Music to Their Ears: 17 Unbeatable Gifts for Music Lovers

Everyone will need a hobby. And the probability is that there is at least one person you need to buy a holiday gift for who thinks of themselves as a musician. Whether they’re a casual synth enthusiast, a guitar virtuoso, or a singer-songwriter, we’ve got suggestions covering a range of price points. Some of these even make great gifts for music lovers who have been thinking about stepping into the world of music making. Perhaps getting their first synth will kickstart a new obsession.

Soma Laboratory Ether

Perfect Circuit offers the Soma Labs Ether, which is the perfect gift for someone who believes there’s music all around us if we just train ourselves to listen for it. The Ether is like a microphone, but not for singing into. Instead, it picks up electromagnetic interference and radiation across the entire spectrum from Hertz to Gigahertz. Soma refers to it as an “anti-radio” since it tunes into all frequencies instead of just one. With the Ether, your sound-loving recipient can eavesdrop on neon signs and sample the silent whine of an AC adapter. It’s literally a gateway to an invisible world of electromagnetic waves. — Terrence O’Brien, Managing Editor $160 at Perfect Circuit

Fender Mustang Micro

If your gift recipient is an electric guitar player, they likely struggle to find time for practice sessions due to the need for amplification, especially in situations where noise is a concern. Fender’s Mustang Micro personal headphone amp solves that problem. Just plug it into a guitar and connect headphones, and it provides access to 12 amp models and 13 effects. It’s also battery-powered and charges via USB, with Bluetooth for streaming in audio to play along with. This is a great tool for songwriting or practice for players of all skill levels. — Lawrence Bonk, Contributing Reporter $120 at Amazon

Brand New Noise Spiro

Brand New Noise’s Spiro is a small wooden box with a microphone and a speaker built in, plus a few controls on the front. It has buttons to record and play back, a switch for looping recordings, and a knob to change the speed. It’s endless fun for kids and can also be used for actual music making, so long as your recipient is into lo-fi. The knob controls both recording and playback fidelity, allowing for some creative effects. — T.O. $85 at Brand New Noise

Bastl Instruments Kastle Arp

Bastl Instruments’ Kastle Arp is a mini modular synth designed for arpeggios. It’s a great recommendation for anyone who dabbles in music making, and can make beautiful musical passages when paired with delay and reverb. It’s the perfect addition to a desk setup for someone who prefers making their own lo-fi beats to listening to a playlist. — T.O. $107 at Bastl Instruments

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 4th Gen

If you know someone who wants to start making their own recordings, they’ll need an audio interface, and Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo line is a budget-friendly option with high-quality sound and useful features. The latest 4th-generation Scarlett Solo connects via USB, operates on both PCs and Macs, and comes bundled with Ableton Live Lite and other audio tools to help them get started. — L.B. $140 at Amazon

Velcro One-Wrap Cable Ties

Velcro ties are a useful gift for any musician as they can help clean up tangled cords in a recording studio or home setup. They can keep power cords tidy, help route speaker cables, and prevent mic cables from becoming tangled when they’re not in use. — T.O. $10 at Amazon

Samson Q2U USB Microphone

Samson’s Q2U is a versatile USB microphone that is budget-friendly and comes with accessories like a windscreen, a mic clip, a desktop stand, and all the cables needed to get started. It’s a useful tool for beginners, as it can connect via USB for quick recordings or via XLR for use with audio interfaces and outboard gear. — L.B. $60 at Amazon

X-Protector Non Slip pad roll

Non-slip padding is a useful addition to any musician’s setup, as it can prevent synths and pedals from sliding around on a desk. This large roll of grippy rubber can be cut to fit almost anything from a portable MIDI controller to a eurorack skiff. — T.O. $10 at Amazon

Baby Audio Transit

Baby Audio’s Transit plugin, a collaboration with YouTuber Andrew Huang, is a multi-effect VST designed specifically for transitions. It allows users to create a custom effect chain with reverb, delay, distortion, and pitch shifting, and control the parameters of all those effects simultaneously with one knob. It’s a useful tool for putting the finishing touches on a track.