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Bob C (UK)

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Yamaha THR5A Acoustic Guitar Practice Amplifier
Yamaha THR5A Acoustic Guitar Practice Amplifier

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb little amp with high quality sound, 28 Jun 2014
I've had one of these for a few weeks now and absolutely love it. I play instrumental acoustic fingerstyle around the folk clubs (which normally have no amplification) and find that I'm often just that bit too quiet if there's a bit of background pub noise, etc.

I bought this to lift the volume just slightly to allow the subtleties of the tunes to come through and to allow me to play more softly.

For this, it's absolutely perfect. I found the larger acoustic amp I had before just wasn't getting any use as I didn't want to take it with me all the time.

When shopping around, I compared it against the Roland AC mobile, which is admittedly about £50 cheaper, but I thought sounded like a transister radio in comparison and was much less versatile (though it did have dual vocal/guitar channels, so if you need to amplify your vocals, the THR5A is not for you).

What I love about the THR5A is:

- It's very (VERY!) small and light, and has the option to run on batteries.
- The sounds are superb. It's not loud, but it can go louder than you might think and I haven't had any problem with the unit distorting even when playing detuned to C. The mic modelling works beautifully, especially as you can vary the proportion of wet/dry signal, with all the mic options offered being usable (the "tube mic" sounds the most processed, but even that has its appeal, sounding nice for blues) and the "nylon" setting does work really nicely with an electro classical.
- All the effects are usable. The Compressor is a great addition (why don't all amps have one of these?). Although I never really use Chorus, there are some nice sounds there too. The "Tap Time" Delay is easy to use (I would have liked a level control to reduce the relative volume of the delay signal) and the Reverb is rich and wide (in a perfect world it could be a little more subtle, though - I find I only need the first tiny bit of the dial).
- It looks very cute and seems solidly built. You could argue that the fake "tube glow" orange LEDs were probably unnecessary, though.

Some minor niggles:

- It's not cheap, being considerably more expensive than a standard bedroom practice amp. But then that's exactly the point - Yamaha bills this as a "professional standard" unit, a cut above the typical practice amp, and I think this is a fair description. Most practice/battery amps sound awful and I was particularly looking for one that didn't.
- A proper line out jack (rather than just using the headphone socket, which of course mutes the speaker) could extend its live capabilities.
- The On/Off switch is very easy to flick to on by mistake when the amp is in a bag, etc. If you're running it on batteries, this means you can easily accidentally drain your batteries.
- Having an attachment to be able to be mounted on a mic stand (one thing I liked about the Roland AC Mobile) would be handy.

Things I haven't really tried yet:

- The THR5A is intended as a recording tool and ships with Cubase LE. Apparently additional effects (such as a room reverb rather than the onboard hall reverb) can be accessed via the software, though unlike the larger models in the THR range, new patches/effects can't be saved locally to the amp, so I haven't really bothered with those. I have tried doing some simple recording to a digital 8-track using the phones jack as an output, and the results aren't bad at all. Does the guitar sound as if it was recorded with a mic? Well, not exactly, but certainly sounds a lot nicer than direct from the pick-up, and there could be some lovely results to be had from using a combination of the THR5A signal and micing up the guitar.

This amp is maybe not for everyone, and I'd strongly recommend trying one out before you buy to make sure it's what you're looking for. But for what I need it for, it's by far the most suitable product I've found on the market.

Leather Strap hook (Black)
Leather Strap hook (Black)
Offered by Hellfire Store
Price: £2.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Affordable and functional, 30 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Leather Strap hook (Black)
Solves the common "why hasn't my guitar got a strap button at the heel" problem simply and cheaply. I have a reasonably pricey guitar I didn't want to drill a hole in, and wouldn't trust to be supported with a shoelace, plus I thought the Martin version of this was too expensive.

This seems fine, not pretty, but it works, and I wouldn't agree with another review here that it puts the strap in a position that gets in the way of your left hand (at least no more than attaching the strap in any way at the headstock would).

For players sometimes wanting to play with a strap, a good solution.

ZOOM R8 recording Multitracks
ZOOM R8 recording Multitracks
Offered by Music Gear
Price: £199.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money for a good-quality home recorder, 30 Mar 2014
I purchased the Zoom R8 two years ago, to replace my old Zoom MRS4, which was getting glitchy after years of use and used obsolete SmartMedia cards. The Zoom R8 is similar in some ways but adds an enormous amount of new functionality, including much easier interfacing with your computer.

I use it only for recording solo acoustic guitar, so there's a wealth of other features (the rhythm programming, the use of the included Cubase) which I can't comment on, but based on this application alone I'd highly recommend it. Relatively easy to use (though like other Zoom products, you'll need to dip into the manual regularly), light and portable, and has lasted well so far with no problems. Good sound quality and a very usable range of effects. You'll need to upgrade the included SD card fairly quickly, though, as you'll run out of space frustratingly soon. Remember to copy across the system files and included drum loops though before you wipe the card that ships with the R8, as there's some on there that's nowhere else!

The onboard mics are OK for sketches or recording a rehearsal, but for something you want to keep, not surprisingly you will need to invest in some external mics.

All in a terrific little recorder for the money. Highly recommended.

The Last Star
The Last Star
Price: £10.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another lovely Heidi album, 12 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Star (Audio CD)
While for me not quite as strong as the utterly perfect In Love And Light, still a great album with strong performances and Heidi' wonderful vocals.

Behringer C-2 Studio Condenser Microphones (Pack of 2)
Behringer C-2 Studio Condenser Microphones (Pack of 2)
Offered by Tektica
Price: £51.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value first set of condensers, 12 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought these to record acoustic guitar using Zoom R8. Work nicely for the money and case, mounts and foam mic covers all good. Will of course not sound as good as higher priced mics and can be bit nasal and thin but for the money definitely recommended. Hear sample recording [...]

The Bob Dylan Scrapbook: An American Journey, 1956-1966
The Bob Dylan Scrapbook: An American Journey, 1956-1966
by Bob Dylan
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and fun gift for Dylan fans, 12 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this for birthday present for Dylan fan friend. He loved it. Unusual and full of fun bits and pieces. Not sure about its lasting appeal but had plenty of interesting snippets and the replica tickets and lyric sheets are fun.

Oscillating Halogen Heater with Handle 400W ,800W,1200W Power Heat Settings with Carry Handle
Oscillating Halogen Heater with Handle 400W ,800W,1200W Power Heat Settings with Carry Handle

1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor quality and limited guarantee, 12 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought of these for the office. One arrived faulty and a replacement was sent. Of the two fires, first one bar then two bars broke on one of them after a few months. Contacted seller to ask about replacement but told outside guarantee period even though within 6 months (if remember correctly) of purchase. Surprised as my understanding if buy on high dtreet that goods must be fit for 12 months. Would avoid buying goods like this through Amazon in future because of this.

Second fire also had one bar break though this has now started working again. First fire now broken completely.

Although a cheap product would have expected to last longer and would buy in store in future for easier comeback in event of problems.

Songs In The Attic
Songs In The Attic
Price: £4.74

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infectiously energetic, 19 April 2013
This review is from: Songs In The Attic (Audio CD)
I confess, I'm not a huge Billy Joel fan, and have probably never heard the studio versions of may of the songs on this album. But I've had a copy of this on vinyl for about 30 years and I still love it.

The youthful energy of the performances is totally infectious and the album does not have a duff song. Beautifully performed, this is an album anyone should check out who enjoys live recordings and strong songwriting, regardless of whether you've ever considered yourself a Billy Joel fan.

Russell Hobbs 18358 Power Cyclonic Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Russell Hobbs 18358 Power Cyclonic Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Price: £64.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value and effective cleaning, 15 Mar 2012
Update Jan 2014: having had this now for almost two years wanted to give quick update and revise opinion below. Still going strong, which is good I guess, but find it very frustrating to use. It's so noisy I wear earplugs to use it now, and we have lino now in some parts of the house. Even with the carpet tool setting the brush still spins which means when using the tools on the lino you have to lie the unit down to stop the brush burning the floor. Also the brush will grab any spare edge of curtain or rug and rip it to bits so have to very careful. Would now revise rating down to 2 star.

Original review:
We bought this, our first upright, after having a series of "pull-along" vacuum cleaners in a similar price range, but being frustrated by their lack of cleaning power and their tendency to break after a just a year or year or so.

The cleaning power is certainly far superior - the natural weight of the upright design helps a lot, I think. The cord is helpfully long, the dust compartment easy to empty and the attachments useful.

It's obviously heavier and less easy to use in some ways than a pull-along, especially as you need to get out the attachments for those hard-to-get-to areas, but overall this has been a very good buy. Can't comment on the durability as we've only had it a couple of weeks, but seems quite solidly built.

The only criticism is that it's a noisy beast, with a rather ear-jarring high-pitched operating whine, but this is a small point and the cleaner seems to offer effective performance at an affordable price.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2012 11:59 AM BST

Live In London 1974
Live In London 1974
Price: £17.21

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Deep Purple's finest hour, 14 Mar 2012
This review is from: Live In London 1974 (Audio CD)
Admitted I've never been a huge fan of MKIII Purple compared to the MKII lineup, but in comparison to the band at their best, the set for Live in London 1974 overall feels unfocused and at times sloppy. There are some great moments - Burn is tight and exciting and bounds along with youthful energy, and You Fool No One sounds just fine until Ritchie Blackmore's blistering guitar solo runs out of steam and the song loses momentum which it never regains.

Elsewhere, David Coverdale's interminable "Baby Baby/Come Here Woman" nonsense quickly starts to grate, while the vocal on Space Truckin' is quite awful (perhaps understandably coming at the end of a long set). On the same track, Jon Lord's overindulgent noodling sounds more like he's playing with new keyboard sounds in his bedroom than structuring a solo, and has none of the thunderous, apocalyptic magic of his Hammond playing on the Made in Japan version, for example.

If you are looking to expand your collection of Purple live albums, this is certainly worth a look, but for a much better live experience, check out the seminal Made in Japan (and the accompanying 3 CD Live in Japan set taken from the same gigs) and the stunning BBC In Concert sessions.

I'm still looking for a really good MKIII live album - I also have Live in Europe, which is marred by rather poor sound quality, so the search continues!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2014 7:33 PM BST

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