ABYSS Headphones Diana DZ

General Information

Meet Diana DZ, the latest in the evolution of the Diana series of ABYSS Headphones. This new model is built upon a lightweight machined aluminum frame with a highly engineered internal structure providing strength and acoustics to compliment the newly developed DZ planar speaker driver. We’ve reduced weight down to 315 grams (without ear pads), the lightest Diana headphone ever produced, and added a soft sling to the headband assembly for exceptional comfort.

A newly developed 63 mm ABYSS planar speaker driver with 50 ohm impedance offers the highest resolution of any Diana model. Diana DZ is relatively easy to drive but very much so excels with higher-end electronics and sources, tube or solid state.

Diana DZ has beautiful imaging and realism to sound, like opening a larger window to the music with a big soundstage, micro detail, and depth. In essence DZ has a near limitless ability to scale with the best systems available, and constantly rewards it’s owner with cool insights into the music and system changes.

Choose from a beautifully curated selection of color options with custom exotic inlays of New Zealand Abalone or Forged Carbon.

Be with the band!

Latest reviews

tjkohli

100+ Head-Fier
Diana DZ Headphone Review: A compact powerhouse blending soundstage, tonality and bass
Pros: - Fantastic, huge soundstage
- Great timbre and tonality
- Clear highs reminiscent of the best of Utopia 2022
- Planar bass slams down low
- Comfort strap huge upgrade over previous Dianas
- Easier to drive than TC/Susvara/etc. with comparable, top-tier sound
- Compact form factor good for portability
- Beautiful inlays make a striking yet subtle visual statement
Cons: - Comfort could still be better: clamping force is a bit hard, exacerbated by the comfort strap (which decreases headroom)
- Packaging should feel more premium for the price

Test Equipment​

  • Abyss Diana DZ
    • Stock cable 6.35mm
  • Chord Hugo TT2
    • @ 768 kHz
    • High-gain
    • ddHiFi Nyx USB cable
  • MacBook Pro M3 Max
    • Apple Music 24-bit Lossless
  • Meze Elite Tungsten
    • Meze Silver Plated Premium upgrade cable 3.5mm
  • Focal Utopia ‘22
    • Lavricable Grand 6.35mm

Sound Quality

Overall Impressions/Notes​

  • The DZ are much more direct-sounding than Elite, and trade blows with the Utopia in tonality and detail/sparkle.
  • The DZ is more analytical and has increased clarity compared to the Diana MR and Elite. Not quite on Utopia level, but very close.
  • Timbre is fantastic: listening to guitar strings and strings in general is very addicting.
  • DZ is 10-20% harder to drive than Elite and seemingly 2x harder than the Utopia. For reference, with the DZ: I had to increase volume to -5H on my TT2 in high gain compared to -15H for the Elite for comparable volume
  • Elite sounds musical by itself, but when comparing back-to-back with the DZ, the Elite starts sounding mid-bass “boomy”. The DZ remains crisp across the entire FR.
  • DZ has a huge soundstage especially compared to the Utopia and especially to the Diana MR. It’s comparable to the Elite, if not even 10-20% larger. Haven’t heard the, 800S but the DZ seems to be comparable based on others impressions and indirect comparisons.

Song Impressions​

  1. Time— Pink Floyd
    • The Meze and DZ trade blows for the surreal out-of-head experience of the ticking clocks in the intro. The DZ remains sharp and concise while the Elite rounds off the edge for a more musical, but muted note. The Utopia, although technically fantastic, falls in third place.
  2. Gomenasai— Kelela
    • The Utopia wins here hands down, with its dynamism of going from low bass to high sparkle within milliseconds. No doubt the Utopia is the king of going from 0 to 100 very quickly. That being said, the DZ comes a close second, and Elite lags behind as the slowest sounding of the bunch, trying hard to keep up.
  3. Slow Ready— Goose
    • Honestly this one could be a wash depending on whether you care more for the drums, vocals, or the guitar riffs. The Utopia focuses on the guitar riffs, the Elite seems to gravitate towards the vocals, while the DZ brings the drums a bit to the center. I’d say the DZ is the more neutral and least opinionated of the bunch here.
  4. Playing God— Polyphia
    • The Utopia wins first place here technically, due to the sheer speed, however the DZ was the more enjoyable listening experience due to excellent placement of sound around you, where the Utopia sounded a bit like you were stuck in a box.
  5. Válgame Dios— Niña Pastori
    • This song is where the Elite’s (relatively) soft musicality shines, while the DZ adds a natural, almost Susvara-like feeling to the water splashes and the Utopia over-compensates with clarity.
  6. Look What You Made Me Do— Taylor Swift
    • The Utopia falls flat here, showing deficiency in the sub-bass notes mid-song. The Elite slams hard, albeit slightly sloppily, while the DZ slams 80% as hard in the sub-bass, but extremely precisely and recovers instantly from the sub-bass slams for a natural mids/voice tonality.
  7. Put Your Lights On (feat. Everlast)— Santana
    • Utopia wins here just literally bringing the vocals right into your ear, due to the intimate nature of the song, but the DZ takes a very close second, opting to have the voice further away from your ears and doing the guitar better than the Utopia. Elite affects the music in a way that changes the emotions in a less-than-ideal way.

Total Scores for Song Impressions​

Diana DZ: 17
Utopia '22: 13
Elite: 12

Subjective Scores across the FR Curve​

Scores by themselves mean nothing, so here they are relative to my impressions of my other current headphones.

I’m also not a machine and probably not as trained of an ear as many professional reviewers out there, but I’d have to say what makes sense for me is to split my impressions across 5 “sectors” of the frequency response. I plan to use this scoring system going forward for my reviews.

Please note: these are personal preferences, opinions, and not some sort of standard/repeatable measurement.

  • Sub-bass
    • Diana DZ: 8/10
    • Utopia ‘22: 5/10
    • Elite: 9/10
  • Bass/low-mids
    • Diana DZ: 8/10
    • Utopia ‘22: 5/10
    • Elite: 9/10
  • Mids/Vocals
    • Diana DZ: 9.5/10
    • Utopia ‘22: 10/10
    • Elite: 7/10
  • High mids/low treble
    • Diana DZ: 9.5/10
    • Utopia ‘22: 10/10
    • Elite: 6/10
  • Upper treble/sparkle/micro-detail
    • Diana DZ: 9/10
    • Utopia ‘22: 10/10
    • Elite: 6/10

Total Scores for FR Impressions​

Diana DZ: 44
Utopia '22: 40
Elite: 37

Build, Comfort, & Accessories

  • The new headband design is infinitely more comfortable. The clamping force is slightly harder since the stiff headband seems otherwise identical to Diana MR/TC but the added comfort strap decreases the head space, so you have to expand the headphone adjusts a bit more than usual.
  • Hybrid leather/suede earpads are very soft and comfortable, but quite "hot" to my ears
  • The Purple Abalone is gorgeous in-person, with a very striking, almost holographic look. Pictures don’t do it justice. The colors shift in the light.
  • Packaging, accessories are otherwise identical to the other Diana's, and honestly kind of cheap for such an expensive headphone. Other headphones in the price range have aluminum suitcases, leather boxes, etc. The DZ comes in a cardboard box, with a headphone case inside, and headphones wrapped in plastic.

Final Takeaways

The Diana DZ is a fantastic all-rounder and is a completely different headphone from the Diana MR, which I felt was many steps behind my Utopia. In summary, I’d describe the Diana DZ as somewhat of an 800S soundstage with close to Utopia mids/upper treble, but with better bass, all in a very compact form factor. Seriously considering this for my next daily.

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Last edited:
D
DimitriSF
I'm more interested if this is an upgrade, side-grade, or down-grade from my TC.
Echo42987
Echo42987
Just ordered mine!!! Can't wait. Wasn't expecting such a review. Love how you pretty much based it in comparison to other headphones. Utopia 22 is one of my favorites so I can't wait to get these on my head and see how they compare. Also having the MR I'll be curiuos how they compare. Great review!
numberonesuperman
numberonesuperman
Thanks for the great review.

Comments

tjkohli

100+ Head-Fier
Thank you for the detailed review. Can't wait to hear it. My daily is Diana MR with TUBE mini on my work desk.
I listened to DZ with the Woo TUBE mini, it sounds amazing. The mini DAC is not as resolving as the TT2 of course but the tubes sound great with the DZ.
 

Co93

New Head-Fier
For those who have head the DZ compared to the MR, it is worth the upgrade?
 

tjkohli

100+ Head-Fier
For those who have head the DZ compared to the MR, it is worth the upgrade?
I've heard the MR and the DZ — I would not call it an upgrade—I would call it two completely different headphones. The DZ are out of this world while the MR are tame. They share nothing in common other than their looks and name lol.
 

Co93

New Head-Fier
LOL that's funny because I use my MRs almost exclusively when I want to be chill. It's like my "Sunday morning listening to Beatles" headphone. For my "I've had my 2 cups of coffee now" listening, I normally use my ZMF Calderas or my RAD 0. Any thoughts on how the DZ's would stack up against those?
 
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Co93

New Head-Fier
So I got my DZs. Love them. I don't try to explain sonic things in words, but these are a very enjoyable headphones. Sound wise they are very close to my calderas, at an extreme premium in terms of their light weight. They don't seem to like my tube amp as much as my solid state, but that's fine by me......
 
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