with Christmas fast approaching, MN2S have hand picked a list of ten perfect gifts for the budding producer or DJ in your life.
There’s nothing better than seeing the smile on someone’s face when they unwrap a thoughtful gift, chosen with their interests in mind. And for those that are creatively inclined, there’s no better present to receive than a shiny new bit of kit that can spice up their next track or DJ set. So, with Christmas fast approaching, we’ve put together a list of ten perfect gifts for the budding producer or DJ in your life. Ranging from budget gizmos to top-shelf equipment, there’s something here for everyone.
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator
From the ever-innovative Swedish design company Teenage Engineering, the Pocket Operator family is made up of several nifty, ultra-portable music devices that allow you to make music on the go. Ranging from drum machines to samplers to lead synthesizers, the operators pack real functionality into an impossibly small package – and at around £50 each, they’re affordable too.
Korg LittleBits Analog Synth Kit
This DIY synth kit allows you to build your own analogue synthesizer. How cool is that? With compact, hassle-free modules that connect magnetically, the kit includes an oscillator, filter, envelope and sequencer, offering endless possibilities in sound creation. A speaker, keyboard and battery are included, so you can start making fantastic sounds straight out the box. Perfect for an aspiring musician with technical leanings.
Genelec 8010A Studio Monitors
Your boyfriend might have a high-end turntable, a badass drum machine and a killer collection of vintage synths, but if his monitors are junk, he won’t be able to do his set-up justice. These little beauties from Genelec pack studio-quality sound into a portable package, providing crystal-clear, punchy audio that will help mix tracks to perfection. Despite being the size of a pint glass, these monitors are capable of a maximum sound-pressure level of 96dB, with a frequency response extending from 74Hz to 20kHz (±2.5dB). At £500 a pair, they might be an unusually generous choice for a Christmas gift, but at least you’ll be in the good books for years to come.
Korg nanoKEY 2
Perfect for a producer who likes to create on the move, Korg’s nanoKEY allows beatmakers to play in melodies and drum patterns conveniently without carrying around a cumbersome full-size keyboard. It’s USB-powered, and with 25 keys and an advanced-design keybed that provides a “superior response”, it’s an expressive instrument that offers impressive capability in a compact and stylish package. And at only £35, it’s not going to break the bank.
Sound on Sound Subscription
Sound on Sound is the world’s premiere audio recording technology magazine. Recognised internationally as the ‘bible’ of the industry, it’s a highly informative resource that offers product tests, tutorials, guides, and interviews with experienced producers and engineers. A year-long subscription will set you back £48, but the look on your loved one’s face when they realise how professional their mixes are going to sound will be priceless.
Ableton Push 2
Ableton are known primarily for their ubiquitous DAW Ableton Live, but they made an entry into the hardware market 2013 with the release of the Push, an instrument that gives you hands-on control of their software, suitable for use in the studio or on stage. The Push 2 would make an ideal gift for a producer who’s looking to expand their performance capability and create patterns, sequences and beats on the fly – without staring at the computer screen for hours on end.
Based on the iconic Technics 1210 turntable, the SL-1210GR combines cutting-edge digital innovation with the analogue technology that made it’s predecessor into one of the world’s most famous pieces of musical equipment, and a gold standard for DJs everywhere. The new and improved model boasts a coreless direct-drive motor, a low-vibration platter and high-sensitivity tonearm, allowing audio enthusiasts to enjoy a rich and robust sound. Oh, and it’s beautiful too – just look at that sleek, black design. Imagine unwrapping that on Christmas morning.
Korg Volca Series
Korg’s Volca series are a powerful and compact solution for those looking for quality analogue equipment that won’t cost the earth. The line-up offers a drum machine, a sampler, and three types of synthesizer: lead, bass and FM. Making use of Korg’s half-century of know-how in instrument design, all options offer true analogue sound, with various features from sequencers to filters and delays giving them a surprising amount of functionality for devices that are almost small enough to hold in one hand. A perfect stocking-filler for any budding producer of electronic music.
UDG Starter Record Bag
Everyone’s a DJ nowadays – and that means you’ll have at least one to buy a gift for. That’s where the UDG Starter Record Bag comes in. Water-resistant, foam-padded, and PVC-reinforced, it’s a capable storage solution that holds up to 50 12” records. As one of the premiere brands within this space, UDG’s bags can be trusted to protect the most precious items in any DJs collection. If your mate’s still carrying her vinyl to the club in a Morrison’s bag, make sure to get her one of these this Christmas.
Give the gift of creativity and inspiration this Christmas. Initially dreamt up by ambient auteur and all-round musical visionary Brian Eno, Oblique Strategies are “a card-based method for promoting creativity” – essentially, it’s a deck of cards printed with gnomic nuggets of creative advice, offering compositional solutions grounded in lateral thinking, aimed at escaping periods of creative deadlock. For example: “use an old idea”, “honour thy error as a hidden intention”, or “only one element of each kind”. A perfect stocking-filler for any musician or producer experiencing the dreaded writer’s block.