Wilson Audio 2016
We know how hard it can be to buy gifts for the audiophile in your life, so we have put together a gift guide to hopefully take some of the guess work out of your shopping this season. These products have been hand picked from items currently available at our retail store in Metairie, LA, and are guaranteed to please any music lover without breaking the bank. Without further ado, we present our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide!
1) Grado SR80e Headphones $99.95
With an open back design, and incredible detail, it’s easy to understand why these phenomenal headphones are the go to cans for professionals in the recording industry. The SR80e‘s give reference level playback necessary for critical listening, and still remain enjoyable to listen to. These headphones are handmade in Brooklyn, NY to this day, and proudly represent the Grado name. Come try them today, and hear the difference for yourself.
This incredibly handy device offers a portable solution for improving the sound of your desktop/laptop computer. Boasting an impressive 24 bit 192 khz DAC, the DACmagic XS will take over the audio processing accomplished by the integrated computer soundcard that is generally limited to 16 bit 44khz playback. It has a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Great for people who travel!
The Cambridge Audio GO portable speaker has aptX bluetooth operation with connectivity to your smartphone or tablet. The GO maintains the famous Cambridge Audio sound quality even with it’s smaller stature. It provides 18 hours of battery life to keep the tunes coming during long days at the beach, or evening picnics with your friends. All of this in a convenient size and affordable price. Perfect for someone on the “GO”…
If you’re looking for a new CD player, but don’t need all of the bell and whistle features of a more luxury piece, look no further. The NAD C516BEE has an incredible sound in any price range, not just at the trim $299 it’s offered for. This CD player has the rugged build quality long associated with NAD’s full line of products, and will re-invigorate your interest in CD listening. The 516 pairs particularly well with the NAD C316BEE integrated receiver. (read on)
Easily one of the best values on the integrated market, the NAD C316BEE has solidified it’s place on this list with good sound, tough construction, and second to none ease of use. It is almost unbelievably simple to setup and operate, yet still provides good sound and adequate power. Utilizing NAD’s proprietary PowerDrive circuit, the 40 watts of output power still manage to drive a wide variety of speakers. Great for a bedroom or home office, and pairs well with the 516 CD player.
6) Cambridge Audio G5 Premium Portable Speaker $259.99
From the same design team that developed the Cambridge Audio GO, the G5 is a elegant yet understated upgrade in the series. The G5 has all the aforementioned features of it’s little brother, but with better sound quality and lower bass extension. This unit will also function as a speakerphone when paired with your regular mobile phone. It can charge your mobile devices while you’re out and about, and be paired with a second G5 for stereo imaging. Fantastic for college students returning to class after winter break.
Bluesound’s smallest powered speaker happens to be it’s most versatile. With aptX bluetooth operation, as well as, HiFi over WiFi capability the Pulse Flex is at home in a wide variety of situations. Two can be mounted to the wall in a stereo configuration, or one can fit almost anywhere to add music to a room. With Bluesound’s “Bluesound OS” all of your digital music is at your fingertips. The Pulse Flex can play from your mobile device, NAS drive, bluetooth, and subscription based streaming services such as Tidal, Spotify, Last FM, Deezer, and iHeart Radio. With every Bluesound enabled device you add to your system, there will still be a single, easy to use interface to control it.
8) U-turn Audio Orbit Turntable $349.00
U-turn burst onto the turntable market with a completely American made phono player hand assembled just north of Boston. The design, build quality, and overall craftsmanship of their product is immediately apparent upon unboxing. This is a serious turntable for the money. With a nice compliment of color options and an included Ortofon OM5SE cartridge, the Orbit is sure to please anyone getting back into vinyl, or someone taking their first steps into the world of analog. I can’t recommend this table enough, and being that it is one of the most affordable players on the market, it’s hard to say no to.
The second Bluesound powered speaker on our list has everything found in the Bluesound Pulse Flex, but in a larger chassis with a bigger soundstage. The Pulse Mini’s 1GHz ARM Cortex-9 Multi-core processor delivers high resolution playback of digital music for almost any type of audio file extension, including MQA, DSD, .WAV, etc. The Pulse Flex features a 4 inch bass driver that extends the low frequency response allowing for deeper bass without compromising clarity. A true value for under $500.
The last entry of the list should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. If you can’t tell I am a huge fan of Bluesound’s current lineup of products. The Bluesound Node 2 has all the streaming capability of the Pulse Flex & Pulse Mini, but acts as a source for your component stereo system. This unit can connect to your existing system via RCA, Digital Coaxial, or TOS-Link Optical connection. It still features the same 32 bit architecture and multi-core processing power as the other pieces in the series, and provides fantastic reproduction of your selected digital music. With app control and wireless capability, you will only need a power outlet, access to WiFi, and one cabled connection to your stereo to begin listening. This is an awesome way to bring wireless functionality to your current system, without having to replace any hardware. A favorite among established audiophiles.
Well, there you have it. Ten innovative, HiFi level audio products that will please the most discerning listener. All of which cost under $500. You may have noticed a somewhat thematic presence of streaming devices. These streaming wireless components are expected to be the “hot” items this year for audio. And it’s clear to see why, they offer an unparalleled level of convenience. (especially for the price)
You can find all of these items at our Wilson Audio retail showroom located in Metairie, LA. Hopefully this helps you decide on what to buy the “hardest to shop for” person on your list, The audiophile!