Something a little different for the musically-minded…
It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to gifts. However, finding music gadgets for the musician in your life can be an absolute nightmare, especially if they’re the type of geeky musician who likes the weird and wonderful! So today, we’re going to make it easy by showing you some of the best gadget gifts for musicians that they will actually use.
1. Aroma ARU-03 Wireless Guitar System
If the guitarist in your life is constantly leaving guitar leads all over the place or worse still breaking them willy nilly, then this is the techie gift you need.
The Aroma ARU-03 Wireless Guitar System is living proof that you don’t need to drop a small fortune to break free from the tyranny of cables. Alright, that was a bit extreme, cables aren’t bad at all. But if you fancy trying out the auld wireless option then Aroma have got your back.
The ARU-03 System boasts 3.7V Lithium batteries that are rechargeable so, no faffing about scrambling around for replacements. All it takes is one button to get thinks paired up and you’re away.
With 5 channels at your disposal you are ready to rock whatever the situation. There’s a USB cable included so that you can charge via mobile or portable power bank.
Finally, the 60-degree rotatable head ensures that the unit fits any and every type of guitar – unless it’s really “quirky”. Trust us, the Aroma ARU-03 Wireless Guitar System is worth a look in.
2. Planet Waves PW-HTK-01 Humiditrak
As the colder weather starts to roll in, the temperature and humidity levels will begin to affect your guitars. It’s just a fact that constantly changing temperatures between hot and cold, dry and damp will affect your instrument, often causing damage that can be extremely costly to repair – we even wrote a blog on safe humidity and temperature levels for your guitar a little while ago.
The Planet Waves PW-HTK-01 Humiditrak is essentially a little alert system that monitors the humidity and temperature levels your guitar is being exposed to and sends an alert to your phone when it gets too hot, too cold, too damp or too dry.
For those who value their guitars, this is a brilliant piece of kit that can tell you when your guitar is in danger of becoming damaged due to adverse temperatures. It will even tell you if the case has been dropped – perfect for those who travel with their guitar.
For a small price, you can save thousands in repairs. Highly recommended.
3. Numark Party Mix 2-Channel DJ Controller
Whether you’re a budding DJ or just want something to really get your party started, the Numark Party Mix 2-Channel DJ Controller is the perfect gadget for musicians and music lovers of all levels.
This nifty little DJ controller is a beginner friendly option that can be used to connect to your laptop and mix all your tracks easily with the DJ software provided.
Plenty of control, a great mixing section, a crossfader and loads of flashing lights on the pads that can be used for triggering samplers and loops – a great gift for the techie musician.
Alternatively, there’s the Numark DJ2GO2 Portable DJ Serato Controller, which offers an even more compact DJ Controller to kick off proceedings with and keep the part going all night long!
4. Teenage Engineering PO-33 Pocket Operator – KO
The Pocket Operator series of synthesizers from Teenage Engineering, including this Teenage Engineering PO-33 Pocket Operator Sampler KO!, which havebeen designed for use by music lovers of all kinds and is above all, heaps of fun to use.
The PO-33 is a pocket-sized sampler that boasts up to 40 seconds of line or microphone recording. The unique animated LCD display (which is great fun to watch) serves up a visual feast, whilst the 8 melodic and 8 drum sound banks enable instant music creation wherever you are. There’s a built-in folding stand if you need it, but we imagine that you’ll rarely have the PO-33 out of your hands when out and about.
If you’ve got any other Pocket Operators at your disposal you can sync them all up too. The PO-33 features a built-in clock, alarm clock, and a speaker too. Standby time on a pair of AAA batteries is 2 years too. 2 years!
Check out what this little beauty can do in the video below.
5. Korg Volca FM Synthesizer
While we’re on the subject of synthesizers, we have to bring up the Korg Volca FM Synthesizer. This tiny yet powerful piece of kit from the geniuses at Korg offers the user a true FM synthesis creation tool as well as Volca-style 16-step sequencing for instant music creation.
For fans of 80s-style synth music, this is ideal, providing a small, highly portable yet extremely powerful music making tool that can connect to your favourite DAW or MIDI controller.
Who said making music couldn’t be budget friendly?
6. Modal CRAFTsynth 2.0
Experiencing the Modal CRAFTsynth 2.0 in person inspires a “shut up and take my money” reaction – well, it did for me anyway. This beautiful little monophonic wavetable synthesiser is quite simply, amazing – and I don’t use that term lightly.
The understated yet undeniably sleek design belies the immense power within the CRAFTsynth 2.0. There are 8 oscillators utilising 40 unique waveforms, which are split into 8 banks of 5 waveform sets that you can morph at will.
You have a plethora of modulation options that puts other to shame with Frequency / Phase Modulation, Hard / Window Sync, Ring / Amp Modulation, Derez / Bitcrush, Wavefolders and Waveshapers.
There are envelope generators, LFOs, a built-in arpeggiator, resonant filters, delays, distortion, and all manner of assignable functions. With 64 preset storage locations you can save and retrieve a vast arsenal of user settings.
The touch MIDI keyboard features 8 touch sensitive keys with 8 custom scales and root note selection, which all dials and knobs respond dutifully and smoothly.
Built-in analogue clock sync in and out is configured to the KORG / Teenage Engineering specification, and optional MIDI clock sync for LFOs and Delay is on hand when needed.
You can power this little wizard either by USB or a mere 3 x AA batteries. It’s portable, compact, and an absolute beast of a noise merchant. It’s the Modal Electronics CRAFTsynth 2.0 Monophonic Wavetable Synthesiser.
7. Arturia MicroLab MIDI Controller
The Arturia MicroLab MIDI Controller is every bit as cool as the rest of their gear. Choose from either a Black, Blue or Orange (above) finish, and prepare to indulge yourself in a world of music making brilliance.
The 25-note mini keyboard is endowed with the same keybed that you’ll find on the award-winning Arturia KeyStep. High-responsive, velocity-sensitive, and plays like a dream. The built-in hold button creates instant sustain, and holding the shift key you can access ‘Chord’ mode. This allows you to program in a chord and replay with just a single finger, whilst the swipe buttons allow you to sweep through categories with ease.
The Arturia MicroLab comes with a trio of formidable software packages. Analog Lab Lite offers 600 presets to explore from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection series with Analog and Digital synths, classic organs, and pianos galore. The UVI Grand Piano Model D is also included, an intricately sampled recreation of a Steinway that you can play expressively thanks to the velocity-sensitive keys of the MicroLab. Finally, you get Bitwig Studio 8-Track, a powerful and innovative software studio that lets you record, sequence and mix your tracks out of the box.
The cleverly designed rubberized shell protects the Arturia MicroLab from the customary bumps and scrapes that come with life on the move. So, even though it looks cool, it also serves its purpose well too.
8. Akai Pro LPK25 Controller Keyboard
Making music on the go is part and parcel of daily life for musicians, producers, songwriters, etc. The Akai Pro LPK25 Compact Controller Keyboard affords real-time flexible music making control whenever and wherever the moment takes you. As long as you’ve got your trusty laptop and Akai LPK25 to hand then you’re good to go.
At your disposal at 25 high quality, velocity-sensitive keys with synth action. The response is spot on and the durability of the keyboard is everything that you’d expect from a name like Akai Pro.
The built-in arpeggiator allows you to step through chords automatically, aiding in the generation of melodic ideas. Controls for sustain, octave up and down, and tap tempo put total musical control at your fingertips.
9. Akai Pro LPD8 Laptop Pad Controller
If you know someone who like to produce their own music, this is definitely a great gift idea. The Akai Pro LPD8 Laptop Pad Controller is a USB-MIDI controller for all kinds of music creators that measures a mere 13 inches across, and weighs less than a pound.
It’s a scaled-down version of the Akai Professional’s MPC line of music production stations that provides the control over your software and stops you having to use a mouse or keyboard – both of which can be cumbersome and unreactive when you need them most.
The 8 orange, velocity sensitive pads are great for programming rhythmic or melodic parts and the 8 assignable Q-Link knobs are easily assigned to almost any parameters you wish giving you the hands on, responsive control you need in a portable package.
10. Wster Bluetooth Microphone with Party Lights
The Wster Bluetooth Microphone with Party Lights is not going to win awards for being the prettiest gadget in the world. It’s also not going to win any awards for being the best sounding Bluetooth speaker either.
But could it be one of the most fun music gifts knocking about today? Possibly.
If the craic we’ve had in the office is anything to go by then you’ll most likely have a great time with one of these ingenious little beauties too.
Connect via USB or Bluetooth to the microphone to play your favourite tunes through the built-in speakers, and you’re away. There are built in delay and pitch shift effects, you can cut out the vocals (to an extent) so that it’s just your vocal and the music.
If you’re more about fun than perfection, then the Wster Bluetooth Microphone with Party Lights is the one for you. Great craic altogether!
View a complete range of musical instruments, music gadgets and music gifts over at the Dawsons website.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.