Top 10 Sound Designer Gift Guide

2017 Top 10 Sound Designer Gift Guide

With the holidays fast approaching, we know that the panic to cross everyone off on your gift list is starting to set in. We know that buying for the Sound Designer in your life can be a daunting task at the best of times, but when you add the holiday stress (“The In-Laws are staying for how long?!?”) it can seem almost impossible!  That’s why we scoured the internet looking for the top 10 Sound Designer gift ideas for under $200 USD!


2017 Top 10 Sound Designer Gift Guide

 

 

One – Hand-Held Recorders

Zoom H2N ($159 USD)

Zoom H4N Pro ($199.99 USD)

Zoom H2N & H4N Pro
Zoom H2N & H4N Pro

The Zoom H2N and the H4N Pro are both ideal for the mobile sound designer, the traveler and those susceptible to spontaneity. They both have built in stereo microphones with multiples configurations, record up to 96/24, and can also perform as audio interfaces. The H2N offers surround sound and the H4N offers 2x XLR/TRS inputs. (Another company selling affordable handheld recorders worth looking into– Tascam)

Two – iPhone Microphones

Shure MV88 ($149.99 USD)

Zoom IQ7 ($99.99 USD)

Shure MV88 & Zoom iQ7
Shure MV88 & Zoom iQ7

Have an iPhone? With these microphones, it’s a new portable studio! If you are leaning more towards the Shure MV88, now is the time to buy as it is on sale for $129.99 USD until December 31, 2017.

Three – Non-Acoustic Microphones

DIY (Almost Free)

Buy (Price Varies)

Running out of sound design ideas? Stop using a traditional microphone! If you are the Do-It-Yourself kind of person, check out the DIY contact microphone guide. If you just don’t have the time, then there are a lot of options for purchasing as well! There are plenty of contact and hydrophone microphones available online for an affordable price.

Four – Software Synthesizers

Izotope Iris 2 ($149 USD)

Serum Wavetable ($189 USD)

Izotope Iris 2 & Serum Wavetable
Izotope Iris 2 & Serum Wavetable

Synthesizers are a great way to make unique sounds without having to rely on microphones and studios. High-end synthesizers can get expensive quickly, so make the most out of your money and get software synths!

Five – Hardware Synthesizers

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators (From $49 USD)

Korg Volca Series (Pricing Varies)

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators & Korg Volca Series
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators & Korg Volca Series

Working on a computer can get boring and mundane, which can stifle their creativity. While hardware synthesizers can get expensive, here’s some inexpensive ones we found (and also come highly recommended by many in the industry)! The Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators offer 7 different kinds, each with a different sound focus. The Korg Volca Series offers 4 analog synths and 1 digital FM synth.

Six – Software FX Units

Wave’s Power Pack Plug-In ($199 USD)

Sountoys Plug-Ins (From $79 USD)

Eventide’s Fission Plug-In ($179 USD)

Wave's Power Pack, Soundtoys & Eventide Fission
Wave’s Power Pack, Soundtoys & Eventide Fission

If they have an arsenal of microphones and synthesizers at their disposal, than perhaps they could take their sounds to the next level with audio effects. Software plug-in’s are a great way to get affordable and high-quality FX processing units. The Wave Power Pack plug-in is a bundle that has all the basics covered. Soundtoys offers a variety of plug-in’s from massive echoes and filter sweeps to pitch-bends. Eventide’s Fission plug-in uses Structural Effects technology to re-arrange sounds.

Seven – Hardware FX Units

Guitar Pedal: Boss DD-7 Digital Delay ($159.99 USD)

Multi-Effects Pedal: Zoom G3n ($149.99 USD)

Non-Guitar Pedal: Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer ($199.99 USD)

Boss DD-7, Zoom G3n & Roland VT-3
Boss DD-7, Zoom G3n & Roland VT-3

Just like with soft vs. hard synths, they may want a real FX unit to play with and design their sounds. Most studio FX racks are extremely expensive, but guitar and digital FX units will match your $200 budget.

Eight – Headphones

In-Studio: Audio Technica ATH-M50x or Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO ($149 / $179 USD)

Field Recording: Sennheiser HD 25 or AKG K240 MKII ($199 / $149 USD)

Audio Technica ATH M50x, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, Sennheiser HD 25 & AKG K240 MKII
Audio Technica ATH M50x, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, Sennheiser HD 25 & AKG K240 MKII

Whether they are in the field or in the studio recording, they will probably need headphones. Headphones are also handy for mobile workers, or for those designers not able to work in a professionally designed studio with stunning acoustics.

Nine – Knowledge

Books: Sound Design by David Sonnenschein or The Foley Grail by Vanessa Theme Ament ($13.71 /  $32.39 USD)

Masterclass: Hans Zimmer or Deadmau5 ($100 USD)

Magazine: Sound On Sound Subscription (From $47.50 USD)

Sound Design by David Sonnenschein, The Foley Grail by Vanessa Theme Ament, Masterclass & Sound On Sound
Sound Design by David Sonnenschein, The Foley Grail by Vanessa Theme Ament, Masterclass & Sound On Sound

We have all heard the saying that “Knowledge is power”. It’s important to keep challenging yourself and learning new things, or else you risk becoming stagnant and left behind.

Ten – Sound Effects

Audio Hero Subscription (From $9.99 USD)

Stock Music Subscription (From $199 USD)

Any Sound Ideas library under $200 USD  (Did we mention our 50% off sale is going on right now?)

Audio Hero, StockMusic & Sound Ideas
Audio Hero, StockMusic & Sound Ideas

 

Have something you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!


Special thank you to everyone on the Facebook groups ‘Sound Design’ & ‘Sound Design Only’ for helping us with gift ideas!

Written by: James Fensom & Erin Dunt (@ErinAmber_D)

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