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BOSS MICRO-BR Mt recorders 4 to 12-track
BOSS MICRO-BR Mt recorders 4 to 12-track

2.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and flexible, but frustratingly fiddly and unintuitive, 25 April 2013
I have used this for about 3 years for two things - the ability to play my guitar amped-up through headphones at night or without making too much noise, and the ability to quickly sketch out multi-tracked ideas and demos for songs. While it definitely does those things, it does them in such a fiddly and unintuitive way I barely use this much at all anymore.

As a multi-track recorder there are loads of options. You can bounce tracks, loop parts, master, and do almost anything you would want to do. However, due to the amount of features, the limited amount of buttons, and the inability to move around a track as you would on a computer, it is annoyingly troublesome to use. Aside from the fact you constantly need to refer to the manual to do simple things, every action takes so many button presses and occasional 'loading' messages that the instantaneous gratification of just hitting record and getting down some ideas disappears.
Even just deleting a track and recording it again requires navigating menus, holding two buttons simultaneously, and more than 5 button pushes in total.

As for being a good headphone practice amp, once again there are loads of sounds, loads of modelling effects, and even the ability to modify your own, but there are some flaws. There is no real 'clean' tone in all the presets, the closest being a very twangy clean sound, or a clean sound with a touch of chorus. You have to modify your own to get a good basic fender amp style clean tone. Half of the presets are also uselessly artificial sounding, and there is no logic to the way they are arranged - the two mildly-distorted presets that I liked were far apart from each other, so I had to constantly flick through all the rest - despite them being very similar sounding. For some reason the default is also to have reverb whenever you plug a guitar in, and you have to turn this off manually each time if you don't want it.
Compared to something like the vox amplug, which you can plug right into your guitar and get your tone by rolling the gain, volume, and tone knobs - having to plug in a lead and stare at a screen while you flick through half a dozen menus, push buttons and wrestle with bizarre tone choices just to have a quick midnight play is again more hassle than it's worth.

It also eats through batteries super-fast (I would get a max of 4-6 hours out of a single pair), and requires extra software to put raw tracks onto your pc, which is buried somewhere on the Boss website. The buttons are annoyingly microphonic and very stiff too, adding to the unwieldy nature of it.

While I knew it was complicated from other reviews, I figured that being a techy guy, and as something I would use regularly, I'd get over those things and get a lot out of it - but as a creative tool it is too obtrusive and convoluted, and as an headphone amp I much prefer the vox amplug. Only buy this is if you're desperate for portability and the way you record is methodical, patient, and deliberate - otherwise you might find it as frustrating as I did.


RHA MA150 Noise Isolating In Ear Earphones
RHA MA150 Noise Isolating In Ear Earphones
Offered by R H A
Price: 10.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely warm, bass-orientated earphones, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first thing I noticed about these earphones is how well they isolate noise, better than any others I've tried. I used to use professional grade earplugs to block out noisy neighbours and these are on a par with those!

The second thing I noticed is the ABSURD amount of bass these put out! I've never tried any other RHA phones before, but it's obvious they decided to make this budget model appeal to the masses - they eat other earphones for breakfast when it comes to bass. Luckily it's not horribly muddy bass like the xtreme xplosives, it's a rather nice, full, warm sound, but it still dominates the sound spectrum of these earphones.

Depending on your taste, these will either give your music more 'oomph' in a really satisfying way, or diminish some of the detail and texture that you prefer. If all you listen to is high-pitched pop music, or you like a versatile, raw, 'true' sound, then there are better options. But if you like stuff like hip-hop, dance, or just prefer warmer, deeper tones then these will take your music to a different level.

I'd also commend RHA for using eco packaging with the earphones and good after-sales service, rare when buying earphones in this price range.


Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones
Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones
Offered by Monoprice UK
Price: 3.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and brilliant, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Monoprice pulled off a really simple trick with these earphones - by taking a big driver (common in earbuds but not in iems) and sticking it in a big, airy housing they created an iem with the best of both worlds. The kind of great soundstage and separation you get with over-ears, but all the effortless detail and impact you get from iems. While other companies spend (and charge) loads of money for expensive components and housings, these 8320 have surpassed most of them with a very basic design principle and components worth less than a few quid!

They have their flaws though, they're extremely large, which will be uncomfortable for some; yet the rubber tips are on the smaller, shorter side, so for someone like me with big ears they're quite comfortable, but they don't really 'seal' easily. My guess is some people will either find the earphone a bit big and unwieldy, or the tips rather short. Judging by other reviews it seems like it's not a big problem for most though.

Because of the well-ventilated housing, they also don't isolate well. You won't block out most external sounds with these, but that's a matter of preference anyway. The cable is also quite microphonic, but you can always put it behind your ear to reduce that.

Despite these minor niggles, in the most important area - sound quality - these are brilliant. I won't repeat all the other praise here, just confirm it. Unless you're looking for massive bass (which pretty much every other cheap earphones shoot for these days) there's no reason you shouldn't get these.


Philips SHE3590BK/10 In-Ear Headphones - Black
Philips SHE3590BK/10 In-Ear Headphones - Black
Offered by Deal Buster Inc
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Such good bassy earphones, 17 Mar 2013
For me, these are basically the standard in quality, cheap, in ear headphones. The sound is gorgeous. It's balanced, clear, and when bass kicks in it booms and resonates beautifully. Most 'bass' earphones end up sounding somewhat muffled, rough, and sacrifice the rest of the spectrum, but these manage to bang melodically whilst still retaining great sound all over.

They're also one of the most comfortable and discreet earphones around, and the colours are nice too. The only flaws are the cable being microphonic (you will hear sounds when it rubs on things, or out on a windy day), and because they're so tiny there's not much soundstage. Regardless, no earphone is perfect, but these are closer than most.


JVC HAFX1X Xtreme Xplosives In Ear Canal Headphones
JVC HAFX1X Xtreme Xplosives In Ear Canal Headphones
Offered by MemoryRob
Price: 11.70

1.0 out of 5 stars Worst earphones I ever heard, 17 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Earphones with good bass should sound like there's a subwoofer thumping away in the back of your skull. These xtreme xplosives sound like you're listening to music through a concrete wall.

Rather than make your music boom and resonate, these phones just turn it into a rough, mushy, unclear mess. They are the loudest earphones I've ever had, but that's pointless when I can barely hear the music through the artificial muffled noise they turn tunes into. If you want to know what these sound like, take your current headphones and bass boost them until they can't handle it, then boost it some more, then stick your head in a tumble dryer. No detail, no ambience, no soundstage, no mids or highs, just flabby echo on the bottom end.

I bought these just for hip-hop, bassy rave music, and soul, and they sound bad enough, I can't imagine how bad they would sound if you like guitar music, pop, jazz or anything that isn't bass-centric. These are basically just cheap dre lookalikes with a silly name.

If you want booming, melodic, and tight bass get the rha ma150 instead.


SoundMAGIC PL30 Earphones - Black
SoundMAGIC PL30 Earphones - Black
Offered by Advanced MP3 Players
Price: 29.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Very overrated, 17 Mar 2013
I bought these based on the hype, and as someone who has listened to loads of different earphones over the years I was intrigued by this new brand everyone was raving about. While they're not bad, they're just about average, and for 30 quid not worth it at all. You can get this kind of sound quality for less than half the price - better if you know what you like and shop around.

They have quite diminished bass, and the soundstage is ok but not great. At low volumes they're indistinguishable from a half-decent cheap pair, you have to crank it up to see what you're paying for - a mildly impressive articulate sound that still isn't worth it.

Save your money and pick up one of the cheaper in ear phones like the philips she 3590, the monoprice 8320, the sony ex50, or the rha ma150 which are all around 10-15 and sound far better than these. Fact is, unless you're willing to go up over the 70 quid mark you're not going to see substantially better sound quality than these bargains.


Sony MDR-ED12LP Fashionable In-ear headphones- Blue
Sony MDR-ED12LP Fashionable In-ear headphones- Blue

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect earbuds, 17 Mar 2013
Since I was a kid I've spent hours every day listening to earphones - commuting, radio shows before bed, at home on the computer, blocking out noisy neighbours, playing guitar through an amp. I've always had 4 or 5 different sets of them in the house, and owned most brands. The best ones I've had in the past were Aiwa branded, for the past 5 or so years it was the ed21s (the previous version of these), and now these are out they're still better than any other earbuds I've heard.

They're not bass-heavy, they don't offer super clarity (though the best clarity you can get without using an in-ear phone), and the soundstage isn't exceptional - but the overall balance and detail of sound is spot on. These are probably the only earbuds which sound good and appropriate with anything - including non-music stuff like skype calls or podcasts. They have a soft enough veil that you can listen for hours without getting tired, but whether your music is bassy or screechy they still deliver the sound honestly and with vibrancy. It's exceptional sound quality.

I don't know whether it's the tip - semi in ear - design, the large driver (16mm when most earbuds are around 12-14) or just good components, but these are just great for the price. Especially so considering how bad most other earbuds are these days.

It's unfortunate, but it seems Sony are really the only ones making decent earbuds anymore - most brands have grown worse over the years, preferring cheap prices (and components probably), colours and packaging to good sound quality, or focusing more on in ear designs. Even these are a tad less bassy (which I like) than their previous model, the ed21.

Anyway, if you're looking for earbuds, and don't want to get in-ears, this is as good as it can get, you won't be disappointed.


JVC HA-F150-VN-E GUMY In-Ear Headphones - Grape Violet
JVC HA-F150-VN-E GUMY In-Ear Headphones - Grape Violet
Offered by VC Retail
Price: 4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Bad sound quality, 17 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really wanted to like these because I love the colours and they're super cheap, but the sound quality is really harsh, unclear, and lacking in bass. There's no balance to the sound, and to be honest the stock ipod or sansa clip earbuds even sound better.

Even for listening to podcasts these earbuds are a bit fatiguing after a while just because they sound so tinny and rough. For some music they're ok, but I've found when listening to albums I know well they kill some of the 'life' out of the music.

I don't know if there's anything better for this price, but I'd recommend spending an extra fiver and getting the sony ed12s over these.


Microsoft Express Mouse - Red
Microsoft Express Mouse - Red
Offered by Trusted-Goods
Price: 3.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Will probably take a long time to get used to, 19 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really didn't like this mouse for the following reasons:

1. The buttons are pretty stiff, probably because they are a part of the body. I got slight twinges in my fingers after using it for only a few hours and don't fancy the strain of that daily - especially knowing there are mice with more responsive buttons out there.

2. It's got minimal ergonomic design. Because the mouse is rather flat, doesn't have any contours, and is supposed to be gripped from the sides, it's hard to feel the immediate, intuitive control you're supposed to get from mice. It's certainly not good for claw grips, and I imagine is too small for most palm grips.

3. It's also far too light. I found it really inaccurate especially when moving the cursor quickly because the mouse has no weight and seems to move on its own. You have to constantly grip the mouse whereas with most mice you can jerk them from side and side and they stick more, giving you more accuracy.

4. Because it tracks movement even when it's slightly above a surface, lifting and placing it back down somewhere else (something a lot of people do usually) is rather cumbersome.

In short, this is a mouse it will probably take quite a long time to get to grips with, or if it's your first mouse, may not be as easy to use as something more regular. I'm sure some people will like it, but I would just say try it as soon as you get it because you may want to return it (like I did).


Heart Like a Rock
Heart Like a Rock
Price: 7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A genuinely hidden gem, 16 Jun 2012
This review is from: Heart Like a Rock (MP3 Download)
I remember when I made music myself looking around on myspace at what other aspiring musicians were making. I don't know how I came across this album, and John himself, but I remember really loving the tracks he had up there and he himself being a really nice guy.

That was about 2 years ago, and I can still remember the hook to 'lost without you' - the shifting synths, the great vocals and full-blown 80s style production. It's as good a song as any famous power ballad, and I say that knowing it's a bold claim - just listen to it if you don't believe me. I've tried to find it again plenty of times and I've only just managed to refind it due to the new myspace search. I am incredibly happy to hear it again.

I don't really listen to this kind of music at all, I like alternative and punk guitar bands, electronic dance, and old soul, but a lot of John Wangler's songs have something more to them that hooked me in. A guitar line, a certain harmony, a melodic progression - there was always some edge to the songs that I really liked. I imagine if you're into classic rock and pop sounds you will find some genuinely great stuff in here.

It's about as hidden as it's possible to get, but the quality is astonishing. I recommend it.


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