Tascam 2x2 Trackpack Bundle, £169, from www.juno.co.uk
Forget hiring out a studio, this recording bundle will allow you to make top tunes in your bedroom. Tascam’s 2x2 set comes with a condenser microphone, headphones (TH-02), Cakewalk Sonar X3 LE and Ableton Live Lite 9 DAW software. So, what does that all mean? It’s essentially a way for you to record analogue i.e. vocals and instruments, and get them straight from the microphone onto your computer (via USB). The benefit of this bundle is that the sturdy but small box has great sound quality, so if your computer/tablet doesn’t, it won’t be problematic. There are loads of techie benefits to this; it provides +48V phantom power (so if you’re using a condenser microphone that requires extra power, you’ll be in luck), plus the monitor balance knob let’s you choose between hearing the music going in and what’s being pumped out (i.e. via the computer).
Time to convert
Crosley Executive USB Portable Turntable, Black, £89.95, from www.johnlewis.com
There are plenty of turntables out there which not only play your records but allow you to digitise them at the same time. So what makes this one special? For a start, the price, it’s a good budget-to-mid-range option. Plus, for those who want their tech to look pretty, this turntable comes in its own case and definitely has vintage appeal. The main benefit though is how simple it is to use, thus making it a great gizmo for those who don’t want to feel like they need to take a degree in music engineering in order to digitise their music collection.
Myo Gesture Control Armband, £179.49, from www.amazon.co.uk
Perhaps one of the most techie gadgets out there, this bracelet really is something special. It’s a ‘gesture control armband’ which picks up on electrical activity and motion in your arm muscles and allows you to control various devices through them. This could be as simple as shuffling onto the next song or, at the other end of the spectrum, creating music, or, like famous DJ Armin Van Buuren, using the Myo to control the lighting on stage. It connects to your device via Bluetooth and is surprisingly accurate at recognising your commands.
D-Link DCH-M225 Wi-Fi Audio Extender, £34.95, www.amazon.co.uk
Breathe life into your trusty old speakers with this affordable little gizmo. Connect the plug to your amplifiers and then, using wi-fi, give your speakers a modern makeover. You’ll be able to stream music direct from your phone/tablet or from a media player - all wirelessly. On top of its music-playing function, it acts as a wi-fi extender - so if there are rooms in your house that struggle to get signal, this device will help.
Create some magix
MAGIX Music Maker 2016 Live, £69.99, from www.magix.com
Whether you see yourself as a rock god, disco diva or pop star, with this you can create your own tunes and play them loud. The disc (compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10) will give you the ability to produce music using pre-programmed loop sets (there are 2,000 loops and sounds) and 16 virtual pads. Make the most of the 15 virtual instruments including a screen keyboard that recognises what notes will fit the tune you’re creating. Even if you’re not the next Adele, this will still be a fun tool to play with - it’s very, very addictive.
AKG K181 DJ UE Headphones, £89, from www.gear4music.com
Every DJ needs a set of cans, and this set from AKG Pro are both affordable and good quality. In fact, they’ve been made with feedback from professional DJs to make sure they stand up to the rigours of use. They come with a bass boost switch so if it’s particularly noisy where you are, you can tune into the lower frequencies and it’s got a detachable coiled cable that won’t get in your way when you’re busy mixing. They are of course equally suitable when you’re sitting on the bus listening to music on your morning commute.
APP OF THE WEEK
DJ Player, free from iTunes
Match beats, bend pitches and sync tempos - all via this clever little app! You’ll feel like a professional, even if you’re just having a play with it while sitting on the sofa.
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