Should I Buy a Refurbished Ipad?

You can save loads of money by opting to buy a refurbished iPad from Apple rather than splashing out on a brand-new iPad. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of buying a refurbished iPad, so you can work out which option is best for you.


Which is the best option: a new iPad, a second-hand iPad, or a refurbished iPad? And what’s the difference between these different ways of buying an iPad?

Refurbished Apple products are second-hand, really, but the fact they’ve been refurbished by Apple means you can be a little more confident in the quality and reliability of what you’re getting. It’s a nice halfway house between new and second-hand, in effect, and you can save loads of money by opting to buy a refurbished iPad from Apple rather than splashing out on a brand-new iPad.

Plus, it’s a way to get older models of iPad that are no longer available to buy (such as the iPad Air 1 and the iPad mini 3), directly from Apple – although this will depend on availability.

At time of writing, aside from the Air 1 and mini 3, all the other iPad models you can get refurbished are also available to buy brand new from Apple – the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 4.

Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of buying a refurbished iPad, so you can work out which option is best for you.

What does refurbished mean?

Refurbished Apple products are technically pre-owned, but they undergo such a rigorous refurbishing process that it’s unlikely you’ll even notice. In fact pre-owned may mean only used once, perhaps it’s a unit that was loaned to a journalist, or it was returned by a customer who decided they wanted a different model, or maybe there was a fault with it – a fault that Apple will have rectified as part of its refurbishment when it got it ready for sale. Read on for more information about the differences between the new iPad and a refurbished iPad, and what you can expect if you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple.

What’s the difference between a refurbished iPad and a brand-new iPad?

If you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple, you’ll get the same one-year warranty as if you bought a brand-new iPad, all of the manuals and accessories that come with a new iPad, a brand new battery and outer shell and a new white box for it too.

The new box is not the same as the box you would get if you purchased a new iPad, and we assume that this is to prevent people from buying a refurbished iPad and attempting to sell it on as new. However, we think you’ll struggle to spot anything about the contents of that box that indicates that it is not a new iPad.

Apple promises that all refurbished iPads it sells are in full working condition, and they have each been fully tested to ensure this. Any parts that were defective when the iPad was returned by its previous owner will have been replaced, and the entire iPad will have been cleaned and inspected to make sure it’s in top-notch condition.

If you’d prefer to have a longer warranty than the one-year warranty you’ll get included, you can buy an AppleCare Protection Plan for your refurbished iPad. This will extend your warranty to two years, but it will set you back £79.

Should I buy a refurbished iPad?


So, should I buy a refurbished iPad?

We think it is absolutely worth considering buying a refurbished iPad from Genesis Technologies before purchasing a brand-new one. It’ll look as good as new, so you won’t notice the difference anywhere other than in your bank balance and that giveaway packaging as mentioned above.

Right now, anyone looking for one of Apple’s latest iPads has no choice but to buy brand-new from Apple or a third-party reseller, but if you’d be happy with an older generation of iPad you may find you can get a bigger capacity model or a WiFi + Cellular model for less money than it would cost you for a new model with less impressive specs.



Being a church musician is both a rewarding and challenging job. As an integral part of the worship service, you hold much responsibility, and it’s no secret that live performances can present challenges. We talked with our experts in sound, keyboards, and percussion to give you some go-to tips before you hit the stage next service.

Chuck’s Ten Tips for Church Musicians

1. Practice, practice, practice.

Make sure you arrive to every service knowing the music from beginning to end. Ruining a hymn could ruin a service.

2. Know how to improvise.

Have the ability to improvise when unexpected changes occur.

3. Know how to play in all 12 keys.

Be prepared for when the key is quickly changed on you to accommodate a certain vocalist or crowd. Guest vocalists, different moods, ANYTHING can happen! Be prepared to adapt.

4. Dress appropriately.

Remember that you’re in a sacred setting and that certain types of clothing may not be appropriate.

5. Don’t showboat.

Breaking out into an unplanned solo is not advised. Ultimately, the congregation is there for prayer and not for your solo.

6. Plan for growth.

When it comes to buying musical instruments and equipment for the church, make smart investments. You may not need the most tricked out keyboard on the market, but also make sure that you’re thinking in advance and preparing for growth.

7. Stay up to code.

Some older Wireless Microphone systems operate on what are now illegal frequency bands. Keep your gear up to date to avoid issues with operation. Computers, recording devices, wireless microphone systems all should be up to date.

8. Be on your game.

Pay attention the entire time so that you don’t miss a beat. You need to be ready to respond.

9. Communicate with the band.

Utilize pre-determined cues or body language to stay in sync with the rest of the band.

10. Accept that you have no control over the sound.

Whether the sound engineers are unprepared or the church is not outfitted with acoustic treatment or the appropriate sound system, realize that you may experience challenges when it comes to sound.

If you are interested in discounted instruments for churches check out our website here.


Acrobat Pro DC Review

The Confusing Bit
The new version of the Acrobat is simple to understand, though the subscription service has Adobe’s typically bewildering array of pricing plans. Basically, anyone with an existing Creative Cloud subscription automatically gets Document Cloud services at no extra charge. Others can get the app and use the services by buying a Document Cloud subscription for $14.99 per month for the Pro version reviewed here; it’s $12.99 for a reduced-feature Standard version. And an Enterprise subscription plan comes with more fine-grained and secure sharing features. To complicate things even more, there’s a Perpetual option (Retail price for – Pro version $499, Standard version $299 There is only 1 Non-Profit option for the Perpetual License, and it is the Pro version for $179.95) that doesn’t include the high-end subscription-service features, but runs forever, like traditional buy-and-install software, instead of requiring you to renew your subscription to continue using it.

All users get the PDF signing and tracking features that used to require a separate EchoSign application. These are now built into Acrobat DC itself. Users—especially corporate ones—who skipped the relatively minor upgrade from Acrobat X to the most recent previous version, Acrobat XI, will find plenty of reasons to upgrade to Acrobat Pro DC.

And Now the Good Stuff
The new version of the Acrobat Pro DC app is available in nearly identical releases for Windows and OS X, with reduced versions called Acrobat Mobile for iOS and Android released at the same time. The Fill and Sign mobile app lets anyone (with or without a Document Cloud subscription) sign an existing PDF form, while Document Cloud subscribers with a Pro-level plan only can also use the same app to convert a photo of a form into a signable PDF. All the apps, on all platforms, use technology from Photoshop for deskewing and straightening documents imported with a camera or scanner.

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Acrobat Pro DC has plenty of new features, but the most obvious change is the interface. In previous versions, features like redaction and full-text indexing were so well hidden that you first had to enable the menus they were listed on before you could use them. Now a Search Tools box lets you enter a few letters of the name of the tool you want, and the tool then appears in a panel at the right of the window. This Quick Tools side panel is easy to customize, as is the redesigned, modern-looking toolbar at the top of the window. When used on a Microsoft Surface 3$379.99 at Amazon or other touch-enabled Windows tablet, the interface is fully touch-enabled. A small black-and-white toolbar appears when you bring the mouse cursor near the foot of the window; it’s essentially the same toolbar you’ll recognize from PDFs displayed by the Acrobat plug-in Firefox and other browsers, and it’s convenient to have it also in the standalone Acrobat app.

Acrobat’s Best New Feature
For me, the most spectacular new feature is Acrobat Pro DC’s ability to add or edit text in a document’s original font—even if document is a scanned image made from a book printed in an old hot-metal font that doesn’t exist on any computer. In previous versions, you could add text to a PDF, but if you didn’t have the correct digital fonts on your system, Acrobat substituted one of its own built-in fonts, and you couldn’t make unobtrusive changes to scanned PDFs made from old books or magazines.

With the new version, you can edit or add text in a font that Acrobat constructs from the existing text in the PDF, even the uneven-looking text in a scanned image made from an old printed book. No other PDF or optical-character-reading software does anything remotely similar, and it makes it possible to repurpose old printed text in completely new ways. And further text-editing enhancements include the ability to add items to bulleted and numbered lists.

Upgraded OCR
Acrobat’s OCR feature is massively enhanced over earlier versions, and it finally includes the ability to make corrections to words that the OCR software wasn’t certain it recognized correctly. The interface uses a toolbar at the top of the window that displays an image of the doubtful word and the text that the OCR recognized, which you can correct in case it’s wrong. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to click the Accept button instead of clicking in the text box to make a correction, and there’s no straightforward way to go back and correct your error. Our Editors’ Choice for OCR software, ABBYY FineReader Pro includes that feature, and is still indispensable for heavy-duty OCR work on scanned PDFs.

Master of Its Own Domain
Adobe created the PDF format and Adobe Acrobat has always been the mightiest of all PDF software. The last few versions got increasingly musclebound, combining vast power with a clumsy interface and sometimes sluggish performance. Acrobat Pro DC, with its speed, sleekness, and added powers, is the best Acrobat yet, and our no-contest Editors’ Choice for PDF software.

The Best DAW Software

What makes Cubase so good? At the moment, I’m sitting in my VW campervan by the sea in Whitstable. As I sit here enjoying the views, thinking about writing this review on Cubase 9, I can’t help but draw parallels between the rock-solid German engineering and ergonomic functionality of my campervan and Cubase. German engineering is ‘tried and tested’ – every feature is minutely scrutinised and designed to its maximum ergonomic efficiency. When it comes down to using the product and pushing it to its limits, it excels.

“The workflow is flexible so you can use it in a way that suits you and becomes second nature”

Steinberg has been designing and manufacturing music software and hardware since 1984, when Manfred Rürup and Karl ‘Charlie’ Steinberg developed the first MIDI multitrack sequencer. Since 2005, Steinberg has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha. There is great history, heritage and technological revolution with Steinberg, then, coupled with a passion and care for providing exceptional products for musical creators.

Cubase 9 comes in three formats: Pro with full functionality, Artist for the mid market and Elements as an entry-level DAW.  Head over to for the differences between the products. What does Cubase 9 do? Simply put, Cubase is a tool to inspire musical creativity into audio reality.  Steinberg claims it is the ‘most complete DAW ever’, with millions of musicians, producers and sound engineers around the world using the software every day.

Cubase covers all stages of the creative process from composing, recording, editing and mixing. The workflow is flexible, so you can use it in a way that suits you, which means that it becomes second nature to use as a tool to realise musical ideas.  Cubase is used by high-profile artists like Zedd, Chase & Status, My Digital Enemy, New Order and Hans Zimmer.

What’s new?

The new Lower Zone in the project window provides a neat and tidy way to see your mixer tracks and edit MIDI and audio without creating a new window.  On a 5k iMac screen, the mixer retains its functionality while leaving enough room for creating and editing in the main window. However, on a 15-inch Mac laptop, it leaves the screen a bit crowded, so in this case, it’s better to open and close the mixer window with the key command ‘=’.

To edit audio or MIDI, double-click on the part and the editor automatically opens at the bottom of the screen in the Lower Zone. Editing is intuitive, and I love that you can easily close that lower zone by pressing Enter.  It takes a little while to get used to the new workflow here, but the functionality is much smoother and quicker to navigate.

A really fun new feature in 9 is the Sampler Track. Use any piece of audio to create a Sampler Track and the audio appears in the Lower Zone as a chromatically mapped sample. It comes with a very useful sample library called Kaleidoscope.

Eight features that rock in Cubase

  • The 32-bit, floating-point audio engine with up to 192kHz, 5.1 surround, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation.
  • Unlimited – yes unlimited – audio, instrument and MIDI tracks, with up to 256 physical inputs and outputs.
  • MixConsole for a pro mixing-desk experience, integrated channel strip, VCA faders, Loudness meter, and Wave meters.
  • 90 audio and MIDI VST FX processors including Quadrafuzz v2; VST Amp Rack and VST Bass Amp guitar and bass tone suites; REVerence convolution reverb; Frequency eight-band EQ and many more.
  • VariAudio for Melodyne-style editing of monophonic audio tracks, automatic voicing harmonisation and auto-tuning effects.
  • Eight outstanding instruments with over 3,400 sounds, including HALion Sonic SE 2, Groove Agent SE 4, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2.
  • Easy automation of parameters and super easy automation editing within the main project window.
  • Render Audio With FX And Instruments with one press of a key.

I also love the ease of creating new sonic textures from projects. On a recent project, I had the artist sing an ‘Ahhhhh’ into the mic, dropped it straight into Sampler Track and then used it as a pad to fill out her bridge – all this programmed in a matter of seconds. If you’re into glitch vocals and mind-warping vocal effects, this is a great feature for you. The all-new Frequency EQ plug-in is another very powerful new tool for sound shaping and audio surgery.

Frequency offers you eight bands, M/S (Mid Side) support and Linear Phase mode for each band. With M/S, you can widen or narrow the stereo width of the audio by EQing the stereo aspect of the audio. Linear Phase mode is amazing for making transparent sonic changes, especially during mastering. Auto-listen is handy for hunting frequencies – the spectrum display is very responsive and those lovely engineers at Cubase have even included a musical keyboard to help us find the right tones.

Now, the MixConsole has a history, so all changes to the mix are tracked and you can undo/redo several stages from your mix. Hurrah!

And there’s more

As we know, everything is going cloud-based these days. Steinberg also blazes a trail on this new frontier with its comprehensive cloud-collaboration features. Whether you want to make remote recordings with VST Connect SE or exchange projects via VST Transit, collaboration has never been easier with the software.

Steinberg has overhauled some plug-ins. Maximizer gets a fresh new coat and an in-depth algorithm overhaul. Choose between the classic mode and the new modern mode for loud, transparent mixes.

“Cubase 9 is one of the most stable and reliable DAWS that I have ever experienced…”

Rock-solid use

I’m delighted to say that after installing all of the software, Cubase 9 is one of the most stable and reliable DAWS I have experienced, allowing more focus on creativity and production. To help make the system rock steady, the new ‘Plug-in Sentinel’ scans all plug-ins to check they are valid, and if it thinks that they may harm your system’s stability, the plug-ins are then put in a ‘black list’ folder inside the plug-in manager.

With the new Audio-Ins functionality, VST synths with a sidechain can accept an external audio source. Now you can use the filters and FX in compatible synths to mangle and beautify your sonic creations.Need some more inspiring beats and grooves to fire up your tracks?  Production Grooves feeds your Groove Agent drum machine with over 400 drum loops and presets for all contemporary music style.

Cubase highlights

  • Cubase is refined and straightforward on the surface, but underneath lies a huge dimension of creational possibilities and programmable features. It would be impossible to go through all of them, but here are just a few of my highlights in the software:
  • Quadrafuzz 2, a multiband distortion tool.  Add some tape saturation to the third band to get sounds soaring out of the mix with an effortless, crisp clarity.
  • Groove Agent SE 4 – This MPC-style drum machine sounds great with the presets. It’s also a full-blown drum sampler. My favourite way to use it is to slice up a vocal take using the ‘Create Slices At Hit Points’ function and drag the whole take onto the first Groove Agent drum pad. The audio slices are then mapped across the keyboard for instant audio-glitch mayhem.
  • VariAudio – This amazing tool gets you right into the pitch and timing of your audio. Create natural-sounding vocals from dreadful vocal takes and invent rich harmonies and textures. There are a few ways that this interface could be bettered – for example, snapping to scale, using a standard scissor tool (hunting for the little line at the bottom is a pain) and a hit-point detection when detecting the changes in pitch.
  • Reverence – One of the best reverbs ever. Great for silky, lush vocals and neverending halls. Try putting a long reverb tail on a vocal, render the audio and reverse for a brilliant effect.
  • Multiband Envelope Shaper – I use this more than I use EQ. It puts punch into snares, makes percussive instruments pop out of the mix, gets rid of boomy resonances and brings dynamics to life.

“But what actually makes Cubase so great that it is worth the £468 price tag?”

Retrologue is updated to version 2. This VST synth is more than a tribute to the classic analogue heavyweights of the past. Packed in a straightforward interface, Retrologue brings back the sound of analogue circuitry and vintage warmth, but with a modern twist. From raw analogue lead and bass sounds to delicate pads and structures, dark drones and ultra-aggressive comps, Retrologue 2 is a stunningly powerful, yet versatile subtractive synthesiser with loads of sonic personality, and one that is potentially highly addictive. It sounds super lush and it’s easy to tweak and build sounds.

In final Cubase 9 news, if you love your markers, now you can use up to 10 marker tracks. The new AutoPan offers a bigger variety and flexibility to play with your sound in space. The Brickwall Limiter, Compressor, Expander, Gate and Envelope Shaper have all had a graphic overhaul.

32-bit plug-ins are saved…

Cubase 9 only runs in 64-bit mode. At first, I thought ‘Yikes!’ as I would have no backward compatibility with old projects using 32-bit-only plug-ins. Thank goodness a good producer friend who lives on my road told me about ‘32 Lives’, which scans for your precious 32-bit plug-ins and wraps them in a layer of 64-bit code. Not only did I resurrect most of my go-to plug-ins, I also managed to spark new life into some forgotten, obsolete synths I had. This was my main fear in going 64-bit only. I’m so pleased to have made the jump as the system is more stable, faster and able to access ridiculous amounts of memory to power those hungry sample-based synths.


“Okay, so that’s great,” I hear you say, “but what actually makes Cubase 9 so great that it’s worth the £468 price tag, especially when Logic is only £199 in the app store?”

I use a DAW on average five hours a day, 250 days a year – that’s 1,250 hours of solid producing, sitting at the computer pressing buttons, making music. I have used most DAWS in a professional capacity, but there is a reason that I choose to use Cubase as my tool for music creation, and that is simply that it’s a pleasure to use. The interface is easy on the eyes, everything is placed in a functional and ergonomic position, the software is tried and tested, built with that famous German engineering. Cubase looks great, too: I love the way a project builds up into bright rainbows of colour. But the best thing about the software is that it’s almost not there – it steps out of the way to enable creative ideas to become a reality.  After a while working with Cubase and navigating workflow and key commands, the process becomes incredibly intuitive. This is exactly what a great DAW should do.

Cubase is elegant and understated, and a delight to use. The extra £269 over the cost of Logic spread out over my yearly 1,250 hours of music producing works out as only 21p an hour, which is a tiny cost for such a great tool.

Wacom Now Offers Signature Pads


The STU-530 features a 5″ high-quality, high-resolution color LCD screen providing ample space for both signatures and promotional messages. It offers a very comfortable signing experience with an improved, thin design and a low-profile, flat surface. The large, vibrant screen makes it ideal for businesses wanting to utilize the signature pad for advertising, promotions or branding while it is awaiting the next signature.

STU-530 features and benefits

  • 5″ color LCD display with 800 x 480 resolution for maximum impact when collecting signatures or displaying advertising, promotions or branding
  • Wacom’s patented EMR technology provides a maintenance-free pen
  • Hardened glass signing surface protects the LCD and is highly resistant to scratches
  • Endured rigorous usage testing capturing over 500,000 signature with no surface wear
  • Patented cordless, battery-free pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity to accurately capture the unique pen pressure profile of a signature to be included in the biometric data
  • State-of-the-art RSA/AES encryption to perform secure transactions
  • Pen holder/USB cable lock combination provides a convenient area to place the pen, plus USB lock prevents accidental disconnection of USB cable
  • Unique hardware ID so the exact device used for signing can be identified
  • Integrated lock slot to secure the unit when needed
  • Captures legally-binding electronic handwritten signatures
  • Awarded Red Dot award for outstanding product design

With its 5″ high resolution color LCD screen, the STU-530 is the ideal signature pad for use at the POS or customer-facing counter. It offers a very comfortable signing experience with an improved, thin design and a low-profile, flat surface. In addition to capturing handwritten signatures, it can be utilized for branding, marketing or advertising purposes. The pen features 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity for natural signature capturing, fulfilling legal standards. For secure and safe transactions, AES 256 bit encryption and RSA 2048 bit key exchange is included in the pad. Each unit is assigned a unique hardware ID in order to determine the exact unit that was used for a particular signature. The Wacom pen can be tethered to the pad so it can’t get lost. The STU-530 is made for high traffic areas, especially at counters and check-out systems, yet it is also compact and durable for use in the field.