You have likely already seen some of our gift guides pop up on 9to5Mac filled with some of the best Mac/iOS accessories and gadgets. While even more of those top picks will be coming your way shortly, for now we will be looking at some great ways to improve your home audio/recording set-up without reaching too deep into your pocket. Down below you’ll find some unique gadgets, connected speakers, Lightning mics, interesting storage options and more:
Luxury Book iPhone 7 Plus Case
Blue USB/Lightning mics for Mac & iPad from $45
Outside of casual video chats, your laptop’s/iPad’s built-in microphone doesn’t provide great quality recordings. So whether it’s podcasting, YouTube video narration, song recording or anything else where quality matters, an external mic is needed. The Blue Microphones USB/Lightning mics don’t require a pricey audio interface to hook up to your Mac/iPad, and will most certainly up the fidelity of your recordings.
The best-selling Snowball USB condenser mic come in at under $45 and are an excellent option, and the $100 silver Yeti might be the best mic in its price range. When it comes to iPad recording, the Blue Spark Digital Lightning Condenser can be had for around $150 shipped. We found it to be one of the best mics around for the money in our review, considering its high quality and versatility.
LaCie PetiteKey 16GB USB Flash Drive from $10
Just about everyone can use a little extra storage on their person these days. There are a ton of mini flash drives out there, but not very many that look as nice as the LaCie PetiteKey. Blending right in with the other keys on your keychain, PetiteKey comes in three sizes: 8GB for $9.99, 16GB for $14.99 and 32GB for $24.24 (all shipped free for Prime members or in orders over $35 on Amazon).
While they might not be the cheapest flash drive stocking stuffer out there, most people will appreciate the universal and slick key design over the typical thumb drive look. LaCie is a trusted name in storage of all sorts and the PetiteKey has a 4+ star rating from over 260 Amazon customers.
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator synths $59
If you have a digital musician on your shopping list this year or are just looking for an inexpensive way to get into the world of analog synthesis, the Pocket Operators are a great place to start. Teenage Engineering is known for its flagship $800+ OP-1 portable synthesizer, but recently released a line of inexpensive, pocket-sized synths that come in three different flavors at $59 each: The PO-12 Rhythm (drums), PO-14 Sub (bass synth) and the PO-16 Factory (melody synth). The expandability of the trio is nice here. With just one you’ll have a blast, but all three will sync together with ease.
The standout features are the chain-able patterns, creative (time-based) FX and a pretty amazing little built-in sequencer. You can get a complete rundown on these little gadgets, along with details on how to sync them up with your Mac in our weekly feature series: The Logic Pros.
Clip-On Guitar/Instrument Tuner from $10
While there are ton of great apps out there that will tune your guitar up just fine, sometimes it can be incredibly handy to have a small clip-on to get the job done quickly and reliably. Whether it’s a loud environment or maybe somewhere it just isn’t convenient to pull your iPhone out, there are many advantages to these miniature clip-ons.
A fantastic stocking stuffer for any guitar/bass/violin/ukulele player, Snark’s best selling tuners look great, are quite affordable at under $10 Prime shipped and have received 4+ star reviews from nearly 10,000 Amazon customers.
PreSonus Ceres Speakers w/ Bluetooth from $150
The Ceres line of PreSonus speakers are an excellent choice for home studio monitors without breaking the bank. Not only will they serve your home recording purposes just fine for much less than the stellar KRK options, but they are also great for gaming and streaming with built-in Bluetooth. They have 3.5-inch Kevlar low-frequency transducers, silk-dome tweeters, and will communicate wirelessly with your smartphones, tablets, and other computers. Some other solid options include these highly rated Studiophiles for just over $75 and the best selling Mackie CR-series monitors come in at under $100 at Adorama and Amazon.
A few other honorable mentions include these Cheerson Mini Remote Controlled RC Quadcopters from under $17 Prime shipped on Amazon and sweet prints and art work over at Pop Chart Lab prints like the Periodic Table of Heavy Metals from $29.