Christmas Gift Ideas For The Music Producer
Buying gifts for a friend or family member who is a music producer? Let me help you out with gift ideas that are budget friendly and yet would excite any music producer, newbie or pro.
I recently received an email from a reader, asking for a Christmas gift advice. It resonated well, because well, I understand how sophisticated music producers can be. I bet you can relate if you’re a music producer. Your family barely knows half the things you’re doing.
In the email, the reader mentioned about the recording gear that her husband already has and ask which additional gear she could get as a gift. She probably didn’t mention all the gear her husband has in the studio, but from the email, it’s clear that her husband is more of an analog head, which vintage synths and an Atari! wow.
The safest best I’d go for as a Christmas gift in this scenario is to get the man a pair of good headphones, perhaps something like the Audio Technica ATH-M50. Any music producer would appreciate a good pair of cans for monitoring purpose in the studio. Another option is to get a decent microphone (since the email didn’t mention about him having any microphones at all). A must-have in any recording studio, industry standard microphone like the Shure SM57 would be great addition.
To help people in finding a great gift for a husband, wife or relative who is a music producer, I’ll list out the best recording gear choices you can get for a music producer.
Best Recording Gear Gift Ideas for Music Producers
You’ll know if a music producer is an analog music geek or not. If you find him or her, buying lots of music hardware, collecting old synth keyboards and sound modules, chances are, he or she is an analog music producer.
Here are some music gear gift ideas for the analog music producer, that won’t break the bank.
You’ll need great high-quality audio cables to connect every single piece of audio hardware in the studio. And as your hardware collection grows, so does the need for cables.
It’s frustrating to be in your creative zone, then discovering that there is no spare cable to connect a piece of hardware to the other.
A typical music producer needs three main type of cables.
XLR Cable – XLR cables are used to connect microphones in the studio, whether to a mixer or an audio interface. As you build your collection of microphones in the studio, the more XLR cables you need.
1/4 Inch TS Cable – Also know as the quarter inch jack, TS stands for tip & sleeve. This unbalanced cable is essential for any studio hardware to communicate with each other. Guitarists use it to plug guitars to amps and recording gearheads use the 1/4 inch jack to connect audio recording hardware to each other, from mixers, amps, keyboards and more. TS cables are usually called guitar cables or line-level instrument cables.
1/4 inch TRS Cable – TRS stands for Tip, Ring & Sleeve. Almost near the same like the TS cable, the TRS cable has an additional ‘ring’. The ring acts as a ground/shield. The TRS cable is usually used for balanced connection such as connecting mixers, guitar amps or used in stereo connections such as for headphones.
RCA Cable – You’ll find the RCA connection on almost every general PA system or consumer-level audio electronics. However, it also widely used in a studio where they are usually used with tape inputs and outputs of recording gears. RCA cables normally consist of a pair of wires moulded together, with two ends of the left and right audio channel.
Getting high-quality audio cables is important. You’d want good quality oxygen free audio cables that do not introduce noise into your recording. Cheap cables are often made quite poorly, so try to stay away from them.
Here are some great cables choices:
- Fender Performance Instrument Cables
- Planet Waves patch cables
- Mediabridge Microphone Cable
- Fospower Gold Plated RCA Cables
Shure SM57 Instrument Microphone
Known as the legendary microphone, this microphone would be a complement to any music producer who does recording. Dubbed as an industry standard, this microphone does all types of recording, from recording guitars, drums, amps and while it’s called an instrument mic, it records pretty good vocals as well.
The Shure SM57 can also withstand a lot of wear and tear. You can drop the microphone, hit it with a drum stick or throw it against a wall and it’ll still be good for use.
The only thing you need to be careful of is buying counterfeits. Due to the popularity of the Shure SM57, there are a number of counterfeits in the market that tries to lures you with heavy discounts.
Get it from a known source like Amazon or Musician’s Friend.
Price: $99 – Shure SM57
Audio Technica ATH-M40X Headphones
No great music is mixed without proper monitoring in the studio, whether if you’re monitoring with studio monitor speakers or studio headphones.
In short, being able to monitor accurately is essential for any producer and getting a headphone as a gift is ideal.
I’d recommend going for the Audio Technica ATH-M40, a headphone that sits between the borderline of premium headphones. Great for tracking and recording in the studio, the ATH-M40 will outperform many other studio headphones at its price range.
One downside to this headphones is that the earcups do not rotate 180°. While this might not hinder most, a DJ would want headphones that have rotatable earcups, so the ATH-M40 is probably less ideal for a DJ.
Price: $99 – Audio Technica ATH-M40
Auralex Acoustics Studio Monitor Isolation Pad
A nice gift for a music producer who has most of the basic setup ready in the studio. The Auralex acoustic isolation pads will complement the sound coming from studio monitors.
While they look seemingly like expensive pieces of foam, they do the job well. No matter how good your music is, you still need to monitor accurately and this is where this isolation pads comes in.
They are designed to be placed under the speakers either on speaker stands or even on the desk itself, and it does a great job of eliminating the vibrations from the speaker, isolating the speaker in the process, thus you monitor much more accurately.
You’ll hear the sound difference, I kid you not. And besides, its not too expensive.
CAD Audio Acoustic Shield
Just below $100, a reflection filter is a neat ‘hack’ for music producers without an expensive treated studio.
Reflection filters like the CAD audio acoustic shield works very well for vocal recordings, without having you to treating your entire home studio.
With a proper setup, it helps reduce unwanted room reflections, echo, room reverb and environmental noises.
Besides, it is also fairly portable, making it possible to do good recordings in hotel rooms and such.
This all versatile studio accessory would be an amazing gift for producers who produces from bedroom studios or voice artists.
Korg Monotron Ribbon Synthesizer
I received the Korg Monotron as a gift from my music supplier awhile ago. It’s a nice ribbon synthesizer that looks like a toy, but pretty fun for an analog gearhead.
It was so fun to play around with it that I made a music piece with it. You can listen to that piece on Bandcamp.
You won’t get your everyday precise sound or melodies from the Monotron. You’ll get a lot of different sounds (squelches, drones, risers, rumbles, etc.) from the Monotron, by just sliding your finger up and down the ribbon controller.
The speaker on the Monotron is a little a small and can be noisy, so this is best used with an output from the 3.5mm stereo output into your audio interface or mixer.
Additionally, an aux input on the Monotron means it alows you to use the filter and delays on any sound source. Pretty cool feature for a synthesizer of this size.
M-Audio Keystation 49 MIDI Controller
Why would a producer need a MIDI controller? To control virtual instruments.
Suited towards digital music producers who produces on their computer, a MIDI controller is an absolute must, as you can get expressive by playing virtual instruments on your computer’s keyboard and mouse.
There are all types of MIDI controllers available in the market that you could get, but I’d suggest going for a 49-key MIDI controller at the bare minimum.
And yes, get MIDI controllers with full sized keyboard keys. They are most functional and practical when it comes to making real music.
If the person you’re getting the gift for already has a MIDI controller, then you could consider getting a portable MIDI controller that he/she can travel with.
Comfortable Recording Studio Chair
Recording and producing music means spending a lot of time sitting in front your gear or computer.
The best gift for a music producer, in my opinion, is to give him or her something that can potentially increase their productivity. A great comfortable chair is one.
There are really premium chairs that you can buy like Herman Miller chairs, but that could prove too much as a gift.
For something between $100 to $200, you could get a pretty decent office chair to use as a recording studio chair.
I hope you find this list useful for your Christmas gift shopping, if it’s not too late. Let me know if I missed any of your favourites and I’ll put it up. Comment in the section below.