Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:


Even after decades of home taping on cassettes, burning CDs and recording 48 digital tracks on a $300 PC, there's something magic about the idea of making your own vinyl. If we could all press 12-inch singles in our bedrooms, wouldn't that be cool? That's why it's such a shame that the Tomy Voice-Corder falls into the 'noteworthy vintage equipment' department. Of course, it's also a toy, not a serious piece of kit. Launched in 1972, but still looking hot today, the Voice-Corder allowed spoilt Japanese kids to record minature plastic disks. The blue arm records, while the red arm plays back. The Voice-Corder was, inevitably, a financial disaster, and is now so rare that it's only recently been rediscovered by Miniorgan.com, the fantastic online library of kitsch sound boxes from the last century.

Unlike, say, playing the guitar or making beats, cutting vinyl is a fantastically complicated mechanical process. This is probably nobody ever produced a serious home system. A few years ago, just as vinyl was coming under serious threat from CD mixers as a DJ tool, came the Vinylium Dubplate Cutter, a fantastic looking Swiss-made aluminum gadget which bolts onto a nomal turntable. The only problem? It costs $7,000, which would buy you a hell of a lot of rare platters, without making you own. (Vestax's VRX2000 is another 'consumer' vinyl cutter, for $10,000.)
There's one other Japanese alternative, but it won't halp vintage-minded djs. Gakken's  Emile Berliner Gramophone Turntable is a $59 kit to build your own old-style gramophone recorder, which scratches recordings into the shiny side of a CD.

DirecTV Titanium: $7,500 per year/$625 a month