By Clive Young.
Every year at Pro Sound News, we run a story on what to get your favorite live sound roadie for the holidays. We look around for useful and sometimes goofy items that are small enough to fit in a road case drawer, and which are as applicable to guys running PTA meeting audio as to their brethren tackling 50,000-seat stadium shows.
This year, we cast our net far and wide, using Twitter, publicist listservs and more to ask for cool gift ideas. We hoped we’d get interesting responses, and were not disappointed: Everyone from Pink’s touring drummer to a roadie’s mom wrote in, and while some answers didn’t fit the question, there was a lot of good stuff to discover. In fact, there was so much that we’ve split it up into four parts—and today, we highlight Musical and Unusual Presents.
Most roadies either are or were musicians; either way, once making music gets in your blood, it doesn’t come out, so here’s a few items of interest:
• Blue Microphones Mikey: A plug-and-play, CD-quality recorder mic for the iPod or iPhone, it sports selectable gain positions and a built-in speaker for playback. http://www.bluemic.com
• GIGmate Guitar Tool kit: Plenty of sound guys wind up having to juggle jobs during a show, including acting as an impromptu guitar medic. This small case sports a lot of useful tools for getting that decrepit six-string back in action. http://www.gigmate.com
• Korg Kaossilator Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer: It’s a handheld “musical sketchpad” that helps users make music with built-in sounds, effects and drum patterns via its touch pad. A portable unit, it can be used with headphones. http://www.korg.com/kaossilator
• Earbud Yo-Yo: Everyone's iPod earbuds are always in a tangle, but this small yo-yo fitted with rubber teeth lets you wind up the buds when you’re done with them, ensuring they won’t get knotted up when not in use. http://bit.ly/54ZamU
• Little Labs STD REV2: Got a guitar player who hates wireless rigs but still wants to walk to the bar to order a drink while playing? This signal transmission device and guitar/instrument cord line driver allows you to use long cables or tie lines, reportedly without loss of tone or increased noise. http://vintageking.com/Little-Labs-STD-rev-2
• The T-Qualizer Cap: A baseball cap with a simple graphic EQ panel that pulses its lights to the sounds around you. The battery-operated audio sensor can be adjusted for use in loud or quiet environments. http://www.thinkawesome.com/t-qualizer-cap.htm
• Toshiba Digital Media Frame: Plenty of mixing consoles get adorned with a digital frame at every tour stop, displaying friends and family as a reminder of home. This frame goes to 11, however, because it also connects to the web via Wi-Fi to provide live updates on weather, news, sports, social networking sites and more. http://bit.ly/6ybWId
• Vio POV 1.5: We all know a road king who lives to surf, snowboard, etc.; all his jaw-dropping stories get capped with ‘You had to be there.” Give him this--a durable, bullet-shaped video camera that can mount to helmets, goggles and more—and you will be there…safely. http://www.vio-pov.com
• ITG Micro Tequila Tasting Kit: Tequila is not for the faint-hearted and neither is the price of this cool connoisseur kit that comes with three different micro brands, glasses, a jigger and an educational DVD, all in a deluxe shadow box. http://tinyurl.com/ygprbmz
• Metallica wrapping paper: No matter what you get the roadie in your life, now you can wrap it up in very metal paper. http://bit.ly/92X3iA
Have some great roadie gift ideas you want to share? Tell us in the comments below!