Gift Guide 2013 – Part 4

Gift Guide 2013 – Part 4

This series of gift selections is selected for people who live with technology. This is not a list of obvious technology items – those items people feel they have to live with – but items most people don’t know they need and whose lives would be enriched possessing such things.

Because it’s the Christmas season, I’m going to try to make as many of these options available with Amazon Prime shipping (free 2-day shipping).

AudioQuest DragonFly USB Digital to Analog Converter – $99
You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate the benefits of a high-quality digital to audio converter (DAC); the stock audio cards in most computers are poor quality at best and merely an afterthought for most. This simple DAC plugs into a computer’s USB port and replaces the built-in audio card to provide audio for headphones, speakers (like the Audio Engine speakers in Part 1) or to your audio/video system. Buy this for someone special and open up a new world of high-quality audio, even if all they listen to is Spotify. This AudioQuest DAC is widely considered one of the best USB DACs available, and at $99 it’s an unbeatable price as well.

Aftershokz Bone Conduction Technology Headphones – $29

If you’re shopping for a runner or cyclist, consider these bone conduction headphones. The same technology used by SpecOps professionals, bone conduction headphones allow you to hear your workout playlist while also hearing what’s going on outside. Why is this important? Hear other cyclists or vehicles approach so you can get out of the way, for one. Bone conduction is also mostly silent so those around are not bothered by your music.

AGPtek USB Bluetooth Audio Music Receiver – $13
You don’t have to replace your whole system to add wireless functionality, a simple Bluetooth receiver plugged into an aux input on an existing receiver or speaker system allows connection from a mobile device to play music wirelessly. It can also be used in your car to easily connect a phone to the radio. It’s practically the same price as a decent audio cable, so why not?

URC RFS200 RF Universal Remote – $79

Make someone’s life a lot easier: consolidate all of their remote controls into one! My wife calls me every time she’s trying to turn on my system when I’m not home, you probably know someone like that too. This Universal Remote Control kit not only programs macro commands to control the whole system with only one or two button presses, the RF gateway even allows control when the sources are out of sight. This means you don’t have to find the right angle or open up cabinets to change channels. I won’t pretend this is the best universal remote, but it is easy to program and the price is right. Kick things up a notch and program it for your recipient.

More handpicked gift ideas are forthcoming.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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