GadgetGuy 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Sound and vision

100% human

Vinyl evolved

We may well be living in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean your audio has to start that way. Vinyl is back, and if you like listening to a warmer sound, it’s good for that. Alternatively, there’s high resolution audio bought from online, and while it’s not necessarily warm like vinyl, it is a higher fidelity that doesn’t have to be stuck in your living room.

Numark PT-01USB

Price: $149

Looking for a way to get those records over to digital for playback through modern equipment (like the ones we’re about to mention)?

You might want to check out the Numark PT-01 turntable, a digital ready USB turntable that has a few settings, software to help you make the conversion, and a built-in speaker powered by several batteries, making it a record player you can take on picnics.

Sony NWZ-ZX1 High-Res Walkman 

Price: $699

Fancy taking those vinyl rips with you in the 24-bit quality you extracted them in? You’ll need something for that, because while the iPod and iPhone are great for MP3s, neither will play back audio in 24-bit.

That’s where Sony’s high-resolution Walkman comes in, the NWZ-ZX1. It’s a very specific product, aimed at providing solid reproduction and large amounts of volume on the go in a gadget that’s small enough to bring with you but dedicated to high resolution sound.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Price: $699

One of Sony’s best phones, the pint-sized Xperia Z3 provides support for high-res audio out of the box, just like the Sony Walkman we just mentioned, making it possible to bring high-res audio on the go and still have a phone included.

It’s not the same experience, that said, and the ZX1 has more going for it as a dedicated audio player with more volume and sound enhancement technology, but if the person you’re buying for doesn’t need or want a new Walkman and would prefer a phone, we’d look at this option.

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Price: $799

Alternatively, there’s LG’s G3 smartphone, offering more of that high-res audio support as far as mobile phones go. LG was first in the 24-bit space for mobile phones, supporting the technology ahead of the other companies, and if you want to save a bit more money, you can even look for the LG G2 which saw support for the technology late last year and should be available for less cash than LG’s more recent phone.

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BlueSound multi-room range

Price: from $649

You might be noticed a trend in the HiFi category of this gift guide, and that is “high-resolution audio.”

Yes, this is the new vinyl, and it’s like vinyl in so many ways. Clearer, more detailed, and with a bit-rate like that of vinyl at 24-bit, so wouldn’t it be nice to have a way of playing this high-end format in every room? That’s what the BlueSound gear does, and while it’s not cheap, it does promise to keep a home audio enthusiast happy thanks to its ability to off crystal clear high-res audio in several rooms at once.

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Astell & Kern Blue Note Kit

Price: $7500

As long as you don’t mind spending almost ten grand on someone, if they like jazz, you’d be hard pressed to find a kit more interesting than this. A limited edition thing, this pairs a high-resolution audio player up with a Blue Note special edition collection, storing 75 of Blue Note’s best albums in high-resolution on the player.

Now all you need is a pair of great headphones to use it on, though we’re probably giving you some ideas for that in here…

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HD Tracks Gift Certificate

Price: from $25 USD

Don’t have any high-resolution audio? There’s a fix for that, and while there aren’t many places to find high-resolution audio, HD Tracks is one of the places you can find it. Gift certificates from this online store come in the regular amounts, and while some of its albums may not be obviously available for Aussies, we’ve already found a loophole that makes this easy to get around.

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