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Diana: the second release by Abyss Headphones!

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by music alchemist, Aug 13, 2015.
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  1. DanDorn
    I thought it sounded quite good, a bit mid-forward as I recall but overall very pleasing sound. Not 3 grand worth of pleasing, though, ahem.
    Hifiearspeakers likes this.
  2. LaCuffia
    No one is under any obligation to provide a review, let alone one based on your criteria. And you’ll see that most of the 60 pages pre-dates the actual release of the headphone. What’s pathetic is you whining about the lack of reviews.
  3. Hifiearspeakers
    Thank you.
  4. Hifiearspeakers
    Haha! Why does anyone enter an audiophile discussion group except to hear and share impressions?
    I get it. You’re either too lazy or incapable of putting together sentences and sharing your thoughts in a coherent way.
    No problem. I’m not interested in these anymore.
  5. LaCuffia
    I don’t have the Diana. I heard them at CanJam and gave my impressions based on that experience, nothing else.
  6. razorz
    You don't sound like their intended clientele either. Check the Audeze or Hifiman forums for something more up your alley.
    anorphirith and klaimzlgd like this.
  7. soullinker20
    Which headphones did you prefer at Canjam? @DanDorn
  8. mulder01
    There are impressions in the thread, I mean, you were linked directly to them and still complained it wasn't enough. You are talking about a boutique release by a small company serving a niche market - there aren't going to be as many people just buying blind like they do when a new audeze or schiit product comes out so there will be fewer impressions.

    If you're talking about canjam impressions though, well, we never get those in the relevant threads anyway. Maybe check the canjam impressions thread - there'll be some thoughts buried in there I'm sure.
    Rayzilla likes this.
  9. Maxx134
    Yep, that about sums it up...
    Oh, and its as resolving as those you have in your profile...
    Nice headphone profile you have too(!).

    For me, the only two headphones I would pick over the Diana are the PHI & Susvara...
    But those over $3k..

    For less money,
    an HD800, Denon7200, & HEKV2 all have potential,
    But all those would have to be moded over stock form.

    I don't see anything worthwhile in between.
    Yes I have heard three other new top Planars at Canjan but they were not as resolving or transparent to me.

    My thoughts after some weeks of ownership with Diana:

    They should have curved the headband a bit as I do not like to be flexing such an expensive unit.

    They should have made optional extra oval/angled earpads for bigger ears.
    Nobody wants an $3k "on ear" Headphone.
    They need to wise up.
    They are shooting themselves in the foot by not having bigger pads...(Very foolish IMHO)

    The Diana NEEDS over 1watt of power to make Diana come alive.

    The ifi Micro BL woke it up and made it sound very dynamic,
    But I did not like the burr-brown dac chip of the ifi unit, as it was a bit dark.

    The Diana is hard to pin down any specific sonic traits as it is so transparent that your basically hearing what is fed to it.

    The only traits are the ones already posted.

    The Diana is way transparent and resolving so you notice it.

    It's transparency, and also bass extension match/exceeds Utopia.
    That's no small feat.

    I have tested (posted elsewhere) my own measurements and found the CSD having extremely clean and fast decay speed way down to the bass.
    This verify the extreme clean bass it has.
    This Headphone has very similar CSD performance of the PHI.

    All that being said, I would make sure you you try the fit if you have big ears,
    as the comfort level is not at Susvara or HEKV2 level.
    I also like the way those hifiman feel more comfortable.

    The Susvara fits even better than the HEKV2,
    But has a slight more relaxed presentation.

    Bottom line Abyss need to make an oval and angled pad option for a wider buying audience.

    They do fit my ears, but just make it so I am concious of the earpads until like 2min in, once the supple leather conforms around my ear and then turn invisible. .
    (Yet I feel the headband could use more padding).

    I will post my last impressions from another place here next post.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    Cagin, Blitzula and Hifiearspeakers like this.
  10. Maxx134
    Ok, these are my final impressions:

    So the initial impressions of impressive clarity and resolve (down to the bass registers) have been substantiated with my initial "un-sanctioned" (non-headfi approved) measurements...
    If any problems with posting this let me know Moderators I will delete.

    Diana Right.jpg
    CSD decay results are incredibly fast and clean..

    There is almost no decay above 1.5khz,
    Only .5ms long or shorter(!)
    The spectrum below 1khz starts to show some decay which is common, but I am going a susbtantial 32db deep,

    and also going lower than most CSD down to low 347hz to see it..(!)
    Its level is still in the dark blue range.
    Most CSD would show a mess there..
    Overall, quite impressive if you ask me..
    Most will not realize just how impressive this is.

    As for final determination on the sound, it is rather unique because it pulls you in with high realism,
    but the treble is slightly tamed (lower) so as to not be a bright Headphone but a borderline neutral/natural tonality, with an almost "analog" delicacy.

    Presentation (stage) is like a Utopia/Clear but taller image,
    while the very last sub-bass registers are not as deep or overpowering as PHi,
    but still breaths audible sub-bass nuance into your ear, with overall very high resolve.

    It has an intimacy of realism that is very addictive because details are not thrown at you (like brighter headphones) but is very natural..

    So this presentation is not like Abyss Phi at all.
    The Phi has more prominent trebles and more distance from instruments (with wider Soundstage as well).
    The Phi is the only headphone that can be as large as the HD800 and as lively...

    The Susvara can easily match, and give 5feet more Soundstage distance over the Phi,
    but it is also more relaxed, or laid back in presentation (even with powerful gear).

    The Diana goes the opposite direction in giving a closer approach, with such breath of clarity & intimacy that it really pulls you into the event.

    It is the only Headphone that I do not mind a closer Soundstage (unlike Utopia) because of the sheer full-range(FR) realism matches its sonic impression (Soundstage image still large yet closer).

    These headphones are extremely light for a planar, I would say feel the lightest Planar, but maybe its the way the weight is distributed.

    So Bottom line the decision will be a matter of taste,
    and here are my "nit-picks:

    Treble addicts will not be enthused with the very slightly tamed trebles.

    Not all will like the very stupid square pads design,
    wich wont fit big ears...

    Or the leather wrapped wide flat headband that (regardless how flexible) could use more padding.

    I also tried to bend the headband, but it has some "memory" to it and seems to adjust slowly to head.

    The black version looked best to me,
    and the bag is very, very nice!

    But no way I'm going to carry a $3k Headphone around in a semi- "soft" leather bag(!),
    as I had destroyed a HEK in a similar (but softer) bag.
    No thanks, to I'm going to have to look for a hard case for these.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    snk8699, Cagin, Blitzula and 5 others like this.
  11. TheAttorney
    These are very useful impressions and comparisons.

    Unfortunately for me, it looks like Diana, in its current form, won't be a contender as an upgrade to my HEK V2's (with an updated version of your excellent Fellian port mod).
    JPS seems to have addressed some of the ergonomic issues of the Phi (by making Diana better looking, lighter and less fiddly to adjust), but then scored an own goal with too small ear pads and insufficient range of adjustment. And I don't expect to welcome the smaller soundstage either. I'll still give them a listen when the opportunity arises, but I'm not in any rush, as I'm still in a prolonged honeymoon period with my ported, EQ'd and cross-fed HEK V2's.

    I may just have to wait for the Diana V2 version to come out that addresses these points.
    Or a lighter, less fiddly version of the Phi (I can put up with the ugliness if all else is good).
    Or a more efficient and less blatantly money-grabbing version of the Susvara.
    Hifiearspeakers likes this.
  12. Hifiearspeakers
    Now that’s a review! I thank you for that! Happy Easter!
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  13. Maxx134
    To be fair, this may only be a problem with older people.

    It is said the human ear keeps growing with age.

    So most people young up to middle age people may not have a problem.

    Yet I would assume most (if not all) of their prospective target buyers ( that can afford this unit ) will want bigger earpads.

    An angled larger option would easily solve this, and neutralize the closer presentation, which they seem to have aimed for , to showcase its incredible clarity.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  14. mulder01
    Well, they fit my ears ok... Keep in mind a lot of headphones have thin and non-adjustable pads. For me, the Diana pads are more comfortable than the ones on something like the HD800 or TH900 etc. I used to have an Ultarsone Ed 8 and they are on the smaller side, but my ears just fit inside still. Similar story with Diana.

    Sounds like you're not thrilled about your current headphones in their stock form either...
  15. TheAttorney
    Yes and no:
    I originally chose the HEK V2 above all the other TOTL dynamic headphones I tried at the time. All of them in standard form and directly driven by DAVE DAC. I rated the original Abyss 1266 equal top on SQ, but would never buy them because of their weight, looks and fiddly adjustments. So I was happy enough with the HEK in standard form (as a dynamics alternative to my then reference Stax 009). But once I find a better sound by tweaking, the OCD part of my brain won't allow me to return to the lesser sound. The combined tweaks, along with a cable upgrade that I forgot to mention, means I can't go back to stock HEK, but also I now have nothing left to complain about - it's a really good, well balanced sound. But I'm an audio addict, so I look around anyway… because I can.

    So, looking around, the only TOTL headphones tempting me recently have been the Phi and Susvara (based only on other peoples comments, I haven't heard either yet). Neither appear to be in desperate need of EQ, which is a good starting point. But I won't buy the Susvara on principle: I accept that high end margins are high. That's life. But IMO Fang has taken cynical overpricing (of a low-ish quality BOM) to new heights in the headphone world - and I'm not prepared to reward him for that, however good it may sound. And the Susvara preference for a high powered amp doesn't help in my downsizing quest.

    So that just leaves the Phi. If only Joe made this 200g lighter, a bit more stylish and not so difficult to get a good fit. Higher efficiency and a lower cost would be nice too. It's not just the weight, it's the weight distribution: No headphone can handle Status Quo levels of head banging, but a bit of gentle bopping would be nice occasionally. I wouldn't dare doing that with the 1266 for fear of losing my head or the headphones - a more wraparound design is called for.

    Enter Diana, which addresses all these points and also seems to start off with really good fundamental SQ. But to follow on from Maxx's comments, it seems like Joe needed to significantly differentiate his new model, so went for the cool/portable market, and that has brought its own set of compromises. I'm in the market for a Phi-without-the-penalties. I don't need a worthy alternative to my HEK's, I'm looking for a substantial improvement. The Diana seems to get close, yet not quite close enough. I may change my mind once I get to try them out.
    up late and Blitzula like this.
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