Mixdown’s Audio Gift Guide – Part One
09.12.2021

Mixdown’s Audio Gift Guide – Part One

christmas presents for audio
Words by Mixdown Staff

Our picks for the top headphones, interfaces, microphones, and more this silly season.

It’s that time of year already, where did the year go? We say that every year don’t we, but it’s suddenly the festive season once again, and if you’re anything like us here at Mixdown, there’s a good chance that you’re probably incredibly disorganised.

To prevent you from having to endure the agony of Michael Bublé churning out another frostbitten rendition of a Christmas carol down the aisles of your local department store, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of all the hottest gifts to keep your eyes peeled for.

This year, there’s nothing more in vogue than studio gear. Whether it’s a condenser microphone, audio interface, pair of headphones or even a set of multimedia monitors, we’ve picked through the bunch to bring you our favourite audio gift ideas to consider these holidays.

If you’re interested in any of these products, enquire to the respective distributor for pricing!

Shure MV7X

Distributed by: Jands.

shure mv7x

Recommended for: Content creators, podcasters, broadcasters, singers. 

Features: A clear inspiration from Shure’s legendary SM7B dynamic microphone, the MV7X is a modern take on this classic mic, with its elegant broadcast-like design and integrated shock mount, but also sporting features specific to the requirements of current content creators and alike. The simple, convenient, no-frills XLR connection located at the base of the mic allows for easy connection to any audio interface, without the need for whopping amounts of input gain and seamlessly makes itself at home in any recording setup. For those recording in non-ideal acoustic environments, Shure’s voice isolation technology helps keep the MV7X focused on the user’s voice, reducing the banes of external noise and interference being picked up and recorded by the microphone. This makes recording hassle free with its great rear rejection and unidirectional pickup, which is especially advantageous when recording a podcast with multiple voices in the same room. 

Overall: Content creators and alike can rejoice with the simple elegance of the Shure MV7X. Delivering quality design, sound and connectivity in one podcast friendly package, which is easily integrated into any studio setup. Sporting the same distinct look and vibe of the converted industry standard SM7B, many will be familiar with its distinct aesthetic quality, making the MV7X a welcomed gift for any content creator, podcaster, broadcaster on a more reserved budget but requiring the professional look, pedigree and features this mic has to offer.

Find out more.

Steinberg UR22C Recording Pack

Distributed by: Yamaha Music Australia.

ur22c recording pack

Recommended For: Comprising an audio interface, microphone and pair of headphones, this one is ideal for beginners looking for an affordable entry into the vast world of laptop recording without compromising on sound quality. 

Given its super versatile, plug and play operation, the UR22c also doubles as an awesome smale scale Content Creation option, perfect for all those budding podcasters and streamers out there, giving you all you need to get your thoughts and feelings out on the information superhighway. 

Features: Steinberg’s UR22C audio interface offers 32-bit audio quality, letting you enjoy crystal clear recordings of guitars, keyboards and other audio sources, while the included ST-M01 condenser microphone is quite clear in the midrange and boasts a distinctive character best suited for vocals; if you’re into ASMR, you’ll vibe this one. The ST-H01 headphones aren’t too bad either! 

It’s worth reading the manual if you’ve never operated or set up an audio interface or microphone before, but once you’re acquainted with its features, the UR22C recording pack is super straightforward. USB-C connectivity ensures that the interface is swift in operation, while the Loopback function is great for pairing high quality audio with a video source for streaming.

Overall: Being a Steinberg product, you just know the build quality and intuitiveness of the feature set are going to be high on the priorities list here and the UR22C Recording Pack does not disappoint in this regard. Whether podcasting, streaming, recording or mixing, the UR22C Recording Pack is one hell of a Christmas gift. 

Mum, I hope you’re reading this!

Find out more.

Electro-Voice EV 30M

Distributed by: Jands.

evolve 30m

Recommended for: Masters of ceremonies, buskers or anyone looking for the highest quality in portable audio solutions.

Features: Boasting an eight-channel digital mixer, studio-quality onboard effects and with some incredible remote capabilities via Electro-Voice’s cutting edge QuickSmart Mobile application, the Evolve 30m is a convenient and full voiced column setup, for those who like to take the party with them.

Featuring a powerful 10” woofer and a column array composed of six 2.8” neodymium drivers, all adjoined via a lightweight aluminium sub pole, the 1000w Evolve 30m stands as one of the most portable units in its class, being nearly seven kilograms lighter than its predecessor, the Evolve 50. But don’t think for a second that this means any less in the way of firepower.

With its eight-channel mixer, 30 in-built effects and DSP based adjustable EQ, the Evolve 30m is an awesome candidate for small scale PA applications like acoustic ensembles or public speaking. The Evolve 30ms ability to provide phantom power brings a host of mic’ing and sound reinforcement options to the makeshift stage, and its Bluetooth streamability and the flexible control (via the QuickSmart mobile app) means a seamless transition between live performance and house music, adding production values where you least expect it.

Overall: The perfect gift for those keen on intimate, performance, busking or other applications where portability/stowability are key. The Evolve 30m is an awesome sounding, endlessly mobile solution that never ceases to come in handy on stage or around the home. Especially great at barbecues, where it also doubles as the loudest Bluetooth speaker around.

Find out more.

Marantz Professional USB Microphone with Stand                 

Distributed by: Electric Factory.

marantz

Recommended for: Podcasters, content creators, vloggers, vocalists.

Features: Packing quality features and effortless plug and play functionality at this entry point, the Marantz Professional MPM4000U USB condenser mic is a bit of a no brainer for content creators, podcasters and alike. Convenient controls and connectivity immediately present themselves on the front of the chassis including variable gain control, headphone volume and a conveniently located mute button. USB-C interface connectivity (ala no external audio interface required) with Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS operating system compatibility for easy, plug and play operation and a 1/8” headphone output jack is located on the bottom of the mic for pristine headphone monitoring. The pure-aluminium-plated condenser capsule is a unidirectional cardioid polar pattern, providing an accurate pickup of the sound source and minimizing spill and room ambiance. The included tripod, mic clip and USB cable make this package quick and easy to setup on the go and the included MPC Beats software gets users recording their content quickly.   

Overall: A slick aesthetic, convenient set of features, robust design, great set of accessories and bundled software package tick all the right boxes for those looking to get creating their content with minimal fuss. Direct connectivity via USB-C keeps this mic package streamlined and immediately accessible to who will be using it. Bridging quality and convenience, the MPM4000U USB mic is a gift worthy of any upcoming content creators looking to get started with ease. 

Find out more.

Sound Particles Space Controller plugin

Distributed by: Sound Particles.

sound particles space controller

Recommended for: Immersive audio mix wizards, virtual and augmented reality necromancers.

Features: Who doesn’t love remote control panning of a sound source with your phone. Wait. What? Hold the phone! Yep, you heard. For those at all familiar with immersive audio plugins and workflows will feel instantly at home within the UI of Space Controller, with Cube mode for a more traditional layout and workflow or Sphere mode for full blown 3D immersive workflows such as Ambisonics and VR. Within the plugin, channel control ranges from a single mono sound source through to controlling multiple channels simultaneously, being able to move entire sound fields seamlessly with incredible accuracy and smoothness. The accompanying app is where Space Controller really takes off, with remote control panning from a connected phone iOS and android compatible) via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (in the studio version featured here). Multiple devices can be connected simultaneously, breaking the creative bounds of immersive audio completely, for seamless positioning of things like Dolby Atmos objects, all of which can all be written and automated to the sound source/s within a session. 

Overall: The processing that’s involved within Space Controller is absolutely mind boggling, particularly as it is so smooth and seamless; this is no novel bit of code. This plugin and app have earned some serious kudos from pros in the immersive space and for good reason, the overall level of control, accuracy and endless creative possibilities make this a must have for those working in the immersive fields but also for those who want to explore the boundless creative panning possibilities simply within the stereo realm as well. 

Find out more.

EVO SRB (Start Recording Bundle)

Distributed by: Studio Connections.

evo srb

Recommended for: budding producers, podcasters and streamers.

The SRB (Start Recording Bundle) is the ultimate starter pack for budding producers who demand quality, but aren’t quite yet ready to break the bank on a premium setup. Inexpensive, solid as and incredibly user-friendly, it’s awesome for honing your audio recording and mixing skills with plenty of room to grow.

Its hardware is straightforward, with a singular knob for gain, monitor and headphones volume, two combo XLR/jack inputs and a singular line input on the front panel, two quarter inch outputs for stereo monitoring and a quarter inch headphones output. 

With the EVO 4 interface comes the SR1 condenser microphone and shockmount, which is perfect to capture vocals and acoustic instruments for those first few podcasts and stripped back recording projects. 

The pack also comes with comfortable, fully-enclosed lightweight SR2000 headphones to minimise sound leakage, as well as free audio software (Cubase LE for Windows and Mac) and iOs compatibility. The kit also includes all the cables required to hook it all up means it’s foolproof and super accessible – any budding creative is going to be recording podcasts or music quickly with this easy, consolidated set-up process.

Overall: Handy, decent quality and a fair bang for your buck, the Audient EVO SRB is a brilliant gift idea for anyone that might want to start  podcasting, making music or streaming content. This intuitive, fun starter pack will surely enable some awesome future audiophile enthusiasts to start their journey and follow their dreams.

Find out more.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.

ath-m50xbt2

Recommended for: Morning commuters, Zoom callers, content creators.

Features: Three years is a long time in tech and the new M50xBT2 is testament to just how much the playing field has changed in the interim, with features like a vastly superior battery life, better connection stability and various other improvements pertaining to DAC, Codec and mic quality all serving as a considerable level up to an already quality product.

The new models are reportedly capable of over 60 hours of continuous play (compared to the previous gen’s 40 odd hours).

There is also a 10-minute fast charge feature which allows for three hours of use, perfect for anybody looking to quickly charge up before a run or daily commute.

The dual mics and beamforming technology are a considerable improvement in terms of conversation intelligibility and call quality, while the low latency mode for gaming and video is an awesome addition. It is controlled through an accompanying app, which also has the option to select your voice assistant of choice as well as allowing for simple EQ and frequency customisation.

The ATH-M50xBT2’s foam pads are replaceable and the headphones are collapsible to save space. In addition to these features, the ATH-M50xBT2 also has Touch Control technology on the Audio-Technica logo for Voice Assist to be used with Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Overall: The sheer versatility of application, the intuitiveness of the handheld interfacing and the practical upside of features ensure that Audio-Technica’s new M50xBT2 will be a valued addition to the daily ritual-for work, rest or play.

Find out more.

Hercules 2-in-1 Tablet & Phone Holder

Distributed by: Electric Factory.

2in1 tablet and phone holder

Recommended for: Gigging musicians, accessory lovers, security enthusiasts.

Features: Phones and tablets have very much secured their respective places on the stage, but their own security when attached to stands of all different types, shapes and sizes can be compromised if not properly latched in place. Thankfully, Hercules has the muscle and the flexibility to handle the job, keeping these precious devices safely in place when it comes to gig time. The TightVice locking mechanism ensures phones and tablets ranging from 6.1” – 13” are locked in place to whatever stand they are attached to, whether it be round or square tubes or even a desk. This alleviates the stress of being stuck with an accessory which only attaches itself to certain types of stands, but instead can comfortably secures itself to mic stands, keyboard stands, sheet music stands or drum hardware alike. The load capacity of the DG307B is up to 3kg, providing eons of effortless support of an attached phone or tablet.    

Overall: There’s nothing worse than having a phone or tablet come tumbling to the floor in the middle of a set, so why take the risk. Having a device that supports such a wide range of phones and tablets that it can securely handle is an absolute thumbs up. The known quality of Hercules can’t be understated and the flexibility the DG307B provides in its clamping capabilities is impressive. A gift worth its weight for those who frequent the stage with a phone or tablet in hand. I wonder if it could handle holding a beverage?  One can only dream… 

Find out more.

beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Distributed by: Syntec

dt 700

Recommended for: Studio pros, content creators, audiophiles.

Features: The DT 700 Pro X headphones are not just a simple, fresh aesthetic update on the modern studio staple DT 770 Pro, but rather a complete redesign with new transducer technology, whopping frequency response, more user friendly impedance and features aimed for the on-the-go user. The new STELLAR.45 transducer driver pumps out massive sound (as one would expect from a pair of beyers), with a frequency response of 5Hz – 40kHz, producing extended, defined low end and crystal clear highs, with plenty of midrange in between. The 48 Ohms impedance will be welcomed feature for many, playing very nicely with consumer audio devices so users can enjoy these headphones comfortably on the go. Speaking of comfort, the infamous beyerdynamic velour pads are as comfortable as ever, paired with the robust spring steel adjustable headband makes for extended listening sessions a breeze. Finally, the detachable mini XLR cables (1.8m and 3m cables included) round out the new design and with all parts replaceable for a sustainable design, clearly reach the demands of modern users.  

Overall: A gift worthy of those working professionally in the studio, creating a variety of content at home or on the road or for those simply looking for some accurate, high quality professional headphones. 

Find out more.

Tula USB Microphone

Distributed by: Studio Connections.

tula usb mic

Recommended for: Zoom full-timers, content creators, fervent verbal note-takers.

Features: With Burr-brown op amps and a TI audio codec, it has a frequency response of 50Hz – 20kHz and records WAV format at 16bit 48kHz quality with uni and omnidirectional noise capsules making it versatile for podcasting, conferences, and studio settings. Zero-latency monitoring comes through the 3.5mm headphones jack on the side of the capsule meaning your microphone will not result in you talking over whoever you’re chatting with or losing track of your voice-recording. The jack also conveniently doubles up as a lavalier mic input.

One of the microphones’ best features is its active noise cancellation, which comes in handy to block out location noise spill when recording out and about, though it’s best suited to blocking out air conditioners in enclosed environments.

It has the option of being either a USB mic or a standalone mobile recorder with 8GB of memory (up to 12 hours).

It’s a neat little piece of hardware that weighs just 185g, perfect for portability with its easy plug-and-play use. With a USB-C port on the back, a 3.5mm jack and 13 buttons, the capsule manages to pack a lot in a small amount of real estate.

Overall: The Tula mic takes an unassuming but solid position in the writing studio, office, or backpack of any content creator, due to its quality and portability. Considering how compact it is, this microphone feels like it’s dipping its toes into many different realms of usability and functionality. This means it’s perfect for people that work and play in that murky in-between.

Find out more.

Audio-Technica ATM510

Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.

Recommended for: Live performers, engineers, those who like their vocals smooth and natural.

Features: The ATM510 is Audio Technica’s entry level dynamic handheld microphone within their artist series range. The rugged all metal design, rounded multi-stage grille and internal shock mount make it an instant hit for those needing a sturdy, reliable live workhorse mic, and let’s face it, who exactly is looking for a fragile and delicate live handheld mic? 

The unidirectional cardioid polar pattern keeps a tight directional pickup, with solid rear rejection and resistance to feedback, with a rare-earth magnet producing a respectable output. A frequency response of 90Hz – 16kHz is ideally suited for the stage environment, with a suitable presence peak between 2kHz – 5kHz, a little dip around 9kHz and a little bit of added air between 10kHz – 12kHz. Weighing in at 258g it’s a little lighter compared to some others in its category but still enough heft to not feel like it’ll crumble from the guaranteed live stage beating.     

Overall: As with anything Audio Technica, the ATM510 is designed and engineered to excel in its specific area of use, and in this microphones case, is a reliable live stage workhorse. Being an affordable handheld with a rugged enclosure it’s a no-brainer for a venue or live mic kit fit out or individual singer. Its frequency response is well suited for a wide variety of voice types and would surely fare quite well in front of a guitar cabinet or even a snare drum if push came to shove. 

Find out more.

Check out print edition #318 for our full gift guide!