Eletiofe28 Delightful Gift Ideas for Music Lovers and Audiophiles

28 Delightful Gift Ideas for Music Lovers and Audiophiles

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Featured in this article

Beloved Headphones

Sennheiser HD6XX

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Headphone Safety

Headphone Stand

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Protect Your Ears

NPR Music x Earpeace Pro

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Bring Music Everywhere

Sonos Roam

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Whether you’re trying to find a turntable so Mom and Dad can bust out their vintage vinyl collection, or you want to give the gift of great sound to a young music lover or a middle-aged audiophile, it can be tough to find great-sounding gear that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. That’s where we come in. Each year, we spend hundreds of hours listening to the latest and greatest gear around, looking for the elusive products that bring the best possible sound for the money.

These are our favorite gifts for music lovers, from affordable accessories to insane, tube-driven wonders. Looking for other cool audio gear or gift ideas? Be sure to check out our other buying guides, including the Best Cheap Headphones and Gifts for Beer and Wine Lovers.

Updated December 2023: We’ve overhauled this guide with new picks from many of our favorite brands.

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  • Photograph: Massdrop

    Beloved Headphones

    Sennheiser HD6XX

    Sennheiser’s HD650 headphones are legendary in audio circles, and for good reason. The open-backed design lets in the sound of the outside world, but that openness creates one of the widest, most balanced soundstages we’ve ever heard from a pair of headphones. It sounds like your favorite band is set up right in front of you. 

    This special-edition version of the HD650 comes in partnership with Drop, with one serious benefit (besides the special blue-black color): They’re way cheaper. Where the normal HD650 retail for north of $300, these can be had for just $200, which is a screaming deal for some of the best headphones you can buy for under $1,000. They’re also super comfortable, making them a top choice for extended listening sessions.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Headphone Safety

    Headphone Stand

    The best way to make sure headphones last a long time is to keep them somewhere safe, and that’s why we like this cheap headphone stand. With simple metal construction and rounded hangers for two pairs of over-ears, it’s a great place to admire your listening options, and to keep them safe when they’re not on your noggin.

  • Photograph: EarPeace

    Protect Your Ears

    NPR Music x Earpeace Pro

    NPR collaborated with Earpeace to make these easy-to-carry earplugs that don’t make music sound worse, they just bring down the volume. That’s super important, especially in environments like concerts where the sound can easily cause hearing damage. This isn’t the most fun gift, but those who go to shows a lot will actually love them—there’s nothing worse than having to put in normal foam earplugs when it’s too loud and hurting your ears, only to lose all the fidelity. If these are good enough for NPR critic Bob Boilen to attend thousands of shows in, they’re good enough for you!

  • Photograph: Sonos

    Bring Music Everywhere

    Sonos Roam

    There are many awesome portable Bluetooth speakers, but I prefer the Sonos Roam (9/10, WIRED Recommends) because it works as a normal pair-and-go speaker when I’m out and about, but then it connects to my home Sonos system via Wi-Fi. That means I can easily stream Spotify, Apple Music, and other apps via the Sonos app at home, then use it as a standard Bluetooth speaker when I head out. It doesn’t hurt that the triangular speaker sounds very good for the size, or that it’s built to fit nearly perfectly in a car’s cupholder.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Protect the Investment

    Invest In Vinyl Inner Record Sleeves (50)

    They might not seem like a glamorous gift, but there are very few vinyl enthusiasts who wouldn’t joyously accept record sleeves as a gift. Think of them like the socks of the record world; you’re always misplacing them, and you never—ever—can have enough.

  • Photograph: Audio Technica 

    For New Vinyl Nerds

    Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT

    This Bluetooth-enabled turntable isn’t the highest-fidelity of the bunch, but it is excellent for those just starting a vinyl collection. I like that it has a headphone jack on the front for silent bedroom listening, and it also has Bluetooth onboard, which makes it a perfect gift for anyone who already has a speaker lying around. Sure, it’s not analog end-to-end if you’re using Bluetooth, but half the fun of listening to vinyl isn’t the fidelity, it’s watching the records spin and playing with the liner notes!

  • Photograph: U-Turn

    An Upgraded Deck

    U-Turn Orbit Theory

    WIRED reviewer and audio expert Ryan Waniata says that this upgraded turntable (9/10, WIRED Recommends) changed the way that he heard his favorite vinyl. It has excellent build quality and components, a stylish design, and some of the best isolation feet we’ve used in a mid-tier turntable like this. We like the physical speed switch, which lets you pick between 33 rpm and 45 rpm records, and we also like that it comes with an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge right out of the box—something we sometimes recommend folks upgrade to.

  • Photograph: ATS

    Improve the Sound of a Room

    ATS Acoustic Panels

    A great pair of speakers can get lost in a poorly treated room. So while acoustic panels might seem like the least sexy accessory in the audio world, they make a world of difference when it comes to the sound of any space. We like these affordable panels from ATS, which can absorb broad-frequency sound, making them ideal for taming overly reflective rooms to create more tonal balance. Don’t worry about audio enthusiasts thinking you’re weird for buying them some panels, either—almost everyone can use an extra panel or two somewhere.

  • Photograph: Shure 

    Awesome Earbuds

    Shure Aonic 3

    These tiny little in-ears from Shure boast some of the most balanced, detailed sound you’ll find at this price. I like that they have Shure’s excellent foam ear tips, which provide a level of silence you’d be hard-pressed to come by without spending twice as much on active noise-canceling models. A replaceable cable makes them pretty durable long-term, and you can even make them wireless with a nifty adapter from Shure that puts batteries behind your ears.

  • Photograph: Koss

    For the Gram

    Koss Porta Pro

    The legendary Koss Porta Pro on-ears have a classic ’80s-design that’ll make you feel like you’re heading to the premiere of Blade Runner with your Walkman playing the Doobie Brothers. Oh, and they sound oddly great too—there’s a reason Koss has been making them, relatively unchanged, for decades.

  • Photograph: Apple

    Best Headphones for Apple Stans

    Apple AirPods Max

    They’re spendy, but Apple’s AirPods Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are among the best-sounding wireless headphones I’ve ever heard, and they’re downright awesome with Apple devices. The metal-shelled over-ears remain comfortable courtesy of a bouncy mesh headband, and they come with arguably the greatest volume knob in the history of headphones on the top of the right ear cup. Noise canceling and onboard microphones are also second to none, which makes these some of the best headphones for both work and play.

  • Photograph: Bose

    Best Noise Canceling Headphones

    Bose QuietComfort Ultra

    Flagship noise-canceling headphones are always in a battle for supremacy, and this year’s champ is Bose (9/10, WIRED Recommends). While we still love top options from Sony and Apple, this pair offers the best reduction of noise that I’ve ever heard in a pair of headphones. You’ll find yourself terrified of your pets, if they’re the types that sneak up for some love.

    Sound quality is very high, as is microphone quality, making these the best option for businesspeople who have to take meetings on the go (or people forced back into open floorplan office spaces).

  • Photograph: Anker

    Great Cheap Earbuds

    Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC

    These black earbuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) look like the Darth Vader version of AirPods Pro, but they’re much cheaper (and nearly as good). We are pretty impressed by their noise canceling, which includes an adaptive option, and they have a pretty awesome EQ menu inside Anker’s app for adjusting the tone.

    The only downside? We don’t like the touch controls as much as Apple’s, and they’re not as quick to pair with iPhones. These are small prices to pay for a pair of earbuds that cost half the price and work, in most cases, nearly as well.

  • Photograph: Sony

    Best for Outdoors

    Sony LinkBuds

    The LinkBuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) have a hole in the middle, which makes them very usable when you actually want to hear the world and your music. I love these little headphones for hikes, runs, and walks around town, where I can easily hear someone yelling at me to get out of the way, or a bird call in the trees during my zen podcast. My wife likes them because she has smaller ears; these use cool detachable ear fins in many sizes to stay secure, even for those who often have problems making earbuds fit.

  • Photograph: Cambridge Audio

    For Better-Sounding Vinyl

    Cambridge Audio Alva Solo

    Most entry-level turntables come with built-in phono preamps, which take the signal from the stylus and bolster it to the “line level” your amp or powered speakers expect from those red and white RCA input cables. Adding an external phono preamp like this one from Cambridge Audio is a great way to up overall fidelity. If your friend, family member, or loved one has been getting into audio, this can be a really useful upgrade; my parents got me one for my birthday a few years back, and it’s been a big and awesome change on my own system.

  • Photograph: Naim Audio

    For Streaming Supremacy

    Naim Audio Uniti Atom

    You’ll have to really love someone (and have a very high income) to spend this kind of money, but the bookshelf-ready Atom can play high-res digital audio files from any source on your Wi-Fi network. If your loved one already has other Naim hardware in their home, the Atom will connect to those systems for a big, multiroom audio party. But even on it’s own, it sounds absolutely incredible, with a pristine-sounding 40-watt amp that will drive whatever amazing speakers they already own. It even puts the album art on the full-color front display when streaming—a classy touch.

    We have also tried and love the headphone amp version (8/10, WIRED Recommends), if you have a smaller space and don’t want to power speakers.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Clean Your Records!

    Happybuy Ultrasonic Cleaner 6L

    This ultrasonic record cleaner is the best way I’ve found to clean my vinyl collection. Other solutions just don’t work. Spinning records with a brush and cleaner doesn’t actually get into the grooves, and vacuums sucking solution from the grooves are a pain. The ultrasonic method is simple and allows you to just shake the grooves clean while they’re in a nice warm bath.

    You place the records on a the spinning dowel (it can fit about 8 records at a time), and leave them there for 30 minutes while the machine whirrs. Set them on the included drying rack while you clean the next 8, and repeat until you collection is sparkling clean. It works hilariously well for how simple it sounds.

    Pro tip: You can make your own cleaning solution by using distilled water, a splash of cleaner, a surfactant, and a touch of isopropyl alcohol.

  • Photograph: Koeppel Design

    Now Playing

    Koeppel Design The LP Block

    One of the most annoying things about most “now playing” stands—where you put your record sleeve while the plastic is spinning—is that they are too damn skinny. This one from Koeppel Design solves that problem, with space for up to 10 records or a couple of box sets. 

  • Photograph: Amazon

    About That Bass

    DJGearIX Record Weight

    A nice quality record weight can add tightness and punch to the bass response of any record player, adding mass and securing the records to the surface of the platter. We like this cheap option from DJGearIX, which has a soft felt bottom that keeps it from scratching the labels on our favorite discs.

  • Photograph: Focal

    Best Speakers Under $1,000

    Focal Theva No. 1

    The Focal Theva No. 1 are WIRED contributor Ryan Waniata’s favorite bookshelf speakers of 2023, and that was before they took a recent price dip below a grand. They sound smooth and buttery, with warm low end and plenty of detail up high. They pair perfectly with any modern amp, but we especially liked them with the Naim Uniti Atom above, though the combination is incredibly pricey. We also love their smart and stylish design; very classic and French.

  • Photograph: Joseph Shin

    Easy Listening

    Audioengine HD6 Wireless Speakers

    We recommend these every year because they’re just that great. Audioengine’s amazing-sounding HD6 bookshelf speakers can play streaming audio from a phone or tablet, or your loved one can plug their favorite turntable or high-res digital player directly into the back. Versatile, well designed, and damn gorgeous, they’re our favorite do-anything wireless stereo speakers for less than $1,000. They also make fantastic computer speakers.

  • Photograph: Sony

    A Cute Travel Speaker

    Sony SRS-XB100

    The little Sony SRS-XB100 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) has a cumbersome Japanese product name, but a gorgeous real-word physique. We like the grippy exterior and cool colors, as well as the fact that it has Google Fast Pair for quickly connecting to Android phones. It has IP67 weatherproofing, which makes it perfect for throwing in the water or sand, and it has 16 hours of battery life for when you’re out and about all day.

  • Photograph: Sonos

    The Best Patio Speaker

    Sonos Move 2

    While I prefer the smaller Sonos Roam when I’m actually out and about, but sometimes you just want to bring some tunes outside with you while you cool or do yard work. That’s where I love the Sonos Move 2 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It has nice, full sound, and works well with my Wi-Fi, and it even works as a great shower speaker if you’re so inclined.

    Also great: The JBL Authentics 200 for $350 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is another excellent smart speaker that is fun to take outside, and it comes with both Google Assistant and Alexa onboard, if you like having multiple voice assistants.

  • Photograph: KEF

    Streaming Perfection

    KEF LS50 Wireless II

    KEF’s LS50 Wireless II speakers (8/10, WIRED Recommends) look nearly identical to the previous version we know and love, but they come with improved amplification, better internal baffling, and even better colors. The company’s famed Uni-Q drivers (in which the tweeter sits inside the woofer of the dual-driver speakers, making them look like a pair of gorgeous musical cyclopses) are immersive to listen to even at off-angles. They play anything and everything, thanks to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an HDMI eARC port for TVs and projectors.

  • Photograph: Klipsch

    Better Than a Soundbar

    Klipsch The Sevens

    If you’ve been watching TV and listening to music in your living room through a soundbar, you can give yourself (and your loved one) a massive audio upgrade with these gorgeous powered Klipsch speakers (8/10, WIRED Recommends).

    They have an HDMI connection that allows you to connect them to your TV, and other inputs let you connect any streaming devices or record players (it has a built-in phone preamp!) you have one. That makes them a perfect solution for living rooms that are both for music and movies.

  • Photograph: Fender

    Rock Outside

    Fender Mustang Micro

    This little USB-C amp dongle from the folks at Fender contains numerous presets and effects, and it plugs right into your guitar, bass, or keyboard to give you a full amp effect in a tiny package. I bring it with me on road trips when I want to play my electric guitar but don’t have room in the car for an amp. The sounds are pretty solid, and those familiar with Fender-style amps (most guitarists) will easily find something usable for their style of playing.

  • Photograph: Tavenly

    A Place for Records

    Tavenly LP Storage Cube

    These sturdy cubes are a great modular way to store all your favorite discs, thanks to their strong, easily stackable format. You can go with milk crates or Ikea shelves, but I prefer something like this because they’re good looking and easy to move.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Sing Along

    Bonaok Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Mic

    My wife bought this Bluetooth-enabled microphone earlier this year, and it’s been bringing a ton of joy to our tiny house. You can pair your phone, and the mic has built-in reverb and delay to make you sound like the stars you’re imitating. The speaker is baked into the handle, and it’s loud for its size. Enjoy your karaoke night!

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