Dec 16, 2022
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Mark Redfern
Welcome to Part 4 of Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2022, which is all about technology. Since we’re a music magazine/website we’re talking speakers, headphones, turntables, and more.
Also check out the other parts of our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1 on tabletop and board games, Part 2 on video games, and Part 3 on DC and Marvel collectibles.
And don’t forget that Under the Radar print magazine subscriptions also make a great gift. Plus donating to the charity of your choice in the name of the gift receiver is also a good way to go.
AKG Podcaster Essentials Kit (AKG by Harman)
It may be a cliché to say that everyone has a podcast these days, but it’s true there are a lot of them about. Under the Radar has three (although one is on hiatus and another we co-present). Still, people are always finding new and interesting ways to approach the medium. If you think you have an idea for the next great podcast, or already host a successful one, you might want to get your hands on the AKG Podcaster Essentials Kit. It includes all you need to make it happen.
Firstly it comes with the AKG Lyra USB microphone. This is a real thing of beauty. It looks like a cross between an old school microphone from the golden age of radio and a prop from the original 1960s Star Trek series. Its design is both retro and futuristic, but its sound quality is nothing but modern, with Ultra-HD sound quality. The microphone has four modes for capturing audio: front, front + back, tight stereo, and wide stereo. While the AKG Lyra USB microphone is the centerpiece of the kit, it also comes with a pair of AKG K371 headphones. But even with this tech, you need the tools to fully launch your first episode, so included is Ableton Live 10 Lite audio production software and a free Berklee Online introductory recording course (a four-week course that teaches microphone techniques, the basics of music production, essentials of mixing, and more). So if someone’s been murdered in your building and you and your friends (perhaps a washed up TV actor and former Broadway director) want to produce a podcast about it, get your hands on the AKG Podcaster Essentials Kit. (Buy it here.)
JBL 104-BT Desktop Reference Monitors with Bluetooth (JBL by Harman)
In our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide we covered the original JBL 104 Reference Monitors speakers, but now JBL has upgraded them to include Bluetooth. These are meant for professionals working on music, podcasts, film projects, and what have you. They are intended for placement on desks, on either side of a computer. The integrated 60-watt Class D power amplifier sends 30 watts to each speaker, which means there’s a powerful sound despite each speaker’s fairly compact size. As well as Bluetooth, there are three other sets of inputs. It could pair well with the AKG Podcaster Essentials Kit. Or maybe you should get going on making that acclaimed indie film on your iPhone. (Buy it here.)
Stir It Up Wireless Turntable & Get Together Duo Speaker Bundle (House of Marley)
Also in our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide we covered House of Marley’s Stir It Up Wireless Turntable. We’ve gotten a lot of use out of it over the last three years. Now the turntable is available as bundle with House of Marley’s Get Together Duo Bluetooth speakers. Not only do the speakers pair easily with the turntable via Bluetooth, aesthetically they also match each other well, design-wise. Both are incredibly stylish and eco-friendly. Both are made with bamboo and recycled plastic. Both come in recyclable packaging.
There’s also quote from the company’s namesake, reggae legend Bob Marley, elegantly etched into the arm of the Stir It Up. As well as having Bluetooth, the Stir It Up also has traditional wired connections (including a RCA output and a 3.5mm headphone jack). It even has a USB port so you can connect it to your computer to record vinyl. The Get Together speakers can of course also connect to other Bluetooth devices. We also connected them to a laptop and tested them out listening to the new Weyes Blood album and Michael Giacchino’s score to The Batman, both which sounded fantastic. They can also connect to non-Bluetooth devices.
What’s more, when you buy any House of Marley product some proceeds go to Project Marley, which helps support reforestry and to date have planted 340,400 trees. Considering how great the Stir It Up is (and how reasonably priced it is compared to other nice turntables), this gift is a no-brainer for eco-friendly vinyl-heads. (Buy it here.)
Positive Vibration XL ANC Wireless Headphones (House of Marley)
House of Marley don’t just make amazing turntables and speakers, they also produce headphones. The Positive Vibration XL ANC model is a wireless pair of headphones. Apart from being Bluetooth-compatible, they are also noise cancelling, featuring Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation technology. What’s more, it comes with a built in microphone for hands-free calling and voice activation. On a full charge you’ve got up to 26 hours of listening with noise cancelling turned on or 35 hours with no noise cancelling. Add in the memory foam ear cushioning and the fact that they are made from recycled materials and this should be the go-to noise cancelling Bluetooth headphone. (Buy it here.)
Smile Jamaica Wired Earbuds (House of Marley)
Sometimes you don’t want to bother with all that modern technology and you just want a pair of wired earbuds you can grab for a walk or run or subway commute. House of Marley have you covered there too with their Smile Jamaica wired earbuds. They are stylish and have a nice sound (they feature “feature 9mm dynamic drivers for exceptional audio clarity and maximum bass,” according to the House of Marley website). As with all House of Marley products, they are made from recycled materials and any purchase contributes to their tree-planting program. There is one bit of modern tech included—a microphone for calls. There’s also a more expensive wireless Smile Jamaica model, but at the price the wired version would be a great stocking stuffer. (Buy it here.)