So close to being great. In the last few years, the center console of a vehicle has become command central for climate control, navigation, and enormous stock stereos. The amalgamation of these items is great until you try to add an iPod or hands-free Bluetooth system to the mix, or you want to upgrade the audio system. The Alpine eX-10 iPod integration and Bluetooth hands-free calling system hopes to alleviate your lack-of-an-iPod-kit-in-your-new-car blues. The eX-10’s LCD allows drivers to navigate their iPods and Bluetooth-equipped mobile phones. Users have the option of using an FM transmitter or auxiliary minijack audio output to bring the tunes to their stereo system. The FM transmitter pushed a better-than-normal audio signal to the stereo. But if it can be utilized, the auxiliary output is the way to go for cleaner sound, without the issues inherent in FM transmitters.
At just under 4 inches on all sides, the iCube fits nearly anywhere—as long as there’s AC power nearby. Boynq offers the iCube II (and another iPod speaker, the Sabre) in both black-and-chrome “Pour Homme” and lavender-and-white “Pour Femme” versions. While “Pour Femme” is one glitter unicorn sticker away from being “Pour 9-Year-Old Girl,” the black-and-chrome version is attractive enough for a desktop, bedroom, or kitchen.
A little too basic for super serious composers, but it should be just right for everyone else. GarageBand brought low-cost home recording to the average household Mac, giving weekend rock stars the opportunity to create musical masterpieces. But pecking out notes with a mouse cursor on an onscreen keyboard is no way make music. To really harness the power of GarageBand, you need a MIDI keyboard controller.
When you’re on the road, and you’ve finally arrived at your hotel room, unpacked your things, and clicked on the TV to see what’s on, it finally hits you—that feeling that you’re someplace unfamiliar, someplace strange. The best way to cure that feeling of displacement? Music. Bust out your iPod and some portable speakers, and fill your room with audible comfort. We’ve found a pair of portable speaker sets that are both quite capable of being your best buddy during your travels.
It’ll wake you up, all right—if the bright display lets you get to sleep. The iLuv i166’s retro circular design is a nice break from the current set of shoebox-shaped alarm clock iPod docks glutting the market. But when the room lights go out, the problems of the device shine through. Even though you have the option of dimming the blue display, the choices seem to be bright and oh-my-God-my-eyes! bright. Covering the display negates the reason for having a clock in the first place, and moving the i166 across the room brings up a new issue: The display is unreadable at about 10 feet. You’ve basically traded your alarm clock for a bright blue night light.
The Rig Kontrol 3 pedal requires a Mac host. The Holy Grail of the electric guitar involves a single magical box that replaces racks of gear and puddles of pedals, with no compromise to quality, accuracy and flexibility. Guitar Rig 3 is a significant evolution in digital guitar hardware and software. It could easily serve as the cornerstone of a completely digital guitar setup.