InnerFidelity Top Ten Headphone Gift Guide Page 3

8) Apex Hi-Fi Butte Headphone Amplifier ($495)

Funny how the best things are sometimes so simple. The Butte is a very simple headphone amplifier with two inputs but, oh my, does it sound good. Crystal clear in a beautifully sweet way, this amp is a worthy match for any sub-$1000 headphone. Pump up your audiophile's headphones with this sweet little amp!
Full Review

9) HiFiMAN HE-500 ($699)

HE-500 shown on far right.

Likely the least expensive way to get into a world-class headphone, the HE-500 planar magnetic has all the right "oomph" in all the right places to deliver a spectacular listening experience. Pair it with the Butte amplifier above and you'll be gifting a really solid high-end listening experience.
Review of entire line of HiFiMAN planar magnetic headphones

10) Stax SR-009 Electrostatic Headphones ($5200) and HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE Amplifier ($5995)
Drool-worthy in the extreme, this is the ultimate headphone gift. Unfortunately, it's unobtanium if you want it this season --- the waiting list for the Blue Hawaii is many months long. Not to worry, you're thinking about getting this for yourself, aren't you? Go ahead, the gift is in the commitment, you can give it to yourself right now. Go ahead ... I dare you. :)
Review among a bunch of wold-class headphones here.

For more great gifts, check out the Source Interlink Media Gift Guide with gift suggestions from magazines across the Source Interlink family of brands.

InnerFidelity wishes for beautiful music in your head this holiday season!


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.