It’s crunch time. If you want to order your Christmas Gifts online and have them by Dec. 25th, then you better hurry. The standard ground shipping cutoff for UPS is today 12/13, and it’s 12/16 for FedEx. Of course, if you’re willing to pay for express shipping, you have a little longer.
However, if you’re like me, you probably ship your gifts last minute using Amazon Prime. With Prime, you can order a bunch of stuff on the site up to Dec 22 and get it there by Christmas. If you like to play it close, you can place an order on Dec. 23–Amazon says they have over 10 million items available for one-day shipping.
Prime shipping does come at a price, though; it’s $6.49 a month for students and $12.99 a month for just about everyone else. Then no extra charge at the time of shipping.
But there is a way to use Prime this Christmas season without paying anything. At least for the first 30 days!
You can sign up for an Amazon Prime 30-day free trial, do your holiday shopping, then cancel if you don’t wish to keep the service, but keep in mind you will have to put up a credit card. If you don’t cancel within the 30 days, they will charge you for the full membership. I recommend setting up a cancel reminder on your calendar, in case you don’t want to keep it.
Here’s a link to the free trial: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Now that you have shipping set up, here’s a list of Last-Minute Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers the Audiophile/Music Lovers in your life will love! There’s still plenty of great stuff you can get sent out from Amazon in a jiffy. Check it out!
1.) Shanling MTW100 True Wireless Earphone, Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds– I reviewed these True Wireless Buds not too long ago, and I fell in love with them! They are lightweight, and the case is super small, the perfect size for a guy to slip in his pocket. They look great, they’re very comfortable, and they will go for seven hours on a single charge. All of that is nice, but my favorite part is the balanced armature driver, which is rare to have in a wireless earphone. The BA driver gives you clarity and sharpness of sound you don’t get from other TWS earphones. Get these for that special music lover on your list.
2.) Tranya T3 Sports Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth 5.0 Deep Bass True Wireless Earbuds Built-in Microphone– This is a cheaper alternative to the earbuds above. Since they have a Dynamic Driver and not a Balanced Armature like the Shanling, the sound is not quite as crisp, but it’s still excellent. I also found them comfortable and easy to use when I did my review. These are a great pick to impress someone without spending a ton of money.
3.) FiiO M5 AK4377 32bit /384kHz DAC chip Hi-Res Bluetooth Touch Screen MP3 Music Player with aptX/aptX HD/LDAC, USB Audio/DAC– This tiny music player packs a lot into one small chassis. It tells time, counts your steps like a Fitbit, records audio, and of course, it’s an excellent music player. If you buy the watchband accessory, you can even wear it like an Apple Watch! It also works as a headphone amplifier/DAC for your laptop, giving you a much better sound than you would get from the crappy headphone jack on the computer.
4.) Status Audio BT Structure Dual Driver Wireless Earphones-The excellent sound, sturdy build quality, long battery life, and impressive performance during phone calls, make these a steal for $79. If you are looking for a pair of fitness earphones, and you care about sound quality, these are a no-brainer. Read my full review here.
5.) Final Audio E1000 in-Ear Monitor Dynamic Headphones-This is one of my favorite earphones to use on the go, and they have a big following amongst headphone enthusiasts. They have a sweet easy-going, spacious, mid-centric sound that is amazing with pop and singer/songwriter music and good with just about anything else. Vocals sound like a live performance. They are tiny and inexpensive (around $30) earbuds made for audiophiles, so they will blow away department store earphones. Nice and cheap to pop in your bag without worrying too much, plus you don’t have to settle for bad sound. They’re also super comfortable.
6.) Linsoul KZ ZSX 5BA+1DD 6 Driver Hybrid in-Ear HiFi Earphones– When I reviewed these earphones a couple of months back, I called them “most transparent and cohesive of any KZ so far.” That means for around $60 bucks you can get a fun pair of in-ear monitors that will give you a full, clear sound. Much better than any earbuds you will see at Best Buy. With six speakers per side, you can provide the music lover in your life a personal concert for their ears! They also look cool.
7.) GRADO SR60e Prestige Series Wired Open-Back Stereo Headphones– The Grado SR-60 has been the budget headphone king for many years now, offering great detail in the midrange and treble along with fast, controlled low-end presence for those who like to rock out. The open-back design, coupled with the long cord, makes these more suited for use at home, but if you want to give someone the taste of what an actual hi-fi headphone sounds like without spending a ton of money (around 70 bucks), look no further — great gift for a guy who loves speakers, and wants to get started with headphones.
8.) Brainwavz Hengja – The Desk Headphone Hanger – Believe me, if you know someone with a big set of headphones on their desk, they will love you for this gift! This hanger lets them keep their headphones out of the way and save room at the same time!
9.) Brainwavz Hard Earphone Case – Suitable for Most Earphone Sizes – If you know someone who has a bunch of earphones, this will be a welcome gift. Even if they have only one pair and just travel a lot, they will love this. Most earphones nowadays only come with a soft storage pouch or no storage option at all. This hard case will protect them and help them last longer!
10.) FiiO BTR3 HiFi Bluetooth Receiver&USB DAC | aptX/aptX HD/aptX LL/LDAC/AAC/HWA Support– This baby will turn your headphone jack deprived smartphone into a full-fledged high-resolution music player, add headphones! All you have to do is connect to it via Bluetooth, plug in your earphones, and you’re ready to go! It supports CD-quality wireless music transfers if your phone supports it, and the internal DAC will make your music sound crisper, even better than a device that still has a headphone jack. The best part is that it’s reasonably priced!
1.) SIMGOT EK3 in-Ear Monitor Headphones with Four Tuning Models, Design HiFi Hybrid Triple Balanced Armature Driver(3 Knowles BA)– I love these earphones! They have three top of the line BA drivers from Knowles built into each earpiece, which gives the sound a depth you won’t get from cheaper IEMs.
The soundstage and air between instruments are comparable to full-size headphones! Not only that, the EK3 has little tiny switches built into them so that you can tweak the sound to your preference. You can add more Bass or more Treble, so it’s like having several different earphones in one. They are also very comfortable to wear. Pick these up for the picky audiophile in your life.
2.) Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold Headphones (Gold-Black)– These are more like a work of art than a pair of headphones. Pictures don’t do them justice. They have hand-finished wood cups, high-quality PU Leather, and beautiful gold accents. They also come with Silver hardware if the Gold is too much for you. The comfortable headband and earpads add to the luxurious feel. Accessories include a beautiful hard storage case, two different cables, one for portable use, and a longer one for use at home.
All that wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t sound right, and believe me, they do!! These headphones have received more rewards than you can count for their warm yet refined sound. They make pretty much any music you play sound good!! Get these for the person who thinks they have everything. They also have a less expensive model called the 99 NEO with a very similar tone and look, but they have matte black earcups instead of the wood.
3.) AudioQuest – Dragonfly Cobalt USB DAC/Headphone Amplifier– The AudioQuest Dragonfly is the gold standard for portable headphone DAC/Amps, and the new Cobalt is the most potent Dragonfly ever made. It will power just about every full-size headphone out there, so you can take this to work along with your favorite pair of audiophile headphones and have your private hi-fi system! Uses a top of the line ESS digital to analog converter chip for clear, dynamic sound!
4.) IFI Zen DAC – HiFi Desktop Digital Analog Converter with USB3.0– This is officially the year of budget Desktop Headphone DAC/Amps! A USB DAC/Amp like the Dragonfly is excellent–especially the Cobalt above since it will sound better than this model here–it also costs more–But full-size desktop models like the iFi ZEN DAC are more flexible with it comes to connections (has balanced and unbalanced connections, 1/4″ headphone jack), plus it has a volume knob and gain controls to match the sound to your headphones.
This one also has MQA decoding and a high-quality bass-enhancement feature that boosts the bass without muddying up the midrange. It is a steal at the current price of $130. The headphone guy in your life will love you for this one!
5.) iFi Zen Blue HiFi Bluetooth Receiver Desktop DAC/Adapter– The Zen Blue is the other half of iFi’s new duo of Zen series devices, and it’s a high-quality wireless DAC based on Bluetooth 5.0. It supports every BT codec under the Sun–AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, and HWA– making it possible to send lossless CD-Quality audio to your hi-fi rig.
It has analog RCA outputs, along with digital Coax and Optical outputs, giving you the flexibility to use the integral DAC or use your own Kick-ass DAC if you have one. Great way to send high-quality wireless audio to an old tried and true hi-fi system, or a new pair of powered speakers.
6.) Emotiva BasX TA-100 Stereo Preamp/DAC/Tuner with Integrated Amplifier– For $429, the TA-100 is probably one of the best values in hi-fi. They build it like a tank, with a bunch of nice touches like a vast easy to read display and volume management features that make it a pleasure to use. It also has a pre-out so you can add a separate power amp and grow your system later. However, you may never use it because the TA-100 is powerful enough to run just about any speaker on its own!
If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the few integrated amps in this price range with a built-in USB DAC. That means you can make a straight digital connection to your laptop for optimum sound quality. You can also add Bluetooth with the addition of a cheap dongle. This is an excellent purchase for someone just starting to put together a system or someone who has an old amp and needs to upgrade their tech! Check out my full review!
7.) Paradigm Monitor SE Atom Bookshelf Speaker in Matte Black (Pair)– These speakers may not look like much, but they have a boatload of tech for a little bit of money. There’s the Poly Cones with inverted caps and reverse roll surrounds for surprisingly low bass from a speaker of this size. Add to that the S-PAL (aluminum) tweeters with a Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lens for smooth and extended high-frequency. This gives you incredible detail without the brightness you get from a lot of metal tweeters.
The computer-optimized second-order crossovers provide seamless dynamic integration– which means you get a vast composed presentation– at higher volumes than these little speakers have any business playing at. All this adds up to a $300 speaker that plays like a $500-600 one. I also really love the midrange on these…vocals are amazing. This is a great speaker to start a budget hi-fi system with and goes great with the TA-100 above. 25% off for the holidays!!!
8.) PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speaker – Black Ash- According to the manufacturer, this speaker just won a Stereophile Product Of Year Award, which is a considerable achievement for a $350 speaker. I agree this is definitely a fantastic speaker for the price and shows just how far speaker technology has come. (Read my full review where I said it was one of the best speakers under $500)
Like the Paradigm Monitor SE Atom above, this speaker has smooth highs and a beautiful midrange for lovely vocals. Where it differs is in the bottom end. The P5 has a lot more bass than the Paradigm, to the point you can listen to some bass-heavy music and not crave a sub. The SE Atom is a little cleaner and transparent, but if you like a little warmer sound, these will probably suit you better.
9.) iFi Power Station Active Power Conditioner Mains Bar/Power Strip/Surge Protector– I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is the third iFi product on this list. There’s a good reason for that. iFi is just really good at making well-designed audiophile gear and selling it at a price that we all can afford. Here’s another example. Once you get your hi-fi system set up the way you want it, that means the right amp, speakers, source, and cables; then you should look into a power conditioner/surge protector.
This heavy-duty device will help keep the expensive audio equipment you picked out safe from power surges and lightning strikes, and it will also make your system sound better by removing electrical noise coming from your outlet. With this noise removed, you can hear what your system is capable of! A lot of devices with active noise canceling like the Power Station cost a thousand dollars or more, but this one only cost around $500, and it’s well worth the investment. This is an excellent gift for someone serious about their hi-fi hobby.
Fluance Ai40W Powered Two-Way 5″ 2.0 Bookshelf Speakers with 70W Class D Amplifier for Turntable, PC, HDTV–Also Bluetooth aptX Wireless Music Streaming–Currently$169.96–$30 off the regular price. These powered speakers are essentially a complete audio system unto themselves, making them simple to use. You can use a cellphone or laptop with Bluetooth as a quick source, or plug in a CD Player/Turntable.
CHORD Electronics Mojo, ultimate DAC/Headphone Amplifier, USB, Coaxial, and Optical-$399.00 $200 off!- The ultimate portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier now at the lowest price ever!
Crazy prices on a bunch of KEF products, including the ridiculously popular LS50 ($200 off-a speaker I love, one that makes you feel the music) and LS50 Wireless ($700 off) speakers, also $300 off the popular Q150 bookshelf
Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 (V2) AM/FM Stereo Receiver Amplifier-50% off, now $199
Amazing deals on Marantz Compact Reference Components including the HD-AMP1 – Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Built-in DAC…now $750.00 (Save $349!) Also save on the Marantz HD-DAC1 – Reference Quality Headphone Amplifier ($249 Off) and the Marantz HD-CD1 – Compact CD Player ($200 Off!)
ELAC-check out the BLACK FRIDAY 2019 specials at the ELAC AMAZON Store. Right now you can get the lowest prices of the year on their standmount speakers, floorstanders, even their center channel speakers and subwoofers if you’re looking to do the home theater thing.
To me, these are the best deals:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers, Black (Pair)-$209.98 which is 40% off the pair!
Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 Floorstanding Speaker, Black (Each)-$209.98 which is $140 off each speaker
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker (Black, Pair)-$347.98 which is 40% off the pair!
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