Looking for Christmas gifts for music fans? You've come to the right place. If there's one thing a music fan wants, it's an upgrade to their listening experience. Whether it's a new component for a hi-fi system or some wireless cans for taking music on the move, you can never go wrong with better sound.
We've put together a dozen suggestions here that cover a broad range of gift-giving possibilities, and it isn't only electronics: our list also includes the re-issue of a classic album and book penned by a true music legend.
There's no Christmas compilation CD, but if you're still after some festive tunes to enjoy on your new kit then check out our guide to the 12 best alternative Christmas songs.
Pro-Ject Primary E turntable
Stocking-unfriendly vinyl is still relentlessly all the rage, so if the music fan in your life hasn't yet taken the plunge, this entry-level Pro-Ject offers a reliable and fuss-free way in to record spinning. It's more concerned with sound quality and quick-and-painless set-up than all the bells and whistles of USB recording and the like – but for £165 who can argue with that?
Read our Pro-Ject Primary E review
Bowers & Wilkins 607 speakers
The multi-Award-winning B&W's 607 standmount speakers are wildly entertaining and will out-punch most others at their current Christmas 2020 price. That's largely because they've just been on the business end of a pretty hefty set of discounts. The 607s possess a lively sound with an impeccable sense of timing. Bass is deep and authoritative, and there's a high level of detail and expression on show. You could even wrap them up individually so that it counts as two presents, right?
Read our B&W 607 review
Cambridge Audio AXA35 amplifier
A stereo amplifier is the beating heart of any traditional hi-fi system, and the Cambridge Audio AXA35 is the most reasonably priced budget option out there right now. It's a well-built and talented unit that packs all the essentials. It delivers a bold and composed sound that practically overflows with detail. And when it comes to rhythmic drive and dynamic expression, few alternatives do better. If you have a budget turntable, you can take advantage of its built-in moving magnet phono stage too. At this price, you really can't ask for more.
Read all about it in our Cambridge Audio AXA35 review
Spotify music subscription
How about giving the gift of music itself? While Tidal is our favourite music streaming service for its CD-quality streaming and hi-res Masters, it's easier to gift someone unlimited music access on the most popular streaming service on the planet.
A Spotify Premium subscription costs a tenner a month, so we don't need to tell you how much one for one-, or three- or six-month period would set you back.
Sony NW-A55L portable music player
Yes, we know that thing in your pocket can do everything: web browsing, tweet posting, call making and indeed music playing. But when it comes to the latter, a portable music player such as the Award-winning Sony NW-A55L can do it better. This one supports hi-res playback, with DSD compatibility, and its microSD card slot means you can load it up with thousands of tracks beyond its 16GB of internal memory.
Take a closer look with our Sony NW-A55L review
Cyrus soundKey DAC
If a portable music player is a little out of your price range, then how about a portable DAC to boost the sound quality of a smartphone? Cyrus's USB stick digital-to-analogue converter can do just this as the middle man between your smartphone (or laptop) and headphones.
There's a cable for micro-USB smartphones and another for laptops. If your music lover in mind has an Apple device, they (or you) will need to purchase an Apple camera kit adapter.
More details over on our Cyrus soundKey review
Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones
And why not pair that new Sony portable music player with the company's Award-winning wireless cans? They offer the best noise-cancelling currently available at this price, matched with exquisite sound quality that only a few years ago would have been available only from wired headphones.
Read the Sony WH-1000XM4 review and have a good drool
Sunny Side Up by Paolo Nutini (10th Anniversary Edition) vinyl
Sunny Side Up is a very easy to like, any time of day kind of album and it's just been released in stunning yellow vinyl in its 10th anniversary re-release. It features songs such as Ten Out Of Ten, Coming Up Easy, New Shoes, Candy, Pencil Full of Lead and Last Request. It's a great record to own.
Sunny Side Up Limited Edition Yellow (opens in new tab)
How Music Works by David Byrne book
Few musical careers have been as sprawling as that of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. In the best-selling How Music Works, he draws on his own work and that of his many illustrious collaborators, as well as globetrotting adventures, to show how music emerges from cultural circumstance.
How Music Works by David Byrne (opens in new tab)
Atacama Moseco 6 speaker stands
Know someone taking the term 'bookshelf speakers' a little too literally? Then you can transform their listening experience by giving those speakers the support they deserve, with these Award-winning speaker stands from Atacama.
Get to know them better by reading our Atacama Moseco 6 review
Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation wireless speaker
If a traditional hi-fi system is not the ticket for the music lover in your life – or perhaps they already have a sterling set-up not yet needing an upgrade – then what about a wireless speaker? The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation is our favourite unit currently on the market, slotting into various multi-room ecosystems and pushing the limits of just what a one-box solution below a grand is sonically capable.
Annual What Hi-Fi? magazine subscription
Looking for the Ultimate year-round gift? In an overt act of shameless self-promotion, we can’t help but suggest our own physical form as a present for anyone who not only likes listening to music but also reading about the kit that's best to play it (and films) on.
Our annual subscription gets you 13 issues (one per month, plus our annual Awards issue) featuring the world’s most trusted tech reviews (and some darn good features, if we say so ourselves) for less than £3.50 a copy.