Andromeda MK-1 and MK-2 from Eric Archer on Vimeo.

Thanks to the miracles of express shipping, there’s still time to give the gift of music technology for various holidays. (And I do mean the holiday season, not just Christmas – for me, it extends neatly to my birthday on January 13, which in turn falls before the music tech holiday NAMM.)

Geeky goodness

There are really wonderful sound makers out there to give to beginners and enthusiasts alike. MAKE:Magazine has done a fantastic job of covering terrific, affordable kits that anyone can use. I haven’t seen anyone – muscially inclined or otherwise – resist the charm of the Drawdio, a noisemaker mounted on a pen, or the more-sophisticated SX-150 synth. Our friend Collin Cunningham at MAKE has done a nice round-up of their various sound-making toys. Anyone who reads this site I’m sure would love to get one, but even people who’ve never messed around with electronics might find some of the basic kits fun, too.

And new this year are some of the wonderful creations of Eric Archer and company, which we’ve seen shown off at Handmade Music Austin.

Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Music Machines [Make:Blog]

Synthtopia did a nice line-up of instruments under US$100, too, from the mighty Game Boy to delicious noise instruments and Stylophone remakes. I couldn’t agree more (this is one of those stories I wish I had written, but – hey, nice, I didn’t actually have to write it this time)!

10 Cool Electronic Music Instruments Under $100 [Synthtopia]


One kit that I believe was left off these lists is the Loud Objects productions. They’re simple, elegant, but capable of making some fascinating sounds. Having tested them with attendees at Handmade Music events, I can say with confidence that they’re a great way for people to get started making electronics – and you can even have a couple of beers while doing it and pull it off. That could make them a nice way to hook someone you know who isn’t a dedicated electronic musician.

Loud Objects Kit [Loud Objects]

There’s so much goodness on all these lists, in fact, that we may just need:

1.) An ongoing guide to gifts, to help spread the electronic sound addiction to everyone we know, year-round, and…

2.) Some ideas post-holiday for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy our winter hours inside, tinkering with strange sonic toys


In the meantime, since I (cough) did a poor job this year putting together holiday shopping lists, any other blog lists you’d like to showcase? I’ll collect them all. Rush shipping is worth it, right?