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kireviewer RSS Feed (Sunnyvale, Ca United States)

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Pioneer SC-79 9.2-Channel Multi-Zone, Networked, Elite Class D3 AV Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Pioneer SC-79 9.2-Channel Multi-Zone, Networked, Elite Class D3 AV Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Moe's AV
Price: $1,789.99
5 used & new from $1,789.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not enough inputs and outputs., August 10, 2014
I am writing this in August 2014. This is no longer manufactured and will be replaced by the SC-89 which will come out sometime between September (if you believe Amazon) and November (if you believe Pioneer).

Should you wait for the SC-89? Probably not. To my knowledge, there are two big differences. one differences on the SC-89 is that it will have the new Dolby system but I think this requires new specially designed speakers to be effective. The other difference is that the SC-89 will have HDMI 2.0 for state of the art 4K TV resolution (which doubles the frames per minute). There are only a few TVs and there are no video sources that support HDMI 2.0 right now. Whether HDMI 2.0 will be required for the future or the higher frame rate will ever be adopted is not known. But, if it is, you have a simple solution. Plug the video source directly into your TV instead of going through your receiver. There is no real need to pass video through your receiver. When I had the older VSX-84T, I had to do that for 3D Blu Ray.

Now about this unit. It probably has the best sound quality and power in its class (compared to the likes of Denon, Onkyo, etc.). It is the only class D amplifier in its class. Contrary to what many say, class D is not digital. It is a pulse width modulated system. It has higher efficiency and better power dynamics than the old class A/B amplifiers that everyone else uses (and Pioneer still used on the VSX systems). So you end up with a smoother but more accurate sound. Since the class D amp is more efficient not as much heat sinking is needed, so this receiver is much lighter than the competition. There is also less ventilating required and you no longer need 14 inches of clearance on the top.

I was using the VSX-84T, which was the top of the line Pioneer receiver at the time. I bought the SC-79 because of the great price and because it has lots of features that my old system did not have, like the internet connectivity.

-Second and third room outputs only play analog sources (they won't from the digital outputs of your Blu-Ray player)

-There are not enough analog inputs. I have lots of old systems, like a cassette deck, a VHS player, a professional grade CD recorder, and a DVD player that also has HDCD playback, plus I want to use the analog outputs of my TV cable box and Blu-Ray player so I can play them on second room zone (which I use to power outdoor speakers).
There are not enough analog inputs for all this. My old VSX-84T did have enough inputs.
Well, my cassette player died, so I won't need to hook it up, so I can squeak by.
-There are no Super-8 video inputs. There are plenty of composite inputs. So, if you have that old, high end VHS deck, you can't make use of the better picture quality.
-There are not enough optical and coaxial inputs. There are only two optical and two coaxial inputs.
-There are not enough analog outputs. There is only one pass through analog output...the type of output you would connect to cassette recorder, VHS deck or CD recorder.
-There is only one optical audio output and no coaxial outputs.

-The MCACC, automated sound system setup, deadens the sound. The speakers sound much better if you do pure direct.

-The MCACC system would tell me I had the polarity wrong on my speakers. So, I would swap the wires, and then it would tell me they were wrong again. To confirm what was right, I had to get out an ohm meter and check the wires.

-It is really hard to hook up the speaker wire to this thing, especially if you have thick wires and you have already plugged in your components into the receiver (hint: hook up the speakers first and then plug in components).

-The manual is on a CD and the CD is not user friendly. The manual is not intuitive, except for the very basic setup. If you want to do anything besides hooking this thing to a Blu Ray player and your TV, it can get complex and hard to figure out.

-The setup menus are ugly and basic and can be hard to figure out. Not much has changed since I bought my VSX 8 years ago.

-When you press the menu button on the remote control, it takes a long time for the menu to show up on your TV screen. So, you are not sure if you really pushed the menu button. If you press it again, then it turns off the menu. So, you have to press the menu button once and then just wait for 30 seconds to make sure the command went through.

-Internet connection is hard wired LAN cable and there is no WiFi. Pioneer sells a WiFi to LAN adapter for $150, but you can just get any wireless gateway (between $20 to $50).

-To connect through Blue Tooth, you have to buy the Pioneer Blue Tooth Adapter for about $100. There are no alternatives for this.

-One the remote control, if you push the zone 2 button, the remote will only operate zone 2. The manual does not explain you to change the remote back so it will operate the main system. It took me about 30 minutes of playing with buttons to figure this out (press the RECEIVER button on the remote)

Grey Pink & Gold
Grey Pink & Gold
6 used & new from $16.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality and performances....much better alternatives available, August 8, 2014
This review is from: Grey Pink & Gold (Audio CD)
This is a two disc set. One disc comes from the 1990/1 reunion tour with the 5 original members (if you include Jimmy Hastings as an original member) and one disc from the 2002/3 tour with guest guitarist Doug Boyle. During these tours, the group played the same basic set every night. But, Caravan is a jamming band and never really played a song the same way twice.

There are major problems with this CD set. The sound quality is mediocre and even poor at times. At times there is a little slowing down of the music as if the source tape were stretched.
On the plus side, he mix is mostly good and the audience noise is kept to a minimum.

The editing between songs is horrible and the songs are our of order for the concert. There are abrupt cuts between songs. One of the band members will introduce the next song, and a completely different song comes next.

The performances seem to be off. But, some of that may be due to the source tapes distorting the sound.

Kind of make you wonder if people who give this 5 stars actually listened to it, especially since the obvious flaws are not mentioned. I bought my copy at Croco Disc in Paris for 12 euro. I would say that Paris has some of the best CD stores of any big city I have visited. Also big on vinyl...but it hard to bring back vinyl in your suitcase. I will rip a couple of songs off of this and sell it again. There are a few songs played in a manner I haven't heard before.

Much, much better albums from these concert tours exist. For the reunion tour, the CD titled "Live" is the one to get. There are at least 3 others from the 2002/3 tour and anyone is better than this.

In general, I think the best live album from the group is Live at Fairfield Halls (when it was released as an LP it was called Greatest Hits Live, which is a joke because the group never had any hits). Then I would get Songs for Oblivion Fishermen and BBC 1.

I also recommend the All Over You albums where old songs were reworked.

Elite Little Dog Bark Control
Elite Little Dog Bark Control
Offered by POOCHY
Price: $83.95
83 used & new from $75.00

5.0 out of 5 stars It Works, July 5, 2014
The problem with many items on the market is that they make claims and they don't really work.

This thing works. It fits the dog fine and he has stopped barking. is not for the squeamish or the animal activist. It does shock the dog. The dog will bark, the shock will get worse until the dog stops are barking. The dog will yelp from the pain of the shock. It does take about 5 instances of barking before the dog gets the idea.

My daughter (who is 25) couldn't stand to watch. I had no problem with it. The dog's bark is just as painful to me and to the neighbors. Now it is gone.

It also has a minor impact on the dog that lasts for about 2 days. After that, the dog was back to his normal self, only not barking at every little thing.

It will be interesting to see if we can eventually remove the collar....but I think the dog will be smart enough to figure it out.

Also, the collar really fits well and is not too heavy for a small dog.

Schwinn Loop 7-Speed Folding Bike
Schwinn Loop 7-Speed Folding Bike

4.0 out of 5 stars OK, but seat is bad and handle bars are too high., June 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this bike for my wife because she saw a similar one from Citizen on daytime TV (some show like the View) and had to have one. I don't how much crap we have because my wife saw it on something like Ellen. When the morning shows like Good Morning America or the daytime talk shows like Oprah show something on their shows, it is because they are paid by the company that makes them. It is very sneaky and nasty advertising.

My wife saw the Barcelona bike by Citizen, but it was $400 and we haven't seen any honest reviews on it.

We bought this Schwinn for her. She doesn't really need a folding bike. But, she is under 5 feet tall and wanted a nice step through bike in a small size. This was a good compromise.

The bike comes mostly assembled. You just have to unfold it and put one the peddles on it. Mostly everything was properly setup and did not need any adjustments. The only thing I had to adjust was the front brake which was too tight and stopping the wheel from turning freely. It took me about an hour to figure out how to adjust it because the instructions are poor. But, I don't have much experience with bikes....someone more familiar with bikes could probably do the adjustment much quicker.

This bike is about the right size for my wife, except that the handle bars are too high for someone her height. You can raise the handle bars, but not lower them. The seat has a very wide range of adjustment to fit almost anywhere.

The biggest downside of this bike is that the seat is very uncomfortable. My wife couldn't really ride it with the seat it came with. We replaced the seat and she is fine riding it around.

It is seven speeds and rides and handles well. The brake are touchy, so you need to be careful the first few times you stop so you don't go over the handle bars. It rides as well as you could expect for a 20" bike.

Even though this is a folding bike, it is still very heavy. It is OK for folding up and sticking in a trunk of a car. I don't know if I would ever want to carry it anywhere.

It comes with a bag which is useless. It is hard to wrestle the bike into the bag, especially since the bike is so heavy.

You can get this bike in black for much cheaper, but the green looks so much better....we ended up paying the extra $40 for it.

Krud Kutter HS01 Green Pressure Washer Concentrate House and Siding Cleaner with Mild Odor, 1 Gallon
Krud Kutter HS01 Green Pressure Washer Concentrate House and Siding Cleaner with Mild Odor, 1 Gallon
Price: $9.85
13 used & new from $9.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't seem to do anything, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had some dirty concrete where a gazebo and hot tub once were. There are redwood, rust and mildew stains. There is also green mold growing.

I followed the instructions, using a deck sprayer to apply it and a garden hose to wash it off.

I did not see any noticeable improvements. There might have been a small impact, but I really can't be sure.

So, don't get this to clean concrete. Maybe it might clean something else....I will try it on something else.

Note that there are all kinds of warnings not to get this stuff on any vegetation.

Price: $18.28
38 used & new from $12.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Osibisa's two best albums, June 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Osibisa/Woyaya (Audio CD)
This is Osibisa's two first albums, sold together in a single jewel case. Each album is around 41 minutes, so they are on separate CDs (I am so glad they didn't try to cut something out to fit on one CD). There is a nice 8 page booklet with most of the original information/artwork but shrunk down to CD size. It is kind of a shame, because it would be nice to have those covers in at least a full CD size instead of shrunk down to put both on the same cover.

The sound quality is very good to excellent.

Released in 1971, this is from the period when the music was the most important thing in Rock. This is a great mixture of African rhythms, rock, blues and a little bit of progressive rock. Some of the tracks on Woyaya remind me of Traffic.

This was a time when world music was getting to be very popular. Santana just hit it big a little earlier. Groups were adding latin and African percussion to their sound. Osibisa probably is not as hard core African as some of the groups during this time. Some of the Ginger Baker experiments went deeper into the African sound. Ayiko Bia must be some sort of tradition African number. Ginger Baker's Airforce also did a number that sounds very similar and called the same thing, only spelled differently (Ginger Baker's Airforce was only the beginning of Baker's foray into African music).

I think both albums are great and I was disappointed in the albums that came afterward. They were OK, but too poppy and too Anglicized. I kind of gave up and lost track of the band after they did the soundtrack to Superfly TNT.

Polaroid Spectra System Instant Film Camera w/Quintic Lens F10/125mm Camera
Polaroid Spectra System Instant Film Camera w/Quintic Lens F10/125mm Camera
20 used & new from $7.40

4.0 out of 5 stars fun while it lasted, June 8, 2014
Expensive but fun camera.

Back before digital cameras and iPads and instant uploads, this was a great thing for parties. You could take pictures, lay them out for all to view and let people take them home with them. But, it was expensive at about $1 per picture (which is more like $2 per picture today).

Even though this was the last and best generation of polaroid, the pictures were still not that great (even the earliest cellphones took better pictures) and the pictures fade out over time and do not last more than 10 years.

This started to become obsolete when companies like Kodak started selling small photo printers. This goes on my list of things that would have never been invented if we started from today (along with land lines, VCRs and fax machines).

Speaking of poor Kodak. They had a huge financial hit when they brought out a polaroid clone but got sued for patent infringement.

You can still get film for these cameras, but it is like up to $2 per picture.

OTTONAVI Lexus RX330 07-09 GPS DVD Bluetooth Navigation Android Stereo Radio
OTTONAVI Lexus RX330 07-09 GPS DVD Bluetooth Navigation Android Stereo Radio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good idea done poorly for the RX330, May 30, 2014
Otto Navi buys car radio/navigation systems from a company in Shenzen China and pairs them with after market installation kits and sells them as a complete solution. And they sell the whole thing for more than you would pay if you bought the items separately.

I like the idea of one stop shopping, but they didn't do a complete job for the RX330 radio.

You have a luxury car (or even a standard car) and your radio breaks. You want to replace it with the newest technology that is blue tooth enabled instead of paying $700 for a rebuilt replacement that just plays CDs....but you can't just go out and buy a new radio to put in your car, because your factory radio has a special front plate....and you can't use your premium amplifier and speakers with a standard radio harness.

So, there are companies that make retrofit kits. You can buy a special faceplate that will fit standard radios. You can buy wiring harnesses that will connect to your car's electronics. Then, you need to go out and buy the new radio. It is hassle to go out and buy these things and then figure out how to connect them all together.

Otto Navi came up with the solution: sell the radio with all the retrofit pieces and have it all connected up so all you have to do is plug it into your car. Unfortunately, they did not come up with the complete solution for the RX330. They went cheap on the wiring harness, so it will not work seamlessly with the cars existing systems.

This is not a good deal:

They use Chinese no name radio systems from a factory in Shenzen China that cranks these things out for many different brands. You can buy a comparable system for under $300, and maybe much less.

They get the retrofit kits from other suppliers.
The faceplate is METRA 99-8159S which you can buy on Amazon for $26.
I don't know whose wiring harness they use, but you can buy ones that do the same thing for under $80. And this is where the problem is...they went cheap on the wiring harness so it does not work with all the electronics on the car. In order to work with all the electronics, the wiring harness would cost you about $250.

Many of the Otto Navi radio kits will work with the controls on the steering wheel. I don't know if this kit will....they do not tell you one way or the other. If you were to get a harness that works with the steering wheel controls, that will cost about an extra $60.

Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith
Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith
Price: $29.29
33 used & new from $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One more time into the Genesis bucket...., May 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is at least 3rd time Hackett put out an album of mostly Genesis songs. On this album all but one song is from Genesis and the one song that isn't almost was and is co-written by Rutherford.

In reality, this is just another tribute band album....with the only plus being that one of the musicians was in the original band.
What ever happened to artists creating original music?

You might consider this album pointless. There are very few songs on it where this version is the best version ever recorded. For instance, most of the songs that are on Seconds Out were done better on Seconds Out. Although not on any official records, there are some fantastic versions of other songs done by Genesis post Hackett, like a great I Know What I Like. Say what you like about Genesis after Gabriel and Hackett left, it was still a great live band in many ways better live than the old Gabriel version was live. (the Gabriel Genesis was a better studio band, but for the live shows, you had to be there...they didn't translate well to records)

Also, I think the first couple of times Hackett did this, he did it better...especially with the Tokyo tapes (not all Genesis music, but a very interest album). There seemed to be more energy in the earlier efforts. This time, he might be taking on too many songs so that he isn't putting a special effort into each one and ends up just playing them more like the originals.

But, in spite of all the negative things I could say about this, I really like it. All the songs are well played and it good to hear them with a Hackett emphasis. The video is also very good. It still has the problem of most videos these days of too much zooming in and out and pan and scan, instead of concentrating on the main musician at the right time. But, the video quality is very good and so is the sound quality.

I don't give out 5 stars easily. I don't like the concept of this album, that nothing special is done on many of the songs, but it still very good.

Vibe Optisound Game 5 (80W) Gaming Subwoofer
Vibe Optisound Game 5 (80W) Gaming Subwoofer
Offered by Perfect Corners Collectibles
Price: $49.99
6 used & new from $39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good if you can find it no sale., May 18, 2014
At $80. this is overpriced. You can buy bigger, more power subwoofers for less. But, maybe you can find it for less....I bought one for half this price.

This touts itself as a "gaming" subwoofer...but a subwoofer is a subwoofer. Most small sound systems and TVs have poor bass response. Adding a subwoofer can improve the sound immensely.

This subwoofer is sized for a small stereo or a TV in a kid's room. It isn't big enough for a living room. It is small, so it doesn't get in the way. A like most subwoofers, you can just stick in a corner, out of the way. Actually you want to stick it in a corner out of the way to get the most effect as the bass sound bounces off the floor and walls.

The one advantage this has over most other subwoofers is that it comes with the cables for hooking it up to your gaming system, if you plug the gaming system directly into your TV. Most subwoofers do not come with any cables. But, you can buy the cables on your own....but if you don't have any tech savvy, you might not be able to figure it out on your own....but, if you own a video game system then you probably do have the savvy.

I bought it to hook up to my HP all in one computer and it works nicely (but I did have to buy a cable to do it). The HP computers come with Beats audio (but not for long if Apple buys Beats). But, that really doesn't mean anything. The speakers aren't that great on the computer. But, it does come with a subwoofer output socket. HP was selling a subwoofer to plug right in but they have been out of stock for a long time. So, I needed a cheap subwoofer. I found this Vibe at half the price listed here. It really does improve the sound of my computer.

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