You know what they say: get a group of half a dozen people (or more) into a room and one of them will be an audiophile. And if you look around the room and don’t see the audiophile, well - it’s you.
But audiophiles can be tricky to choose presents for. They’ve already upgraded their speaker cable, they have more anti-static record cleaners than they’ve had hot dinners, and all their vinyl album covers are already in frames and hung on the wall. So how do you choose a present for the audiophile in your life?
By perusing the list below, that’s how. We’ve chosen 15 of the most appropriate, most thoughtful and most downright impressive audiophile gifts you can give, and at a range of prices.
There’s certain to be something here to delight your pet audiophile - and if we’ve missed out your favourite, let us know about it below.
- Don't miss our group test of the best soundbars and the best record players around.
- Best vinyl records: to collect and show off your system
- The best vinyl boxsets to add to your collection
Additional reporting: Simon Lucas
Best gifts for audiophiles
1. Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
Beosound A1 is the world's first Bluetooth only portable speaker with fully integrated Alexa which is a great USP on its own but couple it with a fantastic design, gorgeous sound and the fact that it's fully waterproof and what you have is a audio device
2. Ruark Audio R1 Mk4
Available December, the Ruark Audio R1 Mk4 looks like a stunning update to Ruark's coveted R1 line-up. It comes with a DAB, DAB+ and FM tuner, Bluetooth, class-leading sound with adaptive EQ and features a design that nice and timeless, thanks to its hand-crafted slatted wood grille and trademark RotoDial control system.
3. Audio Technica AT-LP120XUSB
Despite what the relevant companies might say, not every song ever recorded is available on music streaming services - so how is the audiophile to listen to his or her favourite obscure music while on the go? By copying their precious vinyl to a computer, of course - and that’s where the AT-LP120XUSB comes in. As well as being a very decent record player in its own right, it’s fitted with a USB output - so it is simple to make digital copies of those LPs and singles Spotify has never heard of.
4. Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 Black Edition
The Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 has always been one of the go-to standalone Hi-Res music players and now it is available in - as Batman would say - black. The SR25 provides 20+ hours of continuous music playback and has LDAC Bluetooth support, allowing users to wirelessly stream 24-bit hi-res audio to compatible speakers, headphones or IEMs. It features an aluminium body with a volume wheel that's been machined with a vibration-free process that's usually used for luxury watches.
5. The Small Transparent Speaker
Simplicity is the key when it comes to Swedish modular electronics brand Transparent. They create fantastic-looking, upgradeable speakers and we love the look of the Small Transparent Speaker. It comes with a great sound, Apple AirPlay, Sonos, Amazon Echo and Google Cast compatibility and Bluetooth and ‘True Wireless’ dual speaker streaming. The company has just announced a portable speaker, too, called the Light Speaker, which also looks fantastic and is available to pre-order on Kickstarter.
6. UE Hyperboom
We had a lot of fun with the Hyperboom when we got it on to our reviews bench. It's a big, bawdy speaker that is perfect for an outdoor party (when we are allowed them again) and looks the part if you are thinking of using it indoors, too. This is one of the best loud speakers we have tested.
7. Sony WH-1000XM4
The best headphones we have tested this year, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are stunning. They look fantastic and have ANC that's better than anything else we have heard and a battery life that just lasts and lasts. Couple this with Hi-Res music compatibility, a neat carry case and decent app and what you have is a cracking pair of cans
8. Vinyl Me, Please subscription
It can be tricky knowing which record to buy for an audiophile. Far better, then, to leave it with the experts at Vinyl Me, Please. Every month they ship a carefully selected, lovingly pressed and exquisitely packaged LP to their subscribers, with coloured vinyl, exclusive artwork or custom lyric books included to further sweeten an already tooth-achingly sweet deal. Choose from 3, 6 or 12-month subscriptions and then sit back to await your favourite audiophile’s tears of gratitude.
9. Grado Hemp Headphones
We are big fans of Grado and its latest headphone looks the business. The Hemp Headphone sees Grado using the material for the first time, and combining it with maple, creating a headphone that "produces a fuller sound, comprised of a noticeable low end and a top end that extends smoothly to its limits". If you are looking for a real one-off to spoil someone, then this is it.
We had the pleasure of trying out nuraloop earlier in the year and they are a stunning pair of earphones. They uses nura's powerful processing power to offer a sound that adapts to your hearing and the active noise cancelling is fantastic. Originally available just in black, there are now other colour options available.
11. The Rest Is Noise: Listening To The 20th Century
Alex Ross is the music critic at The New York Times, and what he doesn’t know about 20th-century music, frankly, isn’t worth knowing. Fortunately, as well as holding all this knowledge, Ross is also a thoroughly entertaining writer who manages to divulge fact after fact without ever coming on like a lecturer. As a consequence The Rest Is Noise is brilliantly readable, scholarly but accessible, and will make any audiophile even more of a threat at a pub quiz.
12. Shure KSE1200
‘Electrostatic’, to the audiophile, is like ‘turbo-charged’ to the car nut or ‘haute couture’ to the fashionista. Ordinarily, electrostatic technology (whether it’s headphones or speakers) tends to be really big and really expensive. But headphones savant Shure has addressed at least one of those drawbacks - its KSE1200s are small in-ear headphones with a matched amplifier. Doesn’t look like a lot of stuff for the money, but the sound they make turns them into an absolute bargain.
13. GamuT Hi-Fi Lobster Chair
The Lund & Paarmann ‘Lobster’ chair is already a classic piece of Danish interior design. How do you improve on that? By handing it over to equally renowned Danish high-end hi-fi manufacturer Gamut, which incorporates a whole lot of acoustic damping materials to produce what it claims is ‘the world’s first music listening chair’, that’s how. Absolutely perfect for the audiophile with impeccable taste in design and decor.
Over the years Julian Cope has involved himself in any number of artistic endeavours, but at heart he’s a music-lover. The subtitle of Japrocksampler (‘how the post-war Japanese blew their minds on rock’n’roll’) tells you what’s going on here - and Cope’s an engaging and amusing writer, utterly in thrall to his subject. Even the most ardent audiophile should be curious to learn about Moriaki Wakabayashi, the original bass player with drone-legends Les Rallizes Dénudés - he participated in the 1970 hijacking of a Japan Airlines flight and still resides in North Korea (to where the unfortunate aircraft was diverted).
15. Bose Home Speaker 500
You’ve plenty of choice when selecting a premium wireless speaker at around £300. But the Bose Home Speaker 500 makes a few cases for itself: its elliptical shape and anodized finish look and feel great; it has a bright, bold full-colour screen; it can deliver true stereo sound from a single enclosure. Add Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice control, plus a useful app into which you can incorporate Amazon Music, Spotify and all the rest, and the Home Speaker 500 starts to look compelling.