December 9

In this week’s Best of 9to5ToysBest Buy’s 3-day Apple event is loaded with deals, Pad & Quill Sale, Ralph Lauren takes 30% off holiday favorites and more… expand full story

December 6

Anyone who reads 9to5Toys on a regular basis is well aware of Apogee and its pedigree in the professional audio industry. Sennheiser is another one of those companies that has been creating high-quality and professional headphones, microphones and much more for many years. Well, the two brands are now coming together for the new Ambeo Smart Headset. Now available at Apple.com and in Apple Stores everywhere, the new smart headphones come with a number of interesting features as well as a solid listening experience for sans-headphone jack iPhone users. expand full story

November 18

In this week’s Best of 9to5ToysPre-Black Friday sales from Bose, Nike, Anker and many more, along with our annual Best of coverage and exclusive discounts on iPhone X cases…

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November 14

Since the mid-80s, Apogee has been creating award-winning audio-to-digital converters and interfaces for some of the best recording studios on the planet. So when it decided to bring its expertise to the portable production world some years ago, it was an exciting proposition for producers everywhere. Back in 2011 it introduced us to the first of its all-in-one USB microphone/interface hybrids and has steadily made top ten lists ever since. The once current generation Apogee MiC 96k for iOS, Mac, and Windows devices has made our top picks lists for a while now, but it’s time for a new player to enter the fray.

Today, Apogee is announcing the brand new MiC+ for iPad, iPhone, Mac, and PC, along with the official price and release date… expand full story

November 3

Today we are taking a look at some of our favorite microphones for home recording, podcasts and well, anything you else you might need one for. While we have mainly focused this list on recording vocals or voice-overs, most of our picks also sound great with acoustic guitars and other instruments as well.  expand full story

October 18

Recording on iPhone and iPad has never been so exciting. With the plethora of software in combination with the near endless list of hardware options out there, it is easier than ever to record full songs, podcasts and even soundtracks directly to a mobile Apple device. We have always been big fans of what IK Multimedia has done in the space and companies like Apogee and Focusrite continue to turn out high-quality recording solutions for mobile producers.

We thought it would be a great time, ahead of the busy holiday season, to break down some of the best options out there for 2017. Down below you’ll find our top picks for the best Lightning iOS Interfaces in various price ranges to keep the tape rolling on all your mobile masterpieces… expand full story

May 20

In this week’s Best of 9to5Toyswe go hands-on with This is Ground’s new Apple Watch Band collection, the latest iPad gets another discount, Restoration Hardware has an iPhone/iPad accessory sale and we’re hosting a Twelve South giveaway. Head below for more.

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May 16

Apogee Control now comes free w/ Element 88 Thunderbolt interfaces

Apogee, one of the world’s leaders in digital audio with top tier analog to digital conversion. In other words, it doesn’t get much better than Apogee when it comes to audio interfaces for home recording and pros in the studio. The company is now running a notable promotion on its latest Thunderbolt interface known as Element 88. Anyone who purchases one from an authorized dealer from now through August 15th will receive an Apogee Control for free.

Apogee Element 88 certainly isn’t cheap at just under $1,500, but with the $200 Control thrown in Apogee is certainly adding some value to the proposition. In my hands-on review of the new interface and controller for our Logic Pros series, I found the system to be worth every penny, if you do indeed require this kind of setup. It is easily one of the best options under $2,000 in my opinion.

Element provides 8 channels of high quality conversion for all your mics, synths and instruments, along with intuitive companion software for Mac/iOS to keeps things organized. More details below.

September 27, 2016

Apogee introduces new Element Series Thunderbolt audio interfaces for Mac

I’ve been a longtime Apogee user and currently use the company’s excellent Quartet as my main audio interface for my Mac and home studio. Today Apogee introduces its latest line of audio interfaces, the Element Series, introducing Thunderbolt connectivity and a new design somewhere between its more expensive pro line and its popular prosumer products like the Quartet and Duet.

August 12, 2016

Apogee’s Portable GROOVE USB DAC & Headphone Amplifier is now available for $230 shipped (Reg. $295)

Adorama has the Apogee GROOVE Portable USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier for Mac and PC for $229.99 shipped. That’s nearly $70 below the regular listing, $50+ under Amazon and the lowest price we have tracked. Rated 4+ stars from over 50 Amazon customers.

Apogee is well known as being an industry leader in digital audio conversion, so you can be confident this is a high quality product that produces a much better sound than a built-in sound card.

July 8, 2016

Having a nice mic for your Mac/computer isn’t a necessity for everyone, but it can come in handy for anyone recording voice-overs, song demos or even those that find themselves knee deep in video conference calls. There’s nothing worse than horrible audio during a FaceTime call with a client/colleague.

Personally, I need a mic for all of these reasons (and more), so I thought it was time to take a look at some of the best options and how to most intelligently spend my money. Some mics are insanely expensive and are certainly going to be overkill for your weekly podcasts and staff meetings. Others will suffice for live streaming and things of that nature, but just aren’t going to cut it when it comes to voice-overs and song recording. As a general rule of thumb, voice work and songs are going to require a more expensive, higher quality mic, than those of us just using them for other more casual reasons.

Needless to say, we will be focusing on the much more affordable USB mics, as opposed to your typical, pro analog options. Although we are going to go over some options for those looking to step it up a notch as well:

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April 5, 2016

Apogee, one of the leading audio interface companies in the business, has just released its most affordable option for Mac yet. The new ONE for Mac is very much based on the company’s small-footprint ONE interfaces, but this time with a more focused approach just for Mac users. While you wont get the dual functionality of the previous generation iOS/Mac options, the new interface also won’t reach into your pocket quite as deep.

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January 13, 2016

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones + Blue Microphones Snowball Mic $105 shipped ($150 value)

While yesterday’s headphone/amp bundle is still live, Adorama is now offering Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Pro Monitor Headphones in black plus a Blue Microphones Snowball Condenser Mic in black for $105 shipped. Combining the regular price of both the headphones and the mic, you are saving nearly $50. This is the best current value we can find on either item. Head below for more details on each:

The Blue Microphones Snowball Black iCE Condenser Microphone has a 4.4/5 star rating from nearly 1,000 Amazon customers and features:

  • Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
  • Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
  • Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube
  • Easy plug and play directly to your Mac or PC-no drivers to install
  • Ships with desktop stand and USB cable

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones have a 4.6/5 star rating from over 600 Amazon customers. Features:

  • Cutting-edge engineering and robust construction
  • 40 mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
  • 90° swiveling earcups for easy, one-ear monitoring
  • Professional-grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort.
  • Removable cable

January 12, 2016

Adorama has another solid home audio bundle today with the best selling Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones and Apogee’s Groove portable headphone amp/DAC for $329 shipped. Combining both items together, that’s $135 under the regular price and the best value we can find. Even at the lowest individual prices we have ever seen on these two items, you’re still saving more than $25: expand full story

January 4, 2016

Apogee Groove portable USB DAC/headphone amp for Mac & PC $240 shipped (Reg. $295)

Update (1/04 2:20pm): Adorama has the Denon DA-300USB High Resolution Audio DAC Headphone Amplifier for $219.99 shipped (Reg. $455+).

Adorama is offering the Apogee Electronics Groove portable USB DAC and headphone amp for $239.99 shipped. That’s $55 below the going rate from just about all major retailers including Amazon and B&H. While we have seen it discounted as part of larger (and more expensive) recording bundles, this is the lowest direct discount we have ever tracked since Apogee released the Groove DAC. While reviews are some what light here at 4.8/5 stars from only 30 Amazon customers, Apogee is widely considered to be a (if not, the) recording industry leader in analog-to-digital conversion and just about all of its gear has 4+ star ratings.

This mini portable (“Quad Sum”) headphone amp/DAC offers studio quality audio playback on-the-go and is great for driving high-end headphones. It features 24 bit/192kHz audio, USB 2.0 for direct connection with your Mac/PC, and a Made in the USA all-aluminum exterior. You’ll find even more details right here

December 18, 2015

Every year, Apple puts together a beautiful-looking holiday gift guide on Apple.com, packed with the latest iOS devices, Macs, and accessories people would love to receive as gifts. The hitch is that Apple’s prices are almost always full retail, with no discounting, so it’s easy to spend anywhere from $5 to $300 more per item than if you just shopped around.

This year, 9to5Toys and 9to5Mac have done the bargain hunting for you. We’ve found savings on virtually every item on Apple’s holiday shopping list, which this year is organized into 6 sections: Gaming, Photography, Music, Fitness, Learning and Travel. Using the links below, you can save up to $350 on a new 12″ MacBook, between $20 and $80 on many third-party accessories, and up to $130 on a pair of Beats headphones

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October 22, 2015

Podcasting/Home Recording: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface + Sennheiser HD600 + Condenser Mic $400 shipped ($655 value)

Adorama has a very interesting podcasting/home recording bundle on sale right now. You can grab the Sennheiser HD600 Audio Dynamic Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones plus a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface and a Samson MTR101 Condenser Microphone for $399.99 shipped. Combining all three items, that’s nearly $300 off the original listings, $255 off the current prices and the best we have seen.

Outside of the very expensive Apogee interfaces, the Scarletts are some of our favorites on the market. In combination with the MTR101 Condenser, your home recordings will certainly sound much better. While Sennheiser’s reputation as a headphone maker speaks for itself, the open-back HD 600s feature Kevlar reinforced cables and Neodymium ferrous magnets to offer a much more professional monitoring situation.

While reviews on this particular mic are scarce, just about all of the affordable Samsons have favorable reviews on Amazon. Both the headphones and the interface have 4+ stars from hundreds. 

Sennheiser HD600 Audio Dynamic Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones:

  • Lightweight aluminum voice coils ensure excellent transient response
  • Neodymium ferrous magnets maintain optimum sensitivity and excellent dynamics
  • Sophisticated design, elegantly finished in black and gray
  • High-quality open metal-mesh earpiece covers
  • Detachable, Kevlar-reinforced oxygen-free-copper cable with very low handling noise

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface:

  • Two award winning Focusrite microphone pre-amps
  • Dual mic/line instrument inputs on combination XLR/TRS front-panel connectors
  • Precision, quality conversion at up to 24-bit, 96kHz sampling
  • Better than 105dB dynamic range on record and playback
  • Includes an authorization code for Ableton Live Lite, Scarlett Plug-in Suite (RTAS/AU/VST), Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-in Suite (AAX/AU/VST), Novation Bass Station, and 1GB of Loopmasters samples

Samson MTR101 Condenser Microphone:

  • Includes MTR101 Condenser Microphone, pop filter and shock mount
  • Large, 1-inch diaphragm studio condenser microphone
  • Internally shock-mounted capsule reduces handling noise and external vibrations
  • Rugged die cast construction

July 28, 2015

Headphones: Sony MDR-7506 Professional Folding $70 (Reg. $100), Beyerdynamic DT 1350 $150 (Orig. $300+), more

Update (7/28 4:30pm):

Focus Camera via eBay Daily Deals has the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 Closed Supra-Aural Dynamic Headphones for $149.99 shipped. That’s more than 50% below the original $300+ price tag, $72 better than Amazon $20 below our previous mention and the best we have ever posted.

They feature a “lightweight and robust design” with 80 ohm drivers, Tesla technology to manage distortion, ambient noise reduction, swiveling ear cups and a carrying case. They have received a 4.4/5 star rating from over 80 Amazon customers.

Next up, Newegg has the Klipsch R6i White In-Ear Headphones for $49.99 shipped. Again, that’s half the $100 original price, $35 under Amazon and the best price we can find.

These are noise-isolating earphones with a 3 button remote and mic for Apple devices. They have a 3.8/5 star rating from nearly 280 Amazon customers.

More Headphones:

July 21, 2015

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones in black $65 shipped (Reg. $80)

Newegg’s official eBay store is offering the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones in black for $64.99 shipped. That’s $165 under the original price, $15 better than Amazon, $5 below our previous mention and the best price we can find.

Features:

  • Compact closed back, on-ear design isolates ambient noise to maximize musical enjoyment.
  • Headband and layered foam ear pads are covered with supersoft, breathable and durable Alcantara providing comfort and a perfect fit.
  • 18-ohm operating impedance produces outstanding bass response, dynamics and overall output level with portable audio devices
  • One of the two included connection cables features a metal in-line three button control and microphone supporting Apple devices like iPod, iPad and iPhone.

This set has a 4.3/5 star rating from over 680 Amazon customers.

If you’re looking for some high-end cans and a top-notch DAC to go along with them, this morning’s Apogee Groove bundle deals will certainly peak your interest.

More headphones:

Sennheiser HD650 over-ear headphones + Apogee Groove portable DAC/headphone amp $550 shipped ($755 value)

Update (7/24 11:40am): This deal is now dead at Amazon, but it is still live at Adorama.

Adorama via Amazon is offering the Sennheiser HD650 Audiophile Dynamic Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones bundled with the Apogee Groove portable USB DAC/headphone amp for $549.99 shipped (matched at Adorama direct). That’s $204 off the current going rate for these items individually and the best price we can find for either. Even at the lowest price we’ve seen for these headphones, you’re saving about $20 more. Apogee’s new Groove DAC has never been on sale before.

The HD650s feature a 10 – 39,500 Hz response, neodymium magnets, and “specially designed acoustic silk to ensure precision damping over the entire frequency range.” They have a 4.7/5 star rating from over 340 Amazon customers.

Apogee has been a leader in DAC technology for many years and its portable Groove solution has seen favorable reviews thus far. You can learn all about it in our announcement post.

If you’ve been waiting for the Groove to go on sale, Amazon is also offering the DAC/headphone amp bundled with other high-end headphones right now from Beyerdynamic as well.

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