2017 Father’s Day Audio Gift Guide: He Had to Listen to You, After all

You made a hell of a lot of noise when you were a kid. We all did. Still, dad put up with it. Sometimes he enjoyed it. Sometimes he added to it. Often times, though, the squawking drove him up the wall.

So, it’s time to honor his auditory patience and sacrifice with a special audio-themed gift this Father’s Day. We hit different price points and varied levels of user expertise. But, all were tested here and the music-loving father out there will dig any of the following. (“Dig” is a dad kind of word, by the way.)

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Tivoli Audio Pal BT: The Tivoli Audio’s PAL BT adds Bluetooth wireless technology in addition to its sensitive analog AM/FM tuner. When you’re not listening to your favorite radio stations, you can listen to your favorite music from your Bluetooth technology-enabled device. Just switch to the Auxiliary position and once paired, start listening to your music. It’s that simple.

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Hercules WAE 04Plus FM: A Bluetooth speaker designed with active dads in mind, the tough Hercules is certified “Immersion-, Dust-, sand-, shock- and snow-resistant.” Its single-unit speaker and passive decompression driver is engineered to power through noise and other outdoor conditions that could interfere with dad’s tunes. And, if Bluetooth isn’t available by another device, the speaker offers a built-in FM radio with at least 10 hours of battery life.

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Pioneer SPH DA120 AppRadio 4: It took courage and force of will, but this reporter managed to install this Pioneer AppRadio 4 into a 2006 Ford Mustang all by himself. Actually, all it really took was the right tools and about 90 minutes. In the end, the AppRadio 4 added 2017 functionality to a car 11 years older. Once installed via adapter kit, the AppRadio 4 works with iPhones or Android devices and function fully with Apple CarPlay.

Also: Audio Gadgets Gift Guide | Do You Hear What I Hear?

For the final entries in this wonderfully noisy exercise, we turn it over to headphones. The latest creations for 2017 rely on the latest drivers, regardless of whether they’re corded or Bluetooth.


Razer Hammerhead Pro V2: The tough Hammerheads switch to a flat cord for their latest version. But, the most important factor in their design is the upgraded 10 mm dynamic drivers — powerful little units more than 20% larger than the original Razer Hammerhead. The bigger inner acoustics chamber packs in extra base and keeps sounds of the outdoor world at bay.

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Magicbeatz True Wireless Earbuds: Coming to us via the eclectic catalog over at Thinkgeek, these Magicbeatz are a great Father’s Day gift simply because they offer an unusual design an interface. Offering no wires of any kind, the earbuds use Bluetooth to connect to each other first before the pair talk to your audio device. Trying them out, the Magicbeatz were surprisingly powerful and matched up with any “wired” Bluetooth unit we tested.

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Noble Audio Earbuds: We wrap up this guide with something a little more ambitious and high end. You see that image you see just above these scribblings? Those aren’t mere gem stones snatched from a QVC special. Those are fully wireless earbuds, and they’re one of several unique decorative designs Noble technicians and engineers build using everything from minerals to metals to wood. But, they don’t come cheap as top of the line Nobles run north of $1,000. For the money, what they audio lover ends up with are earbuds that just as much personal fashion statements as quality audio devices.