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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
Thursday
Feb222018

A vinyl record you play backwards

A quick look at an unusual record that was recorded inside-out because it sounds better that way.
   

Purchased from here

(This is not an affiliated link and I paid for my record).

Friday
Feb092018

Finally! A good & affordable Front & Rear 1080p DashCam

For the last few years I've been trying to find a Dual 1080p front & rear dash-cam that I could recommend, and here it is.  

I've been using this for quite a few weeks now and I have no intention of replacing it with anything else in the forseeable future.  To see if it's suitable for you too, watch the video below. 

If you are unclear on any of the terminology or features mentioned then I've provided a Guide To Dashcams (link at the top of the page).  Below the video you'll find the Amazon Links and downloadable sample clips. 

 

You can buy the Dual 1080p Aukey Dashcam on Amazon. (All links below are affiliated links).

Amazon US http://amzn.to/2ExFCCy (Likely to be out of stock)
Amazon DE http://amzn.to/2EqqZxK  (I've been told dashcams are not legal in Germany)

-------Camera Links Above-------

Other Links

Downloadable Sample Clips HERE  (Don't stream these). Download and play them locally on a computer. 

Recommended Memory Card - Toshiba Exceira 64GB

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nS2hA7

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2BNtAUH

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2nP5ArT

Amazon ES: http://amzn.to/2o5Qz44 

Unfortunately as I was finishing editing this video, Amazon US ran out of stock and don't have an ETA for any more, however it does still seem to be readily available elsewhere. I suspect there's a container ship slowly making it's way to the US full of Aukey Dashcams as I type...however I can't wait forever, so I've published this video for viewers residing elsewhere.

Thursday
Feb082018

The Swiss Army Knife of CD Machines

 

It's become a modern day cliché to pile on and criticise CDs, but in my opinion there's absolutely nothing wrong with them and there never has been. They still do today what they set out to do over 35 years ago.
   
Yes you can get poorly mastered CDs with brick-walled sound, but that's not the fault of the CD, and I'll never understand how the same people who complain loudest about the format's digital sound will then go and happily listen to streamed music. 
   
I do wonder if the CD will start to make a bit of a comeback in coming years when a new generation of people start formulating their own opinions about the format, as seems to have happened with vinyl records. 
    
This video is about a CD Player & Recorder, but one that many people won't have seen before. It comes from that parallel world of musician's electronics where DAT was a success and boomboxes played MIDI files. Its one of those things that might have been seen in music equipment stores, but your average person had no idea existed. 
   
Watch the video below to find out all about the Superscope PSD300.
     

 

Monday
Jan292018

CD Video (not Video CD)

CD Video is a confusing format, not just because of the similarities of its name to Video CD, but also because it's really two formats pretending to be one, and one of those already existed under another name. In this video I attempt to navigate through this confusion to explain what CD Video was and why it’s all but forgotten nowadays.

   

 

Full 1988 Promo Disc Here: https://youtu.be/HOAeEf4D0dU

Also if you're interested, back in 2015 I made a video about Laserdisc: https://youtu.be/KOrn2hBsYKE
   
************** C O R R E C T I O N ******************
The BBC Domesday Project Laserdisc Players were connected to BBC Masters not Model B’s as erroneously stated (as well as IBM compatible PCs)
*****************************************************
Early access here on Techmoan.com - It will be live to all on youtube tomorrow. 
Saturday
Jan272018

Back in the kitchen with a Pasta Maker

I'm always on the lookout for kitchen gadgets to feature in a video.  This is touted as the number one fresh pasta maker in Italy, although most people there, just like elsewhere, prefer to buy dried pasta.  You can buy a heck of a lot of bags of dried pasta for the price of this machine, so it’s definitely not a way to save money, it probably makes a better gift than it does an investment. 
   
   
Unlike most kitchen gadgets I’ve tested, this is one I will be using again. It’s surprisingly fun, it works well, there's something special about eating pasta you've just made and the cost of using it is negligible. 
Unfortunately the place I bought mine from (Coolshop) no longer stock  them - but according to the Philips website it is now being sold officially in the U.K. for £170, but I've yet to find anywhere with stock. 
   
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2E8HUpj (Out of stock)
   
You can download the recipe book here
  
It's pretty simple to make flavoured pasta - e.g. To make carrot flavoured pasta you replace the water in the mixture with carrot juice...and the same goes for Tomato etc.
 
Addendum
i) - The toy I mentioned was not from Playmobil - it was the Playdoh mop top hair shop
ii) I pronounced penne incorrectly a couple of times in this video. That’s how my family always pronounced it - although to be honest I don't think it's a word we said very much. You'll also notice that I also pronounce it correctly once in the video. However this slight difference in pronunciation seems to have upset everyone on the planet with a keyboard - people are rioting in the streets, economies have crashed and countries have declared martial law. I know it’s difficult, but please try to get past this horrendous and awfully upsetting event - I'm working on arranging counselling sessions for all the affected people. It is a deeply shocking and sobering event for us all, may god have mercy on my soul.
    
The Outro Video can be found on its own here: https://youtu.be/fDLGfeoOwJ8
The video within the outro can be found here: https://youtu.be/vX8PkvxgoeE
There is a playlist of all the outro videos here: https://www.youtube.com
Wednesday
Jan172018

The DENON DP 47F Turntable - an Automatic Classic

A surprising number of people enquired whether I would be making a video about my new turntable. They'd spotted it in a couple of recent videos and were interested to know why I'd replaced my Sansui. The simple answer is nothing more exciting than I wanted a record player with a hinged lid, but also I'll take any excuse to buy something as smart as this. 
   
Initially I thought there wouldn't be enough to say about it, beyond the fact it's a record player and it plays records. However as you'll see, this ended up occupying twenty minutes of video. 
  
So in the video I explain why I chose this particular 'vintage' turntable, I pass on a few tips for anyone thinking of buying a second hand player and explain my laissez-faire attitude when it comes to chasing audio quality.
 
  

 

Friday
Jan122018

Dashcam Review - Dual Lens 1080p Z-Edge S3

In an attempt to answer the question "What dual 1080p dashcam would you recommend?"
I'm testing the Z-Edge S3. Video below. 
   
  
Available from.
   
Sample Clips here: http://bit.ly/2mprvVN
   
Beginners Guide to dashcams here: http://www.techmoan.com/guide-to-dashcams/
The camera I put back in the car is a Viofo A119 - here is the review of that one. 
   
Anticipated questions
Q) What cut off the DAB radio reception?
A) Electrical Interference
   
Q) Perhaps the problem with electrical interference is down to the Z-edge’s power supply. 
A) I didn’t use it, I re-used the same USB power adaptor I use on the Viofo A119  
   
Q) Why didn't you adjust the brightness in the settings?
A) There are no options for brightness or exposure in the settings
Friday
Jan052018

RokBlok Review

I first heard about the Rokblok on Kickstarter although I didn't back it, because I really didn't need a novelty way to play back records. I knew all about the Soundwagon Vinyl Killers from the 1970s and to me this just seemed like an updated version with bluetooth. I still couldn't see how driving the stylus around the top of a static record could produce acceptable results. The Soundwagon players of the past were toys, whereas this device seemed to be taking itself much more seriously. 
   
So I forgot about it - the Kickstarter came and went, the project was sucessfully funded and due to be delivererd to customers towards the end of 2017.  However in recent months quite a few people got in touch to ask me whether I'd be reviewing it when it came out. I decided that even though it wasn't for me, perhaps it woud be a fun gadget to demonstrate and I may even be pleasantly surprised with the results. I went ahead and ordered one from their online store.
 
Well here's my video review - as well as a follow up to the review and unfortunately it hasn't lived up to my expectations, and I had set them quite low. I never like to see a product underperform, but I can only report back on my personal experience. I need to stress that the manufacturers have been in touch and stated that it should sound much better than this - so I hope this turns out to be true and if you have already ordered one, yours produces much better results. 
  
Thursday
Dec282017

8ban records - purposefully low-fi

The 8ban is a format I've wanted to cover for a few years, but it's not been simple, as while the special turntables are relatively easy to find, the miniature records that play on them have proved to be much more elusive. 
   
However I've finally been able to obtain a stack of unopened records together with a new-old-stock turntable upon which to play them, so it's high time to take a look at this low-fi format.
   
Friday
Dec222017

Yi 360 VR vs Ricoh Theta V (360º Cameras)

Its the last video before Christmas and I'm looking at two 360º cameras, the Yi 360 VR and the Ricoh Theta V. 
     
     
Managing Expectations with 360º video
   
I've seen people express disappointment with the video quality of consumer 360º devices but they are usually comparing them against professionally shot 360º footage, which just isn't a fair fight. Because while you could take a standard photo on a consumer DSLR camera that can rival the very best photos taken with the best equipment, when it comes to 360º video it's a very different story.
    
When viewing a 360º video you are zooming in on section of the overall image. So while the resolution of the video file might be 3840x1920 you may just be looking at a 640x360 slice from that. The rest of the video is made up of what's going on over your head, down at your feet and behind you. 
   
Consumer 360º camera manufacturers are at the limit of what can be handled by current imaging chipsets. Even if you could get a 360º camera that recorded 8K video, this would still look softer than a standard flat 1080p video once you'd zoomed in on a section of it. 
   
Professional quality 360º videos use multiple individual cameras (e.g. The GoPro Omni uses 6 Go-Pro cameras) and the video from those six cameras is stitched together using a computer. 
   
So this is where it's at with consumer 360º cameras, they are just a bit of fun and won't be capable of producing the same results as a professional rig, but then again the pro equipment doesn't fit in your jeans pocket. 
   
Purchasing Links
   
Amazon US
   
Amazon UK
   
Amazon CAN
Yi 360 (Not Listed)
   
SAMPLE CLIPS
I've managed uploaded a sample video from each camera shot in their '4K' modes to youtube.
You can view these in 360º using the youtube App on a smartphone or tablet...and in the Chrome browser.
Here are the samples 
1) Yi 360  
I don't think youtube can display these in their full resolution modes in 360º and also I've noticed that the Theta Video and Audio are now in sync once uploaded to youtube, so it appears the sync issue is in the IOS app and not the original footage.
Also for some unknown reason the Yi footage looks softer than the Theta on youtube. I don't know why this is.
   
I haven’t found a way to upload the Yi 360’s '5.7K' mode footage to YouTube and have it stitch together. 
 
Thursday
Dec142017

Is Reel to Reel the new Vinyl? 

The short answer is no, but the long answer is much more complicated and requires a video to explain exactly what is meant by reel to reel, because in some ways it’s a dead format, yet in others it’s enjoying a comeback. 

Clearly a short video like this can't hope to cover every possible aspect of the complete history of Reel to Reel from 1928 to 2017...for example it's missing facts like the first stereo tapes were recorded in Germany in the early 1940s, how different thicknesses and formulations of tapes affect sound quality, and why tails-out storage of tapes is recommended.

If you would like more information on the history of reel to reel, the following website is a great place to start: Reel 2 Reel Texas

Other Information/Links:

The Tape Project (Tapes & Useful Information)

The Verge Article from 2015

United Home Audio (High end 15ips machines)

Horch House (Tapes)

Opus 3 Records (Tapes)

Analogy Records (Tapes)

What Hi-Fi? article (Re-mastering)

If you are shopping for a Reel to Reel machine on ebay  - here's my affiliated link.

UPDATE:  Duplication Process

The company I contacted asking for more details regarding their process, have now got back to me. They've confirmed that they borrow the master tape, make a copy (or more likely a number of identical parallel copies on a bank of tape machines)...they then use these copies as their master to run duplicates off that they sell to you. The original master is returned to the studio. 

Demo Tape

If you want to hear the 1957 2 Track Stereo Demo Tape in full - it's here.