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The best headphones to gift this holiday season

Give the gift of headphones this holiday season.

best headphones for gifts 2019
Image: KnowTechie

Nothing says “the holidays are here” like the sound of sleigh bells, apparently. Since not everyone wants to listen to jingles, maybe gift them some headphones so they can listen to their own music in style.

Some of these we’ve reviewed, some we use daily, and all of them will give your gift recipient a huge grin. Isn’t that the whole point of gifting?

Here are some of the best headphones you can gift

From low-cost headphones to start them on their audiophile journey to more expensive sets that really say “I love you (and your ears),” here are the best headphones to gift this year:

Meze 99 Neo ($199)

meze 99 headphones

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There might be better sounding cans in this price range, but none look anywhere near as good as the Meze 99 Neos. The stainless steel, leather, and curved ear cups made from zinc alloy all blend into something anyone would be proud to have on their desk, let alone over their ears. Oh, but they sound every bit as good as they look as well. The suspension-style headband also helps to not fatigue, so you can listen to them all day long while you work.

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Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless or MH07 Pro  ($299)

master and dynamic headphones

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Master & Dynamic make some of the best wireless headphones around, and this duo of true wireless earbuds are no exception. The beloved MH40 over-ear headphone has recently gone wireless, with the classic styling and sound that M&D is known for, at a price that won’t break your wallet or your spirit. If you know they’ll prefer a smaller set of headphones, you can’t go far wrong with the MH07 Pro, with its wide range of colors, active noise canceling, and a design that’ll stick out from the pack.

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Meze Rai Penta ($1,099)

meze earbuds

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If you really, really, really love the eardrums of the person you’re buying gifts for, you’d be hard-pressed to find better IEMs than the Rai Pentas. Five drivers are arranged in harmonious beauty behind the fully-metal CNC’ed ergonomic housings. The result of three years of research and development, the Rai Penta is an uncompromising pair of hybrid IEMs, without the trade-offs that plastic-housed IEMs suffer from. Grab the upgraded silver-coated copper balanced cables as well, for the best listening experience.

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Brainwavz B400 IEMs ($150)

brainwavs earbuds

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Brainwavz makes some pretty darn good low-price headphones, but what if you want to spend a little more on that special person? The B400 IEMs with their quad drivers and 3D-printed enclosure is a good bet, with a clean, non-fatiguing sound that’ll make almost anything sound better, even holiday jingles. Grab the $13 Krudul Duo as well so they can hang up their new IEMs, and you’re going to be their favorite person this holiday.

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Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pros ($599)

beyerdynamic headphones

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Beyerdynamic makes some of the best studio monitors on the planet. That’s not in dispute here, but I must warn you – if you buy the DT1990 Pros for somebody else, don’t listen to them before you gift or you’ll end up buying two sets. Seriously, your gift recipient will love you for this one, with the one-two punch of Beyer’s classy styling and some of the best audio reproduction I’ve heard from a set of headphones.

The 250-ohm impedance means you really need a headphone amp to fully enjoy these, with most mobile devices not having the power needed. Still, with the disappearing headphone jack, that won’t be a consideration for most…

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Helm TWS 5.0 earbuds ($80)

helm audio earbuds

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These relatively-inexpensive true wireless earbuds made me like a genre of music I used to despise – K-Pop. Yes, really. They’re that good. If you know your giftee has a phone missing a headphone jack, and they’re not inexplicably wedded to their AirPods, grab a pair of these and you’ll be a winner this holiday. Long battery life, solid connectivity and a sound that needs to be heard to be believed, what’s not to like?

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones with Bluetooth adapter ($170)

audio technica headphones

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Audio-Technica has a sterling reputation for monitor-quality headphones, and the latest in the line is no exception. The ATH-M50X builds on that pedigree, with a sound signature that can only be described as clarity in a box. Pair that with the East Brooklyn Labs Bluetooth adapter and you’ll get AptX quality, with no wires, for a match that’s just as good out of the studio as it is in the mix.

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Bang & Olufsen H9 wireless headphones ($499) 

bang and olufsen headphones

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This is the third generation of the superb H9 wireless headphones, bringing Active Noise Cancelling for when you want the world to disappear, Transparency mode for when you don’t, and luxurious materials with some deep bass for when you’re undecided. Even when using ANC the larger battery gives up to 25 hours of playback, and dual mics ensure both calls and voice assistant use are handled in style. Sweet.

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Editors’ Recommendations:

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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