REVIEWS

InnerFidelity.com doesn't review everything, but we do strive to provide the definitive review of the products we cover.

Most reviews will include objective test reports, subjective assessments and useful comparisons. Feel free to comment on any of our reviews with your own experiences.

Headphones

Full-Size Open Headphone Reviews
Headphones for home and office use that don't provide isolation from outside noise, and have cushions that completely surround the ears. Generally the best sounding headphones are in this category; and most ultra-high performance cans are of this type.

Full-Size Sealed Headphone Reviews
Headphones for noisier environments that have cushions that completely surround the ears. Good for pro-audio, student, DJ, and other applications where some isolation from outside noise is needed. But noise-cancelling and in-ear headphones provide much better isolation.

Ear-Pad Open Headphone Reviews
Smaller than full-size, these headphones have ear cushions that rest against the ear. Their open design does not isolate from outside sounds, but this type generally sounds better than sealed ear-pad headphones. Good for general purpose uses around the home and office; their small size makes them convenient for backpacks and easy storage.

Ear-Pad Sealed Headphone Reviews
Smaller than full-size, these headphones have ear cushions that rest and seal against the ear. Their closed design provides some isolation, but also typically makes for poorer sound than other types. These are good headphones for light commuting, kids in the car, and other general purpose applications where convenience and packability are important.

In-Ear Monitor Headphone Reviews
These small earphones have tips that seal in your ear canal, and provide the best isolation of all headphone types making them the ideal travel headphone—if you don't mind something in your ear. As a category, this type of headphone probably delivers the best sound quality per dollar. The very best of these types of headphones are custom made, and require you to get impressions of your ear at an audiologist.

Ear-Bud Headphone Reviews
These are the cheap little headphones that come with portable players that rest in the small cup of your outer ear around the entrance of your ear canal (concha). This is the worst sounding headphone as a category; very few sound any good at all. They provide very little isolation. If you have some of these, you probably should get rid of them. Many opportunities for hearing damage with these.

Noise-Canceling Headphone Reviews
These headphones use a tricky bit of electronics and acoustics to get rid of outside noise by creating an polarity inverted signal to cancel outside noise, which it adds it to the music signal being played by the headphones. Performance varies widely in this category, but is your best option reducing outside noise if you don't like in-ear headphones in your ear canal.

Wireless Headphone Reviews
Generally, these headphones are either full-size headphones for watching movies at home or Bluetooth headsets for phones, but there may be other types. The common factor is there isn't a wire between you and the gadget playing the sounds.

Specialty Headphone Reviews
Rapper cans, fashionista bling, and even waterproof in-ear headphones may show up in this category of specialty products.

DIY Headphone Reviews
Do It Yourself!

Headphone Amplifiers

Solid State Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews
Headphone amps for home and office using transistors and integrated circuits as the active electronics components. These all plug into the wall outlet for power.

Vacuum Tube Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews
Headphone amps for home and office using vacuum tubes as the active electronics components. Hybrid amps that have both tubes and solid state parts will be in this category. These all plug into the wall outlet for power.

Portable Headphone Amplifier Reviews
Battery powered headphone amps to give your portable player the umph it needs to drive good headphones well while you are out and about.

Do-It-Yourself Headphone Amplifier Reviews
If you like to solder, these do-it-yourself amps will give you hours of fun before you turn them on.

Portable Devices

Portable Media Player Reviews
Pods, pads, players, and phones, these are the portable gadgets you plug headphones into that play your tunes while you're away from home.

App Reviews
Apps to record, store, sort, play, and manipulate audio on your pod, pad, or phone.

Home Devices

Table-Top Player Reviews
Little boxes with speakers that play music in your kitchen or bedroom. Clock radios have gotten a lot smarter.

Desktop Speaker Reviews
Because so many of us spend so much time in front of our keyboards, giving voice to your computer with a good desktop speaker system can be remarkably rewarding.

DAC Reviews
Getting great sound from your laptop, PC, or other digital device is best done by bypassing the generally poor digital to analog converter and noise-prone analog circuitry inside the computer, and hooking-up an external USB, Firewire, or Toslink digital to analog converter (DAC). Both portable and desk-top type DACS are reviewed here.

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