InnerFidelity Top Ten Headphone Gift Guide

Wander through InnerFidelity and you'll stumble upon a lot of good headphones. But I thought I'd save you some time, and pick a couple hands full of some of the best ways to fill the head of someone you love with music.

We'll start with the least expensive and work our way up.

1) Porta-Pro ($49)

A classic in the world of headphones, and for good reason. The PortaPro is inexpensive; packs up small; is light and comfortable; comes with a great life-time warranty; and sounds absolutely terrific. A great little backpack, kitchen-drawer, kids-in-the-car headphone.
Full Review

2) Creative Aurvana Live! (~$65)

The very well regarded Denon AH-D1001, now reincarnated as the Creative Aurvana Live!, is one of the best sounding, sub-$100 headphones. A great gift for the music lover. (But not a big bass headphone for the hip-hop/dubstep crowd.)
Full Review

3) Spider Realvoice ($89.99)

Designed with the intention of sounding great with vocals, the Spider Realvoice delivers on that promise and more. Gently warm and inviting, but with plenty of slam when needed, these will isolate from the din of the world, and take the music in mind where it wants to go.
Full Review


Armaegis's picture

And you're teasing us with what appears to be the new V-Moda LP2 or maybe one of the prototype M100's?
(or maybe it's just the regular crossfade... the aesthetics kinda all blend together)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Yup, Crossfade LP2. Still waiting on the M-100 ... anxiously.
Armaegis's picture

I was quite impressed by the M80 when I reviewed it (despite my pedantic nitpicking). I'm very curious to see how the M100 turns out.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Me too. Very curious!

Val said he might send me some prototypes.

SladeNoctis's picture

What are your impressions on the LP2 compared to the M80. I enjoy my LP2 but the word on the street M80 are superior in many ways.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
It has too much bass for me, but as these bass heavy phones go, they're quite good. I don't like the LP much, but the LP2 is fine ... for what it is.

So, to answer your question, the M-80 sound quite a bit better to my ears.

Merck's picture

That must be quite the sound to cost $11,195.00 not including the source. I really should make it to a meet sometime to hear this setup.

Gil G.'s picture

now i can pic a portable headphone for my sister without being too scary of the headphone cuality, she is musician and i think she will like her gift, ny gosh the v-modas look great, i may have to save for them, they look awesome!

mward's picture

I had a review sample of the M80 for a little while and was very impressed. Definitely the best thing I've heard from V-moda. Tyll, glad to hear you agree. I haven't heard the B&W P5 but I suspect the M80 is a worthy competitor.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Very worthy indeed. They'll be each attractive to different audiences, but they're both excellent.
dalethorn's picture

I have both the V80 and the P5. I think of the P5 as being more neutral like the Sennheiser 600 series, but a little soft on both ends. It's a decent value for $300, and the fit is more comfy to me than the V80, but it doesn't stay on my head quite as well as the V80. The V80 to me is even softer on the high end than the P5, but the bass is exceptional in its class. I think of the V80's bass as similar to the DT-1350 - very deep and some good power there, but neither of those is anything like a "bassy" headphone - they sound a bit lean at first until you hit some good bass and then you realize just how good it is. Value-wise the V80 is untouchable IMO.

omahapianist's picture

It was the SR 60's that started me down the path of musical righteousness in the early 90's and I've never looked back since. Inexpensive and fabulous for the budding audiophile.

Nevertheless, you still make some great recommendations.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
THe SR60 is, indeed, a great little headphone and would be a marvelous gift.
ylingf's picture

Hi Tyll,

Do you have any preference between HE-500 and LCD-2 v2? I read a lot of comparions between the two, but people seems to be split between the two. I listen mostly classical (especially piano/violin/orchestra), jazz, and vocal(classical and some pop), but not much rock/rap. Which of the two would you choose in my situation?


Tyll Hertsens's picture
Depends on how much the difference in price means to you. They are both good headphones and will work well for you. I like the LCD-2 a little bit better, but $300 better I don't know.
deckeda's picture

My mom has a set I made her buy, like 100 years ago. Early or mid-80s for sure, probably when Stereo Review or something probably put the word out on them.

Are today's Porta Pros the same?

I never liked their sound, but then again I consider my set of PX100 to be very decent (well, non-fatiguing, OK?) despite the muffled sound and wooly, undefined bass.

I noticed PX100 II or whatever they're now called were warmly mentioned in the comments of the Porta Pro review. Are they that much different than the original PX100? I paid $60 for mine, and despite frequent use don't know if I've gotten my money's worth from them yet ... they don't hold a candle to my original SR60s in my opinion, for sound quality.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Dunno if the current PortaPro is exactly the same as those of decades ago, but it's close.

The new PX X00-II headphones are markedly better sounding than the old ones in my opinion. I actually find the new PX 100-II as good as the SR60. YMMV.