Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of FRONT of HOUSE. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Great Holiday Gift Ideas for FOH Readers

George Petersen • December 2020Features • December 10, 2020


Sound reinforcement pros are tough to shop for. We have enough Leathermen, Mini MagLites and cutesy swag to last 100 tours. However, we really need something that could make a difference in our everyday lives. With that in mind, here’s our annual holiday gift guide. Just leave this issue of FRONT of HOUSE lying around (opened to this page) where the right person can find it. Grab your Sharpie, circle any items of interest so potential gifters will spot it and hopefully, in a few weeks, you should receive something you’ll truly appreciate. Give it a try!

APC Back-UPS 650 Surge Protector/Battery Backup

Folks often talk about redundant console power supplies, but you’re far more likely to need a redundant AC power source to avoid resetting your console after a power loss or some moron pulling the plug. A console may reboot in a minute or so, but that feels like hours when the sound goes out at a show. An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can sidestep that situation, and this one provides 390 Watts for up to 12 minutes — perfect for your medium-format console (A&H Avantis, 150W; DiGiCo S31, 208W; PreSonus StudioLive 64S 85W; Yamaha CL5, 170W; etc.) — and includes surge protection as well. It’s just $76.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones

Designed for pro monitoring, the ATH-M50x’s sealed circumaural design isolates from outside noises; these collapse compactly for transport; include three detachable cables (3-meter coiled, 3-meter straight and 1.2-meter straight types); have a wide 15-28k Hz response; and come in basic black ($149), stylin’ purple or polar white ($169). An ATH-M50xBT version ($179/black; $199/purple) adds Bluetooth wireless functionality with 40 hours of battery life; an included cable converts it to standard wired operation. Either way, these are definitely cool for yule. And add the $24 clamp-on AT-HPH300 headphone hanger to keep your cans nearby, yet out of harm’s way at your gig.


Audix and Fir Audio IEM Solutions

The Audix TM2 ($1,039) is a built-for-the-road acoustic coupler, with adapters for testing earpieces (universal or custom molded) to connect with measurement software such as Rational Acoustic’s SMAART or Studio Six Digital’s Audio Tools, to confirm IEM performance — even in the field.

Meanwhile, the Fir Audio IEM Cable Tester ($149) is a pocket device that tests all possible IEM cable-related problems. It has three jacks (3-pole 3.5mm; 4-pole 2.5mm; 4-pole 4.4mm) for the output side of the cable; various earpiece-side sockets (2-pin, MMCX, T2/IPX UE-style; 4-pin JH Audio-style; and MC Card); and a sweep test for shorts and continuity.


L-Acoustics/JH Audio Contour XO IEMs

Industry leaders Dr. Christian Heil and Jerry Harvey have created Contour XO, which provide the L-Acoustics sonic signature in a 10-driver (quad LF, dual MF, quad HF) IEM co-engineered with JH Audio. The result is an ideal tool for engineers using the binaural features of the new L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound mixing software due in 2021, with up to +15 dB of extra LF above flat response. Intended as a reference IEM on stage, at the mixing desk or in the studio, Contour XO offers a premium in-ear solution. Custom-fit IEMs are priced from $1,949; universal-fit are also available.


The Last Seat in the House: The Story of Hanley Sound

Written by FRONT of HOUSE contributor John Kane, this 558-page book offers a fascinating look at the career of Parnelli Awards Hall of Fame inductee Bill Hanley, a true pioneer in what eventually became the modern live festival sound industry, but also provides in-depth insider accounts of his work on Woodstock, rock shows at Madison Square Gardens, the Newport Folk/Jazz and Monterey Pop Festivals, the Beatles’ final tour of 1966, the Fillmore East and more. A must-read for any live sound pro, it’s available in hardback ($110); paperback ($35) and a $21 Kindle e-book.


On-Stage Stands RS7500 Tiltback Tripod Amp Stand

This may seem like a gift to that guitar slinger you work with, but it’s actually a gift for you, because getting a combo amp off the stage floor and tilted back improves your mix, while letting players hear their amp more clearly. The RS7500 ($30/street) has a heavy-duty steel tripod base that adjusts to various sized amps (up to 100 pounds) and has five selectable tilt positions for optimal sound. It even includes a 5/8” threaded end for adding a mic gooseneck or boom; it folds compactly for travel; and has padded bumpers to protect that vintage Twin Reverb. Priceless!


Radial Engineering HDI DI Box

Who would imagine a gift direct box would be a treat? Well, Radial’s HDI is no ordinary DI. Designed by industry legend Hutch Hutchinson, the HDI features Color, Level, Presence knobs and additional tone shaping for quickly achieving a sparkling audio signal. Color integrates an oversized Jensen transformer with an amp-like distortion circuit to mimic a tube amp. An opto-compressor optimizes gain staging in the Clean channel mode. The Presence knob boosts the clean and distortion tonal qualities based on the Color knob’s setting. Hi-Z/Low, HPF and lift switches offer additional tweaking. Street is $799.


Waves WRC-1 WiFi Stage Router

These days, audio productions require solid, robust WiFi and depending on a club’s or churches feed is asking for trouble. Are you really going to risk your show on some $29.95 blister-packed router you picked up at Walmart? An advanced rack-mount wireless router, Waves’ WRC-1 is designed specifically for pro audio applications such as on-stage IEM control and other audio setups that require secure, reliable WiFi connectivity, such as remote control of consoles and P.A. gear in venues, theaters, houses of worship, etc. The WRC-1 can also be used in facilities (corporate, educational, etc.) as a DLNA player for simplified audio playback. Retail: $499.

To download a PDF of this feature, CLICK HERE


The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!