November 25, 2021
For the music lover in your life.
There is no shortage of items out there to improve your experience of collecting and listening to records – whether you’re a seasoned head, or a newly-initiated fanatic.
From stocking fillers like headphone jacks and stylus cleaners, to larger items like camping-inspired record bags, turntables, DJ set-ups, and speakers, we’ve picked out ideas across a range of prices from £2 to £2000 that the music lover in your life will adore.
NB: Some products are UK-based, others US based. Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to find a retailer or alternative closer to home.
Klipted OLT Backpack
A highlight of the year, Japanese company Klipted’s handmade record backpack is inspired by camping gear – to safely take your records on the road in style. With space for 50 12″s, the OLT Backpack is available in four colourways – black, charcoal grey, coyote brown, and woodland. You can also purchase an accessories case for your phone and tech accoutrements that attaches to its strap. Beautifully crafted with immaculate attention to detail, the bag has been tried and tested by VF’s Gabriela Helfet, who reports a newfound lightness in her once turtle-shell-like vinyl shoulders.
Plastic Turntable Adapter 45RPM
Give the 7″s in your life some love with this handy adapter, which allows a dinked 7″ record to be played on a standard turntable. Always missing, and always needed, it’s the perfect small but mighty gift.
Headphone Adaptor 3.5mm to 6.35mm (1/4 inch) Jack
The headphone jack is an essential item for intimate home listening and DJ set-ups alike. One of those infinitely useful, impossibly easy to lose, items that you can never have too many of.
Bangkok record shop, venue, and label Zudrangma launched a series of affordable face masks in 2020, appropriately called Zudrangmasks – complete with highly comfortable, adjustable straps – in a range of colourways. Each mask features an embroidered Zudrangma logo on the side, and comes with two filters, making it re-usable, and eco-friendly as well. (Additional filters can be cheaply procured only.) Save the planet, and your ears, while supporting your local record shop in the process? Win, win, and win.
Record Cleaning Brush
Produced in a collaboration with Denmark’s AM Sound, Phonica Records’ vinyl brush is made from carbon fibers, to eliminate static charges while removing dust and fine particles that can degrade your record’s sound, as well as prevent damage to your needle. An essential for any vinyl owner.
Love Injection “Universal Love” Tote Bag
Love Injection, aka Paul Raffaele & Barbie Bertisch, enter the tote bag game with its stylish and sturdy version of the enduring classic. Measuring 14″ x 15″ with 22″ handles, the tote is made of 100% cotton with a 4″ bottom gusset. It also features LI’s ‘A Declaration Of Universal Love’ circular logo, beaming out positivity as you place your records inside of it.
ACS Pacato ear plugs
Ear plugs are essential for preventing hearing loss from gigs, festivals, club nights, and DJ sets. (Trust us when we say tinnitus is no joke; protect your hearing at all costs!) Available in a variety of sizes, ACS’ Pacato range attenuate sound, to offer a flat response and a natural sounding filter. The company also makes custom made versions, which are well worth the expensive price tag to protect your ability to listen to music until the end of time.
Stroboscope turntable alignment mats
Calibrate your turnable’s rotation speed to a finely tuned tee with this stroboscopic disc. (Strobe light not included.) On the flip, handy cartridge alignment markings will assist you in making sure all turntable appendages are in top form.
AM Clean Sound cleaning box set
A clean record is a happy record, one that allows your stylus to glide across its surface like a sonic ice skating olympian. This is especially important if you’re buying secondhand records, because a clean record also ensures that your needles last longer, preventing mysterious dust, dirt, and gunk buildup damage. AM Cleansound’s set is a must for both dry and wet cleaning, and comes with 200ml record cleaner fluid, an anti-static brush, a pick-up brush for your stylus, and lint free cloths.
Aloha Got Soul Logo Slipmat
No matter where you are in the world, usher in some sonic sunshine courtesy of Aloha Got Soul’s bright yellow 7″ slipmats. Featuring the label’s minimalist wave logo, the slipmat is good for turntables as well as portable record players as well.
Island Vibes Double-Sided Slipmat
Kick your turntable platter artwork up a notch with this vibrant, rainbow slipmat, which features a different pattern on each side. Another offering from the wonderful Hawaiian label and record store Aloha Got Soul, this time in 12″ form, it was created to celebrate Arthur Lyman’s beautiful LP Island Vibes.
ONZOW Zerodust Stylus Cleaner
SOS for dusty needles, gently lowering your stylus tip into ONZOW Zerodust Stylus Cleaner’s specially formulated, ultra-soft gelatinous plastic will remove unwanted dirt particles – “softer and has 15 times more elasticity than a baby skin.” Dust build-up can lead to muffled and scratchy sound, while a dirty stylus is also more likely to jump out of the groove, all of which are things you want to prevent. When dust has gathered on the cleaner itself, you can remove the build-up with a neutral detergent and warm water, ensuring the cleaner will last for a long time. The cleaner also features a magnifying glass on the lid to inspect your stylus with, like a vinyl detective.
Isonoe Isolation System
Referred to as “turntable tootsies” in the VF office, these handy isolation system accessories have been designed for use with smaller hi-fi setups and turntables, working to remove unwanted vibrations and improving sound quality in the process. While you may find others on the market, trust in Isonoe’s attention to sound to stand you in good stead with these for decades to come.
Near Mint DJ tour pack
For the DJ on the go who wants to step their bag game up a notch, Near Mint’s lightweight and sturdy DJ tour pack boasts a splash-proof exterior, adjustable shoulder straps, a compartment for a headphone case, three inside zip pockets designed for cables / USBs, and a hidden pocket for valuables on the back. The case is also perfect for storing Near Mint’s 360 cleaning solution and its microfibre cleaning cloth – meaning you’ll be ready for any pressing matter that comes your way.
MasterSounds Turntable Weight
Manchester hi-fi company MasterSounds’ sturdy turntable weight is a beloved favourite. This 400g titanium model also features a slimmer profile and wider diameter for improved sound quality. MS also offers collaborative variants on its turntable weight, with Phonica Records, Turntable Lab, and Classic Album Sunday variants available as well.
Ortofon Super OM 5E
Affordable and sturdy, Ortofon cartridges are ideal of both new turntablists and seasoned DJs. With split-pole pin technology, which reduces magnetic losses at the treble end, the Super OM 5E is easy to mount and align with your headshell, and is compatible with a variety of phono preamps.
Pioneer’s XDJ-XZ is a one-stop shop for budding and seasoned DJs alike who want to integrate their turntables with a mixer and CDJ set-up, boasting Rekordbox and Serato compatibility. The controller features two line inputs, a four channel mixer with similar specs to its DJM club range, two low-latency, full-size jog wheels from the CDJ-2000NXS2, 64-bit digital signal processor, 3 USB inputs, and the Magvel Fader. It’s also road-ready and easily transportable, equally suited for a club or a home set-up of your choosing, when safe to do so.
Pro-Ject Align-IT cartridge alignment tool
A gift for the meticulous audiophile, Pro-Ject’s Align-IT cartridge alignment tool ensures correct cartridge set-up and alignment. This will reduce wear and tear on records, while also offering improved sound quality.
A beloved festival classic, that’s perfect for bringing your tunes on the go for your next socially-distanced park hang, the Minirig Mini boasts up to 30-hours of battery life. Measuring in at just 84mm x 53mm, it also includes a custom 52mm speaker driver. A pricier model, the Minirig 3, is also available with 100-hours of battery life and a 70mm driver.
AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Headphones
AIAIAI unveiled a new edition of its TMA-2 Studio Headphones this year – combining what are assuredly the most joyfully comfortable earpads going at this price point with its sustainable modular design, and crystalline sound. Thanks to its bio-cellulose speaker drivers, the TMA-2 Studio Headphones carry full and rich sounds in lows, mids and highs. (These are tried and tested across genres, listening to music for 8+ hours at a time.) The modular design also allows you to upgrade each part as and when necessary, rather than throwing the entire headphone away when you want a new pair. Well worth the price point if you get the full package, which includes the exceptionally pillow-y Alcantra ear pads. As with all of AIAIAI’s modular offerings, you can also build it yourself, exactly to your liking. Those seeking a lower price point can also try the lightweight Studio XEs instead.
UDG trolley bag
UDG trolley bag is a gold-standard piece of kit for DJs that will appeal to anyone who needs to take vinyl on the go, while also meeting all airline, hand-luggage size requirements. This revamped version of UDG’s best selling carrier features a hidden, heavy-duty trolley system, in-line wheels, updated locks, and a reinforced structure that can hold up to 50 records.
Record Cube °01
A step-up from traditional turntable crates, Record Cube °01 puts a geometric design take on record storage. Marrying minimalist design with rugged powder coated steel, the cube can hold up to 70 records. (The collection also includes a record artwork mount as well as a turntable and record console.) Record Cube °01 is available in four variants – sage green, black, sapphire blue and ivory.
Line Phono turntable station
As its name suggests, LinePhone’s turntable station houses both your turnable as well as your vinyl. Available in four variants – smoke, carbon, natural, and Baltic birch, it features two shelves that can fit 100 records each, storing 200 records in its tidy, space-conscious design. It also includes three grooves that allow you to display record covers in front of the shelving. For those wishing to include speakers in on the action, LinePhone also makes matching speaker stands too.
CT-01 portable turntable
Coturn’s minimal, portable turntable, the CT-01, is a serious upgrade on portable turntable models of yore, thanks to its numerous features as well as its beautiful design. Half the size of a 12″ record, it is able to play 7″s, 10″s, and 12″s, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a replaceable Audio-Technica AT 3600 needle, and a headphone jack. Alongside the standard version, the CT-01 also comes in a gold Habibi Funk model, and a black Jakarta Records model, both of which have each respective label’s logo laser engraved on its side.
Moog Sound Studio DFAM & Subharmonicon
For those looking to delve deeper into analogue synthesis and budding music makers alike, Moog’s Sound Studio combines two of its beloved synthesizers into one shiny package – the Subharmonicon and DFAM – along with all the cables you’ll need. The set-up also includes a 2-tier rack kit, cable organiser, custom patch cable set, and personal stereo summing mixer with 3-way power distribution. Moog Sound Studio comes complete with exercises, exploration games, patch sheets and studio art.
Technics SL1210 MK7
Technics’ recently relaunched iconic 1200 turntable series remains the gold standard in turntables. Its fundamentals also remain unchanged – the MK7 is still the high-torque, direct-drive deck DJs are accustomed to. However, the newly updated model also offers much needed improvements, such as removable RCA and power cables, an upgraded vibration-dampened platter and ± 8% / ± 16% pitch adjustment. These features don’t compromise the reliable reputation Technics has earned over the years. While it may be more expensive than a second-hand SL-1200 MK2, expect these to last just as long as their predecessors.
KEF LS50 Wireless II Speakers
Beamed down from the hi-fi mothership, KEF unveiled its LS50 Wireless II speakers this year. Proof that wireless speakers can integrate into your analogue set-up and bring mighty sound, place yourself in front of these, close your eyes, and remember what gigs were like in a past lifetime, discovering new realms of your favourite music in the process. Best suited to highs and mids, make the set-up better still by adding sub-woofers into the equation, to ensure the low-end is covered too.
Looking for more gifts? Check out our guides to the best turntables, speakers, and amplifiers at any price range below.