All items tagged with "Excellent"

HyperX Cloud headset covers the basics at a budget-friendly price

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I don’t do a whole lot of up-close computer-based gaming, but when I do, I prefer to have a decent set of headphones to keep the sound to myself so that the rest of the household doesn’t need to hear the full complement of explosions and combat sounds that typically accompany gaming on my Mac. There are an array of headsets out there with gaming microphones built in, many of them in the $300 and up range.

Not everyone can afford this sort of luxury, so most brands have less-expensive versions of their headsets to appeal to a more budget-conscious gamer. The HyperX Cloud is just such a set of headphones aiming for the entry-level gamer who may not have much more than $100 to spend on their gaming audio gear.

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Pare down your travel kit with this shoulder-saving MacBook Pro sleeve

Holds just enough to stay productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Waterfield’s MacBook Outback Solo holds just enough to keep you productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ll admit it — I’ve got a thing for these waxed canvas and leather bags from Waterfield. I’ve ended up using the impeccably designed Staad backpack and the classy Nintendo 3DS case long after my reviews of them were published. These bags and cases from the San Francisco design collective are warm, inviting and just get better with age and use.

Let’s face it, though: Sometimes you only want to carry your laptop and a couple of accessories, and that’s it. Waterfield’s latest design, the MacBook Outback Solo, is a minimalist sleeve made of the same strong canvas material and rich, thick, buttery-smooth leather as the other bags in the line. It can be paired with a carrying strap that turns the sleeve into a messenger bag. While our very own Charlie Sorrel called the iPad version of this bag a man-purse, I’m thinking of this more as a shoulder-saving device — the fewer things I end up having to carry, the better.

This little sleeve is perfect for exactly that.

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Razer’s new gaming peripherals perfectly match your Apple style

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Apple’s EarPods aren’t too bad for gaming, what with their in-line microphone capabilities, but they’re really not the best for long game sessions; honestly, they just end up hurting the inside of my ears.

And as far as gaming mice are concerned, you really do need one with a second button at the very least.

While you’re at it, of course, you want your gaming peripherals to match your Apple style. Razer’s Taipan ambidextrous gaming mouse and matching Kraken-pro headset are exactly that – quality peripherals that make your gaming life easier and your style just that much more put together.

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Cram your entire life into this streamlined messenger bag

This thing fits a *lot* of stuff. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

This thing fits a lot of stuff. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’m all about minimalist bags; paring down my kit to the bare essentials so I’m not bogged down when traipsing from place to place is a daily goal of mine. I’ve gone minimal with my wallet, my MacBook and the various digital and analog ephemera I need to carry with me as I go about daily tasks for work and at home.

There is a time, however, when you need to have a larger subset of your general kit. You might need that extra battery pack (or two), your MacBook Pro, both your iPads, a couple of backup hard drives, an external keyboard, a gaming mouse, a PlayStation Vita, headphones and (of course) all the associated wires and plugins that these items require. Oh, and maybe a water bottle, a wallet, an iPhone and a set of keys.

That’s the exact stuff I’ve got packed into an STM Quantum Messenger bag — and it fits handily, with room to spare.

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Mega-pedal serves up soaring vocal harmonies, impressive guitar effects

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve been playing music for coming up on 30 years now, and I’ve tried a ton of music gear. These days, I run a fairly bare-bones setup, with a smaller amp for those close venues, a couple of dual-effect pedals (Visual Sounds’ Route 66 and H2O), and a Boss VE-20 vocal harmony box to thicken up the background vocals in my disco band.

I’ve always had a thing for multi-effect boxes, though, running through my share of a few complicated ones that never quite gave me what I needed in terms of both effects sounds and onstage ease-of-use.

When I heard about TC-Helicon’s new VoiceLive 3 mega-stomp box, with a huge range of guitar effects and amplifier modeling, an amazing vocal-harmony processing system and a stage-quality looping feature, well, I had to try it out.

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COTE: The leather iPad sleeve you’ll fall in love with

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I don’t really like using iPad cases; I tend to put one on just before I hand my device over to my kids, and then it comes off again as soon as they’re done. One of the best things about the iPad mini is its form factor, but that’s lost when you slap on a big, bulky case.

COTE by BUKcase
Category: Sleeve
Works With: iPad mini
Price: $133

But although I like my iPad to be naked when I use it, I need some protection when I’m on the go and carrying it around. That’s when I’m most likely to drop it — and when it’s most susceptible to getting scratched up in the bottom of my bag.

I’ve found the COTE leather sleeve from BUKcase to be the perfect solution to this problem.

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Rebel Desk makes standing or sitting at work easy and optional

Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Sure, the health benefits of not sitting all day are substantial, even if the positives of standing all day are inconclusive. The trick, it seems, is to change position often, or maybe even to walk while you work.

The Rebel Crank-Up 1000 standing desk is a boon to those who want to be able to work in an erect posture but still sit down when they need to; sitting improves fine motor control and lessens leaning, for example.

As I stood at the review unit Rebel Desk sent my way, I couldn’t help but feel cooler, hipper, and more upright than I had in various office jobs over the years. Whether I’ll lose any weight from standing all day or not is debatable — one study showed an extra 50 calories burned per hour of standing — but at least I’ll have less time in the saddle than I used to. That can’t be a bad thing, can it?

The Rebel Desk makes all of this standing and sitting again super easy with a thick tempered glass top (it comes in a Teak model, too) and some seriously sturdy desk legs. This is one solid piece of office furniture.

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Tiny gadget cures MIDI of its cable addiction

Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

Getting your MIDI keyboard connected to your iPad or Mac can be a frustrating experience. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right wires that connect to your output device of choice, and then you’ve got to make sure you never ever lose them.

PUC by Zivix LLC
Category: Music & MIDI
Works With: iOS, OS X
Price: $129

Hopping onstage for a gig at the local brewpub can be a frightening experience if you’ve lost that one special cord that goes from your keys to your Ableton Live setup on your Mac, and missing out on a recording session because you can’t find that special 30-pin adaptor for your iPad is just a pain in the butt.

The folks behind the excellent JamStick, Zivix, have your answer, then, with a cool-looking little round gadget called a PUC that connects any MIDI keyboard or other capable device to your iPad, your Mac, your iPhone, your PC — you name it, if it’s got Wi-Fi and can run a MIDI app, you can use the PUC to send your MIDI performance to it.

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Mujjo Low-Key Macbook Sleeve Is Full Of Understated Style [Review]

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Not everyone has a fancy computer backpack or messenger bag. Some folks just have non-techie backpacks, bags, or luggage, and they’re perfectly fine with that.

13-inch Macbook Sleeve by Mujjo
Category: Macbook Cases
Works With: Macbook Pro, Macbook Air 13-inch
Price: $69

However, most of those folks would benefit from a sleeve or two to cover and protect their precious technology. And, if you’re going to go that route, you might as well go all the way and get something that’s special.

The Mujjo Low-Key Macbook Sleeve is angling for just that “all the way” look and feel.

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Pelican Voyager Provides Rugged Style With Less Added Bulk [Review]

photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

Sometimes you just want an iPhone case that protects that beloved all-encompassing communications and gaming device from the vagaries of your crazy life, for sure.

Voyager by Pelican ProGear
Category: iPhone Cases
Works With: iPhone 5/5s
Price: $50

There are numerous options for those of us who tend to the “drop our gear constantly” school of gadget ownership, but most of them end up being incredibly bulky and difficult to use. Some even provide a screen guard that is less than touchable, as it were.

The Voyager series for the iPhone 5 and 5s, however, aims to provide similar drop, screen, and debris protection as many of these other cases, all for a more affordable price.

I took the case out for a spin to see if it could, in fact, protect my iPhone 5 without trouble, and whether the added bulk is worth the trade off in protection.

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