1By One Bluetooth Smart Scales Review
Posted on 11th September 2019 by Mark Tiddy.
If you’d prefer to watch a video review of these scales then click here!
1By One are a company making budget devices and one of their products are the 1By One Smart Body scales.
These scales cost around £21 from Amazon with a choice of black or white. In my opinion they look pretty smart with their rounded edges. They’re also incredibly light. The top of them has resistant tempered glass and can take a weight of up to 180kg.
The scales are powered by 3 triple A batteries which even come in the box.
Standing on them causes them to act like a normal pair of scales and they tell you your weight in Kg or Lbs. You can choose which using the button on the base of the scales. It’s a shame there’s not a stone option but never mind!
However, using them with the 1byOne health app is where they really come into their own.
Once you’ve initially connected the scales in the 1byOne Health app all you need to do is open the app when you’re near the scales (and on them) and they automatically connect and show you your results. This app happens pretty instantly and the app shows some really useful information too.
It shows you your weight (you can choose whether you want it in KG, stone or Lbs) and your BMI at the top (calculated from your height data which you added when you set up your profile)
They also use the sensors on the device to calculate:
- Percentage body fat
- Visceral Fat
- Percentage body water
- Bone mass
- Basel Metabolic rate
I can’t comment on how accurate they are as I’ve no other way to test it although the results are the same as my previous scales.
Tapping onto these pieces of data give you a handy scale to help you understand whether this is healthy or not.
The app also lets you track your data over time and you can set reminders to step on the scales. Other features let you weight a baby and add extra users to track the whole family!
Finally, you can also sync your data with a variety of other apps including Fitbit, Apple health and Google fit. This is great because it enables you to keep all your health data in one place, it even sends all those metrics across automatically once you’ve set it up.
All in all, for an incredibly reasonable price these scales look good, connect easily and seamlessly sync with other apps. If you’re looking for some connected scales on a budget then be sure to check these out.scales, tech, weight
Speeding Up a 2012 Unibody MacBook Pro
Posted on 1st July 2019 by Mark Tiddy.
Way back in 2012 I picked up my 2nd ever Apple laptop, a unibody MacBook Pro. I decided to (in theory) future proof myself by going for the 2.9ghz Intel Core i7 with 8gb RAM but decided against the retina model because I wanted to have a DVD drive and be able to do upgrades.
7 years later and this is still the machine I use everyday. I edit 4k video on it using Final Cut Pro and have produced whole albums of music (check out my band Backroom Stereo) and it is faster today than the day I got it thanks to a couple of simple and easy upgrades.
1 – The Hard Drive
A couple of years ago I splashed out on a 1TB SSD hard drive to put in my Mac (and upgraded that to a 2TB drive a couple of months ago). An SSD or Solid State Drive has much faster read/write speeds than a traditional hard drive and the speed increase was instantly noticeable.
SSD memory is getting cheaper and it’s certainly well worth doing. I’ve made a tutorial on YouTube for how to do this (and clone all your data) and I’d recommend Crucial hard drives (500GB model here, 1TB model here and 2TB model here).
2 – RAM
Upgrading RAM didn’t give me as noticeable difference as upgrading my hard drive but it has certainly made a difference. The handy system scanner from Crucial (linked here) can scan your machine and tell you how much RAM your machine can take (in my case, 16gb in the form of 2 x 8gb sticks). RAM isn’t that expensive so for £60 I picked up a 16gb kit and installed it a few days ago…already I’m noticing far less of the coloured wheel! Watch my tutorial here and pick up the RAM I chose here.
Doing both of these upgrades will seriously speed up your MacBook and I reckon it could give any of the new MacBooks a run for their money without me having to shell out for a brand new MacBook.
Zoom IQ5 Lightning Microphone Review
Posted on 2nd May 2019 by Mark Tiddy.
The Zoom IQ5 is a few years old now but still a great option for improving audio quality on your iPhone/iPad videos.
Watch the video review here or read on…
I picked one of these up for £35 (bargain!) after looking at the other options out there (including the Zoom IQ6 and IQ7). It’s no longer available so you’ll have to search for eBay where they typically sell for £60-70.
However…it’s still a great option so here’s a review to see if this piece of tech is still worth picking up 5 years after its release.
In a nutshell, the IQ5 is a stereo condenser mic designed to help you get a better quality sound from your iPhone or iPad videos. I’ve had mine a couple of months and have been using it for every YouTube video I’ve created since and really think it improves the sound.
Design & Specification
It’s not the prettiest design out there but I think it looks pretty cool. The microphone itself is this spherical shape which rotates and twists to allow you to adjust it depending on where you are in relation to your recording device.
The front has two sets of switches. One for adjusting gain and one for width.
One side has buttons for adjusting gain, the other side is a mini USB port for charging your phone during use (no idea why they didn’t go with lightning!) and a headphone jack for monitoring the sound.
You can set the gain to auto, limited (which lets you use the gain slider to adjust it) and off and there’s width settings for 90 degrees, 120 degrees and a MS setting.
Let’s unpack what that means
90 degrees is a direct recording…the sort of thing you’d use for a video where sound is coming from one place.
120 degrees catches more width…you’d probably use this if you were recording a larger area such as a band playing. It captures more of the sound of the review. (There’s examples of all of these in my video review)
MS – This option records both 90 and 120 degrees and let’s you choose and mix in the Zoom Handy Recorder app. (more on the app later)
Using the IQ5
Using the IQ5 is super easy, you plug it into your iPhone or iPad and you’re away…it fits so snugly to your device you’ll have to remove any cases first!
Then to record you either use the Zoom Handy Recorder app or the video/audio app of your choice. I just use the native camera app to shoot videos and it automatically uses the Zoom IQ5 for audio.
There’s not much else to say. For me the audio is loud enough, clear, crisp and free of background noise*
*As long as you put your phone in aeroplane mode otherwise your video is a set of buzzes and crackles!!!
The Handy Recorder App
This app is meant to be (and advertised as) the comparison app to the IQ5 (and indeed IQ6 and IQ7) however I’m not the biggest fan of it!
The app feels it’s long overdue an update and looks dated…on newer iPhones it doesn’t even fill the screen. I’ve also found that you have to set your recordings to AAC format in the settings as WAV files refuse to export.
I do however like there’s options to upgrade firmware, make the auto gain settings more specific to what you want to record and all sorts of other extras.
The ability to monitor the sound is also really handy.
When you export audio you do this via Soundcloud or via Email…two functional options but updates to add other options like iCloud and Dropbox would be nice.
If you want something small and compact that improves the sound of your video shot on your iPhone or iPad then I’d really recommend this…I think it’s improved the sound of my videos and made them clearer.
I like that it sits on your phone without the need of clamps and I like that it’s adjustable, it does however feel a little plastic-y and I wonder how easy it is to break.
Do comment with any questions and checkout the posts on the rest of this site and my YouTube channel.Tags: audio, ipad, microphone, tech
iRig Stomp I/O Guitar Effects Pedal Review
Posted on 10th April 2019 by Mark Tiddy.
Watch my video review below or scroll down for the written review.
What if you could have every amp, cab and effects pedal at your fingertips without having to buy a studio and spend loads and loads of money…well…that’s the idea of the iRig Stomp I/O pedal but does it achieve that?
In 2018 IK Multimedia released the iRig Stomp I/O. A guitar effects pedal board for the 21st century retailing at an RRP of £300.
The Stomp I/O is a digital foot controller for guitarists, bassists and vocalists which works with a PC, Mac or iOS device…but let’s be honest…it’s largely aimed at iOS usage.
It looks like a traditional multi effects board. It has 4 switches and an expression pedal. It’s largely made of metal and looks smart and feels incredibly durable and well made.
The front also has a bay for putting your iPad or iPhone in and the rubber backing means it won’t move anywhere! There’s also a volume and gain control.
The rear of the device has loads of ports…there’s a input that takes an XLR or jack input, input from a USB or iOS device, a 48v phantom power button, headphone output, stereo outputs, midi in and out, external pedal/switch inputs for further expansion and a power cable slot. (No battery power here)
The Stomp I/O can act as a 1 channel recording device and you can record using a USB to a computer programme like Logic Pro or you can use the recording function of the Amplitube app however this feature isn’t really worth talking about for a couple of reasons…
1 – You can’t record the effects you’ve set up unless you record in Amplitube which means you lose all the functionality of a professional application like Logic Pro. It works as a 1 channel recording device…if you want one!
2 – It’s clearly not the main purpose of this…
So let’s talk about using it as a pedal board
For this I’m going to focus on using it with an iPad because it’s the most practical way to use it because the iPad sits perfectly in the bay and can be easily seen from above.
You connect it via the bundled lightning cable and it even charges your iPad as you use it…a feature they could have easily forgotten but an essential one for long periods of use!
There are apps for vocalists and acoustic guitarists but I’m mostly going to write about the Amplitude CS app for electric guitarists because most users will be electric guitarists (the other apps function in a similar way).
It’s worth mentioning at this point that there’s some amps and effects in the app by default but also lots of in-app purchases so you may want to set some budget aside for buying extra pedals, amps, packs and microphones!!!
The iPad app looks (and is) pretty complicated but spend a few hours playing with it and you slowly begin to get your head around it…it’s complicated because there’s so much packed into it! (This is why the iPhone version isn’t really that useful!)
Let’s talk about the two main views on the app…
This is the main screen that loads when you first open the app. Here you see an amp on the screen, a link to the cab (where you can adjust microphones) and some pedals.
From this screen you can play around with every setting in your rig, add pedals, save and load pre-sets and change out your cab and amp…if you want a Fender cab with an Orange head you can!
There are endless combinations here but some of the presets included help you play around with sounds to start with. You can also set some as favourites.
There’s loads of in-app purchases here…paying for a second cab microphone is well worth it as it beefs up the sound and pedals typically cost £4 each with amps varying. You can also buy bundles (e.g. an Orange bundle around £15-20) or buy everything available (quite expensive!).
If you’re not in a hurry then it’s worth waiting to buy extra stuff as IK Multimedia frequently run promotions that see around 25% knocked off the price.
One of the best things is having licensed packs by the likes of Orange and Fender because this gives you some recognisable, great quality (and sounding) amps and pedals. The effects and sound of your guitar from this product and app are incredbly good sounding!
This default mode also has a tuner, a looper, option to add backing tracks, a built in recorder and a place for drum loops…great for messing around and jotting down ideas.
In my opinion this is where the pedal board and amp come into their own. The live mode has two main settings.
The first lets you scroll through banks (you can tap all the effects and amps to adjust as you go). The second mode let’s you use the pedal board as a way of turning effects pedals on or off…probably the mode you’ll use during a song!
Live mode is nice and easy to use and can easily be used live…it also has quick access (via your feet) to the looper and tuner.
The expression pedal is assigned to a Wah by default (if present) but you can assign it to any control of any pedal you wish!
So, what’s the verdict?
The iRig Stomp I/O is a really good piece of kit and does exactly what I want it to – it gives me a ton of pedals and amps without a huge price tag, providing me with a great array of sounds.
However it is far from perfect, so let me list some problems to bare in mind:
1 – If you want to use the pedal and its effects with your MacBook and the iPad/Iphone app then you have to purchase everything twice because purchases don’t sync between iOS and Mac devices.
2 – The app itself takes a long time to get your head around…they’ve packed a lot in but in the process created a load of extra functions that can feel clunky!
3 – The only way to record sounds you’ve perfected is through the recording function on the app, you can’t plug it into a recording programme like Logic meaning the recording device aspect of the device and the pedal board side are very much two separate things.
So, should you buy one?
If you don’t have the money or space for a huge rig but want a solid pedal board you can update and play around with until your heart’s content then this is for you!
I love the range of effects and amps and it’s a lot of fun,
The simplicity of the live mode makes it a very real option for gigging and being able to use it with acoustic and bass guitars is really nice.
If you want to get a feel for some of the functionality then scroll back to the top of this post and watch my video review!Tags: effects pedals, guitar, irig stomp I/o, tech
© Mark Tiddy 2020