Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Xmas gifts

Pickr 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Musicians

We all listen to music, but some of us yearn to play it, too. If you’re buying for someone like that, these ideas could just fit the bill.

Even though we all love music, some of us love it to the point of making it. Listening is different from crafting, and if you’re buying for someone that just can’t get a tune out of their head and has to play it to make it, you might want to consider a musical gizmo as a gift.

There are a few options, because outside of the typical instruments you can grab, gadgets can strike a chord and sing a song for a certain someone.

Sphero Specdrums

Sphero's Specdrums launched at CES 2019

Price: $99

A curious take on the drum, Sphero’s Specdrums isn’t your typical robot fare from the maker of BB-8 and R2D2. Rather, the Specdrum is a ring you wear that looks at colour, pairing it to a sound on your phone and allowing you to play what you see.

That is how the Specdrums work: you wear a ring, wave it over colour, and hear a sound, basically allowing you to play the world of colour around you.

It could be fruit or a wall or a shelf of colourful books. Whatever has colour in your life can be turned into music of sorts with the Sphero Specdrums.

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Fender Play

Fender Play for bass

Price: $135

The app is free and there’s a trial, but a year’s subscription will set you back around $135, providing a year of lessons for guitar, bass, and ukulele.

You can learn the instruments and songs to play using your phone or tablet, with songs from Radiohead, Green Day, Nirvana, TLC, Sia, Jewel, and plenty of others.

Handy for the aspiring muso, and might work hand-in-hand with a small instrument purchase, too.

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Price: $200

The microphone of choice for Australia’s award-winning technology podcast, The Wrap, Rode’s NT-USB takes a studio microphone and plugs it into a USB port, allowing you to get studio sound from your computer.

You can talk at the microphone from afar or even directly in, and it will even work with an iPad if you happen to have a way of concerting USB to the Lightning port or Type C USB used across the iPad range.

Essentially, it’s a top microphone for the spoken word and the one that’s sung, making it ideal for the budding musician to catch themselves with.

Moog Theremini

Moog Theremini

Price: $499

Something a little bit different for the musicians out there, especially if they already have an instrument they love. Why not try something they might not be familiar with to see if it gets their musical inspiration juices flowing?

The Moog Etherwave Theremini is a modern take on the theremin, a unique gadget that uses electromagnetic fields to make sound and music. Moog’s revised take on this classic instrument punches the theremin sound into other instrument sounds, making it something just a little different.

Roli Songmaker Kit

Price: $999

A little different again, the Roli Songmaker Kit bundles in three Roli gadgets together, providing a way to make digital music with one of the world’s most flexible pianos. Literally.

The Roli “Seaboard Block” serves as the main digital keyboard, with a flexible material sitting atop the piano keys, and allowing you to flex the surface so you can find the notes in the middle. There’s also a “Loop Block” to control sounds as you craft, while the “Lightpad Block M” adds a drum pad with coloured lights, giving you dinner and a show.

Roli’s keyboard-based block kit is one of the more interesting and refreshing takes on the digital piano, and provided you have a Mac, a PC, or iOS for the iPad or iPhone, you’ll be able to make the Roli work.

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