Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

For £39, Sandstrom is a Real Plastic Princes You Will Fall in Love With

If you wonder what the heck a Sandstrom is, it is my new Bluetooth headphone. If you ask what is there to write about it, the answer is, with a Sandstrom, you can experience the feeling of falling in love at first sight. If you don’t get it, mate, it is the headphone itself I am talking about.

Sandstrom SBTHP11X is a stunningly beautiful headphone!

In fact Sandstrom SBTHP11X has all the romantic qualities of someone you will easily fall in love with in real life. Weighing a mere 102 g, it is so delicate; Hilary Mantel might have called it precision made and a plastic princess.

Sandstrom is one of the best precision made pieces in plastic I have come across since some time.

It was indeed a stroke of luck. Looking out for a cordless headphone for my aging Nokia 900, which is the only Maemo5 phone ever built, I decided to take a trip to the local super store. I was shocked to see the array of head sets displayed, nearly a hundred, yet couldn’t find what I was looking for, a light weight, comfortable, blue tooth head phone with audio controls and active noise cancellation, which I could carry on my head for hours without wanting to take it away.

After spending an hour testing the audio experience from nearly all of them, some of which was really impressive, I was about to walk away as I didn’t see what I was looking for, when a young sales guy cornered me.

On hearing what I was after, he bent down and pulled out a flap packed box and suggested it might just be what I was looking for.

It was a Sandstrom SBTHP11 and amazingly he was right. The box had an impressive image of a stunning pair of ear cups and a very nice, expensive feel about it.

‘What make is it?’ I asked, not seeing a brand name or logo on the box. ‘Sandstrom’ replied the sales guy. Having never heard the name I asked ‘Where is it made?’ ‘No idea.’ said the sales assistant.
Turning the box around, both of us discovered it was made in China. Something didn’t add up.  Stunned, we went through the list of features, which sounded unbelievable for something as light as feather I was holding in my hand. It read like my own list of  what I intended to get.

                  ·        Portable wireless headphones for stereo sound
                  ·        Bluetooth 2.1+EDR  digital wireless transmission technology
                  ·        Integrated track, volume and call control
                  ·        Padded swivel cups and adjustable headband for added comfort
                  ·        Integrated microphone for hands free calling

Though active noise cancellation was on top of my list, after a fair bit of investigation and audio testing of some top of the range headsets in the store, I came to the conclusion that I can’t have it unless I go for a bulky one or an ear bud, except in a few. Besides it looked like the inherent loss audio quality in lower frequencies associated with this feature wasn't worth.

After a week of testing, including some driving around and hour long conversation with friends 5000 miles away, I am excited that what I have on my head is not just a piece of exquisite Swedish design but also a headphone which packs some sharp, high end technology.(Not sure if that is Swedish as well!)

The audio quality and the loudness you can take it to is easily comparable or even better than some of the others I had tested.

I have never accessed my music on anything by just one soft touch or cut it off by just two. Sandstrom gives you the real feeling that your music is always there with you.

You can relate to the music creator as each of his instruments come alive as distinctly as the vocal chords so much so that you become aware of the distortions and disproportion in mixing of audio levels. Suddenly music you thought was heavenly is no more flawless. You become music critic from a connoisseur.

Enjoying all of this or hour long conversation should take a heavy toll the battery you think. Amazingly, the Sandstrom battery which gets charged fully in an hour, through a US b port of your laptop or PC stays alive for more than three days on stand  by or a few good hours on full use.

However there is no instruction how you can change the battery. It is also not clear how the ambient noise is eradicated, which means that you really can retreat into your own world when listening to your music, by the passive noise isolating technology.

Nevertheless, the proof of the pudding in the case of this superb piece of technology is in the very high quality and fidelity of sound it produce with very little power consumption.

The location of the microphones which will face to the rear when the headset is worn is intriguing, but they work so well, the people I spoke to had no idea that I had not actually been speaking in to a microphone.

Over all if you are looking for a petite headphone you can carry around and use with amazing ease, Sandstrom is for you.

As icing on the cake, I was indeed shocked when I paid at the check out, a measly £39 after a incredible discount of £40 for something I thought had value for much more.

I love my Sandstrom, my Plastic Princess; irrespective of What Hilary Mantle will like to call it.

Please, For God’s Sake Don’t Call Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Hyperlink!

Mobile phones may have a problem in predicatively suggesting the name of Engelbert Humperdinck in text messages, but for millions who will miss Whitney Houston and her music, the name Engelbert spells magic and nostalgia.

The BBC has announced this morning that 75 year old Engelbert Humperdinck, once the heart throb of women around the world, will represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision song contest, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May. Engelbert has stated that

"It's an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year's Eurovision Song Contest." "When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!"

Engelbert Humperdinck, dubbed the "King of Romance", is best known for his 1967 hit Release Me, which kept The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever off the number one spot.

For those who haven’t herd of this legendary singer who became famous for his crooning, Engelbert Humperdinck has received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year and is one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame.

"Release Me", his 1967 smash hit version of the 1950s country song was the one that started it all for Engelbert. "Release Me" was succeeded by two more hit ballads, "There Goes My Everything" and "The Last Waltz," earning him a reputation as a crooner.

As per the BBC, the song Humperdinck will perform for the Eurovision contest is yet to be announced but will be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville.

It will be written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt hit You’re Beautiful.

Arnold Dorsey who was born in Chennai, India to a British army officer, took his stage name Engelbert Humperdinck from a German composer best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel.

"I have such wonderful childhood memories of Madras. I like the sun, and my 10 siblings and I went from a big home in India to relatively modest surroundings in England, which can be so cold and grey. Life in England was tough initially, but then we settled down."

Engelbert is equally popular in India and a generation of Indians have reciprocal feelings about him. Engelbert was worshipped to the extent that the Konkani singers, Alfred and Rita Rose, named an offspring after him.

No Goan and Parsi event was complete without Engelbert's music. It was perfectly in sync for our weddings, dances, village socials and Sunday morning hops for the waltz, fox trot or dancing.

There is no doubt that even the “digital” generation around the world, especially in India will be thrilled to hear the “King of Romance” croon again even if they can’t get his name right!

Article first published as Please, For God’s Sake Don’t Call Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Hyperlink! on Technorati.

While it's Raining Cats and Dogs in Chennai, it's Time to Visit Chennai Margazhi

A raging cyclone is crossing the Indian peninsula causing havoc and rain but that is no reason to miss a visit to the world’s only city with a season dedicated to music and dance. The Margazhi festival of Chennai in southern India is a unique opportunity to fill your holiday with an enchanting glimpse in to the rich culture, tradition and food of India.

Margazhi is a month in the Indian Tamil calendar covering December and January. But it is getting to be more associated with the unique carnatic music and dance festival being held in the city of Chennai since decades and evoke nostalgic and romantic feeling in many people, especially among the expatriates who wait for a whole year, yearning for an annual visit.

The best thing about the Margazhi festival is that each day is filled with many musical and dance events in several venues till late night most of which are absolute free with no tickets or entrance fees. The festival aims to promote talent and give an opportunity for the artists to perform in public attracting both professional and amateur practitioners of the arts from around the world.

If you are after a relaxing and fulfilling holiday, it is indeed great fun to hop in and listen to some invigorating music in the mid morning, spend some time on the beach or enjoy some really ethnic food, do some browsing or shopping for exotic jewellery or clothing in the afternoon and then return for more enjoyment of some exhilarating dance in the evening. You can do all of these in any order you like for several days non-stop if you wish.

The festival is in fact an amazing panorama of true Indian culture you can only remotely sense in the hype of “Incredible India”. The artistic intensity of vocal Carnatic and Hindustani music, exotic instruments and solo performances, and riveting dance performances by lone exponents and groups will leave indelible tracks on your memories to take home, unlike a normal holiday you will soon forget about.

What makes it even more interesting is the availability of really ethnic food at many venues during the season, which is normally served only in private homely functions,
thanks to the month of Margazhi, considered inauspicious for marriages and other functions. For connoisseurs, this wonderful treat for the palette is an added attraction of the festival pampering all of your senses.

If you seriously want a rejuvenating break and don’t know how to get that well deserved tranquilising change away from your world, then Margazhi in Chennai may be what you may be looking for.  

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