Looking for headphones, earbuds, a turntable for your fledgling vinyl collection, or a Bluetooth speaker? Check out these sound gift ideas.
The premium PXC550-IIs are designed with travelling in mind. Extremely comfortable, the battery life will deliver 30+ hours. The entire outer pad of the right earcup is an intuitive touchpad to adjust volume, activate transparent noise, or accept calls – and speaking of calls, the triple mic array makes for crisp-as-an-autumn-morning quality. With the ability to set different sound modes (including full noise-cancellation, of course), Sennheiser delivers total confidence for the on-the-move user.
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 45
The successor to the legendary QuietComfort 33IIs had a lot to live up to, and we’re happy to report it achieves! Marshmallow-soft earpads will ensure you can wear these for hours without any discomfort whatsoever. The noise cancellation smarts are simply incomparable in this range. With 24 hours of battery, exceptional audio quality, and good voice pick-up on phone calls, the QuietComfort 45 premium headphones are top drawer.
AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50XBT 2
Audio-Technica have just released an excellent updated Bluetooth version of their legendary M50X headphones. There are quality improvements right across the board here, from a USB-C connection and an improved battery life (coming in at 50 hours of continuous play) to Bluetooth support for two devices at once. Combined with detailed and spacious sound, Audio-Technica have once again produced a superb pair of headphones.
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT EARBUDS
Taking the lead from the QC45s, Bose have produced an equally outstanding pair of earbuds featuring excellent ANC. The Quiet Comfort earbuds feature ten detailed levels of noise-cancelling. There’s eight hours of charge in the buds and a further 16 in the case. Comfortable to wear, not only is the ANC some of the best we’ve heard in earbuds, the overall audio quality sounds fantastic too.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS2
Good earbuds for a good price? Apply within. Available in four different colours, they offer ANC, hold five hours in the buds and a further 15 in the case, and are comfortable to wear. On the sound front, the multipurpose Galaxy Buds2 provide a well-balanced soundscape with broad appeal.
MARSHALL MODE II
Sometimes brands leverage heritage to sell products. That is most definitely not the case with Marshall. From Bluetooth speakers through to headphones and earbuds, the quality is omnipresent. It’s the same story here with the mid-priced Mode II true wireless earbuds. 25 hours of play is matched with the kind of sound quality you’d expect from a Marshall product.
Portability and versatility at a great price are what you get with the Roam. The speaker packs plenty of grunt with two Class-H digital amps, a tweeter, and a mid-woofer producing a sound you’d expect from a larger speaker. The new Sound Swap feature makes multi-room listening a cinch – switch music throughout the home by simply pressing a button. The Roam also boasts voice control, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and ten hours of battery life from a single charge.
ULTIMATE EARS MEGABOOM 3
Encased in a super tough, made-for-purpose fabric and boasting an IP67 water and dustproof rating, the MEGABOOM 3 is equally at home around the pool, the beach, or on a campsite. Its design allows for 360 degrees of thumping sound, and that’s exactly what you get here – the audio is awesome. These speakers will survive just about anything you throw at them – even children!
Small in stature but big in sound, the Emberton is covered in durable rubber with a metal speaker grille emblazoned with a distinctive logo. A smart brass button on the top controls the volume and skips tracks, and an LED light indicates battery life. The only way to connect to the speaker is via Bluetooth. The Emberton throws out a big and well-balanced soundstage for its size, tuned with a rock slant in mind.
BLUEANT X5 BLUETOOTH PARTY SPEAKER
There will be some serious partying over the festive season, and that calls for a party speaker. BlueAnt is here to assist with its powerful X5 speaker that even comes with two microphones. Rated IP54, a single charge will provide 20 hours’ worth of party bangers. Your neighbours are going to hate you.
SONY SRS-XP700 PARTY SPEAKER
Another fine option to soundtrack your summer is the SRS-XP700 Bluetooth speaker that works just as well on the road as it does in the home. You can expect a big sound here, a battery life of 25 hours (ten minutes of quick charge will get you three hours of music), and inputs for karaoke mics and guitars.
PIONEER DDJ-200 DJ CONTROLLER
If you’re taking the Christmas parties to the next level, Pioneer has you covered. Perfect for DJ beginners, all you need is an internet connection, a smartphone or tablet, and a streaming service. The portable controller comes with a handy tutorial to take newcomers through the basic controls, leaving you ready to rock the night.
For a reliable entry-level turntable, look no further than the LP60XUSB. You’re getting a name you can trust for a price that won’t break the bank. Belt-driven and fully automatic, put the record on the platter and just hit start – it’s that easy. You can also convert your vinyl to digital files via the USB output, and it comes with a built-in pre-amp, so all you need is an amplifier and speakers, and you’re away.
If you’d rather go for a direct-drive turntable, Audio-Technica’s direct-drive LP120XUSB has Bluetooth 5.0 support, sports a quartz-locked motor that lets you vary the pitch in either direction or lock it to normal speed, and has a high-quality dual magnet cartridge. There’s also an inbuilt pre-amp and a USB port for easy PC and Mac connectivity. A brilliant turntable that embraces the past and connects to the digital present, this is the market leader in its price range.