Yearly at Half-Time Audiophile, the editors focus on whether or not or not we must always do one other year-end Vacation Present information. I am not significantly keen on the concept. I am not an enormous vacation particular person after my early and unrewarding years in retail administration, and everyone is aware of audiophiles are notoriously choosy about presents and it is probably that YOUR present will wind up on the ground of a closet or, even worse, Audiogon. Nonetheless, I provide my ten favourite 2023 Stocking Stuffers, although I nonetheless have not discovered a stocking large enough for LPs.
Garrett Mushroom’s The Excellent Sound ($30 USD)
A few of Garrett Hongo as an audio reviewer. Others know him as a poet and an instructional who was nominated for a Pulitzer. I do know him as an occasional cigar buddy, in addition to the primary one that ever interviewed Colleen and me for an audio publication. In fact he is a implausible author, and his new ebook The Excellent Sound is getting unimaginable opinions from the mainstream press. That is proper, a ebook about high-end audio is getting consideration outdoors the interest, which is outstanding.
Garrett’s ebook covers moving into vinyl, in search of vacuum tubes, and different misadventures, nevertheless it additionally units these widespread themes inside observations about tradition, spirituality and a very powerful query–why can we love music? (For you audio objectivists, Garrett does present loads of information on audio historical past and applied sciences.) You have not learn a high-end audio ebook like this one.
Richard Colburn’s Adventures in Hello-Fi: My Fifty Years within the Audio Enterprise ($16.95)
I had not one however TWO trade mates put out books in 2022. If you do not know Richard Colburn, he has labored for nearly everybody on this trade at one level or one other. (He is at present working for Fidelis Distribution and he is been arranging for me to evaluate such stellar manufacturers as Harbeth, Lab12 and NEAT Acoustics.)
Garrett’s ebook is extra concerning the religious facet of being an audiophile, whereas Richard’s ebook is extra of a set, tales from the trenches of this loopy trade. Richard additionally focuses on the forgotten individuals and merchandise in audio, and why we must always bear in mind them.
For a few years, Richard’s been a type of individuals I’ve seen within the halls of high-end audio reveals, and lately we have frolicked and it is not lengthy earlier than we begin telling our audio tales. This ebook, nevertheless, provides me further perception to a person I’ve recognized since 2007 or 2008, however now I really feel like I actually know him and his significance within the trade. All proper, Invoice Leebens–it is your flip!
Fern and Roby Vacuum Tube Coasters ($49.50 USD for a set of six)
If the audiophiles in your present record are into vacuum tubes and consuming, these wood coasters from Fern and Roby will make the proper 2023 Stocking Stuffers. Every coaster options an iconic vacuum tube, together with loads of information on the valve. I’ve them and love them–and I attempt to sneak them into evaluate images each time I can.
Fern and Roby Salt Properly ($65 USD)
Okay, so Fern and Roby are a terrific place to seek for 2023 Stocking Stuffers for audiophiles. Whereas the Salt Properly has nothing do to with high-end audio–I have been in search of an excuse to place this within the Patrons Information for a while now–will probably be the best present for an audiophiles who’re additionally nice within the kitchen . “We have turned it from strong stainless-steel bar in our store, and recycle the scrap that’s produced from the turning course of. Weighing in at over half a pound, that is made to final endlessly, whether or not it lives in your range or in your eating desk.”
Lyn Stanley’s novel santa (costs fluctuate)
In my humble opinion, the one vacation album I am prepared to play for company is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Now, novel santa from Lyn Stanley joins that very brief record. The preparations are distinctive sufficient so that you just’re not continuously occupied with holidays–you are occupied with nice jazz, carried out impeccably. I can not consider anybody who’s extra dedicated to delivering nice sound than Lyn Stanley, and this album is a sonic knockout.
You understand what makes the proper 2023 Stocking Stuffer? For those who do not choose for the vinyl, and I believe it’s best to as a result of the urgent is unbelievably pristine, you will get the digital obtain in a beautiful crystal thumb drive which can slot in even the smallest stocking.
Hilary Hahn’s Eclipse (costs fluctuate)
Final yr I picked classical violinist Hilary Hahn’s Paris as my favourite album of the yr, one thing I’ve by no means executed for a up to date classical launch. what made Paris so excellent? It began off with the truth that Hahn delivered certainly one of my favourite performances of what has grow to be my favourite violin concerto–Prokofiev’s First. Second, the Deutsche Grammophon LP urgent is completely wondrous, one thing I didn’t anticipate from this label in 2022. Lastly, Hahn is so charismatic and but down-to-earth that her following of her is rising at a fee I’ve n ‘t seen since Yo-Yo Ma began recording. She looks like good individuals, too.
This time, Hahn tackles the Dvorak Violin Concerto in A minor, together with items from Pablo de Sarasate and Alberto Ginastera. As with Paris, Hahn is accompanied by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Her new album by her is accessible in a number of codecs, with completely different ranges of field units, however I purchased the double 45rpm LP set for lower than $40, delivered to my home. Whereas I haven’t got the identical historical past with Dvorak as I’ve with Prokofiev, I nonetheless completely love this album.
Qobuz (costs begin at $10.83 USD per 30 days)
Whereas our vacation present guides have been sporadic at greatest, we do point out Qobuz subscriptions at the very least twice per yr (within the Patrons Information, after all) as a result of they are surely the proper present for any audiophile who has taken the digital streaming plunge. In case your audiophile already has a Qobuz subscription, prolong it for them. Or, higher but, purchase them the lifetime subscription and put together to grow to be their new BFF.
Les Davis Audio (costs fluctuate)
Full disclosure–I used to be the primary US importer and distributor of Les Davis Audio constrained-layer damping materials, so you’ll be able to take this 2023 Stocking Stuffer advice with a grain of salt. However Les Davis has continued on and flourished and developed new merchandise that decrease noise and scale back vibrations higher than earlier than, and at a stocking stuffer-friendly worth. The brand new distributor, Ocean Audio, is having loads of success with Les Davis Audio merchandise, and I am excited to have them in my system proper now.
Steely Dan UHQRs ($150 USD every)
Have you learnt an audiophile who’s eagerly awaiting the discharge of all the Steely Dan UHQR catalog from Analogue Productions? Uncertain concerning the launch dates, and frightened that AHA and gaucho will not be launched earlier than the vacations? Pre-book it for that audiophile, staple the receipt to a small be aware, and you’ve got an excellent 2023 Stocking Stuffer.
Each time I test to see if AHA is accessible–the one SD album that is a part of my common rotation–I see that little button to pre-book it. Whereas I normally do not pre-book something as a result of I do know there can be loads of inventory for the extra affected person amongst us, that is one case the place we most likely ought to as a result of the UHQRs do promote out shortly and SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED. And in case you’re frightened about your audiophile liking Steely Dan, they do.
AudioQuest GroundGoody Saturn ($30)
This is perhaps my favourite 2023 Stocking Stuffer of all–it is cheap, sufficiently small to truly match it in a stocking and it actually, actually works. The GroundGoody floor wire directs low noise and RF away from supply parts, creating blacker silences and an total cleaner sound. If you wish to step as much as the following stage of gift-giving, substitute the copper of the GroundGoody Saturn for the silver of the GroundGoody Jupiter–for $300.
Thanks for studying my record of 2023 Stocking Stuffers. Our 2023 Patrons Information will seem on December 2-4, our 2022 Greatest Worth of the 12 months award can be given out on December 16, and the Half-Time Audiophile 2022 Product of the 12 months can be introduced on December 18.
Comfortable holidays, and remember the present receipt (since you may most likely want it with an audiophile).