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P.Vineaux (London)

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BOSS MICRO-BR Recording Multitracks
BOSS MICRO-BR Recording Multitracks

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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

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.

JVC HAFX1X Xtreme Xplosives In Ear Canal Headphones
JVC HAFX1X Xtreme Xplosives In Ear Canal Headphones
Price: £14.18

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.

JVC HA-F150-VN-E GUMY In-Ear Headphones - Grape Violet
JVC HA-F150-VN-E GUMY In-Ear Headphones - Grape Violet
Offered by Tec Uk
Price: £3.70

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 Buy It Love It
Price: £4.39

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 Sept. 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: £6.19

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.

Football Manager 2011 (PC)
Football Manager 2011 (PC)
Offered by Gameline GmbH.
Price: £3.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't want to be Rafa Benitez, 17 May 2011
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I love football, and I love complicated games, but this game is complicated to the point that it just isn't football anymore. Here's a brief example of what playing this game is like.

I took over a team with no money and few assets. I had a couple of good wingers, so I decided I wanted to play with my wingers always out wide and taking up advanced positions, then play a lot of diagonal and crossfield passes to stretch the opposition and find them in space. Simple, right? But it never happened, no matter how much I tinkered, and because there are so many things to tinker with I had no idea how to convey these simple instructions. My wingers never took up the sort of positions i wanted, and the passing never went how i liked.

First I thought it was my team instructions. I set a wide width (simple enough) and a fast tempo, but my wingers still pulled inwards. Perhaps it was rigidity/fluidity setting, or perhaps I shouldn't play direct (does direct mean direct to goal? or can it apply to crossfield passes?), no matter, these settings didn't get it how I wanted. Perhaps the team mentality is too defensive, or maybe I shouldn't focus on the flanks if I want to switch play from wing to wing. Who knows.

Perhaps it was my player's stats, off the ball, positioning, decisions, concentration - which of these would make my wingers take up good advanced positions? Or maybe their mentality, are they attacking? Do they prefer some other position? Maybe their training was making them take bad positions. Maybe it was simply that their morale was low, or maybe after all that it would just take them time to adjust to the system. I don't know, it could be any of these many things.

Maybe it has nothing to do with that, and was my assistants mentality towards training and tactics. Maybe they just weren't good enough. Maybe the positions of other players were the cause. Maybe the opposition was scuppering my sideways play, or maybe the player's roles should be set differently. Maybe I had to go directly and have a 'chat' with the player to try and adjust their habits (something which takes weeks to come to fruition).

Heck, maybe the pitch was just too wide.

There are a billion variables in this game, and it's impossible to relate any of them directly to what happens on the pitch. There was an elegant simplicity to the more primitive management games that is gone now.

All I could do was tinker and tinker and hope that eventually I could convey these simple instructions. This is just one example, the entire game is like this. In older management games I could just stick my players into a 4-2-4, (with wingers just ahead of midfield) adjust a few settings, and the game could infer pretty much what I wanted. Now it is really a stat game more than a football game, and I don't like that. Maybe I'm asking too much of the game, but then, why have all these variables and options if I can't get a team just how I like it?

Not to mention all the while I was tinkering with tactics I had to wade through pointless exercises like press conferences, constant unnecessary news updates about things I had no interest in, and dealing with the personal problems and relationships of players.

In short, the only way to play this game is to be Rafa Benitez and fiddle with stats, variables and sliders. If you don't enjoy that, and would rather play a football game that feels more like real football then you'd be better off with one of the older football management games.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2011 7:54 PM BST

HP G62-105SA Laptop PC (15.6-inch LED Widescreen Display, Windows 7 Home Premium, Intel Core i3 Processor i3-330M, 3 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, 802.11 b/g/n, Intel HD Graphics)
HP G62-105SA Laptop PC (15.6-inch LED Widescreen Display, Windows 7 Home Premium, Intel Core i3 Processor i3-330M, 3 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, 802.11 b/g/n, Intel HD Graphics)

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Specs are great, but the display and keyboard are awful, 24 July 2010
I bought this as a replacement for an old Toshiba laptop that I'd had for 2 and a half years. I'm used to budget laptops and average specs, and I thought this one would be one of the better ones, but there are some HUGE problems with it that I wanted to warn potential buyers about.


i3 processor - multitasks and runs big programs fast.

fast hard drive - never mentioned in reviews, but this is something that really boosts the performance of this laptop.

responsive touchpad

build quality - despite what you may have read about hp, the build quality seems very solid. I reckon this is the kind of laptop that will as a few years, although having said that, one of the four 'nubs' on the bottom came off after only a few days (easy to glue back on).

great design - has a pattern over the lid and the inside which is quite stylish I think. Also takes some design cues from macbooks with some nice lines, not as ugly and clunky-looking as your normal laptop.


speakers - they're not that bad, but the bass levels are almost non existent. If you listen to a lot of music on your computer then you will notice this, sometimes it's like listening to song mixes with the bass completely removed. This is something I'm sure you can correct with settings though, as the speakers are apparently of a good make.

awful keyboard - the keys feel like they've already been worn out, squishy, almost no click. Imagine typing on your tv remote. Personally I like a solid, responsive keyboard, but some people might prefer the softness I suppose.

display - I've tried on all settings for three days now, and the colours, contrast, and black levels on the screen are always horrendous. The display is incapable of showing black, all you can get is a very dark grey (and only then by sacrificing a lot of colour and definition). I've tried everything - drivers, third party software, etc, but it is impossible to get a semi decent picture out of the screen. It's obvious this is the area they cut corners on to give you such good specs. It doesn't help that the screen is also as sensitive to light as a mirror, if you move your head only slightly, or have any light at all in your room, you will see reflections and glare. If you never want to work with images, have never owned a computer with a decent screen, or are willing to try and get used to it for the specs, then go for it, but if you care at all about image quality and colours, then avoid this laptop as the screen ruins the whole experience of using it. I highly recommend you check the screen in person before considering a purchase.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2012 9:48 PM BST

Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop L40-17H T2330 1.6Ghz 2x1GB 160GB 15.4" W Trubrite DVDSMDL 11bg VHB
Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop L40-17H T2330 1.6Ghz 2x1GB 160GB 15.4" W Trubrite DVDSMDL 11bg VHB

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Durable, good performance, and flexible, 1 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is just a really great laptop. After owning many different computers (including macs) and always eventually stumbling on problems, I can really recommend this one as a well made and great value budget laptop. I have never had any problems with it regarding hardware. It's been over 2 years since I've owned it and I just installed windows 7 on it, it runs great, but even with vista it was running very smoothly and fast. (Although I often clean up junk on my computers). I even installed linux on a piece of the harddrive, and that runs well.

If you just want a laptop that will do it's job years from now this is a good choice. My only criticisms of it are that the graphics aren't very powerful, so games often run into problems, although I can run many older games without problems. Also, the sound card is pretty good, but not high end. I use this laptop to record music often, and while it handles the programs well, I sometimes get a little latency. Although of course, these are things that you can't expect from anything less than a high end machine.
Battery life is fairly poor though, less than 2 hours usually, but maybe that's just it's age.

This is a the best computer I've ever owned, and I will definitely look out for a toshiba next time I buy a computer, although that probably won't be for a long time with the way this one still goes.

Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

100 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but better to wait for the movie., 23 April 2007
Atlas Shrugged is a 1100 page(small print!) novel in which 4 or 5 people stride about like nationalistic heroes building railroads, inventing things, and being proud of it; while the rest of the world mooches off them and complain that the industrialists have too much money.

Even though I'm a liberal, I have to admit this book was interesting. It's like a dystopian novel for capitalists (God knows how many there are for socialists). The ideas are challenging and thought-provoking whoever you are, and the writing is pretty nice, Rand obviously put a lot of energy into the book.

But it's pretty clunky, the plot goes on so many boring tangents, the love scenes are ridiculous, the characters are uninteresting, and most of all it's too repetitive. A quarter of the way through the book I was already familiar with all aspects of Rand's philosophy, and I could tell precisely where the book was going, so reading it felt like a bit of a chore, especially since I never skim pages.

If you're an anti-union, hardcore capitalist then buy the book and revel in it, but if you're not, then wait for the expected movie, with Angelina Jolie coming out in 2008.

I gave this a 4 because the people who would like this would love it, and it's quite a novelty to read a writer who isn't a liberal/socialist/hedonist/romantic/bum.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2012 7:32 PM GMT

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