The digital era has consumed many enthusiasts with capturing photos and video, but not far behind is the need to capture high-quality audio.
Most of today's devices that capture digital images and video, along with many of the current laptop and desktop computers have built-in microphones.
They work OK but many capture the audio in poor quality and in some cases even record the sound from the motors in the camera lenses.
Samson has several microphones to capture studio-quality audio without the need for the studio.
The Samson Go Mic ($59) produces excellent quality audio, which can be used for movie voice-overs, podcasts or most any project where sound is needed
Just as the name says, the Go Mic has been produced for those on the go who want to capture studio-quality audio.
The compact USB directional condenser microphone works in a simple plug-and-play manner for both Mac and Windows systems, but requires no drivers or software.
Testing the microphone on a Macbook Pro using GarageBand was as easy as can be.
Just like many other people think about hearing me, I don't like hearing myself talk but was quite impressed with the clarity, even when I turned up music in the background.
Users will get professional-quality audio with a frequency response of 20Hz to 18Hz.
A 3.5mm headphone output is built into the microphone along with professional-grade windscreens on the front and back of the unit.
In addition to the outstanding quality the microphones generate, when they are not in use they have a compact design for storage or travel and comes with a storage case.
The Q2U Recording Pack from Samson ($89) takes the audio to another level with different options.
This USB microphone connects to any computer and has an XLR connection making it ideal for many of today's digital cameras that have microphone input ports or a mixing console.
Included are both USB and XLR cables, a desktop tripod stand, padded DJ style HP20 headphones and Cakewalk Music Creator software.
All the microphone ports are conveniently located on the bottom (XLR, USB and headphone input) while the on/off switch and volume controls are on the side.
Just like the Go Mic, the Q2U does not require any drivers or software and works in a plug-and-play manner.
Several years ago a co-worker told me people will not deal with good videos containing bad audio but will stay with lesser quality video and good audio.
After thinking about it, I agree he was exactly right and these microphones are an excellent device to make this come true at very affordable prices.
Western Digital (WD) has unveiled a free app for the iPhone/iPod Touch called the WD Photos Photo Viewer, which is available at the Apple iTunes App Store.
With it users can access up to 250,000 of their photos from anywhere in the world by simply logging into their personal WD My Book World Edition network drive with the app.
The app has search tool, which gives users thumbnail previews and viewing options make it easy to find specific photos.
To make the photos eligible to be viewed by the WD Photos Photo Viewer app, photos must be copied into the "Shared Pictures" folder on the My Book World Edition network drive.
An application, which runs directly on the WD network drives, automatically creates optimized versions of user's photos ahead of time. This enables them to be viewed fast and easy with the app, and without any waiting time for them to load.
Users of the WD My Book World Edition may complete a registration with MioNet, WD's secure remote access service before being able to use the app.
I often write about portable power supplies because today's portable electronic gadgets are power hungry.
The design and usefulness of these portable devices are great, but what happens when you are not near a power supply to charge your portable power supply?
In many cases you will have to go iPhone-less and I know many of you would rather starve than not have your finger dancing on the touch screen.
To the rescue comes the TuneJuice Universal portable charger from Griffin Technology, which runs on three AA batteries (included).
Once the batteries die, slide open the battery compartment and swap 'em out with a new set and charge away.
The pocket sized charger has a USB port on the bottom for any USB charging cable, which comes with most any digital gadget these days. It can be used to give a charge to many of today's cell phones, digital cameras and portable MP3 players.
Users can even use rechargeable AA batteries but once those are dead you're back to the same problem of needing electrical outlets to charge them up.
With using AA batteries, users can know they can be purchased at most any convenient store or even at vacation area gifts shops for small fortune.
For an example, Griffin states users will get 2.25 hours of talk time on iPhone, assuming the AA batteries are fresh. The exact amount of charge each device will get will vary from device to device.
The TuneJuice has no on or off buttons and is smart enough to do this on its own once a USB connection is made or disconnected.
Details: GriffinTechnology.com, $25
Explore further: Gift Guide: Strong photo, video gear options