The holiday season is in full swing, and for those of you still looking for that special gift for the audiophile in your life, we’ve put together a roundup of choice apps and gadgets that can't go wrong!
* Don't forget, the iTunes App Store allows us to gift apps as well as music!
Good news for music enthusiasts: Spotify's streaming music service is now free. The Spotify app has always been free, but you had to pay $10 per month for the opportunity to listen to on-demand music. That meant that you could request any particular song from their catalog. This, of course, was different from services such as Pandora and iTunes Radio, which let you indicate your favorite music but then stream similar music rather than the particular favorite you identified. Spotify's new free service for the iPhone falls somewhere in between. You can identify a particular artist, album, or playlist, but then Spotify streams the music in "shuffle mode," meaning that you get your favorite music but not a particular song at a particular time. The playlists available include those you've put together as well as playlists your friends have created.
4 out of 5 stars
These days much of my entertainment gets broadcast through a Lenmar speaker. While still a relative newcomer to Bluetooth speaker production Lenmar has been quickly gaining recognition for making excellent and affordable Bluetooth speaker options that don't sacrifice sound quality despite their competitive pricing.
These days there is a seemingly endless array of excellent quality Bluetooth speakers. However, out of the multitudes of Bluetooth speakers on the market, only a limited and select few can lay claim to being rugged and heavy duty. What follows are the cream of the crop of ultra-durable, shock-proof, and waterproof speakers. Read on to find the best rugged Bluetooth speakers for those who are adventurous or accident prone, or those who are looking for the perfect speaker for someone who can be really hard on their gear.
There are a great many options when it comes to incredible over-ear headphones, and they can range in price from under $50 to well over $400, and upward. Professional musicians and audiophiles alike tend to agree that a good pair of over-ear headphones will provide you with the most accurate and authentic listening experience available.
Several of us blogger musician types have raved about IK Multimedia gear over the years, and with good reason (see Mike Riley's recent reviews here.) Early this year at CES, I was able to get an up close and personal preview of the latest music creation gadgets, but only recently was able to check out the production versions of IK's iRig Pro and Blueboard. If you are wondering what in the world to get your favorite musician this holiday (with a Mac, iPad, or iPhone), look no further. You can check out the rocking guitar demo above for a taste!
You already have a ton of options when it comes to cloud-based music, including iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Amazon Cloud Player, and more. Yet you might want to consider Google Play Music, since it offers a combination of features not otherwise available. As you know, services like Pandora and iTunes Radio let you listen to songs similar to what you like, but you're unable to request specific songs. And subscription services such as Spotify and Rdio let you request a particular song and typically charge a monthly fee of around $10, but they don't store your personal collection in the cloud. Then there are services like iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player that let you upload your collection to the cloud and stream music that you already own. Google Play Music combines the ability to request specific songs (like Spotify and Rdio) with the ability to upload your music collection (like iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player).