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!
Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.
Recommended for: Studio heads, mixers, musicians, DJ, personal listening.
Features: The ATH-M70x is the flagship product of the M-series and are premium studio headphones boasting a flatter frequency response with large 45mm drivers.
These closed-back over-ear headphones are perfect for monitoring and tracking providing an incredibly-defined upper midrange for all your guitar, snare, and extensive tracking needs.
Professional-grade earpads and headband provide excellent durability and comfort, and detach for easy replacement, with circumaural design contours around the ears provide that much-needed sound isolation in loud environments for all you FOH engineers and DJ types.
A rigid zippered carry case houses the headphones for when they’re not in use and a separate zippered pouch within the case contains not one, but three different cables. Included is a detachable 1.2m – 3.0m coiled cable, detachable 3m straight cable, and a detachable 1.2m straight cable, along with a ¼” screw-on adapter. Two different lengths of straight cables and one flexible cable take care of every environment you might wish to use these headphones in, not requiring you to purchase extra accessories.
Overall: The luxurious ATH-M70x headphones are ideal for studio mixing and tracking, FOH, DJing, mastering, post-production, audio forensics and personal listening. Crafted for lasting durability with space-saving design, the headphones provide excellent sound isolation and are equipped with 90-degree swiveling earcups for easy, one-ear monitoring.
Right from the word go, these headphones just ooze class in a black and silver motif and are worth every cent of the asking price.
512 Audio Academy Headphones
Distributed by: Studio Connections.
Recommended for: Content creators, budding audio operatives.
Features: 512 Audio have landed in the professional audio scene with style and their Academy headphones continue this trend with their sleek appearance and comfortable usage.
The comfort comes from their fully adjustable headband and soft, plush ear cups. The closed-back earcups rotate up to 90 degrees to be as versatile and ergonomic as possible in any situation for any user.
Academy’s custom-tuned 45mm dynamic drivers deliver a frequency response that covers the full audible spectrum, while allowing for precise control over the specific frequencies that produce a remarkable listening experience for speech and vocals, including more clarity in the low end. Their natural, balanced sound and exceptional low-frequency clarity allow you to hear every nuance, which makes them perfect for the critical listening of speech and vocals.
The headphones also come with a stylish hard shell case to protect your headphones, while including an interchangeable 9.8ft straight and 4.9ft coiled cables with the option to lock into place, coming with a 3.5mm to ¼ adapter.
Overall: The Academy headphones are tailor-made to bring out all the details you need for podcasting, recording, streaming, broadcasting, and all your content creation needs
From a fully adjustable headband to plush, closed-back earcups, you’ll enjoy a superior acoustic seal for cleaner audio capture and a perfect fit for all-day listening in comfort. Academy headphones are a true studio essential for any creator, producer, or listener.
Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT
Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.
Recommended for: Old and new school vinyl lovers, wireless audio addicts.
Features: Whilst some may think owning a vinyl player is more trouble than it’s worth, it’s nice when something like the AT-LP60XBT marries the worlds of wireless and vinyl together into one rather stylish vinyl player.
Having fully automatic 33-1/3 and 45 RPM playback speeds available on a sturdy, anti-resonant die-cast aluminum platter, a redesigned tonearm base and headshell makes for an improved tracking experience with reduced resonance. Featuring an Integral Dual Moving Magnet™ phono cartridge (with replaceable diamond stylus) and AC adapter which handles AC/DC conversion outside of the chassis helps reduce noise, making for crystal clear playback, whether connected hardwired or wirelessly. Adding to its versatility is the in-built switchable phono pre-amplifier, which conveniently allows for phono or line level output to make it compatible for a wide range of playback systems. Detachable RCA output cables, a 45 RPM adapter, and removable hinged dust cover make for a great overall package and the compatibility with aptX codec sums up the true versatility of this player.
Overall: Being able to enjoy the joys of vinyl playback but with the added option of hardwired or wireless functionality is massive, particularly with the massive resurgence of vinyl over the last five or so years. The AT-LP60XBT brings vinyl into the modern era, more than satisfying the needs of those new to vinyl or those with a long and lustrous existing collection. A marvellous gift for those who pine for their old player back, but with the perks of modern functionality.
beyerdynamic M 70 Pro X
Distributed by: Syntec.
Recommended for: Podcasters, broadcasters, content creators, studios.
Features: In true Beyerdynamic style, the M 70 Pro X certainly looks the part, with a sleek matte black chassis, hardy steel mesh grille and weighing in at 320g, feels like it could comfortably handle the inevitable drops it will experience in its lifetime. A dynamic end address capsule is hidden within the enclosure, featuring an inbuilt pop filter, protecting a large diaphragm capsule. Delivering crystal clear audio, the M 70 Pro X is optimized for capturing speech and the nuance and detail of the human voice, ala definition and clarity. Its cardioid polar pattern offers a supreme unidirectional pickup with fantastic off axis rejection. These features particularly lend the M 70 Pro X to be used in non idea acoustic environments, where external noise capture needs to be minimal and detailed capture of the sound source is key. Frequency response is broad ranging from 25Hz to 18kHz, with gentle 4kHz and 8kHz bumps for enhanced clarity and more refined not over bearing proximity effect when addressed up close.
Overall: It’s exciting when a new microphone design presents itself to the broadcast, podcast and content creator worlds and the M 70 Pro X is a mightily contender to becoming a staple in these respective domains. The combination of a sleek yet rugged, professional design, boasting detail enhanced for the human voice makes this new mic a real winner. Your content creative pals are sure to lap this one up!
Bose S1 Pro
Distributed by: Bose.
Recommended for: Buskers, Portable DJs, Presenters, Education, Bose fanatics.
Features: An all-in-one compact PA system that packs all the right features. The S1 Pro features a simple, user-friendly 3-channel mixer, with 2 feature-packed with combo XLR / 1/4“ connectors for mic, line or instrument input sources, switchable Tone Match tone control, bass and treble EQ control and reverb. The third channel features an 1/8“ aux input for hardwired connection or Bluetooth connectivity from a compatible playback device. A dedicated 1/4“ line output allows for system expansion if required and the micro-USB connector is dedicated for servicing requirements. Most notably, the S1 Pro is lithium-ion battery powered (or can be powered by mains if required), providing up to 11-hours of play and is recharged relatively quickly. An impressive 67Hz – 17kHz frequency response produces a punchy low end, with balanced mid range and sparkling tops to match. That classic Bose sound. An impressive max 103dB SPL rounds out this portable PA system, with several positions available depending on the application. The logo even swivels to match the orientation, a nice touch.
Overall: For such a small footprint, the Bose S1 really packs a punch and delivers professional quality sound in a compact design with just the right amount of flare and features. Its simple yet elegant layout and design make this portable PA system incredibly versatile and worthy of use in a multitude of applications ranging from busking, portable DJing through to business and/or educational presentations and more.
Audio-Technica AT2040 Microphone
Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.
Recommended for: Podcasters, content creators.
Features: If you are at all interested in the above applications, it’s hard to look past the new AT2040 podcast microphone from Audio-Technica. It’s a dynamic, large diaphragm, end address microphone with a hypercardioid polar pattern, that comes housed in a sleek, all metal enclosure. It uses a professional grade XLR output and requires no phantom power to run on account of it being dynamic.
There’s an integrated shock mount present here which reduces noise travelling through the mic stand, as well as a multi stage wind screen consisting of a nonwoven filter and foam mesh to tame plosives (think boomy p’s and b’s) from reaching your recording.
A doff of the hat to broadcast mics past, the Audio-Technica AT2040 comes with a mount attached to the mic for easy manoeuverability. This will also screw onto basically all microphone stands courtesy of the 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter.
For transporting this microphone, there’s an included soft protective pouch to ensure your AT2040 stays in good nick while on the move, and at 615g, it won’t weigh down your microphone stand, while still being solid enough to take a knock due to its all metal enclosure.
Overall: With content creators likely wanting to have an all in one solution available and not have to purchase extra accessories, this fits the bill.
With its affordable price tag, robust construction and great sounding, noise rejecting qualities, the AT2040 is sure to be a hit for online content creators – keep your eyes peeled for it in the next YouTube thumbnail!
Sound Particles Panner Collection
Distributed by: Sound Particles.
Recommended for: Virtual and augmented reality sorcerers, immersive audio addicts.
Features: The Panner Collection includes the Brightness Panner and Energy Panner, both plugins boasting seemingly endless possibilities in the immersive realms of audio production. The UI’s of each plugin are visually elegant and intuitive considering their algorithmic complexity. The top of the UI’s are identical with controls for specifying the start point, movement, mix knob (wet/dry), master gain control and output options ranging from stereo through to Ambisonics. The bottom of Energy Panner features parameters typically found on a compressor, ala threshold, ratio, attack/release, as well as an external sidechain, epic! The Brightness Panner allows panning control from brightness (of the source audio) pitch or MIDI notes. Both plugins feature invert and randomize buttons for quickly inverting the direction of the panning or for throwing some unpredictability into the processing. The pan and sliding modes control the panning going back and forth or moving forward respectively.
Overall: What was incredibly complex processing and routing has literally shaved down to two plugins. The seamless processing of both plugins is actually insane, being able to throw sounds around the 3D soundfield with such ease and immediate visual feedback on the UI is something that all immersive audio wizards will enjoy. Either directly on sound sources or effects busses, both plugins give new possibilities of depth, dimension and movement unlike anything that’s come before them.
Audio Technica AT LPW50PB
Distributed by: Technical Audio Group.
Recommended for: Audiophiles, vinyl junkies, lounge room lizards.
Features: Being a straight up no frills belt-driven player, users can enjoy simple, reliable operation with a 30mm MDF anti-resonance medium density fiberboard plinth finished in high-gloss piano black, which looks really gorgeous. This paired with the die-cast aluminum platter (with accompanying rubber mat) and straight carbon-fibre tonearm (boasting hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest) keeps playback smooth and steady.
As for the finer details, the AT LPW50PB sports a AT-HS4 universal ½”-mount headshell and AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge with a 0.3×0.7mm elliptical stylus made for razor sharp contact, and with the AT-VM95E cartridge (compatible with any VM95 Series replacement stylus), it offers a massive range of options suitable for essentially any budget or application. Whilst some purists may snub at the in-built switchable phono preamplifier, this will be a welcomed feature for many who may not have a souped up amplifier with a variety of source input options. The dual RCA male to dual RCA male stereo cable rounds out the elegant simplicity of this turntable, which also comes with a 45 RPM adapter, rubber mat, and removable, hinged dust cover for options of how this player matches the aesthetic of the room it is placed in.
Overall: Like all things Audio Technica, the AT LPW50PB turntable is meticulously engineered to deliver the smoothest, most reliable of 33-1/3 and 45 RPM wax playback. The phono preamp will be welcomed by those requiring the option of phono or line-level output options. An elegant option sure to find itself in many lounge rooms.
Presonus Eris 3.5 Studio Monitors
Distributed by: Link Audio.
Recommended for: Content creators, home video producers, gamers, bedroom producers, compact monitor enthusiasts, casual listeners.
Features: The PreSonus Eris 3.5 Active Media Reference Monitors bring a wealth of features into a compact design, producing a tight, accurate sound with intuitive control and connectivity, all in a humble sized footprint. Boasting 25-watts per monitor with a frequency response of 80Hz – 20kHz, they produce an impressive 100dB SPL (peak) at 1m, a respectable figure given their 3.5” woofer and 1” soft dome tweeter configuration.
The front panel presents the power button, as well as volume control, a 3.5mm aux input and headphone output for instant connection for headphones or playback devices. Balanced and unbalanced connections are found on the rear panel of the primary monitor (left), which consists of left/right 1/4″ TRS balanced and left/right RCA unbalanced connections. Also on the rear are the acoustic tuning knobs for high and low frequencies, allowing a boost or cut of +6dB or -6dB respectively. Weighing in at a minimal 2.9kg for the pair, the Eris 3.5 monitors can be easily transported if required.
Overall: Fitting for a wide variety of users, as well as practical and casual applications, the Presonus Eris 3.5 monitors get a big thumbs up, being some of the finest in their category, fitting up-and-coming producers, gamers, content creators alike, or simply placed next to the living room turntable for casual listening.
RØDE Lavalier Mic II
Distributed by: RØDE Microphones
Recommended for: Content creators, producers, and participants
Features: RØDE’s lavalier microphone has been updated with a stylish and sleeker low-profile design and broadcast-grade quality audio and it’s certainly making waves in the Creator community.
On top of being an awesome Lav mic for general use, the new Lav II pairs perfectly with their newly released AI-Micro interface as well as the Wireless GO system which makes it the ultimate companion for your content creation setup whether it is strictly audio or if it incorporates video.
If it’s the latter, the low-profile design and ultra-compact mounting clip makes it incredibly discreet and easy to conceal in the frame, utilising state-of-the-art capsule technology and a unique form factor, allowing it to sit flush against clothing and other mounting surfaces.
Its flat cable ensures it’s neat and unobtrusive while it comes with a high-quality pop filter and mini furry windshield for recording outdoors, the compact mounting clip (which includes easy cable management slots), and a set of coloured identification rings for keeping track of microphones in multi-mic setups.
Its omnidirectional polar pattern picks up crystal-clear sound from all directions, meaning the Lavalier II is also very forgiving when it comes to placement, while featuring a 3.5mm locking connector for use with professional wireless microphone systems.
Overall: The RØDE Lavalier Mic II is the ultimate addition to a content creators’ setup with its compatibility with the company’s AI-Micro interface and Wireless GO systems. Its affordability is perfect for those already in the scene or those wanting to try their hand in it.
PreSonus Revelator io24
Distributed by: Link Audio
Recommended for: Audiophiles, streamers, content creators, podcasters
Features: This two-channel audio interface is pocket-sized and unassuming at first glance, but its intuitive and versatile processing gives you limitless possibilities for your recording and streaming ventures.
The Revelator io24 can serve as a standard USB Audio interface for Mac and PC with a sleek, straightforward design, which provides superior, condensed functionality. With two dual combi XLR quarter-inch inputs, midi input and output, and multi-parameter controls with minimal buttons and knobs, it’s a no-brainer for content creators that require a seamless audio/streaming workspace on the go.
It captures highly polished audio with its PreSonus XMAX-L mic preamps and superior onboard processing. It also features a simple looping mixer which lets you easily manoeuvre backing tracks into that virtual co-write, zoom call, or podcast recording. With two dedicated channels for loopback audio, it allows for simultaneous recording and streaming as you mix and record audio from two different applications. The Revelator 24 i/o also comes with PreSonus’ Studio One software, which has professionally-crafted presets, diverse plugins, and a smooth drag-and-drop workflow.
Overall: Let’s admit it – we’ve all said at one point in our lives that we’d like to start a podcast or stream our most intimate musical creation processes. As the first audio interface designed specifically for boh recording and streaming, the Revelator io24 enables seamless online collaborations for content creation – this makes it a one-of-a-kind gift that is going to make your hybrid audio engineering-gamer-podcaster pal froth
Check out print edition #318 for our full gift guide!