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Product Reviews - The Latest Gear Reviewed

Whether you're a working musician or aspiring audio engineer setting up your home studio or a live sound engineer making bands sound great every night, you'll be faced with many choices for the gear you need, no matter your budget. No matter if you're shopping for microphones, monitors, or software, there's lots of choices!

All of these products have been hand-reviewed by About.com, and put through real-world tests; that means that these products were used exactly how you'd use them; all of our highest recommended products combine exceptional performance with good value.
  1. Audio Monitor Reviews (15)
  2. Microphone Reviews (26)
  3. New Product First Looks (6)
  4. Recording Software Reviews (5)

Review: KAM Instruments Atmosphere Microphone
The KAM Instruments Atmosphere condenser microphone is a fantastic microphone, priced at $159. The KAM Atmosphere shines on female vocals, live instruments, and ambient recording; packaged with minimal accessories, the KAM Instruments relies on simplicity rather than compromises in performance to achieve it's low price.

A Guide to Pro Tools 10
Looking for information on the latest incarnation of Avid's Pro Tools software, the industry standard for recording and mixing worldwide? Check out our guide to Pro Tools 10.

2012 Readers' Choice Awards: Best Recording Interface
Are you an audio engineer who found an awesome recording interface last year? Nominate it for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards in Home Recording! Nominations last through February 15 with winners announced March 30th.

Review: KAM Instruments C3 Microphone
The KAM C3 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that packs a powerful punch in a small package. Offering a crisp, airy sound without being harsh or brittle, the C3 works best as an instrument microphone, with studio vocals being a close second. Read more at About.com.

Review: Propellerhead Balance & Reason Essentials
In the world of small-format audio interfaces, there's a few great market leaders. Propellerhead's Balance package takes the standard to a new level. Offering superior sound quality, a powerful software package, and a robust desktop design, Propellerhead hits a home run with Balance. Check out the review.

Review: Waves OneKnob Series Plug-Ins
Plug-ins can be daunting for new audio engineers; they can also be a source of frustration and a source of workflow slow-down for experienced engineers. The Waves OneKnob series changes the game with quick, easily manipulated effects and processing. Check out the full review here.

Review: Waves Eddie Kramer Tape, Tubes & Transistors Bundle
In the digital domain, it's often hard to replicate the finer nuances of an all-analog studio: the warm sonic character of fine analog gear is nearly impossible to achieve without loads of heavy, expensive gear. When it comes to plug-in enhancements, though, there's some heavy-hitters on the scene, and the Eddie Kramer Tape, Tubes, &...

Tascam DR-680 Portable Recorder Review
The Tascam DR-680 is an absolutely awesome machine -- four microphone inputs, two analog inputs, and two digital inputs in a small, battery-powered portable box. Click here for a full review.

Sensaphonics Custom Musician's Earplugs
The Sensaphonics Musician's Earplugs are a fantastic concept: soft silicone, custom fit to your ear canal, with Etymotic filters built in for filtered, full-range listening. How do they stack up against the competition? Check out this full review of these great ear plugs.

Z-Bar Microphone Mounting Bracket
The Z-Bar is an absolute must-have accessory for any musician or recording studio; it's inexpensive, built well, and fixes the common problem of difficult microphone mounting situations for speaker cabinets.

Review: Microphome Microphone Sanitizing Cleaner
Microphome is an answer to a lot of musicians' prayers -- a portable, affordable, and high-quality product designed for one very (unpleasant) job: cleaning up the built-up gunk and germs from your vocal microphones. About.com's Joe Shambro reviews this exceptional product.

Review: M-Audio Microtrack II Portable Recorder
The M-Audio Microtrack II portable recorder is one of a new generation of recorders. High resolution (up to 24-bit, 96kHz), small and portable (including a built-in battery), and high capacity for high quality recording. But how does it measure up to the competition, and how does it perform in typical recording situations? Check out this full review at About.com!

Westone ES49 Custom Musician's Earplugs
A full review of the Westone ES49 custom-fit musician's earplugs, offering up to 25 decibels of filtered protection for musicians, recording engineers, and concertgoers alike.

Behringer ADA8000 Ultragain Pro-8
A review (with audio clips) of the Behringer ADA8000, a value-priced, 8-channel microphone preamp with ADAT digital output. While it's feature-packed, does the low price (and Behringer's reputation) mean low sound quality? About.com's Joe Shambro reviews the ADA8000.

AlphaTrack USB DAW Control Surface
I didn't think it was possible, but it happened: Frontier Design Group went above and beyond their innovative, smartly-designed TranzPort and launched the AlphaTrack, a USB DAW control surface compatible with all major software suites, including Pro Tools!

The MBox 2 Mini
The Digidesign MBox 2 Mini is the cheapest, smallest, and most portable offering in the Digidesign line, but how does it stack up to the big boys? About.com's Joe Shambro reviews the MBox 2 Mini.

Korg K25 USB MIDI Keyboard
A review of the Korg K25, a $99, 25-key, USB MIDI Controller Keyboard, useful for home studios and stage performance, reviewed by About.com's Joe Shambro.

Frontier Design TranzPort Wireless DAW Controller
One of the most useful tools for home studios, the TranzPort Wireless USB control surface is a great option for Pro Tools, Logic, Reason, and many more, reviewed by About.com's Joe Shambro.

Benchmark DAC-1 Digital to Analog Converter
A review of Benchmark's DAC-1, a superior-quality digital-to-analog converter with headphone and speaker amplification built in. It's like lifting a veil off your audio!

Zoom H4 Portable Recorder
With impressive sound quality and ultra-portable design, the Zoom H4 is a remarkable portable recorder. In this review, we take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of this affordable entry into the portable recording world.

Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition Backup Drive
Review of the Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition external backup hard drive, which connects to your Windows or Mac OS machine through USB 2.0, FireWire 400 or FireWire 800.

Neumann SKM184 Stereo Microphone Kit
A review of the Neumann SKM184 Microphone Kit, a matched stereo pair of the Neumann KM184 condenser microphone, a perfect choice for the recording studio and the concert taper alike.

DPA SMK4061 Stereo Microphone Kit
A review of the DPA SMK4061 Stereo Microphone Kit, a great product for both home recording enthusiasts and concert tapers.

True Systems P-SOLO Single Channel Desktop Microphone Preamp
A review of the P-SOLO single channel desktop microphone preamplifier from True Systems, a fantastic single-channel preamp for home studio recording.

Audix UEM-81S Microphone Set
My review of the Audix UEM-81S shotgun microphone set. A budget microphone, but will the performance make the seemingly affordable price tag worth it?

Future Sonics XtremeMac FS1 In-Ear Monitors
My review of the $149 Future Sonics/Xtrememac FS1 in-ear monitors, the monitors with the best bass response I've ever heard in an in-ear monitor!

Sensaphonics 2X-S In-Ear Monitors
My review of the Sensaphonics 2X-S custom-molded in-ear monitors. At $750 a pair, do these products give $750 worth of performance?

Software Review: Bias Peak LE 5
A review of the Bias Peak software package for Mac OS X.

Harmony Central
Harmony Central is a great review site for musical instruments and other gear that's beyond the scope of what I review here; if you're looking for a music-gear related review, chances are they have it!

Summer NAMM 2010 Coverage
Summer NAMM 2010 begins June 18th, 2010! Each year, thousands of industry pros descend on Nashville, TN for this yearly event -- and this year is guaranteed to be great, with the latest gear from around the globe being showcased, and About.com will be there to bring it to you live, along with information on how you can get tickets to this usually closed-to-the-public event.

Review: Rack Writer Dry Erase Rack Panels
Rack Writer was one of the surprise finds at this year's summer NAMM show in Nashville, TN. It's a simple concept -- plastic rack inserts that allow dry-erase writing for labeling audio equipment in recording studios or live sound situations. About.com's Joe Shambro reviews these cool gadgets.

From microphones to monitors, check out these top five picks of the best gear...
2010 was a great year for audio engineers and working musicians looking for the best bang-for-their-buck in home recording studio gear. From microphones to monitors, About.com's Joe Shambro takes you through his top five picks from 2010 for home studio gear.

What are in-ear monitors?
What are in-ear monitors? In-ear monitors are one of the most well-known topics in audio engineering today. In this article, About.com's Joe Shambro explains what in-ears are, how they're used, and who uses them.

Review: Avid Mbox Mini
The Avid Mbox Mini is a spectacular piece of gear; a single world-class microphone preamp coupled with high-quality converters, the Mbox Mini is a fantastic way to get a high-quality sound on a small budget.

2012 Readers' Choice Awards: Best Self-Recorded Album
Did your favorite band release an album they recorded themselves in the last year? Nominate them for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Award for Best Self-Recorded Album. Nomination period ends February 15th with voting after, winner announced March 30th.

2012 Readers' Choice Awards: Best Microphone
Are you an audio engineer who found a great microphone product last year? Nominate it for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards in Home Recording! Nominations last through February 15 with winners announced March 30th.

The 2012 Readers' Choice Awards: Home Recording
Are you an audio engineer or music fan who found a great microphone, recording product, or self-made album last year? Nominate it for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards in Home Recording! Nominations last through February 15 with winners announced March 30th.

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