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Mr Maggots "Loser" (Manchester, UK)

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Philips SHE8000WT/10 In-Ear Headphones with Exchangeable Caps White / Red
Philips SHE8000WT/10 In-Ear Headphones with Exchangeable Caps White / Red
Offered by SmartSalesUK
Price: £7.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dud buds?, 20 Feb. 2013
I'm going to have to disagree with all of the other reviews on here so far. In my opinion the sound quality of these earphones is really poor.

The first thing I noticed was the ridiculously harsh treble, then the overblown bass. No mater how I tried to tweak the EQ on my iPod I could not get a decent sound out of these earphones. I tried it with several different styles of music just to make sure. Everything I listened to sounded awful. Not just slightly worse than the Apple earphones that came with the iPod, but truly terrible. I actually had a headache after 10 minutes and I don't listen at particularly high volume levels.

I can't over emphasise just how horribly harsh the treble is. Couple that with the booming bass which swamps all the midrange detail. I genuinely don't understand why everyone is saying these are quality earphones. I noticed somebody mentioned the bass doesn't distort. It distorts like crazy! Maybe I just got a dud pair. Perhaps it's because I'm used to studio quality headphones in my work as a sound designer. I could go into greater detail about precisely what is wrong with the EQ and frequency levels of these units, but to my ears they have exactly the same effect of turning up the bass and treble to the max on a cheap hi-fi equalizer. So you end up having to try and cancel out those effects by dialing the bass and treble frequencies out. All music just turns into a muffled soup with a shrill top end.

I'll be purchasing another pair of original Apple iPod earphones to replace these. Even though they are not the greatest, they do have a nice neutral sound compared to these. I like headphones with a flat response so you can dial in your own sound, rather than be stuck with loud and harsh or nothing, as is my experience with these.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2013 6:19 PM BST

Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Nuketown 2025 Edition (PS3)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Nuketown 2025 Edition (PS3)

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ruined., 18 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I absolutely hate this game. I've played all the COD series since COD4 and this is easily the worst. I didn't think it could get any worse than MW3 but somehow Treyarch have managed it. Aside from all the connection and lag issues (which are terrible) the game would be awful anyway, even if they are fixed. The maps are abysmally bad, they are so cluttered and complicated it's almost impossible to spot anyone more than 10 feet away unless they are out in the open. This means practically everyone just runs around randomly with an SMG with laser attachment just hip firing all over the place. All the weapons feel like toys, with no skill required to use them. It's impossible to play tactically or outsmart your opponent like you could with the first Black Ops. Most of the time it's down to sheer luck or connection that you're not dying constantly. Even with second chance and campers, the original Black Ops was a far superior and enjoyable experience than this garbage. If you have not played this game yet and thought you were good at the previous CODs, you're in for a shock. If your K/D in the previous Black Ops was around 2.5 like mine, be prepared for it to drop to around 1.2. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it, no matter what 'style' you play, what weapons you use, or how quick your reactions are. Skill and tactical thinking no longer count for anything in the COD series. Complete shambles of a game, I've already put it on eBay. I'll be getting Battlefield 3 with the money, which cannot possibly be worse than this total crud.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2012 10:15 PM GMT

Rescue Dawn [DVD]
Rescue Dawn [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.79

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beginning - Middle - End, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Rescue Dawn [DVD] (DVD)
I've just finished watching this film and I'm left feeling frustrated by the 'Hollywood' ending and poor beginning, yet excellent middle. Thankfully the 'middle' is most of the film, which is why I'm giving it three stars. To be honest, the very beginning and ending pretty much ruined this film for me, they are right out of the 'Top Gun' drawer of crowd pleasing American clichés (with equally terrible acting). It could have been a brilliant film, but as it's based on a true story, the ending (emotionally) is just too ridiculous and bears no relation to the harrowing test of will to survive and obvious psychological impact such events would have on any human enduring those events. It's almost as if two different directors/writers are responsible for these parts of the film. A well paced and engaging middle section which offers insight into such an ordeal and the relationships forged in forced circumstances is sacrificed for mainstream cheese on toast in order to help it sell by justifying America's actions as the saintly barometer of justice and righteousness. Actually, come to think of it, I'm giving it a two.

The Hunter
The Hunter
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £17.15

8 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another album ruined by the loudness war., 29 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
The title of this review says it all really. This could be a good album, but it's difficult to know as it has been compressed and brickwalled to hell. There are no dynamics, just a loud fizzy wall of upper midrange. It's almost impossible to tell if any high hats or cymbals were played as the drums are lifeless and flat, they might as well be a plugin rather than played live by a very talented drummer.

The production/mastering is so terrible I can barely believe it was released in this state. This is almost as bad as Metallica's Death Magnetic in terms of sound quality. It's such a shame that I'm not reviewing the quality of the music or songwriting here, as the direction Mastodon have taken with this album really needs dynamics and and a sense of coherent space. Never do I get the impression of a band all playing together and gelling in the same recording space, just a compendium of separate tracks with all the life squashed out of them by ludicrous volume maximising.

Surely I can't be the only one who feels this way? It's such as shame that so much good music is being ruined by the current trend to have everything to sound as loud as possible at all times. No album treated in this way will ever be considered great. I'd rather pay £30 to see them perform these songs live than insult my ears with this. Unfortunately I know from experience they are unlikely to be able to pull of the vocal performances required.

Just to be clear I'm not criticising the actual songs or the bands ability to write music. From what I can make out I do like the songs, but the point is overshadowed by the poor sound quality. I've loved all Mastodon's previous albums. Crack The Skye and Blood Mountain were heavily compressed but still retained enough dynamics and space to make them enjoyable. This just isn't. I just hope as with Death Magnetic that a less compressed version eventually surfaces.

Musically, imagining what it might have sounded like if not ruined, I'd probably give this 3 or 4 stars, but as it stands I can't give it more than 1 (sad face).
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2013 2:41 PM BST

PS3 Officially Licensed 4Gamers Gaming Headset - COM PLAY PRO
PS3 Officially Licensed 4Gamers Gaming Headset - COM PLAY PRO

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for the money., 12 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, for [...] these represent pretty decent value for money, but they could be a five star product if they improved the comfort of the ear pads. This headset has on-ear pads, not over-ear pads, and the mesh material they are made from is significantly more uncomfortable than standard ear pads. A little more thought or investment in this aspect would make it a much better headset. I'd happily pay £5.00 extra for over-ear cups. If you have a larger than average head you may also find these very tight fitting. I don't and they are still pretty tight.

In terms of sound quality, it's adequate. Not terrible but not great either. I cannot compare these to Turtle Beach of other gaming headsets as I haven't tried them. However, compared to a pair of Sony MDR-7506 they do sound a bit tinny and lacking in bass. To be fair though, the Sony's are £90 studio headphones so it would be harsh to mark them down for that. I was using the Sony headphones plugged directly into the TV, but was getting an annoying background hiss as it's only a cheap LCD thing with terrible sound.

The CP-PRO's have a very pronounced midrange and can get a bit 'overcrowded' when lots of action is happening, particularly in a game like COD: Black Ops. Basically, it's like having a couple of fairly cheap computer speakers very close to your ears, and as you may know they don't have particularly well defined bass or treble frequencies.

As the sound is directly output from the PS3 to the headset, the sound is clear with no hiss, this applies to both game sound and microphone chat. So if you're looking to buy some of these so you can hear ambient sounds or footsteps more cleary in Call of Duty games, then they do the job just fine. Certainly better than listening through TV speakers or your ipod earphones if you aren't lucky enough to have an expensive surround sound setup.

So, if it wasn't for the comfort issue (which is pretty important with headphones) they would have a higher rating. I was expecting better quality with them being an official PS3 licensed product, but as I said that may be a bit unfair as I was previously listening through studio quality headphones.

One other issue is that there are no sound options or EQ settings, as the sound comes direct from the PS3, so what you get is what you get. The red/white phono leads from the PS3 AV output give you the game sound and the USB gives you the chat. One thing I like is having separate volumes, so you can turn off the sound of idiots with mics making stupid noises or blasting out music, saving the need to individually mute people all the time. I also purchased these to use with Skype on my Mac, which they do no problem via USB. I'm sure they'll work with PC too.

For those of you wondering how these things hook up, you need to use the PS3 AV out lead even if you're using HDMI - the red/white audio plugs from that go into CP-PRO's red/white double ended phono plugs. Then if you also want the sound coming through your TV, you connect from the other end of the headset plugs to the TV (leads to do that are not included). If your TV/monitor only has a single 3.5mm audio input, it will still work, you just need to get the appropriate lead. It tells you in the booklet how to set the audio output via the PS3 and it's easy to follow.

Note: You don't have to actually connect any of the leads to your TV at all if you're using HDMI, or if you don't have any audio inputs on your TV. You will still need to use the yellow video plug from the PS3 AV lead if you're not using HDMI though.

I hope that makes sense and that you found it helpful. Cheers.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2011 5:05 PM GMT

The Hurt Locker [DVD]
The Hurt Locker [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jeremy Renner
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.49

13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling film on every level, 24 April 2010
This review is from: The Hurt Locker [DVD] (DVD)
I've read through some of the reviews here, not all, as there are so many. Others have probably covered the negative aspects I'm about to cover, but I feel this film deserves another negative review as it really has annoyed me enough for me to devote more time to criticising this shambles of a film.

First off, I've seen people asking how on earth this film has won any Oscars. That is obvious - 'The Academy' and most of the other film awards are nothing more than 'the old boys network', mutual back slapping and corrupt disregard for anyone outside the inner workings of the film industry. I could rant about this at some length, but here is not the place.

I honestly haven't been this disappointed in a film for many years. It's truly awful on every level. The worst elements being the plot, the characterisation and the score. I don't blame the actors so much as they've done what they can with such a lifeless script.

I know this is a film and films are for entertainment, but please don't pretend to be a 'realistic portrayal' when you're little more than predictable Hollywood garbage. From a perspective of realism, most of the scenes in this film simply would not occur, and if they did, someone if not everyone would end up dead within minutes.

So it's neither an obviously fictional 'hero' fantasy nor a gritty and realistic depiction of a war situation. Never at any time did I feel any sense of fear, tension or empathy with any of the characters in the film. This isn't anything to do with clever emotional manipulation by the director, I simply didn't care because everyone was so one dimensional. At times it was like watching cut-scenes from a console game such as Modern Warfare 2 - it really is that bad! Very early on I found myself hoping that the main focal character would get himself blown up for the sake of everyone else. Of course I knew this wouldn't happen.

For me, the only half interesting scene is the sniper one in the desert. Actually missing shots made it more realistic. It almost touched upon the balance between nervous waiting and the need to remain alert, but there's still never a sense of imminent danger and uncertainty as there would be in real warfare - you always know he'll make the shot and save the day.

The scenes that lead up to the above situation are bordering on farce and actually insulting to anyone with any intelligence. They depict a bumbling and shambolic British special forces as mercenaries - which I'm presuming is supposed to be SAS. They can't even change a wheel successfully and need to be 'rescued' by the American forces after 'foolishly' getting half of their unit killed. Absolute joke. The director is obviously ignorant and is only interested in showing the good old US of A as the saviour of everyone (as usual).

There are many other things wrong with this film, but I've written enough already. I should mention though the diabolical 'super-hero' music during the end scene. It made a complete mockery of what was already reeking sewage of a film. It's the equivalent of baking a cake that is already pretty disgusting, and then icing it with turd just to make sure it's as bad as possible.

I watched this film a few hours after having watched 'The Road', which although a different kind of film, was so much more immersive and emotionally engaging than this embarrassing dross.

I strongly suspect this film is a major insult to anyone who's actually been part of a bomb-disposal squad in real life, or anyone involved in any aspect of war. It's not possible to give zero stars, so it will have to be one.

One final note - what a terrible name for the film. Can't help feeling that it might have been a better film if Guy Pearce hadn't died at the beginning and had more of a starring role.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2010 9:46 AM BST

Royal Treatment
Royal Treatment
Price: £15.11

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not Baroness, 15 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Royal Treatment (Audio CD)
This is just a note to let people know that this has nothing to do with the prog-metal band 'Baroness'. This is a dance music act called 'The Baroness'.

Death Magnetic
Death Magnetic
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.99

25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Death Pathetic, 13 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Death Magnetic (Audio CD)
Firstly I'll say that musically this is an excellent album, that is not the issue here - other people have reviewed that better than I can. Unfortunately the terrible terrible mastering job of this CD overshadows what would otherwise be a great achievement.

The problem is that the levels of the CD are so 'compressed' and 'maximised' that it digitally distorts (clips) the sound even at low volumes, quite severely at times. This is because the dynamic range of all the tracks have been squashed to make the overall output too high. The most obvious example of this is on the track 'The Day That Never Comes'.

A couple of other people have mentioned this, and I just want to make people more aware of it. If you're not really an audio enthusiast or have a cheap stereo then you might not notice it so much, but it really is inexcusable that this has been allowed to happen.

I blame the record company and the 'loudness war' that is currently ongoing and ruining music. This is an awful amateur mastering job, but I believe the mastering engineer was probably forced into it by those at the top. However, I would have thought that Metallica would have enough control not to allow this to occur. Surely they must be aware of this? I feel cheated, and it has ruined my enjoyment of this album.

There is a semi-solution to this problem, and that is to import the CD tracks into audio editing software and reduce the overall db level down a few notches. Then you have to burn the tracks onto a new CD. It doesn't fix the source of the problem, but at least you're not getting the distortion from the CD and pushing your amp/speakers/headphones into digital clipping twice over.

If you don't have any audio editing software there is one called 'Audacity' which you can download for free. I guess it just depends how bothered you are by it. I was bothered enough to do it using Logic/Waveburner and it has improved the sound somewhat.

I think that the record company should have the whole CD remastered (and remixed for that matter). They should offer a replacement service to all people who have purchased this album, or a free digital download of a remastered version.

Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 5, 2011 11:41 PM BST

Resident Evil Outbreak (PS2)
Resident Evil Outbreak (PS2)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Resident Awful, 3 Oct. 2004
Being a fan of the Resident Evil series from the original on the PS1, I was really looking forward to this. To say I am disappointed is a huge understatement.
They seem to have taken all the elements that made the previous games so great and discarded each and every one of them. Ditching the 'survival horror' in favour of almost 'arcade action' has turned this game into an uncontrollable shambles.
Yes, the control system (which wasn't the best to begin with) has been taken apart without putting it back together again. Anyone trying to operate the new status screen will know what I mean.
The addition of 'co-operative play' with other characters is a nice idea, but incredibly badly implemented. the 'co-operative play' usually amounts to the other characters running around shouting random 'actions' and 'responses', ignoring you entirely, getting in your way and wasting all the ammo within 20 seconds. Just try swapping items between characters and you'll se how bad this series has become.
The thing I liked about the previous games were the pace. You could actually contemplate and try to anticipate at times, which added more of a tense atmosphere. Now it doesn't feel like you are actually in control as you are continuously pushed along into unavoidable situations with a sluggish combat and menu system. I realise this is supposed to add greater tension, but it just makes the game seem more linear.
The loading time between rooms and scenarios is abysmal. I am not exaggerating when I say they are actually longer than on the original playstation version.
This game has annoyed me so much I'm not going to waste anymore of my time writing about it.

Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled
Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled
Price: £11.50

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total Twallybonse, 28 July 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Words like 'Stunning' 'Awesome' and 'Incredible' are way over used when it comes to describing music these days, especially the mindless plop that 'they' feed us through TV and FM radio.
It seems every new release comes with the tag line 'The stunning new album from........'. Well, despite what I just said, all those words apply to this.
If you are not familiar with Mattias IA Eklundh, he is the guitarist from Swedish rock band Freak Kitchen. This is his second solo release and it's rather splendid (as was his first effort).
I suppose if you were to categorise this music, it would be instrumental guitar, which automatically brings up the Satch/Vai/Petrucci etc. comparisons. You can't deny their guitar skills, but they do seem to be regurgitating the same old stuff again and again.
Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled is a breath of fresh air, ney, a tornado of fresh air. It's simply overflowing with genuinely creative ideas and wonderful musical moments and, yes, technique.
If you haven't heard 'IA' before you could be forgiven for thinking he has a massive rack of effects. The insane noises he manages to create all come from his Caparison 'Apple Horn' 27 fret guitar, whammy bar and a traditional wah pedal.
Anyway, lets not get bogged down with all the technical gubbinz - what about the actual music?
Well, in his own words, influences and sounds found on this album include: 70's TV series 'The Persuaders', Miles Davis, Slayer, an Epson Stylus Printer, Coffee, Fletch, Arcade Games, Chopsticks (used to play the guitar), Mouth percussion, Deep Purple, Bad Weather, Ketchup, Steely Dan, Django Reinhardt, a one-stringed guitar, Frank Zappa.........................basically, everything including the Kitchen Sink (probably literally).
Jazz, Metal, Rock, Blues, Samba, Classical, Electronic Mash-Up are just some of the musical styles you can expect to hear over the hour's worth of bliss this album dishes up.
Seen as how Amazon haven't supplied a track list, here is one, followed by my attempt to sum up each song.
1. The Road Less Traveled (the song Satriani wishes he'd written - and could play!)
2. There's No Money In Jazz (frantic tempo changes in this 'Spazz Jazz')
3. Print This! (mechanical-googly-groove inspired by an Epson printer - Great stuff)
4. Father (acoustic tribute to his deceased father)
5. No Strings Attached (speed bongos with slow 'n' heavy time-jarring riffage. Nice!)
6. Caffeine (eastern european sounding funky folk attack)
7. Fletch Theme (cover of Chevy Chase movie theme tune - I like it)
8. The Battle Of Bob (mad and friendly soundtrack to a non-existent computer game)
9. Chopstick Boogie (utterly brilliant - can't really describe it)
10. Toxic Donald (mouth music - sounds a bit like Aphex Twin)
11. Happy Hour (the only track with actual singing on the album - not that great)
12. Smoke On The Water (disco version for pets! with 'vocals' on the whammy bar )
13. Insert Coin (super-blooty-robotic-mash-up-on-toast)
14. The Woman In Seat 27A (slow-paced 'chillout' acoustic interlude)
15. Ketchup Is A Vegetable (jumping back and forth and twiddly widdly)
16. Samba Caramba (another one I can't really describe - it's ruddy good though)
17. White Thrash Hyper Blues (riff your guts off)
18. Toxic Mickey (more mouth music)
19. Minor Swing (big band style gypsy jazz from the future)
20. One-String Improvisation (piss poor and laughably awesome at the same time)
21. Asteroid 3834 (this is Frank Zappa music with no-excuses. Lovely Stuff)
22. Little Bastard (good tune)
23. Difficult Person Music (a wonderfully silly shambolic mess to end on)

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