HarmonicDyne Athena


100+ Head-Fier
HarmonicDyne Athena: A Budget Diamond
Pros: \
Impressive sound quality exceeding the $160 price
Powerful, high-resolution bass
Tonality aims for natural balance
Non-fatiguing yet detailed treble
Comfortable and sleek for the price
Cons: \
Treble may be too elevated for some
Can't compete with summit-fi headphones
Plastic parts prone to fingerprints



I took a gamble earlier this year and secretly pre-ordered a mysterious new pair of headphones. Combining an affordable $160 price tag, Chinese manufacturing, and an unknown brand among audiophiles seemed risky. However, I had listened to this company's previous products and sensed they were incrementally improving with each new model. While not eliminating all risk, I at least felt confident these headphones wouldn't sound terrible.

After an anxious month-long wait, the headphones finally arrived. I eagerly unboxed them and gave them an immediate listen, fully prepared to accept compromises typical of this price point. But I was pleasantly surprised - these sounded really good, much better than expected! I had to check my enthusiasm and listen more critically over the next few months. However, I've found no major flaws to contradict my initial impressions.

Folks, the headphones I'm reviewing are called the Athena by HarmonicDyne. Let's explore why I was so impressed.

Aesthetics, Design and Comfort​

For the price, the Athena has a decent, sleek look. The glossy plastic used on the back of the ear cups and headband ends looks nice but easily collects fingerprints. While well-built and sturdy overall, there are fewer metal parts compared to HarmonicDyne's more expensive models.

The company calls the Athena "semi-closed" but that's a bit misleading - the backs of the ear cups are fully closed, with only side vents. Despite this, the Athena sounds more open than typical closed-backs.

Comfort is a highlight. At 345g, the Athena has noticeable but well-distributed weight. The soft padding distributes clamping force nicely. The Ether-style ear pads use perforated pleather on the inside and suede exteriors. They feel great - soft and comfortable. Overall, the Athena is easy to wear for long periods.

Associated Gears​

My evaluation is based on using the AC with the following gear, all of which I'm very familiar with:
  • DACs: SMSL M500 mk3, Gustard X18
  • Amps: SMSL HO200, Topping LA90
  • Comparison headphones: Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD560S, ZMF Atrium Closed, ZMF Caldera

Listening: General​

The Athena departs from a neutral tonal balance, but the deviations seem to compensate for my ears' reduced bass and treble sensitivity at typical listening volumes. I suspect HarmonicDyne applied some thoughtful equal-loudness contouring in their tuning. More on that later.

The lows have great power and extension with excellent control and authority. The punchy kick drums and weighty bass guitars are highly impressive. Even on subtle material, the bass articulation, texture and delineation leave nothing to desire. The Athena's bass surpasses its older HarmonicDyne siblings.

In the midrange, vocals initially sounded more distant than I'm accustomed to. This distancing effect actually helped me resolve finer details across the spectrum, as harmonic richness seemed enhanced. Vocals remained detailed despite the distance. This approach reminded me of the ZMF Verite's intentionally recessed upper mids, which aided realism.

There was some occasional coloration though, with things sometimes sounding thinner or too clear. Some female vocals exhibited extra upper midrange energy. However, these colorations generally complemented the Athena's overall tonal mix, if not perfectly neutral.

The treble is relatively elevated, especially compared to neutral cans like the HD650. It reminds me of the HD800 I once owned, but perhaps slightly less extended and bitey. Still, the Athena handled sibilance surprisingly well given its ample treble energy. The entire presence and brilliance range sounds clear, smooth and coherent. This excellent treble combines with great micro-detail for class-leading resolution.

The soundstage has decent width, falling between the HD650 and HD560S. Imaging is quite accurate, with a slight wrap-around effect at the boundaries that sounds natural to my ears after some acclimation. Vocals are intentionally set back a bit, which enhances the overall presentation cohesion.

Timbre is unique - more digital and articulate than the HD650, but richer and more emotional than the HD560S. Decay is natural and organic, if slightly romanticized at times. This musical, modern and interpretive tonality encouraged rediscovery of familiar tracks with fresh ears.

The Athena handled all my preferred genres well, from Baroque to jazz to electronic. While not matching the technicalities of my high-end references, I was consistently eager to play "just one more track", which is high praise considering my acclimation to summit-fi. For an affordable headphone, the Athena brings consistent enjoyment.

Listening: Per-Song​

Let's explore the Athena's capabilities through some of my reference test tracks.


First up is "Growing Up" (2022) by Linda Lindas. Compared to punchier cans like the ZMF Atrium Closed, the Athena initially seemed to lack some engagement on this track. The Atrium makes it sound crazily exciting through pumped up kicks and tones. The Athena takes a more analytical stance - the soundstage feels better defined, the slightly recessed vocals remain solid, and the snare hits keep their snap despite softened impacts on the Atrium.


The Athena excels at complex orchestral works, especially modern recordings. For example, Simon Rattle's 2022 "Stravinsky Ballets" with the LSO. While not matching the ZMF Caldera's powerful expression, the Athena delivers a convincing, soulful performance. The discernible lower string textures are highly impressive. Clarity stays strong even in dense passages. The crescendos swell surprisingly weightily for the price.


Older recordings also sound compelling through the Athena's lens. Take "Oster Peterson Meets Roy Hargrove" (1996) - the analytical presentation helps me easily follow the musical narrative, similar to some TOTL cans. The piano stands distinctly apart from cymbal accents. Many headphones struggle to balance the spicy cymbals against the rich piano here, but the Athena nails this satisfyingly, if not perfectly.

Overall, the Athena brings technical strengths to bear on tracks both modern and classic. Its insightful analytical chops extract nuances while still engaging the listener emotionally. This versatility enhances enjoyment across a wide variety of recordings.


As usual, I encourage readers to carefully note several key points regarding my measurements.
  • All the results below were taken with MiniDSP EARS: Measured at 95dB SPL @ 300Hz
  • The frequency response has been compensated for by a home-brew hybrid curve that is derived from several different profiles (mainly HPN and HEQ) and room transfer curves.
  • My averaged frequency response combines 5 positions (center, up, down, front, back) to reduce variance. Optimal positioning may differ slightly.
  • The "ideal response" curve is overlaid with the product FR as a subjective neutral reference.
    • This response is derived from a weighted log-level average from several different products that I believe are tonally well-balanced in their own right: ZMF Caldera, DCA Stealth, HFM Susvara. Optimal weights were determined through randomized and programmed self-test iterations with flattened Stealth/Susvara.
    • As a result, I found multiple considerations (hearing loss, my usual listening level, equal loudness) have been factored in.
    • Please take the "ideal response" curve with a grain of salt due to its highly experimental nature (at least for now). No guarantee that it is also ideal for you unless there are very similar common tastes.


The FR shows an obvious V-shape, with +10dB bass and treble elevation (or alternatively, a -10dB midrange dip). This seems more exaggerated than I perceive, especially in the treble. The discrepancy likely relates to the ISO 80 phon equal loudness contour (link), which shows our hearing is less sensitive by ~10dB in the bass and treble versus 1kHz. This reduced sensitivity is clearly visible in the Athena's rising high frequency response.


Of course, actual music has a dynamic amplitude range. At my typical peak volumes above 80dB SPL @ 1kHz, the equal loudness contours flatten out somewhat. This makes perfect perceptual neutrality via static EQ impossible. Still, the Athena's mild V-shape sounds more neutral to me than the measurements suggest. As with the ZMF Verite, careful V-shaped tuning can apparently benefit perceived naturalness.

The dual dips at 1.3kHz and 3.9kHz are subtler than the graph implies. Rather than hearing distinct deficits, it seems adjacent frequencies are relatively boosted, lending a sense of clarity and presence, although with some perception of artificial boosts. The 1kHz drop also maintains energy over time, evidenced in the waterfall plot.



Comparisons confirmed similarities to the HD800 I owned. Key Athena advantages include better extension, more nuanced upper mids and smoother treble. Relative to the HD650 and HD560S, measurements corroborate my listening observations.



Surprisingly, the Athena's frequency response closely resembles headphones like the ZMF Atrium Closed and Caldera - more so the latter. The graphical differences align with my listening impressions. To be clear, the Athena is not nearly the same caliber as the Caldera - side by side, the Caldera's performance gap is glaring, as expected given the huge price delta. However, I can safely say these headphones share a tonal balance that fits my preferences. As research shows [1], a headphone's overall tonal signature is one of the most crucial measurable factors for audio reproduction and its fidelity.

Aside: There are too many studies arguing similarly. If interested, I'd recommend going through Toole (2017) carefully.
  • [1] Toole, F. (2017). Sound reproduction: The acoustics and psychoacoustics of loudspeakers and rooms. Routledge.

I also attach some additional plots for readers' information.



In conclusion, the Athena punches far above its modest $160 price point. HarmonicDyne has clearly honed their craft with each successive release, culminating in a musical yet technical sound that belies cost-cutting compromises. An expertly sculpted frequency response aims for natural tonal balance given typical listening levels. Aesthetics, comfort and accessories also impress considering the price bracket. There are hints of coloration and the Athena won't dethrone summit-fi titans. However, it extracts joy on nearly every track, urging repeated listens to rediscover nuances anew. This product has been a remarkable discovery in my quest for affordable fidelity. Its clever tuning and fluent presentation bring consistent enjoyment in the way how I define good reproduction should be. For budget-minded analytical listeners, the Athena is a worthy candidate to shortlist.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Beagle and Philimon


New Head-Fier
Harmonic Dyne Athena: add it to the collection?
Pros: Price
Unique Sound
Good Can to Add to The Collection
Cons: Lower mid-range could be better
Not a reference sound

Harmonic Dyne Athena: add it to the collection?​

Hello there everyone, and welcome back to The Neighborhood! Today we’re looking at the Harmonic Dyne Athena thanks to Linsoul! The Athena is a $179 dollar headphone that’s taking the world by storm, so let’s get inToit!


The Athena is largely a plastic build, but somehow feels sturdier than the Harmonic Dynes that I looked at before with wood and metal incorporated into the builds. The only metal I noticed to these was in the slider mechanism of the headband and some screws that hold everything together. A large cloth covered pad cushions the head below the headband, and this doesn’t appear to be memory foam but it was comfortable nevertheless. The pads might be memory foam; however, instead of a cloth covered, they are covered in what appears to be a faux suede material; which might get a bit hot in a non-cool environment. Even though I live in a desert, the pads ultimately added to the comfort in my air-conditioned room, and I’ll also note that there was plenty of space within them for my average sized ear. From looking at other reviews prior to receiving these, I was worried that these might be on ears, but they most assuredly are over ears, and I think there will be more than enough room for most wearers. The clamp was also very comfortable and neither too intense or too slack.


With regard to the cups, these are semi-closed backed, as they have a solid backing to the cups, but small vents around the lower edge of the cups and a larger vent on the top edge. As a result, these basically have open back performance with regard to sound coming in and out of them. So, I don’t love the isolation here entirely, but if you’ll be listening primarily in a solitary listening environment, then you won’t mind this. Positively, the cups have a large rotation to their swivel, and lay flat on a desk when swiveled away from the listener. They won’t lay flat if swiveled in the other direction; however. In terms of their weight, they are neither too hefty nor notably light in their construction. They weigh much more than the ThieAudio Ghost I recently reviewed, but weight a bit less than the Beyerdynamic DT177XGO. The advertised weight is only 320 grams, but they do feel a bit bulky on the head- almost like a ZMF.


The cable is also a wee bit bulky, especially with its metal hardware in mind, but it does match the weight and somewhat clunky feel of the headphone overall. A quarter inch to 3.5mm adapter is included, but it terminates in a 3.5mm jack and initiates in two, dual-poled 3.5mm plugs. The weave is nice, and the material almost feels like paracord, but I’m sure it’s not. Its Y-split well-done, and it remains free from tangles with repetitive use. A cable tie is also provided to help with portable use, as is a velvet bag- but not a hard case, which could have been a nice addition.


So, the sound… Well first of all, these required an absurd amount of break-in. Out of the box, they were a bit loose and bloomy in the low-end. I went so far as the swap out the pads to Brainwavz Sheepskin Rounds, and I enjoyed the sound much more. However; before finalizing my thoughts, I swapped back to the stock pads after a few weeks of play, and decided that they had come around, and now sounded great as well. The bass had evened out, was less diffuse, and any bleed mostly gone.


Timbre is warm, rather lush, somewhat dark, and its note weight is both thickened and heavy. Yet, many aspects of the sound still cut through well. For a closed back headphone, the stage is also decently large, and exceeds expectations. Resolution and clarity isn’t top-end in terms of its performance, but it does scale notably well. These peak with their sound capabilities when driven off the Tron Antares, but also sounded excellent on the Hidizs DH80S. For under $300 dollars the pairing with the latter was a notable value proposition, and I enjoyed it immensely. The stage of this pairing was simply something else, and large and vast in its dimension. And even though these are listed at 34 ohms, they also performed well off the Darkvoice 336 OTL. I’ve been experimenting with different tubes on my Darkvoice as of late, and a Hytron 6SN7 and GE 6GAS7 were excellent tubes in combination with the Athena.


But let’s get into the sound profile, because although I enjoy the Athena, and think that it’s not only stupendous fun and a tremendous value, its also not without its faults. The bass relies more on a subbass push than anything else. General bass definition could be better, and I could deal with a bit more presence from the upper bass regions as well. The descriptors soft and squishy come to mind in describing the low-end performance of the Athena.




The midrange is a bit of a mixed bag. Generally speaking, the mid-range cuts through well despite its moody character, but the lower midrange performance was not up to task on certain tracks. Bands like Van Halen highlighted a notable reduction on guitar parts that a normally front and center on a number of their songs. Male vocals also could suffer at times, and were not as representative in the mix as the female counterparts. Even so, tracks that did not rely as much upon an early midrange presence performed admirably well on the Athena


The treble is best described as relaxed, but well extended. There isn’t a ton air here, but there’s enough for anyone who isn’t a treble head. There are also some notable dips after 8K and beyond, but I mostly found the treble well-represented enough without venturing into any harshness, intensity or sibilance.




Overall, I think the Athena is a winner! It’s my favorite headphone to have come out of Harmonic Dyne yet! Priced at around $179 dollars, these are a steal and a must have for almost any headphone collector. Its presentation is musical, unique, warm, romantic, enjoyable and inviting. They sound excellent off almost any source, and they scale well too. Just make sure you break them in for at least a few weeks before making up your mind about them. The Harmonic Dyne Athena is sold by exclusively Linsoul, and I’m certainly happy that they support my channel, and were able to send over a set for this review.

Check out my YouTube Review of the Harmonic Dyne Athena!

Last edited:


New Head-Fier
The All-Rounder Headphone, HarmonicDyne Athena
Pros: 1. Warm and subtle resonating bass
2. Natural presentation of vocals
3. Detailed exposure of instruments
4. Energetic and Bright treble
5. Great resolution with expressive details and sharp imaging
Cons: 1. A little too bright treble, especially instruments
2. Offensiveness mostly appearing in the lower treble
3. Lack of air in the vocals

Review OF The HarmonicDyne Athena



When it comes to HarmonicDyne, a company that I didn't find much information on despite the fact that it is well-known among audiophiles, particularly those who enjoy headphones, I was able to conclude to the fact that they are skilled manufacturers of electroacoustic products. From what I read and heard, Harmonicdyne became one of the top headphone manufacturers and became renowned for its wooden headphones, such as the Zeus and Helios, which outperformed high-end models in terms of sound quality and performance. I will be reviewing their product for the first time, but I am a novice and only know the story. Not only have they produced headphones, but also IEMs like the P.D.1 and the Devil, which have received a lot of positive feedback from seasoned audiophiles. I got overly excited when I received their most recent version of their belief in sound, so I have taken a lot of time to thoroughly review the HarmonicDyne Athena. But first, I'd like to talk about a few things before moving on.



*Since this unit tour was organised by the kindly people at Linsoul, I am grateful to them. And as I've said in all of my evaluations, the same is true for this one: all of the concepts I've expressed below are entirely my own, original ideas that haven't been influenced by anyone else. If interested, go to this link.
*I am not associated with the connection, and I receive no financial assistance from anyone.
*For the remainder of the review, I will refer to these IEMs as "Athena."
*Finally, I will only evaluate the Athena based on their performance, even though I will explain how it feels and seems physically and aesthetically.



The HarmonicDyne Athena is a different type of headphone than what the company typically produces. Usually, their open-back headphones, the Athena is a semi-open-back headphone that uses a 50mm metal-ceramic composite driver, according to the company. Rather than plating or coating the metal layer on a plastic diaphragm like conventional bi-layered diaphragm, The Athena driver's material is an entirely integrated mixture of high purity metal alloys and extremely dense ceramic carbon fibre, which is accomplished at very high temperatures. Innovative M-shaped venting is used by the Athena to create its semi-open back headphone design. In terms of construction quality, unlike their other headphones, this pair weighs about 320g and is made of premium plastic with a metal frame inside the headband. The best feature of the construction is their improved ergonomic design, which is practical and makes them easier to transport. This design also brings out the best comfort a headphone can offer, which is the one-way swivel earcups that allow them to rest flat on the surface. Regarding comfort, the cushioned headband allows the headphones to rest on them easily and the weight feels evenly distributed over the head. The suede-covered earcups are soft and soothing to wear on the ears, but the interior of the earcups is made of leather, and there are vent holes for easy heat dissipation, making it comfortable to wear throughout lengthy sessions. The included cable is a custom coaxial cable with a 33x0.08mm + 38x0.06mm structure. It is made of fabric and has 3.5mm connectors for the headphones and a 3.5mm straight jack as the termination. A storage bag, a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter, and a souvenir coin are also included as additional materials. Technically speaking, the sensitivity is 116.5 dB, and the impedance is 34 ohms. The total harmonic distortion is approximately 0.2%@1kHz 100 SPL, and the free field frequency response ranges from 10Hz to 70kHz. To my surprise, I was able to operate the Athena with my LG G8X at maximum volume, which leads me to believe that driving is simpler.



I've never heard HarmonicDyne headphones before, but from what I've observed, they have a much warmer tone and a soothing signature. Without a doubt, these sound fantastic with a good energy and a warm tone. The signature of the Athena is balanced with great energy in the treble and upper mid range while lush and warm notes in lower frequencies. The sound is bright but tends to sounds sharp in the higher frequencies which at some point sound sibilent and hot. Usually response from the 4kHz-8kHz produce such sounds which causes such offensiveness. It is true a part of this community love bright sound and Athena may cater to their preference as tonally these have metallic timbre where mostly instruments may come as intense and edged. But still, the Athena can effortlessly meet your needs or satisfy your satisfaction with any genre. I am not sure but Athena has a more warm and balanced sound than their other headphones, as I am only speaking from what I have heard and read from other reviewers, of course, as I haven't tried any other of their products. Nevertheless, Harmonicdyne did a fantastic job with the tuning, regardless of how much I like the signature. I should also point out that these are more user-friendly than the products of gourmet audiophiles who seek to expose every last annoyance, whether they be tonal or technical, mainly because the macrodetails are more expressive and impressive than the ability to produce microdetails by Athena. To specifically describe each region, I would say that the treble region offers great energy and sharp and edgy notes with nice extension. The mid range comes across realistic, light and adequately forward. Unless you're listening to a bass-heavy track, the bass has a strong presence that calms you down and keeps the hits and impacts at an adequate volume. The more I listened, the more I realised that the bass does reside over the warmth in the mix and isn't really separated from it; rather, it works in conjunction with the warmth in the lower mid range. At first, I felt like there wasn't enough bass. There are traces of sibilance and hotness in the mix, particularly in the the lower treble, which I will discuss in more detail later. I'm not sure if it is typical to sound as such through headphones. Even so, the signature is still amiable and enjoyable to hear. Let's explore the sound more thoroughly.



This is my second time discussing the Athena because the first time I did so, some people criticised me for using words that contradicted their perceptions of how they felt. To be completely honest, I never really gave the Athena a second thought. And as I read what I had written about the treble region as a result, I realised how mistaken I had been. The only thing I want is for people to rely more on my reviews, so this time I'll do my best to sound as logical as it is possible for me to sound. However, even then, if it makes less sense to those who helped me out, I'd only ask that you forgive my senses and help me out more so that I can cater to more of your beliefs in the future. Returning to my assessment of the treble range. Because I had forgotten to separate my thoughts about the warmth in the lower frequencies from the higher frequencies, I accidentally wrote that the treble had a metallic sound and also sounded warm before I realised it. So, according to my revised understanding, the treble sound tends to be bright and energetic, especially in the lower treble. The treble has a strong presence in the mix and sounds extenisve; the notes are complete without losing any of their details. Although when listening to instrumental tracks, which probably makes them easier to approach audibly, I would specifically mention the instruments because they have a tendency to sound sibilant. Although I would still point out that the female vocals are a little too hot for me, the vocals sound fuller and more exciting and stretch without deteriorating into single notes, keeping the mix comfortable to listen to. Most of the mix's energy is revealed in the lower treble, which is most audible in the 4k to 8k range. This area brings out the instruments' worst qualities, which to my ears sound repulsive and tiresome. To be fair though, I prefer a midrange that is more prominent and a less forward treble region. Both the vocals and the instruments have a light and lean presentation that comes across as sharp and edgy. The vocals have clarity and bring out the best of the details, while the instruments do their best to sound as less offensive as possible in the shadow of the vocals. So, to sum up my thoughts on the upper and lower treble, I'd like to say that the upper treble is broad and enjoyable while the lower treble sounds energising and light. The treble region is presented overall as bright, active, and extensive while sounding sibilant and metallic in nature.

Mid Range

It may not be true, but from what I have heard over the years, the midrange is where the majority of the vocals and instruments are situated in the mix, so it is essential that this range be tuned to sound realistic and well-balanced. If it isn't, the sound might be described as hollow or overpowering. The midrange typically receives the most attention from all of the headphones I've heard, but those that weren't able to maintain the integrity of the entire response and bring out the best in each region made the midrange sound unnatural or uncomfortably loud. The reason I bring this up is because Athena is the first headphone I have heard that sounds melodious and harmonious in the mid range while staging a smooth treble essence and gentle impacts of bass response. The tuning of the Athena is similar to those headphones that fail to bring the best of the mid range.When I talk mostly about the treble region, the balance that the Athena's drivers are maintaining might be on the verge of sounding offensive, and it very well may. However, the mid range is exactly how it is supposed to be, realistic in the mix. The warmth in the lower range strikes an excellent balance and prevents the mid range from occasionally bordering on sounding sibilant, keeping the response clear and calming. While the notes in the upper mid range are forward, they still carry the same energy as those in the lower treble. The vocals sound as expressive as they possibly can, and the instruments do their best to support the vocals by sounding clean and lush. The vocals and instruments bring enough details with a rounder and fulfilling response. The guitars and percussion instruments like the flute or hi hat can occasionally sound a little sibilant when they are played more prominently in the mix. Mostly those high frequency emitting notes that have a tendency to overwhelm the area right away. This typically occurs when listening to instrumental tracks where the percussion instruments are heavily featured; otherwise, everything sounds very natural and presentable. The lower mid range has a very established sound, with proper note clarity, note weight, and note density. I adore how the notes can be both clean and warm at once. With the warmth and the flow of the mix from lower frequencies, they undeniably support the upper mid range. I am fascinated by the lower notes resonating with such a soothing and calming delivery. This foundational work gives the upper mid range its natural timbre and makes it sound realistic. The notes of the instruments and the vocals don't sound drowned out or uninteresting; rather, they are clear and dense. The response to the bass notes is thick and organic, sounding as genuine as it can. The mid range is presented in a warm, lively, and natural manner overall.


Athena headphones deliver more presence than one might anticipate for a headphone; they don't hit you hard and their impacts aren't punchy, but they still have influences, which, to my surprise, go away quickly. They do surprise me with the response even though the bass is not as prominent as one might anticipate from an open or semi-open over-ear headphone. The lush, rich, and warm bass is brought by the subtle rumble sensation, punchy slams, and delicate power delivery. After observing how it interacts with the response, I believe I can claim that this is a full-bodied bass response. The bass provides a satisfying response with a focus on the mid bass, which reaches far down into the sub bass and is deep enough to reverberate with a rumbling sensation. The punches are firm but gentle because the sub bass has excellent control over the impact and prevents it from hitting hard while appreciating the balance of the overall response.While the energy flows into the lower mid range perfusing with the response to sound so captivating, the mid bass does have a more boomy exposure but it is also well controlled. Additionally, the slams don't hit you hard but rather gently push themselves into the mix. By no means do they sound weak, but when compared to other closed, semi-open, or open-back headphones, they do have an impact on the mix, which could have worsened the response by giving it a bloated, vulgur sound. I'm just amazed at how well-layered and controlled the bass is if it has such a presence while flowing the warmth into the lower mid range with no interference that could lead to unevenness. This is the first time observing such a clean, full-bodied bass response that still packs characteristics that not only affect the higher frequencies but also easily add to the fun. I mean, it's what I feel after listening to these, but I find it odd that the bass isn't acting for its own response but to complement the other region. They are lacking in texture and details, but they quickly decide to keep the response polite. From what I have heard, it is also neither damaging nor overwhelming; it is just right. The bass region's overall performance is flush, radiating, and well-managed.

Technical Performance

The technical aspects of such a headphone led me to believe that even headphones have excellent imaging and separation. I'm not sure if the semi-open headphone or the drivers are responsible, but achieving such excellent performance in resolving and retrieving details is remarkable. I've heard a lot of headphones, especially those in this price range, but none have the resolution of this one, as I've already mentioned. Since it is not perfect in every way, I am unable to say whether these features will be adequate for you. Sincerity be damned, Athena does a great job of balancing the technicalities with the tone. Let's investigate its technicalities in more detail.


Soundstage, Sound Imaging & Separation

At first, I wasn't expecting an intimate perspective of the stage, but as I continued to listen, it started to become enjoyable and playful, with sounds coming from all sides. The 3D holographic nature sets in and creates an immersive experience with powerful exposure of every element thanks to the stage's excellent positioning and setup. The experience is intense and alluring because the imagery is clear and vibrant. Finally, there is a nice separation between distant elements that gives them room to breathe. The distinct relationship between them also makes it simpler to identify the source of each sound.

Speed & Resolution

As an audiophile who primarily relies on in-ear monitors, I usually do not get imaging, resolution, or detail integrity from headphones because I was unable to find one in this price range, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard today while listening to Athena.There are headphones that offer the best clarity, but they rarely provide a harmonious balance between technical aspects and tonality.The Athena offer the best of both worlds despite their lack of attention to detail.For such a headphone, where details are expressive enough to sound clean, the resolution is fantastic.Having such a response from a headphone where the attack and decay of notes feel natural and quick paced surprises me. The notes attack quickly and resolve quickly.

Sound Impressions


Tempotec V6 - I was able to use the headphones' full potential while listening to the V6 because I never got the impression that they lacked anything while listening at a volume of 60 to 65 unbalanced. The sound was complex and clearly defined. The treble was clear and had a lot of potential for revealing such minute details of notes, though occasionally I detected sibilance, usually when listening to instrumental music, especially music that heavily featured percussion. Although there wasn't much airiness, the midrange sounded less open but natural in the mix. The bass was warm and enjoyable to listen to. The technical aspects were excellent as well because the soundstage was large and the separation was distinct. Such a response was expressive and had clean imaging, good details, and nice resolution. The speed at which these annoyances could be resolved was also quick. I thought the pairing with the V6 felt fantastic.


iFi Hipdac - With the volume knob set to 11 o'clock and high gain, the hipdac was easily able to drive the Athena to their maximum capacity while being listened to. Particularly in the treble range, the sound emanating from the hipdac felt warmer and more dense. Although there was less exposure to details, the treble still sounded fantastic and was enjoyable to listen to. I found it sounded much more hospitable to my ears because there was less to no sibilance in the area. Vocals sounded more approachable with good details and warmth, and the mid range sounded denser but more active in the mix. While the presence with slams felt more approachable, the bass region felt more hazy with details and texture. Although the details weren't as good as what the V6 was able to produce, the technical aspects felt the same. Even so, I still favour pairing it with a V6.


Aune X7S - I was able to fully drive the Aune X7s headphones at mid-high gain while keeping the volume knob at 10 o'clock when using the V6, hipdac, or ITX01. The X7s had tremendous potential. In terms of sound, I thought the treble region changed the most because it became more expansive while the rest of the sound remained the same. The stage appeared wider and more spread out. However, since there isn't a significant change in the sound when discussing such characteristics, the sound is only marginally altered. However, I didn't feel as though the Aune X7s needed such strong power to drive them while I was listening to them.

photo_2023-05-05_03-11-40 (2).jpg

Comparison with Sennheiser 6XX

In my opinion, the HD6XX and Athena are fairly comparable when compared because both headphones have an open design, whether they are fully open or only partially open. Despite the fact that the two headphones deliver sound in very different ways, they both excel in terms of taste and response. Because other headphones perform poorly when it comes to sound balance, either they are boring or too exhausting to listen to, I usually prefer headphones that deliver neutral with bass boost signature or a mid-centric headphone, such as the HD series of Sennheiser's, the Hifiman Sundara, or the recently released Venus by Moondrop. But harmonicdyne's response was spot on when it came to the Athena. Even though I trust the build, I would say that the Athena's plastic build is much better and of higher quality even though the HD6XX is obviously made of lower quality plastic. When it comes to comfort, the Athena is unquestionably the winner thanks to its adaptability and comfortable design, which prevent fatigue. However, when it comes to setting and positioning of headphones, the HD series is the best in the entire headphone industry. When it comes to the HD6XX's sound, the treble is dark, but it still provides enough extension to the point where the vocals sound fuller and light. Although I do think there are subtleties I would like them to sound more sparkly and detailed, giving a more natural timbre still feels the best. Being mid centric headphones, the mid range is very well versed and plays its part in the mix elegantly. While the bass is punchier and boomier, it still manages to keep the exposure under control, keeping the lower mid range from being ruined by bloat or muddiness. I adore how the bass performs, being obedient while only producing the necessary amount of presence to keep the response in harmony. almost like a neutral response with bass boost. To be completely honest, the HD6XX are the industry standard for headphones in this price range in terms of both technical aspects and tonality. I adore the HD6XX, but it all depends on how well the Athena outperforms it.


Despite being slightly more affordable than the HD6XX, the Athena has a warmer and more balanced sound than the HD6XX.Athena shines with good detail and exposure, perhaps a little too much, where the HD6XX sound dark in the treble. The open and airy quality of the HD6XX sounds to my taste as it also opens up the stage because, even though the Athena sounds balanced, the mid range does bring out a good amount of details and expression from the vocals and instruments. Even though the bass is controlled, the warmth and physicality of the bass vary greatly between the two, making them both sound very different. The Athena's bass response sounds warm and rumbling, whereas the HD6XX's bass response is punchier and less slammy. Technically speaking, I believe the HD6XX has a better soundstage, whereas the Athena acts more immersive and direct with a wide region that is rich and filling. On the Athena, the separation of the elements is better focused while the imaging is sharper. Because Athena is so detail-oriented, the resolution and level of details it produces are superior. Since both sound nearly identical, it is difficult to judge how quickly notes resolve, but I would pick the Athena because of how easily details are exposed. However, if I were to lean more towards a balanced signature, these would have been the one I would have had my eyes set on. To be honest, I prefer HD6XX over Athena due to its scalability, natural tonality, and preferred taste.

Comparison with Blon B50

Of the three, the B50 is obviously the least expensive, but even though its construction is superior to what is being offered for it, I find that it is a little too large for me. In contrast, the Athena is ideal and comfortably rests over my head. The Blon B50 sound is more neutral with an odd tonality but is entertaining to hear; the signature is transparent with the response. The treble has a hollow, incomplete, and slightly sibilant overblown sound. The vocals in the middle register sound lean and laid-back, but the instruments have a lot of energy, which makes me wonder if they are competing with the vocals. The response is unbalanced due to the different mixing styles that allow the instruments to stand out while muting the vocals. It feels like there are good punches but less of a rumble sensation, and the mid bass also lacks the slams and warmth. The bass is well controlled and clean but a little shy with the response. The B50 sounds more like fun to me than a calming or detail-oriented set.


When compared to Blon B50, everything about Athena sounds good, and the response sounds as accurate as it possibly can. The response flows smoothly from one region to the next, complimenting one another, and there are no dearranged signatures or uneven sounds in any of the regions. To be honest, I'd blame the uneven response, which makes the treble sound hollow and incomplete, even though the sibilance is felt more with the Athena than the Blon B50. Compared to the Blon B50, the treble has more fine details and clarity throughout the notes. Compared to the Blon B50, the treble of Athena is more smoother in the mix. The Athena's mid range has a warm, organic sound where the instruments and vocals blend together. Where the instruments are supporting the vocals in the mix, the vocals are richer and more active. Although the vocals are less open or airy than those of the Blon B50, they still sound nice and lively. When it comes to the bass, the Athena is more resolved than the Blon B50, and the bass behaves differently on each headphone. Whereas the Athena radiates over the response with a warm and smooth presentation, the Blon comes out as well controlled and punchy in response, just supporting the lower response. The Athena has a better sense of rumble than the Blon B50, and, to be completely honest, it also has better control over the sub bass. The Blon B50 lacks the deeper bass response that the Athena offers, and the same is true of the slams. With the exception of the Blon B50's openness in the treble and midrange, the technical aspects of the Athena are much better. When compared to the Blon B50, the Athena has a better soundstage, imaging that is much clearer, and separation that is better. The resolution and detail retrieval follow the same rules as the speed of resolvability.

Tracks Used

Luna Haruna - Glory days
Luna Haruna - Overfly
Rokudenashi - The Flame of Love
LMYK - 0 (zero)
Marina Horiuchi - Mizukagami no Sekai
Indila - Love Story
Indila - Tourner dans le vide
Earth, Wind & Fire - September
Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Blue Oyester Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
Guns 'N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
The Police - Every Breath You Take
Gojira - Amazonia
TV on the radio - Wolf Like Me
Bring Me To The Horizon - Can You Feel My Heart
Bring Me To The Horizon - sTraNgeRs
Avril Lavigne - Dare To Love Me
Travis - Love Will Come Through
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know
DJ Shadows - Six Days (Remix) [feat. Mos Def]
Lady Gaga - Just Dance
Lil Wayne - Lollipop
Flo Rida - Low
Sebastian Lopez & Flug - Electronic Measures
Federico Mecozzi - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
Wayve - Not Enough
Kai Wachi & TeZATalks - Ghost
NGHTMRE, Zeds Dead & Tori Levett - Shady Intentions
Zeds Dead, DNMO & GG Magree - Save My Grave
Skrillex, Noisia, josh pan & Dylan Brady - Supersonic
Skrillex & Nai Barghouti - Xena
Skrillex, Missy Elliott & Mr. Oizo - RATATA
Kaifi Khalil, Eva B & Wahab Bugti - Kana Yaari
A.R. Rahman, Javed Ali & Mohit Chauhan - Kun Faya Kun


Oh boy! What a wild ride I had with the Athena; there's no doubt that these are built to compete with the market's toughest players, especially those who weigh more than this headphone. A pair of headphones that sound harmonious and well-balanced while thrilling those who are listening with fun treble energy and lush warmth in the bass never distorts your senses. I would recommend them even more because they are so engrossing and immersive and are so rich and satisfying. You lose awareness of yourself as it immerses you in the depths of sound, and you start to believe that music is real. I'd highly recommend these headphones to wrap up this review.

Last edited:


100+ Head-Fier
A little EQ transforms these headphones...
Pros: Decent price, reasonably built, comfortable...
Cons: Cup reflections in the lower regions, 1kHz to 4kHz is too absent...

TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - HarmonicDyne Athena

The HarmonicDyne Athena have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. Linsoul have not made any comments or special requests and, as always, I will do my best to be as sincere and unbiased as possible.

You can find a (non-afilliate) link to the Athena on Linsoul by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post)

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews



I have received a few over-ear headphones recently, which is something that I am happy about as I have nothing against IEMs but I do prefer headphones, at least when it is not summer (which will be here soon, as we are already hitting 30ºC during the day).

The HarmonicDyne Athena are a set of closed back headphones (well, semi closed actually) from the brand and they cost just under 180€ via Linsoul at the time of putting this review together. These are the first HarmonicDyne headphones I have tried but I am always looking out for a decent closed back set and if they are budget orientated, even better.

They are marketed as being a “Studio-Grade 50mm Metal-Ceramic Composite Dynamic Driver Headphone” which has a “Studio-Grade Tuning with a tonally balanced sound signature and a 3dB sub-bass boost”. Now, “Studio Grade” can mean just about anything, it is like putting “Pro” on a product. There are big differences between what is needed in a studio for vocal tracking, drum tracking and mixing or mastering (although I still maintain that you can produce music with almost any headphone, as long as you get to know it well and learn how it translates onto other systems). So, let’s see what we actually get in these sub 200€ headphones and if they are worth the investment.



They are presented in a large blue box that shows the HarmonicDyne logo on the top, which opens to the left and reveals the model on another cover that then opens to the right.

Once open we are greeted by the headphones sitting inside some foam cutouts, with an accessories box at the top and in the center we get a brass coin that has the company logo on one side and Athena on the other, along with the serial number. It is not the first coin I have received with an audio product lately but it is a interesting way of providing the serial number.

In my case, the foam layers inside the box are coming unglued, which doesn’t exactly give the packaging a premium feel but the headphones are well protected.

Other that the coin and the headphones, we also get the cable (more on that in a second), a leather cable tie and a drawstring bag for storage. It would have been nice to get a storage case that is a little more protective than the bag, especially as the headphones lay flat, but as long as the savings have gone into the headphones themselves, then I am not complaining.


Build and aesthetics…

The headphones are built almost completely of plastic but aren’t really cheap feeling. I wouldn’t say they feel like a luxury item but the plastic seems to be of decent quality, well assembled, and they don’t creak each time the are moved like some other alternatives do.

The internal part of the headband is metal, with the adjustment sliding inside a plastic cover which feels sturdy and, although only time will tell, should cause much issues. The yolks and cups are also plastic but again, they seem to be well manufactured and I can’t see anything standing out as a “this will definitely break” point. The two clips that hold the padded part of the headband on to the structure are the only part that looks a little “delicate” to me but I don’t think this is something you will be removing often anyway.

At a simple glance, the Athena look like closed back headphones, however, around the circumference of the cups, there are plenty of large vents, making these semi-open (or semi-closed, however you want to look at it).

The included cable is very nice, with braided fabric covered cores, and although the clear plastic parts surrounding the hardware don’t have the best finish to them, I have to say that this is one of the better cables I received with a set of headphones, especially in the budget category.



All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

Now on to the important part, how the Athena performs sonically. But first the usual look at the graph, with the HD6XX as a reference point and also the Beyerdynamic Custom Studio Pro (which is a closed back headphone but I don't have any semi-closed on hand).


Starting off in the subbass with the usual “Chameleon” test, there is no roll off in these ranges, in fact, there is a little bit of a bump, which does give these a “rumble” factor. The problem is that it seems there are some reflections going on in the cups which case that rumble to come across as fatiguing, at least to me.

The same sensation is present when listening to “Royals”. It is like a live event where the delays are not quite aligned properly, almost but not exactly, which is what leads me to believe it is a case of reflections inside the cups that is causing this sensation.

Moving into the midbass, this sensation is less present (although there are still hints) and these regions have a hint of warmth to them without being overly exaggerated. When listening to tracks like “No Sanctuary Here” or even “Bombtrack” (which is obviously less electronic), they do come across as being a little bass heavy but that is more related to the higher mid ranges (which I will get to in a moment). Midbass is not the cleanest, partly due to that sensation of reflections but also in part to the fact that the dynamic driver is not the fastest to react to busy passages. For example, in “The Room”, the bass and lower end of the guitar can seem to blend together and not come across as clean individual instruments.

Into the mid range the bottom half is not terrible as we move past the 1kHz region, there is a large dip that never really comes back until we are into the higher ranges. This takes away a lot of presence of vocals and the upper mid range of things like electric guitars, giving the headphones a much more muted and overly dampened sound.

I know I don’t usually refer to EQ in my reviews but I did play around with some simple equalization in the 1kHz to 4kHz range to see what the response was like and I have to say that it really brought more life to these headphones. It even mitigated that sensation of cup reflection in the low ranges due to the fact that with more presence in the upper ranges, especially mids, it made things sound much cleaner and the lower bass notes were no longer the center of attention.

Moving into the treble regions, there is much more presence than in the 1kHz to 4kHz range which is an attempt to bring some more air and clarity to the overall sound. This works to some extent and also manages to not come across as too sibilant, yet it is not enough to overcome that sensation of things being veiled. I actually found that if EQ’ing those higher mids, then I preferred to drop the upper ranges.

Details are difficult to judge due to the overall signature of these headphones but if equalized properly, I feel that the driver is capable of more than it gives in this regard, even if it is not the fastest of drivers in the bass ranges (but again, that could be the reflections causing that sensation).

Soundstage is actually not bad for a set of closed (ok, semi closed) headphones. It is not on the level of open back alternatives and the image placement is not as accurate as some of those either, but it is good enough.

And while touching on the “semi” closed aspect of these headphones, they are a lot more open than one would think. There are a lot of vents around the outside of the cups, making the sound leak quite a bit and also stopping them from isolating as well as one would expect if looking for a closed back set.



I personally think that HarmonicDyne have made it difficult for themselves with this set of headphones. They have opted for something that seems to aim towards being a closed back set of headphones, yet due to the vents, it doesn’t have the benefits of a true closed back. At the same time, opting for closing the back of the cups has put them in a position of having to work against one of the biggest issues of closed backs.

I do feel that these headphones have potential, as with some EQ they transform in a very positive manner, but in their stock tuning, they just don’t work for me. I mentioned in my review of the Thieaudio Ghost recently that they weren’t really exciting but were more of a blank canvas which could be tailored with some EQ. In the case of the Athena, I find that the EQ is not needed to tailor it to preference but rather to fix the issues that are present. I know that the Ghost are completely open back, so the comparison is not fair, but the choice of closing the cups was made by HarmonicDyne, seemingly to later introduce vents that actually remove the few benefits of a closed back set.

They are comfortable and are easy to drive, so I actually think that if they were paired with a Quedelix 5K, which has onboard PEQ, they could make a very good set of BT headphones. Or if you are using them at a desk and are willing to do some EQ, then they are certainly not bad, but in their stock form, I just can’t see them as a choice above other alternatives at even lower price points.


As always, this review is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (www.youtube.com/achoreviews)


100+ Head-Fier
HarmonicDyne Athena's Review
Pros: Good soundstage and imaging capability
Good amount of bass qty and quality
Lively treble but not harsh and sibilant
Scales very well with power
Cons: Mid range can be a little linear for some

Athena is not HarmonicDyne’s first headphone, in fact, HarmonicDyne has released several headphones previously namely the Zeus, G200, Helios and the flagship Poseidon. Today i have the Athena with me, i have no prior experience with any of HarmonicDyne’s product.

The build quality of Athena is average, not bad but not excellent either. It is made out of plastic, the headband has very good padding and a wide contact area. The good thing is that it uses fabric instead of those faux leather which will be prone to peeling off after some time. The earpad is also very soft and comfortable, i don’t feel excessively hot even when I'm not in an air conditioned room. However, I personally find that it is a little too soft and doesn’t give a good seal at times, so I have to fiddle around with it to get a proper seal. The ear cup is swivelable hence it allows for more adjustment in terms of fitting.

Athena doesn’t feel heavy despite it looking rather bulky, I have no issues wearing it for several hours and don’t feel fatigue at all. The packaging of Athena is rather straightforward, housed in a big box with serial number on it, and it consists of the coaxial cable, storage pouch, and the headphone itself. I’d prefer a case instead of a pouch, but that’s just personal preference and it’s nothing good or bad against the brand.


Gears used for this review
  • iFi Gryphon in BitPerfect Mode
  • Earmen Angel
  • iPod Touch 5th Gen
  • Macbook Air M2’s 3.5mm port
My review is solely based on what I hear via my equipment and I never consider my reviews to be objective in any way rather a subjective approach. Do take into consideration that everyone’s ear anatomy is not the same, so the psychoacoustics perception might be different as well, but i believe it will not stray too far

Tonality wise, Athena is leaning towards neutral with a slight emphasis on the highs, timbre sounds natural to my ears, good note weight overall. Very good soundstage and imaging capability which I believe is contributed by the M shaped side venting system. Let’s take a look at the frequency breakdown below:

  • Starting with the sub bass, with a 3db boost on the sub bass, Athena does rumble whenever the track calls for it, however, it is nowhere near basshead level kind of rumble, possibly being a semi closed which will affect the bass
  • Mid bass is punchy and tight, good slam as well, turning on iFi’s Xbass, Athena’s bass response behaves on a different level, more rumble and more punch, not to mention its tighter and also sounds “meatier”, very very enjoyable experience, however for the sake of this review, i will be leaving it off to prevent any “coloration” being added to the sound
  • Bass has got decent speed and good control, listening to Slipknot’s People = crap!, the drum beat, and the double bass, Athena managed to keep up with every beat and it doesn’t show signs of muddyness, very good performance here
  • The bass also doesn’t bleed into the mids

  • Mid range is not overly forward nor recessed
  • Both male and female vocal has good texture to it, it carries a little “warmth” to it so they don’t sound thin
  • Low baritone voice such as Zhao Peng has the intended “thickness” to it and overall very pleasant sounding
  • Florence and the Machine’s lead singer Florence Welch’s vocal sounded thick very pleasant
  • Transition from lower to upper mids is generally smooth and doesn’t sound “shouty” at all
  • Treble does have some energy here but it's never offensive and sibilant
  • Detail retrieval is good for the price, but not super analytical
  • Good amount of air in the treble region, doesn’t sound congested even on busy tracks
  • Good resolution
  • Soundstage is excellent here, with a good sense of width, height and depth, this shows that the side venting system is actually working its magic here
  • Imaging capability is also excellent, instruments can be pinpointed easily and everything is well layered, instruments has its own layer while the vocal has its own and well separated even during busy track, very good performance
  • Athena is not hard to drive, with Apple’s Lightning dongle, it is able to push out decent volume within my normal listening volume
  • With that being said, it does scale with better source and fare better with more power
  • Feeding Athena with more power by using Earmen’s Angel with Gain+ mode, much better dynamics and tighter bass, slightly spacious sounding
  • Pairing it with iFi’s Gryphon, turned the Xbass and Xspace on, the Athena becomes a lot more musical sounding, very airy and spacious sound, slight boost on the bass quantity, all without affecting the mids. Totally different sound from Earmen’s Angel, Angel reproduce the sound without adding any “coloration” to it, both are great pairing in my opinion, it depends on my mood when i feel like listening to which pairing
Final Thoughts
Athena is a good headphone overall with some minor caveats, it is not for those who prefer a warm signature as Athena is not warm to begin with. It offers good technicalities and good tonality at a competitive price, it is also not hard to drive and scales very well with power, making it suitable for anyone with powerful amp or without and it will still sound good.

*Athena is sent over by @Linsoul Audio for the purpose of this review. I received no compensation nor was I influenced in any way to produce this review. A big thanks to Linsoul for the opportunity as always.

Head over to the store if you’re interested in getting a pair:
HarmonicDyne Athena - Non affiliated

Do these isolate at all?
@AudioManNewb, Yeap they do, but the pads are a little soft, you may still hear some noise unless you swap the pads to the leather type.