If you're shopping for a cool tech gift to buy a musician, here are some of our favorite picks for 2010.
Today's professional digital recording studios offer musicians unlimited tracks and infinite editing capabilities. But when you get right down to it, most great pop songs can be boiled down to four elements: vocal, lead instrument, bass, and rhythm.
The FourTrack app from Sonoma Wire Works gives musicians exactly four tracks of recording to work with, which they can layer, mix, pan, and even render and upload on the go.
If you really want to deck this app out, the same company offers an iPhone adpater (shown here) called the GuitarJack, which allows you to directly connect instruments and monitor your recording.
In today's world of YouTube and Facebook, music fans expect to see great live videos from their favorite musicians. The trouble is, most consumer video cameras have crummy sound quality. The Zoom Q3HD marries an HD-quality camera and pro-audio stereo recorder into one impressive product.
The microphone on your iPhone or iPod Touch is OK for most things, but if you're using it to record music--it's downright ugly.
The second generation of Blue Microphone's fantastic Mikey microphone adapter is compatible with all but the most recent iPhone and iPods. Once attached, the microphone allows you to record pristine stereo sound with adjustable gain, line input, and a USB pass-through port.
AmpliTube 2 iRig
Price: $39 (adapter), Free-$19.99 (app)
With a headphone adapter and some software, it's possible to transform your iPhone or iPad into a powerful, flexible practice amp for guitar or bass.
There are a few hardware/software combos out there that can make this happen, but the most polished is the AmpliTube iRig system from IK Multimedia. Guitar geeks can customize their virtual amps, effects, and speaker cabinets. Now in version 2, AmpliTube users can also record directly into the program to sketch out song ideas.
Maybe it's just my luck, but tuners always seem to run out of batteries when you need them most. The Tascam TC1S solves the problem by taking its power from the sun. Maybe not the best for dark clubs, but you folksy acoustic guitar outdoorsy types will probably go crazy for this thing.
Ok, so the Zoom H4n is technically a 2009 product, but it has served me well throughout 2010. I love this thing, and I've made no attempt to hide my feelings.
As a high-quality audio recorder with four channels of simultaneous recording, the H4n makes capturing a live show or band rehearsal completely painless. Better yet, the results are actually worth sharing. Musicians with even a hint of recording know-how and inspiration can utilize the device's extra instrument and mic input channels for studio-quality results.
Flip UltraHD (2010, 2 hour)
When Flip upgraded its extremely popular line of HD camcorders this year, it added one small detail that made musicians take notice--an accessory port. Now, third-party manufacturers such as Scosche and Blue Microphones, are able to create high-quality microphone solutions for the Flip line, allowing musicians to capture high-quality audio along with video.