1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Great iPhone & iPad Gifts for Musicians

By

The iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad aren't just about listening to music, they can also be powerful tools in creating it. If you've got any musicians, or aspiring musicians, on your holiday shopping list, they probably already have one of those devices. Why not combine their love of music and technology by giving them one of these gifts for guitarists, pianists, and singers?

Important note: Many of these devices connect to the iPhone or iPad's Dock Connector port. The latest models--iPhone 5S and 5C, 5th gen. iPod touch, and iPad Air and Mini--all use a new interface, the Lightning port. If the musician you're buying for has one of these devices, you'll probably need to add a $30 Lightning-to-Dock Connector adapter to make sure these accessories will be compatible.

1. AmpliTube iRig

AmpliTube iRig
image copyright IK Multimedia
The AmpliTube iRig combines a small accessory and an app to give guitarists and bass players a potable recording studio. Plug the guitar or bass into the iRig and then plug the other end into the microphone jack on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and you unlock a world of virtual amps, effects, and more. You can connect the device to headphones, amps, and stereos for output and record the music. Expect to spend around US$40.

2. Apogee JAM Guitar Input

Apogee JAM Guitar Input
image copyright Apogee Electronics Corp.
Apogee's JAM Guitar Input is very similar to the AmpliTube iRig. Plug this small device into the dock connector on an iPad or iPhone, or the USB port of a Mac, and connect the other end to a guitar or bass and you're ready to rock. Apogee touts it as offering studio-quality sound, and the JAM integrates with GarageBand for post-recording mixing and effects. The JAM costs around $100.
Compare Prices

3. Griffin StompBox

Griffin StompBox
image copyright Griffin Technology
This four-button box turns your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a full-blown guitar effects pedal. Plug it into the the dock connector and plug the included GuiatrConnect cable into a guitar or headphones and you're set. The included app then gives you access to the equivalent of a full board of pedal-driven effects. The device also offers an input for an expression pedal (sold separately). In a neat twist, the StompBox is great for public speaking, too, since it works with teleprompter app Qscript (Purchase at iTunes) to control the scrolling on your speech, hands-free. The StompBox costs around $100.
Compare Prices

4. ION Piano Apprentice

ION Piano Apprentice
image copyright ION Audio
The pianist in your life looking for practice, or the budding prodigy who wants to learn how to play the piano, will appreciate the ION Piano Apprentice. This mini-keyboard comes with a teaching app that uses the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to impart piano lessons. Even cooler, the keys on the keyboard light up in sync with the lesson, showing you where to play and making learning easier. It offers built-in speakers and optional batteries for portable use, and can work with any MIDI-compliant piano app. The Piano Apprentice costs around $100.

5. Line 6 Mobile Keys Keyboards

Line 6 Mobile Keys
image copyright Line 6 Inc.
Line 6's Mobile Keys keyboards can help turn an iOS device into a mobile recording studio for pianists. Simply plug the keyboard (there are two versions; one with 25 keys, the other with 49, ranging in price from $100-$150) into an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac and the pianist can play their music directly into audio software like GarageBand. Even better, these keyboards draw power from the device, so there's no need to carry a separate power supply.
Compare Prices

6. Apogee ONE USB Microphone

Apogee ONE USB Microphone
image copyright Apogee Electronics Corp.
While the Apogee ONE is a microphone in name, it can be much more than that to the musician on your gift list this year. First, the ONE can plug into an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Mac to record podcasts, singing, and other vocals. More than that, though, it also offers connections for other microphones, or guitars or basses, and support for two channels of simultaneous recording. Lastly, connect the ONE to a power source and it can charge your mobile devices so battery life the music doesn't have to end prematurely. Expect to spend around $350 on the ONE.
Compare Prices

7. iRig Mic

iRig Mic
image copyright IK Multimedia

The singers (and podcasters, public speakers, and interviewers) that you know will appreciate the iRig. It's a microphone and app combination that plugs into the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad's headphone jack and lets them create high-quality, professional recordings. The mic works with most apps that accept audio input, according to manufacturer IK Multimedia. Expect to spend around $60 on this.

If the musician you're buying for already has a mic they love and want to connect to their iOS device, check out IK's $40 iRig PRE Microphone Interface (Buy Direct from Apple).

8. Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface

Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface
image copyright Apogee Electronics Corp.
For serious musicians whose recording environments include technology like iOS devices and MIDI devices, the $650 Apogee Duet can sit at the heart of their work. The Duet includes mic preamps, a USB MIDI connection, support for simultaneous MIDI keyboard and DJ controllers on iPad and, when connected to a power source, the ability to charge an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. It’s not an inexpensive gift, but for the professional musician, it could be a great gift.
Compare Prices

9. MIDI Connectors

Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer II Interface
image copyright Line 6

If the musician in your life prefers a keyboard, chances are they may have MIDI-compatible instruments--and they may want to connect them to their iPhone or iPad. If that's the case, check out these connectors from iRig and Line 6. Both devices connect to iPhones or iPads using the old-style Dock Connector (so your musician may need a Lightning adapter if they have a new device) and let music played on MIDI instruments be recorded in compatible apps. Expect to spend around $70.

Compare Prices:

10. Griffin DJ Cable

Griffin DJ Cable
image copyright Griffin Technology
If the musician in your life prefers electronic music over instruments, they may enjoy this DJ Cable from Griffin. The cable, which plugs into the headphone jack on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, allows DJs to hear both the music pumping through the speakers and the songs they're preparing to mix in. This accessory is designed to work with algoriddim's djay app (Purchase at iTunes) and will set you back just $20.
Compare Prices

11. Numark iDJ Live

Numark iDJ Live
image copyright Numark Industries LP

With music being so digital these days, aren't DJs behind the times using traditional analog records? That's something the Numark iDJ live aims to fix. This iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad-compatible DJ station not only lets you mix music on your device, it also offers two turntable-style devices to provide, in Numark's words, "natural scratch feel." Like the Griffin DJ cable, the iDJ works well with the djay app, but it also adds traditional buttons, faders, and other controls to fine-tune your sound. A split cable allow DJs to listen to their cues or the music they're playing. The iDJ runs around $100.

If the DJ you're buying for needs a more portable, but no less functional, option, check out the $100 IK Multimedia iRig MIX DJ Mixer (compare prices). This box lets DJs connect various devices, including an iPhone or iPad, to create the perfect mix.

Compare Prices

12. Home Karaoke Kits

Soulo Digital Wireless Mic + Karaoke App
image copyright Seven45 Studios

Know an aspiring singer, or has the whole family been inspired by American Idol, X Factor, or The Voice and wants to join in the fun? These home karaoke packages will put them center stage. Soulo's Digital Wireless Mic + Karaoke App comes with a wireless mic that streams lyrics to your iPad or iPhone and lets you sing along (only 10 songs are included, but you can sing along with songs from your iTunes library or download songs from the free Soulo app). First Act's Disney Spotlight Digital Wireless Mic + Karaoke App works very much the same way, except that it comes pre-loaded with Disney songs and is aimed at younger singers. Both offer some neat bonuses, like pitch enhancement to keep your singing in tune and the ability to record video of your performance (then you can use the iPad to upload that video to the web or YouTube). Expect to spend around $100.

Buy Direct: Soulo Digital Wireless Mic + Karaoke App

Compare Prices on Disney Spotlight Digital Wireless Mic + Karaoke App

  1. About.com
  2. Technology
  3. iPhone / iPod
  4. iPhone & iPod touch
  5. Buying or Upgrading iPhone
  6. Past iOS Holiday Buying Guides
  7. Holiday Buying Guide 2011
  8. Great iPhone & iPad Gifts for Musicians - Holiday Buying Guide 2013

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.