Almost everyone has a music lover on their holiday shopping list. Finding the right gift for them can be surprisingly difficult. For example, there are literally thousands of options for wireless headphones – and not everyone wants a set of AirPods. Whether you are looking for perfectly fitting headphones, the most explosive portable bluetooth speaker, a record player that can stream to a wireless speaker, or a modern sound system that includes a record player, I’ve got you covered.
Each of these choices has been reviewed and recommended by me, or is currently under review and in the process of being rated positively. Keep in mind that supplies may be limited this year, so don’t worry about purchases. Additionally, although I have posted MSRPs for these products, many of them are offered at retail prices, especially during Black Friday and Cyber ââMonday weekends.
Cheap High Performance Wireless Earphones: 1 More ComfoBuds Pro Aurora Blue Earphones
These $ 109.99 wireless headphones deliver premium features at an affordable price. 1Plus of ComfoBuds Pro Aurora Blue include QuietMax active noise cancellation, programmable touch controls, âfireflyâ LED lights, and up to eight hours of battery life on one charge. They live up to their name with a very comfortable fit. With dynamic 13.4mm titanium composite drivers and custom tuning, the music sounds perfect. You can also fine tune the sound with a choice of 22 sound profiles available through the 1More app.
Compact and modern music system: Andover Audio Spin System
Andover Audio wins accolades for its home audio systems and one of the most impressive – and flexible – is the Spin system. At the heart of the setup is the company’s innovative SpinBase speaker. It packs two woofers and two tweeters and a Class D amp for 270 degree sound in a base that fits neatly under a turntable. Andover’s exclusive IsoGroove technology prevents resonance or vibration from the speakers from affecting the turntable. Add a SpinSub subwoofer, a SpinDeck or SpinDeck Pro turntable and a SpinStand (with integrated disc storage) for a complete system. Components of the Spin system start at $ 199.
Custom wireless headphones: UE FITS
Does anything make a gift more personal than custom molded headphones for the recipient? The bespoke molding means an absolutely perfect fit, for a good seal (everything sounds better), extreme comfort, and buds that stay put without the need for spikes and wings. Once exclusive to very high-end headphones and in-ear stage monitors, Ultimate Ears brought the custom molding process to the mainstream market with UE FITS. These are true wireless earbuds at $ 249 that take just 60 seconds to permanently mold to the wearer’s ears.
Powered bookshelf speakers: Fluance Ai61
Powered bookshelf speakers are a great way to enjoy two-channel stereo sound without having to invest in a component stereo system with an amplifier. The amplifier is integrated directly into one of the speakers. Fluance from Canada makes some nice ones, including the new Ai41s I reviewed earlier this year. The Fluance Ai61 powered bookshelf speakers (which I’m currently testing) offer the same great features, including built-in Bluetooth 5.0, subwoofer output, optical input, and excellent audio performance thanks to the composite fiber speakers from 1 inch silk soft dome neodymium ferrofluid and woven glass. cooled tweeters. However, for an additional $ 50 ($ 299.99 for the pair), the Ai61s get a larger 6.5-inch woofer for low-frequency boost, as well as Class D amp output that is boosted to 120 watts.
High performance and low cost Bluetooth portable speaker: Tribit Stormbox Pro
The Tribit Stormbox Pro made a big impression when I tested it in April. This is a $ 119.99 portable bluetooth speaker that produces a lot of sound and more bass than you might think. That low-end punch is due to the lower half of the speaker housing a 3-inch down-firing subwoofer with its own 25W amp. The Stormbox Pro also offers excellent battery life for up to 24 hours of battery life. reading, and it is IP67 water resistant. For the price, it’s a bargain.
Bluetooth streaming vinyl turntable: Crosley C100BT-BK
Are you looking for a vinyl record fan who could use a more capable turntable, but who doesn’t necessarily want to hook up to a traditional component stereo system? The Crosley C100BT-BK turntable at $ 279.95 offers options. With its switchable preamplifier, it can be connected to virtually any audio system or powered speakers. They can also ignore wires completely and stream to a wireless speaker using this turntable’s bluetooth output. The C100BT-BK will ensure recordings sound their best with premium features including an aluminum platter, adjustable strobe pitch, low vibration synchronous motor and Audio Technica AT95E MM cartridge.
Internet music streamer with Apple AirPlay support: Andover Songbird
IPhone has the highest market share of any smartphone in North America, but iPhone owners can’t always enjoy the best possible sound when playing music through a speaker or audio system. . Not all manufacturers include Apple AirPlay support. In the past, I have connected an old Apple Airport Express router to an audio system to get AirPlay connectivity. A much simpler method is the $ 149 Songbird Internet Music Streamer from Andover Audio. Plug the small device into the AUX input of virtually any audio system to connect it to your Wi-Fi network. This gives you access to streaming services such as Tidal and Spotify, supporting audio formats high resolution and Apple AirPlay connectivity.
Mobile headphone amplifier: Questyle M12 mobile headphone amplifier with DAC
If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably seen the headlines about the resurgence of wired headphones and earphones. While more and more people are opting for cabling because they don’t want to be seen as AirPod “sheep”, there is a group of music fans out there who have never used wireless. They want the best possible sound when listening to music, and that means wired. The point is, most smartphones and laptops don’t have great built-in amplifiers and DACs. However, this can be fixed with an external version. The Questyle M12 mobile headphone amplifier with DAC is a good option. It’s small (the size of a USB stick), affordable ($ 139.99), and quite stylish with its anodized aluminum casing. Most importantly, it helps make a good wired headset even better when connected to devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Record Accessory Kit: Fluance Vinyl Record Accessory Kit
If you’re looking for a great gift idea for someone who collects records and owns a record player or turntable, you can’t go wrong with a few accessories to make sure these records sound their best. Fluance has become a big name in turntables, thanks to versions like the stellar Fluance RT85 (you can read my review here). So it’s no surprise that the company also makes great accessories. The $ 66.99 Fluance vinyl record accessory kit includes a stylus brush, record brush with velor and anti-static carbon sides, and a 760g steel record weight with rubberized finish for keep discs flat during playback.
High performance portable bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM
There’s a reason the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM has been on my gift lists multiple times since I reviewed it in early 2020. You’re just not going to find a bigger portable bluetooth speaker. , more powerful or with better sound. At least not for the HYPERBOOM’s $ 399.99 price tag. It includes six drivers driven by a powerful 229 watt amplifier, adaptive equalizer to optimize audio for the room, touch controls, AUX and optical inputs, customizable EQ and sound settings, IPX4 splash resistance and 24 hour battery life with USB power for mobile devices. The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is quite simply the best portable Bluetooth speaker you can buy for the price, and one of the best portable speakers available – period.