For that one friend or family member simply mad for music gadgets, it can always be a task to pin down the ideal gift for Christmas. With some advice from some of Nottingham’s local music stores, here are some of the hottest gift picks for audiophiles this year.
Our recommendation: Sony WH-1000XM3 – The best noise-cancelling headphones
An essential part of a music lovers kit, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones is enough to elevate your favourite hits to a new listening experience. Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM3 still reign the jack of all trades against competition from the likes of Bose and Jabra with impressive sound and noise-cancelling capability without any sacrifice to comfort or build quality. This is the benchmark for modern headphones.
The more recent WH-1000XM4s don’t make improvements on sound quality making the WH-1000MX3s the ideal choice now at a lower price.
Castle Sound and Vision’s recommendation: Sonos One SL – The essential family Bluetooth speaker
Sales assistant Andy Haines from Nottingham’s local Hi-fi store Castle Sound and Vision has his own Christmas must-haves with the Sonos One SL being his pick for this year’s best family speaker. Fitted with Apple Airplay 2 compatibility and a simple navigation app, the One SL is a great accompaniment to the family living room.
Mr Haines said: “If you want an all-in-one unit with great quality and a nice app for it to be controlled by then the One SL is a great gift for any family.”
Our recommendation: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 – The best budget wireless earbuds
If you’re buying for someone who favours the wireless earbud to the traditional around-ear headphones then Cambridge Audio’s first venture into the niche is a great pick. Reasonably priced and with impressive battery life at, the Melomania 1s provide a snug in-ear fit for a great deal less than it’s competitors and still stacks highly when it comes to sound quality.
As well as being water and sweat-resistant, the buds come with their charging carry case which can provide an extra 36 hours of battery life giving these earbuds a great deal of life.
Castle Sound and Vision’s recommendation: The ideal Hi-Fi vinyl setup
Castle and Vision’s Andy Haines also had pick for audiophiles with a bigger budget. Mr Haines says the minimalistic Rega Planar 1 Turntable, the matching Rega IO amplifier and a pair of Fyne F300 bookshelf speakers is a perfect combination for beginners due to their simple design.
Mr Haines, 60, said: “There’s a vinyl revival at the moment, people are buying a lot of records and if they want to get the best out of them then this system will be perfect for that. If you’ve got more spare cash and you know someone looking to start a vinyl setup, this is ideal.”
Rega Planar 1 turntable: £250
Rega IO amplifier: £379
Fyne F300 bookshelf speakers: £179
Rough Trade Nottingham’s recommendation: Top 10 records of 2020
What’s the point of a pristine vinyl setup if you haven’t got some records to spin? Head of Retail at Rough Trade Nottingham, Kyle Houghan, has picked Rough Trade’s top 10 records of 2020 as his ideal Christmas gifts for music fans. Mr Houghan said: “If you’re looking to start your vinyl collection, this is the best collection of independently released albums of the year and there’s something for just about everyone.”
The top ten, that stocks exclusive material if purchased through Rough Trade, features music from the mysterious collective SAULT, the brooding atmospheres of Phoebe Bridgers, the multi-genre wonder of Rina Sawayama and even the latest effort from Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs for those wanting a heavier touch. Whatever your tastes are, there’s a disc here for anyone this Christmas.
Price: Ranging from £20-35