As we close out 2022, I would like to share some items that I personally enjoyed. We’re getting close to a time when this is relevant, but a late gift is still a good gesture. increase.
Disclaimer: Some of these items (disclosed separately below) were provided free of charge in exchange for editorial coverage. I don’t care if you buy one of these. As such, there are no affiliate links in this article.
1) Yamaha TT-S303 Turntable (provided for this review)
Vinyl is a great way to enjoy your music. Collecting records is fun and a great way to generate loyalty for listening to music. Holding something to appreciate art offers a different and more intimate experience than digital streaming.
Sonically, many people (myself included) would say that the fidelity is unmatched on vinyl, depending on the source material.At around $500 (take or take $50 off the sale price) I think this is a good option.
Similar to similarly priced Pro-Ject models, but includes a tonearm with anti-skirt technology that is easier to use. This model also has a built-in phono amp and is speed adjustable from 33 to 45 RPM. I needed an external phono and speed control, so it’s a simpler stand-alone unit than the Pro-Ject I was using before. i like that
There are drawbacks. The turntable contains a moving magnet (MM) cartridge and phono. I personally use moving coil cartridges. A better type of cartridge without getting caught in the weeds, but you’ll have to tune it with a phono amp. If you have an external phono, it’s easy. But as far as I can tell from hours of research, it’s not possible with the Yamaha TT-S303.
You may have a compatible moving coil cartridge, but mine (Dennon DL-110) is not.
We see this as a solid turntable for beginners, or even an upgrade for those who have bought a low-priced first turntable and are looking to get some more serious quality. , get Pro-Ject in lieu of an upgrade if the giver might end up addicted to the hobby.
2) Rock And Roll Warrior – Book by David Libert (provided for this review)
David Libert is an industry gem who has been active in the music industry since the mid-1960s. He scored big with his hit “See You In September” with his group The Happenings. After initial success with hits settled in, he found himself taking on more and more business responsibilities for the band. This has influenced his decades-long career of working with some of music’s most celebrated artists.
You can see David’s silly sense of humor on every page of the book. This is one of the most “fun” autobiographical books of him I’ve read, and I’ve never worked with talent, toured, or simply wanted to learn more about the inner workings of the music industry. I think it’s a “must have” book for anyone.
3) Fender Fat Finger
I recently found this little guitar gadget at Sweetwater and I had to try it. A very simple gift. Perfect for Hanukkah presents (or those snowflake sock stuffers that need everything to be Christmas in late December).
At only about $20, it makes a great gift for any guitar or bass player. The device claims to increase persistence. To some extent, I’ve noticed that the really cool thing about this is that sometimes you just want an inexpensive gift for a musician. This is perfect for anyone who plays guitar or bass, but I really don’t know what to get. If nothing else, it’s unlikely you already have.
4) Little Korg Synth
These are more or less toys for music makers, or anyone wanting to start experimenting with music and sound. They’re relatively cheap (around $50) (like the last entry) and offer ongoing fun. I have a couple that I keep in my desk drawer and bust out once or twice a month and play for 20 minutes. As someone who doesn’t know, I find it very rewarding.
5) Inside by Bo Burnham
Bo Burnam’s Inside is a netflix special. It’s also a contender for my favorite media of the new millennium (including music, movies, games, etc.).
Bo can take deep social issues and communicate them in a way that most people can understand. He talks about how emotions are monetized and how it affects us psychologically as a species. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I think everyone should watch the special. However, the gift I recommend is a vinyl record. Prefer ‘Inside – Deluxe’ which includes great outtakes such as Bezos 3 and Bezos 4, 1985.
Here’s a preview of what you’re in for:
If the recipient isn’t interested in records, go to Netflix and watch Inside together. Spending time together and being grateful for something great is a gift in itself.
7) Snark Rechargeable:
If you know a string player, you probably own one or more of these instruments. But now they are made with rechargeable batteries. This is a great “small gift” that any string player will appreciate.
6) Yamaha – Box System Home Theater YHT-5960U (provided for this review)
A home theater in a box is a product type that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. So, especially in this era of his 3D mixed audio and ever more immersive sound design, quality products from Yamaha are a welcome addition.
The system is powerful for the price thanks to the very good amps that come with the set. However, there is no Atmos. So those who really want the latest 23 audio might want to go in a different direction. But for those who are happy with the 5.1 (home he’s most people in theater setups, I think), this is a good choice at an affordable price.
What I believed about HTIB was substandard (often proprietary) amplifiers. They were designed with proprietary ports and other inconveniences that hindered a myriad of use cases. You can’t do that if your speaker ports are all proprietary.
With this system, you get an amplifier/receiver that you can plug into anything you want, and it uses traditional speaker wire.
Sound quality is pretty good. You may not get the stereo music fidelity you get from a good two-channel (or 2.1 system), but for the price (about $700) it sounds great.
It’s worth mentioning that the amp alone costs nearly $600, so if you’re looking for 5.1 surround sound, HTIB is a great deal.
7) Soul Asylum – Grave Dancers Union 30th Anniversary
The great Minneapolis rock album Soul Asylum (formerly “Loud Fast Rules”) is a great album. Includes “Runaway Train,” which won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. A great album and a “must have” for any alternative rock fan.
Plus, this is a great remastering! As someone who’s heard this for most of my life (Runaway Train was the first song I knew all the words for), these songs have never felt so alive and textured. The stage has a lot more depth than other versions I’ve heard, and the separation between the instruments allows every element to have its individual clarity and vibrancy.
There are only 5000 copies of this and it is pressed on black and gold marble vinyl (very neat). Due to the high rating of this album, there is no doubt that it will be a valuable collector’s item for some people. I myself bought two so that I could listen to one and save the other.