The perfect pieces for loved ones who want to compose, play, or just listen.
Streaming services have made those once-reliable boxed CD-sets obsolete, and vinyl reissues seem like a indulgence. What’s left to buy music lovers for the holidays, now that the music itself has broken free of its plastic bonds? We’ve rounded up a handful of great gifts that tap into inspiration, with tools for music-lovers to create music, to showcase their passion, and to celebrate after a great performance. Happy holidays!
Seems like most streaming and digital music players these days are opting for small, futuristic designs. But what if you long for the days of the giant boombox? The Roberts Stream 93i is an FM radio, a DAB (digital audio broadcaster), and an internet radio device with wifi connectivity and wired Ethernet sockets. But the state of the art musculature is hidden inside a gloriously retro skin: This solid block of black and silver, with a subway-sturdy handle on top, will have you throwing down sheets of cardboard and practicing your pop and locks. The box—produced in the UK—runs £155 (around $240).
When you’re bold enough to declare your equipment “the future of DJ-ing,” as Native Instruments did when it announced the $500 Kontrol D2, you’d better have the goods to back it up. Perhaps the D2’s most attractive feature is its ease of use—it will enable the artist on your list to connect via USB directly to a laptop (and to their choice of mixing software). It also boasts a large display screen, so your DJ friend can take quick glances at their settings and see details like which effects are active and how long they’re set for. No more taking the eyes off the prize just to adjust settings on a laptop—the focus can stay on the end product.
Speaking of easy USB-connectivity, this Audio-Technica mic provides a whopping amount of versatility and can handle whatever limits-testing punishment you have in mind. It can easily sync up with your computer, but also features standard XLR output connectors that can be plugged into conventional sound systems, to enable live performance. Result: a mic that can seamlessly switch from in-studio to on-stage, designed to reduce unwanted audio pick up and make a solid piece of podcasting gear. The recording artist on your list might even use it to sing your praises.
For music lovers who literally want to wear their passion on their sleeve, our Pick Cord bracelets and necklaces keep the spirit of music close to your heart...or at least your pulse. They’re designed with elegant simplicity and produced in the United States from domestically-sourced metal. And they’re as good for the soul as they are easy on the eye: All sales contribute toward assisting music education. So even as the recipient of this gift is impressing neighbors and coworkers, they’ll also be helping spread the love of music to others.
Finally, when a day of gift-giving winds down, who wouldn’t want to kick back with a little something smooth and soulful? You can enjoy this rich ale with a clear conscience, knowing that your holiday drinking is supporting jazz music education. The North Coast Brewing Co. has partnered with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and for every bottle of “Brother Thelonious” sold, North Coast makes a donation to the school. We can’t help thinking the original inhabitants of abbeys would most heartily approve.