michael brown

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iAsus Concepts Mobile Amp

With all the legitimate warnings about hearing damage induced by in-ear headphones, you might think a portable headphone amp is the last thing on-the-go music listeners need. But that’s not going to stop us from praising this tiny doodad. Don’t get us wrong: Listening to music played at high sound-pressure levels will absolutely damage your hearing over time.

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Creative Xmod

Being audio purists, we typically piss on products that sit in the midst of an audio stream and manipulate what the artist intended to create. But when listening to music played through Creative’s X-Fi soundcards, we’ve increasingly found ourselves turning on the 24-bit Crystalizer—and liking it!

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Ion Audio iTTUSB Turntable

Ion Audio is a division of Numark, a company that manufactures a ton of gear targeted at the professional DJ market. The iTTUSB is one of four turntables it offers that features not only a built-in phono preamp but also a USB interface. This table can perform the analog-to-digital conversion on its own and send the digitized audio to your PC via the provided USB cable. We’d advise leaving that task to a good soundcard, but we welcome the flexibility. We also like most of the trade-offs that Ion made: Instead of spending money on an automatic tonearm and a dust cover, Ion splurged on an adjustable tonearm counterweight, a removable headshell that can accommodate a variety of cartridges, and an antiskate adjustment that will extend the life of your stylus.

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Audio-Technica AT-LP2Da

Audio-Technica has a stellar reputation as a manufacturer of pro-audio gear, and it’s a major player in the Japanese consumer-electronics market. The company doesn’t have much of a presence in the U.S. consumer market, but the AT-LP2Da (a package consisting of the Audio-Technica AT-PL50 turntable and Cakewalk’s Pyro software) is widely available here.

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Keyspan TuneView for iPod

The Keyspan TuneView for iPod is something you never knew you needed; the remote control docking system proves its worth.

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Belkin Cable-Free USB Hub

When we heard about Belkin’s Cable-Free USB Hub, our first thought was, “Yes! Now we can move our iPod A/V dock next to our TV in the living room and still sync the player with iTunes on our PC in the den.” Ha! This device’s range is so poor it barely reaches across the room.

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