Music Gear Meta-Reviews

Most of the articles listed here are what we call "Meta-Reviews". These are done by analyzing reviews, comments and discussions from around the world as we process items to calculate their Gearank score.

Shure SM7B Studio Dynamic Vocal Microphone

The Shure SM7B Studio Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Used by big name artists such as Sheryl Crow, Sammy Hagar of Chickenfoot and System of a Down's Seri Tankjan just to name a few, the Shure SM7B continues to be one of the most in-demand and sought after vocal mics on the market today - both for recording and live performances.

Even the King of Pop Michael Jackson, who could have whatever microphone he wanted, recorded vocal parts of Thriller using the original SM7.

Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max Reverb Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max Reverb Pedal

The Holy Grail Max is part of Electro-Harmonix popular line of reverb pedals, with this one carrying a few more features for sonic versatility while still keeping the interface and control options within old school territory.

For a pedal with a wide palette of reverb sounds, this pedal features a simplistic set of controls that allow for reverb type switching, and adjustments for the time and blend parameters.

Digitech Polara Reverb Pedal

Digitech Polara Reverb Pedal

The Polara reverb pedal features an interesting mix of classic and modern reverb types, and some of the algorithms are based on staple studio gear from Lexicon.

This interesting combination makes it a viable pedal for both the minimalist and those who want to experiment with the reverb effect.

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath V2 Reverb Pedal

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverb Pedal

The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath is not your cookie cutter reverb pedal, it works more like a delay pedal that utilizes multiple short delays to create unique ambience. This makes it distinct from conventional reverb pedals that let you pick between expected reverb modes via switching algorithms.

This difference in design allows for interesting new sonic textures and ambience that are simply not possible with regular reverb pedals, it also means that some of the familiar reverb modes will not be available.

Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb Pedal

The Electro-Harmonix Cathedral is a versatile stereo reverb pedal, featuring 24-bit AD/DA conversion and true stereo input output compatibility.

It features 8 reverb algorithms, from old school reverb types like Hall, Room, Plate and Accu Spring, to modern algorithms that include Reverse, Grail Flerb, Grail Spring and Echo.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal

The list of virtuosi that have been associated with the Hall of Fame (HOF) Reverb pedal is impressively long, and full of familiar names that include Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, Larry Carlton, John Scofield, Andy Summers, Steve Morse and many more.

While one can argue that endorsement plays a big role, we also have to consider that these guitarists are at the level where they can use any pro reverb gear they want, and yet they choose the HOF pedal.

Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Ray4 4-String Bass Guitar (Discontinued)

Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Ray4

"Sterling by Music Man" is a sub-brand of Ernie Ball Music Man, tasked to manufacture affordable instruments that can compete in the entry level market. The SUB Ray4 is one of their standout instruments, a more affordable version of the original Music Man Stingray bass, the popular bass that pioneered the use of built-in active EQ controls on production line bass guitars.

DigiTech RP1000 Guitar Multi-Effects Processor (Discontinued)

DigiTech RP1000

It's impressive how after over a decade, the DigiTech RP1000 still continues to be among the top rated multi-effects unit in the market. This longevity is mostly thanks to the RP1000's intuitive controls, pedal-friendly effects loop, and it's generous number of footswitches.

It lets you use up to 5 different effect types, of which there are 86 to choose from, more than enough to satisfy even the most experimental of players.

It also comes with 55 amp models and 26 cabinet models that you can mix and match to get your desired sound.

AKG C414 XLII Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

AKG C414 XLII Large-diaphragm Condenser Mic

Luther Vandross, Christ Martin (Coldplay) and Paul McCartney are just three of the many vocalists who have been seen using the AKG C414 on stage or in the studio. And rightly so because the AKG C414 is one of the most versatile in the market, with five polar patterns to choose from.

midiplus X4 mini 49-key MIDI Keyboard Controller

midiplus X4 mini MIDI Keyboard Controller

The midiplus X4 mini is a portable and compact MIDI controller that has a simple design with the essential features needed for sequencing MIDI.

It features transport and 4 assignable encoders, octave buttons, LED display, pitch bend, and modulation touchable strips.

M-Audio Keystation 49 II - 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

M-Audio Keystation 49 MkII

The Keystation 49 II showcases a light-weight build with velocity sensitive synth-action keys.

This controller has transport and directional buttons that allow you to control your DAW, as well as an assignable slider for volume controls.

In addition to being class complaint, it is also compatible with iOS devices which adds to its portability and convenience, ideal for those who use an iPad for sequencing music on the go.

Alesis VX49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

Alesis VX49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

The VX49 features a 4.3" full color high-resolution display screen that allows you to directly manage your DAW and virtual instruments plug-ins. It allows you to load up different synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines like a standalone workstation keyboard.

This MIDI controller also includes Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software that integrates with your computer and allows you to filter, select, and preview patches of any stored VST plug-ins.

CME Xkey Air 25-key Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard Controller

CME Xkey Air 25-key Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard Controller

The CME Xkey Air 25 is a portable 25-Key MIDI keyboard controller that does away with extra features, and focuses on playability and portability.

It is easily one of the most modern looking controllers in the market today, with its very slim and lightweight profile, which makes it easily stand out from the competition. Its thin profile makes it visually compatible with modern wireless computer keyboards, tablets and thin laptops. And like laptops, it comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that allows you to use it without having to drain the power of your mobile device.

Korg microKEY25 USB 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Korg microKEY25 USB 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

The microKEY25 comes in a simple light-weight form that has the right amount of functional features.

It's technically Korg's smallest piano-style MIDI controller in terms of dimension, which makes it easy to carry around and saves space for other gear.

Compatible with Mac, iOS, and Windows operating systems, this USB-powered controller is easy to set-up with no driver installation needed.

Keith McMillen Instruments K-Board 25-key USB MIDI Controller

Keith McMillen Instruments K-Board 25-key USB MIDI Controller

The K-Board 25-Key MIDI Controller is class compliant, making it effortless to connect with any computer or device.

The Smart Fabric features built into each key makes them velocity, pressure, and location sensitive, which allows for greater real-time performance control.

This small-sized yet sturdy controller is convenient and portable enough for quick music making on the go or if you want a minimal workspace at home.

Traveler LTD EC-1 Travel Guitar

Traveler LTD EC-1 VB Travel Guitar

Traveler Guitar teamed up with ESP LTD to develop the Traveler LTC EC-1 - a travel guitar version of ESP's LTD Eclipse.

It features the same single cutaway carved top body, albeit made smaller. It also sports the same neck specifications as its bigger sibling, with a 24.75" scale length and 1.625" nut width. This means that you get the same playing feel in a more portable instrument.

To give you authentic Eclipse tones, this guitar sports an ESP Designed ALH-200B Active Humbucker on the bridge position, which is powered by a single 9V battery.

Traveler Escape Mark III Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar

Traveler Escape Mark III

As the name implies, Traveler Guitars is a manufacturer that specializes in providing full-size guitar playability in a compact profile that fits into the overheard compartment of commercial planes.

The Traveler Escape Mark III offers full-size playability (25.5" Scale Length and 1.75" nut width) without the bulk and fragility associated with conventional acoustic guitars.

Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon String Guitar

Cordoba Mini M

The Cordoba Mini M is the travel guitar of choice for many nylon string players, with its miniature size and solid specs.

Speaking of solid, this portable nylon string guitar comes with a solid spruce top, which is quite special given its price tag.

And while the body size follows after traditional parlor shape, the neck offers classical playability courtesy of its 1.96" wide nut, but with a shorter scale length of 20.7".

Fender MA-1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar

Fender MA-1 Acoustic Guitar

The Fender MA-1 is a 3/4 size acoustic guitar with a traditional "Parlor" guitar shape.

It is primarily meant for students, but it has proven to be a good grab-and-go instrument for experienced players who are always on the move.

The specs don't promise anything out of the ordinary, rather it utilizes cheap tonewoods like agathis for the top and sapele for the back and sides.

Still, this guitar continues to gather good reviews from players who point to its compact size, playability, build quality and ridiculously low price.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD Audio Interface

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD

The U-Phoria UMC204HD audio interface gives you two channels to work with, along with complementary features that you'd usually expect on more expensive units.

With its MIDAS-designed mic preamps and 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion, you get the same sound quality as their popular mixers, but in a more portable form factor and at a mere fraction of the cost.

Each channel comes complete with essential controls, including dedicated gain knobs, Line/Instrument level switches, audio signal pad switches, and a headphones volume knob.

Korg microKEY2 37 Mini-Key MIDI Controller

Korg microKEY2 37 Mini-Key MIDI Controller

Korg's microKEY2 is the second generation controller based on the original microKEY.

Similar features retained from the first generation are its compact size, simple design, and basic controls, while new features added to this version include iOS support via Apple Camera Connection kit (sold separately) and an assignable damper pedal jack.

TC-Helicon Voicetone Mic Mechanic 2 Vocal Effects Pedal

TC Helicon Voicetone Mic Mechanic 2 Vocal Effects Pedal

The TC-Helicon VoiceTone Mic Mechanic 2 is a compact pedal that's meant to fine tune and improve your vocals.

It does away with fancy bells and whistles, and sticks to essentials like reverb, echo, pitch correction, and TC-Helicon's Adaptive Tone technology, which intelligently tweaks compression, EQ, de-essing and gating as you perform to improve the resulting sound.

For more control over the ambience of your voice, the pedal offers a total of 8 reverb and echo presets, including variations of Room, Studio, Hall and Delay.

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Vocal Effects Processor Pedal (Discontinued)

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Vocal Effects Procesor Pedal

TC-Helicon continues to be the go-to effect pedal brand for vocalists, with artists like Depeche Mode, Mr. Big, the late George Michael and many more endorsing their products. As proof of this, VoiceLive 3 is still the among the most sought after vocal effects pedal, even with the arrival of newer units from TC-Helicon and other manufacturers.

Alesis Forge Kit Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Alesis Forge Electronic Drum Set

This is among the most feature-packed sets in the sub $500 price range, and it also includes drum sticks.

It has quite a lot of pre-set kits, user configurable kits, and sounds for the price.

The snare and toms have rubber heads that have a relatively natural response which are all mounted on a 4-post chrome plated aluminum rack which has plenty of strength while remaining relatively light-weight. The kick tower pad is also large enough to use a double kick pedal with it.

Yamaha DTX400K 5-Piece Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Yamaha DTX400K 5-Piece Electronic Drum Set

The Yamaha DTX400K is a worthy entry level electronic drum kit which comes with many features to help you learn and improve your drumming.

It's the cheapest of Yamaha's DTX entry-level range and some of the savings have come about by only including single zone drums - the next step up, the DTX450K, improves upon that with a 3 zone snare.

Alesis Nitro Kit - 8 Piece Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Alesis Nitro Kit - 8 Piece Electronic Drum Set

Back in 2016, our research showed that the Alesis Nitro Kit was by far the most popular electronic drum set in the sub $500 price range. It was also the highest rated set under $300 by quite a wide margin - leaving all other options in this price bracket so far behind that it's the only one that got our recommendation for the sub $300 price at the time.

In addition to coming with a snare, hi-hats, kick and 3 toms it also has 2 additional 2-zone inputs on the module to allow for future expansion - you can use these for extra toms or cymbals.

Yamaha DXS12 12" 600W Powered Subwoofer (Discontinued)

Yamaha DXS12 - front and back views

This 12" subwoofer from Yamaha uses their built in D-XSUB low frequency processing technology, which they say produces a stronger bottom end than you would expect from a 12" driver.

With its relatively smaller woofer and 600W RMS power rating, this subwoofer reproduces more sonic detail at the cost of losing some ultra low thump.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface 2-Channel

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface 2-Channel

Focusrite continued their market dominance with the 2nd generation Scarlett series of audio interfaces, which included the immensely popular Scarlett 2i2. Focusrite says it is, "The best selling USB audio interface in the world".

This 2nd Gen version features upgraded A/D resolution of 24-bit/192kHz, lower latency, improved instrument input and improved hardware.

Having said all that, the Focusrite mic preamp within the unit is still its main standout feature, as it is still highly regarded by many for its sound quality.

Sennheiser XSW 72 Instrument Set Wireless Guitar System (Discontinued)

Sennheiser XSW 72 Instrument Set Wireless Guitar System

The Sennheiser XSW 72 is a wireless system designed for use in small to medium size venues, which cover most of the venues that guitarists play in, including bars, coffee shops, churches and more.

The transmitter comes in the form of a body pack with Sennheiser's locking cable that secures the connection of your guitar and body pack and it runs on two AA batteries which give you up to 10 hours of operation.

TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII Bass Combo Amplifier

TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII Bass Combo Amplifier

So, right off the bat this amp is a bit out there. If you’re a traditionalist, or you want a plug and play amp, this is not the piece of gear for you. On the other hand, if you’re willing to put the time into fiddling with it you may be surprised at the value this amp presents.

Fender Rumble 40 V3 Bass Combo Amplifier

Fender Rumble 40 V3 Bass Combo Amplifier

The Fender Rumble 40 V3 is a significantly different amp compared to its smaller sibling, the Rumble 25. While the circuit itself is the same, there are extra controls to change the amp’s voicing. The key to the versatility this amp possesses are the EQ switches. The amp has a contour switch (changes the mid-range profile), vintage (gives the amp a warmer tone), and bright (enhances the high-end). When one of these switches are engaged you can use the EQ knobs to further change the amp’s tone.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Closed-Back Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Closed-Back Headphones

These are Audio-Technica's cheaper alternative to the ATH-M40x, and are also designed for both tracking and mixing, but if you are going to be doing a lot of mixing with headphones only then I'd suggest going with the ATH-M40x above.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Closed-Back Studio Headphones

The ATH-M20x monitor headphones are an upgrade to the ATH-M20, and were launched along with upgrades to the entire ATH series. These headphones feature a modern design built with pro-grade materials without neglecting comfort. Its neodymium drivers with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils reproduce detailed low-frequency responses.

Empress Effects Analog Compressor Pedal

Empress Effects Analog Compressor Pedal

The Empress Effects Analog Compressor is an interesting piece of equipment. Billing itself as a “studio grade compressor” it claims to have a sound quality that rivals the famed rack-mount units you’d find in a professional studio. Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal taste, but if you’re a guitarist or bass guitarist looking for a professional-quality compressor you can’t go wrong here.

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor Pedal

The Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor is an interesting piece of gear. The pedal utilizes optical compression, and allows you to switch between two different light sources. When used in LED mode, you get a reduction in compression and a faster attack and release.. The inverse happens when the pedal is in lamp mode, so you get more compression but a slower attack and release.

Seymour Duncan Vise Grip Guitar Compressor Pedal

Seymour Duncan Vise Grip Studio Grade Guitar Compressor Pedal

This pedal is arguably one of the best available for those of you who want a lot of control over how your tone is affected by your compression pedal. The most interesting feature of the Vise Grip is that you can control which unaffected frequency range is introduced back into your signal when you use the pedal’s blend knob.

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro Guitar Compressor/Sustain Pedal

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro Guitar Compressor/Sustain Pedal

The Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone is geared towards musicians willing to pay a premium for a superior tone and a more flexible pedal. It’s not a good fit for someone just looking for basic compression, but if you’re looking to gig consistently the Philosopher’s Tone is worth serious consideration.

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Guitar Compressor Pedal

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Guitar Compressor Pedal

The most important thing to know about this compressor is that it colors your tone, and some musicians feel that it does so pretty drastically. To our ears it seems to add in a twangy mid-range hump, which is likely why it’s been such a fixture in the country guitar scene for the last few decades.

D'Addario DIY Solderless Pedalboard Guitar Patch Cable Kit

D'Addario DIY Solderless Pedalboard Patch Cable Kit

Since pedals come in different shapes and sizes, you will sometimes need patch cables of different lengths.

This is where the D'Addario DIY Solderless Pedalboard Patch Cable Kit comes in, as it allows you to custom cut a 10' foot cable to the exact sizes that you want. And as the name implies, you can easily attach the cables to the right angle plugs without the need for soldering tools or experience.

Donner Guitar Pedal Coupler 4-Pack

Donner Guitar Pedal Coupler 4-Pack

The Donner Guitar Pedal Coupler 4-Pack is a simple and practical solution for connecting pedals with jacks that are of the same height.

They are essentially two 1/4" plugs combined together back to back, eliminating the need for a cable to save even more space and cost.

For added eye candy they come with a nice gold finish that will add some elegance to your floorboard rig.

Planet Waves Classic Series Guitar Patch Cable 6" 3-Pack

Planet Waves PW-CGTP Classic Series Guitar Patch Cable 6"

The Planet Waves Classic Series patch cable is easily one of the most popular in the market today, thanks to its simplicity and affordability.

There's nothing out of the ordinary with its specs, and even its appearance is straightforward.

But what it lacks in extras, it makes up for with its build quality, which translates into durability and reliability. This is all thanks to its molded strain relief and nickel-plated plugs, which give it the ability to handle the rigors of traveling and performances.

AKG K702 Reference Studio Headphones - Open-Back

AKG K702 Reference Studio Headphones - Open-Back

The AKG K702 is a set of studio reference headphones that are equipped with a 3D-foam earpads to provide comfort for long wearing sessions.

The flat-wire voice coils and patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm provides a reasonably accurate level of frequency response making them suitable for precision listening, mixing and mastering.

Sony MDR-7502 Professional Studio Headphones - Closed-back

The MDR-7502 dynamic closed-back headphones from Sony are the lighter weight version of the MDR-7506.

They feature gold connectors, an oxygen-free cord, and great quality sound production at a reasonable low price.

They're designed for different applications, from being an alternative to consumer headphones, to sound monitoring in the field or in the studio.

These on-ear headphones offer a closed-back design for sound isolation, making them suitable for recording and tracking.

TASCAM TH-02 Studio Headphones

The EQ sensitivity and relatively flat frequency response (for headphones this cheap) of the TASCAM TH-02 provides a somewhat clear and balanced sound.

The natural highs, clear mid-range, and rich lows are what make them comparable to some of the more expensive alternatives.

Both left and right ear-cups have a full 90-degree rotation and their folding design allows for compact and easy transport. They are suitable for either studio use or casual listening to music.

elysia xpressor 500 Series Stereo Compressor

This 500-series version of elysia's xpressor rackmount is a stereo compressor based on a Class A discrete circuitry. Its circuitry makes its transistors always conductive resulting in less crossover distortion and giving it a wide, open and punchy sonic base.

This universal compressor's switchable semi-automation lets you set the perfect attack that influences the attack parameter on short and loud impulses.

Its log release feature follows a logarithmic course to provide a gentle kind of compression instead of a standard linear progress.

Alesis Coda Pro 88-Key Digital Piano (Discontinued)

Alesis Coda Pro

The Coda Pro helps Alesis maintain its position as a serious contender in this market, thanks to its extra features which include five different chorus effects, five reverbs and there's even a built-in EQ setting for shaping your sound.

But what makes it a crowd favorite are the many student and teacher friendly features that include having two headphone outputs, a built-in lesson mode, and metronome.

Being a true digital piano, all of its 88 keys are fully weighted for acoustic piano like playing feel.

Korg MicroArranger Portable Keyboard 61 Key (Discontinued)

Korg MicroArranger Portable Keyboard

From its humble beginnings in 1962, Korg is now one of the biggest music gear producers in the world. The MicroArranger is a reasonably priced portable keyboard with "arranger" features built-in.

The Korg MicroArranger is more than just a practice and performance keyboard, it is also a powerful music production tool. It is part of the company's line of keyboard arrangers which normally require a more premium price tag.

Yamaha YPG-235 Portable Keyboard 76-Key (Discontinued)

Yamaha YPG-235

The YPG-235 portable keyboard exemplifies Yamaha's student friendly design, combining good playability and practice enhancing features while keeping the price accessible.

It features 76 graded hammer piano style keys that better resembles the playing feel of an acoustic piano, and give you more notes to play with compared to the usual 61-key configuration keyboards in this price range.

It also lets you utilize various sounds to play a variety of musical styles, keeping practice fun and interesting.

Casio CTK-2400 Portable Keyboard 61 Key (Discontinued)

Casio CTK-2400

Casio has produced a good number electronic devices, the most popular of which include affordable electronic keyboards. They continue to capture a big chunk of the competitive entry level keyboard market with their impressive ability to pack as many features as they can into budget friendly priced instruments, while keeping the quality high.

A great example of this is the CTK-2400, a super affordable portable keyboard that is packed with many practical features that beginners and upstarts will appreciate, including 400 voices, 150 rhythms and the step up learning system.

Casio CTK-4400 Portable Keyboard 61 Key (Discontinued)

Casio CTK-4400

The Casio CTK-4400 is a versatile and affordable portable keyboard with switchable touch sensitivity levels, wide sound library and other extra features.

The ability to choose between two sensitivity levels is impressive given its price tag, allowing you to tweak the feel of the keybed to match your playing style.

On top of that, the CTK-4400 gives you a staggering number of sounds to play with, totaling 600, which is more than enough for most styles of music.

Pyle Pro PDKM7 Drum Microphone Kit (7 Mics)

This is a budget option which is quite popular despite some of the cheaper materials used.

The PDKM7 from Pyle Pro Audio contains five dynamic drum microphones, two condenser microphones and drum mount accessories. It includes a lightweight carry case that protects the microphones and allows quick setup and safe transport.

Lewitt DTP Beat Kit Pro 7 Drum Microphone Kit (7 Mics)

The DTP Beat Kit Pro 7 from Lewitt is a high-end set of drum mics recommended by audio engineers for professional use.

It contains a dual-element cardioid DTP 640 REX, three DTP 340 TT dynamic mics, two LCT 340 condenser mics and one MTP 440 DM cardioid dynamic microphone.

The DTP 640 REX kick mic has a dual design with both a dynamic and a condenser microphone capsule. It has switchable frequency response settings for a rich or flat sounding kick drum.

Presonus AudioBox 22VSL 24-Bit/96 kHz 2x2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface (Discontinued)

Presonus AudioBox 22VSL

The Presonus Audiobox 22VSL is a straightforward 2-channel interface that thrived in the entry-level market.

At its core is its distinguishing feature, two XMAX preamps that run on 30V power rails, higher than the usual 10V to 18V that other preamps use. This increased voltage results in more headroom and translates into a richer overall sound, that many users approve of.

Roland DUO-Capture EX UA-22 USB Audio Interface

Roland DUO-Capture EX UA-22 USB Audio Interface

The Roland 2-channel DUO-Capture EX UA-22 is highly rated for its portability. It can run on 3 x AA batteries, which allows it to work with mobile devices even in locations where a power outlet is unavailable. The use of batteries is especially useful when pairing the DUO-Capture with laptops, tablets and other mobile computing devices. Traditional power options like USB bus power and AC Adapter (sold separately) are also available so you only use batteries when its actually needed.

MXL 3000 Condenser Microphone (Discontinued)

MXL 3000

MXL knows how to combine useful features with affordable production, resulting in good quality affordable microphones. The MXL 3000 is a great example, with its large 25mm gold-sputtered capsule that is designed for miking vocals and instruments alike. Working in conjunction with its built-in FET preamp and transformer coupled output, this mic is capable of replicating the warmth of old recording without the bloated price tag that others usually ask for.

Blackstar HT Club 40 Guitar Tube Combo Amp 40W 1x12 (Discontinued)

Blackstar HT Club 40 Tube Guitar Combo Amp 40W 1x12

Thanks to ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) technology, Blackstar is able to expand the possible tones that you can get from an amp, and do so without stripping it of genuine tube elements.

The HT Club 40 is a great example of what this technology can do, this gig-ready tube amplifier has all the traditional features, while having comparable versatility to a digital amp modeler.

With 40 watts of power, two ECC83 and two EL34 tubes, and a 12" Celestion speaker, this amp has juice for professional gigging.

Bugera V55 Infinium Tube Guitar Combo Amp 55W 1x12

Bugera V55 Infinium

Bugera made it possible to own a feature packed 55W tube amp in the sub $500 price range with the V55 Infinium.

This two channel amp features a multi-gain preamp stage with three 12AX7 tubes, while a pair of 6V6 tubes drive the output. And it doesn't end with just tubes, because this amp comes with essential gigging features that include having two independent channels, a complement of EQ knobs, a switchable reverb and a boost switch for even more gain.

Nektar Impact LX61+ 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Nektar Impact LX61+ 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Nektar Impact LX61+ is an affordable USB MIDI keyboard with extra control features, meant to give you more control over your favorite DAW software and virtual instruments.

Moog MF Minifooger Chorus Pedal (Discontinued)

Moog Minifooger MF Chorus Pedal

The Minifooger Chorus Pedal is an interesting piece of equipment. It’s not quite like anything else currently on the market, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on what it is you’re looking for.

Dunlop DVP1 Volume XL Pedal (Discontinued)

Dunlop DVP1 Volume XL Pedal

The Dunlop DVP1 Volume XL is a pretty standard volume pedal all things considered, with its two defining features being its large footprint and its torque screw. When we say “large footprint”, what we mean is that when compared to other pedals of this design the DVP1 is on the larger side. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your pedal board and preferences.

Keeley 4 Knob Compressor Pedal (Discontinued)

Keeley 4 Knob Compressor Pedal

Company founder Robert Keeley was once known for modifying mass produced pedals to make them sound good, first of which was a Ross compressor. Fast forward to today, Keeley electronics has grown into a manufacturer of original design pedals, which include their popular 4 Knob Compressor.

Gretsch G5435T Electromatic Pro Jet with Bigsby (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Gretsch G5435T Electromatic Pro Jet with Bigsby

Established back in 1883, Gretsch have helped shape music as we know it today, used by a long list of iconic guitarists that include Chet Atkins, John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles, Elvis Presley and many more.

The company maintains its distinct old school appeal up to this day, their designs have been made more affordable via the Electromatic line.

Kramer Pacer Classic (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Kramer Pacer Classic

Kramer is known for being one of pioneers of the modern tremolo bridge design, and while they were not as successful as other big brands, they did have quite the endorsers, with Eddie Van Halen being the most popular.

ESP LTD MH-50 Solidbody Electric Guitar (Discontinued)


ESP is a Japanese guitar maker that has successfully moved into the international scene, thanks to the quality of their shred-friendly guitars, as well as their big name endorsers that include metal bands like Slayer, Megadeath, Metallica and more.

Up to this day, they continue to produce quality guitars aimed at rock and metal guitarists, including the lightweight LTD MH-50, which does not stray too far from the familiar shred guitar formula while keeping the price accessible.

IK Multimedia iRig Pro Audio Interface for iPad / Mac / iOS (Discontinued)

IK Multimedia iRig Pro

NB: This has been superseded by the IK Multimedia iRig HD 2.

IK Multimedia is known for iRig, a line of pocket-sized audio interfaces that simplified recording for many musicians. The iRig Pro with its combination of portability, flexibility and practicality became a favorite of many guitarists.

It owes its portability to its bus powered circuit, only requiring a 9V battery if you need 48V phantom power.

Steinberg UR22 MK2 USB Audio Interface for iPad, Mac and PC

Steinberg UR22 MK2 USB Audio Interface for iPad, Mac and PC

With Steinberg's expertise in DAW software development, it is not surprising to find that their audio interfaces are highly regarded. The UR22 MK2 is a 2-channel audio interface with hardware and DAW compatibility being its strong point.

Audio Technica ATW-1501 Wireless Guitar System Pedal

Audio Technica ATW-1501

Audio-Technica designed the ATW-1501 for guitarists and bassists who prefer their wireless receiver in stompbox form.

This configuration allows for hands-free muting/tuner operation, and lets you fit your wireless receiver into your existing pedalboard, to keep your gear organized.

IK Multimedia iRig MIDI 2 Midi Interface

IK Multimedia iRig MIDI 2 Midi Interface

The iRig MIDI 2 from IK Multimedia is a mobile MIDI interface that works with Mac, Windows and different generations of iOS devices. It's compatible with both USB and Apple's Lightning cable, which are both included and are detachable.

It features 3 MIDI ports: In, Out and Thru and these have light indicators as well. It can connect to Android devices with the use of a separate OTG to Mini-DIN cable.

iConnectivity iConnectMIDI4+ MIDI Interface

The iConnectivity iConnectMIDI4+ is a 4 In/4 Out is a versatile class compliant MIDI interface that supports Macs, PCs, and iOS devices.

Apart from supporting 4 MIDI In and Out ports, it can support up to 8 additional MIDI devices with the use of the USB host port as well as allowing digital audio passthrough via USB.

Its ethernet port is another built-in feature that can connect this interface to a wireless router, ethernet hub/router, or any ethernet enabled device.

M-Audio MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition USB Bus-Powered MIDI Interface

The M-Audio MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition is the revamped version of the original MIDISPORT 4x4 released in celebration of M-Audio’s 20th anniversary.

It's 4 MIDI In/Out ports allows you to connect 4 MIDI input devices simultaneously and reduces the need for daisy chaining MIDI sound modules on the output side.

The convenience of having dedicated ports for multiple midi devices shouldn't be underestimated so it's worth considering if you have a few MIDI devices. It has a MIDI indicator for each port and is compact and lightweight for desktop and mobile use.

Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano

Roland FP-30 88-Key Digital Piano

The Roland FP-30 is a sleek looking digital piano that combines a traditional acoustic piano playing feel with modern sound processing and connectivity features.

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder - Handheld (Discontinued)

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

NB: Zoom has discontinued this recorder and superseded it with the Zoom H1n.

Zoom electronics have been producing good quality products for years and their entry-level H1 recorder was one of the most popular recorders on the market rivaling high-end digital recorders in terms of sound quality given its affordable price.

Behringer PB600 Powered Pedalboard

Behringer PB600 Powered Pedalboard

The Behringer PB600 is an affordable all-in-one solution for transporting, storing and setting up of up to six standard size (2.5" x 4.5") stompboxes.

When packed, the PB600 looks like your average tough plastic toolbox, offering the same protection and portability to your favorite pedals.

Opening up the lid shows the pedalboard frame, which come complete with foam padding for snug fitting your pedals.

Pedaltrain Nano Pedalboard with Softcase (14" x 5.5")

Pedaltrain Nano Pedalboard with Softcase (14" x 5.5")

The Pedaltrain Nano is meant to be a compact solution for musicians who use fewer pedals. At most, you can fit in 4 standard size pedals into this board, which has proven to be just the right number for many acoustic guitarists, vocalists, ukulele players, bassists and others.

The board itself features two rails of aircraft grade aluminum, which allows for basic side-by-side positioning of pedals.

KRK Rokit 5 G3 50W 5" Powered Studio Monitor

KRK Rokit 5 G3

The Rokit 5 G3 is not your typical flat response monitor, rather it is designed for DJs and producers who are looking for more bass from smaller studio monitors.

It brings with it the same yellow woofer scheme and stylish exterior as the bigger Rokits, only this one is meant for beginners and for those with small home studios.

JBL LSR305 82W 5" Powered Studio Monitor (Discontinued)


The JBL LSR305 in particular continues to get rave reviews from experts and users alike, who appreciate its quality and versatility, even though they are mainly available second hand these days.

Housed in its injection-molded ABS baffle is a 5" woofer and a 1" tweeter, that's bi-amplified by dedicated 41W amps. It's most notable feature is its wider center image, thanks to its distinctly designed wave guide, which allows sound to disperse more consistently across a broader area.

Focal CMS 40 Powered Studio Monitor

Focal CMS 40

The Focal CMS 40 is a compact yet versatile studio monitor designed for near field use in small studios, or as satellite monitors for studios with bigger/multiple listening areas.

It sports a smaller 4" woofer, and 1" polyglass cone tweeter with a max SPL of 97dB, soft enough for long mixing sessions, while keeping the same attention to detail that the bigger CMS models provide. Note that because of its smaller woofers, it may not have the same bass response as its bigger siblings and you may want to pair this with a Studio Subwoofer if you need to mix bass heavy music.

Epiphone PR-150 6 String Acoustic Guitar

Epiphone PR-150

The Epiphone PR-150 is a great example of the combination of affordability and quality brought on as a result of automation. The PR-150 is a reproduction of the classic Gibson spruce/mahogany tone, making it a great option for guitarists who want that classic sound but can’t springe for a genuine Gibson.

Roland A-88 - 88-key MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

Roland A-88 - 88-key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Roland bill the A-88 as "The Portable Controller That Plays Like a Grand" - perhaps that's a bit of marketing overstatement, but it's clear that many musicians have been impressed with their purchase after buying one of these.

The keybed uses Roland's Ivory Feel-G weighted keyboard which is found in their high-end digital pianos.

AxeRig Tune It Clip-On Tuner

AxeRig Tune It Clip-On Tuner

This is designed as an all-round tuner working not only for use with guitars and bass, but also other stringed instruments and saxophone, trumpet & cornet.

The screen is mounted on a swivel that allows for 360 degree rotation.

Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

The Boss TU-10 is well regarded by guitarists for the strength and size of its clip which will fit onto even the largest headstocks.

It allows you to select your reference pitch and has a chromatic mode which allows for alternative tunings.

Korg Pitchblack Guitar Pedal Tuner

Korg Pitchblack Guitar Pedal Tuner

The Pitchblack Pedal is designed for use with both guitar and bass and includes a 9V out for providing power to other pedals.

It also has true bypass so you don't need to worry about it eating up your tone when you're not tuning.

Some guitarists choose this over the Boss TU-3 because it's more compact and takes up less space on your pedalboard.

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome & Instrument Tuner - Handheld

KLIQ MetroPitch - Metronome & Instrument Tuner

Not only does the KLIQ MetroPitch have very high ratings, it's also another one that we know is quite popular based on sales data we have from other websites we operate.

It supports guitar and bass specific tuning modes as well as being suited to any type of acoustic instrument.

It has a built-in tap tempo metronome with a number of different rhythm patterns which is a handy little feature for practice and it has a tone generator for those of you who like to tune by ear to a reference pitch.

Korg Rimpitch-C Soundhole Tuner

Korg Rimpitch-C Sound Hole Tuner

The Korg Rimpitch-C fits a wide range of acoustic guitars that have a round soundhole - you can measure the diameter of your soundhole and compare it to the specifications below to see if it will fit your guitar. It has a hook and rubber grip to prevent it from falling into your guitar.

Samson Concert 99 Handheld Wireless Microphone System

Samson Concert 99 Handheld

Companies like Samson make it possible for musicians to enjoy quality gear at lower price points. Case in point is the Samson Concert 99 which is an affordable wireless microphone system that comes packed with features.

Roland PM-10 Drum Amplifier (Discontinued)

Roland PM-10 Drum Amp

The Roland PM-10 Personal Monitor amp has been designed as a portable companion for the Roland V-Drums series but can also be used with other electronic drum sets.

Its design is an ideal fit for small sized drum kits. Although small in size compared to other drum amps, it provides powerful sounds because of its 10-inch woofer and 3-inch coaxial speakers. It also includes a drum module input jack along with a line input which can be used to connect to CD players or any other similar devices.

Simmons DA50 Drum Amplifier (Discontinued)

Simmons DA50

The Simmons DA50 is a little sibling of the DA200s model. This amplifier has a high-frequency tweeter for clear cymbal sounds and a heavy-duty woofer for responsive bass sounds at 50 watts. It also features independent volume controls and five soft-touch knobs. Unlike the DA200It it doesn't have a ground-lift .

Simmons DA200S Drum Amplifier (Discontinued)

Simmons DA200S

The Simmons DA200S is designed to provide the best quality of sounds for electronic drum sets.

It is equipped with two 50-watt speakers including heavy-duty mid-range speakers for punchy mids and high-frequency tweeters for cymbal clarity. It also includes a 100-watt down-firing subwoofer for enhanced bass response.

In terms of portability and ease of use, this drum amplifier has soft touch knobs that are adjustable with drum sticks as well as a ribbed handle for ease of transportation.

Roland V-Drums TD-25KV Electronic Drum Set

Roland V-Drums TD-25KV

The Roland TD-25KV is a true high-end electronic percussion instrument that's meant for professionals and advanced users.

While it is not the top of the line model, it does have most of its features, with the main difference being fewer connectivity options, slightly smaller pads and a more streamlined drum module.

KAT KT4 Electronic Drum Set

Kat Percussion KT4 Electronic Drum Set

After being under Kaman and Fender, Kat Percussion was acquired by DW Drums, and is now serving as their electronic drum kit sub-brand. This is their flagship model which features the best that the company can offer, while retaining a mid-tier price.

It is packed with features, most notable of which are its four 11" dual zone pads that can be programmed to reproduce various snare, tom and percussion sounds. And since the pads are white, they provide a nice contrast to the black color dominated designs of other manufacturers.

Yamaha DTX532K Electronic Drum Set

Yamaha DTX532K Electronic Drum Kit

The Yamaha DTX532K packs as many features as they can put in while keeping the price reasonable and without sacrificing quality.

The inclusion of a true-to-form hi-hat stand with pedal easily sets it apart from others in this price range, while the three-zone cymbals and snare add to its expressiveness. Speaking of the snare, it features Yamaha's TCS (textured cellular silicone) material, a silicon gel based drum head which they developed for their DTX pads. It is described as having increased sensitivity while being quieter than regular pads.

Alesis Crimson Mesh Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Alesis Crimson Mesh Electronic Drum Set

For the price, this kit sports all-mesh pads that include the snare, kick pad and toms, something that's usually only available from more expensive drum sets. Another noteworthy feature is its three-zone ride cymbal. While it doesn't have many training features, the Crimson Drum Module does have a built-in metronome and it lets you load up tracks via USB for backing use.

Roland KS-18Z Keyboard Stand

Roland KS-18Z Keyboard Stand

The Roland KS-18Z has a large range of widths it can be adjusted to which makes it suitable for many 25-Key keyboards as well as larger keyboards.

RockJam Xfinity Double-X Keyboard Stand (Discontinued)

RockJam Xfinity Double-X Keyboard Stand

One of the nice things about the RockJam Xfinity is that it comes pre-assembled straight out of the box, just set it to the height you want and you're good to go.

Like all double X style stands, this is not a good option if you want to play sitting down because your knees will be constantly bumping into the cross bars.

Roland TD-30K V-Pro Electronic Drum Set

Roland TD-30K V-Pro Electronic Drum Set

There's simply no denying Roland's dominance in this market, and for many years, the TD-30K led their advance.

This particular drum kit provides drummers with the best that Roland had to offer in terms of playability, sound quality and versatility.