InnerFidelity's "Wall of Fame"
Editor's Note: The following is my first of many passes at creating a one-stop spot for getting advice on the best headphones available. I've disabled the comments for this post so that it doesn't get confusing for folks showing up for advice. But I have created a forum thread for you to comment on current selections and to nominate new cans for me to measure and hear.
Why a "Wall of Fame?"
Between forums, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and the InnerFidelity YouTube channel, I get asked, "What headphones should I buy?" at least 50 times a day. I can't possibly answer all the questions or I'd never get my job done. So, I present you with the InnerFidelity "Wall of Fame."
Want to know what headphones I think are best? You'll find them here.
In my headphone evaluation area, I have a wall with a pegboard that holds my favorite headphones of every type and price to compare with the cans I receive for review. One day it dawned on me that simply doing a really good job keeping track of these headphones would provide a great way to answer the question: "What headphones should I buy?"
These pages contain my current favorite headphones, and are a great place to come for headphone recommendations. Feel free to send your friends here too.
How the Wall of Fame is Organized
Basic categories of headphone types will be sorted by page in the Wall of Fame. You'll find links to each category at the bottom of every page.
- Full-size Open (around-the-ear, circumaural; does not isolate you from outside noise): These headphones generally deliver the best quality and are used in quiet environments as they provide very little isolation from outside noise.
- Full-size Sealed (provides some isolation): These headphones provide some isolation in louder environments to let you hear your music better.
- Earpad Open (on-the-ear, supra-aural; does not isolate): These are lightweight, cool, comfortable, good sounding headphones that let you remain aware of your environment. They're often used with a portable player while moving about, both indoors and out.
- Earpad Sealed: This extremely versatile type of headphone is lightweight, cool, and will isolate you from outside sounds; it is used by audio pros, enthusiasts, and consumers alike.
- In-Ear Monitor (seals in ear canal): This type of headphone can be very good sounding, and delivers the highest amount of isolation of any headphone type, but can be uncomfortable for some.
- Noise Canceling (uses active electronics for noise canceling, may be of various headphone types): Used to provide better isolation than full-size sealed types. These headphones have batteries and use active electronics to reduce outside noise. Sound quality with this type of headphone can range from very poor to fairly good, but often has an odd and/or unnatural character.
- Wireless (Bluetooth, KLEER, and other wireless protocols): This category includes both home base station units for TV/movie viewing, and Bluetooth/wireless devices for use portably.
How the Wall of Fame Works
The WoF will be an ongoing project. Whenever I find a headphone that is my favorite of a particular type/price, I will put it on the Wall of Fame and it will receive a Wall of Fame badge. Manufacturers and Retailers may display the badge on packaging and web sites (if on the web, the badge must link back to the WoF page that product is on).
If a headphone gets knocked off the WoF with a subsequent product, it can still wear the WoF badge, though now retired from the wall. Headphones knocked off the WoF (or discontinued) will be retired to a section at the bottom of the page they were on.