It’s not easy being an audiophile. You spend months crafting a Christmas music megamix as a gift for your familiars, sourcing lossless recordings of the classics and mastering them into a high-fidelity playlist with added sleigh bell. Then some joker skips the queue and streams a low-res bootleg of Dominick The Donkey.
Detest their mule music? Don’t lower your standards for the sake of undeserving ears. Stick this tuneful tech at the top of your wish list and escape to a world of sonic satisfaction.
From portable synthesisers to noise-cancelling cans, these melodious gifts will be a bigger hit with music lovers than a FLAC back-catalogue of their festive favourites.
Our pick of the top Christmas gifts for music lovers
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
In the market for muffs? This Sennheiser set isn’t the cheapest way to shield your ears against winter weather. But if you want cushioned cups that warm with superlative audio, they’re up there with the best. Eight mics mute the whoosh of an arctic wind, while 42mm full-range drivers treat your lugs to a dynamic listen. And with a 60-hour battery, your extremities will go dead long before they do.
512 Audio Tempest
A grainy YouTube vid was enough to burden the world with Bieber. But when everyone’s a content creator, it takes better production values to get noticed. Give your demos a boost with this premium mic. Inspired by vintage pick-ups, it features a 34mm gold-plated condenser to capture your dulcet tones in rich detail. Its USB-C connection cuts out mixers in the middle, while a built-in headphone output provides real-time feedback.
Bose SoundLink Flex
Christmas is such a hectic time for campanologists that even the keenest pealer will be jingled out by January. For cheer to last the year, try this robust speaker from Bose. With a sturdy steel grille and water-resistant build, its 12-hour battery can outlast even the burliest of bell-ringers. Like a chime, you can pair it with additional units. Unlike a chime, it optimises sound output to suit its orientation.
Audio Technica LP3XBT
A die-cast platter will set your dinner service apart. It’s also a solid way to reduce vibrations when guests are dining to your record collection. For a stutter-free soundtrack to your December banquet, pop an analogue A-side on this Bluetooth turntable. Fully automatic and simple to operate, it works with wired or wireless speakers, while a hydraulically dampened tonearm protects your vinyl from flippers too keen for the second course.
Lego Fender Stratocaster
A songwriting course might equip you with the building blocks to create a great riff, but only this Lego kit gives you the bricks to build your own Fender Stratocaster. No, you won’t get a killer lick out of its plastic parts, but with a moving whammy bar, twistable tuning pegs and a panel that can be removed to reveal the attached amp’s innards, it’s the perfect gifts for aspiring guitarists whose skills are clapped out rather than Clapton.
Put squabbling relations under one roof and you’ve got the ultimate battle mixer. But nothing brings feuding factions together like a bit of wicky-wah. With sideways sliders situated up top, these digital decks will make scratchmasters of your clan. Automatic tracking cuts straight to your cue, while generous jog wheels give your fingers plenty to spin. Plug in a mic and you can lay some hype straight on the master.
Pickmaster Plectrum Punch
Picks are the perfect stocking-filler for six-string strummers. Pick up a pack and they’ll be shredding for months. But add this cutter to their gig bag and they’ll have a plectrum supply for life. Fed with any plastic that’s thinner than 2mm, it’ll punch out teardrops which are ready to riff. Rage against the ATM by cookie-cutting your credit card, or go full punk and stamp a hole in your library pass.
Akai MPK Mini Play Mk3
Nothing says Christmas repetition like family carols around the pianoforte. Tired of the same old singalong? Remix the Yuletide tunes with this mini music maker. Good for 14 hours of festive electro, the portable plaything features 25 keys and an eight-strong array of illuminated drum pads. The setup is sensitive to the speed of your fingers, so you can tinkle quiet as a mouse or drop hard like a Home Alone bandit. A bank of more than 100 sounds means you can make like Mike Oldfield, while a built-in speaker delivers the EDM ditties when you tour to your nan’s.
Dorothy Stamp Albums: Hip-Hop
Collecting stamps is as far from hip-hop as the monarch who usually adorns them. But this print sheet gives philately an MC send up. Not a set to lick and stick, its 42 graphics reimagine seminal albums of the genre. Spanning from Run-DMC and Wu-Tang to Jay-Z and Run The Jewels, each record’s release year defines the postage class. Sadly, none will ship a diss from east coast to west.
Smart trimmings might the feast for your ears, but sometimes you fancy a simpler sonic snack. Had your fill of fiddling? These earbuds serve delicious sound without the side dishes. With no app, no EQ and no voice assistant, the menu is boldly barebones. Instead, they offer balanced fidelity as the proving pudding. If you favour an expressive flavour and a focused soundstage, the AH-C830NCW should sate your aural appetite.
Revolution, The History of Turntable Design
Think Christmas comes around regularly? Try a vinyl single. But while their groove might move in circles, turntables aren’t stuck in a loop. A record of record players, this coffee table tome charts the evolution of phonograph design, from the funky flip-tops of the Fifties to the edgy platters of today. Like its subject matter, the book adopts an analogue format, with 300 illustrations to put audiophiles in a spin.
Fender George Harrison Rocky Instrument Cable
You need more than a technicolour cable to lay down platinum licks. Still, if you want to riff like a Beatle, a wacky cord can’t hurt. Inspired by George Harrison’s hand-painted Stratocaster, the Rocky lead features a woven jacket more psychedelic than the instrumentation on Only a Northern Song. With custom moulded ends bearing the signature of the strummer himself, the extended 18.6ft edition offers an increased risk of tripping.
Q Acoustics M20
They say good things come in twos, yet the Sex Pistols only made one studio album. Restore balance to the adage with this pair of bookshelf speakers. More like an entire music system, the M20s feature a built-in 65W amp which powers 22mm tweeters and beefy 125mm mid/bass drivers. There’s Bluetooth 5.0 on-board for easy wireless streaming, but connecting via USB unlocks 24bit/192kHz audio – so you can punk-rock around the Christmas tree in high resolution.
iFi Zen DAC V2
It takes a keen-eared audiophile to pick out each instrumental layer on In Dulci Jubilo. Amplify your chances with this dinky DAC. Equipped with a 16-core processor and fed via USB, it can decode full-fat MQA files on the fly, for hi-res audio as it was recorded at the source. PowerMatch mode gives your ‘phones more oomph, while the TrueBass setting can beef up bassoon parts without muddying the mids.
Roland T-8 Aira Compact
Vintage synths add old-school sauce to any set. Don’t have the roadies to cart around a classic? This beat machine puts retro R&B in your backpack. Reviving sounds from Roland’s drum and bass back catalogue, the T-8’s processor is coded to mimic the variation of analogue circuits. Deploy 64 patterns to drop trap bangers on the fly, or hook up to other Aira Compact kit for a full electro setup.