With the holidays in full swing and only a few days left before Christmas, you’d better start making that list before Santa starts thinking twice! Why not kickoff the new year with a resolution to start producing your own music? We’ve got a month-long tutorial this December on how to do just that, and if you’ve been bitten by the production bug, here are 10 totally useful gift suggestions for DJ/producers starting out that don’t cost an arm and a leg…
10 Stocking Stuffers
Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys and Techniques
They say: No matter your level of experience, this book is packed with techniques and practical tips to help you achieve professional results, whether you’re an aspiring dance music producer, DJ, remixer, recording engineer, musician, or composer.
We say: An essential primer for beginners who want to get started producing their own dance tracks, and a good resource you’ll return to time and time again as you gain more experience in the craft.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface
They say: Compact USB audio interface featuring one award-winning Focusrite mic preamp, one guitar / line input, and stereo RCA/headphone outputs.
We say: Inexpensive two input / two output audio interface that lets you plug in a microphone, a guitar, and a line level device like a hardware synth. A great value device that’ll be at the heart of your DJ/producer set-up for a long time.
Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Condenser Microphone
They say: Side-address condenser microphone with USB output for easy connection to your computer.
We say: Decent microphone for recording vocals, voiceovers, and acoustic instruments. USB connectivity is a plus, particularly if you don’t have an audio interface to connect a traditional microphone to.
Akai APC Mini Ableton Live Performance Controller
They say: Ultra-portable all-in-one Ableton Live controller with eight assignable faders, one master fader, and an 8×8 clip-launch matrix.
We say: Compact device that gives you volume fader functions and a clip-launch grid at an incredibly affordable price. Comes bundled with Ableton Live Lite, so this could potentially be the only controller you need to purchase this holiday season if you’re looking to get started performing with Ableton.
Novation Launchkey Mini Midi Controller
They say: A compact mini-keyboard / controller that features 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads which can be used to launch clips, and also features eight assignable rotary controls, seven function buttons, and two performance buttons.
We say: A low price, some lovely pads, and a stunning selection of bundled software make the Novation Launchkey Mini stand out from the crowded portable controller marketplace.
Arturia MiniLab 25-Key Midi Controller
They say: 25 note velocity sensitive mini keyboard with eight pads and 16 assignable rotary knobs. Comes with Analog Lab software packed with 5000 sounds from classic synths.
We say: A fantastic value for both beginner and experienced producers; the Analog Lab software alone justifies the cost of this package by giving you access to some of the best sounding vintage synthesisers that would otherwise cost a small fortune. Get this if you’re looking for a great library of classic tones that you can build on, and a very capable mini keyboard that you can use to play them with.
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 25-Key Midi Controller
They say: Ultra-compact keyboard controller designed for the travelling musician and the desktop producer with 25 keys, a four-way thumb stick for pitch and modulation control, eight velocity-sensitive pads, and eight assignable knobs.
We say: Our choice keyboard controller in this shortlist. The MPC-style pads make for some excellent finger drumming, and the slightly shorter knobs decrease the likelihood of bent knob shafts and missing caps. Highly recommended.
Crane Stand Plus Laptop Stand
They say: Height-adjustable, powder coated steel laptop stand that folds flat and is easy to setup.
We say: If you still don’t have a laptop stand by now, this is a good one. It’s a bit pricier than most entry-level stands, but this one can really take a beating and can bear the rigours of even the harshest of onstage performance conditions.
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones
They say: Optimised for home and studio recording, the SRH440 headphones reproduce accurate audio across an extended range.
We say: Quite simply, these are the best monitoring / studio headphones you can buy for under $100. If you already have a pair of monitor speakers you may be tempted to pass on these, but the SRH440 is a great second reference for your mixes, especially if your speakers have a hyped low end. An essential tool for the budding bedroom producer.
FL Studio 11 Digital Audio Workstation
They say: FL Studio 11 is a complete software music production environment with everything you need to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music in one package.
We say: If you don’t want to use Ableton Live or Logic Pro, FL Studio is one of the most popular PC-based DAW’s on the market today, and with good reason; it’s been around for a long time (almost 15 years to date), and from its humble beginnings as a step sequencer-based app, it’s now become a full-fledged DAW used by the likes of Avicii and Afrojack. Not bad for a piece of software that used to be called “FruityLoops”!
Check out our other holiday list for DJ gift ideas:
Have you considered furthering your DJ career by adding music production to your skill set? What production gear under $100 have you been longing for? Share it with us in the comments section below, we’d love to hear from you!