Stuck on what to get the music producer in your life? Here are 10 cool gifts for the studio that won’t get you in trouble with the credit card company.

Let’s be honest. It can be hard to shop for the people in our lives. That goes double when they have a hobby that you don’t really understand. Instead of thinking too hard, take a look at this list and pick something out. We’ve scoured Reverb to find all the cool stuff under $300 so you’ll still have some dosh left over for the cost of living crisis. Of course, this list also applies to those of us trying to figure out what to do with the envelope of cash from Gran. 

Here then are the 10 best gifts on Reverb under $300. As usual, they’re listed in the order of ascending price. 

Edna Green Matalheadz Mug

Nothing says hardcore junglist like a tasteful white coffee mug with the Metalheadz logo. We kid, of course, but if you remember Metalheadz night at the Blue Note and all the rest of the ‘90s jungle and drum and bass happenings, then you’re likely old enough to need the occasional relaxing break time. And what better way to enjoy your cuppa than with a Metalheadz logo mug?

The listing goes out of its way to reassure us that we can drink a number of different beverages from our Metalheadz mug. “Built to handle both hot and cold beverages, great solution for other drinks such as coffee, milk, hot chocolate, juices and much more.” True junglists only drink Amen choppage but I assume the mug can handle that too.

These are new (thank God) and ship from Canada. Raise a mug to Goldie for $24.95.

Ableton Live Keyboard Cover

If you’re like us, you’ve been using Live for years but have never bothered to memorize the keyboard shortcuts. Yes, they can save a lot of time, but we’ve got more important things to do like binge-watching White Lotus. Thankfully, KB Covers out of California make a keyboard cover for Ableton Live with all of the shortcuts printed right on it. Slip it over the keys on your late 2016+ MacBook Pro and you’re golden.

“Utilizing a multi-color printing process, the Ableton Live Keyboard skin shortcut keys are color-coded and heat fused to ensure long-lasting durability. No chips or cracks.” That’s a relief. But seriously, we could really use one of these. Unfortunately, it’s only for Live 9 or earlier, so if you’re on 10 or 11 you’ll have to use what’s left of your post-holiday brain to remember those pesky shortcut combinations.

Make a producer’s life easier for $29.95.

Uryan Modular Desktop Patch Cable Holder

Take a quick look in the studio of your producer loved one. Do you see what looks like a spaceship control panel full of blinking lights and wires? If yes, now you know where all your family savings went. You may as well forgive them now and get them something to help organize all those Eurorack patch cables, even if they did cost almost as much as the modules themselves.

Handmade by Uryan in Hungary, this wooden patch cable holder has two tiers, each capable of holding 120 cables. The top tray can take cables of up to 45cm in length, while the bottom will hold 30cm ones. The lister notes that the stand is “sanded but not painted so you can paint it any colour you like if you want.” 

Enable their Eurorack addiction this holiday season for only $77.74.

Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy

Hey, that looks like a guitar pedal, I hear you saying. Yes, I know that your producer friend/loved one/co-worker/Uber driver probably doesn’t own a guitar but don’t let that stop you. If they have synthesizers (what you think of as ‘piano machines’) then they’re going to want this.

Electro Harmonix’s Deluxe Memory Boy is a bucket brigade-design analog delay, great for everything from chorus and modulation effects up to full-on delay madness. This one is used but in mint condition, and best of all it’s really affordable. In fact, if you don’t buy this we probably will. At $122.11 it won’t last long, just like your relationship if you keep calling them piano machines.

Artiphon Orba 2

It’s not often that a truly unique electronic instrument comes out. But just when you think it’s all been done, here’s the Orba 2 from Artiphon. A handheld instrument that sits in your palm, it has both synthesizer and sampler engines. You can create sequenced four-track loops of up to 128 bars. It also responds to gestures that can change the onboard sounds, or even control external MIDI software.

Orba 2 might not be the most sophisticated instrument ever made but for this price it’s inspiring and a lot of fun. The one in the listing is brand new and ships from Perfect Circuit in the US. Give your friend (or yourself) a hand for $149.99.

Simmons Drums 1985 Polo T-Shirt

This one is pretty specific. Really specific. Dauntingly specific. But there’s someone out there that will absolutely love this.

You’re looking at a black polo shirt from 1985 printed with the Simmons logo. Simmons made digital electronic drums in the 1980s. They had those cool hexagon shapes. You’ve probably seen clips of Bill Bruford from Yes playing them on the BBC on YouTube. The back says Simmons Electronic Drums in bold white letters, while the front has a graphic of a hexagon. Like we said, very specific.

This is used – clearly – and the seller wants $151.52 for it. It’s listed as very good condition, and the London-based seller has this to say: “I think this was part of the Simmons uniform.” It does look like it. You can just imagine a Simmons employee manning the booth at NAMM in 1985, ducking out to the bathroom for the occasional nose candy pickup. 

Got pockets deep enough for the $151.52 price tag? Then you can make someone’s year with this.

Roland Chord Synthesizer J-6

Roland probably weren’t thinking about Christmas stockings when they designed their new Aira Compact line of mini instruments but they are the perfect size for stuffing. Of the three, we like the J-6 Chord Synthesizer the best. It includes a bunch of presets made with the sound engine from the JU-06A and throws in a sequencer, arpeggiator and chord generator plus filter, basic envelope controls, and effects.

The best part though is it has a lithium-ion battery with up to 4.5 hours of operation per charge, meaning you can entertain the family around the fire with some classic house singalongs. “Can you feel it? Dad, I can’t hear you!”

Make it a deep house Christmas for $191.11.

Oficina de Sonido Hanan Cumbia

Just take a look at this thing. The Hanan Cumbia from Oficina de Sonida is a very colorful drum machine designed for playing cumbia rhythms. It has four sounds, kick, guiro, cowbell and conga, with the last two having pitch control. You can control four sequences of up to 32 steps each and can sync it to other gear with a clock.

Along with the sounds (which are charmingly lo-fi), it looks amazing, featuring art by graphic designer Yeffry Ruta Mare and screen printing courtesy Los Laberintos. Check it out in action in the video and you’ll realize that you need it even if you don’t work with Latin rhythms.

All this awesomeness is yours for $211.16.

Teenage Engineering PO-137 Rick And Morty Pocket Operator

Know someone who loves making beats as well as hit animated show, Rick And Morty? Then do we have the limited edition collectable for you.

Part of Swedish hipster outfit Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator series, PO-137 Rick And Morty is, as the company says, a “vocal synthesizer and sequencer with built-in microphone.” It’s got drum sounds as well, meaning you can program beats to go with your sampled sounds. Of course, the reason why someone would want this is the Rick And Morty connection, with eight voices recorded by show creator Justin Roiland. There’s even a little Rick And Morty animation on the screen.

The Rick And Morty Pocket Operator is discontinued, making this unopened unit a collector’s item. Make your Rick And Morty fan happy for $249. WUBBA LUBBA DUB-DUB.

Yamaha QY70

Nowadays we have all kinds of portable music-making devices but in the late ‘90s, you were pretty much confined to Yamaha’s QY70, a battery-powered all-in-one machine with a built-in sequencer and sounds. It’s the kind of thing that was moderately popular on release (although maybe a little ahead of its time), was promptly forgotten, and is now being rediscovered.

The unit here includes box and manuals, although no power supply. It’s listed as very good condition, and the US-based seller says, “it is a previously used item that exhibits signs of cosmetic wear and is fully operational and functions as intended.”

If the idea of General MIDI, LCD screens and esoteric workflows gets your producer loved one all hot and bothered, this is the ideal gift for them. See them smile for $249.99.

Author Adam Douglas
4th January, 2023

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