Music production gifts and ideas for the 2023 holiday season
From stocking fillers to serious synthesizers
Choosing a gift for your loved ones is hard enough, let alone when they’re a music producer or tech enthusiast. Fret not! We’re here to help you pick out a stellar present for this holiday season that’s sure to please your musical mate.
Sure, you’ve heard of modular synthesis, but what about modular headphones? AIAIAI’s sleek black cans are loved by the likes of Benji B, James Blake, Kaytranada and Fred Again.. and come in various configurations for casual listening, DJ’ing and studio referencing. Best of all, you can freely swap these setups around and customise with different earpads, colourful cables and comfy headbands.
Price: Starts at £160
Learn more at aiaiai.audio
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
Need a jolly stocking filler? How about a Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator? Affordable and the size of a calculator (10.5cm x 3cm) but with the power to produce studio-quality sounds, these nifty gadgets are serious pieces of kit in a less-so-serious, fun package. Plus, they use batteries, making them pleasingly portable. Ranging from $47 to around $100, there are nine models to choose from, each with a unique feature set. Rhythm, for example, makes neat lo-fi drums, Sub, as you’d guess, produces gritty bass and Factory is useful for keys and melodies. There are even special edition Megaman and Street Fighter editions packed with sounds from the classic game soundtracks, for those retro gamers.
Price: £49 – 99
Learn more about Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators at teenage.engineering
Everyone’s studio needs a bit of ambience. A few dynamic smart lights will let you change up the vibe of your studio via your smartphone, helping you get in the zone or just chill out after a long mixing session. Nanoleaf’s lights also boast a unique design, allowing you to customise the shape and size of your light placement. A starter kit is £90 and it’ll give you five panels and the tools to get lit up in minutes.
Price: Starts at £90
Learn more about Nanoleaf at nanoleaf.me.
Fancy giving the gift of knowledge? You should check out the new books by Bjooks. This year, the publisher teamed up with Roland and Korg on two separate books, Inspire The Music and Patch and Tweak with Korg, charting the timelines of both brands. In each book, you’ll learn about the various synths the companies have made, hear how legendary artists from Jean-Michel Jarre to DJ Jazzy Jeff harness the instruments’ power, and the impact that the brands had on the scene. You’ll even learn a few sound design tips and tricks along the way.
Price: £39 – 65
Learn more at bjooks.com
Lenco LBT-188 turntable
Everyone wants a turntable in their living room – roaring fire, mistletoe, cheese, wine and vinyl record gently humming. It’s an idyllic Christmas scene, right? The only difficult job is finding out which turtnable to go for because, let’s be frank, there are quite a few to choose from. We think we’ve found the perfect balance between high-quality audio and design and affordability in Lenco’s LBT-188 turntable. With Bluetooth connectivity and an elegant, minimal design, this could make a suitable centrepiece for your cosy Christmas listening sessions – and beyond.
Learn more at lenco.com
Artiphon Orba 2
Who can resist some hand-held beatmaking? Artiphon’s new Orba 2 is an unassuming divide that lets you sample, sequence and shake your sounds. Yeah, shake Connect the Orba to your smartphone to load myriad sounds, from huge synth basses to elegant string sections. You can even sample sounds on your phone and load them straight onto the Orba, giving you practically any sound in the world at your fingertips. You can pick one up for £149 now – but be sure to place your order soon to get it in time for the holidays.
Learn more at artiphon.com
Korg has a catalogue of gear ranging from the chunky and high-end to the agile and economical while maintaining quality throughout. Its Volca series of portable rhythm machines and synthesizers is no different. There are ten units to choose from, which, similar to TE’s Pocket Operators, each host their own sonic characteristics, from the bassy and boomy to the modular, melodic and drum-focused. These are a good choice if you’re looking to gift someone the tools to make electronic music without breaking the bank or filling up their desk space. At just £127 to £159, one of these would be a snazzy stocking filler, for sure.
Price: £127 – 159
Find out more at korg-volca.com
Apple AirPods Pro 2
Countless audio companies have moved into the wireless earbud space, all releasing a pair that boasts its unique design and featureset. The choice for the consumer can be a little overwhelming – ‘which ones sound the best?’ ‘Which pair looks the best?’ ‘Do I need active noise cancelling?’ It might be an obvious choice, but if you’re buying for an Apple user, the AirPods Pro 2 are superb. We’ve been enjoying the new-gen AirPods for its impressive noise cancelling tech, reliable sound quality and intuitive integration with Apple devices. It’s not the cheapest choice, but it’s one heck of a gift.
Learn more at apple.com
Looking to treat yourself to something else this year? Keep an eye on our Deals section, which we regularly update with our favourite discounts.
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