Music Gear Meta-Reviews

Gearank meta-reviews tell you what large numbers of musicians and experts have been saying about specific models/items to help you swiftly grasp their pros and cons in real-world use and situations.

Instead of being limited to one reviewer's opinion, you get expert analysis of the reviews, feedback, discussions and comments a multitude of owners and users have shared via store ratings, forum discussions, videos, blogs, articles and the like.

Cordoba C3M Nylon String Guitar

Cordoba C3M

Cordoba's C3M has the main characteristics of a Classical Guitar including the nut width, neck shape, scale length and string height.

It sports a solid cedar top which is a bonus you don't often see in guitars in this price range.

PreSonus Eris E8 130W 8" Powered Studio Monitor (Discontinued)

PreSonus Eris E8

The Eris E8 is a bi-amplified studio monitor with an 8" kevlar weave woofer and a 1.25" silk dome tweeter.

The kevlar weave is designed to minimize extra reflections from the surface of the cone to more accurately project low and low midrange frequencies.

Boss RC-1 Loop Station

Boss RC-1 Loop Station

The RC-1 Loop Station follows Boss' tried and tested single stomp box design, ideal for those looking for an easy to use loop pedal.

What makes it stand out from other basic loopers is its 24-segment LED indicator, which lets you visually monitor your settings.

It sports up to 12 minutes of loop time, which is more than enough for the usual phrase looping, making it viable for keeping song and riff ideas.

Pigtronix Infinity Looper

Pigtronix Infinity Looper

The Pigtronix Infinity Looper Pedal offers a good range of features, with its two track looping, expanded connectivity options and MIDI compatibility.

Speaking of connectivity, this looper comes with two distinct input/output ports, which lets you record two different sound sources into dedicated loops and playback via dedicated outputs.

There's also an Aux loop out that can be used to send looped audio to a monitor, so your band can play in sync with your loops.

Shure KSM137 Stereo Matched Pair Condenser Microphones

Shure KSM137 Stereo Matched Pair Condenser Microphones

The Shure KSM137 is a popular high SPL (sound pressure level) microphone, so it is not surprising for a matched pair version to get the same positive response. It features an end-address condenser cardioid design, with a three-position dB pad that changes the microphone’s input volume. This allows it to handle different degrees of loudness, from vocals, to acoustic guitars, to drums.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini Reverb Pedal

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini Reverb

As the name implies, the Hall of Fame Mini is a miniature version of the original pedal of the same name, carrying over most of its features - including its Tone Print technology - while keeping the form factor small and stripping down the controls to just a single knob and footswitch.

While real-time control on the pedal is obviously limited, the built-in Tone Print technology inside the pedal allows you to load different reverb types onto the pedal, which essentially makes it as versatile as the regular sized version.

Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor Pedal V2 (Discontinued)

Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor Pedal

Inspired by a vintage FET compressor, the Walrus Audio Deep Six is meant to give guitarists old school compression in a compact form factor.

Thankfully, compact doesn't always have to mean limited, because Walrus Audio equipped the Deep Six pedal with four knobs. Three of which give you control over essential parameters like level, sustain and attack, while the fourth knob lets you blend your dry signal to taste, in case you want a more subtle compression effect. Finally, it comes with a boutique quality finish and artwork, that easily sets it apart from other compressors.

Mooer Yellow Comp Compressor Pedal

Mooer Yellow Comp Compressor Pedal

Mooer’s Yellow Comp is a great option for anyone looking for subtle compression to smooth out their playing or fatten up their tone.

It’s also regarded to be very transparent, which is a huge plus for anyone who doesn’t want their existing tone to be colored.

Even better, this pedal is also true bypass so you won’t have to worry about it impacting your tone while it’s not engaged.

Casio Privia PX-5S 88-key Stage Piano

Casio Privia PX-5S 88-key Stage Piano

Casio are known for producing affordable pianos and keyboards, and the Privia PX-5S is one to look out for.

It features Casio's AiR processor, which seeks to emulate the detail and high definition sounds found in a grand piano. It also features the Hex layer synthesizer technology found in Casio's XW-P1 synthesizer.

This is made out of six sample layers that make up a single tone where you can manipulate each of their own parameters and effects.

Casio PX-560 Privia Pro 88-key Digital Stage Piano

Casio PX-560 Privia Pro 88-key Digital Stage Piano

The Casio PX-560 Privia Pro is another affordable digital stage piano featuring ebony and ivory textured keys.

Its 5.3" touch-screen color display makes it easy to add new sounds, program rhythms and access other parameters.

When it comes to its sound source, the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source allows natural simulation of acoustic piano tones.

Nord Electro 5D 73-key Synthesizer/Stage Piano (Discontinued)

Nord Electro 5D 73-key Synthesizer/Stage Piano

The Nord Electro 5D 73-key has a lot to offer when it comes to features.

Aside from the stage piano section that contains sampled acoustic and electric pianos, it includes a tone wheel organ section and a sample synth section.

The organ section contains physical drawbars that's similar to what's seen on a real organ, providing the ability to tweak your sound in a similar manner.

Yamaha CP300 88-key Stage Piano

Yamaha CP300 88-key Stage Piano

Along with Yamaha's signature graded hammer action keybed, the CP300 provides a resistant effect on keys similar to playing an acoustic piano.

This stage piano has a built-in speaker system that's great to use for practice or monitoring sounds at gigs.

It also includes a 16-track song recorder/player for playback or creating songs, and a 2-part layer and split function that enables you to play different voices on each hand.

Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer and Stage Piano

Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer and Stage Piano

The Kurzweii Forte sports 16GB of sounds- ranging from Japanese concert pianos, electronic pianos such as Rhodes and Wurlitzers, as well as orchestral percussion.

Its highlight feature is its patented flash-play technology which allows you to load sounds instantly from its sound library in real-time. In addition to that, it has organ modelling section, editable FX engine and 16 arpeggiators.

Nektar Panorama P6 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Nektar Panorama P6 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Panorama P6 secures a recommendation spot in our guide to The Best 61-Key MIDI Controllers with its combination of a 61-key keybed, wide range of controls, and DAW compatibility.

It's designed to control all DAWs but specialized in Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Nuendo, Logic Pro, Reason, Main Stage, and Reaper. Because Nektar Panorama controllers are pre-mapped for these 5 DAWs, every control feature in your DAW software is accessible via the pads, faders, encoders.

Akai Professional MPK261 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Akai Professional MPK261 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Created by Akai Professional, the company that pioneered the use of pads as controllers, it's no surprise that the MPK261's most notable feature is its expressive pads.

But its not just about that because it also features 61 semi-weighted synth style keys, a combination that caters to modern music styles. Guaranteed iOS compatibility is also a plus for added versatility.

Korg D1 88-Key Stage Piano w/ MIDI Out

Korg D1 Stage Piano

While the Korg D1 is first and foremost a Stage Piano with built-in sounds, its amazing feel coupled with its MIDI I/O make it an excellent controller for those who prefer the feel of acoustic pianos but also want a standalone unit with internal sounds.

Lohanu LU-C Concert Ukulele (Discontinued)

Lohanu LU-C Concert Ukulele

The main feature of the Lohanu that differentiates it from similarly priced concert ukuleles is that it’s made from laminated Sapele as opposed to the more traditional mahogany.

While Sapele isn’t as widely used as other tonewoods, it actually has a tone that’s really similar to mahogany. However, there is a subtle difference between the two, with Sapele having a stronger high-end response.

Novation Launchkey Mini MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

Novation Launchkey Mini MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Novation Launchkey Mini is a compact controller designed for Ableton Live, with 16 backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads that are mapped to the popular DAW software's session view and can be used for triggering loops, beats and launch samples.

Additionally, it has eight knobs that allow you to tweak, or assign, parameters and effects.

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.

Akai Professional LPK25 25 Key USB-MIDI Controller Keyboard

Akai Professional LPK25 USB-MIDI Controller Keyboard

This 25 Key USB MIDI controller is designed to be a portable no-frills keyboard controller that just works.

The 25-key velocity sensitive keybed is front and center and takes up most of its overall profile to keep its size as small as possible, without making the keys too tiny.

There is some space for a few buttons that control octave up and down, tap tempo, arpeggiator and sustain.

Kala KA-CE Satin Mahogany Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele with EQ

Kala KA-CE Satin Mahogany Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele with EQ

Since mahogany body ukes are quite popular, it only makes sense for a company like Kala to produce one with built-in electronics, and that is precisely what the KA-CE is all about.

For plugging in, Kala equipped the KA-CE with a Omega II piezo pickup, along with an active preamp that has 2-Band EQ and a Chromatic LED tuner.

Another cool feature is the its GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle.

Kmise Solid Spruce Hawaii Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

Kmise Solid Spruce Hawaii Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

The Kmise Hawaii gives you quite the bang for your buck, with a concert size body that sports a solid spruce top, something that you don't usually find in sub $100 stringed instruments.

In addition, it comes with built in active electronics, for plugging into an amplifier or PA system, making this affordable ukulele a stage ready instrument.

If that's not enough, the built-in preamp comes with 3-band EQ and a tuner, which are essential for helping you sound good, be it while practicing or during performance.

Kala KA-PWC Pacific Walnut Concert Ukulele

Kala KA-PWC Pacific Walnut Concert Ukulele

First thing you'll notice about the Kala KA-PWC Pacific is its walnut top, back and sides, which give it a very earthy and unique look. In addition to giving it a distinct appearance, the use of walnut tonewood also gives the instrument a distinct voicing, described as crisp and focused.

This uke also comes with subtle cosmetic appointments that include body binding to enhance its overall look.

Luna Guitars Maluhia Concert Ukulele

Luna Guitars Maluhia Concert Ukulele

Luna Guitars are known for their innovative designs and affordable instruments, a design philosophy that is well reflected in the Luna Guitars Maluhia Concert Ukulele. The Maluhia Concert features a striking peace symbol sound hole as well as laser etchings of the word piece in different languages across the top of the instrument.

As far as materials are concerned, the Luna Maluhia is representative of what you’d expect from a ukulele in this price range. The uke comes with an all mahogany body, giving it a warm tone. It also comes with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge.

Akai APC Key 25 key MIDI Controller

Akai APC Key 25 key MIDI Controller

The APC Key 25 is a hybrid of an Ableton Performance Controller and keyboard designed for performing musicians and composers alike.

It features a multi-color clip-launching grid used to trigger sound clips or samples. The tri-color lighting shows three clip statuses—loaded, playing, and recording that provides visual feedback so you can perform efficiently without looking at your computer.

The controls are pre-mapped with Ableton Live for easy set-up while the knobs assignable for custom mapping options.

Korg nanoKEY Studio 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Korg nanoKEY Studio

The Korg nanoKEY Studio is not your typical MIDI keyboard, rather it is designed to be a portable music production tool with loads of DAW control features.

It combines 25 low-profile keys with 8 velocity sensitive pads and 8 knobs, but its most stand out feature is the inclusion of a X-Y pad similar to the ones found in Korg KAOSS.

As if those control options are not enough, Korg also equipped the nanoKEY Studio with multiple function buttons, convenient Bluetooth connectivity, along with compatible iOS, Windows and Mac music production software.

Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele (Discontinued)

Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele

The Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele lets you enjoy a good sounding and playing ukulele without dropping a lot of cash.

Unlike many ukuleles in this price tier, the Hola! has hardware (tuners, nut, and saddle) of a high enough quality to allow beginners to get a feel for the instrument without getting too frustrated. The sound isn’t going to blow anyone away, which for a cheap uke isn’t surprising, but it’s capable enough.

Caramel CC102A Concert Ukulele (Discontinued)

Caramel CC102A Concert Ukulele

The Caramel CC102A Concert Ukulele is a concert sized uke which is a tad bit bigger than the soprano size, so ukes of this body size are a bit louder and have a slightly warmer tone.

The Caramel CC102A also has a very distinctive patterning, which it owes to its zebra wood construction. Because this uke is made from laminated wood there isn’t a huge difference in tone, but the uke definitely has an aesthetic flair which is impressive for it’s price.

Marshall AS100D 100-Watt Acoustic Guitar Combo Amplifier (Discontinued)

Marshall AS100D

Marshall's acoustic series amplifiers designed specifically for acoustic guitar are quite popular and the AS100D is one of their better selling models.

It sports 4 channels with two of them having mic inputs - it can handle piezio and magnetic picups as well as vocal mics.

One channel is dedicated to vocal microphones with a mic preamp with phantom power and an XLR socket so it can effectively be used as a mini PA system.

Korg Kronos 88-key Synthesizer Workstation

Korg Kronos 88-key Synthesizer Workstation

This version of the Korg Kronos has 88 weighted hammer action keys and has been used by music veterans Herbie Hancock, Bill Payne and Greg Phillinganes.

Kurzweil PC3K6 61-key Synthesizer Workstation

Kurzweil PC3K6 61-key Synthesizer Workstation

The PC3K6 comes with Kurzweil's Dynamic V.A.S.T. synthesis engine, that contains extensive libraries of existing K Series samples. Aside from that, it is also flexible when it comes to loading compatible sound files since it's capable of loading .KRZ/25/26 sample files, WAVE and AIFF files.

Kurzweil has included USB Host and Device ports for saving user programs, setups and songs to a USB thumb-drive or directly to a computer, as well as 128 MB worth of sample memory for users to store their samples even after the unit is turned off.

Akai Professional MPK249 - 49-Key MIDI Controller Keyboard

Akai Professional MPK249

Akai Professional are a stand-out leader in MIDI controller keyboards with the smaller MPK225 also retaining its place as one of our recommended MIDI controllers for the third year in a row.

The MPK249 lets you control DAWs with presets for most major software, virtual instruments, effects plugins and other external hardware.

Novation Impulse 49 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard

Novation Impulse 49

This is another controller which we first recommended in February 2016 and which has increased its Gearank score since then and retained its place as one of the highest rated options currently available.

One aspect I quite like about the Novation Impulse are the transport controls - it has dedicated buttons for play, stop, record, rewind, fast forward and a loop toggle switch.

Novation Launchkey 49 Mk2 49-Key USB/iOS MIDI Keyboard Controller

Novation Launchkey 49

The Launchkey 49 Mk2 is a plug and play controller designed for producing and performing electronic music.

It features faders, knobs, keys and velocity-sensitive RGB pads that give complete control over Ableton's audio and MIDI functions.

Apart from its compatibility with Ableton, it automatically maps to other major music making applications & DAWs.

Roland A-49 49 Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Roland A-49 49 Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Roland A-49 has achieved high enough ratings to continue to be recommended by us for a third year in a row.

If you want a 49 key MIDI controller for your iPad then the Roland A-49 is a good choice because it shouldn't need additional USB power to work with the iPad because it only draws 98 mA.

Its unique feature is the D-BEAM controller which lets you wave your hand above it to send control data.

Korg microKEY AIR 49 Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard Controller

Korg microKEY AIR 49 Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Korg microKEY Air 49-Key controller is a streamlined portable keyboard controller designed for Apple's popular laptops and iOS mobile device.

It does away with extra features and sticks to keyboard essentials, which include a compact 49-Key mini keybed with velocity sensitivity, along with useful keyboard controls that include pitch wheel, mod wheel and octave selection buttons.

To make this keyboard even more convenient, Korg designed it to run on USB power or on two AA batteries which can last for up to 30 hours of use.

Simmons DA25 Drum Amplifier

Simmons DA25 Drum Amplifier

Simmons is a popular electronic drumming brand that is sold by Guitar Center and their related retailers including Musician's Friend, Music & Arts and Woodwind & Brasswind.

They designed the DA25 to suit beginners and is primarily intended for personal use and practice, rather than as an amp to use on stage.

Like many good drum amps, it has large rubber volume and EQ knobs designed to be adjusted using drum sticks.

Seagull S6 Classic M-450T Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Seagull S6 Classic M-450T

The S6 Classic continues to be among Seagull's most popular guitar offerings, and rightly so with its considerable quality to price ratio. It is a great introductory instrument that showcases their brand of craftsmanship and quality control.

Visually, what sets this guitar apart is its distinct headstock shape, but there's more to this guitar than meets the eye. Firstly, the guitar's top is crafted from solid cedar, an interesting wood choice because this type of wood is more commonly used on nylon string guitars. The warm tone of cedar matches nicely with the bright sound of wild cherry, a staple tonewood used on the back and sides of most Godin guitars.

Washburn Woodline O12SE Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Washburn WLO12SE

Washburn continues to make waves in the entry to mid-tier acoustic guitar market, and the Woodline WL012SE exemplifies why - with its balance of premium features, build and value for money.

It features a solid mahogany top, supported by laminate mahogany back and sides, which gives a warmer tonality and a very earthy vibe. It also comes with Graphtech NuBone nut and saddle, a premium feature that you normally have to pay extra to add into your guitar.

Ibanez AW54CEOPN 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Ibanez AW54CEOPN 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

While generally associated with rock and metal, Ibanez has always had a great lineup of acoustic instruments.

A notable line produced by Ibanez is the Artwood series, which has combined old world craftsmanship with modern manufacturing to create some pretty solid entry-level guitars; a great example of which is the AW54CEOPN.

Ibanez AEG10II 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Ibanez AEG10II Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Ibanez AEG10II is a thin-bodied acoustic-electric guitar, designed with a focus on live performance as opposed to amateur recording or practice.

The AEG10II combines laminated spruce top with mahogany back and sides, and packs both in a thin profile body. Thin bodied guitars, while more resistant to feedback than their larger counterparts, don’t have the breadth of tone or the volume of a full sized acoustic guitar. The cool thing about this guitar is that, it’s one of the cheapest ways for beginning musicians to get a solid gigging instrument.

Yamaha DGX-660 88-Key Digital Piano

Yamaha DGX-660 88-Key Digital Piano

Described by Yamaha as a "Portable Grand", the DGX-660 combines authentic fully weighted hammer action keys with the sound versatility of portable keyboards.

It is a good in-between instrument for those who want the best of both worlds, so to speak.

It starts off with weighted keys that follow the action and size of acoustic pianos, but it stands out from the crowd with its expansive sound library having 554 voices, 205 accompaniment styles, and multiple built-in effects.

Kawai ES110 88-key Digital Stage Piano

Kawai ES110 88-key Digital Stage Piano

Kawai's ES110 is a versatile digital piano with interesting features.

It has 88 grade weighted hammer action keys that lets you play with its 19 different voices.

It also comes with built-in reverb for adding realistic air to your sound.

Student friendly features include built-in lessons mode, song recorder and rhythm.

It also comes with MIDI compatibility, for working with other MIDI devices, and it comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity for wireless connection with your computer and smart devices.

Casio Privia PX-350 88-Key Digital Piano (Discontinued)

Casio Privia PX-350 88-Key Digital Piano

Casio have gone beyond practice keyboards successfully with popular digital pianos like the Privia PX-350.

This particular model is meant to meet the needs of professionals, while still being viable for students.

It features 88 weighted keys that are scaled to mimic the action of an acoustic piano, while the sound aspect is handled by Casio's AIR (Acoustic and Intelligence Resonator) processor.

Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Digital Piano

Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Digital Piano

The Casio Privia PX-160 has a nice balance of quality and value for money, going beyond what others have to offer in the same price range.

To match what the competition is offering in terms of playability, Casio equipped this unit with scale weighted keys that have switchable 3-tier touch sensitivity.

They then went a step further by upping the amplifier power to 16 Watts and speaker size to 5.12", which translates to more headroom to fill bigger rooms with.

Polyphony is also increased along with the addition of extra sounds to choose from.

Sennheiser e 604 Dynamic Cardioid Instrument Microphone 3-Pack (3 Mics)

Sennheiser e 604 Dynamic Cardioid Instrument Microphone 3-Pack

Unlike other sets which feature different mics, this 3-pack bundle features three Sennheiser e 604 microphones and drum clips for attaching the mic to the snare or toms.

With its high sound pressure handling (over 160dB), this dynamic cardioid mic is designed specifically for use with loud instruments like snare and toms.

But its not just about handling loud sound sources because it has good enough sound quality to impress wind instrument players.

Earthworks DK25/R Drum Microphone Kit (Kick Mic Pad Adapter + 3 Mics)

The Earthworks DK25/R offers a different approach to miking drums, instead of going with the usual 5 to 7 mic setup, it comes with a simplified setup of two overhead microphones and one kickpad mic.

Interestingly, this seemingly simplified setup, captures more details than conventional miking, thanks to the two overhead TC25 omnidirectional condenser mics, which captures the sound of the drum kit along with the natural air and reverb of the room. This makes it a simple yet effective mic setup for recording acoustic drum kits.

Sabian Sound Kit 4-Piece Drum Microphone and Mixer Kit (3 Mics)

The Sabian Sound Kit is a three piece mic kit that comes with its own compact mixer, something that other manufacturers don't offer.

This three-channel personal drum mixer has a dedicated channel for capturing the kick drum via the included SK1 mic.

The other two channels are for capturing everything else via two SOH2 overhead mics.

The mixer also lets you monitor your sound via headphones through its 3.5mm and 1/4" jack outputs.

Shure DMK57-52 Drum Microphone Kit (4 Mics)

The Shure DMK57-52 brings together many of their popular mics in a drum mic package that can also be considered as a good all-around stage mic kit.

At its core are three Shure SM57 mics, widely considered as an industry standard on many instruments, including the snare. These SM57s are meant for use with the snare and toms, but their reputation means that they can be used with virtually any sound source, including loud guitar and bass amps.

Audix FP5 Drum Microphone Kit (5 Mics)

The Audix Fusion FP5 drum microphone set is a five-mic bundle meant for conventional drum setups, with dedicated dynamic hypercardioid mics for the kick, snare, and three mics for each toms.

The biggest of the mics is the F6, with 40Hz-16kHz frequency response especially tuned for kick drums.

The F2 mics for the toms have a frequency response of 55Hz-15kHz, while the F5 snare mic's frequency response is at 55Hz-15kHz.

Nady DMK-5 Drum Microphone Kit (5 Mics)

Nady DMK-5 Drum Microphone Kit

Nady is known for affordable gear, so its not surprising at all to find them offering a good value five drum mic bundle.

But the Nady DMK-5 is not just about value because for the price, it continues to get solid reviews.

This package comes with 4 cardioid pattern mics that are meant for miking snares, toms and other percussion instruments. These mics feature neodymium element for high SPL handling.

Audix FP7 Drum Microphone Kit (7 Mics)

Audix FP7 Drum Microphone Kit

This kit contains the following microphones from Audix's Fusion series: f2, f5 and f6 dynamic microphones and f9 condenser mics.

The three f2s are designed for rack and floor toms and are also used for brass, woodwind and other percussion instruments such as congas, djembe, bongos, and timbales.

The f5 is an instrument mic with a hypercardioid pick-up pattern that helps minimize feedback. It's designed for snare drums but it's also useful for timbales, bongos, guitar cabinets and acoustic instruments.

CAD Audio STAGE7 Drum Microphone Kit (7 Mics)

This bundle from CAD Audio features a complete set of drum mics, with 5 dynamic mics and 2 condenser mics for miking each piece of your kit.

The D19 snare mic has a supercardioid polar pattern with a frequency response of 90Hz -14KHz (-6dB).

The three D29 tom mics have the same cardioid polar pattern, but tweaked to better capture the sound of toms with its 90Hz -13KHz frequency response.

Nady DMK-7 Drum Microphone Kit (7 Mics)

The DMK-7 drum microphone kit includes four dynamic mics, one kick drum mic, and two condenser mics.

The DM70 dynamic mics included in this kit have a cardioid pattern that allows close miking and prevents bleed-through from other parts of the drum set. They can also handle up to 140dB SPL which helps in recording the loudest drums without distortion.

The DM80 kick drum mic has a neodymium element which delivers maximum output and has a rubber shockmount mic holder that minimizes floor vibration pick-up.

Yamaha EZ-220 Portable Keyboard - Battery Powered w/ MIDI

Yamaha EZ-220 Portable Keyboard

As part of Yamaha's popular PSR Series, the PSR-453 also exemplifies the company's goal of putting quality instruments in the hands of students and intermediate keyboardists.

It balances price and features nicely, with soft synth style playability, 758 onboard sounds in addition to its multiple piano sounds, 220 accompaniments for jamming along with, and a wide range of buttons for control and more.

Blackstar ID:260 TVP Guitar Modeling Amplifier 60W (Discontinued)

Blackstar ID:260 TVP Guitar Modeling Amplifier 60W

The Blackstar ID:260TVP is a solidstate guitar amplifier that introduces the company's TVP (True Valve Power) technology. This new parameter lets you pick from six popular tubes (EL84, 6V6, EL34, KT66, 6L6 and KT88), which you can mix and match with the amp's Voice, ISF and EQ settings for a wide variety of tones.

At the heart of this amp is the company's patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature), which works with the built-in six amp voices to let you go from American clean to British rock to Blackstar's acclaimed high gain tones.

Yamaha THR10 Modeling Combo Amplifier 10W (Discontinued)

Yamaha THR10 Modeling Combo Amplifier

The Yamaha THR10 was the first of the Yamaha THR series. The "THR" stands for "Third" according to Yamaha. They intend it to be your "third amp" where your first would be your main, second would be a smaller home amp and the THR will be your go-to portable solution for when you're not gigging or rehearsing.

The THR10 comes with Fender, Vox, and Marshall voicings as well as a high gain mode. It also comes with voicings for bass and acoustic guitars, as well as a “flat” setting for non-guitar sources such as an MP3 player.

Yamaha THR10X Modeling Guitar Amplifier 10W (Discontinued)

Yamaha THR10X

The Yamaha THR10 series are regarded to be among the best sounding lunchbox amps available, which is surprising given the specifications.

The amp features two 3” speakers (this is according to Yamaha’s specifications for the amp), which somehow manage to avoid the thin tone normally associated with sub-8” speakers. With just 10-watts of power, this compact and relatively quiet amp is meant for hi-gain distortion (which on low to moderate setting isn’t buzzy).

Yamaha THR10C Battery-Powered Stereo Guitar Combo Amplifier - 10W (Discontinued)

Yamaha THR10C Battery-Powered Stereo Guitar Combo Amplifier - 10W

The THR10C is part of Yamaha's desktop profile guitar amplifiers, which received great acclaim.

It features a 10W amplifier with dual 3.15" speakers (stereo), and it gives you 5 amp models that are based on classic amps with names that hint on the actual models that they are based on, including Deluxe, Class A, U.S. Blues, Brit Blues, and Mini.

midiplus Tbox 2X2 USB MIDI Interface (Discontinued)

midiplus Tbox 2X2 USB MIDI Interfaces

The Tbox 2x2 is a simple MIDI interface with a total of 32 MIDI channels of (16) inputs and (16) outputs.

Aside from its compatibility with different operating systems, it can be used to connect other older hardware equipment as long as they have standard 5-Pin MIDI connections.

Blue Robbie Tube Mic Preamp (Discontinued)

Blue Robbie Tube Mic Preamp

Coming from Blue Microphones, it's no surprise that Robbie comes in a distinct looking form factor that looks like a... robot toy.

But the premium price tag is an easy giveaway that this is no mere toy, rather Robbie is their flagship tube mic and instrument preamp.

Inside this preamp is a class A tube circuit with an ECC88 twin triode, that allows for high gain, while it's zero IC architecture keeps unwanted noise at bay.

AMS Neve 1073LB Mono Mic Preamp Module - 500 Series

AMS Neve 1073LB Mono Mic Preamp Module

Popularly used by artists and producers since the '70s, the original Neve 1073 module is widely considered as an industry standard when it comes to mic preamps. And to this day, many manufacturers still try to mimic its sound, like the Golden Age Pre-73 which is on our recommended list.

The AMS Neve 1073lb is a modern recreation of the preamps of that iconic console, repacked into a compact form factor to meet the space requirements of today's producers and musicians.

ART Pro MPA-II Two Channel Mic Preamp

ART Pro MPA-II Two Channel Mic Preamp

The ART Pro MPA-II is a 2-channel tube-driven microphone preamplifier, designed to reproduce the natural warmth of old preamps.

It utilizes 12AX7 tubes to get the job done, with a wider than usual frequency response and enough gain for working with ribbon mics.

It is housed in a rackmount form factor with an old school looking interface complete with backlit analog VU output meters.

ART Tube MP/C Preamp / Compressor

ART Tube MP/C Channel Strip & Preamp

The ART Tube MP/C is a value packed preamp, complete with genuine tube compression.

It can be used to add tube coloration for recording or live performance, with the added benefit of an opto-compressor effect that evens out the sound nicely and a variety of tone shaping controls.

It's a 12AX7 tube that drives its circuit, which includes a nifty 20dB gain boost and a low-cut filter.

Audio-Technica AE5400 Handheld Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AE5400 Handheld Cardioid Condenser Microphone

This is a dual purpose mic that works well live and in the studio, in fact Tony Bennett used this mic on his Duets album - I once met him in person when I was doing audio for a location TV interview and he was a great guy as well as a great singer.

The AE5400 uses the same capsule as Audio-Technica's well regarded AT4050 studio microphone but with additional features built in to reduce handling noise.

Unlike many handheld condenser mics, the AE5400 has a large diaphragm which makes it much more like a studio condenser.

Rode S1 Supercardioid Condenser Handheld Microphone

Rode S1 Supercardioid Condenser Handheld Microphone

Rode is well known for the quality of their condenser mics, and this same quality is present in handheld form within the Rode S1.

This mic features Rode's well loved condenser capsule in a handheld vocal microphone with supercardioid polar pattern and an internal pop filter that blocks plosives.

The mesh head is heat treated for improved strength and reliability, matching its all metal construction and satin nickel finish.

Shure Super 55 Deluxe Dynamic Microphone (Handheld)

Shure Super 55 Deluxe Dynamic Microphone

With its old school appeal, the Shure Super 55 Deluxe will easily make a good addition to any collection of stage gear.

It doesn't follow conventional cone shape, rather it features a satin chrome-plated housing that's reminiscent of what Elvis Presley used live in the '50s. This vintage look works together with its modern performance and reliability, making it a true stage worthy mic with bonus points for aesthetics.

Audio-Technica AE6100 Hypercardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone

Audio-Technica AE6100 Hypercardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone

As this is published, the Audio-Technica AE6100 is on our recommended list of The Best Dynamic Microphones.

The main strength of the Audio-Technica AE6100 is its built-in open-cell foam pop-filter which helps improve overall sound by reducing background noise and vocal plosives.

This works together with its hypercardioid polar pattern and dynamic capsule, making this a good mic on stage, of which many user reports attest to.

Sennheiser e845 Dynamic Super Cardioid Handheld Microphone

Sennheiser e845 Dynamic Super Cardioid Handheld Microphone

As of publication time the Sennheiser e845 is on our recommended list of The Best Dynamic Microphones.

The Sennheiser e845 is a dynamic mic with a neodymium magnet element and a supercardioid polar pattern, both of which improve the mic's Max SPL handling (dB). These features also reduce feedback and ambient noise, even at higher volumes.

In addition, the mic's capsule is sitting on a special internal shockmount that helps minimize handling noise.

GLS Audio ES-58-S Dynamic Microphone

GLS Audio ES-58 Dynamic Microphone

Thanks to the GLS Audio ES-58-S, it is now possible to own a reasonable quality vocal mic on the cheap.

It is said to be based on the popular dynamic microphone Shure SM58, and while it is not a perfect clone, it continues to get really high ratings from those who own it or have tried it.

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.

Yamaha DTX562K Electronic Drum Set

Yamaha DTX562K

The DTX562K kits standout feature is the use of Yamaha's TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) pads on the toms. This means that the snare and toms have a more accurate and uniform playing feel.

The cymbal set is quite big at 13", with choke capability and an interesting feature called "pre-choke" which gives you muffled cymbal sounds much like when you're gripping a cymbal as you strike.

Roland TD-11KV V-Compact Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Roland TD-11KV V-Compact Electronic Drum Kit

The Roland TD-11KV is an upgraded version of the TD-11K, replacing the rubber toms with premium mesh pads.

One tom is the same as the 8" mesh snare, while the other two toms are slightly smaller at 6.5" but also feature mesh pads.

This makes the playing feel more consistent as you hit the snare and the different toms.

The cymbals are also bigger, having a 12" crash cymbal with two triggers and choke, and a 13" ride with three triggers.

Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Electronic Drum Kit

At the core of this kit is Roland's SuperNATURAL sound engine, which gives it the same realism and sound quality as more expensive units.

And you're not getting just one good set of sounds, because the Drum Module lets you choose from a wide variety of drum kits and sounds. If that's not enough, you can also adjust the sound to your liking.

Students will appreciate the built-in Coach Function, recording and other practice friendly features.

Roland TD-4KP V-Drums Portable Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Roland TD-4KP V-Drums

With their years of experience building portable instruments and amplifiers, Roland knows how to balance quality, affordability and portability, as exemplified by this drum kit.

The TD-4KP's distinct feature is its foldable drum stand, which hastens breakdown/setup, and lessens its overall footprint for convenient storage and transport.

And it does all this without straying too far from the familiar drum kit setup, making it ideal for drummers who are always on the go, and for those who reside in small dorms and apartments.

Roland TD-1KV V-Drum Compact Electronic Drum Set (Discontinued)

Roland TD-1KV V-Drum Compact Electronic Drum Set

The TD-1KV is part of Roland's entry-level line which showcases their build quality in a more space saving form factor.

It is a step-up from the TD-1K, with the main difference being the PDX-8 dual trigger snare with mesh pad, something that's normally only available with more expensive kits.

The snare is complemented by a complete set of toms, ride, crash cymbal and hi-hat, albeit smaller, to allow for full drum kit functionality without the bulk.

Pearl Roadshow RS525WFC 5-Piece Acoustic Drum Set w/ 22" Kick

Pearl Roadshow RS525WFC 5-Piece Drum Set

Most 5-piece kits have 2 mounted toms and 1 floor tom - the point of difference with the RS525WFC is that it comes with 1 mounted tom and 2 floor toms - the smaller of the two floor toms has a greater diameter than most mounted 2nd toms so it allows for lower tones.

Ibanez V70CE Acoustic Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Ibanez V70CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Ibanez is well known for providing good quality instruments in every price point, from those used by virtuosos like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, to affordable acoustics meant for the average joe.

The V70CE is part of their extended line up of instruments, a standard dreadnought acoustic electric guitar with Ibanez' quality control reputation backing it up.

It features a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and built-in electronics with basic EQ.

Oscar Schmidt OG10CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Oscar Schmidt OG10CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

While dreadnought is still the most popular shape, there are other shapes that provide a slightly different tone and comfort. One such shape is the concert size, with its narrower "waist" that makes it a bit more comfortable to sit on your lap, and a subtly warmer sound.

This is the particular shape that the OG10CE comes in, and is made by Oscar Schmidt, a sub-brand of Washburn.

It features an all-laminate body (spruce top and catalpa for the sides and back), and comes with a built-in active MET-10 preamp system with built-in tuner.

Jameson Guitars 900 Series Full Size Thinline 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Discontinued)

Jameson Guitars 900 Series Full Size Thinline 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

With its thinline 3" thick body, the Jameson 900 Series acoustic electric guitar is easier to carry around and less prone to feedback.

But because of its shallower body, acoustic projection and volume is expected to be lower than its bigger counterparts.

For plugging in, it has a passive pickup and basic volume and tone control.

Finally, this guitar comes in various colors, in case you have a particular aesthetic preference.

Earthworks SR40V Handheld Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone

Earthworks SR40V Handheld Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone

Earthworks believes in the quality of the SR40V so much, that it comes with a 15 year warranty.

This by itself is telling of the quality, which many popular singers noticed and put to good use on the big stages, most notable of which is James Taylor who's been using it live since 2011.

Neumann KMS 105 Handheld Supercardioid Condenser Microphone

Neumann KMS 105 Handheld Supercardioid Condenser Microphone

Neumann is well known brand when it comes to recording gear, but incredibly one of their best rated mics, the KMS 105 is actually a handheld condenser mic for live vocal use. Big name artists like Norah Jones and Michael Buble are just two of the many professionals who put the Neumann KMS 105 to good use.

This mic comes with a supercardiod polar pattern that is really good at rejecting unwanted sound, and it has the ability to control proximity effect via a 120Hz high-pass filter. Both of these features work together to make this mic as transparent and clean sounding as possible.

Shure KSM9 Dual Diaphragm Handheld Condenser Microphone for Live Stage Use

Shure KSM9

This is a mic that's truly ready for the big stage, with its quiet operation, background noise reduction and Shure's brand of quality and reliability.

It lets you switch between Cardioid or Supercardioid polar patterns, both of which are well known for their feedback reduction qualities, with the Supercardioid having a tighter polar pattern.

On-Stage WS8550 Large Heavy-Duty Table Keyboard Stand

On-Stage Stands WS8550 Large Heavy-Duty Table Keyboard Stand

Back in February 2017 and March 2018, the WS8550 was the highest rated Table or T- style stand under $100 but the price went up during 2019.

It is suitable for most 49-key and larger keyboards. The 8 rubber pads (2 on each of the extended arms) can be adjusted to firmly hold a wide range of gear. With its variable width and depth it's also well suited to holding many DJ Coffins and Mixing Consoles.

On-Stage KS7190 Classic Single X Keyboard Stand

On-Stage KS7190 Classic Single-X Keyboard Stand

The On-Stage KS7190 is a simple single braced X keyboard stand.

Like the World Tour SXKS it is best suited to use at home or in the rehearsal room as opposed to regularly gigging.

It works well with keyboards from 49 to 88 keys and being able to reduce to 11" in width at it's highest setting, it will also hold some 25 key instruments.

Shure KSM141 SL Dual-pattern End-Address Condenser Microphone

Shure KSM141 SL Dual-pattern End-Address Condenser Microphone

The Shure KSM141 SL is a premium small diaphragm condenser microphone, featuring a low mass 2.5 micron thin mylar condenser diaphragm that allows it to handle loud sound sources.

To achieve this, Shure designed the mic to have high max SPL handling of 159dB thanks to its three position switchable pad which attenuates at 25 dB, 15 dB and 0.

It also houses a Class A transformerless design preamp that further improves overall performance while reducing noise.

Audix VX5 Handheld Supercardioid Condenser Microphone

Audix VX5 Handheld Supercardioid Condenser Microphone

The Audix VX-5 is a condenser mic that features a tighter supercardioid polar pattern, and smoother frequency response. This makes the mic viable for live vocal performances, studio recording and even broadcasting.

Being a condenser mic, it can also double as an all-around mic for acoustic drums, wind instruments, acoustic guitars and more.

Behringer MOTÖR 61 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

Behringer MOTÖR 61 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Behringer is known for the incredible value that their products bring, and this is exemplified by the MOTÖR 61.

For the price, you are getting a full-featured MIDI keyboard controller complete with velocity-sensitive pads, transport controls, encoders, and buttons - but what sets it apart is its motorized faders, something that's normally only seen on expensive keyboards and mixers.

As for the keys, Behringer equipped it with 61 semi-weighted synth-action keys that are velocity sensitive and feature aftertouch.

Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer

Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog  Digital Synthesizer

The Roland GAIA SH-01 is a lightweight virtual analog synthesizer that has three synth engines each with their own dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO.

This synthesizer can run on either AC or battery power for portability purposes.

It provides 64 voices of polyphony and can layer up to five simultaneous effects for various sonic capabilities.

Novation MiniNova Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer with Vocoder

Novation MiniNova Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer with Vocoder

The MiniNova is a small and affordable synthesizer that includes 256 tweakable factory sounds along with 128 user patch storage in order to store your own customized sounds.

Its eight animate buttons are a prominent feature used to trigger certain parameters that allow you to warp your patches in real-time.

It also features Vocaltune- a vocoder function that records and tunes your vocals to the keyboard.

Korg microKORG Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer with Vocoder

Korg microKORG Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer with Vocoder

The microKORG is a more portable version of the MS2000 from Korg.

Along with the similar dual oscillator synthesis engine, it has an eight-band vocoder that can simulate classic sounds.

The Formant Hold key, which is a part of its vocoder program, can "freeze" and capture your vocal signal for you to play it on the keyboard.

Moog Sub Phatty Analog Synthesizer (Discontinued)

Moog Sub Phatty Analog Synthesizer

The Sub Phatty includes an all-analog signal path that showcases Moog’s Multidrive - a feature that delivers a warm and gritty effect and modern distortion.

This synthesizer also has a sub oscillator that brings out depth and thickness in bass tones, a noise generator for sculpting analog percussion and sound effects, and its Moog Ladder Filter that gives that punchy Moog sound.

Novation Bass Station II Analog Synthesizer

Novation Bass Station II Analog Synthesizer

The Bass Station II is a successor to the classic Bass Station launched over 20 years ago.

While still retaining the classic analog tone from the original, it showcases an interface with up-to-date features.

In addition to the classic filter acquired from the original Bass Station, it has an Acid Filter setting with a diode ladder design that produces a darker and smoother sound.

Its built-in arpeggiator lets you select up to 32 different patterns in different directions while its sequencer lets you play and recall up to four of your own patterns.

Shure Beta 87A Handheld Supercardioid Electret Condenser Mic

Shure Beta 87A Handheld Supercardioid Electret Condenser Mic

The Shure Beta 87A has a built-in pop filter and a low-frequency roll-off that reduces the proximity effect so you can get your lips up close to this mic.

This mic is used live by Kris Allen who won the 8th season of American Idol.

Blue enCORE 300 Condenser Handheld Cardioid Microphone

Blue Microphones enCORE 300

Blue Microphones bill the enCORE 300 as their leading live vocal mic.

It has a floating capsule design which reduces handling noise and its cardiod pickup pattern is very good at rejecting sounds that aren't coming from directly in front of it.

Vox amPlug 2 Clean Guitar Headphone Amp

Vox amPlug 2 Clean Headphone Guitar Amp

The Vox amPlug 2 Clean features good old clean tones driven straight to your headphones.

Since clean tone lets you hear the nuances of your guitar playing better, it is ideal for improving your technique.

It is also great for those who want to develop song ideas in places where you can't get too noisy.

Other features include built-in effects (three types of chorus, delay and reverb), auto-power off, folding plug mechanism, and an aux in for jamming along with your favorite track.

Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Vocal Microphone

The Heil Sound PR 40 is a dynamic microphone that can handle a variety of vocal applications, from recording singing and voice overs, to live broadcasting.

While it may look like a condenser mic, it is a true dynamic microphone, with a large diaphragm and low mass magnet that allows for high SPL handling and improved dynamic range.

This makes the PR 40 viable for capturing loud sound sources like kick drums.

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