Lyonsden Blog

Tag - music

Retro Grooves 3, a MiniDisc release in 2019!

Retro Grooves MiniDisc

As a fan of Anders Enger Jensen’s other releases I’ve been looking forward to Retro Grooves 3 for quite some time now. What I was not expecting at all was for him to release this on MiniDisc! When he emailed me to let me know it was coming out on this format I just had to get it, as well as the cassette version!

 

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Both versions are really professionally presented with full colour inlays that unfold to reveal a lot of interesting information about each track. This is something you just don’t get with digital music. I loved being able to listen to each track for the first time whilst browsing Anders’ notes about what inspired him or the processes involved in creating a particular track.

 

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He’s certainly pulled out all the stops for the MiniDisc release, the artwork on the disc has been printed directly onto the case itself – no cheap stick-on labels here. This is certainly the only MiniDisc in my collection that has been printed this way and it looks amazing! The cassette release still looks good too, coming in a transparent green case with the album details printed on it in contrasting white.

 

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A lossless digital download of the whole album is included with both the Cassette and MiniDisc formats. Additionally the digital download includes an extra 16 bonus tracks not included on either the tape or disc releases. Alternatively, if you don’t mind missing out on the physical formats completely you can opt to just buy the album digitally if you prefer.

 

Retro Grooves MiniDisc

The entire Retro Grooves cassette collection to date…

 

Verdict

Regardless of which format you choose, if you enjoyed either of his previous Retro Groove albums, or even Troubled Hearts then I pretty much guarantee that you will also enjoy this. Anders’ signature style of upbeat ‘cheerful’ sounding synth music mixed with occasional samples is present and correct. My personal standout favourite track has to be ‘FM Love’ closely followed by ‘Isabella’s Dream’ which features some lovely harmonised female vocal samples.

 

Retro Grooves MiniDisc

MiniDisc version includes full track listings

 

There’s a couple of tracks with backing singers this time around that you may or may not enjoy depending on your taste. ‘Escape Your Fear’ sounds like it could have come straight from the Troubled Hearts album and I really enjoyed it. The other, entitled ‘Let’s Fly’, I didn’t like so much as the vocals are very processed and it just didn’t really click for me. It wasn’t bad enough that I’d want to skip it, but it’s definitely not something I’d want on repeat.

Anyway if you would like to get hold of a copy for yourself than head on over to EOX Studios website.

Retro Grooves volume 2

Retro Grooves vol 2

Retro Grooves vol 2 is something I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard Anders was working on it as I loved the first album. As usual it comes on a really awesome professionally presented cassette tape with a lossless digital version included with your purchase. You can also just buy the album digitally if that’s what you prefer.

Personally a big part of the pleasure of getting this album is the fact that it comes on an audio cassette. I love opening the cassette, unfolding the inlay, reading about each track and of course popping it in my cassette player to listen to it. It all adds to the experience whilst not being able to skip tracks encourages listening to the entire album instead of skipping through to find instant gratification.

Verdict

I’d say it was a little more mainstream than vol 1 as there aren’t as many chip tunes but if you liked the first album then you will no doubt like this too. I really enjoyed all the tracks except for the MarioKart 64 Remix where I found the Mario samples to be a little annoying. But who knows, maybe it will grow on me in time! Some of the tracks will be instantly recognisable if you watch ‘The 8-Bit Guy‘ on YouTube whilst others will take you straight back to the 80’s with riffs that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Miami Vice. Definitely recommended anyway and I personally can’t wait for vol 3!

If you would like to get hold of a copy for yourself than head on over to EOX Studios website.

Retro Grooves vol 2

Cassette tape with folding inlay

 

Retro Grooves vol 2

Retro Grooves vol 2 playing in my Sony WM-D6C Walkman

Adding Bluetooth Audio to a Range Rover Sport Mk1

Ranger Rover Sport Bluetooth Audio

If, like me, you were disappointed to discover that your beautiful, highly specc’d Range Rover Sport Mk1 did not come equipped with Bluetooth Audio then I have a solution for you that will cost less than £20. Once you’ve got hold of the kit the whole job should only take you about 5 minutes.

 

range-rover-sport-mk1

Mk1 Range Rover Sport

 

 

What you need to buy…

The first thing you need to purchase is a USB car charger adaptor for your rear cigarette lighter socket. The more slimline the better, I used this one which works really well. In fact I’ve got one of these in my front power socket too!

Next you need purchase yourself this little gadget from Amazon which is a bluetooth audio receiver and will convert your bluetooth audio back into good old analogue for your Range Rover sound system to play.

UPDATE: You may want to check out a new, alternative Bluetooth option I recently discovered at the end of this article as it offer a few advantages, albeit at extra cost.

Once the above gizmos have arrived follow the super-easy instructions below to enjoy wireless music playing in your car.

 

Bluetooth Adaptor

Bluetooth Adaptor connected to Aux rear aux socket

 

 

Installation…

First off you need to plug the USB adaptor into the rear passengers power socket (it hides underneath a flap on the centre armrest). Now plug the Bluetooth receiver into that USB adaptor . Finally you need to plug one end of the (supplied) auxiliary audio cable into the socket on the end of the Bluetooth adaptor. Plug the other end into the aux socket on the back of the centre armrest, located just to the left of the power socket. That’s it for the hardware side of things, the next step is configuring your phone.

 

Android Bluetooth Screen

Screenshot showing Bluetooth adaptor paired.

 

The next stage of the install requires your backside in the drivers seat and turning on the ignition. Get your phone out and go to the ‘Add Bluetooth devices’ part of the phone settings. I have tested this with both an Android Marshmallow Galaxy S7 and an Android Nougat Huawei Mate 9 with no issues, although the settings on all phones will probably look a little different. (UPDATE: Have also tested with Android Oreo and Pie and on two more devices; a Huawei P20 Pro and a Huawei Mate 20 X). I see no reason why this wouldn’t work for an iPhone/iPod but I don’t have access to any Apple stuff so can’t guarantee it. I’d be very surprised if you had an issue though.

Once you have got to the ‘add Bluetooth devices’ screen, make sure your bluetooth is turned on and wait for the device ‘BTR003’ to appear. This is the bluetooth adaptor – add it as a paired device (there is no pairing code) for ‘Media Audio’ ONLY and you should be good to go. Turn on your Range Rover sound system and select AUX as the input and play some music on your phone and it should come through loud and clear! I find the AUX input a little on the quiet side compared to the CD and Radio but you can easily compensate by turning the volume up on your phone and/or the sound system itself.

Every time you get in your car and turn on the ignition your phone will automatically pair with the bluetooth adaptor so you should never have to mess with the settings again – it’ll just work. Your phone will still work for bluetooth handsfree calling through the car phone as that uses a separate ‘Call Audio’ bluetooth connection.

 

Aux Input

Range Rover Stereo Aux Input

 

Have fun and if you find a better way to do this or have any questions please contact me!

I know it’s not a perfect solution as the adaptor does stick out a few cm and if you have kids in the back it may not last long… but as it’s just me and the wife in our car I’ve not had a problem so far…

UPDATE: May 2019

OK so I wrote this article a few years ago now and the above solution has continued to work well for me. I’ve changed phones a few times since then (I currently have a Huawei Mate 20 x) and it worked with each and every one of them. However recently I had my hyperactive grandson in the back and he managed to kick the bluetooth adaptor and snap it off so I needed to buy a new one. Happily Amazon still sell the exact same device I bought originally… however I also spotted one that looked like it would be even better so I thought I would give it a try. It’s not as cheap as the Justop device but in the grand scheme it’s not very expensive either.

It’s called the ‘Firefly’ and it is claimed to be ‘The Worlds Smallest Bluetooth Receiver’. Not sure about that claim but what I do like about it is that the aux cable is actually built into the device. Not only does this make the whole thing look at lot neater when installed but it doesn’t protrude as far out making it  less likely to be knocked by passengers. It comes in a range of different colours too (Black, Red & Gold) but I chose black to match the interior of my car.

 

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When you first plug the Firefly Bluetooth Adaptor into the USB power adaptor in your car the tip will flash white signifying that it is in pairing mode. The setup process is exactly the same as described above for the Justop except you need to look out for ‘Tunai Firefly’ in your bluetooth devices. It should pair straight away once selected (no code is required) and the flashing white LED on the tip will become solid white to show that it has paired successfully.

 

Firefly Bluetooth Pairing

Here you can see the ‘Tunai Firefly’ paired with my Mate 20 X as a media audio device.

 

In use I have found the Firefly to perform superbly, just like the Justop. My phone pairs with it quickly and automatically every time I get in the car and it looks terrific too.

 

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As you can see from the above photos, the Firefly Bluetooth adaptor is definitely a neater, more compact solution. Only time will tell if it proves to avoid damage better than the Justop device though. I also noticed one unexpected improvement over the Justop – the audio is louder! I no longer have to crank the volume up louder than usual which is a nice bonus.

Overall I think the Firefly Bluetooth adaptor is worth the extra money as it looks neater and more professional. It also doesn’t protrude into the back of the car as much and it seems to output audio at a higher volume. The Justop is still a great solution and is hard to beat for the price – it’s also more ‘expendable’ if it does get kicked due to it’s cheaper price.

Whichever option you choose, rest assured that both devices will do the job. I just thought I’d update the article with my new findings in case it proves useful for someone.