audio hardware

DLO TuneStik

With the TuneStik strapped to your steering wheel, iPod control is just a thumb away. We’ve seen - or been - this guy: the driver at a stoplight who’s not paying attention when the light turns green. He (or she) isn’t paying attention because he’s too busy doing something else - like trying to switch tracks on an iPod. That’s the problem with using your iPod in the car: Your iPod and its clickwheel demand your full attention.

Mondo Mint

The Mint comes with a wireless dock that transmits your iPod music to the Mint digital amplifier. For anyone whose music entertainment revolves around the iPod, Mondo’s Mint is a great way to get your iPod tunes up front and center. It’s far from perfect - its audio quality could benefit from some fine-tuning, and its lack of controls can be frustrating. But the Mint has some unique design highlights and comes very close to producing ideal sound.

No Strings Attached

Clockwise from top: Lubix UBHS-NC1, iSkin Cerulean F1 earphones, iSkin Cerulean TX Bluetooth transmitter (sold separately), and Lubix UBHS-LC1. Thanks to Bluetooth wireless technology, you no longer have to be tethered to your iPod or iPhone. Lubix’s UBHS-LC1 and UBHS-NC1 are Bluetooth headsets you can use with the iPhone, while iSkin’s Cerulean F1 works as either a Bluetooth iPhone phone headset or as Bluetooth headphones for an iPod equipped with a Bluetooth transmitter.

  You paid a whole lotta money for your iPhone, so why not invest $25 to $35 in a solid protective case for it? We’ve rounded up some of the first iPhone cases to hit the market. The type of case you want will depend on how much you’re willing to fiddle with it. For example, holsters such as the Elan Holster, Slim-Fit Case, and the HipCase won’t let you use the iPhone while it’s encased, but they do offer a means of protection. More iPhone cases are being released as you read this, so you can bet we’ll be taking a look at those too.

Griffin radio SHARK 2

We expect a 2.0 product to be deep with features, but the radio SHARK 2 lives on the surface.  Digital video recorders radically changed the way people watch TV, so why not apply those tricks to radio? Griffin’s radio SHARK 2 is a USB AM/FM radio tuner that lets you record and play radio content on your Mac. As DVRs do with video, the radio SHARK 2 buffers the audio so you can rewind and pause live shows. But it lacks other important features, such as solid Internet radio integration and dual tuners.

We preferred the miDock10’s audio over the miDock Studio’s. Best of all, the miDock10 is $50 cheaper.  Polk Audio is a reputable maker of quality audio products, and the company finally jumped on the iPod bandwagon by releasing a pair of iPod speakers, the miDock Studio and the miDock10. Did Polk Audio miss the iPod party? Not really, since the party is still going on. Consider Polk Audio fashionably late, and fortunately, the miDock Studio and the miDock10 have the goods to stand out from the crowd.

B2 Wassup

You’ve just been served - by a dancing thingy that loosely resembles a rabbit.  It’s not enough that you dance to your music - your speaker wants to get its groove on too. The dancing speakers we’ve seen are toy-quality dogs, cars, and even something called an iZ. And now there’s Wassup, a dancing speaker in the form of a…rabbit? Well, that’s the closest thing we could determine that it resembles.

Griffin Technology iMic

The iMic can help you digitize your crates of vinyl records.  What’s your excuse for not digitizing your vinyl copy of Dark Side of the Moon? Wait, let us guess - you haven’t figured out how to connect your turntable to your Mac, huh? The red and white jacks from the turntable don’t match any ports on your Mac. What you need is an iMic. The iMic is handy for connecting a turntable, tape player, or any other audio device to your computer.

iSkin Cerulean F1: First Look

 As I write this, I'm listening to 311's "Large in the Margin" using iSkin's Cerulean F1 Bluetooth earphones. The Cerulean F1 uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect between the (whoa, track change - now I'm listening to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Bellbottoms." Yup, shuffle's on) earphones and your audio device, which in this case, is an iPod. Since the iPod doesn't have Bluetooth, you need to connect a Bluetooth transmitter. I'm using iSkin's Cerulean TX, part of the Cerulean TX+RX package. (Track change: Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." Hey Apple, how 'bout getting Led Zeppelin in iTunes?) 

The Podcasting Pak includes a good-looking USB-powered microphone, a mini mic stand, and a foam-lined industrial-strength case to carry it all. Every podcast recording begins with a microphone. The only reason that most Mac users haven't worried too much about the mic is because the built-in mics on iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros have worked just fine for most off-board uses. If you tried to record on a Mac notebook, however, you've no doubt noticed a few irksome issues: fan noise, primarily (unless you're recording MIDI, in which case no harm, no foul). While it's fully possible to make this flaw seem like a feature by packaging your podcast as some sort of staged neoindustrial set piece complete with whirring machinery in the background, in actual fact, fan noise is not a desirable trait. Moreover, if what you're doing involves live music, instruments, or any other nuanced acoustic audio source, using the built-in mic is less than ideal.