Pick up the portable speaker of your dreams [Deals]

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Bring your favorite tunes and shows wherever you go with one of these massively discounted Bluetooth speakers.
Bring your favorite tunes and shows wherever you go with one of these massively discounted Bluetooth speakers.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Carrying your music around has never been easier. In fact, the options are almost overwhelming. So we’ve rounded up some of the best portable speakers at the best prices, from speakers you can take on a hike to speakers you can shower with. Everything is going for more than half off the usual price, read on for more details:

DAW Cassette makes your music sound like it was recorded on tape

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daw cassette
You wouldn't leave your iPhone in the sun like this.
Photo: Jure Cuhalev/Flickr CC

There’s little that’s more hipster than an audio cassette. Its sound is far from perfect, it’s impractical, and — most important of all — it is easy to see that you’re using one. But that doesn’t mean that tapes were all bad. Lo-fi cassette decks actually add some rather pleasant audio artifacts to audio.

So what? Well, now you don’t need to lug around a Walkman and a bag of tapes to enjoy the retro sound of audio cassettes, because there’s a) an iOS audio plugin and b) a website that will tape-ify any track you like.

Cheaper HomePod might be in the works

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refurbished HomePod
Apple might be planning cheaper HomePod to boost sales
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod sales have fallen well below expectations, according to one of the best Apple analysts in the game.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors today that Apple is considering making a low-cost version of the HomePod in order to give disappointing sales a boost.

These are the best music memo apps for iPhone

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alternative to voice memos
We've come a long way.
Photo: YunHo LEE/Flickr Public Domain

If you like to pretend you’re in a private detective movie, recording yourself with voice-memos as you go about your everyday business, then your app choice is obvious: Voice Memos from Apple. It’s built into your iPhone, it’s simple, quick to use, and rock solid. But if you’re a musician, and you want to quickly capture ideas, the choice is more complicated. Let’s take a look at the best iOS apps for recording music memos.

Peek inside the lab that perfected HomePod audio

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WWDC2017
It took Apple six years to create the HomePod.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s quest to build the perfect sounding speaker could also give a huge boost to audio quality on future iPhones, iPads and Macs.

To promote the launch of its new HomePod speaker, Apple gave journalists a behind-the-scenes look inside the custom audio lab it built to fine-tune every aspect of HomePod’s sound. Not only did Apple one of the best audio teams in the world, but it also gave them tools no company in the world can match.

Why Apple’s HomePod is poised to bomb

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Will Apple's HomePod smart speaker be DOA?

Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod, the first new Apple product of 2018, is about to arrive. And as a huge Apple fanboy, I couldn’t care less.

Apple’s been hyping its smart speaker ever since unveiling the device last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. And yet HomePod has failed to really excite fans (except through leaks that gave us early details about the iPhone X). Apple bills HomePod as a powerful speaker that packs Siri to take your listening experience to an all-new level. But with its Feb. 9 release just weeks away, HomePod is looking more like Apple’s next big bomb.

How to hook up a USB audio device to your Mac

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mackie-blackjack
Mackie's Blackjack works equally well with iOS and Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you want to listen to music on your Mac, you either suffer its built-in speakers, or you plug a speaker into the headphone jack. But what if you want to get sound into you Mac? Or you have some fancy speakers hooked up to a fancy mixer, and the little headphone output doesn’t cut it, quality-wise? Then you should switch to USB. And don’t worry — you won’t have to install drivers, or any of the other crap that makes PC use so painful. In fact, using a USB audio interface is as easy as plugging in a pair of headphones, only better.

Roland’s new audio recorder works with iPhone and Apple Watch

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roland r-07
Tiny, and made to work with the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
Photo: Roland

CES 2018 bugYou iPhone is pretty handy for making quick audio recordings. Many musicians use the Voice Memos app, and some have upgraded to Music Memos. Unfortunately, the quality of the recordings from those apps isn’t good enough for actual music making.

For a start, it’s not stereo. Second, the iPhone’s mics are fine, but nowhere near as good as even a cheap external microphone. But using your iPhone to record is so convenient. Roland’s R-07 is a pocket audio recorder that works either alone or in tandem with your iPhone. It gives you the quality of a proper recorder with stereo mics — and the convenience of an iPhone app.