What the Tech? Gift ideas for music lovers
If you've got someone on your list who loves music, you're in luck. There are thousands of gift ideas for audiophiles again this year including turntables, headphones, bluetooth speakers and vinyl records.
If you have a music lover on your wish list this year, you're in luck. Finding a great gift for someone who listens to music at home, at work or on-the-go is easy. There are bluetooth speakers, bluetooth/wireless headphones everywhere. For purists old-school turntables make great gifts along with vinyl records. Here are a few tech gadget gift ideas for the music fan in your life:
You may have saved some of your old vinyl records but have nothing to play them on; I hear that from people all the time. The past couple of Christmases audio turntables have been among the best selling electronics on Amazon, but which one do you choose?
All-in-one turntables come with a speaker built-in. These are good choices for tight spaces when you cannot connect a turntable to a home audio system. Crosley and Jensen models are highly rated by music fans. Some models can connect to a computer via a USB cable so the records can be transferred digitally to be saved and played on iPhones and in-car systems. Several models are also equipped with bluetooth transmitters to be connected wirelessly to bluetooth speakers and headphones.
Audio-Technica turntables are my choice this year. The Audio-Technica LP60 is easy on the budget at $89 and plays music the way it was made to be played. The fully automatic belt-drive turntable connects to stereo systems and has a pre-amp built in, which is important because most home audio systems are not equipped with a pre-amp and have no connections to a turntable. With the built-in pre-amp you can connect the record player to the system through the cd input. Other Audio-Technica models can connect to a computer with a USB and some models have bluetooth capability. Purists though will prefer listening to vinyl through a direct wired connection.
For a home or office speaker I recommend the Bose SoundTouch 10. This wireless deskshelf speaker has tremendous range. It connects to a variety of audio players such as a stereo system, bluetooth speakers and wirelessly to a computer. By connecting to a player over wifi the Soundtouch 10 provides a more warm and vibrant sound that you get by connecting over bluetooth.
The Soundtouch 10 also works extremely well with Amazon Echo products. Bose has a promotion now that packages an Echo Dot with the speaker for $215. The speaker $179.
For portable bluetooth speakers my choice has been for several years has been the Eton Rukus. This rugged speaker is powered by the sun and will keep a phone charged while it streams the music over bluetooth. The model I have is hard to find but is available through some 3rd party sellers on Amazon for around $400. Eton also sells a newer, less expensive model of the Rukus for around $60.
Bluetooth earbuds and headphones are big sellers this year. Apple's Airpods and Google's Pixel Buds are great selections but are both in the $160-$180 price range. Anker makes a nice set of bluetooth earbuds that have good sound and good fit. The Anker SoundBuds are also priced well at around $30.
Bose has a great set of over-ear headphones that connect to phones, laptops and other devices wirelessly. The Quiet Comfort headphones are noise-cancelling for long plane rides and will connect to more than 1 source. You can be listening to audio of a movie playing on your laptop but can accept and hear in-coming calls to your phone. The Quiet Comfort headphones also have Google Assistant built-in. These top of the line headphones are $350. Bose also has a lower cost alternative in its SoundLink wrap around headphones for $200.
Vinyl records aren't all old-school. New bands are releasing music on vinyl these days and music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s is being re-released on high quality vinyl. You can find a great selection of vinyl records in many bookstores and on Amazon.