With Thanksgiving upon us and the first door on the advent calendar already half open, the sense of panic that comes with having done one of your Christmas shopping is beginning to build.
Thankfully, if you want/feel obliged to buy a gift for a music technology fan, help is at hand. We've put together a list of products that any electronic tunesmith would be delighted to unwrap on 25 December – whether you're working to a tight budget or feeling super-generous this year, the perfect present is just a few clicks away...
A set of three miniature marvels from the Japanese music tech giant, the monotron family of pocket-sized, battery-powered analogue synths comprises the one-oscillator monotron, the two-oscillator monotron Duo and the Space Delay-equipped monotron Delay.
Each has a ribbon controller keyboard, the same filter design as the classic MS-10 and MS-20, and an aux input for applying the filter and delay to external audio. A truly fantastic sound source in the palm of your hand!
Silent computer mouse
It might not be the most button-festooned rodent in the world, but the Nexus SM-5000 has one particularly studio-relevant ace in its hole in that its buttons are completely silent.
A bit eerie to use at first, its lack of ‘click’ soon becomes second nature, enabling you to freely mouse around while recording! Beyond that, it’s a standard laptop-sized wireless mouse, with a useful second scroll wheel on the side.
IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R155 desktop speaker stands
The middle tier of IsoAcoustics’ three sizes of desktop speaker stand, the L8R155 not only looks awesome on the desk but uses “patented isolation technology that allows your speakers to ‘float’ in free space,” resulting in truer bass response and better imaging.
It can also be set to either 3" or 8" in height, with inserts included for tilting the speakers.
UDG Ultimate Headphone Bag
UDG is one of our favourite manufacturers of ‘portaware’ for laptops, MIDI controllers and other peripherals, and its Headphone Bag - available in Steel Grey, Black/Grey Stripe, and Grey or Pink Digital Camo - is a perfect pressie for any muso or DJ.
Shipping with an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap and the means to integrate with UDG’s integrated buckle locking system, its padded interior is capacious enough to provide a safe haven for most foldable headphones.
BUY: udg Ultimate Headphone Bag currently available from:
Brian Jarvis’s stylus-operated analogue synth sold around three million units before being discontinued in 1975, and was then revived in 2007 by his son Ben in a digital reimagining - the Stylophone S1 - that added two new sounds to the instrument, as well as audio input.
Nothing less than a studio essential.
BUY: Dubreq Stylophone currently available from:
Editors Keys keyboards/covers
Make learning and using those DAW key commands a doddle with an Editors Keys keyboard, the keys of which are emblazoned with your fave DAW's functions and colour-coded for easy visual navigation.
The company also does a range of “ultra-thin form-fitting” silicone covers to fit the full range of Mac keyboards (wired, wireless and MacBook), again with key commands printed on them.
DAWs catered for include Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Cubase and Digital Performer.
Newton And the Apple personalised Your Voice Sound Wave print
Studio artwork doesn’t get more personalised than this! Having placed your order via the website, simply mail a recording of yourself verbalising your message (“Merry Christmas”, “More cowbell”, etc - or how about capturing the Amen break or Funky Drummer?) to Newton And The Apple, and they’ll send it to your chosen recipient as an A3 waveform print in the foreground and background colours of your choice (we’d suggest red and green, for that yuletide vibe), complete with a QR code card linking to the recording itself.
Multiple recordings can be layered (for a fiver each), too, so you could get the whole band involved.
Twelvesouth HoverBar 3 for iPad
Hoping for an iPad for Christmas but not got enough desk space to work it easily into your setup?
The HoverBar 3 is a flexible 22" ‘arm’ with a clip at one end for attaching to any edge up to one inch thick, and a holder at the other for suspending your Apple tablet in mid-air - perfect for extending your desktop or keeping those MIDI controller and synth apps within easy reach.
Cool Ableton stuff!
Stuck for what to get the fashion-conscious Live user this Chrimbo? Ableton has at least three answers in the shapes of their 'Lines' T-shirt (£19), logo hoodie (£29) and Equipment Bag (£27).
The tee is in blue organic cotton and has a small Ableton logo on the back; the hoodie has a hole for a headphone cable in the hood; and the bag is spacious enough to carry a 15" laptop and - of course - Ableton Push.
iDevices iShower 2
For the truly committed musician, not a second of the day should pass without tunes in the air, and now, thanks to the iShower 2, you can even keep your ears sated during morning ablutions.
Simply pair it to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, launch your music app and rinse it! Naturally, it’s waterproof, but it also sports playback and volume buttons, can receive phone calls, pairs with up to five devices and boasts 25 hours of life from three AA batteries.
Paul Cocksedge The Vamp
Successfully Kickstarted earlier this year, The Vamp is an eye-catching rechargeable (via USB) Bluetooth audio amplifier that hooks up to any loudspeaker via its standard red/black connectors, turning it into an output device for music streamed from your laptop, phone or tablet.
It’s an ingenious idea that we’re amazed hasn’t been realised before, the only problems being that it’s mono and it offers nothing in the way of tone controls.
Synth gear for synth geeks
Voltage Control offers a sizeable range of nifty classic synth-adorned bits and pieces that should be able to tick a few boxes on any last-minute Christmas shopper’s list.
From mugs, clocks and T-shirts to iPhone cases, wallets and turntable slipmats, bedecked in the printed fascias of various Roland and Moog instruments, there’s something here for any and every fan of music technology.
In fact, Voltage Control's mugs are used to hold the all-important tea that powers our offices.
Ultimate Ears Boom
About the same size and shape as a can of beer - and as likely to increase your levels of Christmas merriment - the UE Boom is a portable Bluetooth speaker that's a cut above many of the budget offerings you'll see crowding the shelves this year.
A cinch to set up, it's durable enough to chuck in your bag and offers robust “360 degree” sound that belies its small stature. If you want Boom to really shake the room, you can add a second speaker to your setup, and further options can be accessed via the dedicated Android and iOS app.
Computer Music or Future Music subscription
The greatest and most generous Christmas present a musician could possibly receive is a subscription to one of our fine sister magazines.
Packed with tutorials, videos, reviews, features and amazing free software and samples, they're essential reading for anyone who wants to stay on top of the fast-moving music technology scene and keep their production skills up to scratch.
Subscriptions are available for print and digital editions, and there's also our all-new ‘print + digital’ sub, where you get both, saving cash in the process. Sign up for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, and get CM and/or FM delivered each and every month!