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Fotaki (Maidenhead, UK)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, start of an upgrade, 22 Dec. 2012
A comment on the above title. Apart from owning an old high-end HiFi system - not used so much these days due to it's less than ideal location - I listen to my mainly classical music collection thro' my Lenovo Z570 Laptop. As you can imagine, I do miss the audio quality of the dedicated HiFi. However, my 75 years remind me not to now expect great sonic things. Nevertheless, I am still able to appreciate good sound reproduction and whatever system I use, I really want to get the best from it. The Laptop is of course less than ideal but with a few tweaks here and there can be made more enjoyable.

In this regard I set out to transform my listening experience thro' a Laptop/Headphone combination. I've read a number of reviews of Headphone amp/DAC units currently available although as a pensioner I'm not in a position to spend silly money on esoteric audio bits and pieces - especially as I would not be able to hear all the subtleties anyway. I went for the ARCAM rPAC on the premise that having a minimalist approach the audio would probably offer something better. At this point I confess that I do not have good headphones. Currently I listen thro' a pair of old Senn. HD480's and a newer pair of Creative Aurvana's both of which can only be classed as 'reasonable'. Well, connecting everything can only be described as a revelation. Although only a humble setup, the difference the rPAC made was immediate and impressive. The HD480's now produce a clear soundstage with a totally different bass to treble response. These are 20 year old 'phones which were well regarded in their time but are 'old technology'. The Aurvana's performed even better. They always had a slightly bass heavy output but a nice and articulate mid to upper range. With the rPAC, these were tranformed into seriously good headphones.

I feel that I'm now on my way, so to speak. My next step is to upgrade the headphones and I'm currently looking at the Sennheiser HD 600/650's or AKG 701's - funds permitting. However, I can honestly say that even if I remain with my present set-up, I have made some progress and now have a much more enjoyable listening experience. Thanks rPAC, recommended.

Schumann: Symphonies Nos 1-4
Schumann: Symphonies Nos 1-4

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, 27 Nov. 2012
I have the cassette version of these recordings, bought from a charity shop some years ago. The sleeve looks to be identical with the CD so I assume the recording is the same (vintage 1957 and released under the Nixa label in 1989). I had heard good things of the Boult recordings although some had criticized because of Tempi.

Well I have to say that nothing prepared me for the head-spinning/ear-bashing experience I received. The Symphonies came recorded on two cassettes (C60's as it happens) The first and second on both sides of cassette 1 and the third and fourth on cassette 2. From the start, it was obviously a race to get everything played in the time given. In fact, assuming a 30 minute per cassette side, the timings worked out to the following - Symphony No.1 = 30'57", Symphony No.2 = 29'11", Symphony No.3 = 30'45" and Symphony No.4 = 28'29". Laughable but true. The pauses between movements were absolutely minimal and I really had the impression that someone had placed a stopwatch on the podium for Boult to work to and the recording engineers in the background sweating with chewed fingernails. It really was that bad.

I have other versions namely by Sawallisch and Chailly and it's now a pleasure to return to these for some semblance of sanity. However, this poses a question. If the CD is based upon the cassette (and presumably on the LP of the past) would there be a a similar frenetic experience in performance ? Perhaps that's why the CD is currently unavailable ?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2014 10:34 PM BST

Lenovo Z570 15.6 inch Laptop - Gunmetal (Intel Core i3 2350M 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit)
Lenovo Z570 15.6 inch Laptop - Gunmetal (Intel Core i3 2350M 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Laptop - a couple of niggles, 3 July 2012
I've had my Lenovo Z570 for near on 6 months now and am totally happy with it's performance. I have to admit that I did not purchase through Amazon but from a High Street computer chain in the January sales. I'm pleased to say that I got a bargain at just under £500. It's spec varies slightly from what is advertised here, mine came with 8 GB RAM and included an NVIDIA GT 520M graphics card (important to me for photographic work). My old laptop was a 6 yr old HP Compaq (4x3 format with WinXP). Well, I knew I was upgrading but didn't realize just how different things could be.

Internet surfing is now a breeze and all my general work is so much more responsive. The improved graphics are great and have helped a lot in getting accurate images. I thought that I would miss WinXP as it proved so stable over time but I've found Win7 to be almost as good. The old machine had a matte screen which one would think as being better (avoiding reflections) - the Lenovo comes with a glossy reflective screen but there is a hidden advantage to this. For accurate work with images, one can use the screen as a centralizing aid (adjusting the screen angle until one's head reflection is at a R/angle). No complaints regarding the speakers which I think are better than average and of course, quality can be greatly improved with the use of good headphones. The keyboard is a joy to use with nicely spaced responsive keys and separate numeric pad. There's also an amazing range of Fn key shortcuts which is helpful. One feature, important to some, is the included webcam. Personally, I don't use this as one's image depends so much on ambient lighting but it's there if needed. The Boot Optimizer is quite useful as it does keep your boot-up time down to normally under one minute. One feature I have already had to use a few times is the One-key Recovery button which can be operated pre-boot or post-boot. This can get one out of a lot of trouble if things get messed up. However, make sure this is fully understood and there is always an up-to-date restore point from which to restore from.

It's evident that some thought has gone into design/styling and manufacture. I've found it to be reliable and enjoyable to use and can recommend without reservation. So, what are my niggles? Because of the steep contour/slope of the base, the CD/DVD tray is difficult to open by hand (needs a proper button instead of fingernail), the SD card tray is equally so and there are other small fiddly switches that sometimes make it necessary to have to lift the machine to get to them. Otherwise all good.

Delonghi F26237.W Deep Fryer with Total Clean System
Delonghi F26237.W Deep Fryer with Total Clean System
Offered by Hughes Direct
Price: £59.90

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb product and service, 12 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Following all the reviews on this product, I decided to treat my wife to a new deep fryer. Perhaps I should mention that we live (part time) in Greece and took advantage of the free international delivery for qualifying goods. It arrived in 4-5 days by UPS in perfect condition, well packaged . There was a slight problem with the courier not knowing our phone number to arrange a delivery time but this was quickly resolved with a on-line chat message to Amazon. The contact agent immediately passed on our telephone details and the next day we received the order. That's the superb service.

We haven't had chance to use the fryer yet but looks a well designed/made product - every bit as described. One final point, as part of the total clean system, the little timer module detaches and could be used independently - say for eggs, etc. So far, am well pleased with everything. Amazon gets better an better.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2012 7:33 PM BST

Wagner: Orchestral Music
Wagner: Orchestral Music
Price: £12.89

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two and a half hours of great Wagner, 17 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like most who love Wagner's music I find complete performances of his Opera's difficult to sit through, so I tend to turn to orchestral compilations. Apart from a couple of boxed sets, I have a few orchestral 'highlight' CD's and this is one of them. It probably gets played most but the music itself is so rich and sonorous that it just has to be heard through the baton of other exponents. The two other CD's I have - Maazel/BPO. and Abbado/BPO - giving me a nice 'balanced' selection.

It's important to remember these are (for the most part) 1960 recordings and the sound identifies itself to that period. There is a slight 'dryness' of tone but is otherwise perfectly acceptable and reproduces well on high-end audio equipment. Klemperer's Wagner can be both satisfying and frustrating. He is well known for his often slow tempo interpretations and this does show on some pieces. In my opinion his Meistersinger prelude is a bit heavy going and his Ride of the Valkyries cuts off too abruptly for some reason - leaving one a sense of incompleteness. On the other hand, he gives us a beautiful and intimate rendition of the Siegfried Idyll - scored for small orchestra, a tear-jerking Prelude and Liebestod and a definitive Flying Dutchman Overture. He extracts some exquisite sounds from the Philharmonia Orchestra resulting in a thoroughly recommended great value-for-money double CD.

CBA Digital 250Gb 2.5 inch Portable Hard Drive including One Touch Software. These units are assembled, supplied and supported in the UK
CBA Digital 250Gb 2.5 inch Portable Hard Drive including One Touch Software. These units are assembled, supplied and supported in the UK

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product !, 17 Mar. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Totally agree with all the previous reviews - worthy of 5 stars. One can find somewhat cheaper portable HD's but IMO you do get what you pay for and the fact that it comes with a 3 year warranty says a lot. It does look and feel like a quality product. The supplier - CBA Digital - is also top-notch

One other thing worth mentioning, the supplied connection lead has a third USB plug attached to it. This is intended to be used as a power 'booster' should the USB connection that you use not be sufficient to power the drive. You simply connect this third USB plug into a spare socket to get more 'juice' to the drive.

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