Five Killer Gifts for Music Loving “Dads” and “Grads”

June is a ripe month for gift giving with both High School and College Graduations as well as Father’s Day right around the corner. If you are like me, finding the perfect gift for a loved one can often be stressful. If you have someone you are still shopping for and want to make their day special, check out a quick list of five totally cool gift ideas for the music lover in your life. Check out also a list of  a dozen or so great ideas from our Holiday Gift Guide last December. Good luck and if you have any questions about any of the items, as always, feel free to leave a comment, message me on Twitter or e-mail me.

Hidden-Final3

Sonos

Test Pack $299

If you have ever remotely considered the idea of  splurging for Sonos- now is a great time to consider taking the plunge. We’ve previously reviewed Sonos as a whole as well as their amazing subwoofer called “Sub”. In a nutshell, Sonos lets you play “all the music on earth” anywhere in your house effortlessly and wirelessly. More and more services are added all the time making it likely that whatever you enjoy listening to can be played from Sonos. Your own local library, Spotify, MOG, Songza, radio, DAR.fm, Pandora, Wolfgang’s Vault and Stitcher are but a few of the services available and ones that I use the most. With gorgeously designed apps for iOS and Android, as well as the ability to control from any computer, it is a joy to create playlists, find songs and create the perfect mood whenever you want.

Play:3 is Sonos’ entry level speaker but don’t let that fool you. It packs a decent punch and can easily fill a room with sound sporting three separate drivers. With the ability to position vertically or horizontally,  it is versatile speaker that can be placed practically anywhere. As always, the beauty of the Sonos system is that you can start with one speaker and slowly add and build onto your system. This speaker is typically $299 but this promotion throws in a Bridge [$49] which connects to your router and allows you to set up your wireless mesh networks as well as free shipping.  90 days of Rhapsody is also included.

Sonos Play:3[Sonos Play:3 available in White or Black]

Fracture Glass Photo

Prices Starting at $15

Fracture is a company offering pictures printed directly on glass which produces quite a stunning result. Your picture and frame are one and the same and look sleek, crisp, and unlike a traditional framed photo.  Colors are bright, vibrant and the images pop! The modern looking photos lay perfectly flat on a wall or smaller ones can be put on a stand. With a variety of choices in how the print is ultimately produced, including a stained-glass look, you are sure to find one that will work for you. Grab a couple scans of your loved ones most memorable ticket stubs or concert shots and create a music collage. Any JPEG, PNG or GIF can be uploaded and turned into a Fracture. A variety of sizes including traditional photograph ratios, squares and custom sizes are available. I was really impressed when I saw a wall of several “Fractures” a couple of weeks ago and know you will love this cool way of printing as well. Can’t decide on an image to use? Gift a gift certificate and let the recipient design their own!

Fracture

[Fracture Wall Photos starting at $15]

Griffin WoodTones Earbuds

$29.99

We’ve covered a bunch of reasonably priced earphones including pairs from RHA and Monoprice among others over the last year. Add Griffin’s WoodTones to the list of earphones that give you great sound for the money. Solid wood enclosures come in three colors (Beech, Walnut and Sapele) and are extremely light and comfortable. They can be listened to for extended periods without fatigue as they offer natural, full sound. Three sizes of eartips come with the WoodTones as well as a little hemp drawstring bag to hold them.  Given their unique look and great sound, this is a great gift idea for short dollars. Of course they can be used on any device with an 1/8 ” plug, but the in-line mic and button is specifically designed for iOS devices.

WoodTones

[Griffin WoodTones]

Hifiman EF2A Headphone Amp

$169

First of all, you might be asking…What exactly IS a headphone amp? Well, just like the amp that powers a stereo system, a headphone amp is a simply a smaller amplifier that is specifically designed to power the drivers (speakers) in headphones. Headphones amps can dramatically boost the clarity, details and dynamic range of your sound. And of course, the overall power and volume can be boosted to levels that your computer is not likely to be able to drive. With a reasonable pair of headphones, you’ll be surprised listening through a headphone amp the first time.

This headphone is simply fantastic. Made by Hifiman which is known for their extraordinary audio products, and the maker of a fantastic DAC that we previously reviewed, the EF2A is a winner all-around. It has stunning good looks that help give it the “cool” factor with its mix of retro look with two exposed tubes and sleek design. Overall performance is excellent and you’ll hear amazing clarity in vocals, tremendous boost in overall volume and fine details that you may never had noticed before. With it’s USB design, simply plug and play- easy setup will have your gift recipient enjoying music in a snap. RCA inputs also offer more input options like an external CD player.

Hifiman EF2A[Hifiman EF2A]

Sansa Clip+ Music Player

Starting at $30

Before you laugh at me and sneer with disgust- hear me out. I understand most everyone and their brother has a smartphone or a fancy Mp3 player already. I get that. But the Sansa Clip+ makes for a fantastic second player and a great gift when loaded up with tunes from eTree or Archive.org. Mixed tapes used to be a common gift and when thought was put into them- could really be a huge hit. Why not download a handful of shows from your gift recipients birth year? The first show they saw of their favorite band? Bunch of shows from their favorite venue? You get the idea. I only recently used a Sansa Clip for the first time and was impressed with not only the size and weight, but also the build quality and the sound output. It is a rugged, easy to use player that you can take places that you may not want to risk bringing your smartphone-player. With internal sizes ranging from 2GB – 8GB, you can store thousands of songs. And unlike many phones, the Clip+ has expandable memory so you can just pop in a micro-SD card and double, triple or even quadruple your storage.

Another few things that actually give this an edge over smartphones and iPods: It can play FLAC natively! Frankly, it can play tons of music formats including Ogg Vorbis, audible, and WMA. So rather than having the inconvenience of having to convert your live music downloads from FLAC to Mp3- just drag those files over to your Clip+ and they are ready to play. In addition to plenty of flexibility in formats- you’ll get plenty of playing time too with a long lasting battery (15-20 hours!). If that wasn’t all enough, there’s a built in FM tuner so you can listen to the radio. This little player packs a punch!  Oh yeah, and “one more thing” as Jobs used to say…It also has a built in microphone and lets you record audio and voice memos. Lots going on in a cheap, rugged and well-designed little player.

Sansa Clip+[Sansa Clip+]

Happy shopping! Don’t forget music subscriptions like Daytrotter, Wolfgang’s Vault, MOG, Spotify, Pandora One and other such things. People love getting free tunes! Also, always feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter, e-mail or the comments below if you have any questions.

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