Hifiman Susvara, He1000se QC question
May 25, 2021 at 1:51 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Blaithin

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New member here.

I'm very interested in the hifiman susvara for home use and he1000se for semi-portable use. I have, however, heard that hifiman qc is not very good and there are anecdotes on driver failure and build issues from lurking around their corresponding threads.

For a little bit of context on why I need this information, I am deciding whether to get the weak 1-year warranty of my local distributor vs the 3-year warranty from China instead. It seems like a simple decision, but hifiman has clarified that I can only claim my warranty in the region of original purchase. I can definitely get the China one since I have relatives renting one of my properties in China whose names I can use for the warranty. The extra hoops are not appealing, and the added layer of correspondence + variability of schedules (relatives) make the China warranty less appealing though.

Could people with experience with these headphones or hifiman headphones, in general, chime in on how hit or miss the qc is so I can decide on which warranty I should take?
 
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May 25, 2021 at 5:30 PM Post #2 of 14

silent-circuit

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I have two pairs of HifiMan HE4XX (their Drop collab - by no means high end so take that how you will).

One pair are fine, never had any issues. The other had a faulty cable that I initially thought was a bad port on the earcup, since I had no other cables to test at the time.

I'm curious about the HE6 and similar but am very hesitant to give them more than $2-300.
 
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May 25, 2021 at 6:46 PM Post #3 of 14

buke9

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Well have a few pairs of HiFiMan’s HE-500,HE-400,HE-400S(all of these a over 5 years old),HE-5XX and Sundara’s which are less than a year old. Other than cable issues have not had a problem. I’ve seen lots of the reports of QC issues and one from someone I know and just but not too much on their higher end stuff other than some stuff on the Jade but think that was more the amp/energizer. I have quite a few headphones 20+ and knock on wood have never had a problem other than with cables and have 2 AKG K240’s that are over 40 years old and working fine.
I really won’t say on which warranty plan you should pick as anything can happen to anything at anytime .
 
May 25, 2021 at 10:32 PM Post #5 of 14

Blaithin

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Not sure where u got the information. If you download the user guide of SUSVARA they promise 3 years for all customers. If the dealer will not responsible for that you can turn to their cs team. I think it will work.
Direct from all of hifiman's customer service. I asked the US, Japan, and China teams (yes, I can speak and write in all three). I asked them that if I bought in China, but lived in the Philippines...would I be able to avail of the China warranty. They all said no, if you go China you have to appeal to the dealer you bought from, but it is unlikely they will entertain you because they're usually not equipped or used to dealing with foreign RMAs. You risk them probably messing up your RMA (I can circumvent this with some trouble ofc)...or you buy from your regional dealer and deal with the warranty terms they extend to you.

1 year was the warranty being extended to me because our consumer protection laws only specify 1-year as the bare minimum protection that dealers of all sorts should extend for electronics and electro-mechanical devices (picture attached of warranty terms. I have also asked them directly. Hard answer: 1 year). Hifiman can urge its partners to follow its 3-year warranty, but it is not really making the effort to pressure them into doing so, and is understandable from a bottom line business perspective. Hifiman wants more [quality] partners; and more money from frictionless partnerships. The consumer isn't the one whose directly giving hifiman money...it's their dealers that are, and if no one from the region is questioning the 1-year warranty for the $6k headphone then there is no incentive to change the dealer's terms, and even less incentive to extend their usual warranty to you. Hifiman has a bad rap for being a bit too hard on the money grubbing so this arrangement does not surprise me in the slightest.

However, this is semi-understandable because hifiman wants to protect the dealers they've chosen/vetted to supply the region with their product. This is not at all dissimilar to how a pharma like Pfizer would react if you asked them if you could circumvent their regional partner to get a vaccine direct from the US HQ. Imagine if you're the dealer...you're forced to buy a certain quota of stock to remain on hifiman's dealers list...and then people just go around you cause the warranty is better in China. What's the point of buying supply from hifiman? You're not selling any of it cause hifiman is hurting you instead of helping you. Yes, I asked with the knowledge that this would probably be the case.

Hifiman's CS has also been skirting around my question on out-of-warranty repairs so even now, I still have no clue whether or not they'd repair out of warranty.
 

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May 25, 2021 at 10:53 PM Post #6 of 14

Blaithin

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Well have a few pairs of HiFiMan’s HE-500,HE-400,HE-400S(all of these a over 5 years old),HE-5XX and Sundara’s which are less than a year old. Other than cable issues have not had a problem. I’ve seen lots of the reports of QC issues and one from someone I know and just but not too much on their higher end stuff other than some stuff on the Jade but think that was more the amp/energizer. I have quite a few headphones 20+ and knock on wood have never had a problem other than with cables and have 2 AKG K240’s that are over 40 years old and working fine.
I really won’t say on which warranty plan you should pick as anything can happen to anything at anytime .
Given the lukewarm tone, and my growing hesitation. I might have to step back a bit on the HE1000se then. I'd rather not take a double whammy if the Susvara should fail me. I have considered and tried most of the TOTLs like Audeze LCD-4 and Abyss uuuhh...I don't remember the latest model...it was ugly though. The former is too heavy despite the sound matching up quite well to my tastes. The latter, I have [personal] issues with their business ethics from when they were primarily a luxury cable manufacturer so I cannot, out of principle, support them now.

I'm honestly hoping that if the Susvaras come with issues, it'll just be channel imbalance cause that's an easy-peasy fix. That is, once I measure to determine how much I need to compensate. I do have a GRAS 45CA lying around for that kind of assessment. Thankfully, crinacle has the exact same rig and Susvara measurements. I can probably consult him to replicate his measurements to see if I have frequency response problems while comparing with his graph. This'll, at least, help me provide definitive documentation if I need to RMA the unit asap.
 
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May 25, 2021 at 11:14 PM Post #7 of 14

Blaithin

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I have two pairs of HifiMan HE4XX (their Drop collab - by no means high end so take that how you will).

One pair are fine, never had any issues. The other had a faulty cable that I initially thought was a bad port on the earcup, since I had no other cables to test at the time.

I'm curious about the HE6 and similar but am very hesitant to give them more than $2-300.
If you're not too squeamish about using Chinese channels for the HE6, I've seen the HE6SE go for as low as 5500 yuan or $900 on the Chinese app called Idle Fish/ 闲鱼/ xian yu by Taobao being sold as "barely used with near full warranty" This is far more prevalent in China...where retailers who do not wish to keep the inventory sell at low cost to career sellers in this app (and many other apps of the same ilk). Essentially, the dealer misrepresents the unit as sold open-box or demo unit to Hifiman so as to prevent scrutiny. Stock of these is obviously deeply limited, but when they do surface it is only from a handful of the same trustworthy sellers. These sellers have a large number of positive reviews, and primarily sell mid-high end audio. Usually a larger proportion of written reviews focusing on the good character of the seller is a good indication of the kind of experience you'll get. Some of them attach a picture of a "flaw" and say there is a visual defect when it's more of an imaginary thing some of them use as an excuse to sell them as 2nd hand , but w/ 3-year warranty, unfilled out warranty card, complete acc, product box, and shipping box. Or they'll just say open box or demo unit...same banana really...you get all of the stuff, regardless. I'm pretty sure this relies on sales and income tax avoidance to generate most of the profit for selling them at cutthroat prices. So yeah, caveat emptor (buyer beware), if you don't like the quasi-legality/quasi-illegality of this route. Most people wouldn't know better, but I thought it best to put the info on the table.

This is generally the the same trick used by watch dealers for funneling undesirable luxury watch inventory out rather than being forced by certain watch brands to sell stock that takes forever to move at sale prices (less profit margin...increasing inventory costs).

Second, you can gamble on claiming the warranty from China too, and even if you don't...it's good as new for half or even 60% off. QDC also get the same-ish treatment, but since they're far more prevalent...there are a lot of more of the QDC Anole VX's being sold for 40-50% off, and being misrepresented as "barely used" even though they're new (it sounds preposterous, but it is what it is). There are legit 2nd hand listings though. Which the majority of Susvaras fall under...usually going for $3-4k depending on condition. I would rather go new on hifiman for that though.

You're gonna need a proxy to do that, and superbuy is one I've used before (I believe one of the more prominent shareholders of Tencent is the founder of this firm). I've used them before, and their fee is 20 yuan for purchases at any price from approved 2nd hand sites (idle fish is one of them). They have add-ons like priority processing and hd qc pictures so you can reject the item before it gets sent out. They also allow you to underdeclare the shipping invoice. They'll hammer you on shipping (take expedited always), but it's generally never been too bad. Japan has been more painful on the expedited shipping fee front
 
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May 25, 2021 at 11:46 PM Post #8 of 14

silent-circuit

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If you're not too squeamish about using Chinese channels for the HE6, I've seen the HE6SE go for as low as 5500 yuan or $900 on the Chinese app called Idle Fish/ 闲鱼/ xian yu by Taobao being sold as "barely used with near full warranty" This is far more prevalent in China...where retailers who do not wish to keep the inventory sell at low cost to career sellers in this app (and many other apps of the same ilk). Essentially, the dealer misrepresents the unit as sold open-box or demo unit to Hifiman so as to prevent scrutiny. Stock of these is obviously deeply limited, but when they do surface it is only from a handful of the same trustworthy sellers. These sellers have a large number of positive reviews, and primarily sell mid-high end audio. Usually a larger proportion of written reviews focusing on the good character of the seller is a good indication of the kind of experience you'll get. Some of them attach a picture of a "flaw" and say there is a visual defect when it's more of an imaginary thing some of them use as an excuse to sell them as 2nd hand (I'm pretty sure this has something to do with sales and income tax evasion), but w/ 3-year warranty, unfilled out warranty card, complete acc, product box, and shipping box. Or they'll just say open box or demo unit...same banana really...you get all of the stuff needed to RMA irregardless.

Ofc, you can gamble on claiming the warranty from China too, and even if you didn't...it's good as new for half or even 60% off. QDC also get the same-ish treatment, but since they're far more prevalent...there are a lot of the QDC Anole VX's being sold for 40-50% off, and being misrepresented as "barrely used" even though they're new (it sounds preposterous, but it is what it is). There are legit 2nd hand listings though. Which the majority of Susvaras fall under...usually going for $3-4k depending on condition. I would rather go new on hifiman for that though.

You're gonna need a proxy to do that, and superbuy is one I've used before (I believe one of the more prominent shareholders of Tencent is the founder of this firm). I've used them before, and their fee is 20 yuan for purchases at any price from approved 2nd hand sites (idle fish is one of them). They have add-ons like priority processing and hd qc pictures so you can reject the item before it gets sent out. They also allow you to underdeclare the shipping invoice. They'll hammer you on shipping (take expedited always), but it's generally never been too bad. Japan has been more painful on the expedited shipping fee front
Thank you, that is all really good info.
 
May 26, 2021 at 12:33 PM Post #9 of 14

Monsterzero

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I used to own 2 HiFiMan headphones, the HE500 and the HE6. The HE500 never gave me any problems at all and it was/is a nice sounding headphone. The HE6 on the other hand was a nightmare. driver failure after owning it for 6 months. I had to send it to HiFiMan who then sent me a "new" refurbished pair, which was in much worse shape than the one I originally sent them. That one ended up having a driver fail after only three weeks. Repeated the process and was sent another refurbished pair that I never listened to and sold immediately just to be rid of the headaches.

I might suggest you look into ZMF headphones who have a stellar customer service reputation and offer a lifetime warranty on drivers.
 
May 26, 2021 at 1:15 PM Post #10 of 14

Blaithin

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I used to own 2 HiFiMan headphones, the HE500 and the HE6. The HE500 never gave me any problems at all and it was/is a nice sounding headphone. The HE6 on the other hand was a nightmare. driver failure after owning it for 6 months. I had to send it to HiFiMan who then sent me a "new" refurbished pair, which was in much worse shape than the one I originally sent them. That one ended up having a driver fail after only three weeks. Repeated the process and was sent another refurbished pair that I never listened to and sold immediately just to be rid of the headaches.

I might suggest you look into ZMF headphones who have a stellar customer service reputation and offer a lifetime warranty on drivers.
Thanks for the recommendation! I have both heard and heard of ZMF. I have a friend who basically just bought their entire lineup some time ago and called it day. I'll probably try and audition them again from him before I make a decision on ZMF. I remember not being particularly wowed by any of the models, but didn't have enough time with them to really make a definitive assessment.
 
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May 26, 2021 at 1:37 PM Post #11 of 14

Monsterzero

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Thanks for the recommendation! I have both heard and heard of ZMF. I have a friend who basically just bought their entire lineup some time ago and called it day. I'll probably try and audition them again from him before I make a decision on ZMF. I remember not being particularly wowed by any of the models, but didn't have enough time with them to really make a definitive assessment.
I have owned every ZMF proprietary dynamic headphone theyve made, except for the Eikon. I can tell you a few things about ZMF....

First if you're not wowed by what you're hearing, change the pads. Its that simple. ZMF makes several different pad types that all greatly influence the way they sound.
Secondly ZMFs love tube amps, especially OTL designs. Thats not to say that you cant get great results from a solid state amp, but the tube treatment is the ticket to audio bliss.
Lastly, since you're looking into Hifiman headphones im going to assume you prefer a bright-ish presentation. ZMFs are not bright sounding. They all lean warm, very, very musical, organic sounding. The Auteur being the most neutral of the lot....yet, again roll some pads and change the sound to your preferences.
 
May 26, 2021 at 1:54 PM Post #12 of 14

ehjie

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Thanks for the effort, but the credit card warranty extension is not something that I really need. These claim things usually take time, and are directed to me (unless it involves hoity-toity VIP concierge services that focus on your individual needs). This makes things very complicated due to my tendency to change addresses. I'm relatively static now and may become more static due to video conferencing. Hell, it's why I'm even considering a desktop rig at this point. I got burnt from an impulse buy on sennheiser electrostats a few years back since I never foresaw myself becoming so nomadic. Those estats just ended up gathering dust from disuse. I ended up selling them to a friend who could make better use of them.

The relative option is a lot easier and more advantageous since I can almost directly deal with hifiman through them, and people say hifiman has great customer service to back up the terrible qc.

if you're doing full time OL meets, like a whole day everyday, better invest in a compact desktop setup.
As aired by some hifiman owners / auditioners here, qc is dodgy. a pair of 400i resided w/ me for a year, left terminal just dropped one day.
Too bad, they really sound amazing all the way up to the Susvara, very hi-fi, very lifelike...

IMAG2333.jpg
1622051544556.png

This is not a compact desktop set
 
May 26, 2021 at 1:58 PM Post #13 of 14

Blaithin

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I have owned every ZMF proprietary dynamic headphone theyve made, except for the Eikon. I can tell you a few things about ZMF....

First if you're not wowed by what you're hearing, change the pads. Its that simple. ZMF makes several different pad types that all greatly influence the way they sound.
Secondly ZMFs love tube amps, especially OTL designs. Thats not to say that you cant get great results from a solid state amp, but the tube treatment is the ticket to audio bliss.
Lastly, since you're looking into Hifiman headphones im going to assume you prefer a bright-ish presentation. ZMFs are not bright sounding. They all lean warm, very, very musical, organic sounding. The Auteur being the most neutral of the lot....yet, again roll some pads and change the sound to your preferences.
My friend actually did let me pad roll (he also bought every pad in the lineup). I do remember the sound signature changing, but my impressions stayed about the same...which is to say, no more impressed than I was before. There was a headphone that came close to my taste after rolling some sort of vegan leather perforated pad (Verite open-back, I think), but I thought it was more of a marginal improvement on the headphone. The best way to phrase it was that it sounded passable...just satisfactory. We also used tubes btw cause people say they sound better on tubes (Woo Audio Wa-33 and some other equally expensive amp). I think I may not have been able to give them a fair shake, but I can barely remember my impressions because nothing really stood out to me. The wood was nice though.

Edit: Removed mention Headamp Blue Hawaii SE(it's for electrostats). I completely forgot the name of the other amp, but am pretty it sure it was low 5-figures much like the WA-33
 
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May 26, 2021 at 2:00 PM Post #14 of 14

Blaithin

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if you're doing full time OL meets, like a whole day everyday, better invest in a compact desktop setup.
As aired by some hifiman owners / auditioners here, qc is dodgy. a pair of 400i resided w/ me for a year, left terminal just dropped one day.
Too bad, they really sound amazing all the way up to the Susvara, very hi-fi, very lifelike...


This is not a compact desktop set
Desk space is not a problem at all. My current desk should have enough space for that kind of set-up while leaving about 3/4s of the desk (maybe more) for everything else I need. I don't remember how large the HE-1 and HE-90 and their corresponding amps were, but I'm pretty sure they never took up that much space when they were both around.

A real shame about the dodgy qc. At this point, I'm not really sure what to buy anymore...I've got options to consider, at least. Go back and grovel to the Senn HE-1s; buy ZMF Verite w/ vegan pads; gamble and buy Susvara anyway (maybe bump down to the HEKs to be safer); buy the LCD-4s I love so much and suffer the weight; buy all of the above...or don't buy anything at all.

Regardless, thanks very much for all the advice, guys! It doesn't make the decision easier, but all this talk has enabled me to weigh my options better.
 
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