My Target visits always start in the Bose Headphone’s section as I listen to the headphones I will some day buy. Then on to the iPad section a look through the headphones they have on sale. Then I headed over to the First Act Music section – I know, I know…. I go there because this is where the clearance section is as well! Tonight though I found two very exciting bargains for any music person! You too should be on your way to Target tonight or tomorrow because these deals are not going to last!
The first deal I found was a First Act USB Keyboard Controller. 54 keys, 128 Instrument Sounds, 100 play-Along Rhythms and then I saw it…..! FULL USB-MIDI SUPPORT! At full normal price, $68, I would have looked but not been interested. But this is on sale right now for $20!
The second deal I found was the Q2U Recording Pak. This contains a USB/XLR Microphone with HP20 Headphones as well as CakeWalk Music Creator LE software, plus a XLR mic cable, USB cable and desktop mic stand! This set usually goes for $71.99. I had actually thought about buying this in the past – I mean this time we are talking about Samson not First Act! Tonight it was on sale for $21.99! I grabbed it! In fact I think I am going to go to a couple of other Targets and see if I can one more!
Now the only issue that I was worried about was if these two items would work with my iPad. I knew they would work with my laptop. I wanted the keyboard so I could have something smallish to use for input into Sibelius. I have plenty of real full sized keyboards that I can use as well but I’ve been considering a smaller, usb powered keyboard for a year or so now. Quick and easy and smaller!
I got home, of course I had to sit and eat Taco Bell with the girls and Wife but that was fine, I mean I was hungry too you know! Found my camera connector kit that my wife had borrowed last weekend so she could load photo’s onto her iPad while at her Dad’s. In my office I unpacked the keyboard first. My first impression was – “Whoa! This feels VERY light and kind of cheap.” I kind of expected that though. Then I tried plugging it in, nothing. I had to go find 4 AA batteries. I finally persuaded my son to loan me 4 from their Wii controllers. I had hoped for USB powered but no such luck. After putting batteries in and hooking the USB cord up to the computer, I started up GarageBand. It Worked!!! Sweet. I then tried it with the iPad, GarageBand and the Camera Connector Kit. That worked as well!
Next, the microphone. My first impression of the mic was opposite of the keyboard. The mic felt pretty good, much better construction. The USB cord went into the iPad Camera Kit, and the headphones (that came with the mic – remember?) then got plugged into the bottom of the mic. As soon as the mic was plugged into the iPad the green light came on, I smiled! Even without the GarageBand App running I could immediately hear myself talking into the mic. There are little volume buttons on the bottom of the mic - those only adjust the volume of the iPad though – not how much mic you hear in the headphones, unless GarageBand running. Then GarageBand takes over and those buttons on the mic change mic level as well.
In short everything worked as I had hoped it would. The First Act Keyboard had a few notes hang on it…. but hey 20 bucks! The mic sounds really pretty good, the headphones work but they are not going to replace my regular headphones (even though my regular headphones are not Bose)
For the price – you can not loose. Here is a sample recording of just my voice using this mic. (I had to upload the sample to SoundCloud. I guess WordPress doesn’t allow for us free WordPress users to upload mp3′s – oh well. If you are not familiar with SoundCloud this will give you a chance to see a little of that.)
Oh yeah… One more thing… the software that came with the mic (actually both the mic and keyboard had free software) is I’m sure nothing even close to GarageBand but it has to be better than nothing! I’ve been using my band room computers to record 8th graders re-telling fairy tales. I have 3 macs – they all used GarageBand. We used my iPad and iPhone running GarageBand as well. I have one Dell computer though that I had no audio recording software on. I’m going to give this CakeWalk to the Tech Department and get them to load it up so we try using it the next time around. I have 4 or 5 students in that class who I think I’ve convinced to purchase iMovie so they can use their iPod Touches when we do the next round of story telling. The next round will be acting out a fairy tale as well as composing some music to put in their movies. It should be fun! I think I will use my new microphone too!
Now – go to Target and spend a few dollars – I don’t think you can go wrong on this mic – I’m pretty sure there is nothing else even close to this quality for $21.99!