GadgetGuy 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Sound and vision

Maybe you’re thinking more along the lines of a new pair of headphones or a lovely new TV for presents this year. It could be a gift for the family, or maybe even for you — hey, we won’t judge! If this is what you’re thinking, we have some ideas.

Headphone evolution

Not quite sure what anyone wants? Consider a pair of headphones or a portable speaker, and we’ve checked out so many this year that we know the decision is hard for anyone out there.

Bose SoundTrue

Price: $229

We’ll start this guide with a lovely pair of ultra-light earphones that are comfortable and support replaceable cable, with great sound to boot. Most people know the Bose name represents quality, but it isn’t known for many pairs of headphones under the $300 mark, and with what we’ve seen on the SoundTrue, it certainly should be.

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Plantronics Backbeat Pro headphones

Price: $349

Without doubt one of the most feature packed pairs of headphones this year, Plantronics entered the full-size headphone
market with a bang, including active noise cancellation with a built-in rechargeable battery, easy to use on-ear controls, and Bluetooth for wireless functionality. While they can look a little strange to some, the Backbeat Pro headphones are definitely worth checking out.

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KEF M500

Price: $399

KEF is one of those brands known for audio, and while the M500 were its first play with headphones, you can almost see the perfectionism in the first effort. Simply put, the KEF M500 were brilliant with amazing sound that is incredibly well balanced, while featuring an aluminium frame that is compact and easy to put away and very comfortable to wear.

Highly recommended. Hell, we didn’t want to give them back.

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Parrot Zik 2.0 headphones

Price: $499

One of the more intriguing pairs of headphones out there, Parrot’s Zik 2.0 comes with dynamic drivers, allowing you to change the sound of your music dynamically. Think of it as the evolution of the equaliser with celebrity made profiles to match specific styles of tracks. The Zik isn’t just about that, though, with touchpad controls built into the headset, noise cancellation, and Bluetooth support.

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Audiofly AF180

Price: $550

Not everyone likes on-ear cans, and if you know someone who prefers in-ears and demands high quality audio, AudioFly’s AF180 catered for that area this year. It’s also an Aussie brand, one of the few we have, and is very comfortable and very loud.

There’s no microphone included as the AF180 are more designed for music than for phones, but if you don’t care, and if the person you’re buying for doesn’t care, we’d take a look at these specialised set of earphones.

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Aedle VK-1

Price: $599

Hand-made and from France, the Aedle VK1 are one interesting piece of kit, with titanium drivers and leather pads, they’re the equivalent to owning an old Jaguar E-Type, except for your ears. Without a doubt, one of our surprise favourite pairs of the year.

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Audeze LCD2

Price: $1299

Probably the most luxurious pair we’ve ever seen, the LCD2 will make you look like a lunatic if you wear them in public, but at home, the sound is equivalent to listening to music live, provided you have something beautiful to run through them. Amazing.

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