Blue Motif

For many of us the Holidays involve traveling to see family and friends or in some cases those loved ones come to visit us. In either case with the stress of the holidays I rely on finding a few moments alone with my music to stay grounded in the chaos. Whether it is preparing for takeoff after a hustle through an airport, or walking the dog while I leave a house full of family for 15 minutes, some of my favorite gear allows me to have these magical musical moments when I am on the move. So what constitutes a Hi-Fi on the go product? For me it is any device that allows me to listen to Hi-Res content that can reasonably be worn or put in a pocket while I am on the move.

In 2023, on-the-go Hi-Fi devices are better, and in many cases, more accessible and convenient than ever. These Hi-Fi on-the-go products make great gifts and allow music lovers to enjoy their favorite music wherever they are and maybe to find that necessary moment of zen when it is just you and the music you love.

BEST HIGH VALUE HEADPHONES

 

Meze Audio 99 Classic Headphones $309

HiFi headphones can give you an immersive private listening experience that is both powerful and intimate but it can also be very intimidating when you start seeing a myriad of products costing $2,000-$5,000 dollars. The Meze Audio 99 Classics give you highly musical signature sound, a unique look, and solid build quality that is extremely rare at this price point.

BEST-IN-CLASS MOBILE DAC 

Chord Mojo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amp $725

The Chord Mojo 2 looks almost toy like with its small size and glowing colored orbs but do not be deceived this is a very serious piece of Hi-Fi gear. It starts with a CNC milled piece of aircraft grade aluminum and a hefty weight that lets you know this is no toy. Internally is where the real magic happens in the form of fully customized FPGA circuits that give Chord their award winning DAC sound signature. Whether you are using this connected to your computer at a coffee shop or connected to your phone on a flight this portable DAC/AMP will bring you full musical bliss.

EARBUDS MADE JUST FOR YOU

Denon PerL Pro True Wireless Earbuds $349

While a lot of manufactures talk about sound in an objective way each person’s hearing is unique. Denon is one of the first manufacturers to address this individuality in a wireless earbud. Using medical technology from its parent company, Massimo, the Denon PerL earbud offers truly personalized sound via its Adaptive Acoustic Technology. Combine that with lossless bluetooth, noise cancelation, and exceptional call quality and these earbuds are hard to beat at any price.

CUT THE CORD ON WIRED IEMS

iFi Go Pod Portable IEM Bluetooth DAC/AMP $399

The iFi Go Pods are a wireless DAC and headphone amp solution that transforms your corded in-ear monitors into high-performance wireless companions. With advanced Bluetooth technology, customizable sound options and a sleek design, it's the perfect choice for audiophiles seeking both convenience and exceptional audio quality. With an impressive battery life of 35 hours, iFi’s Go Pods are ready for all of your travel adventures.

THE KING OF BLUETOOTH

Focal Bathys Premium Portable Bluetooth Headphones with Built-in DAC $799

Focal brought together their years of speaker and headphone expertise to create possibly the most audiophile Bluetooth headphones on the market. While some others may offer better active noise canceling, the Bathys are all about sound. The Focal Bathys sound fantastic via Bluetooth supporting codex like AAC and AptX, but if you want to take them to their pinnacle, connect them via USB-C to take advantage of their excellent onboard DAC and rid yourself of any Bluetooth compression. Focal continues to improve the Bathys and, through a new update, has brought personalized sound into the mix that is extremely rare at this price point.

BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY TRAVEL DAC/AMP

iFi Hip-Dac 3 Portable Balanced DAC/AMP $199

With a new USB-C connection this is the perfect companion for the new iPhone and most Android phones. This sleek aluminum DAC/AMP is suited to desktop duty when paired with a laptop on the go, and is also a reasonable shape and size to slide into a pocket paired with a smartphone. The iFi Hip Dac 3 is packed with features include IEM matching and XBass and supports balanced 4.4mm and 3.5mm headphone outputs.  

BEST AUDIOPHILE OPEN-BACK

Meze Audio Empyrean II Headphones $2,999

There are specific headphones in the premium price tier that can give you a very special connection to certain genres of music, but if you are looking for a headphone that can cover a diverse catalog of music the Meze Empyrean may be the best option out there. The Empyrean is the definition of a musical headphone. No matter what genres I threw at it, I was always engrossed in the music. Vocals are forward, but not in a way that feels forced, and instrumentation is lush and round. The Meze Empyreans are the most comfortable headphones I have tried and probably the closest thing to all day headphones that exist in the market today.

BEST AUDIOPHILE CLOSED-BACK 

Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones  $2,999

Focal’s Stellia closed-back headphones provide incredible sound isolation with unparalleled detail and resolution thanks to Focal's "Formless" Beryllium M-Shaped Dome Driver. The Focal Stellia  goes beyond great sound, every surface is incredible to touch and the fit makes you want to melt into your music for hours of listening.

BEST SOUND IN YOUR POCKET 

iFi GO Bar Ultraportable DAC/Headphone Amp  $329

If you are looking to decode HiRes music files on-the-go, the iFi GO Bar could be the easiest solution to drop in your pocket. In a unit the size of a pack of gum, you get a DAC that can handle ultra-res PCM files up to 32bit/384 and native playback of DSD256. The GO Bar's smart alloy case, real-time feedback LEDs, and balanced circuit design further enhance the user experience, providing power and precision for demanding headphones. Note: If you are pairing with sensitive IEMs be sure to check out the IEMatch feature to silence any amplification noise.