Originally announced in early 2007 for a projected price of $250, Belkin’s high-quality iPod recording accessory TuneStudio ($400) may have jumped in MSRP, but it can now be had for $200 online. Wrapped in an unusually cool industrial design, TuneStudio offers a wall-powered but otherwise portable four-channel mixing board that has the ability to record directly to certain iPods, as well as use them for playback purposes during recording with other devices. The plastic and metal unit’s surface actually features 29 different dials, which enable you to independently adjust gain for two XLR microphones, independently set levels, panning, and low/mid/high settings for the four channels, adjust headphone, monitor, and master volume levels, and change mixing, iPod input, USB input, and compressor levels as well. Buttons activate phantom power modes for the microphones, reduction for the compressor, and power for the unit. Balanced or unbalanced inputs and outputs are supported on the unit’s top, a lock-ready metal ring is found on the left side, and a carrying handle hole is on the right; full-sized headphones can be connected to the unit’s bottom port, which Belkin lets you resize for 3.5mm plugs with an included adapter. Cakewalk audio editing software is included in the box for Mac and PC users. One wrinkle: TuneStudio includes adapters for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod classic, not the second- or third-generation iPod nanos, though Belkin notes that they work as well.* A recording menu button on the unit only works with discontinued iPods. [Updated based on compatibility information from Belkin.]



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Company and Price

Company: Belkin

Website: www.Belkin.com

Model: TuneStudio

Price: $400

Compatible: iPod 5G, iPod classic, iPod nano*