Holiday Hints
I-Have-a-Few-Extra-Pennies Gift Guide
Audio

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 11th, 2014

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I find that giving the gift of audio is something that is definitely appreciated – if you give the right solution, that is. Giving someone a junky pair of headphones or a crackly Bluetooth speaker is the opposite of friendship – so it’s important to choose your weapon carefully when the time comes. Here are a few ideas for audio if you have some extra coin burning a hole in your pocket this holiday season.

Master & Dynamic – MH40

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Beautifully designed. Durable. Amazing sound.

If you are shopping for an audiophile, you cannot go wrong with the MH40 headphones from Master & Dynamic. I have listened to my share of headphones, so when I say that these are my favourites (out of all of the ones that I have tested), you probably have a good idea as to how great they are. The 45mm drivers sound a lot bigger than you would think, and the clarity across the sound spectrum is excellent. Every single song that I listened to using these headphones sounds great – with no enhancements whatsoever – just good ol’ design and solid construction.

‎While they are a little on the heavy side, they feel comfortable, enveloping your ears snugly, like a hug from your grandmother. No noise canceling is needed, since the sound isolation is quite good, allowing you to hear your music without compromising your awareness of your environment. There is really nothing but great things to say about the MH40 headphones. When I sent them back at the end of the review period, it was like saying goodbye to my second child.

You can grab a set of these headphones at their website, at the Apple Store, or at Planet of Sound.

Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Card

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It is a gorgeous card – and it sounds amazing.

A great gift for a PC gamer, the Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Card raises the bar by increasing audio fidelity as well as the level of immersion in games and music. Trust me when I say that you will probably hear your audio in a whole new way. As I said in my review from earlier this year, I had to re-install my old sound card (which was not an inexpensive card, by the way) to check if I had not been paying attention to its output and had been taking it for granted. Nope.

With a bevy of options for connectivity, the ZxR falls short only because it foes not have a coaxial SPFIF port (but not a lot of people that I know have any idea what that even is). Even the beam-forming microphones are fantastic, and they served me well when my professional microphone broke down during my CVA podcast sessions. Yep. The only real problem with getting this sound card is that you will want a nicer set of speakers to go with it.

You can grab this at most stores that carry computer hardware.

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