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2014 Audioholics Christmas Gift Guide

by December 02, 2014
2014 Audioholics Christmas Gift Guide

2014 Audioholics Christmas Gift Guide

With Christmas right around the corner, we’re sure you’ve started gift shopping for your loved ones. But there’s always that little catch: what do you get the guy or girl who has everything? If your significant other happens to be an audio-addict, or if they are into electronic gadgets in general, we’ve got a few ideas to help you out. Forget the ties and cologne/perfume. And yes, we’re also capable of shopping for our own socks and underwear thank you very much. If we just shot down your entire shopping list, keep reading to get some “better” gift ideas.  Audioholics style of course :)

Beatles In MonoThe Beatles in Mono Vinyl Box Set

MSRP: $336.43 | Buy It Now
Newly mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studio, The Beatles “Get Back” to mono with The Beatles In Mono vinyl box set. The set boasts fourteen 180-gram vinyl LPs, with the original artwork, as well as a 108-page hardbound book. Perfect for the classic rock fan, the mixes sound crisp, with the lowest noise floor we’ve ever heard in vinyl. The albums included are: Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour, Rubber Soul, With The Beatles, Mono Masters (3LP Set), The Beatles (2LP Set). Beatles For Sale, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Please Please Me, Help!, and A Hard Day’s Night.

Sono Luminus - Ying Quartet: Schumann

MSRP: $19.99 | Buy It Now

Ying QuartetIf your audiophile is more of a chamber music aficionado, consider Schumann’s String Quartets 1-3 by the Ying Quartet. A group composed of faculty members at the Eastman School of Music, the Ying Quartet is now in its second decade of producing music together. Their latest release, Ying Quartet: Schumann is composed of a trio of quartets written by Robert Schumann in the summer of 1842. Full of melodies that perfectly complement the holiday season, the album comes in high resolution Blu-ray DTS-MA 7.1 96kHz/24 bit Audio format as well as standard redbook CD. Recordings by Sono Luminus are top notch in fidelity and a must have for any serious audiophile.

Roku 3 Streaming Player

MSRP: $99.99 | Buy It Now
Roku 3With content available from Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu Plus, and over a thousand entertainment channels, the Roku 3 is the cord-cutters dream. There’s also a Roku app available for mobile devices, allowing you to stream movies, music, and photos to your A/V system from your smartphone/tablet. Yes, technically you could get all that in the $50 Roku 1, but the Roku 3 has a few additional perks worth mentioning. Its remote includes a headphone jack for private listening as well as motion control for gaming (Angry Birds Space is included). The “3” also features Roku’s fastest processor, ensuring a smoother experience than the lesser models can offer.

Aperion Allaire Bluetooth Speakers

MSRP: $399 | Buy It Now | Review
Allaire BluetoothWhat can you get an audio lover for under $500? One item he’s sure to enjoy is an excellent pair of active bookshelf speakers, the Aperion Allaire Bluetooth. Backed 50W of amplification per side, users just have to connect the Allaire Bluetooth set to a CD player, TV, etc. via the included optical digital cable, and start listening. But wait, there’s more: these speakers offer a subwoofer output, meaning you can add a subwoofer from Aperion (or sub specialists like SVS, Power Sound Audio, and Hsu), and build a full range system; no A/V receiver or mess of wires necessary. Did we mention the Allaire Bluetooth can also connect to your mobile devices wirelessly, allowing you to stream music courtesy of a built in Bluetooth adapter? Yeah, it does that too. Whether you need high quality stereo system that can move from room to room, or you’re building a second setup for a den or bedroom, we can’t recommend this setup enough!

NHT SuperZeroNHT SuperZero 2.1 Bookshelf Speaker

MSRP: $119.99/each | Buy It Now | Review
If you’re looking to build a compact two or five (or more!) channel system on a budget, NHT’s SuperZero should be at the top of your shopping list. With a street price of $100 a pop, the SuperZero is a seriously tiny bookshelf speaker (9” H x 5” W x 5.5” D), and a high-quality alternative to popular “cube” speakers. What makes it better you ask? Unlike most cubes which feature a single full range driver, the SuperZero is a true two-way design boasting a 4.5” paper cone woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter. Paired with a good quality subwoofer, the SuperZero can deliver full-bodied sound without any gaps in response, as well as a detailed top end.

SB-1000SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer

MSRP: $499 | Buy It Now | Preview
It's no secret, we love subwoofers. And we love the SB-1000 for its amazing price/performance ratio. The SB-1000 has a single long-throw 12" front-firing driver in a compact sealed cabinet. The configuration allows for a lower frequency response of 24-260 Hz +/- 3 dB response, which is impressive considering the cabinet measures a petite 13.0” cubed. Powered by a 300 watt RMS/720 watt peak DSP controlled Sledge STA-300D, the SB-1000 has plenty of power for the 12" driver. And let's say for some crazy reason you want to return it, or it breaks, or you want to upgrade, SVS's Bill of Right guarantees you a great customer experience. Let's recap. Great price, check. Great performance, check. Great customer service, check. What more could you ask for?

Emotiva mini-X A-100 Stereo Amplifier

MSRP: $189 | Buy It Now | Preview
Mini-X A-100Need serious power, but you don’t have room for a power amplifier? You need to meet the Emotiva mini-X A-100. A half-width amp measuring 8.5”W x 3.125”H x 15”D, the A-100 still packs 50W x2 into an 8 ohm load, and 80W x2 into a 4 ohm load, giving it serious muscle for a desktop music system or a compact bedroom setup. Like most amplifiers, the A-100 includes 12V trigger inputs/outputs; however, the pint-sized Emotiva also includes an auto-sensing circuit to automatically turn on when music is playing, and a volume control so you can hook it up directly to your computer or another source device.

Yamaha RX-V477 A/V Receiver

MSRP: $449.95 | Buy It Now | Preview
Priced at $450, the Yamaha RX-V477 is an overachieving budget A/V receiver featuring 5.1 channels of audio backed by 80W of power, 6 HDMI inputs, and Yamaha’s YPAO auto-calibration system. Want more? The RX-V477 also has a network input up its sleeve, allowing it to connect to internet sources like Pandora and Spotify, as well as local network sources via Apple Airplay and HTC Connect. Last but not least, the RX-V477 also benefits from Yamaha’s excellent A/V controller app for iOS and Android, which makes setup and operation a snap.


Yamaha RX-V477 AV Receiver


RBH EP-SBRBH EP-SB Wireless In-Ear Headphones

MSRP: $179 | Buy It Now | Preview
If you’re buying for an audiophile on the go, look no further than the RBH EP-SB wireless in-ear headphones. The RBHs pack reference-grade audio quality courtesy of Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX, not to mention 5-6 hours of uninterrupted talk / listening time, and NFC for easy pairing with your mobile device. The streamlined design and water-resistant coating also mean that the EP-SB’s can go wherever you do without being a nuisance. Want to listen to tunes on your morning jog? No sweat. Want to rappel down a cliff? The EP-SB’s won’t get in your way.

OPPO PM-2 Circumaural Headphones

MSRP: $699 | Buy It Now
OPPO PM-2The OPPO PM-2 features all the audio performance of the PM-1’s we reviewed previously, at a price of $400 less than the company’s flagship headphones. How did OPPO pull off this feat? While the PM-2’s utilize the same planar magnetic driver of their big brother, and consequently boast the same phenomenal sound quality, some of the high end touches are missing. Gone are the PM-1’s glossy wooden storage box, lambskin leather earpads and headband, and real metal trim. Instead, the PM-2 rocks synthetic leather and plastic trim. Can you live with that for a $400 discount? We thought you might.

Martin Logan Motion Vision Sound Bar

MSRP $1,499 | Buy It Now | Review
The Martin Logan Motion Vision sound bar is nothing like the typical cheap looking sound bars found on the shelves of most big-box stores. The Vision is Martin Logan's solution for consumers who want high-end sound without a rack of equipment or speakers scattered all over their room. It incorporates three of the company's acclaimed Folded Motion tweeters, four 4" long-throw woofers, and twin rear-facing ports. The Vision is a little larger than most of the competition, but that's because it's designed to be run with or without a subwoofer. At first we were pretty skeptical of how much bass a soundbar could produce sans subwoofer, but after getting the Vision in for review, we’re believers. The Vision really shines when it comes to listening to music, but also does a fantastic job with movies. If you are looking for a sleek sound solution, but don't want to compromise on quality, the Martin Logan Motion Vision is worth a serious listen.

Motion Vision

MartinLogan Motion Vision Sound Bar

Ion Sound LoungeIon Sound Lounge

MSRP: $79.99 | Buy It Now
Are you looking for good, room filling sound, but just don’t have space for a conventional audio system? The Ion Sound Lounge might just be what you’re looking for. The Sound Lounge is an ottoman-speaker combo that is the perfect fusion of style, sound, and fun. This sonic ottoman comes with two built-in stereo speakers and a ported subwoofer making it more than capable of filling a room with multi-directional sound. It is plush and comfortable for any living room, bedroom, dorm room or game room. Did we mention it can stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth?

Panasonic Arc3 3-Blade Electric Shaver

ES-SL41-SMSRP: $59.99 | Buy It Now
Because even Audioholics and gadget junkies need a clean shave. For the best close shave, Panasonic’s new ES-RT97-S Arc3™ feature a 3-Blade Foil Cutting System to capture even the most stubborn and hard to reach hairs.  With Ultra-share 30-degree Nanotech™ inner blades, these models cut hair at the root for the utmost smoothness.  The Arc3 inner-blade system is driven by a quiet yet powerful 10,000 rpm motor for quicker, more efficient shaving.  And, each new model is equipped with a sharp, 45-degree slide-up trimmer, for precision trimming of sideburns or mustaches.  The Flexible Pivoting Head conforms to the neck and jaw area, further highlighting the shaver’s ability to deliver a uniquely personal shave while also enhancing comfort. 


Tis the season for bringing joy, and we can't think of any better way to bring a smile to your electronic-addict's face than with some audio goodness. We're confident your significant other wants at least one of the items on our list (if not three or four). Plus, with a little shopping around you'll likely pay a lot less than the prices you see listed here. Merry Christmas from all of us here at Audioholics, and have a very happy holiday shopping season!


About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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