It can be hard to shop for someone that loves music and audio. There are countless brands that line the virtual shelves of Amazon and other online retailers, and it is hard to know what is worth the money, and what falls flat. From stand-alone audio solutions to headsets and earbuds, CGMagazine has collected the best and most interesting audio tech you can buy in 2020. With something for everyone, even the mobile gamer, no matter the person on your list, we should have something that will excite them come Christmas morning!
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Earbuds
Razer have been known in the gaming space for a while now, but recently they have branched out in some new and exciting ways, one of witch is mobile audio, including the new Razer Hammerhead Pro. Like Razer managed with the Opus headphones, they have built a stylish and fantastic sounding audio solution for gaming and audio on the go. The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Earbuds offer great sound, a sleek look, and is discrete enough that it will fit most lifestyles. From gaming on the go, to listening to music or watching media, the Razer Hammerhead Pro are some of the best sounding Bluetooth earbuds you can buy. While they are tapping into the same market as the Apple AirPods, the Hammerhead Pro offers enough different at a slightly better price to make them an easy recommend for anyone looking for something different.
Amazon Echo (4TH GEN)
Over the years, Amazon has worked to improve on the Echo formula. While most have been minor iterations, for 2020, the Echo finally feels like a unique audio device that pushes the concept of the smart future in fun ways. The new sphere like concept, feels very akin to what you would see from movies about the future. The subtle light now at the bottom, and the dark fabric give the speaker a minimalist, yet futuristic feel. Best of all, the new Echo just sounds and works better than past offerings. The voice response is fantastic, and the sound will fill a room, and deliver bass you can feel. WIth all the best features of past models, and a new design, if you love audio, and want something plucked from the future, give the Amazon Echo (4TH GEN) a try.
The EPOS GSX 300 is a stellar external sound card at a moderate price. It boasts simple profile-swapping, a sleek aesthetic and satisfying audio volume control. While it does lack Bluetooth integration and isn’t necessary for those with good sound cards, its ease of access and on-the-fly profile-swapping make it an intriguing addition to any gaming setup.
From a company known for gaming gear, it is odd to see a headphone that does everything but multiplayer gaming so well. These are some of the best headphones I have used for under $500, and they are truly a stunning piece of audio tech. With the help of THX, a great design, and an overall quality, Razer has crafted headphones that need to be heard to be believed. If you are looking to make a mobile audio upgrade, do yourself a favour and invest in some Razer Opus headphones.
There is a lot to like with the Audeze LCD-1. From audio soundscape to the build quality, these are some of the best sub $600 I have ever tested. With the balanced sound, quality audio comes to live as you dive into any genre of music, giving it new depth you may not have thought possible. Portable, and expertly crafted, if you are looking for amazing audio, and a finely tuned listening experience, the Audeze LCD-1 will not disappoint.
At $259.99 CAD the GSP 370 is a pricey gaming headset, but one that is more than worth considering due to its great battery life and audio. It’s hard to shake the feeling that the GSP 370 is a pair of Sennheiser headphones that was repurposed into a gaming headset, rather than one built from the ground up, but it still manages to impress.
Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The Boom 3 speaker is a fantastically durable device that offers great range, solid sound and peace of mind to boot. It’s a great companion for everyday life that manages to break down the boundaries set by its competition and create an all-around speaker for others to strive towards.
During my time with the Echo Studio, I was impressed with the sound and the overall value it offers users. The 3D audio sounded fantastic, and the Dolby Atmos makes the Echo Studio sound like a much more expensive speaker than it really is. Amazon has done a fantastic job building a high end for its echo line, and the Studio stands as one of the best speakers you can get for sub $300 CAD. While I hope Amazon improve on the inputs if they iterate on the Studio next year, the Echo Studio is currently a great value and an all-around fantastic sounding speaker.
Sonos set out to make the ideal Wi-Fi portable speaker, and they succeeded with the Move. This is a testament to the quality and time Sonos spends on their products, building devices that both last and sound great. While not for everyone, if you are already a part of the Sonos ecosystem and are in the market for a new speaker, look no further than the Sonos Move.
If you love audio and gamimg I highly recommend the SteelSeries Arctis 9 or, by extension, the other Arctis headsets, like its console specific counterparts, the Arctis 9P and 9X for next-gen consoles. The 9 is compatible with the PlayStation 5 and its 3D Audio, and it’s dissuaded me from buying Sony’s own Pulse headset someday.