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Christmas gifts for music lovers: Unique presents for the audiophile in your life

From headphones and turntables to band T-shirts, these gifts will go down a treat  

<p>Your recipient is bound to appreciate a present from our round-up</p>

Your recipient is bound to appreciate a present from our round-up

While most of us enjoy listening to music in some capacity, there are those who take their love to another level, spending hours carefully curating playlists and their entire weekends scouring local record shops for vintage vinyl.

These are notoriously tricky people to buy for – they have very specific tastes, generally knowing exactly what they want.  

While you might not be able to snag tickets to live concerts right now, we’ve got some brilliant gift ideas that promise to keep their toes tapping.  

For our music lovers’ gift guide, we’ve drawn from our extensive reviews to bring together a selection of our favourite products, as well as some more recently discovered picks too. To fuel their passion, you can gift something that will elevate their listening experience, teaches them something new or pays homage to their favourite band.

And don’t worry, we know these sorts of gifts can prove costly, so we’ve included options to suit all budgets.

From Bluetooth speakers to headphones, turntables and band T-shirts, these are the gifts we think audiophiles will seriously enjoy.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Headphones

A great pair of headphones is essential to anyone who loves music, whether they plan on doing so while sinking into an armchair or out for a run. For a set that makes noise-cancelling technology a priority, the Bose Headphones 700 (£299, John Lewis & Partners) are a great option. They fit over-ear, boast a battery life of 20 hours and look the part too.

As the winner of our best buy award for the best noise-cancelling headphones, our tester said: “These headphones put Bose back in the lead where noise-cancelling is concerned, able to quell the engine of a 747 effectively or to make phone calls easily heard even in noisy situations. They are among the most luxuriously designed headphones you’ll come across, with no visible joints, a stainless-steel headband and adjustable earcups. The build quality of these headphones is also extraordinary: lightweight and comfortable even for long use.”

Alternatively, a pair of earbuds, like Apple’s Airpods Pro (£249, Apple), will certainly boost your gift-giving credentials. Taking the top spot in our round-up of the best wireless earbuds, this option delivers the best noise-cancelling of any in-ear headphones, comes with a charging case and three different sizes of silicone eartips, so you can choose the right size for a perfect fit. If your recipient doesn’t own an iPhone, fear not, because they can be used with other devices too.

Bluetooth speaker

Small but mighty, Bluetooth speakers can pack a punch when it comes to filling the room with sound. While you can get your hands on one for as little as £20, the audio quality might not be quite as impressive as our recommendations.

If you’re thinking of giving one as a gift this Christmas, we recommend the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 (£159, Amazon), which made it onto our round-up of the best Bluetooth speakers.

Our tester was particularly impressed by the fact it sounds great despite being small. “It has decent 360-degree sound and a bigger, bassier sound than you would expect from the size – it can fill a room. The volume is pretty punchy, too. It’s splash and dust-resistant so you can take it most places, though it’s not fully waterproof,” they said.

Should your budget allow, though, it was the Sonos Move (£349, Amazon) that was named our best buy. While it is more expensive, it delivers on all fronts, with our reviewer praising its “sumptuous quality”.

Turntable

While CDs, MP3s and online streaming services have usurped vinyl over the years, there are still plenty of people who prefer the sound of a record player. A turntable is a good idea for any music fan who is yet to invest in one, or could do with an upgrade.

They can range from under £100 to a few thousand, but there are some brilliant options in the middle, like the Sony PS-HX500 (£299, Amazon), which landed a spot in our review of the best turntables under £500. “It has a simple all-black elegant design with a classic plinth,” said our reviewer, who added that its ability to record from vinyl made it “probably the top choice for avid vinyl enthusiasts looking to expertly digitise their collection”.

For something a bit more high-end, the Pro-Ject RPM 1 Carbon (£375, Amazon) is a good option. Ideal for interiors enthusiasts, our tester described it as looking like “an art installation for your records”, while also delivering “crisp sound”.

Vinyl storage

For any budding record collector, a sturdy place to store their prized vinyl LPs is a must, and also makes a great gift.

Urban Outfitters’ Storage Shelf (£65, Urban Outfitters) is a great choice for people who want to keep their kit in one place and create a music-filled corner in any room. It comes in black and gold, and features two flat shelves that you can place your turntable on, as well as a bottom rack for safely storing favourite records.

If the person you’re buying for would prefer to show off their records, we recommend The Vinyl Wall, a company that sells single shelves that can be placed above your turntable to show what’s “now playing”. Each shelf (£14, The Vinyl Wall) is made from sustainably sourced solid ash wood and is finished with your stain of choice. 

Books

If the person you’re buying for is also a bit of a bookworm, or loves to learn new things, we recommend gifting them a book, whether it be the memoirs of their favourite musician or a coffee table offering that can take pride of place in their living room.

John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman (£11.99, WHSmith) is a great option for fans of the singer and peace activist. It featured in our round-up of books on The Beatles you should read, and is widely regarded as one of the best to document the life and legacy of Lennon.

If you’re not sure if they have a favourite band or artist, try a more general title like Philip Ball’s The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It (£10.99, Waterstones). A great book for deep-thinkers, it explores the latest research in music psychology and asks why music moves us in so many ways.

Streaming services

With so many people now opting for digital downloads, it can be difficult to know how to give these items at gifts. But it is possible, with the most obvious solution being a gift card.

Spotify, which featured on our roundup of the best music streaming services, gives people the opportunity to gift Spotify Premium, which comes with no adverts, unlimited skips, shuffle play and the ability to download songs so you can listen to them anytime and without an internet connection. Gift cards are available for £10, £30 or £60, which offer one, three or six months of access, respectively. They can be purchased online through Amazon or Paypal, and in stores such as Currys PC World.

You can buy gift cards for iTunes too, if your recipient prefers to use that format. However, Apple also offers people the chance to gift specific items, such as an album or individual song. On an iPhone, iPad or iPod, simply open the iTunes music store and select the item you want to gift before entering the recipient's email address. You can either pick today or any day in the next 30 days for the email to be sent.

Memorabilia

Music memorabilia and merchandise is a great option for a gift that’s unique and shows you’ve been thoughtful.

This year, the Royal Mint has launched a number of commemorative coins inspired by music legends, with the latest celebrating the life and career of David Bowie. You can choose from a range of coins that vary in price from £13 to £2,425, including the David Bowie 2020 £5 brilliant uncirculated coin (£15, The Royal Mint), which comes in three different slipcase covers with a matching poster. There is also a half-ounce silver proof coin (£65, The Royal Mint), a gold quarter-ounce coin (£615, The Royal Mint) and a one-ounce coin (£97.50, The Royal Mint) available to buy.

Other artists to feature in the music legends series include Queen and Elton John. Among the collectables any fan would cherish forever is the Elton John 2020 UK half-ounce silver proof coin (£65, The Royal Mint), and the Queen 2020 UK five-ounce silver proof coin (£520, The Royal Mint) which has a limited run of just 750.

Band T-shirt

While live music performances are off the cards, you can still treat your recipient to a piece of clothing that will make them want to get their lighters out and air guitars at the ready.

Official band T-shirts are great way to show your love for your favourite bands or iconic artists, and Truffle Shuffle has plenty to choose from. Our top pick is this retro-inspired Led Zeppelin top (£19.99, Truffle Shuffle) that features a psychedelic design from the band’s performance at the Wembley Empire Pool during their 1971 tour. The top is made from 100 per cent cotton and comes in sizes small to XXL. Alternatively, you can buy similar T-shirts for The Beatles, The Doors, No Doubt, Oasis and Van Halen.

Asos, Topshop and Topman are other great places to find music merch for both men and women, including this Snoop Dogg face print T-Shirt (£25.99, Topshop).

For more Christmas gift ideas, read our round-up of the best presents for bookworms or kids’ stocking fillers.

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