Our 2023 Vinyl Lovers Gift Guide
It’s time to get serious. Sure, holiday sales have been running since October, and you’ve already learned there are now 48 unnecessary covers of “All I Want for Christmas is You,” but now we are neck deep in the holiday season. We at Deep Cut want you to succeed. We want you to crush this holiday. We want each of your gift recipients to shed a single tear that catches the glint of candle light just as a light snow begins to fall on the handbell choir that has gathered to serenade the class of orphans that has come to the town square to pick out a kitten from an miracle litter at the humane society. And we want them to say ‘This [sob] is what Christmas means to me.” And if the gifts in your own stocking would earn the side-eye from the Goodwill donations rep, we’d like you to have some ideas for yourself as well.
Record Player Gifts + Accessories:
If someone in your life has a vinyl habit, there are many ways to feed it. Some of our suggestions are:
Tabletop Record Stand: A simple, handmade stand made from 100% hardwood the stylishly displays the record that is playing. It has one job and it does it well. A breath of fresh air in a world of cheap plastic and thin plywood with unnecessary labels.
Gravespeed Wood (eco friendly) Record Dividers: Whether your giftee has a moderate or huge collection, these wooden dividers make navigating records easy and, frankly, delightful. Plus they come in walnut (and birch), which we love. The materials are quality, the craftsmanship is excellent, and they look (pinched finger kiss sound).
Curated Bag of Records: This year, we and favorite record the The Government Center launched one of our favorite things of all times: A curated bag of records. Government Center owner Josh is the best music sherpa a person could ask for. So why should on the people of Pittsburgh get to benefit? How does it work? Choose a budget, mention words of inspiration (genres you like, artists, vibe), and Josh takes it from there. The result: A stack of records by artists you've likely never heard of that you are bound to love. We've been doing it with joy for years. Now it is everyone else's turn.
Onzow Zero Dust Stylus Cleaner: Be it a dirty record or a dusty room, sometimes your record starts to sound cloudy and you discover your record needle has donned a yarn coat somehow. This gadget makes it a breeze to get rid of that detritus.
Deep Cut Flip Record Shelves: These babies not only show off your album cover art, but they’ve got enough space for storage as well. Now you can store 10 - 15 of your favorite records with a hero display up on your wall in some beautiful hardwood.
Tablemates Isolation Mounts: These fantastic little platforms go under the existing feet of your turntable to reduce the vibration, keeping your records playing smoothly while those heavy-footed friends of yours go stomping around your hardwood floors.
Full Force Hi-Fi Slipmat: These cool cork slipmats give your turntable some flare while also keeping it earthy and grounded. There are a bunch of styles and each is a work of art. This is an instant upgrade regardless of your setup.
Turntable Weight Stabilizer: This weight keeps your records extra stable by weighting them down to make for a better playback. Just a nicely designed, aesthetically pleasing weight that keeps things stable. Simple. Plus they look pretty cool.
Classic Vinyl LP Bag: Records are a weird size. They're big ol squares. And that means they are awkward in most bags. But not in THIS bag. Because THIS bag, the SELEKTOR Classic LP Bag is designed for records specifically. Made from nice material with a nice clean look, this is a great accessory to bring along to the record store, grab some albums you want to spin at your friends place, or...a third thing.
Big Fudge Record Cleaning Kit: You might think "boring", but you should think instead "essential". It is part of the ritual, important for the record and sound quality, and fun accoutrement. And this tried and true kit checks all the boxes. The record cleaner is based on a design that has been around at least since the 70's. It is a must in the vinyl owner's tool kit whether they realize it yet or not.
Turntable Enamel Pin: This simple little pin makes for the perfect addition to go on their favorite record tote, their bag, their jacket, or whatever it may be. Half (or more) of the appeal of this hobby is the how cool that turntable looks. So this pin on anything is an instant upgrade and that is a provable fact.
Christmas Albums: Yes, a lot of Christmas records are hokey. But some are amazing, and are delightful for the season. Look for Elvis, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and A Country Christmas. Vinyl Me Please has a good list. Oh, avoid that Johnny Cash record. It’s a bummer. You want our favorite recent release? Look no further than Amanda Shires - For Christmas. 11/10 perfect. (For those unaware, she is a spectacular Americana musician who is also a member of Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and married to Jason Isbell).
Record Subscriptions: We recommend with caveats: subscriptions are not for everyone. A friend signed-up, enjoyed the first record she received, but cancelled quickly when she started receiving esoteric, un-listenable records accompanied by bizarre, rambling messages. But these ARE great for people looking for new things who aren’t able to get to the record store as often as they would like. Take a look at Vnyl (tailored to your Spotify account), Vinyl Me Please, or Magnolia Record Club.
And if you are feeling very generous: Kit and Kaboodle: the good folks at Turntable Lab have put together a few soup-to-nuts turntable stereo starter kits that will enable your recipient to go from wall socket to vinyl grooving in four (?) easy steps. Go in with a friend or two, maybe, and open up a world of vinyl this Christmas.
Record Players + Systems:
Andover SpinBase: We talk about this system a lot. It is all over our website and social because we own / love one. We’ve also been responsible for getting many of these into many households around the U.S. So what am I talking about? The Andover SpinBase integrated speaker system. It is quite simply the best speaker solution for a small footprint space. And even if you have a little more space, it sounds fantastic. As the name suggests, it is literally a base on which the turntable can sit. And the genius engineering team at Andover (we talked to them) solved the vibration problem. It comes in black or white, it is super clean and user-friendly, it has a built-in pre-amp, and it is quite simply good to go. Vintage turntable? Modern? You’re good either way. And it has all that extra stuff (Bluetooth, etc.). It really is such a cool piece of equipment.
U-Turn Orbit Turntable: The base range of U-Turns punch well above their pricepoint. Sure, the higher end of U-Turn’s catalog is something to talk about as well (gotta give this Theory a try), but for gifting, a simple Orbit would get Santa a very generous grade. It comes in all kinds of fun colors, it is super easy to plug and play, and it sounds excellent for the money. Plus the U-Turn team is incredible. They hand-make everything in Massachusetts and they take care of their customers like nobody’s business.
Klipsch Fives Powered Speakers: These are just truly some of the best bang for buck you can find in the low-mid price range for powered speakers. When it comes to aesthetic meets sound quality, it is hard to do better for less than $800. If you need to do some AV Math, here ya go: These take the place of some of the best sound bars in the game as well. So, if you divide the price by the job they are doing (sound bar, record player speakers, bluetooth speakers…meditation sound machine…?), you are basically being paid to get them. From the wood finish to the tactile satisfaction of the dials to the “whoa, this sounds great” moments, these are fantastic. And with the built-in pre-amp, it is plug and play whether that be from vintage of modern turntables.
U-Turn Ethos Speakers: These handmade speakers are small, gorgeous, and sound amazing in a smaller space. They don’t have some of the bells and whistles of other powered speakers, but that is because they are here to do one thing well: Pair up with a U-Turn turntable to sound great. Okay, two things: And look really great doing it. My Orbit Special + Ethos speakers is a favorite to look at and listen to.
Audio-Technica Sound Burger Portable Bluetooth Turntable: Look, we haven’t gotten to see this thing in person let alone hear it play. But we can’t stop watching videos where people set it up and play it. It is a little too fun, a little too silly, and a little too fantastic not to mention. Does it look straight outta the 80’s? You bet. Is the whole idea absurd? Of course. Will eyes roll when you bust it out to use? From sea to shining sea. Do we want one? You bet. So give it a look. It is a great kind of ridiculous.
Fun Audio Toy: Roland AIRA Compact J-6 Chord Synthesizer This seriously fun little machine allows even the novice to have fun with noise in a travel-sized package. Okay, this isn't directly related to record players, but the Venn diagram is going to have a lot of overlap.
Flavor by Mail
Maybe you don’t live near a local market, or maybe your giftee lives far away. A gift subscription is a fun way for your friends and loved ones to enjoy new experiences. Here are a few that we’ve enjoyed:
Trade Coffee subscription has become our morning coffee lifeline. Curated beautifully, brilliant customer service, and not too pricey. Can you beat always having great fresh new coffee on hand? You cannot.
Saloonbox gives provides a fun new cocktail recipe (and the hard to find ingredients) every week. Like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh do for meals, Saloonbox does for fantastic drinks. Drinks with ingredients you’d never have on hand or that you’d buy for one use per year. Interesting flavor combos designed around your taste. For the cocktail interested, this is a win.
Nakedwines and Winc introduce us to new wineries every month, for about what you’d pay at the grocery store. Okay, wine of the month club, doesn’t sound too original, right? Well like a lot of these newer subscription services, it is more personalized, more flexible, and more enjoyable to use. We’re fans.
Book of the Month gives your giftee the choice of one of several recommended books each month. It is a real crowd pleaser for ravenous readers or a great way to re-spark the enthusiasm for those that just don’t read as much as they used to.
Lovely Home Goods & Decor
Every house needs shelving and tea kettles and candles every once in a while (or perhaps more often than that depending on the house). Here are some of our latest favorite products and places to get them.
Foundry Goods is a Minnesota shop and online store that sources “simple, useful and beautiful objects for the home,” and they’ve got us hooked. Warning, once you know this exists, you can’t unknow it. Good luck.
Stylish Electric Kettle: The Stagg EKG Electric Kettle is a stylish little art piece that will instantly upgrade the counter in any kitchen. Plus it functions exceptionally well. If your giftee is into tea, pour-over coffee, or loves beautiful home goods and is ever in need of hot water, this little beauty will go down a treat.
Wall decor: Try one of our Deep Cut Floating U-Shelves. They are stylish and pragmatic, holding everything from your favorite whiskey to your favorite books with a unique yet clean look.
But don’t forget…
Whatever you get and whoever you get it for, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and can spend time with the ones you love.
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