Tron! Some of you will stop there and immediately go buy this movie-inspired dock. But the rest might need some convincing. The first page of the product manual reads, “Once in a generation, a movie event comes along and changes the playing field.” Disney’s Tron sequel certainly didn’t live up to that kind of hype, but luckily for music fans (and those of us easily distracted by blinky lights), the Tron dock proves itself a capable little machine. If you’ve always wanted a light disc of your very own, now’s your chance.
Standalone audio recorders are useful in all sorts of situations. Whether you need to record a business meeting, take a few notes on the go, or hum some chords for your speed-metal band’s newest hit-in-the-making, an audio recording beats written notes, hands down. And if you frequently find yourself capturing video on an iPhone or other pocket cam, you can greatly improve the audio quality of a home movie by capturing external audio and syncing it to your video with editing software.
Your iPod excels at serving up music for one, but using it to entertain a crowd is problematic. Speaker docks are an option, but most are anemic at best, more suited to background music in your cubicle than serious listening. Audyssey’s South of Market dock changes all that. Taking inspiration from San Francisco’s famous party ‘hood—SoMa to the locals—known for bars and nightclubs that go bump in the night (and well into the next morning), Audyssey’s first consumer device delivers amazing sound and comes packed with some stellar features.
Macs and music go hand in hand. Whether it’s crafting songs in GarageBand or listening to your favorite new tracks in iTunes, tons of music flows through our Macs. So a decent pair of speakers can do wonders for your desktop jamming, and Blue Sky’s new EXO2 monitors bring studio sound home for both musicians and fans.
The EXO2 is the successor to Blue Sky’s well-regarded EXO 2.1 (naming conventions be damned). It features a similar configuration—two satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and a small preamp for tweaking the sound. The EXO2 supports inputs from XLR/TRS connectors, RCA, and 3.5mm stereo cables. If that means nothing to you, this system probably wasn’t made with you in mind.
These are Scosche’s most expensive headphones at $99.99, but don’t let that list price scare you away--we found them at Amazon for closer to $50. The sound quality is excellent, and the 11mm drivers pump out full, accurate sound with strong enough bass to keep us from scrambling for our EQ settings.
When we saw the Producer USB microphone on the front of the Avid Vocal Studio packaging, we did a double-take--we bought that mic from an online clearance outlet last year, and for half the price of its current incarnation. But here it is again, headlining a software combo that promises everything you need to create voiceovers, podcasts, and multitrack musical recordings in one tidy package.
Active noise cancellation is meant to reduce unwanted sound--the drone of an airplane’s jet engine, the hum of your office air conditioner, that kind of steady background noise. A tiny microphone detects the sound waves outside your headphones, then the headphones play an opposite sound wave which cancels out the original noise. That’s why they need a battery to work.
Sony got a boost in its image this week with the rumor that Apple is, apparently, forking over some big bucks to buy 'em. But Flo, Ray, and Nic think it's all bollocks. In addition, the three caballeros (um, two caballeros and one caballera?) talk about Dr. Raymond Soneira's study, and Nic even offers up his own Quick Tip of the Week.
Plus, we answered a few questions from the internet! The internet!!
After dropping a few hundred dollars on an iPod or iPhone, then raiding the App Store for all the great tower-defense games, it’s hard to come up with the scratch to drop on decent earbuds. And even if you do have deep enough pockets, it’s difficult for some folks to go hog wild and buy $100 earbuds that’ll eventually end up forgotten in the pocket of your hoodie and take a ride in the washing machine. Ouch! Of course there are tons of inexpensive earbuds overflowing from the shelves of your local gadget emporium, but most of those end up sounding like you stole your great grandfather’s transistor radio, shrunk it down with some sort of shrink-a-fying ray, and shoved it in your ears. Tinny sound with absolutely no bass.
The iPhone’s iPod functions replaced an actual iPod in my pocket long ago. But as great as it is to have one device I can use to tweet, listen to music, check my calendar, and make the occasional voice call, for me, the iPhone is a less than perfect music player. Without hard buttons for navigation, I can’t skip to my favorite tracks without having to look at the device. Luckily, Etymotic’s new hf3 headset has an inline remote for playback control (and taking calls), and this time around, they’ve added volume buttons as well for the ultimate in control.