been better off buying four cheap throwaway umbrellas rather than one relatively expensive one.


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