Holiday season often involves gifts. Since Audiophiles are notoriously difficult to shop for I asked each of APR's regular contributors to weigh in on what they would give to a fellow audiophile for the holidays if they had a budget of $100 or less.
Here's what we got...
Jerry Del Colliano
Amazon Music HD ($15 per month)
I know there is Tidal. I know there is Qobuz but Amazon's foray into the world of music (especially HD) is the least expensive and in many ways the most promising. For the audiophile who has everything, now he can have all of the music too - streaming right into his DAC. Roon endpoint will hopefully be added soon (If you're as addicted to Roon as Steven Stone, you could go with Qobuz, which does support Roon and is the same monthly charge). A gift card might be the best way to give this $100 holiday gift.
Admittedly, this was difficult since so much of our hobby is priced considerably higher than $100. I thought about music but honestly, that seems rather obvious. I considered a USB, $99.00 Dragonfly DAC, but ultimately decided against that one.
In the end, I felt like what might be more useful to the average audiophile is education. Robert Harley's Guide to High Performance Audio Systems is an excellent choice at about $20.00 online. Another excellent resource is the Master Handbook of Acoustics at about $30.00. I have a copy of this book and while much of the math and physics is over my head, it is nevertheless a fantastic guide into acoustics. Any of these books, and others, can be purchased as paperbacks or as downloadable digital editions. As in so many other areas of life, more knowledge leads to better understanding. I wish all audiophiles a very happy and safe Holiday Season.
Have a Schiit-filled Holiday
Schiit Audio has replaced their most excellent $99 headphone amp, the Magni 3 with the Magni 3+, which offers nearly double the power and better specs at the same price as the earlier model - $99. As an added twist there are two versions of the Magni 3+, one with discrete analog output circuitry and the other with a slightly better-measuring OP-amp scheme - the buyer can pick which version they prefer. Schiit has even offered the first 250 buyers that for $99 they will send both versions and give the purchaser 30 days to compare and then return the one they like the least. So, that's my $99 audiophile holiday gift.
Give The Gift Of Music!
In some ways, the old cliche tagline from the record industry of the past -- "music is your best value" -- still holds true to this day. Indeed, if you know what to buy (and we do try to help you here at Audiophile Review!), you can obtain musical riches that you can enjoy over and over for a life time to come. Here are two of my faves from 2019 that cost under $100 and would be a great gift for the music person in your life, especially if they like melodic rock flavored pop sounds.
One is from the late 1960s and another is made to sound like it was from the late 1960s! The Beatles Abbey Road 50th Anniversary boxed set offers great sound, a compelling surround sound mix and out-takes galore. What's not to love? To jump to my review about the 5.1 mix and the new Stereo remix by clicking on the underlined embedded links in this paragraph. The Dukes of Stratosphear's Psurroundabout Ride gives you the flavors of late 1960s psychedelia wrapped up in an intelligent design crafted by none other than England's pop royalty, XTC. With a mix by Steven Wilson, this one is a no brainer for fans of pop music and psychedelic rock. And you can get it for well under $30!