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I think it would be safe to say that 95% of people have a Windows as their first computer. I was no different! I picked up the windows system pretty quickly and after a few years of using it pretty much every day, I knew that operating system like the back of my hand. This year however I moved to a music production course (I got in woooh!) which is done entirely on the Mac operating system. I was very skeptical at first and didn't want to leave my precious Windows behind but I took the leap of faith..
I got the Macbook Pro in the official Apple shop in Belfast, the staff were really helpful and were move than willing to show me the benefits of getting a mac and offering me help and discount. I had the choice between the 15.4inch with 4Gb RAM and an i7 2.4Ghz or else the same with 8Gb Ram and an i7 2.6Ghz. As I was going to be using some high performance software packages, i chose the later. On purchase of the laptop I got 14% discount from my student card and also a free £70 itunes voucher which came in handy for re-stocking my itunes for fresh albums to review on this!
Out of the packet the Macbook was set up and ready to go, I just needed to type in my name and set up some basic settings before being welcomed by that beautiful Mac background. I was able to get my wi-fi up and running in no time, got all my programs installed and was really happy with how easy the operating system was to use! The layout and techniques may seem confusing at first however after a while, you'll be looking at your old Windows and thinking it was made in the 80's.
However... there I was working away at some music production and the screen just froze? I thought nothing of it.. perhaps I had just encountered a glitch in the program? I was pretty annoyed to find my work hadn't been saved but I guess that was to the fault of the program rather than the Mac. Everything worked fine for a while until suddenly it froze again, and again and I'm not joking, it must have frozen about 20 times in 2 hours! After 2 days of this treatment I was ready to throw the thing out the window. It just seemed to be unable to do anything at all that used the graphics card! I phoned up Apple-care (which I got for another £200 on top of the purchase) and got some help from a guy that told me keys to hold down during start-up to restart the entire system. This seemed to work for a while but now it keeps freezing again!
I love this thing so much... It kind of makes me feel bad to criticize something that cost so much and runs so smoothly when not using the graphics card but this is quite ridiculous. I'm heading up to the Apple store this weekend and I'll be more than happy to update this review with a much better rating if it gets fixed. I've got some experience with hardware and building computers and my guess is I've just been given a dodgy graphics card/logic board.
I'm pretty sure if you have ever purchased an iPod or know of anybody with one, you will have seen these little white earphones. This version of earphones is an upgrade from the standard Apple earphones with did not include a Mic or remote control. From what I can tell nothing has changed with regards to the actual ear-pieces themselves.
Over the years this style of earphone has become more developed through changing shapes and sizes as well as the odd upgrade with regards to hardware. I owned one of the very first iPods which came with the very first earphone design and I can't help but think that apple have gone towards catering for mass production rather than for quality.
The sound quality of these earphones is pretty bad in comparison to Skull-candies or Seinheisers and to be honest, the only time I use them is when I'm lying in bed reading a book or surfing the net and I don't particularly need great sound quality. I think it's only really when you use a high quality set of earphones that you realise what's missing from them. That thing that is missing is the entire lower end of the sound spectrum. You can just about make out the kick drum on a drumkit and as for the bass guitar, good luck making that out! It's already bad enough that so many bands turn the bass guitar down really low, now that these earphones are quite literally EVERYWHERE I'm really feeling sorry for bass players.
The mic and controls are handy when doing a Skype call, I'm able to plug the earphones directly into my MacBook and it will pick it up straight away as one of the inputs. I find though i have to almost hold the mic right up to my mouth in order to get a clear sound through. This means I just end up using the built in Mic in my MacBook (which sort of defeats the purpose of the mic in the first place). The only place I can think that this would be useful for is hands-free calls in the car or else whilst somebody phones you when listening to your iPod. Considering I have a built in hands-free in my car and I don't have an iPhone, this makes it pretty useless for me!
In summary I have no real need for these earphones: I get much better quality off my Skull-candy earphones and even better quality out of my Bose headphones. I don't really have any need for the mic or controls either so I would rather stick with the basic older version!
The earphones themselves seem to be build to withstand punishment from the everyday uses of an iPod. I mean guys let's face it, how many of us just wrap our earphones around our iPod and chuck it inside out pocket? After getting told off big time by our engineer in the studio for wrapping cables tight I know first hand this is very bad for them. The great thing however is that the iPod earphones seem to take the abuse for months upon months until the dreaded scenario happens where one earphone breaks leaving the other working perfectly fine..
This TV was bought for our family room roughly about 6 months ago. The main reason was that our old Sharp TV had toppled over and smashed (ohh dear I was in trouble) when I was trying to wire a new DVD player behind it.
When this TV arrived it was in your typical large carboard box surrounded by lots of padding and packaging meaning nothing was damaged on the way. The box was pretty heavy I must say, it took two of us to carry it inside anyway! After getting it out of the box we were left with a number of cables providing basic connections to SCART and also a RWY cable too. The Red White Yellow cable confused me a little considering it was HD, I had assumed everything had moved onto HDMI over the years.
We got this TV delivered in Silver colour after having a choice between Black or Silver. I personally would have went for the black, but I don't think I was in a position to argue! One design fault I found about the TV was the stand. I thought the stand was much too small for such a large TV and I'm constantly paranoid the same thing that happened last time will happen again. The screen itself provides stunning beautiful HD with an extensive array of settings for changing saturation and colour contrast depending on what floats your boat. I personally think I can get an amazing saturated look from this perfect for playing PS3 on! Countless times I get told off for using this TV rather than my smaller one in my room. The back of the TV has 2 HDMI insert options, USB, Scart and a few audio in/out options. There really isn't anything you would require not included in this setup and meets all my requirements.
The Remove/zapper/box/control/whatever you want to call it is a great size and is comfortable to use. It hasen't fallen into the trap of putting a rediculous amount of buttons on the box leaving you puzzles and confused when trying to change the channel.
The sound system on this screen is also incredible! It's got the perfect balance of treble/bass and really makes my ps3 sound excellent! I'm defenitely holding onto this TV for another couple of years (unless something new and big comes out) as it more than does what's required.
If you would like to know anything more about the TV or want me to add anything new, just ask!
I got a MIDI keyboard a few months ago to write and record electronic drums. The keyboard is fairly heavy and I could tell my computer desk didn't really like that extra weight and was on it's last legs... hahahahah (sorry that was awful). After getting sick of having to play the keyboard on my lap or on the floor I decided it was time to invest in a keyboard stand! I used Dooyoo to search up keyboard stands and this one right here seemed to match everything I needed.
They keyboard stand stuck me as being pretty similar to the guitar stands I have, made from the same cast iron frame with synthetic rubber ends to prevent sliding and damage to near by equipment. The other day I learnt how important these rubber tips are after hitting my guitar with the end of the stand (which had a missing rubber tip) It left a lovely chip right on the front of my guitar. Guess it's just not been my week!
The stand is able to hold the weight of the keyboard effortlessly showing no signs of strain or breakage. The joint where both movable metal legs meet is stong and once again shows no signs of strain. The stand can be adjusted at the middle easily with a thumb button allowing it to be flexible to suit any size of keyboard. They keyboard my sister uses is much larger than mine, however it was no problem adjusting the stand to fit this larger instrument.
Only once have I ever used this stand live (and hopefully I will again) and it stood up well to getting chucked in the back of a trailer along with the rest of the bands equipment. It fit in well behind the drum kit (it was only used briefly in one song) and did it's job well! What more can you want? I'm not going to make any stories up about this stand holding the weight of my entire car and family etc, it's just a bog standard stand that does the job well!
As always, if you have anything else you would like to know about this stand just email me and i'll add it in.
There's just something about a Wha pedal that makes solo's sound 10x more awesome (when used in the correct way). For years upon years artists ranging from Misha to Jimi Hendrix have used the Wha effect to enhance solo's and add that extra bit of depth that seperates the solo from average.
Jim Dunlop has been known as one of the first manufacturers to break out and become one of the most popular wha pedal producers. I don't know how it came about to be one of the biggest names (as I wasn't alive when It started) however I'm pretty sure I know why it's still the number 1 Wha Pedal.
The Cry Baby got it's name from the sound it makes. What the pedal does it mimic the human sound "wha" over the top of the output signal from the guitar. The pedal is placed inbetween your guitar and amplifier (unless your amplifier has a pedal loop option) meaning you will have to purchase a new cable in order to make the connection. This is one of the reasons many people just say "no thanks" to pedals. When you're onstage playing with 3 guitarists and a bassist (not to mention vocals, drum mics etc) there is a LOT of cable going across that stage! Just be sure to bring that all important duct tape to keep your cable tight to the floor and to avoid those dreaded un-pluggings. On the topic of gigging, you will have no worries at all with carting around this pedal. From past experiences I've always been worried that my pedals will get broken in the car on the way, or stood on, or break from the slightest spilage. With this pedal you've got a metal fortress around the circuit and mechanism! The metal case must be a centimeter or two in thickness so good luck breaking it.
The place I use this pedal most is in the jamming studio. I like to write a solo, then put on effects later. This means i'll write a solo then tyically go to the Cry Baby almost straight away and see if it enhances the sound. Quite often it sounds better without, I don't want to fall into the trap of Kirk Hammett where he puts the Cry Baby on EVERYTHING and it just loses the sound completely. If you're intending on playing fast furious solos, quite often it's best to just leave the pedal out. The place that the pedal shines through is on slow, drawn out notes often played over bends of tremelo picking. From this pedal you can expect clear, effective wha effects that have enough power to shine through, but not enough to drown out your tone or playing. I used to play with a lower priced wha pedal that didn't even come close to competing on this level.
One thing I would have to criticise about this pedal is the distortion that seems to be added when I click down on the start button. It seems to add an audiable hiss to my recordings that gets even more enhanced by my computer interfeerance. Perhaps I just need to be more careful in my placement of the pedal in future recordings.
The pedal can be quite harsh on batteries so make sure to have spares if you're using it at a gig!
I got this TV in December 2011 after my old computer screen kicked the bucket. I saw how people were able to use their computer screen to watch TV and play ps3 at the same time as being connected to the computer! Being the lazy guy I am, I just had to get this!
Ok pressing menu on the remote this is basically what I can see:
Picture - Allows you to change the basic colour, contrast, brightness and PC position. That kind of thing. Nothing too special in here!
Sound - Volume, Equalizer, Balance, Headphone, that sort of thing. Once again there isn't much here of interest appart from the Dynamic Bass, that's pretty neat!
Settings - Conditional Access: Errr... I don't have a clue what this does when I click on it it says No common Interface module required. I did a little research though, I think this is to be used in schools e.g. where channels can be blocked or digi can be restricted
Another thing of interest in the settings is the parental access, parents have the liberty to limit pretty much anything on this TV making it suitable to be left in a childs room or in a school. It's the little things that make a television better than standard ones.
On the remote you can also access the channel options which allows you to reset the channels installed and also add new ones manually. This built in digital system allows you to have a complete TV system sitting compact on your desk. If only there was a DVD player! That would make this thing the king of all mini televisions. One little thing that really annoys me is that if anybody turns something on/off in the house the TV screen disappears for 1/2 seconds. What's with that? I don't know if it's my dodgey power source or the TV but it will remain a mystery.
This TV is pretty solid if you're like me and can't afford a big 32 inch for your living room. It does the job and provides excellend graphics in stunning HD. You can't go wrong by buying this, probably why tesco decided to stock hundreds of them!
To get this amp simulator you're going to have to dig out a hefty £200 (at least) which is approaching the cost of a low end amplifier!
I'm not even going to draw it out for you, it's worth it! Get this thing!
What you're looking at is your dream tones all at the click of a button (and a little patience to work out the tones etc). This pedal has everything a budding guitarist coud dream of having inside their amplifier. From chorus to delay, I only wish I got this pedal board BEFORE I spend a couple of hundred quid on my collection of other pedals.
The sound quality from this beast is pretty damn awesome. I had always been scared of these amp simulators just seeing them as a "cheap alternative to a good amp", but how wrong I was! I must try putting more faith into technology instead of being so old-school... One downside is that you're still going to need a PA system or a regular amplifier to play your guitar out of. Luckily it's pretty easy to se it up and just requires one simple cable or a loop system.
The way this pedal works is you just plug your guitar into it, and it will become the "tecnological" part of your amplifier. A guitar amplifier is split into two parts, the Pre-amp and the speaker. This in escence replaces the pre-amp therefore cutting out the price of a speaker. This is a huge leap forward if you already own a speaker, and will conserve some of that student loans! (you know what I mean for the students reading this) All the pre-set amplifier settings sound pretty much like their intended to. Mind you, the only way I can compare this is by looking up on youtube/soundcloud other guitarists who have used the original equipment. One strange thing that I discovered about the pedal was that it really didn't like my cheaper guitar cable.. I had to switch up to my more expensive planet wave cable (that I only save for gigs) to preserve the high gain tone that I was looking for. Don't get me wrong about the old cable though, it's still good! So I don't get why it won't co-operate as well with this pedal. It remains a mystery.
If you're reading this and were considering buying a brand new amplifier, don't bother! Just get this and plug it in, it would have saved me many a hundred of pounds in the past. In fact I'm going to have to buy another one of these seeing as my brother seems to have stolen the first one...
Here's the basic summary of what this pedal does (or is meant to do), written by Boss themselves
"Whether for use onstage or at home, the new RC-20XL will add depth and excitement to your performances by allowing you to layer phrases in real time - as many stacks as you like until you fill up the 16 minutes of ample recording space on the RC-20XL. Explore the expressive options of sound-on-sound performance by layering your own phrases to create a massive 'one-person band' experience. Build the ultimate solo, and do it all live in real time."
The question is though, does it do this? Does it actually creat this "one-person band" experience that it advertises? Let's find out.
What I use this pedal for is to record rhythm guitar and then solo over the top of it. I don't use it for live performances, I much prefer a human to do that (for obvious reasons). I just have a constant paranoia that my equipment will cut out and the whole performance will be ruined... anyway. It's possible to connect the pedal into the computer and record straight from what is being played in the loop. Now that's great! That gives you a completely latency free connection and is great for recording jams and demos. Ever since I bought this pedal it allowed me to improve upon my technique without having to have a buddy playing rhythm needlessly in the background.
One little thing I would have to say I don't like is that you have to use 4/4 drums on the recordings. For me I like exploring odd time signitures like 5/8 and 3/4 (because I'm cool like that) and considering you need a lot of practice to get used to those time signitures, I think that option is almost nescessary. I mean you can't expect everybody to play in 4/4 can you?
One question that arrises from this pedal is: Why don't I just use my computer to record a track and then play it back? That would be free wouldn't it? (Providing I had a computer). The thing is, that's true? I sort of drifted away from this pedal after I discovered it's just as easy to plug the guitar straight into the computer and play a rough recording.
I guess if you get this pedal, you should be trying to use it for live performances if you're the only guitarist in the band and need to lay down some rhythm over a solo. Appart from that, this pedal is made redundant by the fact my computer can just do the exact same thing!
Home recording is one of those tricky things that is so difficult to get spot on. I have heard many people (with the same equipement) produce great recordings, or recordings that sound like they were recorded using a phone mic. M-Audio already produces a huge array of products from mics to mixing boards and are pretty well established with regards to reputation and product range.
I encountered some issues with installing drivers when I got my M-Audio fast track pro, and went straight to the customer support site. On the site I found endless help from professionals and the general community. That's one thing I love about the music community, many people have worked out things for themselves and are eager to go online and help others out. It really boosts the community.
Well that's the community support we can check off the list, the next and most important aspect of this piece of kit is of course, the tone. Basically what this little piece of kit is, is a soundcard in a case that can be plugged into your computer via USB. This makes it great if you're a musician "on the go" and enjoy the handiness of simply plugging in your recording device and being ready to go in seconds. The box has a really nice Direct Monitor button which allows even faster processing of what is being recorded, minimising latency and delay.
For those who don't know what latency is, when you record something into your computer sometimes it does not record exactly where you pressed the record button, but may be 0.1 of a second ahead of itself. trust me this gets annoying when you have abuot 5 layers of guitars, bass and drums on one track!
The array of inputs on this little box is mindblowing. It's amazing to see how technology has come along over the previous years considering you used to pay around £1000 for a desk with the ability to plug a couple of mics into and do a little mixing. You are able to plug standard jack cables as well as XLR Mic cables which ticks all the boxes for recording inputs. Let's face it, it's nor really often you're going to be using anything but those inputs.
The Fast Track Pro came with a copy of Pro Tools which allows you to jump right into the game of recording as soon as you get the gear. I didn't choose to use this, I have become so accustomed to Cubase 4 that anything else it just confusing to me. I did take a little look around this software however, it seems to be easy enough to use (much easier than Cubase was at the begining for me) however did lag my computer quite a bit. However, just because this comes with Pro Tools, does not mean you have to use it with Pro Tools. The Fast Track will become a recognised input into your computer allowing it to be used for Skype, msn, audacity you name it! It's basically a handy way of plugging a jack cable into your computer.
I must say, I do not miss the £120 I parted with to pay for this, it was worth it!
Everybody thinks of sims as the mainstream simulation game, being played from a range of 12 year olds to 40 year olds. Aspects of the game appeals to pretty much everybody ranging from building your own home to getting abducted by aliens. Sims 1 was available for PC and PS2, making it rocket into the charts for gaming and also creating a massive sense of excitement for the release of Sims 2. I can honestly say that EA did not fail at creating another timeless classic.
Some basic computer stats
OS - Must be Windows and above 98
Processor - 800MHz
Memory - 256 MB RAM
Hard Drive - 3.5GB
Taking a look at those, you don't really need a computer stolen from NASA to run this game however that 3.5 GB of space needed to install is pretty big even nowadays.
If you were wondering, The Sims 2 is a great sequel and a great game in its own right, and I would give it to anybody to play. For the fans that have enjoyed the first game's open ended gameplay (which was all about controlling the lives of your own computer people that you got to make from scratch) It may feel that the game has become too generic and lacks the fun included in the first sims. But considering that The Sims 2 is the sequel to what is reportedly the most successful computer game ever (and that's not even counting its many expansion packs), the new game almost seems like a victim of its own success. Yeah it does introduce plenty of new features that makes the gameplay that was so popular in the original game, but it doesn't really change anything significantly to make it a brand new game. It also features plenty of options to play with, but it seems like it could've used even more content. Then again, you could simply say that EA and Maxis are making sure the game has room to grow with future updates and there's no denying that The Sims 2's additions will give dedicated fans of the series plenty of stuff to do.
I think it's sort of annoying that they decided to make so many expansions for this game rather than just including it in the orginal game. Yeah some things may not have been developed yet, But I don't believe that those expansion packs were only thought of after the game was relased. Typical EA being money hungry I guess..
I found the house building pretty easy in this game (aside from spending hours trying to work out how to actually put a roof on the house) and the open ended depth of the sim's life was great. I loved being able to start off with a sim from scratch and being able to make them the person that I wanted them to be as well as having the house that I wanted. It was pretty satisfying getting a job and saving up for a new house I must say.
Appart from the conflict with Sims 1 fans, this game is a great addition to my collection of PC games (as well as the expansion packs). Although I feel sort of robbed with the expansions, I still bought them (yes I have them all)
EA has never really been known for it's flawless customer support or money saving deals, making it sort of questionable why they are adding so much to Sims 2 after it's been released and then still charge full price. Personally I think that expansion packs should be less than half the price of the full game because afterall, it only adds a few limited items that you can live without.
Now it's been a while since I played good ole' Sims 2 but I decided to dig it out again and give it a go (what's summer for anyway?)
Some basics for you computer users:
You need a windows OS pretty much anything 98 and above. That actually shocked me, I thought it would have been at least 2000... anyway.
1.0 GHZ Processor Minimum
256MB RAM (that's really not much)
1.5 GB Hard Drive memory
32MB T&L Graphics card
DirectX 9.0 Soundcard
Your basic keyboard and mouse.
Looking at those stat's you'll be hard pressed to find a modern computer that lacks the capacity to play this game. Keep in mind, you have to own the full sims 2 game to play this!
What this expansion adds is a set of new features and items aimed at the Nightlife theme. This ranges from a DJ booth to owning your own cars. Many of these items seem to just be better versions of items already in the game, so they're not really nescessary. There's a newly added Pleasure Life Aspiration meter to spice the aspiration desires up a little, but once again nothing too special. I guess it just adds a little more depth into the life of your sim, rather than them just constantly wanting to get better at chess or something. The new attraction system and dating meter adds more depth to the relationship side of your sims life. It makes it a little more challenging than just constantly clicking "flirt" or "chat" on a sim and eventually being able to marry them (wish it was really that easy).
With the new added cars and pleasure life aspiration you can now take your sim out to clubs and resturants making it easier to get closer to dates and relations. This is good fun, but I just found it was an expensive alternative to just throwing a party at your own house.
Overall I think this expansion is just a little too small and insignificant to pay full price for. If I could go back to my 16 year old self and tell them not to buy it, I probably would! I think that only the die-hard sims fans would really feel comfortable with paying the full price for this relatively small expansion.
When I was younger I always loved tactics and just generally kicking ass in video games (or trying to) I got this game for free with a graphics card when I got my first computer (I think I was about 9 or 10?) and I can still remember my first play... man I was awful! When I was young this game was just bad-ass and was great fuel for my imagination back then. For parents, there is nothing really in this game that is in any way a bad influence or going to bring up your child wrong. If anything, it made me think faster, cleared and helped to improve my general intelligence (I think). For those people who think games are just robotic and a waste of time, I invite you to give this a go. I guess there was things that would have been better for my development however, what's a 9 year old going to do? Play a game that they enjoy in their free time, or sit down and learn their times tables?
What inspired my to play this again was when I was at my mates last weekend and saw this in his games cabnet and the memories just flooded back. We played online together the next day, (needless to say I was awful and couldn't remember what to do) and let's say I lost my edge! Anyway, after an hour or two it all came back and I was sucked back into that time consuming game. This game is a monster with a big hunger for free time!
The main aim of the game is to start with a number of citizens/peasants, and use them to get resources. From there you can build buildings and from there you can build an army. You can use that army to go to the enemy base and then stop them from getting resources (By killing their citizens). You could think of the whole thing mathmatically, you need to do more damage with your army than it cost you to create it. It's a pretty standard tactic when it comes to rts games however this one executes it beautifully.
The depth of the units and buildings is huge, with each unit playing a valuable part in the game. The game I got came with a chart showing what counters what and uses for each unit. From what I can see the creators were trying to make a game where there was no one unit that could just walk over the map and wreck everything, but that thought and consideration had to be put into each move. Every unit has a weakness and every unit has a strength. Never before have I saw a player just making one unit and actually winning. (unlike some other RTS games I've played)
From what I can see, this old game is still miles above the modern RTS games that just lack the thought and balance that this has. From the Prehistoric age to the Nano age, you'll be having a blast playing this game. With an incredibly challenging campaign to the endless random map game mode you'll be saying goodbye to your free time. The best thing is that pretty much any computer can run this too! The stat requirements are pretty basic as it was made back in 2003.
The only flaw I see in the game is that the AI for the enemies is just rediculously good... when I was younger the only way I could win was if I gave myself a friendly NPC to help me out. Perhaps I just need more practice! If you're reading this as a serious gamer then I would say this game is pretty much flawless when it comes to multiplayer and provides an excellent competitive opportunity. I've heard of people playing for money in this game, although I'm nowhere near good enough to do that (yet).
Oh yeah one thing, If you want to play online Sierra no longer have servers for this game. You need to use a program like Hamachi or Game Ranger to play with your friends (good job it's free).
Metallica are that band that almost everybody knows. They formed in '81 and in a way have become the face of metal in America. I'm kind of annoyed about this for a number of reasons, for a band that started American Metal off so well, they've just fallen on their faces and people just keep expecting them to put out oldschool thrash. Well, what happened? What has happened to the "timeless" monsters of metal?
This song opens up and sounds absolutley nothing like Metallica. If you played this to somebody who grew up in the 80's they wouldn't have a clue what band it was. The opens with one riff that is played abuot 100 times in this song (I'm serious that's not exagerating). Lars comes in with his new snare sound that just alienated all Metallica fans. They've clearly just looked at what is making it in the mainstream metal business and said, "let's do that". It's a shame really.. I must say it's nice to see many fans still supporting them and kind of turning a blind eye to this album. It may have the odd good bit, but it ain't Metallica. James's voice has lost the edge it used to have thanks to his "helpful singing lessons". His voice was perfect! Now he's gone and ruined it. Anyway. First time I listened to this I was listening out for some of Kirk's solos but it just didn't come! No solo? Really? James also sounds like a chicken at the last chorus his voice goes so high...
Another drop tuned riff that get's repeated about 10,000 times in the song. Lars comes in with those annoying pounding drums. I kind of feel sorry for Robb (their new bassist) He's a really good bassist and suits the old Metallica style and unfortunately often gets blamed for the changing style of music. People don't realise, it was actually Bob Rock that wrote and recorded the bass for this album. James includes a ton of swearing in this song which is just not needed really. Ok the music I listen to has it's fair share of swearing, but Metallica have always sort of stayed away from that which is kind of admirable. Anyway this song is pretty generic. No solos either. I guess some parts are OK and listenable but you just have to forget that it's Metallica you're listening to.
Some Kind of Monster
This song opens with another riff that you know will just be repeated over and over. It's probably the best riff on the album mind you and I would say this song is one of the best. Now I guess I have given this album quite a lot of flak, but I guess I could take those comments back if I was only listening to this in the background and forgetting that it wasn't the Metallica that I grew up with. I was pretty annoyed to see that Metallica seem to have gained the lower string disease where they make riffs using almost only the bottom string (which is drop tuned to B I think?) As for the lyrics, they're pretty awful and just make no sense at all. They talk about being the god that is not pure, then suddenly starts saying "Are we the people?", then jumps to "some kind of monsterrrrr!". It makes no sense?
The intro of this album sounds like some kid is bashing on a tin can. The riff also sounds really like Some Kind of Monster. This is probably the thrashiest song on the whole album, and would have potential if that snare was turned down.
I'm trying to listen to it to write this review and honestly all I can hear is the snare. I can't even make out they lyrics?!
After that painfull first set of verses and awful lyrics they break down to a generic acoustic style verse with more awful lyrics that were chosen for no reason but to rhyme. After this features some of the worst vocals on the entire album. They just don't seem to know how to harmonies vocals at all, and there's a random laugh in the middle of it that makes no sense.... This has got to be one of the worst songs on the album and that's saying something.
More extremely bad editing here... everything has been so processed it sounds sounds like a mess of Bass and that annoying snare. You have no idea how difficult it is to actually make out what's happening with that snare ringing through the entire thing. I wonder if lars listened to Chris Adler or something and liked his snappy snare so decided to copy it (badly). This snare could work if they just turned it down! Please! The lyrics are awful in this song again, riffs are used over and over and consist of pretty much nothing but the bottom string. Actually it just occured to me this sounds kind of like a Slipknot song? But worse.
Another intro pretty much identical to the rest on the album. One or two of these would be ok but... you get the picture. We're STILL missing guitar solo's from this album and sorry to break it, but that's not going to change. I can't quite work out what this song is about (once again) But it seems to be able people getting into his head? Dancing devils and angels way? What does that mean?! More pointless swearing trying to sound "big" and "badass" rather than just a good thrash band (like they used to be). The end of the song ends with more catchy phrases that makes no sense with the rest of the song or album. I don't get how "it feels like it only rains on me" fits in with the theme of people being in his head. And with random a "sucker!!" in the middle of it... it's just comical. The last words of this song sums up the album. "enough is enough (x100)"
Shoot me Again
Hmm.. this is what I'm thinking right now having to listen to this. Anyway the introduction of this song is just like the other ones. Drop tuned riffs with annoying drums pounding in the background. How did Kirk agree to this anyway? He's basically given up his entire job in the band for this album. The vocal harmonies are pretty good in the first verse and show potential, until it goes back to an annoying riff again... The bridge leading up to the chorus is unbearable! It's just James screaming "shoot me again shoot me again!" to an annoying riff. The chorus itself is alright I guess. Right now I just want to give up on this review but I guess I'll have to keep going... This is just not my style of Metal.
Probably the best song on the album! The riff in this one is actually remotely Metallica. It's pretty difficult to listen to a band that I grew up with play this... music... but I guess some parts are acceptable. The lyrics are once again just rubbish and consists of catch phrases that do not tie together at all. "wash your back so you don't stab mine". Really? Sounds like something my first band would write. And we were 12!
The Unnamed feeling
That intoductory riff sounds like something KoRn would write... Kind of funny this groundbreaking thrash band is now sounding like Nu Metal. This slow to start song is pretty much just like the rest. Consists of 3 riffs that are used over and over again in the song. And they're all written on the bottom string of course... Where is the lead dudes! This is so disappointing. James sounds like a country singer or something in this song, not the legendary metal singer that I grew up listening to! One listen to Master of Puppets after listening to this is heartbreaking. Around 5:55 I actually thought we were getting a solo! But nope... just back to a generic riff and a generic variation of the chorus to top this song off.
Just after I thought these guys had exhausted every single riff they could use in these introductions they pull another one out from the darkest reaches of their songwriting capabilities. More rediculously annoying drums and awful lyrics. You have to listen to the chorus (if you could call it that) just to get an idea of how bad it is. Thankfully we're approaching the end of the album much to my relief. Of course lars is pounding on with that 4/4 beat that seems to be the only thing he's capable of.
All Within My Hands
This song kind of sums up the entire album. It starts with the drums JUST doing that 4/4 beat on that annoying snare. Ahhhhh!! I don't know what they were thinking. The song starts off with more drop tuned riffs. I can almost picture Kirk just sitting in a corner somewhere bored out of his head whilst James and Lars try to satisfy their egotistical motives and the desire to make more money. You would make money if you just made a new thrash album guys! There's nothing special about the entire middle of this song (or the intro) however, the ending is just the straw the breaks the donkeys back. It consists of about 2 minutes or James just saying "Kill kill kill kill kill!! Killllll kill kill" I just kind of sat in amazement at how awful this was! It's completely out of time too! The only thing that makes the kill kill kill worst is that there's that fricking 4/4 beat behind it. Ahhh! This album makes me want to kill my collection of Metallica CD's.
To sum this album up... well... it's different... very different... and in my eyes it's just awful. Boring riffs, lyrics that make no sense. The most annoying snare in the history of music. Awful vocal harmonies and just an atempt at becoming mainstream that fell flat on it's face. Sorry Metallica, I really don't like this. The only slightly saving grace is that the band has started to get heavier in comparison to Load and Re-Load but they're not out of the fire yet.
Iron Maiden have always been one of my favorite bands. I've pretty much grown up listening to them and i've seen them live more than a couple of times! They're just one of those bands that never gets old. They have the perfect blend of beauty, riffs, catchy chorus's and just pure 80's style metal. Many like to compare Maiden to Judas Priest but personally I don't think they come anywhere close.
This album takes a slightly more modern twist in comparison to Maidens older albums and even has the addition of keyboard (it was the 90's afterall). It's kind of the bridge between their older 80's classics and their modern albums.
Starting with Bruce's amazing voice accompanied by fairly minimalistic acoustic backing, you just know this album is going to be pretty epic. The synth intro is breathtaking and those chords behind it just add drive and power to the introduction. This song is a great opener to the album and is one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs of all time. The verses are fairly quick paced with brutal basslines from the one and only Steve Harris (He gave me a hi5 when I saw them live in Dublin!) The guitar is strong as ever however at this stage Maiden still only had 2 guitarists in comparison to the 3 that they have now. There's a pretty awesome solo section here too, I always like how Maiden share the glory between all members rather than just having a good singer/drummer like a lot of bands do.
This introduction is very modern Maiden! This technique of having the bass play a slightly acoustic line with guitar harmonies over the top became popular with the fans and has been used over and over. If you listen to the guitar and bass in detail during the verses it wouldn't be out of place in the likes of a Chilli Peppers album. Didn't see that coming did you? Songs like this make it difficult to call Maiden metal sometimes, they're just their own epic genre.
Can I Play With Madness
One of their best known songs here, catchy, fast and got those trademark bass lines that helped make Maiden famous. Bruce's excellent vocals make it easy for anybody to listen to. I enjoy the cowbell on the drum kit the whole way through this song, it's the little things that help make songs unique and stand out.
If you're reading this and you're not a metal fan, maybe this album could persuade you otherwise?
The Evil That Men Do
Once again we have a bass introduction featuring harmonies from both guitars. I just love this song.... Something about Bruces singing in this song is just mesmerising and strangely beautiful. More excellent song writing from Steve Harris. I'm not sure if i'm just being overly dramatic about my music (as music is a huge part of my life) but the lines "don't you cry for me, I will pray for you" are just touching and beautiful. Something about this album touches me in a way no other album has been able to. The song also has a good message, criticising the bad things that men are doing on the earth so parents, this album is suitable for your children (I grew up on this stuff and I turned out fine!)
Seventh Son Of a Seventh Song
Coming in at a whopping 9:54 we have the longest song on the album. This song is kind of a step back in time to the Powerslave era with catchy melodies over the bass lines. The drums are more typical maiden style, but so essential to the feel of the song. The chorus has breathtaking vocals again, this is Bruce in his prime! All the high notes come with ease and he sounds like he was lifted straight from an opera choir.
The song keeps the listeners interest by dipping down to a slower paced lighter section before escalating again into full blown chorus's and vocals.
Very synth orientated opening with more guitar harmonies. These harmonies have inspired so many modern metal bands, from Metallica to Lamb of God almost every band can trace it's roots back to Iron Maiden. Another interesting and catchy chorus with lyrics fitting in with the theme of the album. (a son that has got special powers of healing etc). Iron Maiden do tend to write their songs around legends, myths, bible verses and historical events which I find interesting. It's a lot better than those stupid modern metal bands that just write about hurting people and being tough guys (when they're not). Take a look back in time guys, it's Iron Maiden that know how to write lyrics.
Epic bass line in this song! It made me want to buy a bass. The introduction escalates into more catchy verses teeming with emotion. I can remember listening to this in the car when I was a kid, and listening to it now in detail is bringing all those memories back!
Only the Good Die Young
For some odd reason people think this is a Queen cover. Really guys?... Same name but nowhere near the same song. Out of the entire album this song would be the one I listen to least, it's still good don't get me wrong! There's just nothing really unique about it like with the other ones. The song closes the album with the same acoustic intro we heard in the begining of Moonchild.
Ok, I was just after getting a really good guitar for my 15th birthday (I think it was) but I was still stuck with an awful korean cheap amp that was so bad it just didn't exist on the internet. When I was trying to sell it people were like, "send me a like to it" and the link just didn't exist... Anyway.
For reviewing this amplifier I'll go through a set of basic setting and comment on the output based on a playthrough of a couple of songs. First I'm going to run through some basic features of the amplifier.
The amp has a black hard casing that feels to be made out of some form of hardened wood with a black textured paint finish. The corners of the amplifier are complete with plasic buffers which are really useful if you're going to be carrying the amp around a lot like I am... Althought I havn't had any issues with it, metal corners on the amp would feel of higher quality but that's just me being picky.
The interface is made out the typical marshal gold plate with is textured to have streaks. This interface just adds quality to the amp and adds a little class. It's the little things!
To change channels there are buttons and also a footpedal that came with the backage I purchased. The inputs and ouputs consist of:
On the front
Emulated Line out and Headphones
On the Back
Loudspeaker (don't touch this one when it's on. Trust me....)
TESTING WITH AMERICAN STRATOCASTER WITH SEYMOUR DUNCAN HOT RAILS
For this test I've gone for a pretty generical setting:
To select this setting I was able to do it manually on the actual amplifier by using the buttons or else by using the footswitch provided in the package. This channel really brought out the colour of my guitar and i've used it more than enough times in recordings. It works great with a slight bit of chorus added and played on a single coil pickup. Really nice and crisp. The tone does get a little muddy however when played at large volumes, making me think that this amp is intended for in studio recordings rather than large gigs. Chances are however that is you're playing large gigs, you'll be playing with a bigger and better amp. This is a middle class amplifier afterall. If this setting isn't quite to your taste and you fancy a little more bass or a little less treble then this amp plays exactly what you tell it to. It's sort of a jack of all trades and great for middle level guitarits. If you're sitting with thousands of pounds to spare I guess you'll be getting amps that are specific to the tone you're looking for.
This tone is sort of an area that I don't use, so forgive me if I use settings that arn't popular....
No reverb or effects for this one
As I said above, I don't really use this setting much however I ran through a couple of Hendrix songs and gave it a try out. First impressions of this tone are good! It gives enough sustain to allow for quick soloing and also has enough body to keep a thick rhythm guitar going. It worked surpisingly well with the double coil pickups on my guitar and even better with the single coils! That middle/bridge setting on my strat sounded fantastic. Once again, the tone did get a little muddy when I cranked it up (when my family was out of course). I think that if you were going to make use of this setting live you would need to do some micing of the amp to a PA and keep it at low volumes. I think that's the best way to do it!
This is my home ground, I'll be able to provide a lot of information here!
Recently I've started making Djent style instrumental pieces and I was sceptical towards my little amp wondering if It could handle those low tunings but it does! I must say this sounds fantastic in recordings and I don't use any form of post processing because the tone is just awesome before hand. I'm able to tweak the settings for different styles whenever required and I can get pretty much any tone I want to with minimal effort. OK you're not going to get EXACTLY the tone of your favorite artist because afterall they are playing mostly on their own signiture amplifiers that are designed to play exactly in their style. You have to give it a little bit of credit though, for the price of this amp it more than gives out it's moneys worth. This distorted settings is great and gives me the perfect metal tone.
The effects built into this amplifier are delay, chorus, chorus/delay, flanger. One criticism of the effects is the fact that the amplifier seems to get louder based on the intensity of the effect. Why shouldn't I be able to keep the amp at the same volume after adding some delay? It's a little bit annoying. Another thing is I wish I was able to turn the reverb off by using the footpedal but unfortunately I have to do it manually.
As always Marshall have created a fabulously made product with high quality knobs and finishings. The accessories are more than what you expect from a basic amplifier and the CD in option allows me to use it as a sub-woofer for my computer giving a great surround sound system. Kind of funny my guitar amp sounds better than the proper surround system I own? Shows how good the speaker inside it.
With some slight adjustments on this amp I would give it a 5 stars. I just don't like how it gets slightly muddy at loud volumes and also the volume level changes when adding effects.