Stocking Stuffers for Audiophiles | Buyers Guide 2024

stocking stuffers

I’ve been told on multiple occasions by numerous people that when it comes to holiday gifts, I’m notoriously “tough to buy for.” Nonsense! I’m an audiophile! I have a million things I want, and I talk about them all the time. Weren’t you listening? But I realize that it’s difficult to come up with stocking stuffers for the persnickety audiophile in your life because we are notoriously picky, and chances are we might not like your gift because some other product in its market segment got a slightly better review on the internet. (Plus, we probably already have one.)

Words and Photos by Marc Phillips

But Part-Time Audiophile is here to help with your stocking stuffers for audiophiles. In fact, I heard a very wise piece of advice this year, one that seems to get to the heart of gift-giving: “The perfect gift is a thing that someone really wants but would never buy for themselves.”

That implies, of course, that perfect stocking stuffers aren’t something someone else “needs” or “has to have,” unless they simply can’t afford one and you like being the magic genie who makes wishes come true. If it’s something I have to use every day, I prefer to pick that out myself. That way I don’t have to hurt someone’s feelings when they buy me the wrong size, or the wrong color, or the fact that they bought me the basic model when I really needed the deluxe model because it has that adapter thingie that I need. When someone tells you they want something, and you tell them they should just pull the trigger, and then they talk themselves out of it right in front of you–that’s a hint right there for the perfect gift.

Choosing stocking stuffers for audiophiles is fraught. I get it. We aren’t normal people. But if you still want to buy a stocking stuffers for the audiophiles in your life, you brave soul, I’ll offer some gentle suggestions for 2023.

jazz detective

Jazz Detective LPs

If you’re wondering how LPs can be a stocking stuffers, a) you’re taking this too literally and b) I understand they have some pretty big Christmas stockings at Hobby Lobby. LPs are a superb and highly desired gift for anyone with a turntable. This should be a slam dunk.

I received many LPs in 2023, but none stood out like these new releases from the Jazz Detective record label headed by record producer Zev Feldman. I can’t really call them reissues or remasters or even “newly discovered recordings found deep in an old abandoned well in Guatemala,” since each album has its own unique story. But I will tell you that each LP sounds fantastic, with quiet pressings and excellent sound quality thanks to a great set of ears in the mastering room. These performances, quite frankly, are stellar across the board–so far. My favorite is Chet Baker’s Blue Room, which comes from Baker’s later, tougher years, and yet it still sounds fresh and exciting. I’ve just dug into the Cal Tjader Catch the Groove album as I write this, and it’s another totally addictive winner.

Best of all, these LPs are not that pricey–yet. I have noticed that the LPs are starting to sell out, but you can still opt for $15 digital downloads or $25 CDs. But, as usual, you’ll want this music on vinyl.

stocking stuffers

Furutech NCF

I’ve been a proponent of Furutech’s NCF technology for many years now, and it’s surprising how many ways this Japanese company has applied their “nano crystal formula” material–which controls both electrical and mechanical resonances–to new types of products. Each year brings a new NCF application to the line, and while some, like the NCF cabling, can be a little too expensive to qualify as mere stocking stuffers, there are two new products I’ve been using in 2023 and they will both easily slip into your preferred red-and-white velvet sock.


The first Furutech NCF product is the Clear Line RCA Line Optimizer. (An XLR version is also available.) You’ve seen devices like this before, a simple plug that gets inserted into a spare jack on your preamp to eliminate noise along the signal path. Many companies have released similar versions of these plug-ins, and I’ve used quite a few of them over the years. They all work, but the Furutech NCF Clear Line seems to help in a more comprehensive way–the noise floor is lowered, the sound becomes more detailed and transparent, and my total audio system became more dynamic, even at lower volumes.

The second NCF product goes to the real heart of your audio system–your AC wall outlet. Furutech’s NCF AC wall outlets involve three different NCF parts: the receptacle, the wall plate and the cover. Not only is the Furutech NCF wall receptacle superb when it comes to eliminating noise from your system, it looks super cool and all your audiophile friends will know that you’re serious when they see it. I’m not being dismissive–I love the look of this outlet once it’s installed and a bunch of big power cords are sprouting out of it. Review of both products is forthcoming, as we love to say in the Buyers Guide.

The Furutech 106-S NCF outlet cover is $160, the GTX-D NCF outlet is $221, the NCF wall plate is $176 and the Clear Line RCA Line Optimizers are $225 each.

stocking stuffers

Record Brushes from Levin, AudioQuest and Osage

Most of us who listen to vinyl already have at least one record brush for removing dust and schmutz from the grooves. One of the things I learned this year was that if you’re serious, you actually need at least two–a dry brush so you can give an LP a quick dusting before play, and a wet one that you actually use in conjunction with a record cleaning machine. It’s important to separate the two because of the potential for cross-contamination–for instance, your wet brush should have bristles that are anti-microbial so that you don’t accumulate mold and bacteria on your continually damp brush.

So I use the AudioQuest anti-static brush for my dry cleaning, and the Osage Audio brush for use with my RCM. But then I saw the Levin Design record brush in Munich last year, and suddenly I needed three brushes in my life.

record cleaning brushes

The Levin record brushes aren’t just a simple tool for keeping dust of your LPs. These are beautiful brushes that also work extremely well. In other words, this is a record brush that inspires pride of ownership, so much so that if you’re an audio reviewer you’ll include this brush in every photo you take of your analog rig. (Ahem.) If you’re the sort of person who insists on using a badger hair shaving brush–and ONLY a badger hair shaving brush–this is the record cleaning brush for you. I love mine.

Levin Design Brushes range between $100 and $200, depending on materials and options. The AudioQuest Anti-Static Brush is $29.95. The Osage Audio Listener Select record cleaning brush is $40.

stocking stuffers

Nasotec Headshell Lead Tweezers

This was my favorite high-end audio tool this year, by a long shot. (Thanks, Dr. Vinyl, for hooking me up!) The Nasotec tweezers are intending for removing those flimsy, temperamental clips on your phono leads so you can remove phono cables from the cartridge pins without causing damage. But I also found these tweezers perfect for crimping those clips into the perfect shape so they will slip smoothly and tightly onto those pins–which, incidentally, seem to vary in size from brand to brand. The Nasotec tweezers make my life much easier, which makes them perfect stocking stuffers.

Nasotec Headshell Lead Tweezers retail for $30.


AudioQuest CleanScreen

I’ve been happily using AudioQuest CleanScreen for a few years now–I just forgot to tell you about it. CleanScreen is a relatively simple product–it’s a clear liquid in a spray bottle accompanied by a soft micro-fiber cloth. It’s designed to clean all types of video screens. It’s very effective, more so than the majority of commercial glass cleaners out there. I guess I didn’t mention it before since it’s not really an audio product–or at least that’s what I thought.

Here’s the description, straight from AudioQuest:

“Ordinary glass and window cleaners often contain chemicals that can damage screens and surfaces. CleanScreen is safe and effective for use on all of today’s delicate surfaces, including TV screens, monitors, glasses, and more. It uses proprietary solvents for eliminating dust, haze, fingerprints, dirt, and static while polishing the viewing surface. The cloth’s textured surface offers excellent absorbency and reduces drying time.”

Eventually I started using CleanScreen for everything–cleaning turntable dust covers, non-metallic faceplates, anywhere there’s plexiglas or Perspex or whatever you call it. I even use AudioQuest CleanScreen to clean my eyeglasses. It’s better than anything else I’ve used, and that’s what makes these such awesome stocking stuffers.

AudioQuest CleanScreen ACQSKIT Kit retails for $24.95.

stocking stuffers


Steely Dan’s Aja UHQR LP from Analogue Productions

My final pick for brilliant stocking stuffers is one you probably already know about–because it made the list last year. I’ve been listening to the other Steely Dan UHQRs throughout the year, and they’re stunning. Each UHQR is $150, which is just a little more than I want to spend on a single album these days, so my response was, “The only Steely Dan album I’d pay $150 for is Aja.” In other words, this album would make a perfect gift for me, thereby adhering to the edict I cautiously declared at the beginning of this Stocking Stuffers guide.

My evil plan was thwarted by the fact that Christmas 2022 passed without Aja being released. All year long I kept tabs on its release and it didn’t happen until very recently–when I wasn’t ready. So when I sat on Santa’s lap and told him what I wanted, it was THIS. I know, I should have pre-booked my copy, but I learned from my years as a Blockbuster Video manager that you never pre-book because there’ll be plenty of copies available when it’s released.

That doesn’t work for limited edition LPs, of course, and I’m already seeing several outlets selling the UHQR Aja for $200. So the time to act on these stocking stuffers is NOW.

Hopefully this solves a few problems for the friends and loved ones of audiophiles who are still perplexed by the wants and needs of crazy gearheads and music collectors. If you need more recommendations for stocking stuffers, you can also check out our stocking stuffers suggestions from last year. Happy Holidays from PTA!


  1. I’ve spent the last 30 minutes on an unsuccessful wild goose chase to find one of those Furutech RCA Optimizers. Where the heck do you buy one of those things?!!

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