Lacie iamaKey USB Flash Drive.

Lacie iamaKey

I have a habit of giving away usb flash drives. More than a few times I gave someone a file on a flash drive and when the person said, “hey these are cool” I can’t help from saying, “keep it”. They make good on the spot gifts because anyone who thinks a plain plastic USB key is cool must also think they cost more than $9.99 (which a 2GB guy goes for these days).

I got myself a new flash drive today the “iamaKey” from Lacie. As you see in the photo above it’s a real key with a built in flash drive. It was $20 for 4GB. There’s really nothing else to say other than it fits my ultra nerd self 100%.

If you want to be near music gear 100% of the time look at these babies:

drum_machine-flash

Weird and yummy (via Synthtopia). Get them: here

More info: lacie.com

USB Cassette Decks

Unics

Take a look at that cassette above called “Unics”. I made that sometime in the late 80’s and it has some of the first songs I ever recorded on it. I should have probably spelled it “eunuchs” right? Maybe since I was a geek then too possibly “Unix” was the correct spelling. I’d like to say I was being smart and wanted my own unique band name and way of spelling but you all know I’d be lying to you. From what I remember the music was sequenced on a Yamaha QX7 and the sounds were from a DX7, Electrocomp-101 and some Casio home keyboard. I had a Tascam 4-track and Shure SM58. Do you like the cover I printed on a dot-matrix printer?

So where’s the hilarious audio samples of my old songs? Well if I had a working cassette deck you would be listening and laughing right now. I did save two old decks but both are eating tapes so I don’t dare but the above mentioned gem in them. I could order a head cleaning kit or even possibly find a repair shop to look at a deck. However, there’s a new kind of Cassette deck that just recently became available: USB Cassette Decks.

The Ion Tape2PC and Alesis TapeLink USB are both dual cassette decks with built-in audio interfaces. Take a close look at these two units. They must come from the same Chinese manufacturer right? The Tape2PC is silver and comes with “EZ Tape Converter for free with GracenoteĀ® MusicID technology”and has a street price of $149. The black Alesis comes with BIAS SoundSoap (which I have used to good effect in the past) and has a street price of $199.

USB Cassette Decks

So what do you think? Should I clean and repair my old Sony Dual Deck or just grab one of these new USB guys? The advantage of the built-in USB is I can bring it around with me to different rooms without an extra interface and cabling. I do wonder though if these new decks will sound as good as my old Sony.

For more info: www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb and www.ionaudio.com/tape2pc

New Shure USB mics introduced at CES.

I really like Shure microphones. There is good reason they are the most popular brand in the world. They are made well, sound great and are priced right. I own three Shure microphones. My KSM-32 is my go to vocal mic. I like the 32 because it adds a nice presence to my voice but the output is purely my voice sans coloration. I have a zillion nice plug-ins to manipulate my vocals so I don’t want my main mic forcing me into a certain sound. My live show mic is a Shure PGX system. I tried a few other brands but the Shures never have any feedback. I can stand in front of most giant venue speakers without fear. Considering I’m always climbing and jumping things during my live show having a feedback less mic is really important. I also have a SM-58 which was the mic I started out on and still use at home or as a second mic when I have a studio visitor I want to duet with. My Shure collection won’t be complete until I get a API512c compressor and match it with a Shure SM7b. My friend Mark Ephraim from The Shorebirds has the 512/7b set up and let me borrow it one afternoon a few years ago. My voice never sounded more wicked than through that combo.

This week Shure announced some new USB mics at CES. For most new producers and electronic musicians who are not recording bands a USB mic makes sense. Maybe I should replace my home interface/SM58 combo with the newly announced PG42USB. TheĀ  Shure PG42USB is the one to grab if your going for a vocal mic as it’s “engineered” with voice in mind and has a low cut filter.

Shure is also going after the Micport Pro from CEntrance with it’s new Shure X2u Adapter. It’s a XLR-USB adapter so you can bring in any standard mic (including ones which need Phantom power) into your system without an audio interface.

“USB “Plug and Play” Connectivity: Allows the convenience of digital recording, anywhere your computer can go (compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X 10.1 or later). Integrated pre-amp with Microphone Gain Control: Allows control of input signal strength. Zero Latency Monitoring: Enables real-time playback and facilitates multi-tracking without disorientation. Headphone Jack: For monitoring with standard 1/8″ connectivity. Monitor Mix Control: For blending microphone and playback audio. Phantom Power: For use with condenser microphones.” -shure.com

If your buying any mic sure you get it from a reputable dealer because fakes are all over the place. Want to know if your SM58 is real or Memorex? Click here

via Engadget