Father's Day is coming up on June 19, and what dad wouldn't love to get something audio- or video-related? Of course, most AV gear ain't cheap, but it doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some recommendations for relatively affordable gifts that any dad would be thrilled to receive this Father's Day.
Sennheiser HD 239 ($90)
If your dad likes to enjoy his music privately, headphones are a must, and the Sennheiser HD 239 delivers great sound quality for surprisingly little dough. In fact, they are at the top of InnerFidelity.com's Wall of Fame for ear-pad open headphones
. This design is not the ultimate in sound isolation, but as InnerFidelity editor Tyll Hertsens says, "The sound quality is superb with surprisingly good bass extension into the lowest octaves, and marvelous coherence from bottom to low treble. Only a slight sharpness and grain to the mid and upper treble pull these away from truly excellent sound." But hey, for under $100, they're sure to put a smile on any father's face.
Roku 4 ($130)
Streaming is becoming a vital source of audio/video entertainment, and the Roku 4 is among the most comprehensive streaming receivers on the market today. With access to more content sources than just about any other streamer—3000 channels with more than 300,000 movies and TV shows—the Roku 4 provides 4K/UHD content from channels that offer it, voice search, a headphone output on the remote, games, a mobile app, and more, all for a mere $130. What's not to love?
Denon AVR-S920W ($579) or AVR-X1300W ($599)
I've always appreciated the quality and value of Denon AV receivers, and these 2016 models are no exception. Both offer 7.2 channel operation, HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 with support for 4K/UHD and HDR, 4K/UHD upscaling, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive sound. The AVR-S920W offers 90 watts/channel, eight HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, Audyssey MultEQ room correction, and a 2-year warranty, while the AVR-X1300W offers 80 Wpc, six HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, Audyssey MultEQ XT (a more sophisticated, better-sounding version of MultEQ), and a 3-year warranty. Since they're just about the same price, the choice depends on which is more important to you: more HDMI inputs and outputs and slightly more power or better room correction and a longer warranty. Either way, your dad's home-theater system is sure to get a big boost from one of these beauties.
ELAC UB5 ($500/pair)
When renowned speaker designer Andrew Jones began working for ELAC America, amazing products were bound to emerge—and so they have. The Uni-Fi series is especially interesting for its concentric 1" soft-dome tweeter and 4" aluminum-cone midrange driver, a hallmark of Jones' designs and prized for its coherent, time-aligned nature. Combined with a 5.25" aluminum woofer and a custom crossover circuit in a rear-ported cabinet, this 3-way speaker punches way above its price class. For a kick-ass 5.1 system, use two pairs of UB5s with a UC5 center-channel speaker ($350) and an S10EQ subwoofer ($500)—that's less than $2000 for a surround-speaker system that will make your father's friends super-jealous when they hear it!
Vizio P65-C1 FALD LCD ($2000)
If pop needs a new TV and an LG OLED is beyond the budget, I recommend the new Vizio P65-C1. This LCD UHDTV uses FALD (full-array with local dimming) technology to produce exceptional picture quality and offers Dolby Vision high-dynamic range (HDR) capabilities, with HDR10 promised in an upcoming firmware update. It also reinvents the "smart TV" paradigm by implementing Google Cast, which lets you find and select online content from any mobile device, including the 6" Android tablet that comes with the P65. All this and more in a 65" TV for $2000 is a real bargain in my book.
If money is tight, what would you recommend for fathers this year?
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