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Smitty83

Smitty83
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Member since: 08.01.2008

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    • More +
      06.02.2008 00:39
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      Brilliant metal masterpiece.

      In Flames are the only band as of yet, who have perfectly managed to combine melodic death metal, with brilliant lyrics and a great voice, with insane technical abilty, whilst still writing beautiful, well written masterpieces! Come Clarity, is a perfect example of what this band is capable of producing.

      From the title track's peaceful introduction, to the speed and emotion of "Take This Life", this album delivers quality in every aspect, from start to finish.
      Sound:
      This album have been produced and engineered very well indeed. Where a lot of metal bands sacfrifice quality to try and get their 'sound', In Flames on Come Clarity have a flawless production, giving unbeatable sound quality worthy of eradicating the outsider's view of metal as just 'noise'.

      Variation:
      Many albums have a very similar sound to all the tracks, and it can seem as if you are listening to one very long, tedious song. Not so with Come Clarity. Every song has a unique feel to it, both in general sound as some tracks are much heavier than others, and in emotion, as they manage to capture feelings inside you you dodn't realise metal could trigger!
      Favourite track: Take This Life
      If you are not planning on buying this album, I urge to at least go and download that single song!

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      • Casio FX 83 ES / Gadget / 6 Readings / 3 Ratings
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        06.02.2008 00:36
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        Awesome gadget

        Whether you're doing maths SAT's or sitting an exam in advanced quantum mechanics, you'll need a calulator that does the job.

        The FX83ES is a really useful scientific calculator, and I'm glad I managed to get my hands on one! It's fairly inexpensive, very easy to use and the natural display helps lay things out well.

        LOOK:
        This calculator looks just how a scientific calculator should; sleek and well designed, but with enough funny symbols to make einstein ponder. The natural display is great. You can display fractions and roots, even frequency tables easily on the screen.

        EASE OF USE:
        It took me about 15 minutes to master this calculator, so I'd say it's pretty easy to use! The manual is easy to follow as well.
        It has a fantastic stats mode; you can see frequency tables layed out on the screen, and at the press of two quick buttons you can get standard deviation, root-mean-squared deviation, and any expression from within the formulae!
        All the simple functions are easy to find and use aswell, so it doesn't have to be used for fancy equations.

        PRICE:
        Well according to this site you can get one for £4.50, so for this calculator that's fantastic value!
        Overall, a great little calculator for anything from SAT's through to A levels and even university.

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        • More +
          10.01.2008 19:52
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          Brutal, heavy, technically fantastic, and live!

          Wow!
          "Live Cannibalism" is an amazingly powerful live album, by the gods of death metal themselves, and you get just what you'd expect; a truely brutal performance, insanely accurate technical guitar playing and blast beats on drums, and George Fisher's unique low growl.
          For a live performance, the quality is good as well, no unwanted sound distortion, just the right level of audio mix between the band and the crowds noise, and everything cuts through cleanly so it doesn't just sound like noise.
          For lovers of death metal, this is definately a must have. Not only do you get a selection of some of the bands best songs, from "Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead" to "Hammer Smashed Face", but you get to see just how talented these guys are live.


          SONG BREAKDOWN

          1. Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
          Very heavy song, slower than some, but with the trademark blast beat drums, and meaty, technical riffs. A shredding solo near the end of the song and a final scream from Fisher finish it off.

          2. Blowtorch Slaughter
          A much faster, very heavy song with brutal lyrics. A bridge of speed picking and slow pounding lyrics breaks the song up, before a shredding solo from both guitarists, and a fast end to the song.

          3. Stripped, Raped and Strangled.
          The intro builds up into the verse which is fairly slow as far as Cannibal Corpse go. A mix of heavy riffs and blast beats take this song through a short breakdown and finally to the sudden end.

          4. I Cum Blood
          "This next song, is about shooting blood out of your cock!"
          Another Cannibal-Corpse-esque brutal, vulgar track, with meaty riffs, blast-beat drums and lyrics worthy of their own censoring office.

          5. Covered With Sores
          Melodic (In the death metal sense) riffs and pounding drums make this song a winner. Vulgar lyircs, yet again, as what else can you expect from the kings of death themselves?

          6. Fucked With A Knife
          A song for the ladies.
          The track immediately starts with an insane riff and fast blast drums. it's very fast all the way through, and quite a short song, but still one of my favourites.

          7. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
          A slow, meaty start leads to some quick speed-picking and a heavy verse. Some quite slow, stomping sections, and some very fast lyrics form a contrast in this song which makes it one of the more interesting tracks.

          8. Dead Human Collection
          Another very fast song, with very metal riffs that don't give you a break 'till the very end of the song.

          9. Gallery of Suicide
          A harmonious intro (or as harmonious as they get, at least!) leads to a fairly slow, heavy song, with the fast blast sections to create contrast. A short but insane solo near the end makes a nice touch to finish the song.

          10. Meat Hook Sodomy
          Very fast drums accompany very technical riffs which can be counted as shredding in themselves. Short slow sections provide contrast and break the song up. A short breakdown near the end creates tension in the song that explodes back into the quick ending to the song.

          11. Perverse Suffering
          Another fast track that's not for the faint hearted, another incredible show of just how fast human feet can move, and more face melting riffs with pinched harmonics enough to make you cry.

          12. The Spine Splitter
          "He'll break your f***ing back... The spine splitter!"
          Heavy and brutal, as you might expect by now. Some excellent guitar work in the middle of the song, very fast scales played by both guitars in harmony.

          13. Gutted
          Literally.
          Relentless blast beats pound through this song, with challenging riffs and fantastically horrible lyrics.

          14. I Will Kill You
          I always remember this track, as a German guy went onto their version of The X-Factor, and sang/screamed this to the judges. They were not too impressed; evidently it has a limited audience.
          Catchy guitar lines, and pressing blast drums make this a great song.

          15. Devoured By Vermin
          The first song from the vile album, this song is immensely heavy, unbelieveably fast, with complicated riffs, with yet another great shredded solo. This track demonstrates well the range of Fisher's vocals.

          16. Disposal Of The Body
          Shredding and tapping make up the extremely technical riffs in this song. Another insane solo, and a long drawn out ending.

          17. A Skull Full Of Maggots
          A fast, lone guitar introduces this song, followed by trademark blast beats and heavy riffs.
          There's a certain riff in this song near the start, that has an incredibly evil feel to it.

          18. Hammer Smashed Face
          The last track, and one to listen for. A fast track with a short catchy breakdown followed by some insane harmonics. A nice end to the album.

          Highlights of the album IMO?
          "I Cum Blood" and "Fucked With A Knife" are really something on this, but really, if you're a fan of Cannibal Corpse then the whole album is a highlight! Unfortunately it doesn't have my favourite Cannibal Corpse track but never mind, if you like 'em, go out and find "Pounded Into Dust".

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          • More +
            10.01.2008 18:43
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            Love it!

            On October 29th, 2007, an artifact of monumental stature was released into the realms of the public ears...
            This is Multi Purpose Chemical's debut album and oh boy, is it good!

            This alt/metal band from Liverpool have been slowly but surely building up a huge fan base all over the UK for the past few years, and after the fantastic and successful Cult EP was released in 2005, the fans have finally got their wish of a full length album, which has been brought to grace our stereos under the name "...And 4 more Ways To Fight".

            It's hard to describe exactly what genre MPC play, because it is frankly nothing quite like anything you may have heard before!
            They mix the heart-pounding power of any self-respecting metal band, with a satirical, comical twist similar to that which Serj Tankian brings to System of a Down, with the light-heartedness of an average Irish folk band, and the stage presence of a heavyed-up Led Zeppelin with more energy!

            The album opens with an incredibly catchy harmonic riff at the beginning of "Apostasy", a brutal, yet meaningful, and somewhat balanced beginning to the MPC adventure.
            It then continues though, chucking out old favourites, such as "Human" and "Cult", alongside new favourites such as "Quick Fix" and "Food For Worm", and previously-unheard tracks, like "Jimmy Maypole" and "Tender Folk Song".
            They even managed to bring back a brand new recording of "Packaged Rebellion", which hasn't been heard since the demo was taken off their website back in 2004.
            It could just be me, but the atmosphere changes slightly in "Requiard"; an epic song with poetic lyrics that just make you think, but it's everything but a negative input to the experience.
            The album is topped off by an unexpected recording of "Out With The Control", which many will realise is actually a reggae version of the song Human, complete with Andres' fantastic attempt at a Jamaican accent!

            The album was somewhat late being released, due to a number of issues, including changes to the line-up of the band.
            The original line-up (at least, from when there was a full band) consisted of Andres Lefevre on Vocals, Rob Hoey on Guitar, Jim Wilson on Bass, and Ross McFarlane on drums.
            This is in fact the line-up which recorded the album, but shortly after, drummer Ross McFarlane decided to leave the band, to persue his family and career. He was replaced by the incredible Mel "Diablo" Stewart.
            Since the departure of Ross, MPC have also lost Guitarist Rob Hoey, for different reasons. Still, eventually the album was released.


            Track Listing:
            1. Apostasy
            2. Human
            3. Myth of I
            4. Cult
            5. Quick Fix
            6. Food For Worm
            7. Jimmy Maypole
            8. Requiard
            9. Packaged Rebellion
            10. Tender Folk Song
            11. Out With The Control


            BREAKDOWN OF EACH TRACK:

            1. Apostasy (2:27)
            A fantastic song with a very catchy riff at the introduction and chorus. Fairly short, but it makes it just that bit more effective.
            "Forces of destruction march on our heels,
            after life changes hands in these corporate deals,
            we shoot you down in the street,
            but we kill in the name of peace!"

            2. Human (3:01)
            Again, this is a very catchy song. A strong beat and pounding riffs make this one of the old favourites amongst fans. This song was released as a single download recently. The song's meaning is basically about being human; free will, not conforming to the system etc.

            3. Myth Of I (2:34)
            A slightly different song, with lyrics to be deemed somewhat confusing on first hearing (or second, thrid etc. come to that...).
            "I is not who you are, you've been We right from the start"
            Very fast moving song, slightly slower bridge section.

            4. Cult (3:26)
            Another old favourite, this was the title track of the EP released a couple of years ago. Cult is a fast, heavy song about the bands' stance on religion, specifically 'all the gods in the sky', with the first line being;
            "Xwa, Ala, Dio, Dios, Muslim Christian Jew, Buddha Buddha Buddha Buddha Tells me what to do!"
            And the last being;
            "There is no god... higher than the truth!"

            5. Quick Fix (4:06)
            This song does exactly what it says on the tin! "I want a quick fix, a number one hit."
            I could be wrong, but I see this song as a kind of backwards view of capitalism.
            Very heavy chorus, and a strong, slow beat in the verse. The twist comes with the bridge; a soft bass melody, windchimes, and Andres singing in falsetto!

            6. Food For Worm (2:59)
            "This is a song about the little guy that lives at the bottom of the bottle".
            A brilliant, almost funky track that many have deemed their favourite. A comical beat introduces a meaty riff, that mutes down for the verse, before building back into a heavy chorus. A short breakdown with Ross' trademark drum fills, and a soft verse near the end make this track what it is; fantastic!

            7. Jimmy Maypole (2:42)
            Another song that captures the comedy side of what MPC do. In fact, it's not so much comedy, just light-heartedness, that you don't find in other metal bands.
            "Tiny Jimmy Jamma Momma Jamma Jimmy Jamma Jam!" Try saying that quickly! Another heavy song with a strong beat, about a guy with tiny little hobbit hands.

            8. Requiard (3:15)
            This is the one that makes you think a bit more; as I mentioned earlier it's an epic song, and to a slightly different style to the rest of the album. I can't really describe much about this song, I guess it's one of those ones you have to hear.

            9. Packaged Rebellion (3:10)
            A very old track, brought back for the album. A heavy song with catchy riffs and a cool breakdown, and all the characteristics of a typical MPC song. As the title suggests, it's a condescending view at the whole 'scene' music scene, if you get me? Black clothes, dog collars etc.

            10. Tender Folk Song (3:25)
            This song really is very amusing, and very MPC!
            An fantastic mix between metal and folk, this track starts out with a brilliantly catchy bass line, and hits from the guitar. Andres then cuts in with a vocal scat, then it proceeds into;
            "DA DA DA DA DA DA Tender! A-Folk Song!"
            A softer verse with the folk attributes follows, then into the "Round and round we go" bridge, which builds into the heavy second half of the song. There's something entirely fulfilling about someone screaming "Buggady Buggady Boo!".
            The song ends on the catchy bas line again, and fades out.

            11. Out With The Control (3:11)
            This is actually, as I mentioned earlier, the song Human, but played as a reggae song. No distortion to be found, just a simple drum beat, acoustic guitar, strong bass, and a brilliant Jamaican accent!



            I feel I should tell a bit about the best tracks on the album. Now I could be annoying and say thay're all as good as each other, but as they *are* all good, I shall give a light opinion.
            If I had to choose, my favourite tracks would be "Food For Worm", "Requiard" and "Packaged Rebellion".
            These three are, IMO, the most original tracks, and each have a certain feeling to them that you rarely get from listening to a metal band. The comical side of "Food For Worm", the intense atmosphere and lyircs of "Requiard" and the sheer power of "Packaged Rebellion" make them worthy of being called the 'best tracks'!


            In conclusion, as you can probably assume, I think this is a fantastic album, as do HMV, who automatically labelled it under "Essential Metal", and many press reviews.
            Perhaps another interesting point, is that the album got a fairly bad review from Kerrang. As unfair as this may seem to most, I personally consider it a compliment to the band, from a magazine who can give HIM 5K's for a live show!

            (Now this is my longest review! ^-^)

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            • Mission m70 series / Speaker / 24 Readings / 23 Ratings
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              10.01.2008 00:16
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              Brilliant!

              This review is for the Mission M74 speakers. I don't know whether this is the correct place or not, but it's the closest I could find!

              The Mission M74's are a pair of tall free-standing speakers designed for a sophisticated looking sound system. I'll go through this review systematically, looking at Sound Quality, Features, Price and Value, Durability, and finally a list of official Specifications.

              --------------------------------------------
              SOUND QUALITY
              I've been using these speakers for a few years now, and the sound quality is incredible. Wired simply (I'll come to this later) as I have it, these speakers deliver fantastic tone and clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum.

              The bass given out won't shake your walls, but then again these speakers are hardly designed for that kind of use. Bass frequencies are delivered at suitable levels, with immense clarity and no distortion whatsoever (although you might think you should expect this from an expensive pair of speakers, I've had experiences where low bass notes have caused a certain amount of rattling, which if you're a pedantic music lover like me, can cause great annoyance).

              High frequencies are not really a problem to consider; all speakers that produce a noise will have fairly good high-frequency performance. However, if you wish me to specify, the high frequency performance is good! I suppose a point to mention, for the sake of those readers who are not used to speakers of this kind, is that these speakers do not produce the horrible 'tinny' sound that can be painful to listen to, when the high-freq EQ is turned up. This I've found can be a problem with everything from large studio/computer speakers down to earphones.

              The all-important mid-frequencies are what's worth analysing when it comes to speakers. The M74's produce a beautiful, clean and clear sound throughout the freq spectrum. I myself have a very varied taste in music, so I guess I've given these speakers a good test over time.
              In classical music, the quality is most notable in the clarity of each instrument; if you listen you can pick out individual channels that may not be obvious on other speakers, many of which will turn an orchestral piece in a mass of resonant sound, where as much as it stays faithful to the piece of music, it just doesn't capture the imagination of the composer, of the atmosphere intended in the music.
              In rock music, unfortunately a lot of the sound quality depends on the actual mixing of the piece, however the speakers still make a difference. I would much prefer dig up a Led Zeppelin vinyl and play it through the M74's, than stick Black Dog on my iPod and click play. (That being said, I've recently re-wired my amplifier so I can play my iPod through these speakers...)
              In rap and hip-hop, although I rarely listen to them any more, I used to be a fan and chose again to listen through these speakers, because of the good bass response and clarity of each track, which is useful for fast moving songs.
              Even in death metal, my Cannibal Corpse CD's often find themselves playing through my sound system with the M74's, not through my computer which is much more convenient. Good stereo sound, great clarity, and a huge range of high performance frequencies make it an entirely different experience.

              --------------------------------------------
              FEATURES
              As these are just speakers, they are not meant to have many 'features' or changeable attributes, as these are provided by the source of the audio and the pre-amp.
              However, there are some things worth mentioning.

              First of all, in the instruction manual they give you some options of how to wire the speakers up to your sound system, which apparently can improve the quality of the sound even more. I won't go into the details, because I don't really understand them (!) but it involves doubling or tripling the wired circuits between the amplifier and the speaker.
              The wiring options are changeable, because on the back of each speaker theres four options for I/O wires.

              Secondly, the two 'added bits' that are both useful, are the floor spikes to attach to underneath; four very sharp spikes that screw onto the bottom of each speaker to hold them firmly in place. These can be adjusted individually as well, in case your floor isn't completely flat. Also there is a front grill to cover the speakers. Although in my opinion, they look much cooler without it, I still keep it on as it offers protection to the speakers.

              --------------------------------------------
              PRICE AND VALUE
              I can't remember for the life of me how much I bought these for, but I have reason to believe it was well into the hundreds, but you can get them now at high-street shops and online, for various prices between £50 and £100.
              I would say this is a fairly reasonable price, as they are fantastic speakers, and this style of product is rarely any cheaper if the product is of similar quality.

              --------------------------------------------
              DURABILITY
              The fact that these speakers have lasted me for years shows that they are well built units. They are built far beyond the high standard of quality that you should expect from every speaker made, (which unfortunately is not the case) placing them above many other products in my opinion.

              However, they are designed to be left alone, they are not the most durable things if they get knocked around or dropped, etc.

              I think I should also mention, that at a party I had them turned up fairly high; probably higher than they are intended to go, as I have a powerful amplifier; and I think I may have slightly damaged one of the speakers, as under normal circumstances they sound fine, but there's a certain frequency that comes up in some songs that sounds quite distorted.
              Still, it's lasted enough for me to justify saying that they are very durable!

              --------------------------------------------
              SPECIFICATIONS

              Key Features

              Speakers Function Main / Stereo
              Nominal Power 25 Watt RMS
              Construction 2-Way
              Cabling Cable

              Technical Features

              Peak Power Handling 150 Watt
              Frequency Reponse 44 Hz - 20000 kHz
              Sensitivity 91 dB
              Impedance 8 ohm
              Magnetic Shielding Magnetically Shielded
              Bi-amping With Bi-amping

              Components

              Woofer Material Polymer Composite
              Woofer Size 6.3"
              Tweeter Size 0.98"

              Design

              Outdoor/Indoor Indoor
              Mounting Floorstanding
              Terminal Binding Post
              Cabinet Finish Wooden
              Exterior Color Black * Brown

              Dimensions

              Width 7.87 in.
              Depth 12.8 in.
              Height 37.4 in.


              And here I come to the end of my >1100 word review! (I believe this is easily my longest review yet...)

              In conclusion, the Mission M74's are definately a pair of speakers I would recommend buying. They look great, they sound great, and they're no longer too expensive!

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              • Sony MDR XD200 / Headphones / 17 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                09.01.2008 20:03
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                Great headphones, reasonable price.

                I wouldn't normally think to write a review about something as trivial as a pair of headphones, however, I have a pair of these currently stuck to my ears and they're doing a fantastic job, so I figured there would be nothing better to do than to write about them.

                Sony MDR-XD200 Headphones.
                They're a favourite for Argos, I believe, probably because they are not too expensive, look good, sound great, they're from a well-known brand, and, well, given the oppurtunity wouldn't you choose huge DJ headphones over little white iPod earphones? I would.


                PRICE
                For a good pair of headphones, these are not particularly expensive at all. I got mine for around £14 I think, from Argos. They can be bought from some internet and high street shops for anything between a tenner and £20.
                As comparison, I have had previous headphones of similar style that have either been much more expensive, or worse quality, so these are a good buy, IMO.


                QUALITY OF SOUND
                Fantastic!
                I used to have a pair of big headphones, in fact I used them for about 10 years, and admittedly, even these headphones can't beat the quality I got out of them, but after they broke, I tried a lot of options and I ended up using these.

                There's a fantastic bass sound, so whether you listening to the pounding bass beat of a trance track, or listening for the fast double-kick in a Black Dahlia Murder song, you will simply never be disappointed! High frequencies are just as impressive, as are the all-important mid-frequencies that fill out the song.

                The clarity is brilliant, as well. They don't sound even remotely 'tinny' as some headphones can, nor does the bass cause the sound to seem muffled. Whatever you're listening to, you will be able to pick out every instrument with ease, and the fantastic stereo effect (and this isn't me being amazed by modern technology, this is me suggesting that the effect of 'stereo' can be significantly better in some devices than others) makes it seem as though the music truly is surrounding you. It's like having a home-cinema surround sound system strapped to your head.

                They also go very loud. If you're the kind of person who the scientists say will be deaf by the time they're forty (like me...) then these are for you!


                FEATURES
                They're only a pair of headphones, so there's not much to say in 'features' really, but still.
                The head-strap is extendable to quite a size, so whether you're deafening you new-born baby cousin, of trying to entertain your mildly amused pet elephant, these will do the job.
                The strap is also very comfortable; it has a kind of rubber in-strap inside the outer support which makes it more comfortable to wear.

                The whole thing does flex to an extent, but if you happen to have an awkwardly-shaped head, the actual ear pieces (whose padded covers make them fantastically soft by the way...) tilt a bit in both directions to suit everyone's needs.

                The cable is about 3m long, so there's plenty of length there for a really tall person to be able to have his iPod in his... shoe pocket.

                The headphones have two settings, 'music' and 'movies' which, as you might expect, slightly adjust the sound EQ and frequency-response to maximise performance for what type of audio you want.


                ANYTHING ELSE?
                Two questions that were asked of the last review in a comment, I feel are worthy of answering.

                How good are they at attenuating external noise?
                And,
                Do they leak sound out? Could you listen to them in bed next to a sleeping partner without disturbing them?

                External noise, obviously depends partly on how loud you have the audio. Naturally, if you're listening at full volume, you qon't be able to hear anything, including yourself thinking, and if you have it on so low you can barely hear, they're not mufflers so you will be able to hear external noise.
                However, compared to many, especially earphones which are ever-popular, they do cut out a good amount of external noise. If you want to listen at a reasonable level you're not going to be disturbed, that is, you don't have to deafen yourself to cut out the noise of a busy road.

                As for stopping sound leaking, they are very good. I always get complaints from family when they can hear my music through earphones, because there's nothing more annoying than the slight, high-pitches noise you get from someones very loud bad taste in music. These are very handy, as the huge padded ear-muff-type-things are great at keeping sound in.

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                • MG Series / DJ Equipment / 17 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                  08.01.2008 22:04
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                  Best in it's price range.

                  The Marshall MG 100HDFX... It's a giant stage amp, at normal person prices!
                  The first thing that struck me about this amp was it's price. It's almost the size of other large stacks, but a fraction of the price. I bought mine for £200 (head) and £189 (cabinet A). For it's price, you get a lot of amp, but as with everything in the equipment area, there's room for improvement.

                  APPEARANCE:
                  With this amp, you get the look of having a massive stack amp either just in your room, or on stage. Sometimes playing a gig it can be a bit embarrasing if everyone has big stack amps, and you just have a little practice combo amp. It looks just like a slightly smaller classic marshall stack, and that's what it is! Marshall's black and gold theme makes it look great as well.

                  POWER:
                  For it's price, you get a very powerful amp. It's a 100W head, and each of the cabs can take up to 120W. This is plenty loud enough for any occasion really, as you don't need it that loud for recording, band practises are stupid that loud, and live it normally gets a microphone stuck in front of it!
                  Sitting in front of it playing guitar, you can really feel it booming out at you.

                  SOUND:
                  *For it's price*, this amp has a great sound. With controls set right, it has a beautiful clean channel, a grinding crunch channel, an overdrive channel for rock, and a distortion channel for full on metal. You can get all sorts of styles out of this amp; you can turn the gain down on overdrive for a rich, full blues tone, you can turn the middle down on clean for a fat jazz guitar feel, or you can turn the contour up on distortion, for an insane Metal drive.
                  The amp does have a tube simulator, but it's not that effective.
                  Because it's not a tube amp, after playing for example a Krank or Framus amp, you start to notice how this marshall lacks in body. The distortion can seem flat, and can be hard to get a smooth lead, and the clean channel occasionally distorts when turned up.
                  However, this should not put you off this amp, as it still has a massively better sound than any other amp I've tried at that cost.

                  FEATURES:
                  The MG 100HDFX has four channels, clean, crunch, OD1 and OD2. Clean for soft acoustic-like tones, crunch for crisp rhythm guitar, OD1 for those who like a bit more distortion, and OD2 for those who like a LOT more distortion!
                  There are five effects available; Delay, Chorus, Flange, Delay & Chorus together, and a separate reverb knob. There is also a built in efects loop.
                  There's a separate 3-band EQ for clean/crunch and OD1/OD2, with a gain control on clean/crunch, and gain and contour control on OD1/OD2.
                  For the effects loop there is a wet/dry mixer knob, and on the back a switch for FX level from -10db to +4db.
                  There is an emulated line out/headphone socket, and a CD-In socket as well, and finally a master volume control.

                  There are two outputs for cabinets on the back, as well as a footswitch socket, and a fan to stop it all heating up too much!
                  Unfortunately, there was a dodgy batch made of these amps, and I got one of them. On the faulty ones, the fan at the back buzzes for about a minute when you switch the amp on, then slows down to a stop, then kicks in properly working.
                  However, this happens every time, and every time it works properly after a minute, so it doesn't affect performance.


                  Conclusion:
                  Great amp for the price, looks good, sounds good, is good!

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                  • More +
                    08.01.2008 22:01
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                    Douglas Adams, creative genius!

                    I remember when I first found this book; it belongs to my Dad, a present from his Mum, and he didn't want me reading it because I think I was only 5 and it had the word 'fuck' in it. But i found it on a shelf one day, and opened the front cover, and saw a note to my dad - "Dear Paul, may you never be bothered by Scrabsters!". From that point on I decided I liked this book!
                    I've never read it all the way through, but I've probably seen all of it by looking at random pages, and it's not the sort of book you read all the way through.
                    For anyone who has never heard of this book, it is basically a dictionary of words the Oxford English Dictionary forgot to mention...
                    Douglas Adams (Who you'll probably know as the creator of The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy) has taken hundreds of funny-sounding place names across the United Kingdom, and attached them to a meaning of something that doesn't yet have a word attached to it!

                    The writers, Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, start off the book by saying;
                    "In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
                    On the other hand, the world is litterered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
                    Our job, as wee see it, is to get these words dow off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society."

                    A few examples of the words 'acquired' by Adams and Lloyd are;
                    Aalst (n.)- One who changes his name to be further to the front.
                    Aboyne (vb.)- To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies are of any use to him.
                    Clixby (adj.)- Politely rude. Briskly vague. Firmly uninformative.
                    Fairymount (vb. n.)- Polite word for buggery.
                    Woking (vb.)- To enter the kitchen with the precise determination to perform something, only to forget what it is just before you do it.


                    I think this book must definately be classed as a classic. I know a lot of people who've said it's their Dad's favourite book, and they love it them selves, and it's that aspect of timeless comedy that makes Adams a brilliant comedian.
                    It's a fantastic idea for a book, and I think Douglas Adams is one of the few people who could really create a masterpiece of it.
                    One of the things I love about this book, is the fact that there is so much clean humour in it. A lot of modern comedy is badly written, and is only funny because it is outrageous or makes you squeam. Douglas Adams has that rare gift that is creating something intensely funny without being disgusting or using loads of swearing. (Ok, so the word 'fuck' is used once, but that's merely to describe a taxi driver's imagination)
                    In conclusion:
                    Amazing book. Well written, great idea, clean humour which is incredibly funny... it'll be a good few hours of your life worth spending!

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                      08.01.2008 21:59
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                      Wouldn't recommend when there's good free software available.

                      Apparently, "Norton AntiVirus from Symantec is the No. 1 anti-virus software in the world! It provides clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to proceed when a virus is detected, reducing fear and uncertainty".
                      I beg to differ!

                      I used Norton antivirus for about 5 months, before I could bear using it any longer! I'll be fair to it, I didn't get any viruses, but then again there are billions of antivirus programs that stop you from getting viruses, and you don't have to pay so much for them!
                      As there aren't many, I'll start with the good points:

                      Effectiveness:
                      In the time I used Norton, I didn't get any viruses, and it did a good job of blocking unwanted popups and trojans. However, it failed to recognise the blaster virus I already had...
                      Easy to find:
                      I can't imagine this being possible, but if you were completely lost and couldn't find any antivirus software, most shops stock it, so it's easy to find.

                      And now the bad points!
                      Speed:
                      Every time I turned on my computer, it took an average of 10 minutes before Norton was fully loaded. It came up with a little yellow blob in my system tray, with various flashing circles, and it didn't seem to fully functional untill (10 minutes later) it gave me the non-flashing green tick.
                      It also has an e-mail scanner. For about a week, I stopped using my email program because I thought it had stopped working, but it turned out Norton was just spending centuries scanning my emails.
                      The scan was terribly slow. If I asked it to scan my hard drive, I'd have to leave it over night and it'd still be going untill lunchtime the next day. The explorer scan command (Where you right click a file in explorer and ask it to check it for viruses) was even worse; it took about 5 minutes after clicking to actually show any sign of life in symantec-world.

                      Usability:
                      Here, I'm not talking about the usability of Norton, I'm talking about usability of the comuter you have Norton installed on. After installing Norton, every time I opened a program, it gave me a warning and asked me to click unblock, which often didn't work, so I had to go into the settings and tell it to unblock some programs. OK so it might be useful to be warned about programs, but why is it that other antivirus systems can do it without being so annoying?
                      Uninstalling:
                      Symantec's Norton is like a disease. It spreads through every part of your system and rtegistry it can making it impossible to uninstall. When I finally got sick of it, I tried to uninstall it. After going to control panel, and telling it to uninstall, it basically said "no". So I had to find the uninstall file in the program directory, which did work. I restarted my computer, and downloaded a new antivirus software. Installed it, and "Sorry, this software can't be installed as you already have an antivirus software running: Norton". Arrgh!
                      My dad and I spent the entire day trying to remove it, and eventually with a bit of luck and registry editing, we did it!
                      It's like having a stalker. Everytime I see an internet advert for Symantec I worry for a second that its come back..

                      I'm now using a free software called Avast which is working fine for me.
                      And that brings me to the end of this rant/review!
                      I'm sorry I sound so negative, and I accept that some people may have had good experiences with Symantec and Norton, but this was my personal experience, and I wasn't going to lie for the sake of a review!

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                        08.01.2008 21:56
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                        Easily the best purchase I've made in the last 16 years.

                        What can I say? I've had my Gibson Les Paul for years now, and it is easily the best guitar I've ever played! Not only is it beautiful, but it's incredibly nice to play. As for the price, well...
                        There's just too much to say about this guitar, so I'll do it in lots of stages.

                        APPEARANCE:
                        Incredible! When I first started playing guitar, I was looking for a beginners axe and I saw one of these on the wall. My jaw literally dropped! (No kidding, I didn't even think that happened in real life...!) Obviously I didn't buy it as my first guitar, I'm not that rich/stupid, but it was always the one I wanted and I eventually got it!
                        The shape of the Les Paul is legendary; every famous guitarist you can think of has had a picture taken with one probably. It's elegantly curved and looks just perfect, and it suits any need from metal to blues. The finish? Well there's all sorts of different finshes. I myself went for the "Desert Burst" which looks incredible, a kind of sandy brown that fades darker to the outside. Every time I go on holiday, I come back and think "My god I've got a nice guitar!".

                        'FEEL':
                        I've tried many guitars in my lifetime, and there really is no competition in this area. The only other guitar I've tried that has come close, is the Dean Vendetta, because I found it amazingly easy to do sweeps on, but it doesn't have anything like the versatility of the Les Paul, so this is the clear winner.
                        The Standard can come with two different types of neck, 50's rounded, or 60's slim taper. I chose the 60's neck, and it feels fantastic. The fretboard lets your fingers glide effortlessly up and down, and it's just the right width and depth for a comfortable hold.

                        TONE:
                        The tone, in my opinion, is a large factor that separates the Gibson Les Paul Standard from it's cheaper alternatives. In every style you can imagine, this guitar will pump out a full bodied, gorgeous tone from start to finish, even if you're strings are old and rusty. (Like mine at the moment...!)
                        I play in a Melodic Death Metal band, and a Punk band, and I record the occasional blues/jazz song on my computer, and I've never had a situation where I can't get the right tone out of my guitar!

                        RELIABILITY/DURABILITY:
                        I can't say that a guitar 'dying' or stopping working is a regular occurance, but it does happen, and has happened, to some of my previous guitars. However, as of yet, my Gibson has stayed as good as new since the day I bought it, and although I've tried my best to take care of it, it's had it's fair share of bumps and knocks. I can say though, that I've heard stories about Les Paul Standards from other owners, who bought them back in the 50's and 60's when they first came out, and alot of them have survived to this day, so I would say that they are a fairly reliable and durable guitar!

                        FEATURES:
                        The Les Paul Standard comes with two Burst-Bucker Pro pickups with Alnico V magnets, which sound great for factory pickups, and last a long time. It has a 3-way switch, to toggle between Bridge Pickup, Neck Pickup, or both, and separate volume and tone controls for each pickup.
                        It comes equipped with Gibson Brite wires, which are really nice, they sound crisp and clear, and they feel great, but in my experience they don't last for very long.
                        The back of the body is made from Carved AA Maple, and the front of the body Mahogany. The neck is also mahogany, and the fingerboard is rosewood.
                        The tune-o-matic bridge is easy to adjust, and can give you a 12th-fret action of as low as 1mm if you want!
                        Unfortunately it comes with some rather horrible pale green tuning keys, but these can be replaced for less than a fiver, so it's not a problem.
                        Oh, and it also comes with a gibson hardback case, polish and cloth, strap, and string winder, which together can come to around £150 if you buy them separately.


                        CONCLUSION:
                        I think I've said enough really! Every aspect of this guitar is brilliant, and you're never going to run the risk of someone looking at you at thinking "Hmm, my guitar's better than theirs"!!!
                        A final note, is the only downside to this guitar... the price!
                        When I bought mine, I got it for £1300 off the internet, but at the time most places sold them for £1800.
                        If you have the money, I would definitely recommend buying this guitar. If not, go down to your local guitar shop every day and just play it!
                        It will make you feel warm inside!

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