2016 InnerFidelity Holiday Gift Guide
Recommendations from Tyll Hertsens
Sennheiser HD 202 ($34.95)
Sennheiser is a big believer that the next large category of headphone purchasers will be consumers intent on personal content creation on social media. Seriously good, but seriously inexpensive, will be a big boon to these personal media producers. The Sennheiser HD 202 is a perfect example of a headphone worthy of use: honest in reproduction for those intent on looping, DJing, and movie/slideshow production. If you know someone who loves playing around with content creation, the Sennheiser HD 202 is a great entry level headphone. They're sealed to isolate from outside noise; they've got a long cord so you can move around your workstation unencumbered; they're built like a tank and will easily withstand the rigors of backpack transport; and, most of all, they sound very good at this price.
Noontec ZoroII Wireless ($149)
Wireless headphones are all the rage, but the good ones are expensive and the cheap ones usually junk. Bucking this tide is Noontec with their new Zoro II Wireless on-ear headphone. This little gem has very good build quality at this price; folding design for compact storage and transport; a 35 hour battery life and runs off a cable when the juice runs out; and, most importantly, terrific sound quality. A solid value. Cut the cord!
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 ($349)
Know a traveller? These are the traveler's headphone. Over and over and over again I've listened to competing headphones and found they come up short in both sound quality and noise canceling compared to the Bose products. This is the complete packageexcellent accessories and travel case; folding design for compact storage and transport; 20 hour battery life; wired operation when the battery drains (sadly, the supplied cable doesn't allow for phone calls when operated on the wire); and simply stunning noise canceling and sound quality from a headphone of this type. Give the gift of background-noise-free listening to your traveling friend. Blissful music makes the aluminum sky-tube cattle car tolerable. Ahhhhhhh!
Focal Utopia ($3999)
A rare gift giving opportunity reserved for those with very healthy wallets, I present what, in my opinion, is the world's best headphone. Have a loved one with a passion for music? The Focal Utopia will satisfy! In what amounts to a complete rethinking of traditional dynamic driver headphones, the Utopia sports a Beryllium dome driver, mono-layer formerless voice coil, lambskin leather earpads and headband strap, real carbon fiber yolks, and numerous other outstanding build-quality characteristics that come together in a simply gorgeous headphone. And the sound quality? Wow, just wow. Your significant other will be tickled pink.
High Fidelity Music Streaming (19.95/month)
I'm hooked! I use Tidal every day. I listen on my Sonos system at home. I stream it on my lab computer. I store off-line playlists on my iPhone. It's my "go to" source for taking requests when I have a party at my house. I can spend hours linking my way through related artists and suggested other tracks when searching for new music. And all of it at full CD resolution! Truly, I can think of no better gift than the gift of the music!