Choosing the perfect Christmas gift for the music lover in your life can be a tricky business, whether you’re buying for a loved one, a work colleague, or a friend this December.
And, the bigger the audiophile, the more difficult it becomes – get the specs or the brand wrong, and you could find yourself digging out that gift receipt come Boxing Day (or December 26 if you're in the US).
So, if you’re struggling to find the perfect present, check out our roundup of the best speakers, headphones, turntables, and other audio accessories for every budget. And there's not a pair of Beats headphones in sight.
Best audio gifts under £50/$50/AU$75
While wireless headphone are all the rage right now, there are still plenty of reasons to go wired, with two of the biggest reasons being superior sound quality and price. While you can buy wireless headphones for a low cost, they usually sound much worse than wired headphones for the same price.
In the budget in-ear headphone category, you usually sacrifice sound and build quality for price. However, there are rare gems that are affordable, sound great, and are built well. The RHA MA390s are one of those headphones.
While the RHA MA390 is the cheapest headphone the company makes, it doesn’t sacrifice on build quality, design, or sound: These headphones are beautifully crafted out of aluminum, feature a braided cable for durability, and a universal remote that works with Android and iOS.
While not perfect, the RHA M390s are great value, and just special enough to make a perfect gift for the music lover in your life this Christmas.
While the original Plattan headphones were just fine for a pair of on-ear headphones, Urbanears wasn’t satisfied with being mediocre.
The company took customer feedback to heart and addressed many complaints about comfort, sound quality and isolation – and for the most part, Urbanears succeeded, making the Plattan II a worthy sequel to the company’s most popular headphone.
In short, these are basic headphones without a ton of features. But, because they're feature-light, you get a good-sounding pair of wired headphones for significantly less than you would otherwise, and they look incredibly stylish with that minimalist design.
Read the full review: Urbanears Plattan II
The Home Mini is the cheapest way of buying into the Assistant for those looking to buy into Google’s smart home ecosystem.
While it's a good value for the price, its weak bass frequencies makes it a better desk buddy than a standalone speaker - so, don't buy it for the hardcore audiophile in your life, but it could make a fantastic gift for a student who needs their speaker to be as compact as possible and is looking for something to make those long nights of studying go by a little easier.
It's also a top gift for people who already have smart devices like smart lights, locks, and thermostats in the home, as it can be used as a hub to connect and control all of these devices, as long as they are compatible.
Read the full Google Home Mini review
There are lots of music streaming services to choose from these days, with new offerings entering the market every month or so, but the one that always comes to mind first for us, and which consistently delivers, is Spotify.
Not only did Spotify get there early and claim the crown of the coolest, easiest-to-use, and arguably best music service around, it’s also still the most popular, despite stiff competition from the likes of Apple Music, Google Play Music and other music-specific services like Pandora Music and Deezer.
Although you can use Spotify for free, a Premium account means you don't have to listen to annoying adds, can select songs at random, and download your playlists for offline listening.
So, if you know someone who's struggling along with Spotify Free at the moment, why not buy them a gift card that's exchangeable for Spotify Premium this Christmas?
Know what you're after?
If you already have an idea of what you want to buy this Christmas, why not check out our audio tech round ups?