2013 InnerFidelity Holiday Gift Guide Page 4


John Grandberg's Gift Recommendations

Edifier e10 Exclaim desktop speakers ($99)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_EdifierE10These sharp looking powered speakers bring very credible sound to most any desktop, without breaking the bank. I love how the design strongly encourages the tweeters to have good positioning—a weak spot in most budget speaker setups. These don't have the rumbling bass found in many of their competitors, and for the price I consider that a good thing... you won't get quality bass without spending more anyway. I can't think of a better way to spend $99 for desktop audio.

Read full InnerFidelity review here.

V-Moda Faders earplugs ($20)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_VModaFadersConcerts (and movies) can get very loud. Earplugs are great for general protection but aren't intended for that kind of use—everything sounds muffled, which is great for the race track but bad for enjoying music. The V-Moda Faders allow the right amount of sound in to enjoy the show while attenuating enough to protect against hearing damage. For a mere $20, every live music and movie enthusiast should have a set of these.

RHA Audio MA750 in-ear monitors ($119)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_RHA750These dynamic-driver wonders may just have the best packaging and accessories of any IEM I've come across, at any price. Oh, and the sound is great as well. While not quite top of their class for pure audio quality—that honor goes to the HiFiMAN RE-400—the RHA MA750 nonetheless wins points for its crowd-pleasing warmth, exceptional build quality, stunning design, and long-term comfort. Add it all up and these look like a gift that any enthusiast would be happy to receive.

Resonessence Labs Herus USB DAC/headphone amp ($350)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_HerusTiny USB DACs are all the rage right now. The concept may seem like a novelty, but the Herus is the real deal—it actually sounds good enough to be mistaken for a quality desktop unit. While not skimping on the buzzwords (Asynchronous USB! DSD!), Resonessence Labs made sure to nail the basics before adding any whiz-bang features. The result is an impossibly compact device with very little compromise, and one which I would personally choose over any of the current alternatives. Oh, and it fits very nicely into stockings, too.

Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas ($15)
131125_Blog_2013GiftGuide_SufjanLet's face it: a lot of the Christmas music out there is difficult to listen to. Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas" sidesteps the typical cheesy Christmas Album with a 5 EP set, filled with old favorites as well as original compositions. This is a deeply personal collection—these were originally recorded as gifts for family and friends—yet it remains a bit more accessible than some of the other Sufjan material you may have heard. By sheer volume alone, this is a great value - when do you get 5 EPs for $15? Highly recommended.


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