MusicRadar has vowed to do Christmas differently this year. Rather than being part of the last-minute hordes as we pick up the bulk of our presents a minute before closing time on Christmas Eve, we’re getting our gift-buying done well in advance.
And you can, too, particularly if you’ve got a hi-tech musician on your must-buy-for list. We’re sure that he or she will be delighted to rip of the wrapping off any of the following - not least the much-talked about Raspberry Pi.
What could be better than being able to say that you’ve bought someone a whole new computer for Christmas? This barebones Linux-powered PC is now available with 512MB of RAM, and it’s increasingly being used as a music making platform (see the Piana synth and Korg MS-20 controller project for evidence).
Your only problem might be getting a slice of the Pi - these things are selling like hot mince pies.
With multi-touch music making set to go massive with the launch of Windows 8, now could be the time to buy your beloved a display that they can get properly hands-on with.
And it might not cost as much as you think: Dell’s 21.5-inch ST2220T (pictured above), for example, can now be yours for £199.
BUY Dell 21.5-inch currently available from:
UK/Europe: Scan Pro Audio
Logic Café ControlSkin
Keyboard overlays are nothing new, but the ControlSkin ups the ante by actually redefining your shortcut keys via a patch file. So, you can have super-quick access to a whole load of Logic’s most useful functions.
Designed to sit over a MacBook Pro or smaller Apple keyboard, the ControlSkin works exclusively with Logic, so do be careful who you buy it for.
Complete Music Producer: Essential Skills to Become A Success
A manual that tells you exactly how to make it as a music producer is worth its weight in Facebook likes, and while this book may not quite be that - in truth, no tome ever could be - it’ll make for a useful read while the rest of the family are fighting over the remote control.
Both technical and motivational, Complete Music Producer covers everything from making tracks to selling them (and, just as importantly, selling yourself). Even if it doesn’t make you a millionaire, it might at least give you fresh inspiration.
It might be a bit cold for swimwear at this time of year, but the synth-styled range from The Pusspuss looks so good that you’ll probably just go ahead and slip into it anyway.
Inspired by gear from the likes of Korg, Roland and Nord, there are male as well as female designs, though you might want to do something about that studio tan before you don the MS-20 shorts.
IK Multimedia iRig Keys
You can use loads of keyboards with your iOS device, but the iRig Keys is one of only a handful that plugs straight in without the need for an interface (thus saving you the expense of buying one and giving you a far neater solution).
Its 37 mini keys provide a nice balance between portability and playability, and we like the slightly retro styling. You can use it with your PC or Mac, too, though iPhone 5 owners will need Apple’s 30-pin-to-Lightning dock adapter if they want to plug it into their new device.
Focusrite VRM Box
We all know that the best way to mix is through a decent set of dedicated monitor speakers, but if you want to finish off a track without making any noise (when Aunt Maude’s sleeping off the figgy pudding, for example) the VRM Box can help.
This USB gizmo enables you to listen to your mix on different sets of virtual speakers in different rooms… and all through your cans. The theory is that this will enable you to produce mixes that translate well to multiple systems.
Prodipe IEM 3 in-ear monitors
Not everyone gets on with in-ear ‘phones, but if your gift recipient likes them, you could do worse than buy them a set of these relatively affordable ‘in-ear monitors’. Designed for use on stage, in the studio or for listening to music on the move, they promise a neutral, balanced sound.
They also offer pretty good isolation, though you have to force the IEM 3s rather further into your ears than feels natural to get the maximum benefit.
Still short on ideas? Check out these last minute gifts from our sister magazines.