LightSnake Microphone-to-USB Cable

The LightSnake takes the frustration out of XLR mic connectivity. Podcasters hoping to record pro-level audio usually have to dish out pro-level dollars - a good XLR microphone requires an interface box to connect to your Mac, and that'll set you back at least $200. But with the LightSnake Microphone-to-USB Cable, you can spend a fraction of that and still be able to connect XLR mics directly to your Mac.

Tango

Decent looks, decent sound, decent connectivity - but, unfortunately, "decent" doesn't mean "great." With a name like Tango, you might expect dramatic, luscious sound quality from this iPod speaker. What we got from the Tango, however, was a mixed bag of audio results. The Tango has a pair of 2.5-inch midrange speakers, two 1-inch tweeters, and a 4-inch woofer at the bottom of the unit that faces down toward the surface that the speaker sits on. As you'd expect from a speaker with a sizable woofer, the bass from the Tango booms—but with cringe-inducing distortion, even after we turned down the bass. On rock tracks where the bass wasn't as prominent, the Tango did a decent job with midrange sounds, but opera songs lacked clarity.

 The m100 earbuds are good for music. We like the m250 over-ear clip-ons for games. Music producers routinely sit around and bemoan the fact that as a result of the 44.1kHz sampling rate of CDs—and the rise of iPods and earbuds—a producer's efforts are wasted on sonically inept listeners. While this is not nearly as true as they'd like to believe, there are complicating factors: The places where we listen, and how and what we listen to, change almost from song to song, leaving manufacturers scrambling to be as many things to as many people as possible. Which brings us to the Pro|Tone m100 earbuds and the Pro|Tone m250 headphones, Razer's two lower-end offerings.

Torq MixLab

A good beginner’s mixer, with some room to grow. With an incredibly cheap entrance fee of $130, M-Audio’s Torq MixLab gives you the core tools you need to make mixes, sans vinyl records and turntables. The package includes the X-Session Pro USB MIDI hardware mixer and Torq LE, a paired-down version of M-Audio’s Torq DJ software.

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doPi Karaoke and iKaraoke

The iKaraoke can connect to your stereo via cable, or transmit your voice to your FM radio over the airwaves. When you've been dumped, there's nothing quite as cathartic as belting out a rendition of "Love Hurts." In fact, we're pretty sure that's how some of the first-round contestants on American Idol got their start.

Fill a room with sound with the right iPod speaker stand.

Xmod

Restore the audio glory of digital music and video files that have been compressed. Creative's Xmod can put the sparkle back into compressed MP3 or AAC audio, as well as enhance the overall quality of movies, CDs, and any other audio content. Unfortunately, it can also introduce distortion when you least expect it.

Orb and iSphere

Have a ball with your iPod.  The typical four-sided speaker is so square. After spending some time with the iSphere and the Orb, we're comin' around to the round. And while the spherical shapes of the Orb and the iSphere may or may not match your home's décor, the form is excellent for a compact iPod speaker system.

IE-30 and ety8 Earbuds

 These high-end earbuds may be easy on your ears, but they're not so easy on your wallet.

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Audio Stereo Tower

For people who like their speakers tall, dark, and handsome. You already know that you have many choices - too many, really - when it comes to speaker systems for your iPod. There are a few things you might not know about mStation Audio's Stereo Tower, a 100-watt floor-standing iPod speaker and dock with a built-in 5.25-inch dedicated subwoofer. First, it's a substantial piece of stereo equipment: It isn't overly large (43 inches high by 14 inches wide), but it seems much heavier than its 21 pounds. It will fit nicely in a corner of your living or family room, but unless your taste in interior décor runs to the bachelor-pad, black-leather, chrome-and-glass-end-tables motif, it might not exactly blend in. That said, a black iPod looks pretty sweet perched on top of the extruded aluminum and black metal Tower.