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Headphones, speakers and converters: Audiophiliac’s 2018 holiday gift guide

This year’s holiday gift guide runs the gamut from speakers, headphones, digital converters, books and music.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
More gifts!
1 of 21 Ed Rhee/CNET

The Audiophiliac’s 2018 holiday gift guide

The Audiophiliac's holiday treasure trove is chock full of drool-worthy headphones, speakers, amplifiers, music and books for every budget.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured in this gallery.

2 of 21 Steve Guttenberg/CNET

AudioQuest Dragonfly Red digital converter

This little red gizmo is a digital audio converter and it handles everything from MP3s to high-res files. Plug it into a computer, tablet, iOS or Android phone (especially if you're missing a headphone jack) and you'll be reveling to the sound of your tunes!

It's $200 on Amazon.

3 of 21 Sarah Tew/CNET

Yamaha YAS-108 sound bar

It was clear from the get-go the Yamaha YAS-108 was a slam dunk winner, but after so many outstanding sound bars we expected nothing less from Yamaha. The YAS 108 didn't disappoint, its low price, great sound, swell looks and strong feature set sealed the deal. 

It's $180 on Amazon.

4 of 21 Sarah Tew/CNET

Tribit XSound Go

Bluetooth speakers aren't my forte, I'm a high-end guy, but I like the little Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth speaker because it sounds better than it has any right to. After all, it's a dirt cheap speaker, it's as featureless as they come, and yet I have to admit I'm enjoying this little critter.

The Tribit XSound Go is $33 on Amazon.

5 of 21 Monoprice

Monoprice Monolith M650 headphones

The Monolith M650 full-size headphone is the best-sounding product I've heard from the company.

It's currently selling for $108 on Amazon.

6 of 21 Parts Express

Lepai LP2020TI integrated amplifier

The LP2020TI integrated, 20 watts per channel amp is a tiny critter; its extruded metal chassis measures a scant 1.6 by 4.6 by 4.75 inches. Upfront there are bass, treble and volume controls; the amp's backside hosts one set of RCA stereo inputs, a 3.5mm stereo input and push-spring connectors for speaker cables. Nothing fancy going on here, unless you count the bright blue LED light encircling the volume knob.

 It's currently selling for $38 on Amazon

7 of 21 Lee Shelly

Schiit Loki equalizer

This tiny four band equalizer lets you dial in the sound balance you want from your audio system. Everybody who tried mine loved using it. 

The Schiit Loki retails for $149.

8 of 21 Pioneer

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers

The SP-BS22-LR speaker has consistently earned raves for its sound, and at $95 a pair it's a screaming bargain for anyone craving the best bang-for-the-buck speakers.

It's available on Amazon.

9 of 21 Alex Tostado Photography, Inc

Monoprice Liquid Spark headphone amplifier

OMG, this pint-size headphone amp was designed for Monoprice by the legendary Alex Cavalli, and it really is pretty special. The Liquid Spark offers plenty of power, up to 1.3 watts and preamp outputs to drive a set of desktop powered speakers. An Audiophiliac review is in the works. 

It's $99 on Amazon.

10 of 21 KEF

KEF LS50 speakers

It's still a little pricey for a holiday gift, but for now through Dec. 31st, KEF will be retailing their LS50 speaker for just $999 (down from $1,500). It's a serious high-resolution monitor for serious audiophiles. 

Available on Amazon.

11 of 21 Spin Doctor

Spin Doctor record cleaning machine

If your loved ones buy a lot of used records, or they're cherry picking their older relatives LP collections, gifting this record cleaning machine might be a swell idea. 

It's $80 on Amazon.

12 of 21 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony WH1000X MK3 Bluetooth headphones

The Sony WH1000X MK3 is simply the best-sounding noise-canceling headphone on the planet.

It's $348 on Amazon.

13 of 21 Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Point of View, by Chris Stein (book)

Chris Stein is the co-founder, songwriter and guitarist of the iconic band Blondie. Stein's exploration of New York's 1970s punk scene is a great trip.

It's $23 on Amazon

14 of 21 Audioengine

Audioengine A2+ powered speakers

The Audioengine A2+ is petite, capable and sounds sweet, it's a terrific small room or desktop-powered speaker system. 

The speakers sell for $249 a pair on Amazon.

15 of 21 Universal Music

R.E.M. Live at the BBC box set

It's a nine-disc set, a really terrific collection R.E.M.'s BBC live shows from 1984 to 2008.

16 of 21 Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin (book)

This beautifully put together 400-page photography book will delight the mega band's fans. 

It's $43 on Amazon.

17 of 21 Craft Recordings

Creedence Clearwater Revival Studio Collection

It's Creedence Clearwater Revival's 50th anniversary, and to mark this milestone Craft Recordings is releasing a deluxe LP box set comprising the band's complete seven-album studio output: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, Cosmo's Factory, Pendulum and Mardi Gras.

18 of 21 Dayton Audio

Dayton Audio MK402BT Bluetooth speakers

The Dayton Audio MK402BT two-speaker system fills a room better than any single BT speaker could: whether it's a $349 Apple HomePod or a $399 Google Home Max smart speaker. The big advantage of bona fide stereo separation is hard to beat for the money.

The MK402BT sells for just $89 a pair on Amazon.

19 of 21 Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Michael Jackson On the Wall (book)

Art inspired by Michael Jackson, a stunning collection of photos and more! 

It's $23 on Amazon.

20 of 21 Lee Shelly

Schiit Modi 3 digital converter

For $99 this wee desktop digital converter's sound is a big sonic upgrade over the converter that lives inside your computer or tablet.

Get it at Schiit Audio

21 of 21 Dekoni

Dekoni real sheepskin headphone ear pads

Dekoni Audio's replacement ear pads for full size headphones from Audeze, Audio Technica, Beats, Beyerdynamic, Fostex, Sennheiser and many other brands look and feel more luxurious than the original pads. 

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