Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Rolling Stone

View gallery

.
Rock the Bells

When it comes to gift giving, it's the thought that counts: Which is why we spent so much time and energy coming up with this list of the perfect holiday gifts! From box sets to books to speakers and headphones, this is your one-stop-shop for gift ideas for the music-lover in your life. 

 

View gallery

.
Over-Ear Headphones

(Clockwise from top left)

Jabra Revo Wireless
Don’t want to deal with cords? These on-ear headphones sync with any Bluetooth-enabled device for wireless streaming. Soft memory foam cups massage the ears, and a free audio-enhancing app lets you fine-tune the sound levels. ($250)

Beats By Dre Studio
The latest headphones from the super-popular Beats line are as smartly designed as you’d expect — stronger and lighter than previous versions, with a glossy headband that comes in black, white, red and orange. They’re both streamlined and cushion-soft, meaning you get luxurious comfort as well as the typically strong, bass-forward Beats sound. Studio not required. ($300)

Sennheiser Momentum
These retro-style headphones feature a leather headband and precision stitching. 40mm drivers provide excellent sound to match. ($349)

Bowers and Wilkins P7
These leather headphones come from Bowers and Wilkins, U.K. craftsmen who specialize in hi-fi speakers for studios and luxury hotels. Classy look, killer sound. ($400)

View gallery

.

Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker

This speaker blends serious streaming capabilities — AirPlay, Bluetooth, and DLNA — with a striking futuristic design, perfect for sprucing up that Expedit shelf in your living room. ($500)

View gallery

.

Coffee Table Books

(From left)

Proud Too Be Weirrd by Ralph Steadman
Rolling Stone illustrator Ralph Steadman delivers a weirrd, wonderful coffee-table book full of deliciously grotesque political caricatures. ($200)

Inventing the American Guitar edited by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego
Call it guitar heroes of the 19th century: This obsessively detailed coffee table book focuses on the pre-Civil War guitar-makers (notably C.F. Martin) who transformed a European instrument into an engine of American pop culture. ($50)

Bill Wyman's Scrapbook
Wyman — longtime Rolling Stones bassist and an obsessive archivist — put together this massive tome, which features rare photos from the "You Can't Always Get What You Want" sessions and of the band partying with David Bowie in 1975, among much, much more. ($250)

View gallery

.

Coffee Table Books

Legends, Icons & Rebels by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine
Robbie Robertson of The Band coauthored this insightful illustrated kids’ book about 27 disparate and legendary musicians, a group that ranges from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan. ($29)

Pretty Much Everything by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
This generous, 700-page compendium collects 27 years of work from the Dutch fashion-photo geniuses, including shots of Bono, Lady Gaga, and Jeff Bridges. ($50)

View gallery

.

Earbuds

(Left to right)

Bose Quiet Comfort 20i
In theory, noise-cancelling headphones are brilliant: flip a switch and internal circuitry blocks out wailing children, car horns, or, well, anything other than what you want to be listening to. But there are certain times when you need to hear, say, an oncoming bus or conversation with the deli guy. These earbuds not only feature incredibly accurate active noise cancellation but also an “Aware Mode”: turn it on and a built-in microphone feeds you the sounds of the outside world — should you want to hear it. ($300)

Sennheiser IE 800
Sure, they cost as much as a monthly mortgage payment, but these earbuds live up to their price with a polished, vibrant sound that impresses across all frequencies and ranges. Even when the volume is cranked, the bass is never distorted, the highs never muddied. In short, a sonic experience apt for everything from Beethoven to Bad Brains. ($1000)

View gallery

.

Soundbars

(Top to bottom)

Sonos Playbar
Place this nine-speaker soundbar under your TV and you’ll get high fidelity audio that perfectly renders every desperate crunch and splatter in a Walking Dead episode, but can also stream content from iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, and other services. You can control the 23-inch long system from your smart devices, and pair it with other Sonos components for home-spanning audio. ($700)

MartinLogan Motion Vision
If you want home-theater sound that makes everything from sitcom laugh tracks to action movie kabooms feel utterly real, invest in the Motion Vision. Inside the 40-inch device is a set up of woofers, drivers, and signal processors that buff all audio it receives to a deeply impressive and accurate high shine. ($1500)

Sony HT-CT260H
This is the bargain-hunter’s soundbar. While this hexagon-shaped, 300-watt system costs only $300, it contains a slew of features — wireless subwoofer and Dolby Pro Logic II surround processing among them — normally found in devices that run you twice as much. ($300)

View gallery

.

Wren Play-Fi Wireless Speaker

Androids are the most popular phones on the market, but they don’t receive much love in the audio world. This curved block of Rosewood and silver might just change that: With a swipe of its free Android app, the WiFi speaker plays your stored music collection as well as such streaming services as Pandora — crisply and smoothly with good thump in the low end. ($400)

View gallery

.

PEBBLE Smartwatch

Geeks with Dick Tracy fantasies aside, most people just don't need a smartwatch. But if you're the type of person who frequently misses texts and important emails — or just doesn't want to be staring at your phone as much — the Pebble might be the thing for you. It forwards texts and notifications from any iO7 or Android app to your wrist, and a healthy community of developers has formed around it, creating cool custom watchfaces and apps that let you control everything from iTunes to your phone's camera. ($150)

View gallery

.

Bluetooth Boomboxes

(Clockwise from top left)

Eton Rukus XL
A solid wireless sound system with a novel bonus feature: A solar panel that can help keep it charged while you’re blasting music at the beach. ($200)

Sol Republic x Motorola DECK
This slim portable Bluetooth speaker stands out in a crowded field thanks to its Outdoor Mode, which boosts the high end for more clarity in crowded areas, and its Heist Mode, which lets your friends hack in and change the music. ($200)

Jawbone Jambox Mini
The latest version of a ubiquitous Bluetooth speaker: huge streaming sound in a bright metallic box that fits in your jacket pocket. ($180)

Beacon Blazar
This tiny, steel-bodied speaker has a freakishly big Bluetooth sound. Pair it with a second cube for a stereo effect. ($150)

UE BOOM
The most eye-catching portable boombox there is — a superbright cylinder with a tougher-than-it-looks outer skin that’s both water- and stain-resistant. ($200)

To read the rest of the Holiday Gift Guide 2013, go to RollingStone.com

View Comments