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Do you hear what we hear?
By Randy Harward
Active audiophiles will enjoy these Bluetooth earbuds from West Valley-based Jaybird Sport. Snug-fitting and sweatproof, they come with three sizes of foam and silicone ear tips, and secure-fit ear fins so they won't fall out. A full charge provides eight hours of music, and they're compatible with any Bluetooth device. The connectivity, by the way, is excellent and you can even pair with up to eight devices at a time, and use the Jaybird MySound app to customize EQ settings. Now you can get funky while you get funky!
What else you gonna get your music-loving pal? But do you feel confident locating an elusive treasure to fill a hole in their vast, Viking-style hoard? Never mind what the previous list said, gift cards stimulate our instinct to hunt down our own discs, tapes and wax at local merchants like Diabolical Records, Sound & Vision, The Heavy Metal Shop, Raunch Records, Albatross Recordings & Ephemera, Graywhale and Randy's Records. Don't forget the stocking stuffers: Diabolical has 5-by-7 notebooks ($3) so both your music and your wishlist can be analog; Diabolical and Albatross offer tote bags ($12), and most local record shops have killer T-shirts. Check out Diabolical's holiday design this year, with a subtly be-mittened Baphomet on tees ($15) or sweatshirts ($25) in English or Spanish.
SLC musician and relentless tinkerer David Payne's (Red Bennies, Starmy) "hyperfunctional" guitars feature his innovative pickup-wiring method and handcrafted, frictionless, balanced-tension Fibralten vibrato system—plus in-guitar pre- and post-amps by local gear wizard Ned Clayton for an incredibly broad tonal spectrum. That means one guitar can sound thin like a Stratocaster or fat like a Les Paul. Payne's revolutionary "hyperdirectional" P.A. speaker cabinets work with room acoustics to become omnidirectional, shooting sound everywhere while retaining acoustic integrity. Their retro arcade look is pretty snazzy, too. Order now; it takes 1-3 months to deliver a guitar, and one month for the speaker. Now, If only they could improve your playing ...
Rest 30 Records, rest30.com
South Weber musician and amplifier maker Ryan Hawthorn (Pinetop Inferno) turns old suitcases into rad portable street-corner amps. In spite of its seemingly piddly 9-volt, ½-watt power, they're plenty loud and sound great. They come in three sizes, feature Warehouse Guitar Speakers American Vintage series speakers and offer color choices on the grill cloth, retro chicken head knobs and LED lights. Some stock is available on reverb.com. Custom builds take 1-2 weeks plus shipping time, if applicable.
@hawthornelectricarts on Instagram
DOD guitar effects are manufactured under the umbrella of South Jordan-based Harman International. Their new Carcosa Fuzz recreates classic tones and enables new and freakier ones with its extreme bias control. EvilTone, founded earlier this year by engineering student Zach Griffen and former Harman engineer Jason Lamb (RIP) boasts six different pedals. Its 600-millisecond TapEcho is the standout. Smartly designed and made with "primo" parts, it gives you the classic short slap-echo, a feedback vortex, analog delay, tape warble and flanged vibrato.
Above all, audiophiles want perfect sound. But it doesn't hurt if your system looks awesome, too. So hit up E3 Modern for the coolest custom turntables and speakers in town. The massive, steampunk-ish contraptions in E3's downtown showroom (and the one across from the counter at Albatross) sound incredible and look like they could turn you into liquid at full blast. Each one is as unique as a snowflake. They might take up to six months to build, but it'll be worth the wait when you become the King of Rock Mountain and can turn your enemies into soup.
315 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City. 801-363-3939, facebook.com/e3modern