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John Robertson RSS Feed (Phoenix, AZ)

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Tyke Supply Dual LCD Monitor Stand desk clamp holds up to 24" lcd monitors
Tyke Supply Dual LCD Monitor Stand desk clamp holds up to 24" lcd monitors
Offered by ahamad lious's smart store
Price: $59.99
3 used & new from $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars? Oh yeah, August 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of those rare times where you realize that you have truly received a 5 star product.

The build quality of this stand supercedes what I've used at the workplaces I've consulted to, and I think others describe the robustness well -- almost overbuilt. What impressed me was:

* Ample spare washers and screws, should you need them, one set for flat backs, another with spacers for curved-back.
* The monitor mounting screws and washers will probably never show (as they mount to the back) but they are a pleasing bright silver, typically use for finishing.
* One of my used monitors had cross-threads on two VESA screw holes...I used one of the included screws to tap out the threads, thinking it was cheap aluminum that would be destroyed, but it worked just fine afterwards.
* you can widely adjust all three dimensions, plus assemble the base mount for a very thick desk lip (over 3" if needed).
* the stand is 95% assembled - all you do is attach the base with two M10 screws, and then screw on the monitors.

I ordered this from a Fulfulled-by-Amazon vendor, and included a Cisco book, so unpacking the stand was like opening a "matryoshka" nesting Russian box...4 successive boxes to open! The stand itself was packed in 3 boxes, and would survive even the most disgruntled Fedex driver.

I hesitate to say anything bad, but the stamped-out wrench included works, but is a little hard when tightening that last half turn, so I pulled out a (I believe 17mm) socket and torqued them up. But I don't expect a socket wrench to be included for, what for most people, would be a one-time adjustment.

Most of us tend to leave 5 star reviews if expectations are met, as anything less hits a vendor hard. But there are some items that really earn their 5 stars, and this is one of them.

Stanley 62-508 Multi-Bit Flexdriver
Stanley 62-508 Multi-Bit Flexdriver

5.0 out of 5 stars Please sell this again!, May 12, 2012
On consulting trips, we have a lot of 1/4" and 5/16" bolts that need tightening around pre-mounted brackets. A flex-screwdriver saves a lot of work. I have left some other reviews of Stanley tools -- Made in Thailand versions, most of which are no longer available, and they were surprisingly good. : ( This was one of those exceptional tools Stanley used to sell.

I bought this while on assignment as a throw-away or walk-away item, but it turned into a favorite. The grippy handle made it virtually impossible to drop (another important feature as we work on live equipment). My favorite part was the 1/4" "bit", which is actually the mounting socket for the other driver bits. It has a spring-clip within it, meant to clamp onto any of the driver bits that would be inserted, but what it also did was really this an excellent driver for 1/4" bolt heads because the socket would gently latch onto the bolt head. It had enough holding power that, in my estimation, it could almost hold the weight of the screwdriver, but not so much that you couldn't pull it off easily. I wish someone would make a socket set with such spring clips in each socket. I can't believe no one has thought of it.

This flex screwdriver is currently only available in Europe for some reason. I hope that changes...I lost mine due to a theft and cannot find it anywhere, though I am looking outside of the US right now and will post any update if I find a source. Your needs may vary, but if you want a well made flex-screwdriver, budget price or not, and you happen to find one of these, I'd recommend it.
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CCNA 640-802 Official Cert Library, Simulator Edition, Updated (3rd Edition)
CCNA 640-802 Official Cert Library, Simulator Edition, Updated (3rd Edition)
by Wendell Odom
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $11.75

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Simulator Version Highly Recommended, February 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have quite a bit of background in networking and telecom switching already, so this review is more from the perspective of what's in the box, and how well it works as a learning and sim tool. Other reviews and the product description already do a good job of explaining the actual content, although I will say this set adds some degree of oblique background or history which may not always be absolutely necessary in passing a CCNA exam, but it did help me see the big picture of why things developed the way they did.

The Odom books by Cisco Press and some terrific competitors like Lammle's are all very good, but I decided on Odom. I searched around for the CCENT/CCNA ICND1 640-822 Official Cert Guide (3rd Edition) and CCNA ICND2 640-816 Official Cert Guide (3rd Edition) books separately, not realizing they also came together with this full version of the Cisco lab simulator in one set, where by 'full' version, meaning it has around 300 preset labs plus the ability to respond to any current Cisco command. I would not characterize any consumer-level publication as having a 100% fully-compatible router/switch simulator, but still, no matter what the lab subject was, I found I could enter any valid IOS command and it responded correctly. In fact, within the labs, I tended to go off on my own and start pinging and ipconfig'ing various devices, just to see if I could break the simulator...nope, not yet! It's well designed. In addition to various router/switch set-up for a given lab, the simulator also allows you to configure or dump status of connected hosts like PC's. Finally, it looks and operates just like the exam environment, and is fun to use, so it prepares you well. If you don't have daily access to Cisco equipment, I really have to strongly recommend you look at this version of the training material. The cost of a re-take for any Cisco exam is high enough that having your own simulator (particularly at Amazon pricing) is a bargain.

Taken together, the two ICND 1 and ICND 2 books are around 1,500 pages, although there is a lot of ToC/appendix content that is redundant between the two. I like Odom's style, and while these are essentially text books, they are written with enough of a colloquial or conversational style that they have been easy to read. I personally use my own study/note system by summarizing each chapter, but the author has several good study aids, including exercises that force you to memorize or look-up and record information, which are excellent for committing lots of information to memory. Each book also has it's own DVD in the back, just as they would if purchased separately. So, this set contains the two books, with a DVD in each book, plus the simulator DVD. Although I probably won't need to use this offer, this 3rd edition also has a code to purchase the e-book version for 70% off retail. I don't use e-book readers (yet), but the e-version includes a PDF of this set with searchable text...that might be nice to have.

I'm running the simulator on OSX Snow Leopard and it works well. The content DVD's in the back of each book only run on Windows, but they operate fine in a virtual machine on the Mac. There are a few practice scenarios on the DVD's not in the book, such as extended exercises on subnetting, or a troubleshooting section that deals with various problems that don't fall under one particular heading. As a troubleshooter for over 20 years, that latter one is the exact kind of thing I have taught or write-up for myself, because it teaches students how to think critically, rather than just study with the sole objective of passing a test. Although, to that end, there are ample CCNA-sample test questions provided. They are not the exact questions that will be seen on the exam because they cannot be, but what I've found is you will learn what are the wrong answers, as well as the right ones, and that does help for the real exam.

If you make it through this set and can pass the chapter test questions provided, plus one or two of the practice exams, you will almost certainly get your CCNA on the first try, and be well-grounded for your CCNP too.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2012 5:04 PM PDT

PANASONIC HHR-P103 Replacement Rechargeable Battery
PANASONIC HHR-P103 Replacement Rechargeable Battery
Price: $14.05
57 used & new from $5.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great OEM product, Amazon pricing, December 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
THe HHR-P103 has many generic equivalents, and after the original's which came with our cordless system finally gave out after 6 years, I purchased the discount Lenmar brand from a large brick-and-mortar electronics store, around June 2010. That was a terrible choice. Those batteries cost around $15 each, and we started having calls drop within the first year of use. The phone's battery indicator would even indicate 2 of 3 bars, yet drop a call unexpectedly. After only 15 months, we needed to get rid of the Lenmars.

The batteries listed here are indeed Panasonic OEM's, and after buying through Amazon around 3 months ago, the phones are like new again. We've been on speaker phone with several long calls in a single day, and the battery indicator didn't even drop from the 3/3 bars. Though we have three handsets, I've now intentionally tried to just use 1 for a couple of days, just to give the phone a workout and for our moderate use, I didn't wear down a charge yet in that time. If you need these, get them here, as pricing seems unbeatable.

No Title Available

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth commenting on..., November 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm returning this year to buy a few more Pre de Provence soaps for Christmas gifts. Soaps aren't normally something I'd get too excited about. However, I used a couple myself and have been hearing back from some of last year's recipients. They went crazy over them, and if you're on the edge about spending $5 or 10 on a bar of soap, I understand. Yet here I am to buy two or three more.

If you've found yourself here, chances are you've already heard how these soaps smell...yes, they're pretty incredible. It gets you up a bit faster in the morning by appealing to your sense of smell. The pineapple is a favorite, but coming from the relatives, so were European Soaps Lavender Scented Shea Butter Pre De Provence and Rose Petal Soap 150g bar by Pre de Provence (watch the soap size...they typically come in a 250 gram size, although some are only 150 gram, and it affects the price accordingly. Also, Amazon and it's featured vendors have some price variability for the exact same products, so look around, as that can change from day-to-day). The PdP soaps also last surprisingly long. That won't mean they last as long as, say, 6 bars of Ivory or Irish Spring. I'd estimate one PdP bar lasts around 2 1/2 - 3 times as long as 1 bar as the mass-produced cheaper soaps. Part of the reason for that is they don't become nearly so mushy in the soap dish, so you actually get to use up virtually all of the soap. I also noticed they leave much less scum in the shower, saving me a bit on shower cleaner but mostly the elbow-grease to remove soap film in the shower stall. Related to that, I don't think they leave nearly as much build-up on your skin either.

So I'll leave it to you to decide if this becomes your daily soap, or an occasional indulgence. But they are worth trying.

OKI Okidata 43324404 Black Toner Cartridge (5k pages), Type C8, for C5500n, C5650dn, C5650n, C5800Ldn
OKI Okidata 43324404 Black Toner Cartridge (5k pages), Type C8, for C5500n, C5650dn, C5650n, C5800Ldn
Offered by The Good Stuff Market
Price: Click here to see our price
65 used & new from $86.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice OEM Cartridge, Welcome Price, July 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Recently, I've been buying non-OEM cartridges, with general overall success although they are not quite as glossy -- something I actually prefer (if you do this, buy from a vendor you can can ruin drums if you buy a poor quality cartridge).

The 'K' toner, however, is different because as most of you already know, it's always less expensive than the C,M,Y. At Amazon's price, it just doesn't make sense to me to go non-OEM. My last 5K "K' cartridge lasted 2 years, on approximately 3,000 pages of varying copy (training materials and reports, some photos, some coupons, etc. almost always printed on 'toner-saving'). For the price I bought at that time, that would average .03 per page...quite reasonable and at today's price, it will be cheaper still. By comparison, an OEM C,M or Y cartridge at 'typical' prices are more than double the cost to purchase, and much more per-page if you're printing mostly photos or pictures.

Some of you may have also arrived at this conclusion: If you can't print something out at home or office for a cheaper cost to you than the print cost at the big-box office store, why bother? You may as well print there and let them run their toners, drums and fusers down rather than yours, all else being equal (i.e. your cost > 10 cents per page BW, or > 50 cents per page color, for standard 8 1/2 x 11 media). For the price of this K cartridge, I'd never need to print elsewhere, or choose non-OEM cartridges for that matter.

Braun 10-cup Aroma Deluxe Coffee Carafe - White
Braun 10-cup Aroma Deluxe Coffee Carafe - White
Offered by CulinaryParts
Price: $25.99
2 used & new from $25.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good, July 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this from the Culinary Parts vendor here on Amazon. The item is actually OEM, not a knock-off, made in the Czech Republic just like the coffee maker. It is an identical fit to our Type 3105 Braun coffee maker, something I was slightly concerned about as I do like the 'sneak-a-cup' feature and wanted that mechanism to work. About the only thing that is 'wrong' with it is the grey handle (on the white-capped model) is quite a bit darker than the original, so it doesn't quite match the rest of the coffee maker. It's more of an ash-color, but that's relatively minor.

Some reviews noted the replacement carafes break easily. We've hit ours against the sink a couple of times when washing, not hard but not lightly far, so good. For $25 or so, I can well understand why someone wouldn't be happy if it shattered easily, but ours has passed the first few bangs.

In other circumstances, a broken carafe is a good excuse to buy a new coffee maker, and I considered this. But this variety of Braun coffee maker is well-liked by those of us who've owned one for several years. And after our 8 years, it just keeps on going. The gold filter has faded to silver, and I don't bother with the water filter anymore (we use reverse osmosis water in it). If we have any surprises, I'll update, but for now I'm glad we went with the new carafe.

Stanley 89-865 9-1/2-Inch Linesman Pliers
Stanley 89-865 9-1/2-Inch Linesman Pliers
Price: $19.54
9 used & new from $14.16

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Were Excellent - but see update, January 31, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased these 9.5" pliers while on a consulting assignment. When I purchase tools on the go like this, I often go for potential "throw away" items, as they can get lost/stolen on the job site, or when returning home the tool box might get lost/stolen during baggage handling, etc.

What a nice surprise....these are really excellent line pliers. I own some nice Klein and older Craftsman pliers (back when they made great tools), but the Stanley's have become my go-to pair of pliers because they really pinch well on thinner items. The torque you can generate is easy to misjudge at first because the handles are comfortable. They got borrowed a lot by others, but I made sure to get them back! I'm not sure if they'll hold up to the 20 years of use my others have, but at 2 years running they're like new still.

In past years, Stanley tools were sometimes hit and miss, but because of these I also bought the Stanley 89-870 8-Inch Long Nose Plier with Cutter and a Stanley 10 Way Flexible Screwdriver, 62-508 (cannot insert product link as product currently not available on Amazon...too bad) . These have also become favorites as they are solid and well made. The pliers jaws line up perfectly, even after some moderate abuse. The flex driver has a unique 1/4" socket bit included, which has a spring clip within it. The clip keeps the socket mounted while trying to tighten around corners. It's a very unique and well-thought out feature, and I really wish I could buy a whole set of sockets with this feature (sorry to talk about that tool here but it is not for sale on Amazon as of this review - in fact, I have only ever seen this flex screwdriver at Canadian and European markets for some reason, part STA062508 or 62-508).

I just returned a set of Craftsman "Professional" pliers, which to put it diplomatically, had some issues. A lifetime warranty isn't much good if you just get one poor tool to replace another. I've never needed or wanted to return a tool in over 20 years, but I just couldn't get by with the quality issues of that set. It was after this experience that made decide to write this review, because the Stanley tool seems superior, yet was cheaper. I'm pretty sure Stanley has most of its tools made in China, and of course this is probably one main reason why they are less expensive. It would be nice to have a choice of a "Made in USA" version...I hope someone at Stanley reads these reviews. Regardless, the quality of the tools that I have bought from them is excellent, regardless of the price.


I needed to replace my Stanley 89-865's after a theft, and bought another pair on Amazon. Unfortunately, they're not the same as before, with a bad connotation. The original pair was Made in Thailand...these new versions are Made in China, and quite honestly, it shows. The current Amazon product description photo (Apr 2012, subject to change anytime) is the original Thailand version. The casting on those was perfect, the jaws well-machined, with no strange gaps, and had very smooth movement. The handle material also was "grippier", and bright yellow. The new China version (pictures uploaded) are not nearly as well cast, they are quite a bit stiffer (possibly requiring two-handed operation to get the jaw full-open), plus the crushing patch (below the hinge) is only half the surface area of the older version. Also, the very end of the handles aren't flared anymore, possibly making it a little harder to grip the tool. Some of these points may seem like small things, but it just isn't the same tool now. The part number is the same, so you cannot tell the original plier from the new ones based upon that alone, which is why I'm showing a couple of pictures so you can see the differences for yourselves.

Are they still a good buy? Well, for the Amazon price, yes, I guess so, but I'm taking the rare step of lowering the rating to 3 stars. I almost think it deserves lower, but the price point rounds them up to 3, maybe even 4 if you luck-out and get a well-made pair. The package says induction-hardened steel, which does look of reasonably high quality, plus the grips are still fairly comfortable, and lets be honest...they will certainly work as a functioning pair of pliers. But in a world of Kleins and Channellocks (both Made in USA), or Wiha's or Knipex (Germany or Switzerland) for $10-15 dollars more, there is much better quality out there. I had started off the original review noting the reason I bought these...a decent pair of line pliers that could be stolen and I wouldn't miss them. Well, unfortunately, I do miss them, but I cannot buy that exact same pair any longer. Given the options today, I think I'd go with a cheaper pair of Greenlee's for travel work and lending to people, and then get a nice pair of Channellocks or Wiha for the the personal tool box. Back the Stanley's go. (Thx Amazon)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2012 10:08 PM PST

Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1066 MT/s (PC3-8500) CL7 SODIMM 204-Pin Notebook Memory Modules CT2CP51264BC1067
Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1066 MT/s (PC3-8500) CL7 SODIMM 204-Pin Notebook Memory Modules CT2CP51264BC1067
Price: $79.99
7 used & new from $68.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MBP: Should come standard with 8GB, December 8, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review deals with an early 2009 Macbook Pro shipped with 2.66GHz dual-core/ 1066 DDR3 4GB RAM, now running Snow Leopard.

We actually have two of these MBP's in the home office, and each of us use Win XP SP3 running on VMWare (version 2) extensively. We also run a Windows version of Photoshop CS2 on one of those Windows virtual machines. Each laptop is setup to use 1 of the 2 cores dedicated to VMWare, and 1GB of the MBP's originally equipped 4GB RAM. Like many users of virtual machines, Windows started off quite fast, slowing down noticeably for a McAfee scan, but otherwise with fair performance. Opening a few Photoshop docs definitely dogged the machine, but with some patience, it was usable. But as time goes by, Windows or VMWare just seems to permanently bog down. Rebooting XP doesn't correct it, so it's not just clipboard or back-end caching of some sort. Worse, McAfee does its daily update each time Windows is opened, and perhaps runs a scan, right about the time the XP tries Automatic Updates. And if we're unlucky, we may also get an Acrobat reader and Office update all activating simultaneously. Oh joy. Add that to the Firefox running on the Mac side with 10 open tabs (itself using a surprising sum total of 1GB from actual and virtual RAM). Time to go grocery shopping.

Enter the Crucial 8GB DDR3 RAM upgrade. Wow.

It's hardly a surprise that more RAM improves your computer's performance, but I changed settings for XP to use it's potential maximum of 3GB, though still with only 1 of the 2 processor cores. Now, everything on the Windows side is just as snappy as on the Snow Leopard. To try a realistic test, I opened the same 10 Firefox tabs on the Mac side, then ran VMWare, booted Windows, and ran a full McAfee scan. While doing that, I also opened Photoshop and 5 smaller documents, and then Firefox from within Windows and launched 3 tabs there. The Start Menu function was instant, with only short 1-to-2 second delays now and then. Activity Monitor showed that only 5 GB were in use at this point. Curiously, as McAfee kept scanning, the AM showed that gradually all 8GB of the RAM was put to use, even though Windows can only utilize 3GB. Yet, after closing VMWare, 4GB immediately became available again. Clearly, my now old version of VMWare demands lots of resources. After finishing the McAfee scan, Windows just ran beautifully. It was actually fun! I was reminded of how responsive XP SP0 was back when it was new in 2002.

I'm sorry I don't have the time to play around with proper measurement utilities, so it's a little bit hard to compare Crucial and say, Kingston or Samsung. But I've bought Micron memory before and been very happy with it. I also just really wanted to just convey in plain terms what the difference was between 4 and 8GB, which for around $115-150, is well advised. It's a shame that RAM as an OEM option was so expensive. If you are just using the basic iLife and iWork packages, and maybe some basic video editing all within the Mac domain, then I suppose 4GB is quite sufficient. But if you're editing hi-def or running lots of aftermarket programs or a virtual machine, going to 8GB is really a must.

Watch the prices...they vary frequently. And although I've never had to do an RMA with Crucial, their brand and website strike me that they take service more seriously than some other big competitors. It might be something to consider if you're just looking a a few dollars difference in price with other brands.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2011 6:57 PM PST

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Offered by Firemall LLC
Price: $138.95
51 used & new from $94.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounding good, December 7, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Though just receiving these today, I've owned enough headphones that I can definitely do a preliminary review right now.

Although I have had some decent open and closed-back headphones in the past, most recently I've relied solely on using an older version of the Sony MDR-EX56LP/BLK EX Style Headphones - Hybrid Silicone Type Earbuds (Black) and some Sennheiser PXC 250 Active Noise Canceling Headphones which I bought for frequent air travel and writing reports at the local coffee shop. The in-ear Sony's, which actually sound surprisingly good for their size, are just too physically irritating to wear for more than 2 hours. The Senn's do a respectable job of their intended low-frequency noise reduction, and are very portable, but just don't have the smoothness of a true set of closed-backed phones. I needed a decent pair of primary headphones for home, and possible travel use if convenient.

Though I seriously considered the Audio Technica ATHM40FS Precision Studio Headphones and it's mid-$60 price, I found the ATH-M50's on sale Black Friday for a mere $109 (thank you Amazon). I tend to keep headphones for a long time, so the extra investment seemed worthwhile. In particular, I preferred to have a 1/8" mini plug mounted on the cord so that I wouldn't need a 1/4"->1/8" adapter, such as when using with laptops or iPods. Although a full-size headphone, they fold-up enough to get them into a 3-compartment laptop bag...I wouldn't likely take them for a 2 hour flight, but next trip to Australia, oh yeah. Plus, there were many glowing reviews regarding the ATH-M50's bass response.

And on that topic...

* Bass response is indeed stunning - your head "feels" very low frequencies.
* Very comfortable - slight firmness, but very good fit.
* Build quality very good - pleather ear cushions and ABS plastic.
* Wonderful sound - no "tired ears" even without break-in.
* Lightweight and foldable. Did I mention comfortable??
* Background isolation - excellent for a non-noise-canceling phone (est. 15dBA+ drop, all frequencies).
* Cord terminated with metal 1/8" stereo connector - threads into the included 1/4" stereo adapter.
* Included soft storage bag is cheap, but is made of same nice material as head cups.

* Purists might recognize overall tone as being slightly bass-boosted.
* While removing headphone jack from laptop, accidentally pulled strain relief spring out of connector. Quite hard to re-thread back in. Always pull from the plug itself (you knew that).

The vendor ran out of the straight cord version, and offered me the coiled cord, which I preferred as it stores more neatly. The coiled-cord version has about 3 feet of straight cable between left ear cup and the beginning of the coiling, so you don't have this lumpy mass of wire tugging on your left ear. It reaches 5 ft coiled, and a usable max of 8 or 9 feet extended.

A bit more about the bass -- I really would have to say try the headphone out for yourself, but the overall sound to me is very pleasant. The lower frequency limit is crazy low...below 20Hz, hence the effect of feeling the sound - I almost felt brief instances of vertigo on one song. If you have music (ahem, recorded information) that falls into this range but don't wish to hear it, and don't have a low-freq cut, then it's possible you might prefer a different headphone. I dislike buying and returning headphones, as I'm sure you do, but this is often the only way to find the proper fit and sound to your liking. However, after having done a lot of field recording, and quite a bit of live music and choir some years ago, I can say this is easily the best headphone I've owned for either personal or semi-pro use. You can go much higher end of course, with Audio Technica, or several excellent Sennheisers, and other brands mentioned in other Amazon reviews. In this price range, it certainly behooves you to check around a bit. The fit and sound combination of these AT's is just terrific though...their product development team really thought it out well, and I'd agree with other reviews that you'd probably need to get into $300 and up for something noticeably superior -- and even then with diminishing returns for the audio equipment used by most.

As with any good headphone, I'm hearing details you won't hear with less-expensive varieties. The instruments remain separated...for example, I can now hear a synth on the left with mild tremelo I never knew existed, backing vocal on the right, and lead singer in the middle...with other headphones or the supposed "luxury 12 speaker" stereo in my aging Dodge, it just all muddles together. Not on these. I quickly went through 10 songs, from Lady Gaga to Joni Mitchell, and it was all new again, as they say. Even just streaming IP radio content over the laptop was noticeably higher quality, allowing me to hear background sounds in the originating studio (some sounds they'd probably prefer not to be broadcasting -- the "cough button" might have to be renamed).

Although I'm still breaking them in (very conveniently with an online site whose sole purpose is to generate white and you'll find a few of them), the higher mid-range and treble are very listenable. If nothing ever changes, I would be very satisfied with the ATH-M50's. In my own experience, however, high-frequencies especially seem to benefit from break-in (which I have always believed is due to the exercising of the materials through repeated mechanical cycles of producing sound waves - higher frequencies seem more easily prone to smaller variances in manufacturing). I intend to update the review after some further use, but as noted, these garner 5 stars right now, based on a $150 price point. I'd buy them again tomorrow if need be.

UPDATE: Still enjoy these very much. I look for an excuse to put them on when using the laptop. It's worth mentioning that about hour 3 or 4, they do start to pinch the ears. I rarely need or want to listen much longer than that at a time, but if I were bringing these for an all day study session or trans-oceanic flight, there are certainly times I'd have to remove them for a while. I think if the top part of the headband weren't quite as stiff, this wouldn't be the case. It's a trade-off, because for those who extend the cups (assuming it's a comfortable fit that way), then it's possible for some to find them a bit loose because much of the 'give' then comes from the thinner plastic extension tabs the ear cups are attached to. Personally, I extend them very little, so all the bend has to come from the top, firm part of the head bar. Still leaving the rating at 5 stars, though if we could do 1/2 stars, I'd probably give it 4.5 for the fit.

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