Gift reviews from an audio slave
All of you technologically-impaired folks out there, take our words of advice on gift-giving for your musician friends and family. Here are some funny and functional musical tech toys that might come in handy.
Good news fans of Nickelback: Now your bathroom can also sound like it smells! From iCarta comes the iPod stereo dock and bath tissue holder. Two subs and two tweeters give you loud stereo sound so you can literally rock out with your, uh, you get the idea. If you think the idea of a toilet paper dispenser that doubles as a stereo is a little silly, you can actually fold that part in and it becomes an iPod dock that’s a little more bathroom-friendly than most. If nothing else, you can set it on the coffee table for a worthy conversation piece.
Bootleggers rejoice! The iRecord makes it even easier to make “backup copies” of all your favorite movies.
Seriously though, this thing is pretty cool. Just plug your RCA cables and/or your video or S-video cables into the back, your storage device (iPod, PSP, USB drive) into the side and you’re off. One touch recording converts the A/V signal to zeros and ones and can give you about three hours per gigabyte.
If you want to record The Hills marathon this Friday and dump them onto your PSP, you’re on your own to edit out the commercials, but simple MP4 editing software is widely available.
After an initial run last year, the 2007 model features timed recording and a selectable bit rate, meaning you control the balance between precious drive space and playback quality.
Every club, church or garage band out there needs a powered head: in layman’s terms, the thing that amplifies a microphone or guitar and powers the speakers. Now, you’ll need this one.
From SHS Audio, based here in Indy, comes the POD 4. They’ve taken the tried and true four-channel head (with quarter-inch and XLR inputs on each channel) and given it a facelift for the iPod age.
By integrating a docking station right into the top of the unit, the need for bulky and restrictive CD players goes away. But in case you still haven’t ripped your Kenny Rogers collection from the original cassettes, the POD 4 also has old school RCA inputs to cover all forms of PA music, analog and digital. The POD 4 also has a standard one-eighth-inch jack input for non-Apple-produced MP3 players, as well.
The POD 4 has digital delay and, at a loud 100 watts, is capable of pushing a couple pairs of 10s or 12s, whether you’re playing live or pre-recorded music.
The Stage Ninja, invented and produced in Fishers, Ind., has evolved from a modest sketch into one of the most practical music accessories on the market.
The front-running product in the Stage Ninja line is the 26-foot, heavy duty “Ultimate Guitar Cable,” which coils up inside the cylindrical “Ninja.” Pull out as much cable as you need, and when you’re done, reel in all that slack cable with a simple tug, avoiding injuries or fuss. Ask any gigging guitar player about tripping over their guitar cable slack or laboriously winding cords back up after last call. For musicians who don’t have the need or money for a good wireless system, this is a pretty useful product.
The lineup also includes a ninja for microphone cables and variable length extension cords with a power source every 5 feet, meaning you can enjoy wah pedal bliss from anywhere on stage. Stage Ninja also offers an online custom shop to meet your needs.