Top 9 Black Friday Deals For Music Producers
Black Friday this year falls on Friday, November 25, 2016. It’s the time of the year to get some shiny new recording gear & musical instruments for your studio.
The Black Friday music deals past quite quickly and with so many things to choose from, one can become confuse about what gears they should get. That’s why in this post, we’ll point to you some gears you shouldn’t miss to upgrade your studio while filtering out lousy deals and only highlighting great ones.
If you see something we’ve missed in this post, please give us a heads up in the comment section below, and we’ll add it to this post for the music recording community!
Without further ado, here are the best music deals for music producers & musicians:
1. TASCAM US-16×08 USB Audio Interface
- Eight Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps with 57dB of gain
- 16-in/8-out interface with up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution
- USB Audio Compliance 2.0 drivers for iOS compatibility
- Independent line out and headphone level controls
Price: $269 at Amazon
Need a new audio interface that is value for money? The TASCAM sports 8 microphone preamps, 2 instruments line inputs and 6 line inputs giving you a total of 16 simultaneous inputs for multitrack recording. The Tascam also sports 8 outputs which will be useful if you mix and master for film – as you’ll require a surround setup.
The Tascam US-16×08 loses in terms of preamp quality if compared to other premium audio interfaces like the Audient iD14, but if you’re running a small to medium studio, the sound quality you get from the Tascam would be good enough. Also, the Tascam does not come with a word clock input or output, so you cannot sync it with another audio interface in your studio, forcing you to use it as a stand alone unit. The USB2.0 connectivity it has means you’ll have to get extra USB-C adapters if you plan on buying the Macbook Pro 2016 but other than that it should work beautifully.
2. Novation Launchkey Mini 25 (MK2)
- Launchkey Mini – mini controller for Ableton Live
- 16 velocity-sensitive multicolored pads
- 8 knobs, dedicated navigation and control buttons
- Software for Mac and PC, including Ableton Live Lite
- Compact and tough enough to take anywhere; USB bus-powered
Price: $79 at Amazon
Small but powerful, aimed towards producers & DJs on Ableton Live who produces electronic music. Only going at $74.99 for Black Friday, there is no reason not to get this during the season.
The synth action keys may feel a little small if you have fatter fingers, but if you have played on mobile MIDI controllers like the CME Xkey & Korg microKey 2, the Launchkey Mini 25 will feel just like home. You can tweak your music with the dedicated knobs and launch your clips with the 16 pads which can be used to play drum beats as well.
Since the holiday seasons are near too, this MIDI controller might be the perfect companion for when you’re traveling and can’t sacrifice your travel time to make music on the go.
3. Zoom R24 Multitrack Recorder
- All in one – Multi-track recorder, audio interface, control surface, field recorder, mixer, drum machine, and sampler
- Supports up to 32GB SD cards for mobile recording
Price: $449 only (Seasonal pricing)
The Zoom R24 is an all in one product for the budget conscious producer. It works as a portable audio field recorder, audio interface, control surface, drum machine and sampler.
If you’re looking for lots of expansion and portability at an entry level price, the Zoom R24 would be a great product for you. Not only it allows you to go mobile; you can run the Zoom R24 on batteries & SD cards, it also allows up to eight mic inputs for multitrack recording. It even records up to 96kHz audio for DVD quality audio.
The downside to the Zoom R24 lies in its average sounding preamps, not-so-sturdy plastic built and slightly complex ease of use. The Zoom R24 is a great buy if you’re looking to stay flexible in your professional audio work, but for serious specialization, you might want to get separate dedicated audio hardware.
4. Audio Technica ATH-M50x
- 45mm large drivers for great sound detail
- Swiveling earcups that go 90°, ideal for DJs when monitoring with one ear.
- The industry standard headphones for professional audio engineers and music producers.
Price: $139 during Black Friday
What’s not to like about the Audio Technica ATH-M50x? Considered an industry standard chosen by many music producers, the ATH-M50x is a headphone that reproduces audio with lots of details and bottom end that many headphones can’t produce. The M50X is also built rather solidly with no sound leakage.
The M50X will be ideal if you’re doing lots of recording and mixing. The ATH-50X closed-back build would ensure minimal sound bleed when recording and while we don’t encourage you to mix solely on headphones, mixing on the ATH-M50x is a pleasant experience.
If there are any cons about the ATH-M50x, it’s probably its weight. It’s heavier compared to many other headphones in the price range but having them lighter would probably mean lower sound quality.
5. Marshall DSL 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp
- 15 WATT
- 12″ Celestion® G12E speaker
- Reverb, EQ & Tone Change
- Featuring two channels
You’ll never go wrong with a Marshall amp. The Marshall DSL 15 may seem underpowered with only a 15 Watt speaker, but you’ll be surprised to find that it can be amped pretty loud. A Marshall amp would be a great addition to your studio. Most guitarists jump for joy when they spot a Marshall in a recording studio.
The Marshall DSL has that signature ‘Marshall’ classic sound while being really clean when you need. It also comes with a variant of distortion and overdrive settings you can choose from. As for the tone quality you get from this amp, expect a brighter piercing tone even when the EQs are untouched. There is also two button footswitch on the DSL15C which you can use to on/off the Reverb or to change the channel.
The Marshall DSL15C though is quite heavy since it’s built in a sturdy construction. But that’s a small compromise since most high-quality amps are supposed to be heavy. The Marshall is also good for miking and recording, with enough volume and gain to achieve the type of tone you want.
6. TASCAM DP-24SD – Multitrack Recorder
- 18 track-faders and one master fader
- 3.5 inch LCD for monitoring
- Records into SD/SDHC cards
- Multi-effects processing all built in for total music production
If you prefer the analog touch when recording and producing music, you’ll love the Tascam DP-24SD. It’s an all in one channel digital 24 track multitrack recorder that allows you to record up to eight tracks of simultaneous recording.
Everything you need is in the box. Effects from EQ, compressor, exciters, reverbs, amp simulation and mastering effects. This unit is designed for music producers who prefer to record on a console and finishing a mix in the box.
Instead of finishing your mix in the box, you can also transfer the recorded multitracks on the Tascam DP-24SD via an SD card to your computer and continue the mixing and mastering process on your computer.
To some producers, recording and mixing in the box seems like an old concept, but there are plenty of music producers who are still inclined into producing music in the box.
7. Tascam VL-S5 Monitors
- 5″ kevlar woofer
- 1″ natural silk dome tweeter
- Bi-amplified 40W + 30W power
- 60Hz – 22 kHz wide frequency response
Tascam might not be a company popular for producing studio monitors. The Tascam VL-S5 studio monitor, however, is designed for home producers and home studios.
The Tascam VL-S5 are active monitors offering 40 Watts of power for the low 5.25-inch Kevlar woofer and 30 Watts of power for the 1-inch silk dome tweeter, powered by a built-in amplifier. Connections to the monitor are either via an XLR or TRS jack, which is standard. However, compared to many competing studio monitors at this price range, the VL-S5s lacks EQ controls for the highs and lows, for any tuning to be done. This means you won’t be able to tune the frequencies of the speakers to suit your home studio.
However a good value for money, the VL-S5 sounds good with a solid bass and good overall frequency response. You probably won’t be able to monitor frequencies below the 60Hz range accurately with the 5.25inch woofers, but the VL-S5 should be good for composing and mixing work.
They are also not bulky, making it a good choice for producers who have a compact studio or room. If you already have bigger studio monitors in your studio, you can opt to get the Tascam VL-S5s as a second reference monitor, taking advantage of the price during Black Friday.
8. KRK RP5 Rokit 5 (Gen 3)
- 1-inch soft-dome tweeter with frequency response up to 35kHz
- 5-inch glass-aramid composite woofer delivers clear midrange and tight bass
- XLR, 1/4-inch and RCA inputs
- 50-watts total bi-amped, class A/B amplifier offering maximum headroom with minimal distortion
You see these bad boys on the shelves and desks of all (if not most) hip hop producers. The KRK RP5 has earned its reputation for being a budget level studio monitor that has great and accurate sound reproduction. Trusted by audio professionals, you can trust these monitors when working on mixing and mastering your tracks.
The ROKIT G3 has since upped its game and is reported to sound even better than the earlier ROKIT G2 model. An active monitor with a total of 50 Watts of power output – 30 watts of power for the woofer and 20 watts of power for the tweeter, the KRK RP5 G3 will give you enough volume to crank.
Additionally, on top of the accurate sound, you can also adjust the high-frequency and low-frequency response on the KRK RP5. This is useful to suit the monitors to your room type – whether a big studio or a small home studio. The RP5 also allows three different inputs from an unbalanced RCA, balanced TRS, and XLR.
The build is superb & sturdy with rubber pads used to minimize vibrations already attached on the bottom. The bass ports are front firing, so you can place the monitors nearer to a wall without risking increasing the bass response.
9. Blue Yeti – Blue Microphones
- Easy to use. Just plug and play. Works with PC or Mac.
- Built in with a tri-capsule design. Allows you to record in different settings.
- Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output.
Possibly the best USB microphone you can get in the world, the Blue Yeti is a superb USB microphone that records very high quality audio.
The gain knob allows you to adjust your recording levels without having to go into the sound panel. And the headphone output allows you to directly monitor your recording, meaning you won’t get any latency or delay.
The mic is very easy to use. Simply plug it into your computer and you should be ready to go. The many mic pickup pattern including a stereo mode makes the Blue Yeti ideal not for only recording voice overs, but also recording instruments like the guitar and piano.
Where the Yeti falls short when compared to the Yeti Pro, is that it records up to only 16bit/48khz. This would be good enough for most commercial work and studio recording. On the Yeti Pro however, you can record up to 24bit/192kHz, making it the only USB microphone mic able to record at such high audio resolutions.
Also if you’re into professional studio recording, you want to stay away from USB microphones. They are more suited for people who wants better recording for things like podcasts, screencasts and voice over recordings. USB microphones are easy to use but you’ll be limiting your options as you can only connect them via a USB cable.
The Yeti makes other USB microphones look silly, but if you’re not vouching for the Yeti, here are more good USB microphones to consider.
Did I miss any Black Friday deals out? Please comment in the comment section below if you think there are deals you think should be up in this list.