9to5Toys Gift Guide: ideas for Music Makers – pocket synths, headphone accessories, DIY kits and more


Buying gifts for the music producers/writers/makers in your life can be challenging. It is almost impossible to know which gear they want, and if even if you do, in many cases this stuff carries very heavy price tags. As a programmer and musician myself, I know I always appreciate smaller gifts and things that can be useful regardless of whether or not friends and family know what overpriced polysynth or DIY gadget I have my eye on this week.

For this gift guide, we will be focusing on items that just about any musician would appreciate under the tree, regardless of the style of music they make or how professional they are while doing it. While there are some items that are a bit pricey, there is definitely some gear for everyone below:

The New Pocket Operators Synths:

One of last year’s biggest hits among music makers was Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator synths. The mini calculator looking synthesizers feature the company’s interesting aesthetic touch along with very unique sequence-based effects programming. Well this year the line was expanded with three new models. Office has quirky-vintage sampled office sounds and glitchy noises, while Robot features an 8-bit melody/sequence synth. And finally, Arcade provides all of the classic chiptune inspired arcade sounds you could ever ask for. I’ll take all three please.

Easily integrated with Mac recording setups, the six-product lineup can sync together, feature audio in/out jacks and run on two small batteries (for a month). They are great gifts for both amateur and pro musicians, and look awesome in your home studio!

The 3 new Pocket Operators (PO-20, 24, 28) go for $59 each or you can grab the PO-20 Series Super Set Bundle (all 3) for $249. If you’re having a hard time finding them, it might be a good idea contacting your local music/synth shop as they more than likely have them there.

BeyerDynamic DT770-series Headphones:

While we have love the ATH-series of headphones (especially the M50x) for monitoring cans in home set-ups, BeyerDynamic is still my go to option. For me personally, it is less about perfect audio reproduction for mixing and more about how they hold up for lengthy creative sessions. In this way, the DT770’s seem to suit my needs perfectly and would be the first headphones I would suggest for any home studio music maker.

Not the cheapest option around, but also not over-the-top at about $135 shipped.

Headphone Hanger:

Now you have your headphones, you need somewhere to put them. Headphones hangers make for great gifts because just about every musician/beat maker you know has a pair of headphones laying on top of a keyboard or thrown across a mixing desk somewhere. There are several options, but the underside hangers are a really nice option for home studios that might be tight on space.

There are several highly-rated options available from around $9 Prime shipped on Amazon. The Brainwave options are very nice, and the Anchor has a nice minimalist touch to it. There are also some wooden models available from around $6 Prime shipped.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster:

As mentioned above, we are trying to focus on items that will work for most home producers here. The Air Rocket Blower can be extremely handy for quickly ridding your precious gear from the evil dust that will inevitably build up on it faster and faster with every note you play. While you still need to give your room a nice clean, one of these can really keep things under control in the mean time and works especially well for delicate surfaces on speakers, mics (not the diaphragm!), synths and much more. It’s also very inexpensive and makes for a sweet stocking stuffer.

They are available from around $9 Prime shipped on Amazon and come in a few colors and sizes. I personally find the medium option to do the trick just fine.

Apple Music Subscription:

Every musician, for the most part, requires a good music streaming service subscription. Whether it be for referencing particular mixing and programming styles of popular music or just getting inspired for their next opus, there’s nothing worse than struggling to find a decent quality version of a song when you need it. The three month subscription will run you $30 but you can get a little discount for a full year at just $99.

Honorable Mentions:

Some honorable mentions include these amazing Cigar Box Guitar DIY kits on Etsy and Amazon, the incomparable ‘JAM’ Jar Amp in a jar and the littleBits Electronics Synth Kit.

And you can find more great gift ideas right here: Techie Traveler – best messenger bags, Bluetooth gear, accessories and more

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