2011 Holiday gift guide for music & audio geeks (part 2)

by David D.

Thanksgiving Thingamagoop Thinglink Edition – gifts under $200

Thingamagoop 2 - $160 (built)

(hover and poke the thingamgoops in the eye for a demo)Hover and click on targets for more infoThe music and audio geek in your life is sure to be thankful after unwrapping a Thingamagoop 2. The T2 marries the original analog Thingamagoop with a digital synthesizer you control with light. You can output the sound through its own speaker, a Marshall stack, or use the CV output to control your vintage synth. Poke one in the eye for a demo!

You can buy them built for $160 or save some money and get a kit for $100. If you really want to light up the holidays, spend a little more and get the RGB edition for $225 — the same sounds with a see-through faceplate and blinking LEDs.  Here’s the scoop on the Thingamagoop:

- Analog VCO controlled by photocell.
- Digital mode with sample and hold, Arpeggios, noise, and bit crush effects.
- Open source, Arduino code so you can program your own sounds!
- Analog mode with all the sounds of the original Thingamagoop.
- Tough, stomp box type body with silk screened graphics in 3 different styles.
- CV out. Control your vintage or modular synth with light!

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Collapsible High-End Headphones - $149.99

Ask some people what they want for Christmas, and you’ll hear “peace and quiet”.  Ask us and we say: “peace and music!”  With the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones, you can have it all: peace, quiet, and music.

These sound isolating headphones use passive noise reduction to give you a peaceful, high-quality listening experience.  They can reduce noise by up to 32 db without compromising sound quality.

Compare that to active noise-cancelling headphones (like Bose),  that can cancel out constant noise (like an airplane engine) up to 26 db, but not people talking or babies crying.  Other issues with noise cancelling headphones: the noise cancelling signal does not affect all frequencies equally, reduces sound quality, and can introduce an audible hiss.

As a bonus, you can wear the HD 380s unplugged to protect your ears while practicing the drums or engaged in other high-volume activities. Hover over the headphones and click the targets for more info.

Jumbie Jam Steel Drum - $184.60

A professional steel drum can cost several thousand dollars. And most of the smaller models sound like toys.  Now you can get a small-scale model from Panyard, a professional steel-drum maker.  And it sounds great.

Although packaged and marketed mainly to schools and kids, it comes with a stand that is adjustable for adults, and a truly “big boy” sound. Unless you want a stand sporting colorful “feet”, stick with the steel gray model.

All drums have 8 notes tuned to the G Major scale. The package also includes mallets, an instruction book, and a play-along CD. Hover over the drum and tap the D-A-C notes for video demonstrations.

Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links

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