HiFiMan SUSVARA "Review" and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Marvey, May 27, 2017.

  1. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Rando

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    I also heard Susvara at that same booth, and thanks to the loud room it was difficult to pick out the differences between the Susvara and the HE-1000 V2.

    The softness of the HE-1000 can be helpful for extended listening sessions, but sometimes it would be nice to have greater impact. Jealous of your time with the Susvara, @Marvey !
     

  2. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    Is the Susvara going to be on tour? I like to sign up to be part of one.
     
  3. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

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    Ok so I got to spend a bit of time with the Hifiman Edition $6M CNY over at @Marvey's place this week. First was at his place off a JLH Class A solid state power amp with speaker taps and then at EC labs off the Aficionado.

    Off the solid state amp, I found the Avalokitesvara to be very fast and clear sounding, very resolving, with a decent soundstage. I was surprised it was a planar I was hearing. Unfortunately, I also found them to be pretty bright and lean sounding. Definitely fatiguing to me, even with Neil Young UNplugged. I put the Code-X on and felt immediate relief. Back was the smooth and full bodied tonal accuracy I was missing (at the expense of some speed, detail/resolution, separation, and some clarity). But then again the Code-X costs a fraction of the Ed 60k Yen.

    Then we went to EC and off the Aficionado things changed quite a bit. Suddenly the Suspiria felt more tonally accurate. It was no longer as lean or as bright sounding. It sounded much smoother, more like the Code-X in that regard (but still not as full-bodied). Still, off the Aficionado, it became a real killer headphone. Smooth and natural sounding but also cleaner, faster, and more resolving than the others we listened to (Code-X, hd800, hd600). Would still want some more body but sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it too. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the characteristics of the Aficionado, a very special amp, that sounds super smooth but not soft, detailed and alive.

    Anyway, overall I think these are nice sounding headphones but that might depend on running it through a nice 2a3 amp that has the juice to power them. Off the solid state guy I felt like I wouldn't be happy long term with the leanness and the slight brightness. They're kinda like a tweaked out, less efficient, fast n' furious Code-X on speed and on a diet (aka leaner). For 4x the price.

    If I were Fang and wasn't potentially stubborn and hung up on creating luxury vejazzled audio jewelry items for Chinese status climber types, I'd price these at 1.5-2 thousand tops and fuck with the headphone market and sell them by the truck load. I'm sure the driver development took some R&D moneys but these things don't cost a lot to build (pretty simple metal frame with some wood veneer and man i hate those shallow-ass earpads). The other problem is that even at 2.5k I'd take a used Utopia over these any day of the week (but that might come down to personal preference and the potential desire for planar bass). But yeah, removing cost from the equation, these are nice sounding headphones minus the caveats mentioned above. Welp, that's about it for now...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  4. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    So Shamalamasissyvara aint bad but it aint $6k good. Amazingly unsurprising. Code-X is probably the best planar headphone I'll ever encounter, and not without it's own tradeoffs. But to get from Code-X to somewhere else, it sounds like a matter of different, not better. And you pick you poison. I can't fathom why paying $6000 for different tradeoffs (even if appealing to the individual) makes much sense. Sure it's great that a $3000 featureless 2A3 headphone amp makes it surpass Code-X in a few categories, but on the otherhand: whatever. I mean shit, my favorite rig at the LA Audio Show featured $5000 speakers (retail).

    Just my take....
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  5. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

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    yep, that's exactly right about phones v speakers. they need to be priced in the 1-2k range to be relevant. plus would you rather have fucking hifiman headphones or really nice speakers (those pranafidelity were great and are a fucking steal at 5k retail plus some dealer discount)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  6. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    No hp priced at more than 2k is relevant. Unless sound isn't the priority, that is.
     
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  7. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    You almost made it to the cheap bastid club, but you fell short by about $1700.
     
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  8. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    OK. We need to hold on a bit now.

    Saying that the SUSVARA is just different or better in a few areas than the Code-X / HE-5 is not giving it anywhere enough credit. SUSVARA has way better bass quality, It's not even close. The layering, separation, and staging are miles apart. The transient reseponse is quite a bit faster. That's not a few areas, that's A LOT of areas, and by significant margin. The slam isn't quite as much as Code-X / HE-5, but I'd think to say 70% is reasonable.

    The only thing that really differs is frequency response or tonal balance. No, the SUSVARA will never have the warmth or body of @brencho's Code-X with aftermarket pads (which make it even more warm and bodacious), but any leanness or brightness could just as easily been dealt with via use of appropriate amps or DACs. And to be fair, the tonal balance issue is largely one of preference. There are quite a few members here who prefer this tuning or similar (HEK, HEX, HE-4, HE-560).

    On whether the SUSVARA is worth the $6k, that is legit discussion; or having a preference for a different tonal balance, that is too. But poo-poo'ing it saying it's "different", that would not be a fair assessment. In technicalities such as clarity, layering, speed, resolution, it's extremely impressive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  9. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    I can't be part of the cheap bastid club, unfortunately. I'm already in the playnar club.
     
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  10. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Ok that's significantly more encouraging.
     
  11. Jozurr

    Jozurr Acquaintance

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    So it isn't really an upgraded HE-6 after all.
     
  12. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

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    Yep that all seems totally fair. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post, but the susvara does everything better than codex, just not tonal balance (certainly a personal pref). Faster, cleaner, more detailed, greater separation and better stage, agreed on all fronts. I should use stronger language next time LOL. But at the end of the day when I factor in price it's just retar-tar, especially if you have to stack another 3k for a nice amp. Cost no object, sure go nuts. I'd still probably take a utopia off that same amp though. Again personal pref.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  13. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Well Craig loved the SUSVARA (he prefers the brighter HD600 to bassier HD650. I wish I took of picture of him). You where there when he said he wished they were $3000, or was that $300?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  14. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

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    Haha yeah for sure.

    It was $300 LOL but that's Craig's wishful thinking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  15. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Yeah, there is a part of me that wishes these would be $1200, and see HFM clean-up on the market like Schiit instead of competing with the likes of Abyss, Utopia, etc. It is what it is. Not for poor people with kids like you or me.
     
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  16. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    That sounds better. A perfunctory writeup of an obscenely priced headphone sure does make me read between the lines and conclude it at best ordinary. It really ought to do the things @Marvey describes and separate itself to a great extent. My bad for the misunderstanding.

    Nevertheless, I'll take $5000 speakers every day of the week, twice on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. :p
     
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  17. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Almost "Made"

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    Brencho's description actually does make it sound like a upgraded HE-6.
     
  18. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Well it depends. What attributes of HE-6 do you want to remain the same?

    Tonal balance and timbre of HE-6, HE-5, and HE-500 can be said to be found in one group. HEX, HEK, and SUSVARA in another. Will this be a deal breaker?

    One the other hand, SUSVARA does take elements from the classic HFM sound (double sided magnets) with greater impact than HEK / HEX, approaching that that of HE-5. This is the aspect which I feel makes the SUSVARA unique, filling a niche, a very fast planar that doesn't hit like a wet noodle. The Abyss hits harder, but isn't anywhere as resolving.

    Might be time for me to make one if those heptagons again.

    And as for cost. I don't want to spend $6000 either. I'm past those days. But keep in mind there are plenty of $1700-$2000 headphones I wouldn't pay more than $69 dollars for, and only to burn them.
     
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  19. Jozurr

    Jozurr Acquaintance

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    With regards to an upgraded HE-6, Mostly concerned about the bass impact, tonality, and sparkle up top. The bass still stands unrivaled for me with the HE-6, and the I've not seen a more linear presentation in planar headphones. That's what I appreciate about the HE-6 over the Utopia as well, that the bass is more linear and the highs are not as bright as the Utopia. The problem with the HEX/HEK was the soft bass slam (did not hit as hard) and lack of sparkle in the highs. It was a more laid back presentation. The HEK v2 fixed that a little, but I still did not feel the bass was hard and raw but a bit soft. I like the tonal balance of the HE-6/HE-500 more than the HEK/HEX yes. So overall if the SUSVARA falls more in line with the HEK/HEX with characteristics like tonality, bass slam or sparkle, then it's not an upgraded HE-6. So maybe it's somewhere in the middle of HE-6 and HEKv2 but that's more like a sidegrade to me personally.

    I was hoping the SUSVARA was more of an HE-6 signature where the mods like bluetack/open grills/back reflection ringing were incorporated already, while having better layering, soundstage and imaging. That would have been a perfectly upgraded HE-6.
     
  20. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    SUSVARA parents are old HE-5/6 father and young HEX/K mother, but it's more similar to the young mother.
     
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