Xmas 2017 Gift Guide For Musicians And Producers

With Christmas and the Winter holidays round the corner you might be wondering what gift to get for yourself or those musicians or producers close to you. Here's more ideas than Santa could manage.  

With so much awesome gear competing for your Dollar, it can be tough to know where to turn when it comes to Christmas. But whether you're buying for yourself or for a very lucky friend or family member, we have done the hard work for you - reviewing, rating and covering the best gear from the last year. 

Our Xmas 2017 gift guide covers everything from the small to the large, from impulse buys to serious studio gear. We even have a book in there, to prove that we're not totally obsessed with technology (although it is a book about, er, technology). 

So dive in and check out some of our favorite gear from 2017 as well as some established classics that we feel still provide a fantastic balance of price and functionality - and that will really make you have a merry Xmas! 

Ask.Audio Academy Subscription 

What better gift to yourself - or someone you know - that an opportunity to improve your music-making skills with 792 courses and over 1550 hours of pro audio content covering every aspect of your favourite DAW, hardware or style of music. Just $15 USD a month gets you a pass to watch all the courses, whenever and wherever you like! Check out the library today.

Price: $15 / month 

Web: https://ask.audio/academy

Push Turn Move

We all use music software and hardware, but how many of us think about how it has been designed? This unique book contains 352 pages richly illustrated with photos, illustrations, and prototypes, and with a foreword by electronic music visionary Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a fascinating insight into the design of music technology over the years.

Modal CRAFTsynth

Building your own monophonic hardware synthesiser without having to do any fiddly soldering sounds like a pipe dream - but it’s not! The CRAFTsynth is a very cool hardware unit featuring 2 oscillators per voice, Sine, Tri, Saw, PWM, Noise and FM and an LFO with six destinations, including VCA amplitude, filter cutoff and PWM. Be the envy of your friends by telling them you built it.

Elektron Digitakt

This powerful digital drum machine and sampler features 8 tracks for hardware MIDI sequencing as well as 1GB onboard storage and DAW integration via the company’s Overbridge software. Sample and edit your own sounds and sequence them into awesome beats - it’s ready to be the heart of your electronic beat making setup.

IK Multimedia iRig Keys I/O 

Brand new from IK Multimedia is an all-in-one MIDI controller and audio interface in 25 and 49-key versions. With drum pads and a bunch of other hands-on controls, it powers from your Mac, PC or iOS device and comes with an impressive software bundle including Live 9 Lite, the full version of Sampletank 3, Synktronik Pro-V and T-RackS Deluxe, providing everything you need to get up and running.  

Artiphon Instrument 1 

This intuitive musical toolkit adapts to the way you want to play. It’s the first MIDI multi-instrument that lets you strum, slide, tap, and drum any sound on a single interface. Featuring built-in speakers, accelerometer, six-hour battery life, direct iOS connection and MIDI MPE compatibility, it’s a whole new way to experience playing with MIDI. 

Price: $399

Web: https://artiphon.com


Connect up to 10 of these innovative rings to the Specdrums mobile app and then tap colours to trigger sounds. Assign new colours from your clothes, printed keyboards and drum pads, coloured drawings, or anywhere else. You can even connect to a DAW via Bluetooth MIDI for a whole new take on performing.  

Price: $89 for 2, $399 for 10

Web: http://www.specdrums.com 

Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic

This credit card-sized drum sequencer is even more remarkable than Teenage Engineering’s other Pocket Operators. With real synth engines and onboard effects, it is also able to transfer sounds from the Microtonic software via its onboard microphone, meaning there’s virtually no limit to the range of sounds you can create. And of course it can be chained to other Pocket Operators for even more fun.

Stylophone S-1

Dubreq’s ‘Stylophone’ is one of the most iconic and popular electronic keyboard instruments of all time, having sold over 4 million between its invention in 1968 and today. With 3 voices, a vibrato function and also a built-in speaker and MP3 input and line out, it’s a very affordable way to create sounds on the move. 

Price: £19.99 GBP / €25 EUR

Web: https://dubreq.com/product/stylophone-s-1/ 

Bastl Dude 

This compact 5-channel battery operated audio mixer is perfect for small portable live rigs or personal instrument mixing. Since each channel has plenty of gain it can actually used as a tone generator by feeding the output back to an input through a passive EQ and other simple circuits. 

Korg Volca Sample 

The volca sample is a sample sequencer that lets you edit and sequence up to 100 sample sounds in real time for powerful live performances. It lets you recapture the feeling of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound - vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches - becomes material for your creations! 

Roland SE-02

A collaboration between Roland and Studio Electronics, the SE-02 uses authentic discrete analog circuitry to create a synthesizer with a distinctly vintage sound and vast programming options. With an array of high-quality knobs and switches and a uniquely creative onboard sequencer, it’s a fantastic way to embrace the world of synthesis.

Novation Circuit

A hugely portable synth and sequencer with a battery power option and built-in speaker, Circuit uses Nova series synth engines and a 4x8 pad matrix for easy live performance. There’s also a 4-part rhythm machine to help you create beats. Best of all, Novation frequently adds more features via software updates so there’s always more fun stuff to come. 

NI Komplete Kontrol MkII 

With a radicaly overhauled set of tools that help you not only play but control and navigate your DAW more easily than ever before, Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol keyboard in 49 and 61-key versions also come with Komplete Select, giving you a ton of software as well. They could quickly become the indespensible heart of your studio. 

ROLI Lightpad Block M

As the heart of ROLI's new portable hardware ecosystem, the new Lightpad Block M improves on the original in numerous ways. Now with a deeper, softer surface featuring 255 microkeywaves, it's more expressive than ever. Add your choice of snap-on magnetic modules and even keyboards for the ultimate performance setup.  

Price: £190 GBP / $199 USD


Master And Dynamic MW60 Wireless Headphones

Rarely do we come across headphones that sound as good as they look, and vice versa. Master and Dynamic are a New York-based high-end headphone company and the MW60 are an incredible balance of sonic clarity, accuracy, comfort and looks. They're one of the only pairs we've ever come across that are as suitable for mixing as for leisure listening. 

Korg Gadget for Mac

With version 3, Gadget crossed over from iOS to the Mac platform and brought with it many improvements. A 4-way split view, audio recording and looping, guitar processing and much more. A fantastic tool for producing EDM and other beat-based kinds of music, it can talk to the iOS version too and you even get to use all the instruments as plug-ins inside your DAW. 

Steinberg Cubasis 

The iPad has come a long way in terms of its music production potential and nowhere is that better demonstrated than with Cubasis, Steinberg's truly mobile version of Cubase. One of the most fully-featured mobile DAWs around, it has gained hundreds of features since its first release and now provides everything you need for pro music making on the move. Plus it can export to Cubase on your Mac or PC! 

IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor

IK's diminutive speakers blew us away with their sheer accuracy and portability, with amazing volume and bass response typical of much larger speakers. Extreme portability usually means compromise but with these micro monsters we wouldn't worry about accurate mixing even when travelling light.  

Zeppelin Design Labs Altura Theremin MIDI Controller

Zeppelin Design Labs Altura Theremin MIDI Controller

There's something about the theremin which continues to appeal a long time after its introduction. But there's no need to be stuck with that traditional theremin sound. Zeppelin Design Labs feel the same and decided to expand upon the theremin concept by making it into a MIDI controller for all your hardware and software synths. It can control pitch, volume, velocity, bend, modulation, portamento and more! You can buy it ready-to-play or build it yourself from a DIY kit! 

Glou Glou Rendez-Vous

Glou Glou Rendez-Vous

If you thought the phaser was a basic effect, the Glou Glou Rendezvous boutique analog phaser & filter effect box is just the thing to change your mind. It's as comfortable on the floor for guitarists as it is on a studio desk for synth and digital musicians and producers. Glou Glou have made a parallel phaser and filter box with sound and routing capabilities that are difficult to ignore. It brings depth, warmth and interest to even the simplest of sounds. Oh and it sound absolutely fantastic.

Plankton Electronics ANTS!

Plankton Electronics ANTS! semi-modular desktop synth.

This semi-modular analog desktop format synthesizer from Plankton Electronics brings pure analogue sound with more than 50 patch points, 19 knobs, thousands of combinations and infinite modulation possibilities. Did we mention it's eurorack compatible and sounds really good? There's plenty more worth discovering about this 4-oscillator analog synth... 

Price: €490 EUR


Blue Microphones Blackout Spark SL

Blue Microphones Blackout Spark SL

For musicians, gamers, podcasters or YouTubers, Blackout Spark SL is an ideal XLR condenser mic for starting your home studio or expanding your mic locker. 

Spark SL delivers detailed, transparent recordings of vocals, guitars, podcasts, voice over and more. It features discreet Class-A circuitry to maintain a crystal-clear signal and now has an onboard switchable 100Hz high-pass filter and -20dB pad to bring professional versatility to your recording sessions. The Blackout Spark SL comes with a shockmount for easy connection to a boom arm or mic stand. 

Fluid Audio Strum Buddy 

Fluid Audio Strum Buddy

Wouldn’t it be great to have a small amp you could stick to your guitar and play with no cord? Mounting to your guitar using a rubber suction cup, the Strum Buddy is a 6W guitar amplifier, powered by an internal rechargeable battery. It not only lets you hear and monitor your electric guitar, but allows you to play through the onboard guitar effect sounds, such as distortion, chorus and reverb. It's uber affordable too!

Arturia Keystep

Arturia Keystep

Arturia's Keystep successfully blends a polyphonic sequencer, an arpeggiator and a portable, compact MIDI keyboard controller into one unit. It's enjoyable to play, the slim keys have good action and aftertouch and it's compatible with Mac, PC, and iOS and even has CV for incorporating modular synth gear. The price is impressive, it comes in black or white... What's not to like? 

iZotope Spire Studio

Don't blink. iZotope just released their first hardware product... and it's an excellent solution to a number of issues when recording music and a great gift too. Spire Studio is designed to record studio-quality sound without the hassle of cables. It allows you to instantly edit, mix, and share your recorded songs via Wi-Fi between Spire Studio and the free, Spire app for iOS. It includes a built-in microphone, two preamp inputs, excellent sound processing technology and studio-quality creative effects like reverb and delay. Additionally it's designed to be super easy to use for everyone. No time-consuming recording setup required!



Ask.Audio Academy 

What better gift to yourself - or someone you know - that an opportunity to improve your music-making skills with 792 courses and over 1550 hours of pro audio content covering every aspect of your favourite DAW, hardware or style of music. Just $15 USD a month gets you a pass to watch all the courses, whenever and wherever you like! Check out the library today.

Price: $15 / month 

Web: https://ask.audio/academy  

The Editorial Team

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