That time of year is coming up again! Hangovers, bulging bellies and skinny wallets. Most of us leave Christmas shopping until the last minute and end up buying crappy, overpriced presents that serve a life-long sentence in the back of someone’s closet.
The good news? There are some great stocking fillers out there for both music producers and audiophiles that are less than $100. Moreover, they’ll actually use and appreciate them!
Hard Drive: Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive
Space is something every producer needs and some projects take a long time to render and export. Fantom Driver’s Gforce 3 holds up to 2 terabytes. It’s also USB 3.0 and transfers data up to 10 times faster than 2.0 bus-powered devices. Store all tracks, photos, docs and other projects in one place, and never worry about trashing a potential hit for the sake of storage again.
Yes, more storage. Only a USB pen drive can be attached to your car keys, and you’ve got a way of swapping projects on the move, storing tracks and being able to play them through multiple stereo systems. This one’s encrypted with protection software and comes with antivirus technology. Plus, if the gift is for a producer, they’ll more than likely use it to play their tracks out for gigs. So, this would also make a great gift for a DJ!
Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
We can’t be blasting out the monitors all the time, so a decent pair of cans is another production essential. The M40x headphones are rugged and well made, allowing you to wear them for hours without losing any listening quality or comfort.
If buying for a DJ, you’ll want to look at something more suited to mixing. The Sennheiser HD280PRO are a great option for headphones which are less than 100 bucks. Alternatively, you can check out our recommendations for the best DJ headphones if you’re happy to spend a bit more.
Monitors: PreSonus Eris E3.5 Studio Speakers
PreSonus E3.5 are an affordable set of active speakers which are Ideal for music production, gaming, TV watching and general listening. People usually invest hundreds into a good pair of studio monitors, but amazingly, these units sure do the job when it comes to producing clear-cut vocals, warm acoustic basslines, and crisp highs. They’re dead easy to set up, and provide a high quality listening experience in every aspect.
Monitor Stands: VideoSecu Clamping Bookshelf Speakers
These heavy duty, easy-to-set-up clamping mounts are ideal for home studio monitors and home theatre systems. They come with fully adjustable clamps from 5.3 to 11” and swivel to 360 degrees, with the option to tilt them up or down 10 degrees. Each mount holds up to 33lbs to suit most monitor weights and sizes.
MIDI Controller Synth: Arturia MiniLab MKII 25 Controller
There’s a reason this is one of our best MIDI keyboards! The MiniLab gives you a virtual studio on the move with it’s slim and compact design, and multiple functionalities. Create ideas with the classic onboard instruments and use up to 500 presets that can be mapped to your DAW. Arturia have also thrown in Analog Lab Lite, Ableton Lite and Grand Piano plugin. A neat and affordable Christmas surprise for any beginner.
Microphone: Rockville RCM02 Mic w/ Shock Mount + Shield
Rockville brings the ultimate studio package with this quality condenser mic for recording vocals, podcasts, commentary and live instruments. It comes with a shock mount and shield that isolates unwanted frequencies in the room using a special foam. The mic itself is exceptionally high quality for the price, and it can be connected directly to a computer, mixer or audio interface with phantom power enabled.
Keyboard Synth: Alesis 64-Key Portable Keyboard
Although many producers use MIDI keyboards these days, it’s sometimes a lot easier to have a full scale keyboard to achieve certain notes. If most of your tracks incorporate a lot of melodic elements, you can make use of 300 built-in rhythms to spark your own creative ideas. Not only is it light and easy to set up, it also comes with a piano stand, sheet stand, headphones and stool. So you can literally set this kit up anywhere.
Portable Audio Sampler: Tascam Portable Studio Recorder
One thing that takes up a lot of time for producers is sampling. Sometimes hours go into finding the best lines from movies, or sounds from vintage records. This hand-held recorder makes the job a walk in the park. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and you can turn it on any time you want to record a noise. Capture 100% organic and natural sounds wherever you are, and build up a high-quality selection of samples to use in all your compositions and sound design projects.
Clothing: Lord Forgive Me For My Synths T-Shirt
For those dedicated beat makers out there. These shirts come in a variety of different sizes and colors and are made entirely from 100% cotton polyester. A very nice gift for any music producer, musician or keyboardist. However, If you’re looking for something a bit more snug, this Christmas-themed “Merry Mixmas” jumper will keep your DJ friend warm while he spins out the holiday anthems this year!
Still looking for something a bit more outside the box? It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ametur or pro – when you don’t need any more gear – you always need more sounds, more knowledge, and a means of marketing your music. Here’s some fantastic ideas that any producer will highly benefit from.
Sample Subscription: A 3-month subscription to a sample engine is another thoughtful, money-saving idea that most producers will love. Noiiz or Splice Sounds have good monthly packages that contain some very interesting material. And it’s 100% royalty free for you to use. In addition, you’ll receive free tips and access to lots of handy information about music theory, production and general composition.
Production Masterclass: Masterclasses are excellent for learning new tips and tricks. If you’re like us, and haven’t got the patience to sit there listening to some guy waffle for hours on Youtube, a masterclass is a much more interactive and structured way to learn music production. And you’re learning from the complete experts. The other great thing about masterclasses is the fact that they usually chuck in a ton of freebies like new plugins, sample packs and merchandise as a thanks. Online sites like Academy.fm is a great one for all softwares and DAWs. Alternatively, you can purchase from the manufacturers like Ableton, Cubase, etc, directly.
A Sick-Ass Logo: If you know someone just starting out with music, why not offer to pay for them to have a professional logo made? Logos are important and they’ll definitely need one if they have ambitions to release their tracks one day. Check out sites like Fiverr and Upwork, as some graphic designers charge as little as $50 to come up with a few different designs. It might be a gamble if you pick one yourself, so maybe consult whoever the gift is for first and let them choose. Least they’ll have a say in it, and they’ll no doubt love the idea that you’ve helped them find the perfect visual representation of their music.
As much as we scrooge when the world shouts about Christmas this early, it does pay to have some idea on what you’re going to get people in advance. We hope some of these gifts will help you make some music lover’s day. Ho ho ho!