1. Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust
Ken Scott is a true legend, having worked with the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, The Stones, Kansas, and Devo, to name just a very few, and his story is a great one. I admit that I'm biased since I co-wrote the book, but I gotta say that every time I read something from it, I get drawn back in and forget that I was even involved. A great gift for anyone that's a fan of the music, engineering or the music business. You can read more about it at abbeytoziggy.com.
2. Books by Bobby Owsinski
Okay, so I'm a little biased, but if you're looking for a book for someone in the music business, you'll hopefully find one of mine that will hit the sweet spot. There's something for everyone, including books on mixing, recording, recording drums, mastering, being a studio musician or a touring musician, improving your band, producing, navigating the new music business (the second edition of Music 3.0), studio building, guitar tone, making videos, as well as a couple of new exercise books for mixing and recording. From about $16 to $30.
3. Etymonic ER20 earplugs
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. Since I found the Etymotic Ear Plugs, I feel absolutely naked and scared when I don't have them on me. At around $10, you just can't go wrong.
4. Courses From Lynda.com
If you don't know about Lynda.com then you really should. It's the #1 portal on the Internet for video learning, with over 1600 high-quality courses on just about any kind of high-tech you can think of. I was lucky enough to do a version of the Audio Mixing Bootcamp and Audio Recording Basic Training books for them that a lot of people really like. Lynda is just $24.99 for a full month, which allows you to access as many courses as you can watch. I watch them all the time and they're the best training there is (beats the crap out of YouTube). Here's a free 7 day trial, and you can also check out my free Mastering for iTunes course.
. NewerTech Voyager Q Hard Drive Dock
Granted, this is a little geeky, but a total boon to the hard working in-the-box engineer. Raw hard drives are so much cheaper than buying them already in the cases, but how to connect them? Use a drive dock, that's how. This version of the Voyager is the one I use every day. It allows you to hot-swap drives and connects to the computer via Firewire 400 and 800. eSATA, and USB 3, so you won't have any hiccups editing video or that project with 100 96k/24 bit tracks. It's about $75.
6. Etymonic Research ER4 Micropro Earphones
Not only do these things sound great, but they're the absolute best for traveling, as they're small and compact and provide great isolation and high-quality audio. If they're too pricy for you at $80, try the $49 HF5's instead. Either one makes a terrific gift.
7. Equator DS5 Monitors
I just covered these in the last edition of New Music Gear Monday, but let me say that you just can't find a better pair of monitors at this price point ($299) anywhere. Heck, you might have a hard time at twice as much, they're that good. Get the matching isolation pads too, an absolute bargain at $20!
. FMR Really Nice Compressor
Everybody wants big bang for the buck and you can't get a bigger bang than the products from FMR, especially their Really Nice Compressor. The RNC provides excellent high-quality compression complete with a special "Super Nice" mode that chains multiple compressors together internally for an especially smooth sound. At $188, it can't be beat. While you're at it, buy one of their Really Nice Preamp as well, a great sounding preamp for an amazing price.
9. Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age
Sorry, but I had to feature one of my own books. Music 3.0 is the definitive book on the music business today as it shows you how to take advantage of the vast number of changes that the industry has undergone recently. It includes everything about social media that you need to know in order to communicate, promote and sell directly to your client or fan, as well as some traditional media tricks as well. You can read more about the Music 3.0 Internet Music guidebook, as well as some excerpts, here. Once again, a great gift for that music or engineer alike!
. Golden Age Project Pre-73
Everybody wants a Neve preamp but a lot of us just don't have the dough to spring for a couple of channels of 1073s. The Golden Age Project Pre-73 was built to sound a lot like the 1073 and it does a pretty good job of it. It's not the real thing, but for only $350 it's surprising how close it gets.
11. Ariel Hyatt's Music Success In 9 Weeks
Ariel Hyatt is one of the smartest people in the music public relations business and a real pioneer in social PR. This book teaches you the right way to get ahead in the business using social media, and fills in where Music 3.0 leaves off.
12. Monoprice 8323 Headphones
It's shocking how good these phones are for about $28. 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.
13. Royer R-101 Ribbon Microphone
There's now a number of cheap ribbon mics on the market, but let's face it, they sound like crap compared to the real deal like a Royer R-121 or a vintage RCA DX-44. Now you can own a great ribbon mic for a reasonable price thanks to Royer's new R-101. It's about 40% cheaper than it's big brother and just the thing for recording electric guitars and horns of all type. Plus, it's a real Royer.
That's it for this year. Hopefully there's a little something in the price range you're looking for. I probably could have written about 10 more gift ideas, but I think I'll save them for next year. In the meantime, don't you deserve a present too?
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