As much fuss has been made about gaming and the “golden age of TV” over the last few years, music is better than it’s ever been right now, too. There’s a whole new generation of both musicians and music lovers out there, and if you have a music fan on your list, it’s important to know what gifts will bring out the most smiles.
We’re lucky these days that there are so many different ways to listen to music, whether you just listen to everything on Spotify or Apple Music, trek out to the record store to pick up some vinyl or just pull up your favorite songs on YouTube.
No matter how your loved ones listen along, it’s not only valid but there are myriad gifts that can enhance their listening experience – and we rounded the best ones up here.
From headphones to speakers to turntables, we’ve found the best Christmas gifts for the music lovers in your life, so you can spend less time trying to decipher what “ohms” means and more time picking up the perfect gift.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The comfiest bluetooth headphones that don’t suck
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
A bit expensive
If the music lover on your list has a long commute or travels a lot, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is probably the pair of Bluetooth headphones to go for. We use these headphones every single day, and even on the longest subway rides or flights to Computex, these headphones are an absolute dream – they’re basically pillows for your ears that make sound happen.
The Bose QUietComfort 35 II drowns out all the annoying sounds of a commute, and the sound quality is absolutely pristine for a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The best part? Battery life is absolutely through the roof, and these headphones will last through even the longest flights.
Read our full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
U-Turn Orbit Basic
An excellent turntable at an excellent price
Dimensions: 16.75 x 12.5 x 4.25″ | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: Powdercoated MDF | Phono preamp: Optional | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: Audio-Technica CN5625AL w/ conical diamond stylus
Excellent build quality
Have to pay extra for preamp
Getting into vinyl can seem like a daunting experience, but there is something special about having that physical relationship to your music. If the music fan on your Christmas shopping list is looking to get into vinyl, the U-Turn Basic Turntable is the way to go.
This is an amazing turntable for the price you’re paying, and it also happens to be one of the most attractive, at least when compared to similarly priced setups. And, this is a modular turntable, too, which means you can upgrade it once your hobby starts getting more serious.
The best cheap noise-canceling headphones that don’t suck
Acoustic design: Closed | Bluetooth: 4.2 | Playing time: 40 hours | Drivers: 40mm
Fair sound, good comfort
Noise cancelling could be better
The Taotronics TT-BH040 carry themselves with a premium look above the affordable price tag, with aluminum touches and a generally pleasant design.
From a distance, and even close up, few would guess they are so affordable. So if you’re on a budget, but need to block out the outside world this pair of Taotronics is a great fit.
Read the full review: Taotronics TT-BH040
Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC
Making digital music sound amazing
Inputs: Analog, USB **Features** Front panel volume control, 192khz audio playback
Excellent sound playback
Small enough to fit in your pocket
Digital music gets kind of a bad rap – especially after the resurgence of vinyl. However, through services like Tidal, there’s a market for high-resolution listening, and the AudioEngine D1 is a tool that can bring that to another level.
This device basically pulls audio processing away from your computers motherboard, and into this little USB device, so there’s absolutely no interference. It might not make a difference to someone listening to Spotify on earbuds, but if you’re looking to get the best sound quality possible, this DAC is absolutely essential.
Audioengine A5+ powered speakers
The best bookshelf speakers we’ve used
Dimensions: 10.75 x 7 x 9″ (Left) 10.75 x 7 x 7.75″ (Right) (W x H x D) | Weight: 31 lbs | Dolby Atmos / DTS:X enabled: No | Active or Passive: Active | Subwoofer: 5″ Aramid Fiber | Frequency response: 50Hz – 22kHz
The Audioengine A5+ are probably the best bookshelf speakers you’ll get without springing for an extremely high-end setup. The 5-inch woofers are powerful enough to provide some meaty bass, and the tweeters balance it out with excellent mids and highs.
Pair this with a good record player like the U-Turn Orbit we mentioned earlier, or a nice DAC like the Audioengine D1, and you’re going to get some frankly amazing sound, without spending thousands on an audiophile-grade setup.