Music lovers’ must-haves – personally recommended

Tastemakers reveal the audio equipment they can’t live without, from turntables to top-class headphones

Alexander Gilkes’ Master & Dynamic MH40 over-ear headphones
Alexander Gilkes’ Master & Dynamic MH40 over-ear headphones | Image: Weston Wells

Alexander Gilkes, co-founder of online auction house Paddle8

“I couldn’t do without my wireless MH40 over-ear headphones by Master & Dynamic. The leather is really soft, so they don’t hurt my ears; the sound quality is superb; and I like their retro look. I have three pairs, in different colours, and I’m always carrying one.” £369; masterdynamic.co.uk.

William Smalley’s Denon CD player
William Smalley’s Denon CD player | Image: Harry Crowder

William Smalley, architect

“I love my CD player by Denon. I bought my previous one when I was a student, so it lasted well, but it got to the point when it wouldn’t get through a CD. I asked my youthful office, ‘Should I get a new CD player?’ and they all laughed. But I’m banking on CD production continuing and have cancelled my Spotify account. The player is very simple and wasn’t expensive. It gives me deep pleasure – I like the act of selecting an album and putting it on, and the glide of the drawer has pleased me since I first experienced it as a child.” From £329; denon.co.uk.

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Paul Cocksedge, designer

“I was given a pair of Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Bluetooth headphones as a thank you for some work I’d done. The cool thing about them is that when you flick them off your head to speak to someone, they pause. Little details like that make technology outstanding.” £450; bang-olufsen.com.

Paul Cocksedge’s Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Bluetooth headphones
Paul Cocksedge’s Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Bluetooth headphones | Image: Gabby Laurent

Emilia Wickstead, fashion designer

“My Bose Acoustimass speaker system is superb. The sound is great quality and I love playing music loudly, though it’s years since I got into trouble for making too much noise.” From £500; bose.co.uk.

Ramesh Nair’s Astell & Kern digital music player and FitEar ear monitors
Ramesh Nair’s Astell & Kern digital music player and FitEar ear monitors | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

Ramesh Nair, artistic director of Moynat

“I never leave home without my Astell & Kern digital music player and my FitEar ear monitors, the ultimate headphones. They are custom-moulded for your ears by a guy in Japan – if he agrees to take your order in the first place.” From £549; astellnkern.comfitear.jp.

John Varvatos is a fan of the McIntosh MT10 turntable
John Varvatos is a fan of the McIntosh MT10 turntable

John Varvatos, fashion designer

“I’m a big audio junkie and have over 20,000 records on vinyl. The McIntosh MT10 turntable is incredible. It’s about the aesthetics as well as its technical prowess; it has beautiful finishing.” £13,700; mcintoshlabs.com.

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Paula Gerbase, founder of fashion label 1205

“My boyfriend Kim gave me a record player, a Rega with a beautiful wooden base. I like records because it means I experience a whole album from start to finish rather than skipping around with iTunes.” rega.co.uk.

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