Is your Dad a music lover? Is he still listening to his tunes on a beat up old hifi stereo system or headphones purchased before you were born? Well, Fathers’ Day is the perfect time to help him upgrade his rig! Below is a list of affordable audiophile speakers, headphones, amps, and DACs that will make his music come alive and not break the bank! Forget the Tie…this stuff will definitely put a smile on his face!
1. Bowers And Wilkins PX Wireless ANC Headphones ($299) – Travel season is upon us, and believe me, Dad would love a nice pair of active noise cancelling headphones. The Bowers & Wilkins PX Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones have best in class sound, with better sound than Sony or Bose noise cancelling headphones, that’s why I own a pair. Also, you can get them for $100 off until June 15th, that brings them down to $299!
2. PS Audio Sprout100 Integrated Amp ($599) – This integrated would be a perfect product for a Dad putting together his first hi-fi setup, or someone who wants a quality amp and doesn’t have a lot of room to spare. It would also make an excellent anchor for a great desktop hi-fi setup. The Sprout 100 gives you so much for your money, I mean the Headphone Amp/DAC alone is worth what they charge for it. Then when you factor in the power amp that drives speakers down to 4 ohms, the Bluetooth streaming, phono pre-amp, etc. you can see this product is an excellent value.
Buy Here: PS Audio Sprout100 Complete HiFi DAC Amp
3. PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speakers ($349) The Alpha P5 has become one of my favorite speakers under $500. The sweet highs coupled with the engaging mids and weighty bass draw you in, making for a very easy listening speaker that you can listen to for a long time. They also sound good with just about every music genre. This speaker (esp. the Walnut Finish) will go well with the PS Audio Sprout 100.
Buy Here: PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speaker – Walnut
4. Focal Elear Headphones ($470) Now that you can get the Elear for under $500, (It used to cost $1000!) I think it’s now the best value in the audiophile headphone world. It replaced my previous pick, the Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon, which currently sells for $300 down from $700. That is my second choice if you can’t get the Elear. The reason why is that the Elear is just a little more detailed, dynamic, and transparent than the Carbon. If you want to get Dad his first nice headphone, look no further than this one. But if you can’t swing $500, the Carbon is excellent too.
5. Final E3000 Earphones ($55) This is one of my favorite earphones to use on the go, and they have a big following amongst headphone enthusiasts. They have a beautiful easy-going, spacious, mid-centric sound that is amazing with pop and singer/songwriter music and good with just about anything else. If your Dad is like me and listens to a lot of vocal music, these will be right up his alley. They are great to pop in your ears and go. The $55 model has no inline remote/mic, but you can get the model with the remote for another $10 more.
6. HiBy R3 Digital Audio Player ($200) I like the R3. Build quality is top notch, the sound is lively and detailed, plus the feature set is excellent for a $200 music player. The operation is also very smooth, with very little lag even when playing music from the Internet. This is probably the most critical aspect of a player. One thing that irritates me is when a company jams tons of features into a player and doesn’t supply the hardware to support it. That is something you don’t have to worry about here. This is a nice gift for the dad that listens to music at the gym or work. It also pairs well with the Final E3000 earphones…
7. iFi xDSD Headphone Amp/DAC ($399) Once again, iFi has come up with another well-built, flexible, Headphone Amp/DAC that excels in many use cases. Your Dad can use it to level up the sound coming from his laptop or smartphone, or he can use it as a high-quality stand-alone DAC with a more powerful headphone amp. He can also hook it up to his two channel rig. When he is out and about, he can ditch the wires and connect to a laptop or phone via Bluetooth without losing much sound quality. Goes really nice with the Focal Elear!
8. Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger ($13) Believe me, if Dad always keeps a big set of headphones on his desk, he will love you for this gift!
9. Brainwavz B200 In-Ear Monitor ($99) Brainwavz has put together a nice IEM with a refined sound, comfortable fit, and an excellent accessory package. While they are a little thin in the very extremes of the bass, the overall sound is quite beautiful with sweet highs and a full natural midrange. If Dad listens to a lot of acoustic music like jazz, blues, folk or classic rock, he will love the airiness and detail on these. Definitely among the best earphones around $100
10. SVS Prime Wireless Speaker System ($599) – For $599, it’s hard to think of a separates system that will give Dad the enjoyment of these two small speakers. They will provide him with access to tons of music right out the box (if he has music subscriptions) and they will also stream that music to other devices that are part of the Play-Fi system. The sound is engaging with sweet highs, nice mids, and punchy bass. No matter what genre he puts on, he will enjoy what is heard.
Buy Here: SVS Prime Wireless Speaker System
I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.