Looking for a techie gift to give to a musician friend or relative?
Christmas is right around the corner and we’ve gathered the Top 8 (shoutout Myspace) music gadgets to help those technologically challenged gift givers this holiday season.
1. Subscription Membership – Instead of dropping $150 on another pair of trendy headphones that will break or disappear within the next month, get your music-loving loved one the gift of music…a lot of it. Services like Amazon Prime, Apple Music, and Spotify Premium even have great family deals and trial months specials, making a full year of unlimited access to downloadable music cost less than $120.
While Cassette tapes and CDs have become somewhat of a throwback, the mixtape is a timeless gesture. Check out Milktape’s customizable cassette-shaped USB ports. They hold between 15-20 songs and are both Mac and PC compatible. Plus, starting at $15, this seems like the perfect stocking stuffer for a music-lover on the go.
Whether your Secret Santa selection is a subway performer or touring musician, the Blackstar Fly 3 is a must-have for a musician on the go. This 3-watt mini amp runs on battery power, features a standard ¼ inch input, and has the basic delay, tone, drive, and volume controls. It also has an AUX input, transforming it into a portable speaker and making your $60 go a long way.
This may as well be the “hoverboard” of music gadgets this year: insanely popular and uniquely ridicuous. Targeted at the Generation Z teenster demographic, Jamstik + features a guitar hero-like neck and iPad app geared towards teaching people the guitar in a way they can understand. While the idea of using technology to enable people to learn an instrument on their own is commendable, the high cost of nearly $400 seems a bit much. However, if you can swing it, this may be the future of learning music.
DJ’s are people too! But seriously, this product (BEAST-tested and approved) is one of the best portable DJ sets. Everything is intuitive, from the slomo features to the synchronization tools. While the price tag is steep at $250, it is a worthy investment for a DJ who can make a decent chunk of change spinning events around the city.
6. Midi Keyboard
Shopping for a Midi keyboard can be a lot like Tinder, you spend hours searching, ample time considering which way to swipe, and still don’t know if it’s going to be a match. That’s why we urge you to stick to the big names when buying a MIDI keyboard for someone else – Alesis, M-Audio, Novation, etc. If you’re buying for a newbie, opt for a mid-price MIDI with touch pads like the Alesis V and Vi series. At prices ranging frow $100-$200, they are easy to learn on and super fun to play.
7. Audio Interface – Having the ability to record an at-home demo is a must-have for any up and coming musician. Interfaces are the best way to get started on learning how to self-produce and self-release your own music. For a singer-songwriter, opt for a 2-input interface like the Focusrite Scarlett. The Apogee brand is also great way to go – The Duet is some of the premiere technology out there right now. But at a price point of $600+ the duet is a serious investment. For a cheaper option, the Apogee One is half the price at $300 and even has a solid built-in mic.
8. Abelton Live – And we saved the best for last. Abelton is a musician’s best friend, partner, and mistress all wrapped into one pretty little piece of software. With the ability to record, mix, and master both in the comfort of your own home and live in front of an audience, it is the most versatile DAW at the amateur’s price point. With Intro packages starting at $99 plus the ability to upgrade to the Standard or Suite version, Abelton Live is an affordable way to learn how to record at home and make that recording come to life on the stage.