Looking for a Christmas present? Stop right there! Of course you are. This year, dispense with the last-minute, aimless cruising of Liberty’s beauty halls until some assistant shoves the right nicely bottled cream under your nose. Instead, grab a gift that really says, “I love you,” (possibly in an entirely platonic way) by taking the time and, yes, the thought, to create something bespoke.
We’ll be looking at the best Customisable Christmas presents over the next week or two on Pocket-lint and today’s ideas are all about headphones - something that everyone needs but few take the time to really spoil their ears in the way they should. So, do it for them in a personal way and really make their Christmas customised.
Custom Cans for DJs
Custom Cans is a UK-based service that specialises in making on-ear headphones for DJs with pretty much any kind of design that you care to dream up. The process starts by selecting one of around 15 pairs of cans made by Sennheiser, Technics, Pioneer, Allan & Heath and Beyerdynamic - all well-suited makes and models for lovers of the wheels of steel. Then it’s a question of sending over you graphic design choices.
Select how many blocks of colour you’d like as a background - choices include glow in the dark, silver, gold, rainbow sparkle and pearl finish, as well as all the other standard tones - then get your illustrations, logos and pictures airbrushed on and coated for protection. Custom Cans can also add LED lights, laser modules and UV cable upgrades. And if you’re not really sure what you’re after, just send them some pictures and ideas and the team will come up with something on your behalf.
Whatever your process, you’ll be sent a mock-up before Custom Cans pulls the trigger and makes your dreams a reality. All they ask is 25 per cent up front; the rest is paid on completion. Prices start at around £200 and head on up beyond £500 for the really special stuff. Take a look at some of Custom Cans’ previous work for some inspiration (watch out for the Donkey Kong headphones) but don’t leave it too long to get your order in before Christmas.
Custom in-ear monitors
Simply one of the finest items of technology one can ever purchase is a set of custom in-ear monitors - headphones moulded to fit your ears and your ears only. Apart from the general bespoke angle, what custom sleeves offer is a perfect fit to your aural canals and that means external noise is entirely blocked out, leaving your drums to bathe in your choice of personal audio, and yours alone.
Naturally, you’re going to need to go to some kind of audiology centre with your "giftee" or perhaps give them a voucher to do it themselves. Once their ear impressions have been taken, you can send off the relevant info to a choice of different headphones manufacturers to turn them into a set of high-end monitors. ACS and Etymotics (around £150) are a tried-and-tested combination or you can just stick to ACS if you prefer.
Another option we rather like the look of is the Logitech-owned Ultimate Ears brand. UE has been making in-ear monitors for music professionals for many years. What we like about their phones is that you can change the cables without having to ditch your expensive personalised ear buds. There are some neat little clips at the ends. Just make sure you get the right cable fittings.
On top of that, you can also order some interesting monitor designs. The shape, of course, is set, but you can have them coloured and decorated in all sorts of colours or choose ones as designed and used by certain famous artists and acts. Not sure if we’d opt for these Quagmire ones as worn by Panic at the Disco!
There are plenty of headphones available, some good, some bad. But when was the last time you saw a pair aimed at younger children? That's the plan with the Griffin MyPhones - a set of headphones for the little angels in your life - and, best of all, yep, you guessed it, they’re customisable.
The headline feature of the MyPhones is that there’s an always-on volume limiter, set to a maximum of 85dB - which means that your children are safe from any potential ear damage however much that volume knob gets cranked. The appeal for children is that there is a set of interchangeable cover inserts for the cans themselves. You get two designs in the box - blue or pink - and a further two sets of blank templates so you can colour in your own.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking you can only customise them twice though. The templates are easy enough to copy (it's just a circle after all) and that means your kids can colour their hearts out and put their own stamp on them over and over again. Suitable for ages three and up, they’re not too expensive either at around £29.