Music Instrument Buying Guides

Overwhelmed by the mindboggling array of music gear out there today? Dazed by all the specs, features, and technobabble? Can’t figure out if you want a guitar with active or passive pickups? Stymied over the best way to get started recording or playing live? Can’t decide what recording equipment is right for your home studio? Uncertain what guitar amp is the right fit for your music and budget? You’ve arrived at the place to get the answers you need. We’ll help you choose the music gear and instruments that makes sense for your style and budget with straightforward, no-B.S. information you can count on.

Lunchbox and Mini Amps Buying Guide

9 Lunchbox Amps That Deliver a Big Music Meal

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They may be little, but these micro-sized guitar amps have virtues far beyond their modest stature.

How to Choose the Right DJ Equipment

How to Choose the Right DJ Equipment

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Photo: Pioneer DJ

Whether you're a seasoned pro who regularly plays at clubs and events or an aspiring DJ still learning the ropes, you want to be well-informed before dropping your hard-earned cash on DJ gear. However, with so many different options available, picking DJ equipment and software can be confusing.

That's why we've designed this guide.

We will walk you through the buying decision, helping you understand all the DJ gear options and technical terms you'll come across.

If you're buying your first setup or upgrading your current rig, you'll find the information you need in this guide to shop with confidence.

Headphones and Earphones Buying Guide

Headphones and Earphones Buying Guide

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What do you look for in headphones and earphones? While there are many models to choose from, your planned use should help greatly to narrow your choices.

Sound quality, of course, is important to everybody; but for some, big bass is a must where others prefer open, full-range reproduction that emphasizes overall accuracy. Other factors include isolation, comfort, weight, portability, and fit, which we’ll discuss below.

Do you need headphones or earphones to plug into a portable player of some kind for casual listening? Or are you looking for a set of studio-worthy reference headphones for monitoring recordings? The following discussion of the different types of headphones and earphones and their applications will give you the basic knowledge you need to choose the right model for your purpose.

Pearl Drums Buying Guide

Pearl Drums Buying Guide

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Find the right Pearl drums to match your music and budget

Stratocaster vs. Les Paul: Which Is Right for You?

Stratocaster vs. Les Paul: Which Is Right for You?

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We break down the primary features and compare these two iconic axes

Nine Killer Guitar Amps for Metal

9 Killer Guitar Amps Built for Crushing Metal

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We look at a collection of heads, stacks and combos that deliver the high gain and overdrive metalheads thrive on.

Power Amp Buying Guide

Power Amp Buying Guide

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How to choose the right power amplifier to match your speakers, PA system and the venues where you’ll be playing.

Four Guitar Amps That Helped Birth Blues-Rock

Four Guitar Amps That Helped Birth Blues-Rock

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A look at four signature guitar combo amplifiers and how they helped write the history of electrified blues and rock.

iOS Gear for DJs Buying Guide

iOS Gear for DJs Buying Guide

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How to choose the right iOS-compatible audio equipment to keep the beats coming seamlessly

Audio Mixers Buying Guide

Audio Mixers: How to Choose

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In the most basic terms, the audio mixer, or mixing console as it’s sometimes called, combines audio signals, processes them, then routes them to wherever they need to go. Nowadays, many different devices offer some mixing capabilities. Even tablets and smart phones teamed with the right apps and interfaces can perform some mixing functions. And of course, all DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software includes mixing capabilities.

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