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HIFIMAN Sundara Loaner Tour

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  1. ScubaMan2017
    I'll be interested to see how well the loaner sits on my melon-head. My Senheisser HD650 cans had a brutal clamping force (it's better now). The Sundara has a steel headband, yes? No cracking plastic, good!
  2. Cruelhand Luke
    Since people are already receiving loaner units and I haven't been contacted yet, is it safe to assume I am not in the club?
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  3. Wiljen
    Probably more likely you aren't first in line. I received no heads up until the He6se was on its way to me. I'd say be patient, your day will likely come.
    jaco61 and ScubaMan2017 like this.
  4. Cruelhand Luke
    hmm...seems like you would want to keep people updated
  5. Guidostrunk
    Well...... Guess I'll see if I can get in on the action. I'm from Pittsburgh Pa. Have owned the he500, he560, and HexV1. Would love to give them a go. Would be awesome if they're closer to the HE500 tonally.
  6. Mrpolobrown

    I am interested. I am in Houston, Texas U.S.A. I am interested in getting both the Sundara and Ananda to decide which is better for purchase.

    Thank you all very much.
  7. Dipper Mouth
    These headphones are in the sweet price/quality range with really nice reviews. It would be great to test myself and make my own review. Thanks for the great loaner program and you can definitely count me in!
    Located in Toulouse/FR
  8. .Sup
    I first listened to Hifiman headphones with the release of the HE-4 about 8 years ago, since then I've heard numerous of their headphones and earphones including Hifiman's flagship ShangriLa system. Personally, I own HE-4 and have owned HE-500 and HE-300 so I’ll base some of my review in comparison to the former two.

    Disclaimer: The headphones were sent to me by Hifiman as part of their loaner program.

    In the box you get the headphones itself, 1.5m cable terminated with 3.5mm angled jack along with a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor and a nice booklet containing Hifiman’s planar history, a message from the founder and setup and overview instructions.

    When I first took the headphones out of the box I was impressed by the almost entirely all-metal design of the structure, only the mechanism that allows for headband height adjustment is made of plastic. I have encountered no squeaking of this part or any other for that matter. The headphones do not have swivel option but for me the fit is perfect. I recommend, upon first receiving the headphones, to check if the screws connecting the yokes to the cups are tightened enough, mine were not equally tightened on both sides, I was able to almost fully remedy this using only my fingers. But this gives you an option to chose how stiff you want the cup’s tilt to be.

    The cable is rather thick, or to be precise the tubing makes it thick. The tubing is oversized and you can feel the cable inside is thinner. Could be a way to protect the internal wires by allowing leeway when the cable is folded or twisted during use.

    It is pretty stiff but does not tangle, I would prefer a much softer, less stiff cable. Durability wise it should last long.

    The pads have soft fabric on the inside and are very comfortable, I have sensitive skin and have not been irritated by it. The headband on minimal position fits my head perfectly, the gripping of the cups on my head is also perfect out of the box but as the headband is made of metal, adjustments can be made. When I look down, the headphone stays in place, unlike the HE-500 that allowed only for robotic movements if I didn’t want to damage the parquet. My head measures 37cm or 14.5” from the center of my left ear, across my head to the center of the right ear for those with smaller heads wondering if it will fit.

    Onto the sound characteristics. It does not resemble any of the three headphones I have owned. It does not have the smoothness of HE-4, the mids and bass layering of HE-500 or the warmness of HE-300, no, its a headphone that has its own strengths. It has neutrality, airiness, and balance.

    Nothing stands out and yet that is what I like about these headphones. Any genre of music I listen to with them sounds good, great. They are not warm, nor they are cold or clinical, they don’t sound congested and no tone is emphasized. They have the perfect amount of bass for me, a bit less than HE-500 and a bit more than HE-4. It is tight and punchy. No tone is overwhelming the other. They are also very fast and dynamic, unlike any planar I have heard so far. But planar’s “meatiness” is still here.

    I have never put much emphasis on the soundstage, I either like the whole package of the headphone’s sound signature or I don’t but I will try to describe it to the best of my ability for those who do care.

    The soundstage is average for an open headphone but spoiled by HD800 it is not fair to say they have a narrow soundstage, I’d say as much as they are neutral in sound signature, they are in the soundstage, not very wide but also not narrow. To put it in perspective; if an average closed-back studio monitoring headphones are 1 in soundstage and HD800 is a 10 then these are a 7.

    I listened to Sundaras with most of the equipment in my signature but liked pairing with the Mojo the most. Volume on the Mojo is about the same as with the HD800; yellow-yellow or yellow-green. Not a very demanding headphone when it comes to power requirements, I even tried it with the last iPhone with a headphone jack, 6s Plus and the volume was around 90%, pretty good for a mobile phone.

    Closing thoughts.

    I was thinking about how I would convince myself to purchase the Sundaras. A while ago I said to myself I would limit my inventory to three headphones max, not including Bluetooth. If I didn’t own any headphone I would just buy these and not miss anything from other headphones that I own. After hearing hundreds of headphones I can confidently say these can compete with anything I have heard up to 1k€. But luckily Hifiman priced them very competitively. I just hope they last long and there are no issues so one can enjoy the pleasing sound without worrying.

    Thank you to Hifiman for entrusting me with these, I encourage more manufacturers and sales reps to do this kind of loaner programs.
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    jaco61, Greendriver and ScubaMan2017 like this.
  9. Goldvein
    My Sundara arrived today and it's now mine for 2 weeks. Really excited to try them out. These are my initial impressions.

    Out of the box i actually really like the clean look. The materials seems sturdy and it doesn't look like something that's going to break anytime soon.
    To adjust the headband, you need to use a bit of force and i was a bit afraid to break something. After getting it adjusted right, it's really nice on your head, and even though i've only had them on for an hour, i would say that they are comfortable enough for any amount of time.

    In this small hour i've listed to rock, classical, jazz and alternative rock. I'm used to closed back dynamic headphones since i have the audioquest nightowls.
    The sundaras have a lot of detail and listening to a piano concerto i realised that until now, i didn't know what a piano was supposed to sound like in a headphone. It was a real pleasure.
    The sound is not as fun and thick as my Nightowls, but that is to be expected, since they are open back and the nightowls are closed back.

    In general I'm very positive and excited to use them A LOT in the next couples of week. I'm already thinking that since they have ruined piano music on my other headphones i have to buy them afterwards.

    Thanks to Hifiman for providing this loaner unit. In a couple of weeks i will give a more detailed review of them.
    jaco61, SenyorC and ScubaMan2017 like this.
  10. alxw0w
    Hello everyone.

    I've just received package from "loaner program". So here are my first impressions:

    - package (and headphones) were in good condition, no bent sides etc.
    - headphones are really light as for planar implementation
    - I like the design black stealth look with delicate silver accents (for me much better looking than he 560)
    - clamping force on head is pretty tight (much more than my current headphones; he560, aq nightowl). Because of clamping force and low weight they feel really secure on head
    - cable looks pretty standard but it’s fairly flexible and I like it more than original from he560 (maybe for someone it’s too short)

    I don’t want to speak about sound and long time comfort features now, since I’ve been listening them for only like 1 hour or so.
    As for now I can only tell for me they don’t sound like typical planars. I’m not telling is that good or bad, just straight (my) fact.

    I’ll test sundara mainly on chord hugo tt (at home) and chord mojo (at work) and maybe some other borrowed equipment.
    I’m really interested in comparing them to the he 560.
    Since after some price drops etc. you can buy sundara for ~300$ (was ~500$ at the beginning) and he560 for ~400$.

    Music source: pc + tidal/foobar => optical to hugo tt or mojo
    Music genres: A LOT. Mainly rock and other “rockish” like genres. But also music like: dead can dance, howard shore, andreas vollenweider, tiesto, faithless, disturbed, enya, diana krall and many others

    So that’s all folks, wait for full review with better photos :)
    One more time thanks hifiman for the opportunity to test sundara
    DSC_3195.jpg DSC_3196.jpg DSC_3197.jpg DSC_3198.jpg DSC_3202.jpg
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    ScubaMan2017 likes this.
  11. WhiskeyJacks
    20190523_111028.jpg Audio gear: Hifiman Arya, ZMF Ori, Audio Research AR-H1, Earsonics SM64, Nuforce primo 8, Denfrips Ares R2R DAC, Liquid Carbon X amp(massdrop variant), Audio GD NFB 28(balanced amp and DAC), Meier Stepdance 2 amp, Fiio x5 Mark 3, and finally LG V30.

    I just wanted to post my impressions and early thoughts and feelings about Sundara. So currently I use the Ares DAC and a massdrop liquid carbon headphone amplifier as my desktop setup. I also on an audio GD nfb 28 which this weekend I will be listening to and comparing with other headphones I own against the Sundara. I apologize for not being able to post impressions earlier, but I literally have not been able to listen to them until yesterday due to having to cover morning shift and go to my regular shift in the evening at work. This'll be remedied at the end of the week I no longer have to cover for my coworker, and get some legitimate time to spend with this headphone.

    As of right now I've only really been able to listen via LG V30 and Fiio because of my work week but with that said it actually powers the Sundara quite well. Now granted I know from my experience with planar magnetic headphones and particularly HiFi man that more power and a cleaner amplifier and source wood obviously improve this headphone. I'm not sure how well it's scales as of right now but if it's anything like the Arya then you should be satisfied with its scalability. From my phone listening to both lack and larger MP3s I have to say sounded very clean with good resolution and detail. To my ears there was no harshness and the upper registry and though it is neutral I wouldn't say that it is overly bright the more so closer to uncolored. There is decent low end that seems to reach pretty low and has a nice pray. The bass isn't something exaggerated that is going to the ideal for someone that considers themselves a basehead or wants the extra Rumble. Though what I heard is a very clean, quick, with accurate tone, and as well as nice presentation. The mid-range felt balanced not as dry as the he-560 but not as forward as the AR H1( which has a very nice mid-range but is noticeably more forward). The resolution seemed good considering I was listening off of my lgv30, but I feel like that may scale well with better equipment which I'll find out this weekend. From what I remember of the high end it sounded clean and clear without any discomfort audibly. I hope that this impression isn't too vague and like I said once I really get to sit down and listen I'll be able to give a much better recounting of what I'm hearing and contrast/comparisons with the different headphones I have here.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  12. JamminVMI
    I just received the Sundaras a few days ago. Being this was the Father’s day weekend, I got little time to listen, but I made up for it this evening.

    Firstly, I have a large head, and they feel wonderful, no issues at all (unlike my Senny HD-6xxs, which had an initial clamping force measured in tons per square inch. The sundara’s are very comfortable!

    Build quality is much better than my HE4xx cans, which I love. Hey are a beautiful pair of cans to look at.

    But who’s looking? I plugged them into my main rig first (squeezebox spdif coax out to Schiit Bifrost, then to Schiit Lyr 3), and the sound great. A litte brighter than the 4xx cans, but faster and more detailed, maybe due to the thinner planar element. All in all, my current impressions are very positive, but more listening will be done, final review in the Sundara thread.

    FWIW, I had two friends take a quick listen. Both preferred the HE4xx. AsInsay, FWIW... I’m not sure yet. Thanks to HiFiman for doing the tour!
    ScubaMan2017 likes this.
  13. bryceu
    I've been wanting to try the Sundara for a while now after watching Currawong's video review of them and how exceptional he described the highs as. I've never owned a pair of HiFiMan but I think this would probably be the first pair I would purchase if I enjoyed them. I've owned LCD-2C and now LCD-X, and I think I'm gradually shifting away from dynamics towards planars. I appreciate the easily-digestible price tag as well. But more than anything I just love trying new gear and comparing it to existing equipment! I'm located in San Diego, CA.
  14. Greendriver
    Hi all. Just received my loaner paid of Sundara and will be giving the set a test drive tonight for initial impressions. Well boxed from previous loaner.
  15. Greendriver
    Agree with you regarding the piano sound. I have the Nighthawks Carbon and the comparison is interesting. I think I have a preference for the Sundara even at this early stage...
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