Macworld Gear Guide 2006

Gear Guide: Musical gadgets

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Macworld Gear Guide 2006

Show More
1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Gear for Music Lovers

Listen to music—or create your own—with this Mac-friendly hardware and software.

  • Gear for less than $30: MPKeys
  • Gear for $31 to $60: Beginning Guitar Lessons
  • Gear for $61 to $150: Recepter Radio
  • Gear for $151 to $300: TonePort UX2
    iTTUSB Turntable
  • Be a guitar hero

    For a guitarist, making music with a Mac doesn’t have to involve multiple devices and a complicated setup. With Line 6’s TonePort UX2, you can connect to your computer via USB and have everything you need to create a masterpiece. Using the included GearBox software, you have an impressive array of tones at your disposal—to make your guitar sound like anything from Mississippi Blues to modern Heavy Metal. Plug it in, turn it on, and start recording with your favorite piece of software—it doesn’t get any easier than that.—JIM DALRYMPLE

    toneport ux2

    TonePort UX2: $269; Line 6

    Download the classics

    Now that the recent iTunes update has introduced gapless playback—which eliminates those unnatural, between-CD-track pauses that have bedeviled fans of classical music in particular—there has never been a better time to listen to classical music on the Mac. For people who want to start building up a collection of the classics, innovative classical-music label Naxos has partnered with the DRM-free music site to release 12 electronic classical box sets, called MPKeys. Each set focuses on a theme—Classical Guitar, Great Symphonies, and so on. Each CD-size box includes an eMusic download code good for three or six hours of music, depending on the set, along with the informative CD insert missing from most electronic releases. Files are encoded in variable-bit-rate MP3 format, have average bit rates of 180 to 210 Kbps, and play on iPods or any other digital media player.—DF

    MPKeys: 6-hour sets, $20; 3-hour sets, $15; Naxos

    Master of six strings

    Apple’s GarageBand lets Mac users tap into their inner John Mayer with an assortment of music-creation tools. iPlayMusic’s Beginning Guitar Lessons helps you make sure that when you do fire up GarageBand, you won’t cause people to run screaming from your digital hub. The guitar tutorial software includes more than four hours of on-screen video lessons, an electronic textbook, and chord charts that teach playing techniques and complete songs. And it’s designed to work with iLife: once you learn a song, you can record your performance in GarageBand and then share it via iTunes and iWeb. And the iPlayMusic software lets you export any video lesson to iPod-ready format and import it into iTunes, with one click.—DF

    Beginning Guitar Lessons: $50; iPlayMusic

    Take your LPs for a spin

    People who enjoy their music the old-school way eschew silvery discs and iPods in favor of a petroleum-based medium—good-old reliable vinyl records. Trouble is, vinyl collectors who want to make digital copies of their tunes face a process only slightly less daunting than sneaking backstage at a Stones concert—they need a preamplifier, an audio interface between the preamp and the Mac, and audio software for recording and editing the music. Or they could just turn to Ion Audio’s iTTUSB Turntable. As its name implies, the turntable plugs into your Mac’s USB port, allowing you to record music directly from your favorite LPs and 45s to the included open-source audio editor, Audacity. It’s enough to make even the staunchest vinyl-phile embrace the digital age.—CB


    iTTUSB Turntable: $199; Ion Audio

    Clock watchers

    Most clock radios don’t cost $150. But then again, Boston Acoustics’ Recepter Radio isn’t just any clock radio. Its compact, attractive design and austere appearance disguise great performance and features: two independent alarm clocks; impressive radio reception with 20 presets; stellar, surprisingly full-range sound quality; and an auxiliary-in jack that lets you connect your iPod for bedside listening. But what makes the Recepter Radio so Apple-like are its ease of use and the little details. A single knob performs many functions—radio tuning, preset selection, and time and alarm setting—depending on the task at hand; the faster you turn the knob, the faster it whisks you through frequencies or times. And soft rubber buttons let you set the alarm without waking anyone else in the room.—DF

    recepter radio

    Recepter Radio: $150; Boston Acoustics

    1 2 3 Page 2
    Page 2 of 3
    Shop Tech Products at Amazon