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Where to spend that Christmas cash

Let’s assume that there will be some money under the tree tomorrow morning.

Let’s assume that there will be some money under the tree tomorrow morning. Rather than do the responsible thing and save it or make a donation to charity, you’ll want to blow it all on Boxing Day. But on what?

Buy a Turntable
Although there’s some statistical evidence that the vinyl renaissance has plateaued, there’s enough momentum in this fetishism for things to keep going for a while longer. The turntable market hasn’t been this crowded in more than a decade.

If you’re planning to rip your records to MP3 and then put them on the shelf, then think about a turntable that can be connected to your computer via USB. I’ve seen one of the ION models going for less than $80 online.

But if you’re a purist and you plan to actually listen to your vinyl over and over again, spring for something more expensive (i.e. more than $350). When rumours of the demise of the Technics SL-1200 started spreading last fall, I took the plunge last Dec. 26 on what will be the last turntable I ever buy. And now that Panasonic has confirmed that production will end in 2011, it’s now or never ($800-$1,000).

Get That Box Set You’ve Been Lusting After
This year was a good for high-end collections. The Soundgarden retrospective is one of my favourites, featuring CDs, a DVD, vinyl (12-inch and 7-inch), posters, a book with liner notes and more ($150-ish). Beatles fans should look into the Lennon Signature Box (11 discs, 119 tracks) or the new Band on the Run deluxe set (four discs, including an audio documentary and a series of videos for about $90). And Springsteen fans really should have The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story (3 CDs, 3 DVDs plus an 80-page spiral-bound notebook of handwritten lyrics and pictures, all for about $95.)

Splurge on Apps
With hundreds of thousands of apps available across multiple platforms, there’s something for everyone. SoundHound is an excellent music identification app ($4.99). Cleartune tunes any instrument perfectly ($3.99). Music Studio is a multi-track studio that lives in your pocket ($14.99). AmpliTube turns your iPhone or iPad into a personal amplifier (Free, but the real winner is the full version at $19.99). And NanoStudio is a stunning music-making app that pros love ($14.99).

 
 
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