Music aficionados can be tricky to shop for. Much like their taste in tunes, they’re very selective about what gifts they want. Gift-wrapping a hot seller like the Apple AirPods Pro or splurging on the most expensive record player may earn you cool points, but it won’t always be the right fit across the board. The true music lover desires the right product for the right purpose.
Not only do we know where vinyl enthusiasts like to shop, we also have a bunch of modernistic gadgets for shoppers who are permanently connected to Spotify and want to live wirelessly. That could encompass many things, from Bluetooth speakers to noise-cancelling headphones. They might even have music-making aspirations, which could lead you on a hunt for high-tech recording tools to elevate their production skills. Luckily, the market is flooded with lots of options, so you can buy something great even if your budget is tight.
Here is our gift guide for music lovers to help solve any dilemmas and assist your holiday shopping. If you’re looking for some other cool gadget suggestions, check out our Gift Ideas hub to see what else is worth purchasing for everyone on your shopping list.
EarBuddyz AirPods Ultra Ear Hooks
Most people who own standard AirPods (Gen 1 and 2) don’t really know how to get the best sound out of them. The secret lies in achieving a proper fit and seal. Unfortunately, Apple’s “universal fit” design makes it difficult to keep these cordless danglers on your ears, which is why EarBuddyz’s ear hooks are such an awesome accessory to own. They come in all ear sizes, provide an ergonomically secure fit, and improve isolation. This allows listeners to hear tracks more cleanly and accurately, while preventing background noise from seeping into their ears.
Sony WH-1000xM3 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
We’ve tested countless pairs of over-the-ear headphones, both standard and noise cancelling. For the price and performance, nothing beats the Sony WH-1000xM3. These are some of the most dynamic-sounding cans you gift an audiophile, producing rich, lively audio that resonates across the frequency spectrum. Sony’s signature bass profile is well balanced and makes mids and highs more distinctive. Active noise cancellation is just as impressive, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in playlists without any distractions. The killer battery life and sound customization options via companion app also make the WH-1000xM3 worth every penny.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120X USB Vinyl Player
Buying a record player can be intimidating. The Audio-Technica AT-LP120X USB helps make the decision easier, carrying numerous features designed to appease vinyl fanatics. Its built-in preamp means you can scratch off one other item from the shopping list; all they’ll need are speakers to build out their setup. Those with rare record collections will drool over the ability to digitize vinyl into MP3s, which they’ll be able to enjoy on their portable music player, smartphone or laptop.
Twelve South AirFly Pro
Wireless earbuds and headphones are the most convenient audio solution for travel, but are nearly useless in situations where the aux cable is the only way to listen to music privately. This is where Twelve South's newest transmitter comes through in the clutch. The all-new AirFly Pro makes it possible to connect not just one, but two pairs of headphones to share and enjoy audio from one audio source. This opens up your favorite of buds and cans to lots of other hardware, including laptops, the Nintendo Switch, and the entertainment console on the back of airplane seats.
Spotify Gift Cards
Giving someone a month of premium Spotify means you care about their music experience. Not only does the card provide playlists built using that individual's preferences, but it also removes the ads from the streaming service. Now, the good times will never get interrupted by a car-insurance ad. It also unlocks the option to save songs for offline, a feature beloved by people who don't have unlimited cellular data. If you want to give the gift of a year of Spotify Premium, look out for the $99 payment option, which packs a $20 discount.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
These tiny cordless buds squeeze dynamic, premium sound into a compact, sleek design. Music sounds serene on the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, delivering spacious, natural sonics that lend themselves perfectly to any genre. Bass response and clarity is superb, plus Sennheiser offers a companion app to tweak the EQ levels for personalized sound. These earbuds also feel comfortable and provide clear call quality, making them one of our favorites in their class.
Arturia MiniLab MkII 25 Slim-Key Controller
A MIDI controller is a great beginner instrument for amateur beatmakers. This one in particular features a basic setup and responsive, user-friendly controls to easily get into the swing of things. There are two capacitive touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation, along with over 500 classic synth sounds to play with. Its lightweight form also makes it a portable novelty.
Denon AVR-X3500H Stereo Receiver
Stereo receivers are by no means new, but the Denon AVR-X3500H is a superb way of modernizing one’s home-audio setup. It produces accurate and dynamic sound across all media platforms (e.g. MP3s, videos, vinyl), featuring seven channels of power that showcase its versatility. Did we mention the unit can also be controlled via mobile app? Thankfully, Denon programmed these perks into an elegant black, brushed-aluminum design that stands out in any home entertainment center.
Blue Yeti X Professional Mic
If you’re gifting someone with aspirations of recording music (or podcasts), start them off with a beginner microphone like the Yeti X. It has strong sound quality and four mic patterns programmed to enhance recordings based on the content. Built-in LEDs help indicate sound levels to prevent overloading. There’s also a multifunctional smart knob to monitor and adjust voice levels in real time.
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
There are many reasons why the UE Megaboom 3 is ranked No.1 on our Best Bluetooth Speakers 2019 list. Where do we start? No other competitor can match its sonic prowess, pumping out full, monstrous audio and powerful bass that can shake a wall. Its 360-degree design spreads music across an entire room for listeners in every corner to hear and feel. Sure, it’s bigger than most portable speakers, but that also means bolder, louder sound, along with more battery life (20 hours) and a durable, IPX7-rated shell for waterproof protection.
Audiolab M-DAC Nano Portable DAC
Why spend a few hundred on a hi-fi portable music player when you can slide a portable DAC into their Christmas stocking? The Audiolab M-DAC nano is capable of boosting the sound on any mobile device at a low cost. It gives audio a loud, warmer presence, which is something your iPhone won’t do. Support for aptX, aptX LL (Low Latency) and AAC codecs will maximize sound quality over Bluetooth. Best of all, it is compact, so you won’t feel weighed down bringing it along on commutes.
Sonos One (Gen 2)
Sonos speakers typically sell for much more than $200, which makes this offering an absolute steal. The second-gen version of the Sonos One welcomes improved connectivity, speedier performance, and other internal upgrades that make the speaker future-proof. Audio remains solid, and multi-room support allows you to set a few of these beauties around the house to bask in full stereo sound. The speaker supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, too; playing your favorite albums is just one voice command away.
DJGearIX Record Weight
Vinyl enthusiasts will tell you that their favorite albums sound best when played on this traditional analog format, but everyone will admit the medium creates room for variation and error. That's why the weighted vinyl stabilizer is a trusted tool of record enthusiasts. Placed on the spindle that holds a record in place, it provides pressure to make sure the platter doesn't wobble and won’t scratch the labels on records.