2017 InnerFidelity Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season!

Noodling around for some gift ideas for the audio lover in your life? InnerFidelity writers did a little noodling for you and are happy to present you our "2017 InnerFidelity Gift Guide."


Tyll Hertsens

171124_2017HolidayGiftGuide_Photo_HD471 Sennheiser HD 471 ($89)
The perfect gift for the budding social media producer in your life. For less money than one would think possible, the Sennheiser HD 471 delivers the kind of truthful presentation of audio needed to train one's senses and learn the audio craft.

The HD 471 is a closed headphone providing good isolation and the ability to focus in on the sound. Build quality is really good for a low-cost headphone. Styling and comfort are both way better than average for a headphone at this price. Sound quality is close to neutral with a mildly rolled-off treble and a very slightly under emphasized though well extended bass. I find them inherently truthful sounding and my mind quickly accommodates to their sound and simply listens to the music. I can't tell you how rare it is to hear this much competence in a low-cost headphone.

InnerFidelity review here.


Sennheiser HD 4.40BT ($99)
What can the world's most accomplished headphone manufacturer put on your head wirelessly for $149? Turns out, quite a bit. The HD 4.40 BT is elegantly styled and very well built. Comfort is quite good, but not great as the ear pad openings are a bit small forward to back — big eared folks may want to look elsewhere. Bluetooth controls are easy to use and pairing is flawless.

Sound is warm, smooth, and enjoyable. Bass is mid-centric and a bit high in level; upper-mids a tad shouty; and treble a tad low in level but quite organic and articulate. Not a trace of harshness or tizz here. Wired and Bluetooth sound quality is quite similar; wireless there's a bit more bass and low/mid-treble energy and actually a tad better sounding to my ears. This is a good sounding headphone at the price.

InnerFidelity review here.


Bose SoundWear Companion Speaker ($299)
Know a music lover who is constantly moving around the house, garden, or workshop? Give them the gift of always being in the sweet spot with the Bose SoundWear Companion personal speaker. I know it sounds crazy, but this thing sounds way better than a neck-worn speaker should!

And it's comfortable too! It easily rests on your neck and stays neatly in place for any household activities. Tuck it under the collar of your t-shirt and it's plenty secure for biking, gardening, or crawling around under the car. Phone call? No problem; tap the button on the side and you're talking. The voice mic clarity is great. Tap again, and you're back to a sonic helmet filled with your tunes.

InnerFidelity review here.


Tidal ($19.99/mo hi-res; $9.99/mo standard resolution)
I've recommended this streaming service before...and I'll do it again. My enjoyment of Tidal just keeps getting wider and deeper, just like their catalog. I love all sorts of weird world music and over time I think I've noticed Tidal's library ever more likely to have the strange exotic music I've discovered rooting around on YouTube and Google.

But once I've managed to zero in on an artist, Tidal's CD resolution streaming and off-line playlist storage has me thinking buying by the CD is a thing of the past with eclectic and scatterbrained tastes like mine. While scrounging for "East African electronica" artists is most efficiently done on other search platforms, once I have a few names Tidal's own "Artist's Radio" feature does a great job to fill in the blanks with more similar sounds.

I'm hooked.

Vinhcomputer's picture

But I've just bought NAD VISO headphone for $159. Is it a good deal?

John Grandberg's picture

... the NAD VISO HP50? If so, that's a good deal on a nice headphone. Original price was $299 and I have seen it as low as $180, but never under $160.


Vinhcomputer's picture

Great! Thank you John :).

gibtg's picture

I'm really thrilled about the home measuring unit, please do a follow up on this gentleman! I'm ordering one right now!

100VoltTube's picture

That thing looks amazing. I want.

Martin.'s picture

What a great introduction. Looking forward to more content. However, it pisses me off that I just found out that I shouldn't have bought the Magni 2 Uber 2 months ago for 150 USD! I waited so long to save up for it; too long apparently.

castleofargh's picture

some cheap measurement rig as a holiday gift and a Monty Python reference, I already like Grover. ^_^
as I'm the only "hardcore headphone enthusiast" in my life, I made that gift to myself. how generous of me.

John Grandberg's picture
Absolutely nothing wrong with that!
ixtayul's picture

I noticed at HDtracks that the DSD 2.8 and 5.6 don't say Binaural. Will they have the same "you are there" effect?

DigMe's picture

The binaural albums from Chesky are recorded binaurally so all versions will be binaural.