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Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity
Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity
Price: $349.95
14 used & new from $223.15

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Receiver Which May Appeal to Some People, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First I should like to mention that I can only write a review based on my own likes and dislikes which may be very different than yours.

That said, I have to say that I am disappointed with this Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity.

I am an 'audiophile' from way back and I listen extensively to classical music. Therefore I look for good quality in the equipment I purchase. This includes sound quality and construction quality as well as the operating parameters of that equipment.

This receiver arrived today and I have been listening to various CDs for the past three hours and a half. I have installed it into my main system which includes a pair of Klipschorns as the speakers. Obviously no subwoofer is necessary. I can say that the sound that this device produces is fairly good; an amplifier should introduce no 'sound' of its own and, in this regard, this unit is fine. The music sounds little different that it does from other good amplification equipment I have tried with these speakers though some bass may be lacking (bass drum thwacks are much less palpable than what I am used to hearing via the Klipschorns). I should mention that, in my opinion, the Klipschorns are positively the finest speakers I have ever heard in my life - and I've heard plenty! First hearing them when I was 14 years old, I never forgot them and was able to obtain a pair in 1992. Please note that they are corner speakers; as they MUST be placed in identical corners in a room, they are not suitable for use in many homes.

So the sound quality produced is acceptable. It is the operating parameters and possibly the construction of this receiver which mainly cause my doubt and disappointment.

First, the remote control MUST be used to gain access to most of the features included in this receiver, the buttons on the front panel being used for only the most rudimentary control. Some people like this sort of arrangement; I do not.

Second, in the full Owner's Manual (which you MUST download from Harman/Kardon's site - why don't they supply a printed one?), there is the statement: "Provide proper space above, below, behind and to the sides of the stereo receiver for ventilation. Maintain a clearance of at least 12" (30 cm) on each side, above and behind the unit." This is also printed on the cover of the Quick Start Guide but it is in light print and it is not as obvious nor as emphasized as in the downloaded manual. This statement must be taken seriously.

Frankly, this is ridiculous in an 85w/channel stereo amplifier. I can verify that the unit gets very noticeably warm. The volume range is -80 dB to +10 dB and I have been playing music at -37 to -30 dB (depending on the CD) which is plenty loud as the Klipschorns are very efficient. (Much to my wife's displeasure I like to listen to music at 'life-like' levels.) If this unit gets as warm as it's getting when playing at that relatively low volume setting, how hot will it get if it's playing through less efficient speakers at a higher setting? (Please read more about this, including the reason for its hot-running circuitry, later in this review.)

My next annoyance is the tuner. AM and FM yes - but where is HD radio? Yes I realize that HD radio is not all that it's cracked up to be but, come on - this is 2014 not 1994 and for many people (including myself) HD radio is a real asset.

Also this receiver offers network capability - but where is the WiFi? Again, this is 2014 not 1994 and for this facility to be absent is just plain silly. As, due to placement, it is impossible for me to connect via Ethernet cable, this facility is lost to me.

Ditto for Bluetooth (or its lack on this model). A nice Bluetooth adapter can be had for less than $10.00 (including shipping) [this is an excellent one: VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black - and please note that its price includes the shipping, at least with Amazon Prime, AND the seller is making a profit at that price!] so how much would it have cost Harman/Kardon to include it on this model? (For "only" $70.00 more for the HK 3770 you can have Bluetooth.)

And finally - a 24-bit 192 kHz DAC is included BUT it only plays MP3 and WMA. It will not play WMA lossless, much less FLAC and/or ALAC.

What a waste!

Who would want to listen to MP3s at home? Not me! They are fine for use in a car or on a portable music player but in a home system? Maybe some people don't mind the sound degradation of "lossy" music files but I do!

The USB port can ONLY be used for connecting a USB device formatted as FAT or FAT32. NTFS (not even to mention HFS+ or EXT4) is OUT!


And finally the d--- thing turns off automatically after eight hours if you do not do anything such as change the source, adjust the volume, or anything else. No matter that you might want to play music for long periods - this unit shuts off by itself.

Here is the relevant quote from the downloaded Owner's Manual:

"The receiver goes to standby mode automatically through the following:

* For digital sources (Optical/Coaxial), after remaining idle for 15 minutes

* For analog sources (USB/FM/AM/Aux/Phono/DLNA/iPod/Bluetooth), after 8 hours with no user input (for example, adjusting volume, navigating through menu options and so on)"

This "feature" cannot be defeated. (Note that this Manual is for both the HK 3700 and the HK 3770; there is no Optical/Coaxial connection or Bluetooth on the HK 3700.)

Now almost all of those deficiencies can be rectified by use of external devices but those devices will also work with ANY stereo receiver/amplifier and they should not be required with this unit which advertises its advanced capabilities. (There does not appear to be any way to add WiFi.)

All in all, for the reasons I mention above, I am disappointed with this receiver.

You, however, may feel differently; the deficiencies I have mentioned may not be important to you. As I stated, the sound quality produced is fine, if not top-notch. But I do have concern about the heat produced; this indicates poor-quality heat sinking and can lead to shortened life. Heat is the enemy of all electronic equipment. There are ventilation slots on the top PLUS on both sides - the need for this (and for the warning I quote above) is not good. The unit is very light in weight - too light, in my opinion and again this is not good in amplification equipment (unless it is a Class-T amp); good heat sinks MUST be heavy (this has Class-AB amplification). That is the reason for the hot running. I think that this is something to which you may want to give careful consideration before purchase.

I obtained my unit courtesy of Amazon Vine so I did not pay for it. Had I paid for it, I would have returned it. It is my opinion that, at $350.00, it does not represent good value for money. (Even at $200.00 its value would be questionable; again, that's my opinion.)

As I have written elsewhere, an electronic device such as this should be 'broken-in' over a longer period of time than just three or four hours. But, due to the construction and operating flaws I have mentioned, frankly I am not going to waste my time doing so.

As it is, this receiver is going back into its box and will be put away in a closet to be used strictly as a (very temporary) backup should one of my other amps fail.

I am giving it three stars; three stars, according to Amazon, means "It's Okay." And, in my opinion, that's all it is - no more.

I am very sorry to have to write such a review as this but I cannot personally, in good conscience, recommend this receiver to anyone. If you want something really good at a similar price I can highly recommend the Yamaha A-S300 Integrated Stereo Amplifier; it has no fancy digital connectivity, no fancy lights, not even a radio tuner, but it's an honest little integrated amplifier which produces SUPERB sound quality and is constructed to a very high standard. You don't even need to use its supplied remote control as you must with this HK; you can operate everything from the Yamaha's front panel as it has real knobs and buttons!

Lawrence H. Bulk

P.S. I played this receiver for about four hours today and then I removed it from my system, reattaching all of my playback devices to my Hafler DH-101 pre-amplifier/DH-200 power amplifier (both from 1980!). I then proceeded to play the last CD I had played through this Harman/Kardon receiver (Holst: Suites 1 & 2 / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Sousa: Stars and Stripes) through my usual Hafler system. What a difference! Now I'm not saying that the HK produced 'bad' sound - just that the sound produced through my 34-year-old electronics is aurally far, far better. I have heard worse sound than the HK produces many times - mostly at some other peoples' houses and/or at 'big-box' dealers - but the HK would be acceptable to most people I think. Just don't expect superlative sound quality. And I strongly recommend caution regarding its construction and the operating parameters.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2014 6:28 PM PDT

10k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl with Diamond Accent Linear Drop Earrings
10k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl with Diamond Accent Linear Drop Earrings
Price: $121.42

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Nice Pair of Earrings, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife is very pleased with these earrings. They are very lightweight (which she prefers) and are not too long (though she does wish they were a bit longer).

She says that, unlike some others she owns, they are very easy to put on and are not obtrusive.

They are very beautiful to see and are much nicer in real-life than in the picture.

They appear to be of high quality and are packaged very well indeed; they came in a plastic bag which was inside a cloth bag which in turn was inside a cotton-lined gift box. The diamonds are not of the finest quality (obviously, at this price) yet they do sparkle. The pearls are very nice looking and are the highlight of these earrings. The 10k yellow gold used here is very attractive.

All in all she likes these earrings very much. As a matter of fact she has some appointments and errands to run today and she has chosen to wear them. They look very nice with the outfit she is wearing and go well with the other jewelry she is wearing. She says they will go well with most anything.

Though we obtained them courtesy of Amazon Vine (and therefore did not pay for them), after close examination, we both feel that they are well worth the low price Amazon charges and it is our opinion that they represent an excellent value for money. They are much. much nicer than the inexpensive "costume jewelry" earrings one sees everywhere yet they will not "break the bank" if you want something quite a bit nicer.

If you are a man reading this, they would make a nice gift or, if you are a woman reading this, we think you would like them very much for yourself.

We both give them a strong recommendation.

VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black
VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black
Offered by VicDirect
Price: $9.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter is a GENUINE BARGAIN!, July 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 1:09 Mins

This VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black is nothing short of amazing. I am VERY pleased with it.

It is designed, of course, to transform an older stereo system into one which can receive wireless Bluetooth signals.

There are absolutely no controls whatsoever on the unit. You merely plug the device into an AC socket using the included USB adapter and attach the included 3.5mm adapter cord to the item (stereo system, amplified speakers, whatever) you wish to have Bluetooth capability. (You could also attach this Bluetooth adapter to your computer's USB port and you can, obviously, use any 3.5mm to stereo cord you wish.)

There are 276 reviews prior to mine here on Amazon and while most are accurate, some contain erroneous information. This device does not have an internal battery. It MUST be powered by external power (AC or USB port) at all times. While it probably could be used in a car in conjunction with a 12V DC to AC adapter, I think that this would not be ideal. (Of course I have not tried this so I would defer to anyone who has done so.)

I have a Kyocera Event Prepaid Android Phone (Virgin Mobile), a mediocre (at best) "Smart Phone" but, as I use it almost exclusively for playing Internet Radio via the TuneIn application and it does this quite well, it is satisfactory (I only rarely use it for telephone calls). It took less than ten seconds to "pair" this phone with this VicTsing device. (Look for PH-810, the Bluetooth name of the device.) I did not need to enter a code and I played music for several hours this afternnon.

I have found that this adapter does NOT re-connect automatically; you must manually connect your phone/tablet/player/whatever to it each time. But I feel that this is a minor 'nit' as it takes only a couple of seconds.

The range is perhaps about fifteen or so feet if nothing (including you!) gets in the way; the only "hiccups" I heard occurred when I myself got between the phone and the device. Of course, that was with using my phone.

Using my Dell Streak 7 4G Android Tablet (T-Mobile), which I tried later and am using as I am writing this, I am able to reach over thirty feet - from an upstairs room, past a hallway, and into my bedroom (on the same floor). So I guess the range of this device depends on the transmitting unit you're using. (The Streak "paired" even quicker than my phone did.)

I have an old, discontinued Altec Lansing Expressionist-PLUS FX3021 2.1 Speaker System which I like very much. We keep it in our master bedroom. I have a Stanton S.300 Tabletop CD Player with MP3 Compatibility (also discontinued) connected to it. But, as this is a single-disc player, individual discs must be changed manually. (Of course MP3 discs can play for many hours at a time.)

If I wished to play computer audio through these speakers and control the music from my bed, I needed to run wires across the room, not ideal for us.

By attaching this VicTsing device to the speakers, I can play any Internet Radio station from across the room with no wires at all connecting the devices - and it works perfectly!

I have included a short video in this review which shows the unit in action and then the video switches to my phone which is across the room. I do apologize for the relatively poor quality of the video but I think it will get my message across. You will see a blue LED light blinking which shows the Bluetooth adapter is in operation. If this were to annoy you, it would be easy to turn the device around so you would not see the light.

Even though there are many others reviews of this product and some of them are quite negative, I hope you will take my word for it: this VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black is an excellent product. It is easy and quick to install, it does what it says it will do, and at its current price (less than $10.00!), it represents, in my opinion, a genuine bargain.

I recommend it highly.

I hope that you have found this report to be useful and I thank you for considering my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk

Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders
Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders
Offered by eaststar
Price: $39.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Kapaxen Charger and its Two Batteries is a Bargain., June 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am very, very pleased with this Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders.

Forget about the mini tripod (which can be bought at dollar stores) but the rest represents a genuine bargain.

The batteries, BP210R, have twice the capacity of the BP105R battery supplied with the camcorder. The charger has the capability of being used in a car as well as via a wall socket as opposed to the charger supplied with the camcorder which only functions via AC power.

I used one of these BP210R batteries to take videos during our last vacation. My camcorder is the Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording. One of my individual shots was 20 minutes in duration. I took a total of about 45 minutes - and I did not need to recharge the battery! (I hope, but do not know for sure, that my camcorders charge gauge is accurate.)

After we got home, I did recharge the battery so I cannot say how long it would have actually lasted.

You can also buy just the charger separately [Kapaxen Rapid Battery Charger Kit for IA-BP105R / IA-BP210R / IA-BP210E / IA-BP420E Battery for Samsung Select Camcorders] - and I did, just to have a 'spare' charger - but, for some strange reason, the Kapaxen BP210R batteries are not available separately. (I hope that this situation is soon corrected.)

The charger and these batteries are so superior to the ones supplied by the manufacturer that I do not use the supplied one, much preferring to use these.

The price is 'right' too ...

I can only say that, if you have a camcorder that takes a BP210R battery (or one that this battery can replace), buy this kit. I highly recommend it.

Thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk

Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy
Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy
Offered by East Coast Photo
Price: $16.95
2 used & new from $16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars The Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case: Perfect for the Samsung F90 and Other Products, June 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy is an excellent product. It is very well-constructed, convenient to use, and easy to carry.

I am using it with my Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording but any camcorder or camera (or anything else for that matter) of similar size will fit into this case just perfectly.

It has a zippered main pocket with an adjustable (via Velcro) divider. In it I keep the camcorder and a battery charger. The case also has a front pocket which has a cover held in place via Velcro and opening this cover reveals a zippered front pocket in which, in my situation, I have stored my two spare batteries and the supplied cables as well as a couple of SD cards in the two included pockets designed for them.

There are also two side pockets (fishnet-type) which could hold small papers, business cards, etc.

The whole thing is so light in weight that a small child could carry it easily. It has a handle as well as an adjustable shoulder strap. Convenience (retrieving the camcorder for example) could not be improved in my opinion.

From its appearance and feel, I believe that this carrying case will last for many years.

I am very glad I bought it and I think that, if you buy one, you will be glad too. I highly recommend it to you.

I thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk

Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording
Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording
Price: Click here to see our price
79 used & new from $114.94

81 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Samsung F90: A Fine General-Purpose Home Video Camcorder, June 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am very pleased with my new Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording.

I did not want a camcorder capable of producing the next STAR WARS movie. I just wanted an ordinary easy-to-use camcorder strictly for home video.

After a great deal of investigation, I chose this one - and I'm glad I did. It's inexpensive, very easy to use, and does exactly what I want from a camcorder.

I have filmed scenes from our latest vacation including scenes of the convention we attended as well as some museums we visited and I have taken videos of our granddaughter (who never seems to sit still!).

All of my videos so far have come out perfectly, even those taken under low-light. In fact, I took some video in a restaurant (which featured some entertainment) and, even though the lighting was mixed - relatively low artificial light supplemented by early evening daylight coming through windows in certain places - the video turned out fine.

I have had only rare minimal problems with focus and those under relatively difficult situations. The focus has always corrected itself in a second or two without any effort on my part; I'm sure that most people won't even notice those occasional lapses. Colors are balanced and excellent. Sharpness is also excellent. Ease of use of the camcorder is exemplary. I generally leave the 'Smart Auto' function turned on (the only time I turn it off is when I want to make some adjustments in the Menu; you must disengage 'Smart Auto' to access the Menu) and I have had, thus far, no video that I needed to delete due to camcorder problems (my own "videographer" deficiencies being something else!).

It is very lightweight and, after you read the instruction manual (you can download one from Samsung's site if you want to read it before purchase), you will find the controls to be straightforward. The light weight has an advantage, at least for me, of allowing me to hold the camcorder very steadily during an extended shooting period. I have not had to activate the image stabilization circuit thus far and one of my individual videos was 20 minutes in length! There is only minimal, hardly noticeable, unsteadiness. My wife has been pleased with our videos so far and, take my word for it, she is a severe critic!

We watch our video on a 108" diagonal (16:9) screen using a video projector and, let me tell you, considering that these are "home movies," I couldn't ask for anything more.

Some may wish for 'full HD' - 1920x1080 video - but, at least in my opinion, this is unnecessary for ordinary home movies and the files produced by 1080i or 1080P video are much, much larger than the 720P MP4 files produced by this camcorder (I convert the MP4s to MKVs via computer software because I prefer that format). Unless you were doing a side-by-side critical comparison, I doubt that most people could tell the difference.

I bought two accessories for my unit: a Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy which holds the camcorder and my other accessory perfectly, and a Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders which gives me two spare (larger capacity) batteries and a charger which can function in a car as well as from an AC outlet. Both of these accessories, which I highly recommend to you, are quite inexpensive.

And unless you have some lying about (I did) you'll need to buy at least one SD memory card; it need not be an elaborate one but it should be a Class 10 type. Actually I recommend that you carry (buy if necessary) two of these cards just in case one were to become corrupted during a vacation or another such situation. I use ordinary 32 GB Class 10 cards.

If Samsung's Intelli Studio program is incompatible with your computer's operating system, you merely remove the SD card from the camcorder, plug it into your computer, and copy & paste the videos. This is simple. I have read some comments stating that the included program does not work with Mac; I do not know from personal experience about the veracity of these comments (though I'm sure they're correct) but I can tell you that it definitely does not work with a GNU/Linux OS which is the operating system I use. Nonetheless, copying & pasting the videos from the SD card is very easy. Anyone could do this, if desired, with whichever OS one is using, even Windows. Copying & pasting may even be faster than using Samsung's transfer program.

Battery life with the replacement BP210R batteries is excellent (I have not used the standard BP105 battery); I took well over 45 minutes of video via that BP210R without needing to recharge. After that session, I did recharge the battery (I always do) so I have no idea as to how long it would have actually lasted. As the camcorder was still showing 'full charge,' I'm sure it would have been plenty of time. (Of course you have to ask is the camcorder's power gauge accurate? I don't know.)

All in all, within its category (and if you do not have grandiose dreams of being the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg), I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent camcorder to anyone who wishes to create nice home movies.

Thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2014 8:54 AM PDT

Dayton Audio Sola Rosso Bluetooth Speaker Red
Dayton Audio Sola Rosso Bluetooth Speaker Red

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dayton Audio Sola is an Amazing and Splendid-Sounding Device!, April 24, 2014
Several days ago I read about this Dayton Audio Sola Rosso Bluetooth Speaker Red in an audio magazine to which I subscribe. The author of the article was quite enthusiastic about it, ESPECIALLY considering its low price. So I had to have one.

He was right in being enthusiastic! Positively! On all counts! It's quite a wonderful Bluetooth integrated amplifier/speaker combination.

It took LESS THAN THREE MINUTES to unpack it from its box, connect the power supply, and 'pair' it with my smartphone, the Kyocera Event Red / Prepaid Android Phone (Virgin Mobile) (a wretched little phone - but so far I am satisfied with it).

Pairing these two devices could not be easier. Frankly, I was amazed at the ease of this. (I also just as easily paired an older Dell Streak 7 4G Android Tablet (T-Mobile).)

I turned on the TuneIn 'app' on my phone and selected a station.

The music started and was immediately transferred to this device.

The sound quality is absolutely amazing.

If you are sitting across the room from it (as I am as I'm writing this report) you will not hear true stereo sound (no stereo effect); the speaker drivers are just too close together.

But what you will hear is very smooth sound. I like to listen to classical music, most often via Internet Radio. I have tried several of my favorite stations - Classic FM UK, ABC Classic FM, Abacus, AVRO (its 256 kbps feed), Connoisseur Classics, Venice Classical Radio, and a few others - and they all sound wonderful.

The device is designed and engineered in the US but it is actually made in China. But it is made to a very high standard (the Chinese can do this when they bother). I bought this red one because my phone is red and black (and I have a travel bag which holds the speaker perfectly and it happens to be red and black too).

The cabinet is NOT plastic. It's not made of wood either. It appears to be made of some sort of MDF. The grill cover is metal, as is the back where the controls are situated.

It does not have a built-in battery; it works on AC power only. But its cord is VERY long, a great convenience.

Not only is it easy to pair to this device, it is easy in practice to use it.

There are no adjustment controls. To change the volume or tone response, you use the volume or tone control on your phone or device. And though the writer of the article I mentioned states that treble is slightly lacking and midbass is slightly emphasized, I do not agree with his assessment. Since I received the speaker I have listened to it for well over ten hours. I find the sound quality to be full, rich, and completely satisfying (and I am prone to audio fatigue - there's none of that with this!). Other than the volume, I have made no other adjustments.

If you are using your cell phone with it (playing music, for example) and a call comes in, the device automatically switches to the call; there is a microphone on the rear of the cabinet and you can use it as a speakerphone. When the call ends, you can go back to your music.

If you want to play music from something other than a cell phone or tablet (or computer) which does not have Bluetooth, you can use a standard wired connection from, for example, a portable CD player. This speaker comes complete with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm connecting cable which plugs into the corresponding input jack on the back of the unit. When using the cable, the Bluetooth turns off. There is also a USB Power Jack which can be used to charge your phone or any other device that uses USB charging (it would have to be the standard 5 VDC but I do not know the amperage of this output; while my phone requires only 250 mA, you need at least 2.0 A to charge a tablet).

In addition there is a 3.5mm output jack which allows connection of a subwoofer (I do not feel the need for one).

Finally there is an on-off switch.

That's it for controls.

The listed specifications are as follows: Power output: 15 watts RMS x 2 (30 watts total) * Total harmonic distortion: <0.1% @ 30 watts * Signal-to-noise ratio: 103 dB, A weighted * Frequency response: 70-18,000 Hz * Crosstalk between inputs: 80 dB * Input impedance: 33k ohms ±5% * Input sensitivity: 750 mV * Channel separation: 95 dB * EFFICIENCY (and note this well): 85% * Dynamic range: >100 dB * Electrical requirement: 18VDC @ 2A center pin positive * Dimensions: 3.75" H x 10.44" W x 7.75" D * Weight: 6.2 lbs.

The amplifier is of the Class-T type. That accounts for the high 85% efficiency. (I own several other Dayton Audio Class-T amplifiers; they ALL produce superlative sound quality in VERY small and efficient packages.)

I can tell you: this device is accompanying me on all future travels.

Now here comes something I hate to have to write: do NOT buy it through Amazon. If you do you will have to pay the listed price (currently $99.80) PLUS a shipping charge (currently $9.74). If you buy the speaker directly from Parts Express itself (from its own web site), the price ($99.80) is the same but there is NO shipping charge.

Frankly, I do not know why this situation exists - but there it is. I hope that Amazon can correct this; since you're actually buying it from Parts Express - even though via the Amazon site - I cannot understand the reason or rationale for the shipping charge.

The speaker comes in your choice of three colors: Red (which I bought and which I really like; the magazine writer also has a red one), White, and Black. The choice would be yours. Other than the color, everything is the same on all three models.

I am really, really pleased with this device and I think that you will be too. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone reading this report. Thanks for reading it.

Lawrence H. Bulk
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2014 2:22 PM PDT

Arkon Windshield Dash Smartphone Car Mount for Apple iPhone 6 Plus 6 5 5S 5C Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 4 3 2 S5 S4 Fire Phone
Arkon Windshield Dash Smartphone Car Mount for Apple iPhone 6 Plus 6 5 5S 5C Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 4 3 2 S5 S4 Fire Phone
Price: $18.18
13 used & new from $16.54

5.0 out of 5 stars The Arkon Sticky Suction Windshield/Dashboard Mount is an Excellent and Useful Product, April 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is something I never knew I needed - until I received it today and tried it in my car.

I own a Kyocera Event Red / Prepaid Android Phone (Virgin Mobile), a cheap little 'smartphone' which I use in my car to play Internet Radio (via the TuneIn 'app') and connecting via Bluetooth.

I had always placed the phone just any old place in the car but this often would interfere with the Bluetooth signal being picked up.

This morning, after it arrived in the mail, I unpacked it, read the comprehensive yet easy-to-understand instruction sheet, and assembled it using, in this case, the short support legs (longer ones are also supplied). (You can see how it's assembled and used by watching the video on Amazon's product page.)

Then I took it out to my car and placed it on the dashboard. There is a portion of the dash which is made from smooth (not textured) plastic. I used just the regular sticky suction portion and it held perfectly. I did not need to use the included adhesive mounting disk.

I had some errands to run and I played an Internet Radio station as usual - but this time the Bluetooth signal held all the way.

This unit held the phone firmly - just fine. It held it securely in "portrait" mode as well as "landscape" mode. I did not have any fear that the device would come loose or that it might drop the phone. It kept the phone in an easy position to reach (when the car was stopped of course) yet it was unobtrusive.

I think that it's a very clever device. I also own a Dell Streak 7 4G Android Tablet (T-Mobile) which I have not yet tried but I'm certain that this mount would hold that one perfectly too. (I do not use that tablet very often.) I believe it would also hold a GPS unit fine as well. (It's probable that I would have to use the longer support legs for a tablet.)

In my opinion, this ARKON Arkon Sticky Suction Deluxe Windshield Dashboard Car Mount for Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 Note 3 iPhone 5 iPhone 5C 5S Smartphones - Car Mounts - Retail Packaging - Black is an excellent device.

Its price is certainly 'right' and its construction quality appears to be first-rate.

I never knew such a product existed - nor did I ever realize I would need one.

But there is is. Thanks to Amazon Vine I now own this mount and I'll probably buy a second one for our other car.

It is supplied with everything one needs to use it in any type of car (or even in the home) right out of the package. You need not buy anything else to make it work.

And it offers sufficient adjustment parameters such that it should fit perfectly on any vehicle's dashboard and keep the phone (or whatever) in easy reach (and easy view).

I can highly recommend this product to anyone who might have need for one (and that includes just about everybody, doesn't it?).

As always, I thank each person who has read this report and who has considered my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk

---> Update April 23, 2014

FWIW: I just ordered the second one of these Dashboard Car Mounts to keep in our other car. Obviously I like it very much and I think you will too.

Midland ER300 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM FM Digital NOAA Weather Radio with Cree LED Flashlight and USB Charger Output
Midland ER300 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM FM Digital NOAA Weather Radio with Cree LED Flashlight and USB Charger Output
Price: $60.56
84 used & new from $56.51

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Midland ER300 Emergency Solar Crank AM/FM/WB Radio is a Very Versatile & Useful Device, April 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Here we have an unusual emergency radio: the Midland ER300 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM FM Digital NOAA Weather Radio with Cree LED Flashlight and USB Charger Output. It is so easy to use and so good that I use mine each and every day, both for NOAA weather reports as well as regular AM & FM.

I truly think that everyone should own one.


Because it is the only radio of its type which seems to have just about every facility which could be used in an emergency when one needs information immediately including AM, FM, and the Weather Band.

It comes with a semi-built-in battery (it can be replaced by the user - if you can find one) and is recharged within the radio. Has this battery gone 'dead'?

Not a problem.

Merely insert six standard AA batteries (available almost everywhere). You can also use NiMH rechargeable batteries which have to be charged outside of the radio. (You must change the internal switch to the AA setting.)

No AA batteries handy?

Well, it works via a solar panel which will keep the radio functioning as long as it is exposed to sunlight.

No sun?

It has a built-in crank which is easy to operate. The manual states that one minute of cranking will deliver about nine minutes of radio playtime.

You can even use the radio plugged in to an AC socket with or WITHOUT any batteries installed (not even the supplied built-in one which can be unplugged and removed) if you wanted to leave it running all night (so that you will get emergency weather alerts). You merely keep the supplied cord connected to a USB outlet (on a computer or a plug such as this one: Maximal Power AC DC USB Universal Dual USB AC/DC Wall and Car Power Adapter Charger for All USB Powered Devices, iPhone, iPod, and iPad - an EXCELLENT plug which can be used in a car or at home; I suggest that you investigate it).

This radio has a digital display which makes finding stations (AM, FM, or the NOAA Weather Band - all seven channels) easy. It has a digital clock which is easy to read and easy to set.

As a matter of fact, setting every option on the radio is easy. Of course you absolutely must read the instruction manual but it is short and easy to comprehend. I'm certain that even a young child would have no problems setting up and using this radio after reading that manual.

The radio also has a flashlight which is BRIGHT. It's a Cree-made LED light (and they make about the best there is). The light works in bright, BRIGHTER, and "S.O.S" mode. It also has a supersonic dog whistle which may be useful to some people.

Its sound quality is excellent for a radio of its type. I believe I could listen to music for quite a long time without having any aural fatigue. (Of course you must realize that it is not a high-fidelity radio.)

Though the radio produces only monophonic sound, its headphone jack accommodates stereophonic headphones. In other words, you will hear the mono sound from both earpieces of your headphones or earbuds without the need for using a mono-to-stereo adapter.

You can also charge your phone from it (as long as you have a fully-charged battery).

Does it have any flaws?

You bet!

If you have large hands, it may be a bit tricky to initially connect the built-in battery.

The connecting cable uses a standard USB plug on one end but an older USB Mini-plug on the other, rather than the more modern USB Micro-plug currently used with cell phones, etc. That said, the radio is supplied with the proper cable and should you desire another one (perhaps longer or shorter), these are easy to find (Amazon sells plenty of them) and they are inexpensive.

The six AA batteries fit into three slots with one battery on top of another. I have never liked this scheme. The springs can be bent or damaged when inserting or removing batteries into such slots unless you are careful.

The antenna slides in and out of the radio (that's good) but it does not rotate (that's not so good) and, when you're using the radio on solar power, with the radio sitting on its long base (or laying on its back), the antenna slides out of the side with no way to aim it upright (that's not good at all in my opinion).

There are no radio presets; you must tune up and down the 'dial', just as you do on an analog radio, though this radio will scan and stop on a strong signal for you if you wish.

As it has a digital clock, I wish it had a wake-up alarm. And the digital clock is not and cannot displayed when the radio is playing.

As an emergency radio which is probably going to be used frequently in less-than-ideal conditions, I think that the case should feature some rubberized protection (or SOME protection - it would be okay if Midland offered a padded case as an option; I'm going to look for one at a local store). While I do not think that this radio is fragile in any way, rubber protection for the case would lend an air of confidence.

But that's it, as far as flaws go. And you can see that these are mostly minor, more like nit-picking that real design flaws. I could mention also that there is no power lock function but, due to the nature of the power button, the radio is unlikely to be activated within your luggage.

I own two other Midland weather radios: the Midland WR100 Weather Radio (Discontinued by Manufacturer) and the Midland HH54VP Portable Emergency Weather Radio with SAME (Black).

The WR-100 is strictly for home use and it features S.A.M.E. circuitry. It is excellent for home use but, of course, not meant for travel (though it probably could be used when traveling if you really wanted to take it).

The HH54P is a very good weather portable. It has several warning setups (it even has readable warnings on its screen) and it automatically finds the nearest NOAA frequency no matter where you are. I shall continue to take it along when we travel.

But this new ER300 has a) MUCH better sound quality and b) many more facilities including, of course, AM and FM reception plus that flashlight. The ER300 also picks up the NOAA weather signals somewhat better than does the HH54P, probably due to its longer antenna. While it does not feature S.A.M.E., you wouldn't necessarily want that on a trip (the "Trip" function on the HH54P disables S.A.M.E.). And though it doesn't offer a readable (on the screen) alert message nor automatic finding of NOAA signals, it is certainly easy enough to scroll through just seven channels until you find a local signal. I truly believe that this ER300 is better as an emergency weather radio than is the the HH54P.

It is also very sensitive for a radio of its type - and on all three bands.

I am glad that Amazon Vine supplied this radio to me. I was unaware of this model but I probably would have come across it in time and I can tell you that, once having seen its attributes, I would have purchased one!

As I stated, I believe that everyone should own one (or at least SOME emergency weather radio which has several power sources - your life may depend on one!).

Its price, about which some have complained, does not seem out of line to me when one considers all that this radio offers.

I HIGHLY recommend this Midland radio. I believe that it is the very best of its type.

I thank everyone who has read this report and who has considered my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk

Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Desktop External Hard Drive for Mac with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDU4000100)
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Desktop External Hard Drive for Mac with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDU4000100)
Price: Click here to see our price
47 used & new from $145.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seagate Backup Plus 4 TB Desktop External Drive is an Excellent Drive, April 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am very pleased with this Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Desktop External Hard Drive for Mac with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDU4000100). As I do not own a Mac computer (or any Apple product, mobile or not, for that matter), but rather use a computer running a GNU/Linux operating system, I immediately reformatted this disk to the EXT4 file system which is used with Linux.

There were two partitions on the drive. One (about 315MB as I recall) was formatted as FAT (this contained all of Seagate's utilities, manuals, etc.); the other was formatted as the Mac standard HFS+ (and was empty). It was, of course, easy to delete both of these two partitions and then format the entire disk (now with only one partition) as EXT4. Though I can use an HFS+-formatted drive with my computer, reformatting to EXT4 makes transferring files much faster for me.

Because I do not own a Mac, I cannot comment on the backup utilities included with this drive. (Reformatting erases all of them.)

I plan to use this drive for storage only (specifically, in this case, for video files); storage is the purpose for which I use ALL of my external drives. (I generally back up folders/files to more than one external drive. Should one fail or become corrupted, well I still have the backup on other drive[s]). Naturally, when transferring files, I desire the highest speed I can get.

Be in no doubt: transferring to and from this hard drive is FAST, at least with my computer. I noted transfer speeds of over 130 MB/second and sometimes more. I do wish the drive ran at 7200RPM rather than 5900RPM (that is the correct speed, not a typo) but its transfer speeds, at least as far as I am concerned, are more than adequate. I'm certain, too, that Mac users will find it to be very fast for them as well.

If a purchaser uses Microsoft Windows (and as of this writing this Mac unit seems to be priced lower than the equivalent Windows version though that can change at any time - you'll want to check carefully just before you order), it should be easy to reformat the drive to NTFS if desired. Anyone could, if he/she so chose, reformat the entire drive (with one partition) to FAT, which would make the drive 'Universal.' (Of course, with the FAT format, you are limited to file size, the maximum being, I believe, 4 GB.) I believe that transferring files with this drive and a Windows computer will be very fast too.

I should mention that the maximum speeds will be attained ONLY if you are connecting this drive to a computer's USB 3.0 port. Though it will certainly work with USB 2.0, naturally the transfer speed will be greatly reduced.

All in all, I am glad I was offered this drive from Amazon Vine; one can never have too many external drives. This one, at its current price, represents good value for money in my opinion.

Of course I cannot comment on longevity at this time but, should something untoward develop, I shall report it here. I can mention that I have owned quite a few Seagate drives purchased over a number of years. NONE have ever given any trouble at all. This one comes with a two-year warranty; I wish it were three years but, nowadays, most seem to come with only two-year ones.

Nice styling, small size (for a desktop unit), light weight, plus a discreet power light (power only, not transfer), make for, again in my opinion, a highly desirable external drive.

I highly recommend it.

As always, I thank everyone who has read this report and has considered my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk

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