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10 Essential Gifts for Musicians and Producers

by Nate Mars
music & audio, music & audio

The holiday season is upon us and if you are a producer, songwriter or musician looking to expand your creative arsenal, we take a look at some great new products as well as some essential gear you may want to add to your home studio.

1) Ableton Push 2

Ableton Push 2 was just announced and it’s a significant upgrade from the first version. If you produce music or perform using Ableton Live, Push can greatly speed up your workflow, with a tactile approach. You’ll find yourself staring at the computer screen much less as you program drum pattern (on the new pads which feel great!) and easily load plugins from Push to play chord progressions.

Learn more: Ableton.com
Retail price: $799

2) Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators

teenage engineering creative live

These unique synthesizers from Teenage Engineering are great for making music on the go. With a powerful synth engine and clever interface, you can sequence everything from glitch hip-hop to distorted eletro-beats in no time. Each device is the size of a calculator and are powered by a single AAA battery. The PO-12 Rhythm, PO-14 Sub, and PO-16 Factory can sync with each other to play in time; so if you own all three of these affordable synths you’ll be jamming in no time.

Learn more: Teenage Engineering
Retail price: $59 each

3) Kapture  Wearable Recorder

kapture

Kapture is a brand new wearable device that is always listening and constantly recording the past 60 seconds. It is great for recording quick-witted conversation with friends as well as creative sampling applications for musicians. With the tap of the devices’ front panel, you can easily “kapture” and send an audio file to your phone over Bluetooth. The app also features its own social network where you can share audio clips with other Kapture users.

Learn more: Kapture.com
Retail price: $129 (with holiday discount)

4) Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite_Scarlett_2i2_audio_Interface

An audio interface is one of those essential items that every musician will eventually want to purchase, regardless of genre. An audio interface is essentially a sound card upgrade that acts as an analog to digital converter so you can plug in a microphone or guitar and record in high quality, right to your digital audio workstation of choice. There is a huge price range for audio interfaces based on the number of inputs, outputs, connector type, quality of preamps and more. If you aren’t looking to spend a small fortune on an audio interface, a great starter option is the Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite. It also makes a great gift.

Learn more: Focusrite
Retail price: $99

5) Meeblip anode

anode_25

If you are looking to add some analog to your in-the-box workflow or looking for a great portable synth for live performance, the Meeblip anode just might be the solution. With easy-to-understand parameters and a variety of waveforms to choose from, you can generate a lot of different sounds from classic deep basses to distorted leads. For the holidays, the Meeblip is also bundled with the Mio MIDI interface from iConnectivity which allows you to program melodies, basslines and arpeggiator patterns from your DAW.

Learn more: MeeBlip
Retail price: $119

6) Akai MPC Touch

The Akai MPC Touch is the latest innovation from Akai Professional that offers you the ability to interact with sample content by pinching, dragging and tapping with your fingers. Its pads are renowned MPC quality and the compact design makes it easy to place in a bag for on-the-go music production. You do however need to connect the MPC Touch to a computer for it to function. This powerful beat-making and sample editing device also comes with MPC Software version 1.9.

Learn more: Akai Professional
Retail price: $799

7) Moog Mother 32 Semi-Modular Synthesizer

If you are considering adding an analog synthesizer into your recording setup or have been considering making the leap into eurorack modular synthesis, the new Moog Monther 32 features an incredible analog sound. It’s also semi-modular and can be added to your eurorack setup or racked in its own case from Moog. This is the very first tabletop semi-modular synthesizer from Moog. Its a great instrument for exploring sound design and will provide endless creative inspiration for your music.

Learn more: Moog
Retail price: $679

8) Subscription to ProTools 12
pro-tools-12If you are a songwriter or musician look to capture your ideas and turn them into finished songs, ProTools 12 is a powerful digital audio workstation that has been used for years in professional recoding studios and post production facilitates. Take advantage of  ProTools recording, arranging and editing features and purchase a perpetual license or try it out with a simple monthly subscription to see if it is the right DAW for you.

Learn more: Avid
Retail price: $599 perpetual license / $24.99 monthly subscription

9) Native Instruments Komplete 10
Komp10-largeThis incredible collection of virtual instruments and effects features everything you need to produce music with cutting edge sounds. Loaded with tons of content, Komplete will keep you inspired and is a must-have for any producer who is serious about their craft. Work with a wide variety of virtual synthesizers, drum machines, effects racks for guitar and bass, orchestral strings and more. Komplete 10 includes more than 130G of content in this comprehensive package.

Learn more: Native Instruments
Retail price: $499

10) Music & Audio Courses from Creative Live
CreativeLive-logo-secondary

If you are new to music production or have some experience but want to dive in even further into a particular subject, CreativeLive offers a variety of courses in music production, sound design, mixing with ProTools, production with Ableton Live, DJ basics and much more. Give the gift of education this season and learn valuable skills that will stay with you for a lifetime. Happy holidays from CreativeLive!

Learn more: Music & Audio Courses from CreativeLive
Pricing: FREE during live broadcast and $50-$200 thereafter.

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Nate Mars

@natemars