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Customer Reviews: 15
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Helpful Votes: 107

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wakerider74 RSS Feed (Pleasant Hill, CA)

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Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker (Black)
Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker (Black)
Price: $129.00
20 used & new from $114.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For me the trade off was better and more natural sounding vocals and more low end ..., November 10, 2014
I sold my UE Boom and bought the soundlink. For me the trade off was better and more natural sounding vocals and more low end presence. The top end, as with most bose products I've heard, is rolled off and leaves much to be desired. The design is awkward and I question what type of abuse it will tolerate. The UE Boom is clearly superior in design, build quality, and versatility. The soundlink cost less and sounds better IMO which at the end of the day wins for me. I would have happily paid a bit more for a more attractive design/stronger build but enjoy the sound enough to let it go. I opted for red as I was concerned about the black getting too hot under the sun for long periods of time in the summer.

V-MODA XS On-Ear Folding Design Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal)
V-MODA XS On-Ear Folding Design Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal)
Price: $171.65
32 used & new from $100.00

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nailed it!, June 4, 2014
As many reviewers have stated I was a bit skeptical of all the praise and possible FOTM playing a big role but after having them on my wishlist since released and reading each review as it came in I decided to take the plunge. A quick background on me: music theory and composition major, headfi member since 2005 (though less active in the past couple years), listen to all but rap/hip-hop, ride public transit to work and do most of my listening from my office that is very quiet. I’ve owned some failry upper end gear such as Grado PS-1, PS-500 (one of my all time favorites), HD-800, LCD-3 (have not heard any Audeze products since the LCD-3), UE customs, Denon’s, and gobs of more mid-fi Beyer, Shure, Senn, etc. Plenty of amps, dacs, and all the rest as well. At the end of it all I have founf I spent more time chasing gear than enjoying the music which is why I have pulled back and been very content with a mid-fi rig for work which until now has simply been a FiiO E17 and some Shure 940’s with the 1540 alcantara pads to elevate the low end and add a slight warmth to the upper. I prefer a balanced sound with a slight emphasis in the mids/vocals.

Enter the xs
First let me echo the other reviews that the packaging and clamshell case are second to none and have a fantastic feel and function. I love the way these travel and the overall appearance of the case. The design and finish of the xs is also FN great! Not too blingy or some tacticool gamer try-hard crap, just solid matte finish with pads and headband that are incredibly comfortable.
I had every intention to print a return slip if these didn’t wow me. My last on-ear attempt were the DT1350 which I know receive a lot of love but I did not find much to like about them personally. Their sound matched their appearance, cold, metallic, and lacking the organic timbre of just about any instrument or voice I heard through them. My go to headphone the 940 certainly had its flaws but overall I find it to be very detailed headphone that renders vocals with incredible finesse. The XS is better. I was shocked to hear that the same vocal quality I enjoyed from the 940 was coming from these tiny on-ears but what was better is that voices sounded even more natural. I expect this has to do with the more strident quality of the upper frequencies in the 940 but there is absolutely a more natural tone coming through with voices whereas sometimes with the 940 I felt female voices could sound somewhat nasally. The soundstage is small as one would expect but it does not feel compressed. I can still easily separate the instruments and hear the space between them it’s just not as much space as the 940 or other decent over-ear cans. The low end is well controlled with a life-like texture and quality about it. It never feels boomy or overly punchy but always in balance with the recording and rest of the spectrum. I’ve read some complaints about the top end being rolled off but I’m not hearing it to the extent that it is worth mentioning. Coming from the 940 which is known for uber detail in the top end and often complained about for being overly bright, I don’t find the xs to be too bright or rolled off. There is plenty of sparkle and proper cymbal decay and shimmer, yet it does not sound harsh or that anything is falling apart in the upper regions.

All I can say is that my 940’s will be up for sale shortly. Although they do have some qualities that these do not, I enjoy these more and due to their ease of travel combined with the incredible sonic character and comfort, I see no need to hang on to the 940’s. The xs is my new go to headphone and I cannot recommend them more highly. Vmoda – you’re doing it right, well done.

Hazard 4 Second Front Rotatable Backpack, Black
Hazard 4 Second Front Rotatable Backpack, Black
Price: $170.54
23 used & new from $162.03

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite work, May 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I originally wanted the Switchback but wear my slings on my right shoulder due to an injury on my left and since the Switchback is not ambidextrous I went with the Second Front. Let me first say that the material, build, and features are top notch! I love Hazard 4 products and the thinking they put into their designs. That said the Second Front does not quite work as a pack. It rides too high so when slipped out of one shoulder strap to bring sideways in front of you the zippered areas are not easily accessible unless you were it low which does not feel right. The waist straps are unnecessary and fixed in place. They should be able to be tucked into the pockets many of the other H4 packs have but given the size of this bad I don't see much of a need for them at all. Additionally, the size of this pack is not commensurate with the price. I could be okay paying this premium if it were made in the USA but comparing to some of the competing brands like 5.11 Hazard 4 seems to a bit high. This pack should be in the $139 range IMO, even though it is much more feature rich than the Rush24, you can see in my photos a significant size difference. Even the patrol pack is smaller than the Rush24 and while the admin pocket and molded clamshell case are awesome the rest of the inside of the Patrol Pack is fairly barebones.

I really like the design and ideas into the Second Front but it didn't work for me. If it had been about 20% larger with tuckable waist straps and a dedicated pocket with hook and loop for CCW I could see it as a perfect size and solution for an EDC bag.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2014 9:16 PM PDT

NAD Electronics VISO HP50 Noise-Isolating Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
NAD Electronics VISO HP50 Noise-Isolating Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Price: $299.00
8 used & new from $223.87

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good sound spoiled by poor design, March 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I sold my Shure SRH 940’s to try something different and was intrigued by all the positive reviews and praise these have received. I was hoping it would be an upgrade and it some ways it was but more of a downgrade for my sonic and fit preferences. The HP50 does have a very liquid and effortless sonic character with nice dark space between the notes and instruments. The highs are a bit rolled off but the overall presentation offers enough clarity that it’s only a minor annoyance. My only real complaint with the sound is that they seem somewhat lacking in dynamics. Going through a variety of genres including artists such as Pink Martini, Brad Paisley, Hilary Hahn, Eilen Jewell, Lorde, Rob Zombie, Ella Fitzgerald, Merle Haggard, Imelda May, and many others, I found the HP50 to be unexciting or somewhat flat in rendering the dynamic crescendo’s, decrescendo’s, that is typical of the tracks I used to demo and am familiar with in other headphones and speakers.

The deal killer here is the fit and design. Like the Shure SRH940’s NAD has this terrible flat headband design that instead of following the natural curve of a human head was clearly created for Frankenstein’s square shaped. The result is preasure unevenly distributed and centered on your heads high point. Additionally the insufficient clamping design that impacts the bottom of each ear cup creates a terrible seal that regardless of adjustments I’ve made has significant changes to the SQ every time I turn my head.

At the end of the day I found the HP50 to be a neutral headphone with an enjoyable sound signature albeit uninvolving, with design issues that impact sound and comfort to the point of defeat. These are heading back unfortunately and I will continue my search.

In the past I have owned the Denon D7000 (enjoyed but mids were a bit recessed and lows were too bloated), HD800 (too picky on source and amp), LCD-3 (loads of fun with the right tubes, very few complaints), and many others I won’t bore readers with listing but to say that cost to fun factor the Grado PS500 (with reversed bowls) was the most fun and engaging to listen to. Unfortunately I need something sealed for a very quiet office environment.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2014 4:10 PM PDT

UE BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Black
UE BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Black
Price: Click here to see our price
21 used & new from $137.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound/design but battery life stinks!, July 18, 2013
Ok, here's a breakdown from somewhat of an audiophile. My home speakers are nothing crazy, Aperion's top offerings from a few years ago and a HSU VTF3 MK3. Headphones I have or have owned include the LCD-3, HD-800, D7000, Grado PS-1, UE-11, etc. Now enter bluetooth speakers... really a different animal but here are my thoughts on the Boom.

I am on my second UE Boom as the first one was exchanged today after using it continuously for 2hrs 27min from 100% charged to completely dead playing at about 70% volume. I had played it when I first got it since it was charged 60% and ran it down to about 20% before giving it a full charge. In the event that the battery was damaged by this or simply defective I returned it for another which I will test tomorrow. Under 3 hours vs. 15 is a pretty big difference and would warrant some cost-to-value consideration and probably a response from UE or a firmware update... not sure but hopefully I can get more out of this new one now that I charged it before anything else.

Very attractive and intelligent. As others have said it is shaped just like a water bottle and will fit on most gear you travel with for day trips or more. The mesh-like material of the speaker feels well made and durable and the rubberized portions have a nice thick texture and seem to hold up well so far. The design and promotion for out-door party/active life use is exactly why the battery life/issue is kinda a big deal but I'll continue.

I've listened to several bluetooth speakers and they either sounded great but were impractical as a portable audio solution or were very portable and attractively designed but sounded like poop. The UE Boom really solves both problems. The top and low ends of the frequency spectrum roll off and the LFE lacks impact as you'd expect but UE has somehow managed to give this amazing little tube an incredible full bodied sound that works well with all genres. A mid bass hump gives a false sense of more oomph in the low end but it does it's job well. For those that have never owned a UE product they have a very lively sound character and often are suggested to have a "fun" sound by fans of their gear. I'd say that holds true here... the Boom is a very fun sounding little speaker and it leaves all the other sub $200 BT speakers I heard easily in the dust. I griped about the price but I could not spend between $60 - $159 on some of the others I demoed as they just sounded thin. The Boom delivered a full rich sound with a live music energy and covers enough of the frequency spectrum that listeners wont feel as if they are sacrificing sound quality for portability.

I really like the design, sound, and versatile functionality. The sound is fantastic and the speaker would be worth every penny if the damn battery even lasted half the time advertised. Not sure what can be done on that but as much as I love it I may part with it if something better comes along with a decent battery life; We camp and take day trips to the river so breaking out the umbilical to charge every few hours would suck, then again given the sound it just might be worth it ;)

UPDATE - 7/25/13
On my second Boom and have been using it for about 4 days. I took it to Tahoe for use on the beach and also in a raft down the Truckee river. I've already covered the sound and design which I am very pleased with but the battery life is not even close to 15 hours unless perhaps that figure was based on use at a barely audible level. Rafting down the Truckee typically takes about 4 hours +/- and the Boom died with at least 1 1/2 hours of river remaining. I had the volume around 70%. The longest life I was able to get from the battery was about 4 hours with volume about 35-40%. Another issue I noticed on my second Boom was if I took my phone even 15 feet away there were serious problems with the BT connection which was not the case with the one I had prior. I realize that UE discloses the battery life variation depending on volume but for $200 you should get more than 2 1/2 hours at 70 volume%.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2013 10:43 AM PDT

The Silent House
The Silent House
DVD ~ Gustavo Hernandez
Price: $19.99
24 used & new from $3.48

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done!, September 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Silent House (DVD)
I don't write reviews often but wanted to share some thoughts on this one. I rented it from IFC VOD a while back and found the picture quality to be pretty great. Colors are fairly drab but the detail and depth of image were top notch. First off why anyone would watch a foreign film dubbed is beyond me. The only way to see this film o'natural with the subs, it's not a dialogue heavy film anyways. Second the meaning of the glimpses of the little girl are clearly understood by the end of the film. I gave this 4 stars because I was disappointed that the twist was too predictable too early in the film and I agree with the other review that the film start was awkward and slow. The movie paid off after it got past the first 20 minutes and really added a nice finishing touch in the last few minutes of footage that we see when the credits finish. It was not supremely scary but was very unique in some of the filming techniques used to create several of the scenes and certainly had it's creepy moments. I don't know why the U.S. is getting the shaft with this release on DVD and no Blu-ray like the UK but I'll be buying a copy regardless as this is a worthy film to own for any horror fan and certainly worth a rent. Just be sure you watch it with the Spanish audio track and stay tuned until the credits are done rolling.

Babysitter Wanted [Blu-ray]
Babysitter Wanted [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sarah Thompson
3 used & new from $44.95

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn, February 17, 2011
For the reviewer that said this is what House of the Devil wanted to be... reverse that and you've got it right. House of the Devil was slow but had loads of charisma and did a great job of capturing the 80's feel and slowly building to a worthy climax. Babysitter Wanted had several flaws the worst of which was predictability with the "killer" but the acting was pretty bad too. A couple of decent gore scenes but it really fell short of what I expected based on the reviews. The BD was pretty weak, DD 2.0 (on a 2008 release seriously?), no pop-up menu, and upconverted DVD PQ.. I even ejected it to make sure blockbuster didn't send me a dvd by mistake.

My recommendation is skip, even for a rental. There are plenty of similar sub-genre horror films like Farm House, The Girl Next Door, House of the Devil, Them (Ils), etc. with better script, better acting, and more compelling stories to hook in your skin.

Subtle Things
Subtle Things
7 used & new from $19.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahhhhhh.... ear candy!, July 13, 2007
This review is from: Subtle Things (Audio CD)
A short follow up to the UHP debut Mercury but enough to satisfy any Splashdown/UHP/Melissa Kaplan fan! Mel seems to plunge even deeper into a dark and esoteric flavor of music with three new tracks for Subtle Things. I'm hoping this is to hold us over while she works on another full length but either way the album is excellent. Recording quality has much improved and Mel's voice is gorgeous as ever... although she could sing the alphabet and my eyes would roll back. Anyways, I won't drag on about each song other than to say they have a dark yet beautiful tone and I find myself, as with all of Mel's stuff listening over and over and over.... bliss!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2010 9:32 AM PDT

Pablo Francisco: Ouch!  Live From San Jose
Pablo Francisco: Ouch! Live From San Jose
DVD ~ Pablo Francisco
25 used & new from $1.34

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pablo is the man!, November 17, 2006
This guy is great... he's like a Hispanic version of Tommy Davidson for anyone that remembers his awesome stand up act. The voices and singing he can do add so much to his already hilarious act. I own the first DVD and after seeing this on Comedy Central ordered this one. Great stuff!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2007 6:59 PM PST

All Jacked Up
All Jacked Up
Price: $8.99
174 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up!, September 27, 2005
This review is from: All Jacked Up (Audio CD)
Ignore the nay-sayers who just dislike her (and probably country as well)... why would they give her a good review anyways?

This is a great follow up album with plenty of solid tracks. Her voice sounds even more powerful than on Here for the Party. Politically Uncorrect is a great tribute to what built this country and makes it so great, Skoal Ring and California Girls continue the Gretchen music home cookin that is down to earth and real. The title track really jams and is a great follow up to Redneck Woman. There are also some excellent ballads. A very well varied album with something to appeal to almost every country fan. Highly recommended if you liked her last album.

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