5 music gifts of note to have friends in tune this Christmas

21 Nov 2016

Headphones on a pile of records. Image: hurricanehank/Shutterstock

If you’re looking to buy your partner, family member or friend some musical gifts this Christmas, these five items might be a great place to start.

Whether you know an audiophile, or just someone who likes to bop along to the latest chart hits, then it is hard to go wrong with music gifts for Christmas.

Thankfully, there is plenty of choice on the market, be it in small stereo speakers or high-fidelity headphones crammed full of tech.

But to save you from going through reams of potential purchases, here are five essential items that are sure to go down a treat.

Plantronics Backbeat Fit Bluetooth headset

Lately, demand has been high for music gear to use when you are in the gym or running about the neighbourhood, as people realise it might be a good idea to exercise after a long day of sitting in an office.

While people have already made fun of the Apple AirPods as Bluetooth headphones that look destined to be lost on a jog, one highly recommended pair is the Plantronics Backbeat Fit Bluetooth Headset.

BackBeat Fit headpones. Image: Plantronics

BackBeat Fit headphones. Image: Plantronics

As you can tell from the name, the headphones are wireless to prevent them snagging on anything while you are out running, but also come with an integrated microphone to answer any calls that cannot be missed.

Despite their size, they manage to emit a rich, deep sound, and an open ear tip design keeps you aware of your surroundings.

They are also waterproof and can manage to run on a single charge for up to eight hours.

While prices vary online, some outlets are selling them for less than €90.

Sony H.ear wireless headphones

If you are looking to really spoil someone in the headphone department, then you might want to take a look at the Sony H.ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

Connected to a music device via Bluetooth, the headphones offer an impressive quality of audio, particularly for a wireless device.

Sony h.ear headphones

Sony’s H.ear Bluetooth headphones. Image: Sony

Capable of being folded up for commuting or travelling, the headphones also come with a built-in microphone to take calls on the go.

But for those looking to block out the world, they come with noise-cancelling technology designed to adapt to your different surroundings.

All in all, the H.ear headphones offer high quality at a price of €290 on its own website.

Bush Classic Turntable

As we now exist in a sea of digital music, one lifeboat offering hope to physical copies of music is the resurgence of interest in vinyl records.

Considered obsolete by the end of the 1990s as CDs became the dominant way in which music was consumed, vinyl is now staging a comeback in a world of low-quality MP3 files.

Bush Classic Turntable

Bush Classic Turntable. Image: Bush

And what better way to get in on the return than with a modern vinyl player that features all of the benefits of the latest technology, but with a retro charm?

A popular option is the Bush Classic Turntable, which is designed to look like the retro suitcase models of portable music in the past.

This turntable can be either hooked up to an existing hi-fi system, or it can play records through its in-built speakers.

At a price of €60 in Argos, it doesn’t sound like a bad deal.


In an age when the majority of people download or stream their music, a subscription service for physical music collections might seem like a mistaken business model. At least, that would be the case, if sales of vinyl records weren’t at a 28-year high, as interest grows in the nostalgic charm and audio quality of wax discs.

Now that vinyl has become popular again, services like Vnyl – based in the US – are offering the chance to sign up for a monthly subscription to long-play records.

Vnyl music subscription service

Image: Vnyl

Launched as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, Vnyl attempted to turn itself into the ‘Netflix of vinyl’ by sending customers three albums each month, curated to the customers’ music tastes, for the recurring fee of $24.

While great for vinyl lovers, a lack of an alternative closer to home can make Vnyl prohibitively expensive for Irish subscribers, tacking on an additional cost of $30 per delivery.

Mogees Play

What if you could turn anything into a musical instrument? That was the idea behind the Mogees Play that began life as a crowdfunding project, but is now a fully fledged toy and educational tool.

To get started, a user would connect their phone or tablet to a smart sensor that can then be attached to whatever item you want to turn into a musical instrument.

The device works by sensing vibrations in the item and turning that into whatever musical sound you desire.

This in turn can then be edited on the accompanying app to create some truly unique music.

Considering the potential, it is quite affordable at $50 for one sensor. Alternatively, you can splash out and buy three for $135 at a reduced price.

Certainly a fun way to spend some downtime during the Christmas period.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic