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Tech spotted at South by Southwest

Believe it or not, SXSW isn't all about going to shows and and mingling with bands: there's a trade show there, too.

South by Southwest actually includes a trade show, believe it or not. It's not all fun and games (or should I say, bands and partying). The trade-show floor at SXSW 2007 was mercifully much, much less crowded than that of the Consumer Electronics Show, so it was a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle on Sixth Street. (It helps that the convention center in Austin, Texas, is also significantly smaller than the one in Vegas.) As I wandered around the floor one day, I saw my fair share of guitar peddles, amps, and keyboards, but I also noticed a smattering of more gadgety tech. Who'dve thunk it?

  • Belkin TuneStudio: We covered this at CES in Las Vegas this year, but in Austin I didn't have to fight my way through a ring of people to spend some hands-on time with the device. It's a very well-made piece of equipment with more features than I'd know what to do with. Spending just 10 minutes with it, I can see myself getting sucked into fiddling with the plethora of knobs. The TuneStudio is a 4-channel audio mixer that lets you record audio directly to a fifth-generation iPod. It's infinitely more compact than a full studio setup, making it a good option for on-the-go recording (for bands or podcasters). At $249, it's not terribly expensive either.

  • Jam Sessions: Now this is a cool piece of software for the Nintendo DS that lets you use the stylus to strum a virtual guitar. I call it software, rather than a game, because it's not really a traditional game (with goals and levels and the like); instead, it makes the DS into an instrument. And when you get tired of strumming, you can switch to karaoke mode and sing along to your favorite tunes. Check out the Gamespot preview for more info.

  • New Koss headphones: Koss didn't actually have any of the new stuff on display at the booth, but I did pick up a press kit for 2007's upcoming models and collect pictures of all of them. Check out our slide show for details on all the 'phones.