Santa never disappointed me when I opened some type of music gadget on Christmas morning. There was the Juliette all-in-one record player/cassette player/radio when I was in the 5th grade. There were the Realistic headphones in the 6th (I think that was my dad’s idea following the stereo speakers), the Eagles Live cd in 1980 and the Bluetooth speaker just a couple of years ago. What can I say, I’ve been a pretty good boy.
Thing is if you have a music lover on your Christmas list you have a huge selection of gadgets that’ll make them smile throughout the entire year and 2017 is no different. It’s probably better than ever.
Here are some of my favorite things of the year for the audiophile in your life:
Turntables are back and they’re red hot. Two years ago the top-selling electronic device at Amazon was a Crosley turntable. It helped usher in a fascination with vinyl records by millennials, not their parents. Bookstores and electronics stores have large vinyl music sections filled with remastered Led Zeppelin, Randy Travis, Creedence Clearwater Revival and others. New bands are releasing music on vinyl as well and Amazon has a vinyl section of its website.
So what do you need to know about turntables? You can’t just plug in and play anymore. Home theater systems stopped including a phono input years ago when vinyl was thought dead. The difference in that input is it provided an amplifier so an older turntable does not work without a pre-amp. You can buy an external turntable pre-amp like this one from Pyle.
Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp – Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input, RCA Output & Low Noise Operation Powered by 12 Volt DC Adapter
Or, you can select a turntable with a pre-amp built in. My favorite turntable is the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK I picked one up earlier this year for $99 but it’s on sale now for $89. The LP60 is fully-automatic which is nice so I don’t have to get up every 15-20 minutes and flip the disc over to play side B. It has settings for a 12″ album or a 45rpm single. It’s the pre-amp that’s important though. I have it plugged into the cd input on a Yamaha receiver.
If the person on your list aims to connect it to their computer and rip those songs from the record to their iTunes library they’ll want a turntable with USB. Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB is the version of choice.
Audio-Technica also builds the same turntable with Bluetooth capability which means it can connect to a Bluetooth speaker or home system wirelessly. Audio Technica AT-LP60NV-BT
You can see I’m pretty high on the Audio-Technica line of record players. But The House of Marley’s Stir It Up USB/Bluetooth and Analog turntable is beautiful and although it’s a little more expensive than the similar version of AT at $200, it looks fantastic on a shelf. Click on the photo to go to the Amazon link.
Now, on to Bluetooth speakers:
My favorite Bluetooth speaker is the Bose SoundTouch 10 Wireless Speaker. I love how this bookshelf looks and sounds. It has the deep bass and highs you expect from a top-of-the-line Bose product. It works seemlessly with the Amazon Alexa devices which is a big plus for me. In fact Bose is packaging the SoundTouch 10 with an Echo Dot. Bose SoundTouch 10 wireless music system & Amazon Echo Dot Package
For portable Bluetooth speakers I’d recommend the JBL Charge 3, it has the best portable sound of any speaker I’ve heard.
I also like the Eton Rugged Rukus . It is a solar powered Bluetooth speaker that will play for days on one charge and sunny days.
Someone on your list is a music nerd like me and I guarantee these gifts will be a hit Christmas morning. Hit, get it? Like a hit record?