9 best Christmas gift ideas for audiophiles and hi-res music fans


Sound quality is at the heart of everything we do. From headphones to speakers, music services to music players - if we like it, you know you can rely on the all-important audio quality.

If you know someone as dedicated to audio excellence as us, or want some inspiration for your own Christmas list, these gift ideas should help.


Tested at £20 per month / Best price £20 per month

Forget the brouhaha about Jay-Z, all that matters is that for the audiophile in your life, Tidal is the best way to stream an almost limitless amount of lossless and high-resolution music. The addition of Tidal Masters hi-res streams, which are included in the £20-per-month top-subscription tier, has cemented the service as our favourite music service.

Tidal review


Prices start at $119 per year

So you've got your Tidal subscription... but we can go deeper. Roon is a music player to make the most out of your music collection. Roon brings together all your music - whether you're listening on Tidal or via music on a hard disk drive - into one really smart interface, adding album artwork, biographies, sleeve notes and more. And it can then control an increasing amount of products and services.

It looks great, works well and makes managing all your music a doddle. There's a free trial and a growing list of supported devices.

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Tested at £780 / Best price £549 at Amazon

You need something to control Roon, so as well as a laptop or tablet you can, of course, use a phone. If you're a hi-res music fan, you can now get a hi-res audio supporting phone. Like this one. Audio is one area in which Samsung continues to improve year after year – and the S8+ is a prime example. Music sounds detailed and voices clear, while the big screen delivers impressive pictures. There's also microSD card support for storing all your content.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ review

Astell & Kern AK70 MKII

Tested at £600 / Best price £589 at Amazon

OK, so you want more from your music on the move than a mobile phone can offer. Good on you. A portable music player is the way forward. The likes of Sony, Pioneer, Onkyo, Cowon and Fiio all deliver portable players offering decent battery life, expandable storage, hi-res music support and web browsing.

But the Astell & Kern AK70 MkII is our Product of the Year, delivering class-leading sound, integrated Tidal, a smart design and the ability to work as a DAC. Go on, ask for one.

Astell & Kern AK70 MKII review

Chord Mojo

Tested at £400 / Best price £389 at Sevenoaks

The name is short for 'mobile joy' and that's exactly what this box of tricks delivers – in the form of a DAC and a headphone amp, complete with a host of connections. Whether you're boosting your desktop, portable or fully fledged hi-fi system, the Chord Mojo will ensure you're hearing the best-possible sound.

Chord Mojo review

Grado SR325e

Tested at £280 / Best price £246 at Sevenoaks

You know what you're getting with a pair of Grado headphones: retro – and now instantly recognisable - design, plus high-quality sound. This pair is no different, which is why they're repeat What Hi-Fi? Award-winners. They're a little bit leaky, so are best for use at home but, provided that's not a problem, there's no arguing with the quality.

Grado SR325e review

Qobuz hi-res downloads

Qobuz gift vouchers

Prices start at £29.97 for 3 months

There's no need to put up with bad audio quality in this day and age. Streaming services and download sites now offer lossless and hi-res audio for not a lot of money - and Qobuz combines the two. You can enjoy the service's streams, which go right up to hi-res audio, and buy hi-res downloads to keep. So why not give a Qobuz gift voucher so the audiophile in your life can take advantage?

Qobuz Sublime Plus review

KEF LS50 Wireless

Tested at £2000 / Best price £1999 at Sevenoaks

Had a good year? Or know someone who has? If you want to push the boat out this Christmas, then the KEF LS50 Wireless system is about as good as it gets this year. Not just a pair of speakers but a complete wireless music system, thanks to built-in Spotify and Tidal, Bluetooth and DLNA streaming, plus a host of analogue and digital inputs. Expensive, yes, but a worthy addition to the What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame.

KEF LS50 Wireless review

Tubular Bells: Deluxe Edition - Half-Speed Master

Best price £17 at Abbey Road store

There's plenty of room in the audiophile's arsenal for vinyl. But, ideally, not just any vinyl - half-speed vinyl. "The holy grail of vinyl", this process, which in this instance is done at the famous Abbey Road Studios, should ensure you've never heard your music sound as good on wax. So why not put this theory to the test with Mike Oldfield's hi-fi classic, Tubular Bells?

MORE: The holy grail of vinyl: the art of half-speed mastering