2013 InnerFidelity Holiday Gift Guide Page 2


Skylab's Gift Recommendations
This year I have three interesting gift ideas—all products I really enjoyed, but at wildly different price points, so there really is something here for everyone!

For the frugal shopper—the Beyerdynamic DTX300p (~$35)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_BeyerDTX300pThese little Beyers are surprisingly good sounding for the money! They are $59 list, but can be found on the interwebs for $30-35 easily. They are cheap, and they feel cheap—getting a good fit takes a bit of work. But it's worth it, because they don't sound cheap! They sound much better than they have any right to, in fact, providing clean, robust sound. I use them for running, and they're great for that, and they fold up, so you can just toss 'em in the bag and go!
For the generous but not crazy shopper—the PSB M4U2 Noise Cancelling Headphones (~$399)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_PSBM4U2I have literally tried dozens of sets of noise cancelers over the years, and most left me unhappy for one reason or another, except the PSBs. They can be used passively, actively with no noise cancellation, and with noise cancellation. And they sound great in all three modes! And I mean really great—like plenty good enough to use even when you don't need a noise canceling headphone, although they sure make plane trips a lot more fun!
For the well healed and likes to flaunt it shopper—the Pathos Aurium Headphone Amplifier (~$1495)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_PathosAuriumIf you are buying for a really discerning audiophile, the Pathos Aurium may be just the ticket. A great sounding, great looking headphone amp with serious style, and serious vacuum tube sound, is the kind of product that serious headphone lovers dream about instead of sugar plums. It's hard to get headphone amplification delivers better performance than this. Anyone who got the Aurium as a gift will call it a holiday to remember, for sure.

InnerFidelity review here.


ultrabike's picture

Welp. I got myself an B&K Precission 2709B some time ago thanks to Nate's recommends last year:


I can say it was a great purchase. All the places I've worked we have Fluke's to throw around (I think mostly 87s but several models here and there). Same at school several years ago.

Fluke are pricy though, and for x or y reason, didn't have a multimeter at home. So I said FTS, getting one of those B&Ks.

Not too long ago, a friend and I discussed headphone cable impedance. I told him I measured about 0.9 ohms out of my HD558. I was told his HD518s measured less then 0.1 ohm. So I asked about his multimeter... Yup, he had Harbor Freight. We brought our cables and measured with a Fluke: 0.9 ohms.

Solid Panavice recommendations and heat gun!

mward's picture

Good call on the Sufjan Christmas box set. It's my preferred holiday music. There's a sequel out now, though I'm not quite as crazy about it. 

John Grandberg's picture

The more recent "Silver & Gold" album, which continues where the original left off, is not as good imho. Still maybe worth checking out but ultimately not on the same level. I thought all those guest artists might be interesting, yet in the end I kind of wish he just did it himself. 

deckeda's picture

I'm picking up one of the earlier recommendations here for my nephew, who always busts his headphones: the Philips "O'Neill Bend", for less than $30 at Amazon. I think they were closer to $100 when reviewed. 

Looking forward to using my Panavise 324, just arrived in the mail from Radio Shack, who had a sale last week on it.

macnbone's picture

Thanks for this Gift Guide. Nice to have the variety of ideas listed.

Wondering if any of you (or readers) have listened to both the PSB M4U2 and Bose QC20 noise cancelling headphones/IEMs and can offer a comparison? Seriously considering one of these for a gift this Christmas. Thanks ahead of time.

firebook23's picture

I would say the general concensous around the web is that the NC is a little better in the Bose. But the PSB's sound better. 

Also I like that the PSB's work with regular batteries and in passive mode if you run out of power in the middle of a commute or trip. 

macnbone's picture

Thanks firebook23.

Long time listener's picture

Tyll, I'm discovering that those Tascam phones can be modded so that they have less of a "monitor" sound and more of a "fun" sound--i.e., less of a treble peak and a little more bass. It's a work in progress, but already they're sounding very very good. Makes you wonder why they can put such a fine driver in a $30 headphone but other people can't.

surajsinghbhui2's picture