Well, here’s an interesting one…a microphone that has analog signal processors BUILT INTO IT. This immediately caught my attention. The Aphex Microphone X is a USB cardioid condensor microphone with a compressor and exciter built into it. On top of that it also has a headphone amp built right in, so you can plug your headphones directly into the microphone. Now, as someone who likes to work with as much outboard gear as I have available, this microphone does not appeal to me. Seems like a gimmick. And I would assume that it is. However, given that USB microphones are normally targeted at the beginner or budget home studio anyway, this microphone could be great for some people. For the price of fairly budget microphone, you get a microphone, compressor, exciter, AND headphone amp, all in one. This doesn’t mean that it sounds good, but for someone on a pretty strict budget, this could be a real lifesaver. Now despite all this, I still think that there are a lot of great free plugins out there, especially if you use software that is VST compatible, but that’s a different topic. This microphone is compatible with all latest computer models, and should be available to the public in the coming months.