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Direct Drive Turntable System SL 1200 GAE 3 0 0

The Best Fit Fantasy Festive Shopping List: What to buy the music fan this Christmas

17 December 2016, 15:56

We’ve pulled together the year’s music tech gems for you to get your teeth into as we close gently in on the end of 2016.

Apps, gadgets, headphones, websites, DJ tools, magic widgets to make your tunes sound even better - name it, you’ll find it here. It’s nothing as patronising as a ‘gift guide’ - some of these gewgaws would set you back the best part of a month’s rent, after all - but goodness knows it’s a wishlist to fight for...

Earpeace gig-friendly earplugs

Cost: £16.99

If live music’s how you get your kicks, it’s worth looking after your ears. But Brits are especially slapdash when it comes to hearing protection. It’s not just Swans and MBV-type sonic maelstroms you need to worry about - the less obviously damaging upper frequencies can sneak up on you over time, so get into the habit of wearing earplugs when you go out. Earpeace plugs are specifically designed with live music in mind, so you can enjoy a full gig experience without the wince-inducing elements. We tried them at La Femme’s London show in November and not only did they not remove any of that gig’s manic fun, they also meant we left the venue without any residual ringing following us home.

Buy at

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Kurv pocket air guitar

Cost: £150

No, it’s not April - the Kurv really is a guitar simulator that fits in your bumbag. Made up of two units that slip into each palm, plus an iOS app (no Android so far), you can learn simple guitar theory and/or play along to 60 pre-loaded tracks. Downside: anyone watching will think you’ve lost your mind.

Find out more at

Kurv guitar playing 1200 80

JVC runners’ headphones

Cost: £60

What makes the HA-EBT5 wireless in-ear cans so good for running? They’re sweatproof, and they’ve been specifically designed with an open type earpiece so life-saving external noises - cars, angry dogs - get through the music you’re using to drown out the burning agony in your hamstrings. Stick to the pavement all the same.

Buy on Amazon

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Teufel superpowered speaker

Cost: £500

You might already have a Bluetooth speaker. You might also think it’s all you need. You’re dead wrong. The 80-Watt Teufel Boomster XL is the audio monster your bedsit has been waiting for, and you’ll get your (admittedly considerable) money’s worth the moment all your pictures come crashing down off every wall in a 100m radius.

Find out more at

Teufel Boomster XL 1

Apple Music for Android

Cost: £9.99 a month

Legend has it Steve Jobs was dead against porting iTunes over to Windows back in the day. What did he know anyway? Amateur. Anyway, if you’ve been feeling frustrated by the Apple walled garden of late, fret not - you can now access the white-obsessed megacorp’s music streaming service on Android, and it loses none of its original charm.

Find out more at Apple Music

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iMaschine 2 beatmaker

Cost: £7.99

Your sleep-addled brain has thrown the world’s finest rhythm combination into the ether, but how to capture it? iMaschine should do the trick - it’s a pro-standard iOS beatmaking app with an arpeggiator and step editing supplied as standard. Never again need you lose that mercurial flash of inspiration.

Buy on iTunes

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Chromecast Audio wireless streamer

Cost: £30

Who doesn’t want fewer wires trailing across the room? Nobody, that’s who. If you’re already on board with the TV-leaning Chromecast service, this iteration will feel familiar: it does the same thing, but specifically for audio. This means you can beam Spotify, Deezer or (of course) Google Play Music straight to your existing hi-fi, for the price of a Nando’s for two.

Find out more at

Buy chromecast lightbox

Naim cuboid speaker

Cost: £595

If it’s a shiny, multi-function world-beating audio omnibox you’re after, Naim’s Mu-so wireless speaker is hard to beat. It flings enough bass to rattle jewellery several* miles away, a delicious clear sound and a classy interface on iOS or Android. The Mu-so’s 32-bit digital signal processor does the heavy lifting so you can get busy with the dizzy.

*actual miles tbc

Find out more at

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Bang & Olufsen in-ear Beats-beaters

Cost: £199

Galloping over the mini-audio horizon like a geet posh mare, B&O’s Beoplay H5 wireless headphones are the sine qua non of post-Dre headphone technology. If you’ve long coveted some Beats cans but can’t escape the niggling feeling they’re a soupcon over-hyped, find solace with past masters B&O. The 91-year-old Danish behemoth’s sleek ultra-minimalist style is out in force, and - ‘gudskelov’- setting up the Bluetooth isn’t the frustrating shocker you can encounter elsewhere. You can choose from several presets for optimum sound whatever the occasion, and the magnetic buds mean you can wear ‘em round your neck when the music stops.

Buy on Amazon


Pioneer DJ-in-a-box

Cost: £469

There’s a lot to be said for pressing one button and getting everything you want - just ask The Donald. For maximum efficiency and minimum fuss, Pioneer have thrown a full plug-and-play igital dDJ setup into a single cardboard receptacle. For much of January’s rent you’ll get their Rekordbox DJ software and a controller to run it, headphones so you can hear and speakers so everyone else can too. Just add laptop, and maybe forget vinyl ever existed.

Find out more at

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Akoustic Arts directional speaker

Cost: £400-ish (depending on the exchange rate)

“It’s like listening to headphones, without the headphones” reads the nominally rash promise on this French company’s Indiegogo page for the barely named ‘A’ speaker. But as they’re 662% funded and counting, it seems people are believing them: if you don’t stand right in front of this speaker, you really can’t hear nowt.

Find out more at

Akoustic arts a directional speaker

Pryma leather headphones

Cost: £399

So beautiful you don’t know whether to stick ‘em on your head or spirit them away to a quiet corner for some ‘personal time’, Pryma’s 01 headphones boast a gorgeous leather headband. Not only that, but if you like your cans to match your clobber, you can buy extra headbands in various colours. With Sonus Faber audio tech, they’re not just pretty either - they’ve got the sonic heft to match the palpable pulchritude.

Buy on Amazon

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Technics SL-1200 rerub

Cost: three f’ing grand at least

Basically on this list to make the elderly terminally wistful and the young murderously covetous, THE definitive vinyl DJ tool is BACK on the market - but at a price. Yes, you can grab a direct-drive Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB for £250 on literally any high street*. But who wants that when for a mere 12 times more, you can pick up the mack daddy, the daddy mack, the melon-farming grandaddy of ‘em all? Just don’t look on eBay, it’ll make you cry.

*and you absolutely should do that

Find out more at

Direct Drive Turntable System SL 1200 GAE 3 0 0

RockSmith guitar edutainment

Cost: £50+

Wondering why non-musicians are buggering about with plastic Guitar Hero ‘axes’ when you’ve got the real thing? Combine the two expriences with RockSmith, which lets you use your own guitar or bass to play a bunch of games. Improve your technique, learn new songs - or just show your drunk mates what a badass you are on the fretboard. They won’t remember anyway.

Find out more at

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SoundCloud Go DIY streaming

Cost: £9.99 per month

Chances are if you’re anything approaching a nerd-level muso you’ve already got a SoundCloud account and it’s as essential to you as Bandcamp, Beatport and even (whisper it) Spotify. Introduced with much fanfare - and amid some controversy - in May 2016, SoundCloud Go is the Berlin-based company’s ‘pro’ offering. Listen offline, discover more new musical joy than ever, and get rid of those pesky ads.

Find out more at

Sound Cloud 2

Absolut Vodka in limited edition "Absolut Facet" bottle

Cost: £21.99

No fantasy Christmas list would be complete without the booze. When you're done with the new toys, grab a bottle of Absolut's latest limited edition vodka Absolut Facet which has a cool blue bottle with the round edges cut into like a gem, creating a number of faces that catch the light. Slice some cucumber and lime, slip in some tonic and forget the stresses of Christmas...

Absolut Facet is available from Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

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