If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re in a jam and need a great last-minute gift for someone special. However, we here at SoundGuys aren’t in the business of half-assing… anything, so let’s roll up my sleeves and help you go a little above and beyond this year. We won’t tell that you waited until the last minute.

See, the dirty little secret of this holiday isn’t just that it doesn’t have to be a Hallmark holiday: the best gifts that you can give are experiences, not stuff. But how can a gadget website help with that? Easy. Remember, the single most important thing to do to show someone you love them is give them a great memory. It’s what you do with the gifts that make the night, not the gifts themselves.

Making music

With that maxim in mind, let’s take a broader look at your upcoming date. If your lover is a music fan, think hard about how you’re going to bring even more music into their lives. Would a decent speaker in the shower, bedroom, or office help them wind down after a long day? Try to introduce your Valentine’s Day gift in a way that would make a strong impact.

Idea 1: Set the mood

Take a look at our Bluetooth Speakers guide, and pick up one that suits your needs. If you’re old like Chris, you probably remember giving your crush a mixtape of personalized songs back in school (Ed. note: You know I have to approve these for publish, right?CT). Well, why not do that again? Set up a Spotify or Google Play Music playlist. If you use the latter, you can upload a recording of yourself to intersperse with the songs for that extra-personal touch.

If you want to take the mood even further, consider mixing your romantic music with some smart lights. Some smart speakers like the Sonos One have incredible sound quality and built in smart home control through assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which can pair with smart bulbs to set the mood.

A photo of a LIFX smart bulb being controlled by the LIFX app on a smartphone.

Mood lighting is easier to accomplish nowadays, with smart light bulbs.

Hell, you can make your house turn down the lights and put on some romantic music through actions like IFTTT, so head over to our sister site DGiT.com for information on how to make that happen.

Idea 2: Go outside

Not everyone lives in an area like New England where Valentine’s Day is bone-chillingly cold, so if you’re fortunate enough to be able to get out of the house, why not bring dinner outside? Go exploring! A change of scenery can do wonders, as anyone with kids or noisy neighbors can tell you.

A photo of the JBL Flip 4 at the beach, with a sunset and the ocean in the background.

The JBL Flip 4 is a good beach buddy.

Our Bluetooth Speakers guide can help you choose one you like, but for outdoor use, we’d really recommend something like the JBL Flip 4. It’s waterproof in case it starts to rain or you’re hiking by a lake, and it’s got a fantastic “size-to-sound” ratio for those that want to rock their heart out under the stars. They can use this in the shower after you get back, too, so they’ll always have a little music in their lives.

Idea 3: Get legit with vinyl

A manufacturer photo of Crosley turntables in red and pastel blue.

Outdated media can make for a unique and personal gift.

Most of us here at Soundguys are real audio nerds, and though records may sound a little grainy and warm compared to a digital file, a good turntable can make you feel like you’re back back in the carefree days of the past. Not everyone has a record collection, but for those who do, it would be worth your while to upgrade your boo’s equipment as a nice treat.

Some of these things can convert your records into audio files too, so you can try and capture the little inconsistencies of your personal collection. I had a copy of The Beatles “Love me do” that would often repeat the chorus a couple of times, and while that might get annoying after a while I grew to appreciate my special version of the song.

Dinner and a soundbar

A photo of a Salmon dinner with salad and lemon.

Salmon is a light and flavorful dinner meat, despite Chris’ insistence that it’s basically a vegetable.

The main course

I had a date a few years ago that went just swimmingly. I’ve never been an amazing cook, but darn it if I couldn’t figure out how to make some salmon and roasted vegetables. This is the kind of meal that isn’t terribly difficult to produce, but should yield some great results and great reactions from your special someone.

While there are a ton of different ways you could do this, I recommend this recipe since I have personal experience with it. It was simple to prepare and turned out awesome. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. For the veggies, you really just need to drizzle a little olive oil on them with a dash of seasoning and stick them in the oven, then you should be good to go.

The side dish

If you’re aiming to keep it light, sometimes keeping it light can be useful, and what better way to impress than some goat cheese, fig jam, and bagel crisps. The combination of savory and sweet with the crunch of the crisps is absolutely awesome, and something that almost everyone will love. It should make you seem a lot fancier too, if that helps, and win you some bonus points with your S.O.

A photo of crackers, blueberry jam, and chevre goat cheese on a wooden cutting board.

If you can’t find fig jam, Maine blueberry preserves will be a much messier—and more flavorful—alternative.

According to WineFolley.com, light white wines go best with Salmon, so we’d suggest some kind of chardonnay. We obviously can’t link you to one of these on Amazon since it’s not available, but your nearest grocery store should have it in abundance if you really want to go outside.

If you don’t, you can always try out services like Winc, which will deliver bottles right to your door. This is just one of a huge new wave of on-demand services, so you can probably find another one that works if Winc is not available in your area.

The movie

A screenshot of Disney's animated movie, Ratatouille.

Disney’s Ratatouille is a classic.

Romance movies are good, and really work on a sliding scale depending how long you’ve been with a person. If it’s a newer date, we recommend going with a fun animated movie. Ratatouille is an oldie but goodie, and helps keep the ambiance going by setting the mood with soft light in Paris. Wall-E is also a great option if you want to stay animated but have romantic themes, but there are so many choices out there, you’re sure to find an animated flick that suits you.

If you want to flash back to the 80’s, there are plenty of films that will work perfectly for the occasion. I’m personally a fan of Sleepless in Seattle, but that’s probably just because I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan. Other timeless options include When Harry Met Sally and Ghost, but the flick you pick really depends on the particular ambiance you’re going for.

The soundbar

A manufacturer render of the Yamaha YAS-203 7.1 channel soundbar system.

A good soundbar can take the place of a Hi-Fi system in your living room, all with a smaller blueprint.

The audio built into our TV’s get a little better every year, but there’s no replacing a great soundbar for some incredible audio. Sound bars have been evolving pretty rapidly over the years, and some of them can even make you feel like the movie is around you using specialized processing and directional audio.

If you’ve been thinking of picking one up but don’t know where to start, have no fear! Adam has compiled some of the best options into an easily digestible list, where you can find an option to suit your needs and budget. There should be some more coming out in the next few months after CES as well, so stay tuned for those as they come in.

Solo listening

Let’s be real, even if you get to spend some time with your beloved this February 14th, you’re not always going to be together. While your crush can’t always take you everywhere they go, they can take a great pair of headphones.

A photo of the AKG N60 NC being worn by Adam Molina.

If your loved one commutes on a regular basis, noise canceling headphones tells them “I love you and want you to preserve your hearing.”

A lot of phones are starting to drop the headphone jack, and while we won’t condone that in any way, shape, or form for a very, very long time, there are some Bluetooth headphones that can actually perform quite admirably. In fact, the Sony WH-1000X M2 won our Best of 2018 list, competing against a few awesome wired options. Sure, you can’t say that about many Bluetooth options today, but believe us, there are options available for you.

And we get it: gifts come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Lily has gone ahead and created a list of the best headphones under $100 for the more budget-conscious consumer, and while these likely won’t make your heart bleed out our ears with audio fidelity, most of them sound pretty damn good.

So don’t sweat it, Valentines can be easy! Just get some nice activity, memorable music, and a good attitude and you should be set. If you need a playlist to jam out to this Wednesday, have no fear, because we’ve compiled some of the best songs for the occasion just for you.

Let us know how it goes!

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