2012 Holiday Headphone Gift Guide from Skylab
... from Skylab
Schiit Bifrost ($349)|
Appropriately named for the winter holidays, the Bifrost is a great value on the current DAC market. It has a nice feature set, and smartly includes a field-upgradable USB input option (which I recommend). The Bifrost is possessed of a clean and neutral sound, which is detailed and nuanced beyond what one would expect in the sub-$500 price class. Many may find it's all the DAC they need.
Burson Audio Soloist ($990)|
Another product that sets class benchmarks for transparency, detail, and nuance, the Soloist is also powerful enough to drive 99% of the headphones on the market with aplomb, and has several gain settings to allow an optimal pairing with them all, as well. It's engaging and enjoyable to listen to, while being possessed with all of the audiophile qualities one should demand from a $1,000 headphone amp. Any headphone enthusiast would be thrilled to find this one under the tree!
Audio Technica W3000ANV ($1299.99)|
This may be the last holiday season that this limited edition headphone will be available. While it isn't the most neutral headphone ever made, many find it one of the most musical, myself included. It's a pleasure to listen to, and is remarkably adept at bringing music to life. It's also beautiful to look at and incredibly comfortable to wear, and isolates well enough that you can keep the enjoyment all to yourself, while others around you are unaware of your bliss.
Manufacturer's product page.