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7 Christmas Gifts For Musicians And Engineers

Sometimes we need a little bit of help when it comes to choosing Christmas gifts for the people around us in the music and recording business. If you have no idea what to buy, here’s a list of recommendations that covers a wide variety of items and price ranges. All of these following products I use regularly.

1. Music Production books

You can't ever go wrong with one of these.

2. Etymotic Research ER20 Hearing Protectors (My favorite)

I personally never go into a loud audio situation without these little gems. They are soooo much better than foam or wax earplugs in that they cut the level down without affecting the frequency response, plus you get an extra one with each pair! Since I found these ER20’s, I feel absolutely naked and scared when I don’t have them on me. At around $14, they are a must.

3. Studio Coffee Mugs

I don’t know about you but I hate it when you mix up coffee cups in the studio. After a while you can’t tell which one is which, and then you run out of clean ones. That won’t happen again with these cups that delineate what you do.

4. Royer dBooster

This was made specifically to add an extra 10 or 20dB of clean gain to ribbon or low-output dynamic mics like an RE-20 or SM7, and the dBooster does that exceptionally well. But it also adds a little something extra that I really like that you don’t get from other similar boxes. One of the best $179 purchases you’ll ever make.

5. Radial JDI Direct Box

This is the best DI on the market, period. It’s built like a tank and will last forever, and captures the low end that those cheap DI’s could only dream about. You need at least one of these. At $199, it’s still a bargain and you will hear the difference immediately.

6. Monoprice 108323 Headphones

It’s shocking how good these phones are for $23. They’re pretty comfortable, have a really tight fit, and provide a surprisingly balanced sound. In fact, I would trust the low end on the 8323’s more than on a couple alternatives that I have that cost 4 or 5 times more. Don’t let the “DJ-style” in the description scare you, these are terrific for the price.

7. Golden Age Project Pre-73 Mic Preamp

Everybody wants a Neve preamp but not everyone can spring for a couple of channels of vintage 1073s. The Golden AgeProjectPre–73 was built to sound a lot like the 1073 and it does a pretty good job of it (and the latest MK III version is even better). It’s not the real thing, but for only $379 it’s surprising how close it gets. If that’s too expensive, get the Pre73 JR version for only $249. The Pre73 is what I use for my podcast voice.

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