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.

Samson Meteorite Desktop Condenser USB Microphone

Samson Meteorite Desktop Condenser USB Microphone

The Meteorite is Samson's take on the ball shape desktop microphone trend, the main difference being its removable magnetic base which helps secure the mic for easier positioning.

This compact ball houses a 14mm diaphragm USB condenser microphone, with a frequency response of 20Hz–20kHz and sample rate of

Shure SM48 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Shure SM48 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

It's interesting how cheap the Shure SM48 is, especially when considering that it is part of Shure's mid-tier SM series.

It gives you improved frequency response (55Hz-14kHz), stricter polar pattern, and better transients - while having less handling noise compared to most entry level mics.

More importantly, it gives you all this while retaining an entry-level tier price tag.

Laney Amps CUB10 Tube Combo Guitar Amp 10W 1x8

Laney Amps CUB 10

The Laney Cub 10 is a streamlined 10W 1 x 10" tube amp, tweaked to be similar to boutique tube amps minus the expense.

It doesn't have much in terms of features, but it makes up with its impressive hardware specs, at the core of which are two ECC83 preamp tubes and two 6V6GT output tubes.

It follows after classic amplifier designs with its class A/B circuit that gives it a vintage voicing that many prefer.

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

If you're looking for a portable multi-purpose condenser mic then the Samson Go Mic may just be what you need.

It features a compact profile that can easily fit into pockets for transport, clip on laptops/tablets for mobile use, or stand on a desk for home recording.

It houses a small 10mm diaphragm condenser with switchable polar patterns (omni and cardioid), making it viable for solo vocal/instrument recording or for group/multi-instrument recordings.

Nady PCM-100 Professional Classic Style Condenser Microphone

Nady PCM-100 Professional Classic Style Condenser Microphone

One look at the Nady PCM-100 and you'll understand why its popular - it is a cool looking mic that comes with a very affordable price tag. And with that form factor, it is meant to be a stage microphone for use with vocal performers, but there are some who have put it to good use in recording as well.

It has a frequency response of 30Hz to 18kHz which is quite limited, but this limitation gives the mic its distinct presence peak that many prefer. It also has a switchable low-cut filter that allows for low end adjustments when needed.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The AT2020 features a low-mass diaphragm that lets it handle high SPL (Sound Pressure Levels) better than many other condenser microphones.

It also has a smaller 16mm-diameter black-electret capsule, which give it a subtly brighter sound, that complements certain applications like female vocals, closed-miked horns, small bodied acoustic guitars, drum kit overheads and more.

Additionally, the components are protected by a modern looking cast metal exterior that's easy to store and easy on the eyes.

Behringer B-1 Large-Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone

Behringer B-1 Large-Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone

Behringer's presence in the music gear market is undeniably strong, especially in the the entry level tier. This encompasses the sub $100 condenser mic market, with which the Behringer B-1 is doing quite well in terms of popularity and ratings.

This large diaphragm microphone features a 1" gold-sputtered dual-diaphragm designed for improved transparency and fidelity - and many are raving that it the sonic quality of this mic is comparable to premium mics which are four times more expensive.

Nektar Impact LX25+ 25-key USB-MIDI Keyboard Controller

Nektar Impact LX25+ 25-key USB-MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Impact LX25+ features Nekta's DAW integration where it intelligently maps its controls to the corresponding parameters and controls of several commonly used DAWs, such as Digital Performer, FL Studio, GarageBand, and Logic Pro. It has full-sized velocity sensitive keys with 4 velocity curves and an option to choose one of the 3 fixed velocity levels for a more consistent performance. It also has the essential controls such as pitch and modulation wheels, knobs, 30mm fader, and velocity sensitive pads.

Nektar Impact GX49 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Nektar Impact GX49 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Nektar Impact GX49 features transport and navigation controls for you to play, record or navigate without constantly reaching for your mouse or computer keyboard. This controller also has assignable buttons that you can manually integrate with your DAW even if you own software that's not supported by Nektar's DAW Integration. It is also compatible with iOS devices, such as iPads, and can be connected with the use of an Apple camera connection kit.

Audio-Technica M3 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System (Discontinued)

Audio-Technica M3 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System

Japan based Audio-Technica has come a long way from manufacturing phonograph cartridges back in 1962, now they are considered as one of the biggest audio equipment manufacturers in the world. The Audio-Technica M3 showcases why the company continues to thrive in the face of stiff competition, it packs in impressive features while keeping the price much lower than what other brands offer.

Audio-Technica M2 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System - (Discontinued)

Audio-Technica M2M

Audio-Technica is known for producing reasonably priced audio equipment that both hobbyists and professionals appreciate and the M2 is an excellent example. Among their lineup, the Audio-Technica M2 sits in the sweet-spot where price is accessible for beginners while quality is good enough for experienced users, which in turn allows it to maintain its high ratings.

Planet Waves American Stage Instrument Guitar Cable

Planet Waves American Stage Instrument Guitar Cable

D'Addario is well known for quality guitar accessories, and their sub brand Planet Waves have come up with a pretty good cable - the USA made American Stage guitar cable.
It features a slightly thin 22 AWG OFC conductor wrapped in 95% braided shielding. Planet Waves employed an exclusive in-line solder process that permanently bonds the wire and plug, which ups reliability and longevity.

It also features Geo-Tip Neutrik connectors that help keep the jack in place when plugged in.

Hosa GTR Guitar Cable

Hosa GTR Guitar Cable

The name may not be familiar to all, but Hosa Tech's decades of experience with audio equipment have enabled them to produce top rated and affordable cables like the GTR.

This particular instrument cable features traditional designs that make maintenance easy and convenient, including Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) conductors, OFC braided shield, and all-metal plugs.

What sets Hosa apart is how reliable and solidly built their cables are, compared to other similarly priced and configured cables on the market.

Steinberg UR242 4-Channel USB Audio Interface

Steinberg UR242 4-Channel USB Audio Interface

Being the developer of the popular DAW software Cubase, Steinberg knows the needs of home studios. This is evidenced by the success of their audio interfaces, to be more specific, the UR242.

For the price, this audio interface gives you four simultaneous input channels, two of which feature class A D-Pre mic preamps, and the other two are meant for line level sources.

As expected, it has plug-and-play compatibility with Cubase, but it also works well with competing DAWs.

Behringer Europort PPA500BT Portable PA System

Behringer Europort PPA500BT

The Behringer Europort PPA500BT is a full–fledged PA System that can be compacted into a portable self-contained unit that looks like a bag.

When unpacked, this compact unit separates into three sections, which include two speakers and a central mixing console.

And as usual, Behringer packed this PA system with features that include Bluetooth connectivity, 5-Band EQ, feedback detection, and it even comes bundled with speaker cables and a handheld dynamic microphone.

Yamaha StagePas 400i Portable PA System (Discontinued)

Yamaha StagePas 400i Portable PA System

Yamaha is a brand that needs no introduction, known for manufacturing quality musical instruments and audio equipment. As a testament to this, their StagePas series of portable speakers ranked the highest on our recommended list before it was discontinued, thanks to its solid build and sound quality.

Focal Alpha 80 8" 140W Powered Studio Monitor

Focal Alpha 80 8" 140W Powered Studio Monitor

Known for their premium studio monitors and speakers, Focal have successfully expanded into the mid-tier market with the Alpha 80. It doesn't stray too much from conventional designs, with its 140 Watt amplifier (Bi-amp), 8" woofer and 1" tweeter - but it implements all these with their brand of quality materials and premium build, something that you usually have to pay top dollars for.

Finally, the Alpha 80 comes with automatic standby mode, an energy-saving feature that turns off the monitor after 30 minutes of idle time.

Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster '70s (SSS) Solidbody Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster '70s

The Stratocaster is easily one of the most familiar electric guitar designs ever, made popular by iconic guitarists but used just as much by aspiring rockers. With so many clones and variations available, the Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster '70s stand out in terms of ratings, thanks to it being a licensed and good quality reproduction of strats from the 1970s.

Sennheiser HD 800 Open-Back Headphones (Discontinued)

Sennheiser HD 800 Open-Back Headphones

Being part of Sennheiser's top of the line offering, the HD 800 is assembled by hand in Germany to ensure its premium build and sound quality.

At the heart of the HD 800 are two 56mm drivers, which are among the biggest in the market - both of which feature Sennheiser's patented ring-like transducer shape.

These drivers are housed in open-back earcups that work together for a more natural sounding monitoring experience.

Yamaha GL1 Guitalele - Nylon String Guitar

Yamaha GL1 Guitalele

The Yamaha GL1 Guitalele is a unique instrument because it combines the dimensions of a ukulele with the tuning pattern of a guitar. Basically, it’s higher in pitch than a standard guitar but the music and technique learned on it can be carried over to a guitar.

Ultimate Support MC-125 Studio Telescoping Boom Mic Stand w/ Adjustable Counterweight

Ultimate Support MC-125 Studio Boom Mic Stand

The Ultimate Support MC-125 has an adjustable counterweight - that means you can position it along the end of the boom to perfectly balance the stand with any mics or other attachments such as pop filters without having to adjust the boom itself. If you haven't used an adjustable counterweight before then trust me it's a really handy feature!

The roller-blade style casters can be locked to prevent it moving once in position.

On-Stage Stands SB9600 Tripod Studio Boom Mic Stand

On-Stage Stands SB9600 Tripod Studio Boom Mic Stand

The tripod base on the SB9600 can be adjusted for additional height or spread further apart for greater stability when projecting the boom further from the base.

It's can also be extended high enough to use with overhead mics - in fact some people use it in a live setting for overheads even though it's primarily designed for studio use.

Atlas Sound MS20E Solid Round Base Mic Stand

Atlas Sound MS20E Round Base Mic Stand

The Atlas Sound MS20E is a heavy-duty stand for indoor and outdoor use. Its tubing is designed with cold rolled steel built to withstand extreme conditions. It also comes with a non-reflective ebony epoxy finish.

Yamaha DSR115 Powered Speaker 1300W 15"

Yamaha DSR115

The Yamaha DSR115 is a powered active speaker that's meant to handle bigger venues with its 1500W (Dynamic) power rating, 15" woofer and 2" tweeter.

And since it has big woofers, it can reproduce deep low-end frequencies without any problems, and you don't have to worry about overloading the speaker because it comes with built-in DSP limiter.

Speaking of DSP, it comes with Yamaha's D-Contour technology, which constantly monitors and adjusts frequencies for optimal sound quality. This allows the DSR115 to sound good regardless of volume level.

Yamaha DXR15 Powered PA Speaker 15" - 700W

Yamaha DXR15 Powered PA Speaker 15" - 700W

Yamaha's reputation for quality and value for money is applied to most, if not all, their products, including their active PA speakers which continue to dominate the market.

The highly rated Yamaha DXR15 powered showcases why Yamaha continues to be at the forefront - combining good features with impeccable quality, while retaining an appealing price tag.

QSC K8.2 2000-Watt 8" Powered PA Speaker

QSC K8.2 2000 Watt Powered PA Speaker

The K8.2 is part of QSC's updated line of K.2 series speakers, carrying over the same quality and standards as the popular original K series, with notable improvements.

Changes include increased power to the LF driver (by taking some away from the HF driver where it's less needed), max SPL (Sound Pressure Level) and improved low-frequency extension, all of which add even more value to the original K8's design.

To be specific, the K8.2's extended bass allows its smaller 8" LF driver to pump more bass, without compromising its midrange clarity.

Yamaha DXR8 Powered PA Speaker 8" - 1100W

Yamaha DXR8 Powered PA Speaker

With its 700W RMS (1100W Peak) amplifier, the Yamaha DXR8 can get really loud for its size.

But it's not just about being loud, because the extra headroom allows for better reproduction of audio nuances and dynamics.

What makes it even more appealing is how relatively light it is for what it can do, thanks to its lightweight Class D amplifier and ABS thermoplastic enclosure.

Levy's Leathers M20 Nylon Classical Guitar Strap

Levy's Nylon Classical Guitar Strap

The Levy's M20 is essentially a longer black version of the M23, with the same discrete plastic sound-hole hook that is meant for guitars with no strap pins, like classical guitars and ukuleles.

With its plain black color, this strap is meant for those who want less color, but want the same functionality. The strap is of the same size at 1", and goes through Levy's tri-glide adjustment configuration.

Fretfunk Acoustic Guitar Strap Adapter

Fretfunk Acoustic Guitar Strap Button (Black)

Fretfunk is a popular strap adapter that slips underneath the strings at the headstock.

It is locked and secured via a strap button, which also serves as the connecting piece for regular guitar straps.

Since it features faux-leather material, it matches the appearance of most guitar straps, and looks much better than regular string ties.

The material is also meant to be strong enough to hold the weight of acoustic guitars.

Gibson Switchblade Guitar Strap

Gibson Accessories Switchblade Guitar Strap

Carrying heavy solidbody electric guitars for long periods can be quite the task, thankfully there are comfortable straps like the Gibson Switchblade.

This premium strap features 1/2" thick memory foam inner padding that helps distribute the weight evenly as you play your instrument.

The full-grain leather top adds to the straps overall appeal while the soft garment leather backing adds to the overall comfort.

Fender Vintage Tweed Guitar Strap

Fender Vintage Tweed Strap

Fender knows that old school is still cool for many guitarists, and this is why they implement vintage designs in many of their guitars and accessories.

Case in point is the Vintage Tweed Guitar Strap, which features the same material and look used on their popular "Tweed" amps.

Other than its distinct Fender visual appeal and softer tweed feel, this 2" wide guitar strap is not much different from other standard straps in terms of its mechanical design, offering conventional length adjustment, reliability and stability.

Composite Acoustics Cargo ELE (Discontinued)

Composite Acoustics Cargo ELE

Since wood is easily affected by humidity and temperature, manufacturers like Composite Acoustics have moved to more robust and resilient materials like "Carbon Fiber".

The use of this light and sturdy material, combined with its one piece body-and-neck design makes the Cargo ELE a truly reliable acoustic guitar that can handle extreme weather, humidity and temperature changes.

But its not just about reliability because the carbon fiber material and its shape is designed to give the instrument a sound that's similar to traditional acoustics.

Auphonix MPF-1 Pop Filter

Auphonix pop filter

While the popularity and affordability of desktop USB mics have made home recording more accessible, some manufacturers didn't take compatibility with standard pop filters into account.

This is where Auphonix came in with their specially designed clamps that conveniently and securely attach to popular USB desktop mics like the Blue Yeti.

The Auphonix pop filter features a double mesh filter design and comes in a round shape that is 6" in diameter (also available in a smaller 4" version). It also features an adjustable gooseneck for precise and stable positioning.

On-Stage Stands ASVS6GB Pop Filter

On-Stage Stands ASVS6GB

The On-Stage ASVS6GB is a straight forward pop filter that follows the conventional form factor, with a simple nylon mesh serving as its filter.

The diameter is 6", while the gooseneck is 13" long, both of which are good enough for most applications.

While it does not have as much plosive stopping power as dual mesh ones, it does provide good enough filtration to warrant a good number of positive reviews.

Raxxess Stoppit Pop filter (Discontinued)

Raxxess Pop filter

The RaXXess Stoppit filter is an affordable filter that gets the job done with its straightforward design and practical price tag.

It follows conventional pop filter design with a 6" diameter round fabric filter that is attached to a gooseneck and a clamp. The clamp allows for quick and secure attachments to mic stands and desks, making it useable for desktop recording as well.

It also features a secondary pivot joint that lets you set the screen angle to match the specific pickup axis of the mic you're using.

Pauly Ton Pauly Superscreen Pop Filter (Discontinued)

Pauly Ton Pauly Superscreen

The Pauly Superscreen Pop Filter is a premium handmade filter that's meant for professional studio work. The high-price tag is justified by being handcrafted in Germany, its high build quality and its proprietary gooseneck - which is flexible yet stable - able to stay in place for a very long time unless moved.

Fender Champion 20 Guitar Amplifier 20W

Fender Champion 20

The Fender Champion 20 is arguably one of the most versatile amps in its price range, with 8 different amp models and onboard effects.

The amp models cover vintage Fender Amplifiers, a Vox model, a Marshall model, and three high-gain models.

The onboard effects are also a great inclusion, featuring the majority of modulation effects the average guitar player is likely going to need. The amp also comes with Fender style reverb, which is the most copied reverb ever.

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus (HSS) Solidbody Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus

The Fender Modern Player Telecaster combines the singlecoil neck pickup of a Telecaster, with the singlecoil midde pickup a Stratocaster, and a humbucker pickup on the bridge.

In addition, the bridge pickup is wired so you can split the coils, which means that you're not missing the single coil sound on the bridge position when you want it. It also sports a Stratocaster bridge with string-through-body tailpiece.

All in all, this guitar gives you more tone options, while keeping the classic appeal of the Tele.

Yamaha DBR12 12" Powered PA Speaker

Yamaha DBR12 12" Powered PA Speaker

With its 131dB SPL and 12" woofer, the Yamaha DBR12 has enough projection and low-end for competent FOH use. But since it has Yamaha's clarity and built-in EQ capabilities via the D-Contour switch, it continues to be highly rated for being a good monitor speaker as well.

It operates similar to the smaller DBR10, but with a slightly bigger profile that allows for a bit more bass frequency emphasis.

With its versatility, the DBR12 is a true all-in-one stand-alone speaker that can serve many purposes.

Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" Powered PA Speaker - 1000W

Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" Powered PA Speaker - 1000W

Electro-Voice is known for providing speakers with good specs at a more affordable price point, and the ZLX-12P is a good example of how successful their strategy is.

At just under $400, this powered speaker can get really loud with its 1000W (Peak) class D amplifier built in, which drives a 12" woofer and a 1.5" tweeter.

Positioning flexibility makes it an even better deal.

But what really makes it a market favorite is its clean Hi-Fi sound, which makes it a viable stage monitor with more bottom end, thanks to its 12" speaker.

Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass PJ (Discontinued)

Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass PJ

With so many new bass guitar designs available, its impressive how the old Precision Bass design of Fender continues to be in demand up to this day. The Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass PJ is an affordable take on the iconic bass, complete with a split-single-coil bridge pickup, only this one has an extra Jazz Bass style single-coil, hence the label PJ.

Line 6 Spider Jam Modeling Guitar Amplifier 75W

Line 6 Spider Jam

The Line 6 Spider Jam is true to its name, a guitar amplifier that's meant for convenient jamming, be it with a band, or on your own by playing along with the loops you created, or with the amp's loaded jam tracks.

At its core is a 75 Watt solid-state amplifier that drives a distinct PA speaker like configuration, having a 12" Celestion speaker and a 2" tweeter.

Blackstar ID:30 TVP Guitar Combo Amplifier 30W

Blackstar ID:30 TVP Guitar Combo Amplifier 30W

The Blackstar ID:30 TVP is a portable 30W 1 x 12" combo amplifier with interesting features and sonic versatility. TVP stands for Blackstar's "True Valve Power", which lets you switch between different virtual poweramp valves to vary the response of the amp. It lets you choose between 6V6, EL84, EL34, KT66, 6L6 and KT88, with each one adding varying tube like coloration and characteristics to your tone. In addition, the ID:30 TVP comes with six different preamp flavors: Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD 1 and OD 2.

On-Stage MS9701TB+ Heavy-Duty Tripod Telescoping Boom Mic Stand

On-Stage MS9701TB+ Heavy-Duty Telescoping Boom Mic Stand

As the name suggests this stand is designed to take on a heavier load and set of work requirements than lighter-weight stands with its heavier diecast leg housings and thicker tubing.

The center clutch grip is coupled with an anti-rotating device on the lower shaft which is designed to make single hand adjustments easier.

Most importantly the Telescoping Boom lets you position the mic wherever you need it - including overhead.

Turbosound iNSPIRE iP1000 Powered Column Speaker System (Discontinued)

Turbosound iNSPIRE iP1000

The Turbosound iNSPIRE iP1000 strays from traditional form-factor with its column design, featuring 8 x 2.75" neodymium drivers, along with 2 x 8" LF drivers and a 1" HF driver.

This design, together with its powerful 1000W amplifier allows for improved clarity and dispersion.

It comes equipped with Klark Teknik DSP with Spatial Sound technology that tweaks the sound subtly to match venues or your preferences.

In addition to all that, it comes with convenient Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to stream audio from your computer and mobile devices.

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II Bass Combo Amplifier

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II Bass Combo Amplifier

The Gallien-Kruegger MB112-II is a true workhorse road-worthy bass combo amp that packs quite the power and tone in a relatively light and compact profile.

Yamaha NTX1200R Natural Acoustic-Electric Nylon String Classical Guitar

Yamaha NTX1200R Natural

This guitar is similar to the NTX700 in that it has a thin body and small nut width designed to be more playable for guitarists who are crossing over from a steel string instrument.

What sets it apart from it's cheaper sibling is that the NTX1200R comes with solid rosewood back and sides giving it richer tones slightly more similar to a traditional classical guitar.

Cordoba C7 CD Nylon String Guitar

Cordoba C7 CD (Canadian Cedar) Nylon String Guitar

From the tonewoods used in its construction, to the dimensions of the body, neck and nut, the Cordoba C7 CD has a true Classical Guitar design.

Cordoba C5 Nylon String Classical Guitar

Cordoba C5 Nylon String Classical Guitar

The Cordoba C5 is a step up from the C3M with most commentary on forums agreeing that the C5 has better sustain despite the specifications for the two instruments looking very similar. Where they differ is that the C5 has a slightly larger upper bout width, slightly longer overall length, slightly smaller soundhole, higher quality tuning pegs and a gloss finish instead of matte.

Cordoba also say that this is one of their top selling guitars.

M-Audio MIDISPORT 2x2 Anniversary Edition USB Bus-Powered MIDI Interface (Discontinued)

The M-Audio MIDISPORT 2x2 was part of M-Audio's 20th anniversary celebration, it expands on the features that are found on the first edition model released in 2000.

Aside from offering two of each MIDI inputs and outputs, it features a stand-alone MIDI merge and THRU functionality, ideal for connecting multiple MIDI devices and daisy chaining.

Connectivity is made easy by simply plugging it into a computer device, and is also powered via USB.

Peavey XR 1220 Powered Audio Mixer (Discontinued)

Peavey XR1220 Powered Mixer

There's no denying that Peavey has won the confidence of many with the quality of the music gear they manufacture, so it's not surprising to find their products doing well in the market - including the XR1220 Powered Mixer.

This lightweight mixer packs quite a lot of bang per pound, weighing in at just 25 lbs., it sports 20 channels and a host of complementary features that make it a viable workhorse mixer and poweramp unit for small to medium sized venues.

Yamaha P-115 88 Key Digital Piano (Discontinued)

Yamaha P-115 88 Key Digital Piano

The P-115 is based on Yamaha's uber expensive CFIIIS 9' concert grand piano, recreating its heavy playing feel and its distinct clear piano sound in a compact and portable form factor.

It starts off with Yamaha's fully weighted "Graded Hammer Standard" action keybed, which emulates the feel of hammers hitting acoustic piano strings.

To get the sound right, the company employed their "Pure CF Sound Engine" which sampled the CFIIIS at different volume and dynamic levels, resulting in a more organic and responsive sound.

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic Parlor Guitar (Discontinued)

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

The humble parlor guitar continues to be a popular portable instrument, even with so many modern alternatives. The Gretsch G9500 is a great example of its staying power in the market, with its classic design that reproduces the vibe and feel of old Gretsch Rex guitars from the '30s. More importantly, it comes with a compact form factor that makes it an ideal portable instrument, or a grab-and-go couch guitar.

Monster Classic Coiled Instrument Guitar Cable (Discontinued)

Monster Classic Coiled Instrument Guitar Cable

Since it is pricey, it's only natural for increased expectations, yet Monster Cable is not one to back down. They've been building their reputation on premium audio cables, which include their recreation of the classic coiled guitar cable. While it sports an old school coiled cable look, this one follows the company's modern design to the letter, with its 20 AWG copper conductor, 90% copper spiral wrap shielding, duraflex jacket and twisted pair construction.

Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amp

Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amp

The Vox VX50KB breaks with keyboard amp tradition and instead of trying to faithfully reproduce the input signal, it actually adds warmth with it's use of old vacuum tube technology which is usually found mostly on guitar amps these days.

It provides independent volume control over all 3 channels, however the 3-band EQ applies to the master output so you can't EQ channels independently.

Sennheiser EW 172 G3 Wireless Guitar System (Discontinued)

Sennheiser EW 172 G3

The Sennheiser EW 172 G3, carries over the benefits of their wireless microphone technology but tweaked for guitarists to enjoy.

Notable guitar friendly features include a guitar tuner, equalizer, and cable emulator.

The guitar tuner feature by itself can replace an entire pedal, while the 5-band EQ and cable emulator allows you to better fine tune your sound, ideal for those who want more control over the resulting sound.

TC Electronic Polytune 2 Pedal Tuner for Guitar & Bass (Discontinued)

TC Electronic Polytune 2 Pedal Tuner

Pedalboard space is an ever dwindling resource for many guitarists, prompting many manufacturers to produce compact versions of their popular pedals. The TC Electronic Polytune 2 Mini is one such pedal, a compact version of the Polytune 2, with no battery power option.

Like its bigger sibling, this pedal allows for polyphonic (multi-note) tuning, in addition to conventional chromatic tuning. It also features a Stroboscopic mode that allows for even more tuning accuracy, down to ±0.1 cent.

Arturia BeatStep Pro MIDI Pad Controller & Sequencer

Arturia BeatStep Pro MIDI Pad Controller & Sequencer

The BeatStep Pro showcases 16 drum sequencer pads and two other independent sequencers, with 64 steps per sequence.

It's both a sequencer and controller that syncs with any computer via USB.

Other connections include MIDI In/Out CV/GATE, drum gate, and clock sync connectivity - great for those who prefer working with external hardware, such as analog synthesizers.

IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Pad Groove Controller

IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Pad Controller

IK Multimedia's iRig Pads is a portable 16-pad MIDI controller designed for iOS devices, as well as Mac and PC.

It allows you to easily set up and connect with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with its included Lightning cable.

Its small and lightweight build makes it easy to slip in your bag and carry around. Despite it being small, it has the essential controls for sequencing - two knobs, two push buttons, one slider and one pushbutton rotary encoder.

Novation Launchpad Mini MK2 MIDI Pad Controller

Novation Launchpad Mini MK2 MIDI Pad Controller

The Launchpad Mini is a compact alternative to Novation's Launchpad Pro.

With a lighter and more compact design, it features 64 multi-colored mini pads and 16 programmable buttons for triggering clips, playing drum racks, controlling your mixer and different types parameters.

It's class compliant allowing you to connect with any PC or Mac device and iOS devices via Camera Connection Kit.

Akai Professional LPD8 Laptop MIDI Pad Controller

Akai Professional LPD8 Laptop MIDI Pad Controller

The LPD8 is a slim USB pad controller that's light-weight and small enough fit in your laptop bag or backpack.

The 8 backlit pads have a similar feel to Akai Professional’s MPC line - after all they basically invented the pad controller concept.

The LPD8 is also USB class compliant so it is plug and play with different versions of Mac and PC devices, and compatible with most DAWs.

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho x4 Analog Synthesizer (Discontinued)

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho x4 Analog Synthesizer

The Mopho x4 from Dave Smith Instruments features 4-voice polyphony with an all analog signal path.

Each of those four voices exhibits dual oscillators, two sub octave generators, four LFOs, an arpeggiator, a Curtis low-pass filter, three envelope generators, and a gated 16 x 4 step sequencer.

This analog synthesizer comes with a full-sized 44-note pressure-sensitive keyboard and free assignable pitch and modulation wheels.

Yamaha P-255 88-key Stage Piano (Discontinued)

Yamaha P-255 88-key Stage Piano

The Yamaha P-255 is a digital stage piano with full-weighted and graded hammer action keys that are made of synthetic ivory.

It has a built-in Pure CF Sound Engine that produces Yamaha's piano voices, such as the CFIIIS concert grand piano.

It also has built-in rhythm patterns for sequencing drums and percussion tracks, which makes it suitable as an accompaniment for live solo/duo type performers.

Zoom G1Xon Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal (Discontinued)

Zoom G1Xon

When it comes to value for money, it'll be hard to top what the G1Xon is able to do.

It doesn't just give you multiple amps (22 models) and effects (105 effects), it also comes with a 30 sec-looper and 68 rhythm accompaniments that will make practice more interesting and effective.

Those are a lot of features in a small unit, thankfully Zoom implemented an interface that makes tweaking and configuring easier.

Blackstar HT-1R Tube Combo Guitar Amp 1W 1x8 (Discontinued)

Blackstar HT-1R

The Blackstar HT-1R is a compact tube amp that's designed to produce genuine cranked tube tones at lower volumes. This is the same as the lower priced Blackstar HT-1, with the only difference being that the HT-1R includes reverb while the HT-1 does not.

This is made possible with a 1 Watt amplifier circuit that houses an ECC83 preamp tube, which is essentially a 12AX7 just named differently by Europeans, and a ECC82 poweramp tube - also called a 12AU7.

Blackstar HT-1 1W 1x8" Guitar Combo Amplifier (Discontinued)

Blackstar HT-1 1W 1x8" Guitar Combo Amplifier

More often than not, you have to drive tubes hard to get it to sound great. The Blackstar HT-1 lets you do just that, while keeping your volume levels manageable because it is rated at just 1 Watt.

This compact amp houses an ECC83 preamp and ECC82 power amp tube, both of which work together to produce Blackstar's high-gain friendly tones, which would normally be hard to get in a bedroom or small studio setting.

Epiphone SG Special (HH) 6 String Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Epiphone SG Special (HH)

The SG (Solid Guitar) was originally meant to be a re-design of the Gibson Les Paul and Gibson gave it the same name. Les Paul wasn't involved in the redesign and asked that his name be removed and so Gibson obliged and renamed it the SG.

The new design was meant to boost sales because the original was fading in the market, and it worked with more than 6,000 units sold during the first 3 years after the 1961 launch - more than 3 times the number of the original Les Paul Standards sold from 1958 to 1960.

Squier Bullet Strat (SSS) 6 String Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Squier Bullet Strat (SSS)

The Stratocaster, AKA 'The Strat', is almost certainly the highest selling electric guitar design of all time having first been released in 1954.

The list of famous Stratocaster players is almost endless, but it includes some of the greatest of all time including Jimi Hendrix and Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd

Epiphone Les Paul Special II (HH) 6 String Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Les Paul created an early solid-body electric guitar in his spare time after work at the Epiphone factory in the early 1940's famously known as "The Log". It is believed that this was the first solidbody 'Spanish guitar' every built. He went on to develop the idea further until he took it to managers at Gibson sometime in 1945 or 1946 who immediately...
...did nothing.

Fifine K669 Condenser USB Microphone

Fifine K669 Condenser USB Microphone

The Fifine K669 is a USB condenser microphone that comes with an adjustable tripod desk stand and a 6 ft. long USB cable.

Yamaha Revstar RS420 (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Yamaha Revstar RS420

Released late in 2015, the Yamaha Revstar RS420 is relatively speaking, a new comer.

Said to be inspired by vintage street-racing motorbikes, this guitar has a unique shape that looks familiar, without being just another clone of classic designs.

And it's not just about looking unique and cool, because this guitar also sports some distinct tones, courtesy of its push-pull dry switch. Instead of merely splitting the coils of its humbuckers, Yamaha implemented built-in filters to morph the sound into single coil sounds that are hum-free.

Ibanez JemJR Steve Vai Signature (HSH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Ibanez Jem Jr

First launched in 1987, the Ibanez Steve Vai Signature Jem continues to be one of the most popular and instantly recognizable signature guitars in the world, so much so that it has grown into a line of guitars in itself. And the JemJR serves as its expansion into the mid-tier, following after the design of the original white Jem, with the same double cutaway mahogany body, monkey grip, lion's claw trem cavity, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard with "tree of life" inlay - only this one uses more cost effective materials and production.

PRS SE Standard 24 (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

PRS SE Standard 24

Paul Reed Smith guitars, have grown to compete with big brand contenders in a relatively short amount of time, thanks to the quality of their guitars. And while they are well known for their more expensive instruments, they have since expanded into more budget friendly price ranges with their SE Standard range, including this 24-fret model based on their popular Custom 24 guitar.

Schecter Omen Extreme 6 FR (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Schecter Omen Extreme 6 FR

From a repair shop, Schecter grew to be a parts manufacturer that supplied guitar companies like Gibson and Fender. It didn't take them long to start producing their own guitars, some which ended up in the hands of professionals like Ritchie Blackmore, Chris Poland, Jeff Loomis and more. While ownership has changed (now owned by the same parent company that owns ESP guitars), the company didn't stray from what made them popular - modded versions of classic guitar designs.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Of the many Les Paul clones in the market, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard lets you get as close as possible to the original Gibson version, while keeping the price affordable. And thanks to technology and fierce competition, the quality gap between the two different models is getting smaller and smaller.

Following the "Standard" formula, this guitar features a mahogany body with maple top, and a set-in mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, all of which give this guitar a familiar and elegant look.

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar (SS) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar

The Jaguar is one of those guitars that didn't do well while it was originally in production, but became much more in demand afterwards - thanks to guitarists like Kurt Cobain, John Frusciante, Johnny Marr and more.

These days, a vintage Fender Jaguar will cost you many times the original price, so having an affordable option like the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar was a welcome addition to the market.

Jackson JS32 Rhoads (HH) Solidbody Electric Guitar

Jackson JS32 Rhoads

This guitar bears the name of Grover Jackson and Randy Rhoads, the same two who helped kick start this company.

The asymmetric V shape of this guitar was co-designed by Rhoads himself, which gave this instrument a distinct shape that appeals to many rock guitarists.

All the shred features are available in this budget friendly instrument, including a 24-fret fast action neck, twin high-output humbuckers and a Floyd Rose licensed tremolo.

Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer Drum Machine (Discontinued)

Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer

The Roland TR-8 is a modern recreation of the iconic Roland TR808 and TR909 drum machines, both of which helped shape what we know today as modern house, dance, techno and hip-hop music. Marvin Gaye, Rick James, Beastie Boys and many more have put these drum machines to good use and helped fuel its popularity.

Note that this model has been superseded by the Roland TR-8S.

Boss DR-880 Drum Machine (Discontinued)

Boss DR-880 Drum Machine

While they are more popularly known for their guitar effects pedals, Boss also has a number of drum machines in their production line. One of the highest rated ones that they offer is the DR-880 DR. Rhythm, which combines traditional drum machine features with modern sequencing.

What's interesting about this drum machine is its easy to use interface, the velocity sensitive pads are prominently placed and well spaced for convenient manual drumming, or you can simply trigger any of the 1000 patterns that are pre-loaded into the unit.

Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine

Alesis SR-16

Alesis' founder and MXR co-founder Keith Barr entered into the realm of drum machines with the help of Marcus Ryle, who later founded his own company called Line 6. And decades after, the brand is still sought after when it comes to drum machines, with the SR-16 being one of their most popular.

This compact and affordable drum machine was first released in the early '90s, and as a testament to its quality, it is still in production today, with only minor updates to its features and sounds!

Akai Professional XR20 Beat Production Station Drum Machine

Akai Professional XR20

The XR20 is a portable beat production tool that comes loaded with 700 pre-loaded sound samples of drums and percussion instruments, as well as synths and bass.

All of these samples are triggered by the unit's 12 backlit pads, which allow for real-time creation of beats and groove.

There are also a number of essential effects available, including EQ, compression and reverb.

Korg Electribe 2 Drum Machine

Korg Electribe 2 Drum Machine

The Korg Electribe is a sampler and sequencer that lets you craft classic to modern electronica grooves, with 409 analog modeled drums, percussion, bass, synths and other instrument sounds.

Combine all these sounds with its 36 built-in effects and you get a very versatile drum machine unit that goes beyond the usual.

More than merely crafting drum parts, you can actually build tracks if not entire songs with all the instruments available.

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer Vocal Effects Processor (Discontinued)

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer Vocal Effects Processor

While other processors cater to instruments like guitars, the Roland VT-3 does not worry about any of that, as it focuses all of its resources to vocal sound quality and effects.

Another important distinction is its tabletop profile, which is designed to complement the rigs of DJs and sound engineers.

Still In case you want hands-free control of bypassing/engaging the effect, you can plug in a standard footswitch pedal.

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass 4-String Bass Guitar

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass

The original Fender Jazz bass first appeared in 1960 and is the second electric bass guitar to come out from Fender's production line. With its distinct two pole piece per string single-coil pickup design, it emphasized the midrange and upper-mids for a cutting tone that allows bassists to stand out in a mix.

The highly rated Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is an affordable take on this timeless classic, featuring a more comfortable modern "C" shape profile, 34" scale length, 1.5" nut width and rosewood fingerboard.

Epiphone Toby Deluxe IV 4-String Bass Guitar

Epiphone Toby Deluxe IV 4-String Bass Guitar

Gibson acquired the Tobias brand which I think was to get their hands on these sleek, ergonomic and boutique quality bass designs. Being one of Gibson's sub-brands, Epiphone was a willing beneficiary, releasing affordable production line versions of the original Tobias bass design.

The Toby Deluxe IV resulted from this joint venture, carrying over the same asymmetrical neck and body shape that make it look more expensive that it actually is, and comfortable to play.

Dean ML Metalman 4-String Bass Guitar

Dean ML Metalman Bass

When I first set out researching for top rated bass guitars in the entry level price range, I did not expect to see Dean Guitars doing well in the bass market. But the ratings speak for themselves, their ML Metalman Bass is a great example of how they get good feedback with their appeal to metalheads.

There's nothing unique about this instrument's specs, following the standard basswood body and maple neck configuration, as well as the 34" scale length and 1.5" nut width neck.

Fender Squier Affinity Series P/J Precision 4-String Bass Guitar w/ Rosewood Fingerboard (Discontinued)

Fender Squier Affinity Series P/J Precision Bass Guitar

The Affinity Series is Squier's entry level line of instruments, allowing up and coming musicians to own affordable versions of Fender's popular instruments.

This particular model follows after the Precision bass, which was first released way back in 1951, albeit in a more cost effective build.

It's impressive how the old Precision bass design still rates highly among today's players considering its age, it still is one of the most copied and best selling bass guitars in the world.

Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass SS 4-String Bass Guitar (Discontinued)

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass SS (Short Scale)

Squier is a sub-brand of guitar manufacturer giant Fender, they make affordable versions of Fender's popular instruments, including bass guitars.

The Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass SS was their most popular bass in the sub $200 price range, thanks to it being easy on the eyes, ears and more importantly easy on your wallet.

Marshall MG30CFX 30-Watt Solid State Guitar Amplifier (Discontinued)

Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Amp

Marshall is easily one of the most recognizable amplifier brands today, used by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Randy Rhodes and many other iconic guitarists. So it's not surprising at all to find them rating so highly in the entry level, and they did so by embracing digital sound processing while retaining their analog tonality. It may not have as many extras as other amps in its category, but it carries enough to make practice and even small venue gigging interesting.

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