Yule love it
It doesn’t seem like two minutes since we were hosting that ill-fated summer barbeque (honestly, we were convinced that those sausages were cooked through), but it turns out that Christmas is almost upon us. And when we say upon us, we mean weighing heavy on our minds as we consider how on earth we’re going to get all our shopping done.
Before we address our own problem, though, we’re going to do you a favour and point you in the direction of a wide range of gifts that are suitable for the hi-tech musician in your life. Whether you’re feeling generous or thrifty, there’s something here for you - and, indeed, for them.
DropMix music mixing game
Nothing says Christmas like getting the whole family together to play a game, but you can leave the Monopoly in its box this year (sorry Mr Top Hat) as you pass the festive hours with DropMix instead.
Coming from Hasbro and Harmonix (the creator of Rock Band and Dance Central), DropMix enables players to mix songs by dropping cards onto a board. A smartphone or tablet is also required, and you can increase the number of mixable songs by buying more cards.
So, if aunt Mable has always fancied herself as a superstar DJ, now she can live the dream.
Nintendo’s Switch is one of the must-have Christmas gifts of the year, but why would you buy one for a hi-tech musician? Because Korg’s Gadget is coming to the console next year, of course.
We don’t yet know if this will be an exact port of the Mac/iOS version, but developer Detune has good form when it comes to creating music software for Nintendo hardware, so we’re hopeful that it’s come up with something special.
And the good news is that while they’ve waiting for Gadget’s release, your Switch recipient can have the merriest of Christmases playing Zelda and Mario.
Hercules LED Wristbands pack
The process of putting up your Christmas lights follows a familiar ritual: open up the ones you bought last year, discover they don’t work, then chuck them in the bin and buy a new set.
With any luck, Hercules’ LED Wristbands will be a little more reliable. Designed to light up in sync with your mix, each band has a built-in microphone and senses vibration.
You get 10 bands in a pack, so the whole family can have a hands-in-the-air moment before collapsing on the sofa for the traditional Christmas afternoon argument/snooze.
Modal Electronics Craft Rhythm
If you made someone’s Christmas last year by giving them Modal’s Craft Synth, why not repeat the trick in 2017 by popping a Craft Rhythm under their tree?
This is an 8-track drum sampler with a 16-step sequencer that you can put together yourself in less than 10 minutes. It can store up to 64 16-bit mono samples, and you can upload your own sounds via an app. Each track features a mixer, sample select, a tune control with three pitch modes, a low-pass resonant filter and three envelopes for amplitude, filter and pitch.
Korg Volca Kick
If you want to make someone’s Christmas go with a thud, Korg’s most recent Volca is the gift that’ll make it happen.
The Kick is a derivative of the MS-20 filter section. Its sound engine is based around the original low-pass filter with resonance pushed up into self-oscillation, effectively creating a tunable sine wave oscillator.
The good news is that the Kick’s beefy analogue synth engine is capable of a broader range of sonic results than its name would suggest, making it a perfect present for club-focused little drummer boys and girls.
Teenage Engineering PO-32
Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator instruments have been suitable stocking fillers for a couple of years now, but even if your beloved already has one of the previous models, they’ll surely appreciate receiving 2017’s PO-32 percussion synth as well.
Unlike the other POs, which have fixed palettes of sounds, the PO-32 can be loaded with new sounds from Sonic Charge’s MicroTonic plugin, making it significantly more versatile.
You could argue that the PO-32 still feels like a bit of a toy, but given it’s Christmas, that seems pretty appropriate.
Asus MB16AC portable monitor
You might think that taking your laptop on the road means sacrificing your dual-screen setup, but not so.
This portable monitor from Asus offers a 15.6-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 display and can be hooked up to your laptop with a single USB Type-C or Type-A cable, which transmits both power and video.
Computer Music or Future Music magazine subscription
Very much the gift that keeps on giving, a subscription to one of our sister magazines will ensure that your giftee is kept abreast of everything that’s going on in the world of music technology for an entire year.
You can choose from print, digital or print plus digital options, and there’s shipping to more than 100 countries.