It feels like only yesterday we were recovering the holiday season, making New Year’s resolutions, and looking forward to all the good things that 2017 had to offer. But amazingly, Christmas is almost upon us – not to mention all the sales that follow.
To help you with some last-minute shopping (for loved ones, or maybe just yourself), we’ve gathered up a handful of gift ideas for anyone who loves a bit of music-related tech.
The ultimate wireless headphones
$629.95 RRP from Sennheiser
The market for wireless headphones is booming, as people look to rid themselves of unnecessary wires (and the need for a headphone jack adapter for their shiny new phones), and Sennheiser remain one of the best options on the market, with their latest set of top-of-the-line cans ticking all of the boxes for audiophiles.
Not only does the Sennheiser PXC 550 boast some seriously good adaptive noise cancellation and the top-notch sound quality you’d expect of the brand – up there with any wired set you could name – but the inbuilt array of microphones is just as good, allowing you to carry a crystal clear phone conversation no matter where you are, then jump straight back into your music.
Add in 30+ hours of battery life (and a built comfortable enough to actually wear for that long), a touch panel to control everything from volume to phone calls, and the ability to power on and off as you fold and unfold them, and you’re looking at an unbeatable set of headphones for pretty much any situation.
Build your own synth
$159 from LittleBits
If digital music-making isn’t your thing, what about crafting your own synthesiser? Using the LittleBits Synth Kit, you can bring together your love of music creating with your love of building Lego as LittleBits gives you the chance to craft your own synth.
Separate electronic musical building blocks snap together as you experiment and create, inventing your own unique synthesiser in the process. If making your own sound is the sort of thing you strive for in life, then this is definitely the perfect gift.
The tiniest guitar ever
$349USD from Jammy
Folding up to just a foot long with its sliding neck, this miniature digital axe is the perfect bit of kit for the travelling musician who can’t afford those crazy excess baggage fees, but it also stretches out to give you a 15-fret range.
With analogue and MIDI output and a battery that’ll last you a couple of hours of continuous playing, you’ll have plenty of ways to get creative when you need to leave the Strat at home.
Cards Against Humanity meets Guitar Hero
$200 from Hasbro
So, this is ridiculously cool. DropMix is a board/card game made by the people who worked on Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which lets you to use the cards in your deck to add in elements of a track to the mix that’s playing through the accompanying smartphone app, competing as you go.
The BPM and musical key all adjust automatically so that every element fits together perfectly, and extra card packs can also be purchased for added variety. We’re assured that one of them is the vocal topline from Len’s ‘Steal My Sunshine’, too – and that’s all we needed to hear.
An entire year of vinyl
$25 per month, from Vinyl Me, Please
Who says record clubs are dead? With the vinyl comeback currently at an all time high, what better time to give the ones you love a year’s supply of vinyl?
Yes, signing someone up to Vinyl Me, Please means that each and every month they’ll be delivered stunning, high-quality records of varying artists and titles – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Plus, if you’re sneaky, you could make sure you’re always around to listen to those records when they come in, making it as much a gift for you as it is for them. Smart thinking!
A turntable/work of art
$550 from Gramovox
Music-lovers tend to be audiophiles usually, and what better gift for an audiophile than a record player? Well, what about the Floating Record Vertical Turntable, a gorgeous piece of functional art?
Starting as a Kickstarter campaign aiming for $50,000, the campaign raised $1.5 million, and the turntables have proved to be immensely popular. Mixing versatility with beautiful good looks, this is exactly the sort of thing a record-collector needs, whether it’s to actually play their records, or just to serve as a fantastic musical work of art.
A seriously slick beatpad
$200US from Roli
Rather than just a velocity-sensitive beatpad like we’ve seen plenty of in the past, the newest model from Roli uses five separate gestures on the soft-touch pad to tweak the sounds you’ll get from this thing to a seriously granular level, and if the textured surface itself doesn’t give you enough feedback, the nifty LEDs will.
With versions of Ableton, Tracktion and more packed in, this little jigger is ready to use with your smartphone out of the box, allowing you to start programming and playing it right away. Add on some of the extra attachments, and you can build a hugely customisable – and undeniably stylish – pad setup.
The new version of the mixtape
$14.99 – $19.99 from Milktape
As anyone who received one could tell you, getting a mixtape was all about the love that was put into it, along with the physical component that truly showed how much someone cared for you if they put in time and effort to give you a mixtape.
While the digital age somewhat took that away, Milktape aims to bring that back. A functional USB drive, these bad boys are housed in a plastic cassette and packaged in a cassette shell – just like all times.
Fully functional and customisable, this brings back the archaic joy of mixtapes that digital media just can’t replace. (However, you can fit exponentially more songs on one of these USB Cassettes, so now’s the time to start curating your epic playlist.)
The coolest instrument ever
$319 from Moog
Anyone who’s seen a theremin in action will know the sheer amount of fun they are to learn and play, and if you’ve caught a Miles Brown set lately you’ll also be aware of just how bloody cool they are to watch.
The company describes the under-appreciated instrument as being founder Bob Moog’s first love, and this version is a clear passion project, packing in any feature you could ever want, including an adjustable setting that can make it impossible for beginners to play a wrong note, and a built in speaker for practicing.
Scrap the Christmas carols this year. Get a theremin.
Musical wine glasses
$86.42 from Uncommon Goods
How many of you have that one friend who always says he can perform symphonies with your half-drunk wine glasses? Just us? Okay, well, now you can give the gift of music with these major scale wine glasses.
Just fill your glass to the marked note on the side, start rubbing the rim, and before you know it you’ll be a regular Phillip Glass (no apologies needed for that brilliant joke).
They’re a little bit more pricey than your regular glasses, so make sure it’s a relatively sober hand playing these nifty instruments.
A bedroom producer’s dream
$479 from Ableton
So perhaps the build-your-own synth above wasn’t quite hardcore enough, and you’d rather give someone the tools they need to produce an actual album? A proper digital audio workstation might be the perfect gift.
Many DAWs, including Ableton Live, one of the most popular choices by countless professional musicians, are easy to learn, but hard to master, giving users plenty of room to learn, grow, and experiment – and there are plenty of free tutorials online.
If you’re still on the fence about this, just imagine where Flume might be if his cousin gave him a DAW five years earlier? Think about it.
The cutest portable synth
$899 from Teenage Engineering
If you’d rather give them something they can hold in their hands and treasure, few objects will be as pleasant to unwrap on Christmas morning than this beauty, a modular synth/controller with one hell of a cool aesthetic.
Sure, something black and sensible might get the job done just as well, but for anyone who’s always creating on the fly, this slick four-track beauty is perfect for the beginner or advanced user. And damn if it doesn’t just look really, really cool.
$11.99 – $143.88 from Spotify
Okay, you’ve gone all through this list and you still can’t find anything? That’s okay, all is not lost. Why not just give your music-loving friend the ability to pick and choose the music they listen to wherever they go?
With a Spotify Premium gift card, that’s exactly what they can do. With the ability to stream high-quality audio at home, work, or on the go, you’ll undoubtedly always be remembered for how you managed to soundtrack their 2018.