Back by popular demand, Pro Sound News once again brings you its “Gift Guide for the Live Sound Engineer.” Each year, we search everywhere to create the perfect list of gift ideas for live sound engineers, digging up items that are small enough to carry on the road without taking up too much space, while also being a practical option for all live audio pros—from the small regional gigs to the large stadium tours.
Sometimes, the most practical gift you can give an engineer is any number of small, portable devices that can make his or her job easier. This can be anything from a new pair of headphones, to a recorder, to even the simplest mic cables or carrying cases. For others, portable speakers, cool books or goofy fun stuff will make their holiday
• TASCAM DR-07MKII Portable Recorder: With adjustable cardioid microphones, this recorder records to microSD or microSDHC media, recording in MP3 or WAV file formats at up to 96 kHz/24-bit resolution. tascam.com
• Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Headphones: This set of closed dynamic headphones is designed for drummers or for mixing applications, whether in the studio or at the monitor desk at stageside. beyerdynamic.com
• Behringer CT100 Cable Tester: A great way to help any live sound engineer is to provide him or her with a device to test cables. Behringer’s CT100 offers just that—a phantom-powered, microprocessor-controlled cable tester with all standard connectors. behringer.com
• JBL Pulse: For friends who went to every EDM festival last summer (or who mixed a few), here’s a wireless, Bluetooth speaker that’ll let them relive the experience. Slightly bigger than a soda can, the cylindrical JBL Pulse comes with built-in, pre-programmed LED lights that play with your music. jbl.com
• FeltAudio Pulse: Like the idea of a Bluetooth speaker but need something less flashy and more portable? The 2.3-ounce, rechargeable Pulse resembles a Star Trek Communicator and kind of acts like one, too: While it’ll play your music, it also has a built-in mic, allowing hands-free calling up to 30 feet from a smartphone, and its clever clip/stand attaches it to straps and clothing. FeltAudio also makes a line of Android and iPhone cases that allow the Pulse to snap onto the back of the phones. feltaudio.com
• Origaudio Rock-It 3.0: Stick this pod-like device on to any object and turn it into a speaker. Featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, the Rock-It turns music from your iPod into vibrations, and once stuck to an object, will play music through it via conduction. It’s portable and runs off of rechargeable batteries, so you can bring the music with you wherever you go. Prefer headphones? Try their line inspired by vegetables, called “Beets.” origaudio.com
• Tune In—The Beatles: All These Years, Vol. 1:A decade in the making, the first edition of Mark Lewisohn’s epic biography is now available. The series chronicles everything that surrounds music’s most famous band, The Beatles, starting from before the childhoods of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. This 946 page book will keep any engineer busy during downtime. thebeatlesbiography.com
• Box Sets: A few notable box sets that are out for the holidays include: Bob Dylan: The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1; The Who’s Tommy: Super Deluxe Box Set;The Beatles Live at the BBC- The Collection; and the Amnesty International The Human Rights Concerts package, featuring live performances by The Police, U2, Peter Gabriel, Joan Baez and Radiohead.
• Music Documentaries: Music documentaries made a huge comeback this year, with the theatrical and DVD releases of Dave Grohl’s paean to his Neve console, Sound City; a historical overview of the soulful Sixties sound of Alabama with Muscle Shoals; and a tribute to the king of adult contemporary, The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story.
• Gakken Premium DIY Gramophone Kit: OK, so this isn’t exactly something you’d take on tour, but for the engineer who loves to listen to that analog sound, this is a great gift. Developed in Japan, this kit provides you with everything you need to build your own functional gramophone. This device is powered by a wound spring, so no electricity is needed, and it can play or record to vinyl records. thinkgeek.com
• Mixtape Glasses or Musical Wine Glasses:Uncommongoods.com is an awesome site to find unique gifts for all interests. For example, this set of six Mixtape glasses are great for any party and are a great addition to any music fan’s home. If you want to get a classier gift, there’s also the Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses, which are decorated with markings so when you fill the drink up to the line, you can actually play that note by running your finger along the top.
•Metallica Ugly Christmas Sweater: The Ugly Christmas Sweater never goes out of style (because it’s never been in style), so why not go beyond the basic light-up Christmas tree and buy Metallica’s own version of this classic holiday attire? cheezburger.com
• The 12 Days of Sound: If you still need ideas after all this—and even if you don’t—visit prosoundnewtork.com/12days to discover The 12 Days of Sound, a special rundown of even more gift-giving ideas for the audio pros in your life.