HiFiMan Susvara
Jun 28, 2017 at 12:35 AM Post #16 of 11,296

rkw

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For such a premium product and packaging, the lettering on the metal name plate was a completely amateur job.

Crooked and unaligned letters and words, poor kerning spacing between letters. I don't even know how you could do such a poor layout job if you're using standard software. Seriously, they should redo it, and it would take just 10 minutes for someone with graphics experience to do it right.

BadTypography.jpg
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 1:15 AM Post #17 of 11,296

Edwood

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For such a premium product and packaging, the lettering on the metal name plate was a completely amateur job.

Crooked and unaligned letters and words, poor kerning spacing between letters. I don't even know how you could do such a poor layout job if you're using standard software. Seriously, they should redo it, and it would take just 10 minutes for someone with graphics experience to do it right.


I'm not sure why the lettering is offset like that. Glad I'm not the only one that noticed it, but then again, the kerning of the fonts is less important than sound quality and the headphones themselves.
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 1:40 AM Post #18 of 11,296

Bloos

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For such a premium product and packaging, the lettering on the metal name plate was a completely amateur job.

Crooked and unaligned letters and words, poor kerning spacing between letters. I don't even know how you could do such a poor layout job if you're using standard software. Seriously, they should redo it, and it would take just 10 minutes for someone with graphics experience to do it right.


At least there's no spelling mistake. :D
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 1:59 AM Post #19 of 11,296

Edwood

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6000 dollars Naahhh..... and on top of that people who buy this will buy 1200$ cables to fully realize the "potential" of their pride and joy. The 4000$ Kimber Axios AG would make the Susvara truly "HEAVENLY"

What's next $8000-$10000 headphones, I don't like this trend. I can't see myself spending more than 2000$-2500$ on a headphone.

We're already beyond that. Electrostatic headphone and amp combinations far exceed $10K already, and I'm not even talking about the $55K Sennheiser is asking lately. Amp and Headphone synergy is important, buying 4 figure headphones and then powering them with an underperforming amp is doing the headphones a huge disservice. Electrostatic headphone and amp pricing combinations seem to be reversed from dynamic headphones. Headphones are cheaper than the amps.
 
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Jun 28, 2017 at 2:09 AM Post #20 of 11,296

nvfan

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We're already beyond that. Electrostatic headphone and amp combinations far exceed $10K already, and I'm not even talking about the $55K Sennheiser is asking lately. Amp and Headphone synergy is important, buying 4 figure headphones and then powering them with an underperforming amp is doing the headphones a huge disservice. Electrostatic headphone and amp pricing combinations seem to be reversed from dynamic headphones. Headphones are cheaper than the amps.

Alot of the reason that electrostats are expensive is because Stax is made in Japan, so I let them off the hook for that. But headphones aren't generally a great deal.

I remember people justifying the price of the Focal Utopia headphones at $4000 because it uses "expensive beryllium." The problem with this argument is Paradigm Persona B loudspeaker use >10x as much Truextent beryllium (50 sq inches vs 4.9 sq inches) and only costs $3500, less than the Utopia. Headphone profit margins are insanely high compared to loudspeakers.
 
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Jun 28, 2017 at 3:01 AM Post #21 of 11,296

isquirrel

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I have received a set of Susvara's as well for review purposes for Mono and Stereo. I haven't finished the review yet as I have been waiting and waiting for them to fully stabilise. Mine now have 325 hours on them. I liked them so much that I purchased my pair.

I have all of the top flight Headphones except for the Abyss Phi - My Abyss have been sent back for upgrade. However in my view the 2 Headphones do not really sit in the same category. The Abyss in my view is a more specialised Headphone to be used when I can afford to do nothing else but listen. I have my Headphone rig setup in my office you see.

When getting a feel on a Headphone I like to play with them for a while, in this case six weeks before I say anything about them. It also gives me a chance to reflect on how much listening I have done with that Headphone and if it has changed my listening habits, in other words, have I felt the need to listen to another Headphone and am I listening more and for longer sessions.

The answer in the Susvara's case is an unequal yes on both counts. I have not listened to any of my other Headphones and my listening sessions have extended considerably. This has now become my default favourite Headphone.

The previous review covered the packaging and I can only agree and say that I have not experienced the same level of attention to detail with the packaging with any other Headphone. It truly is an experience unboxing the Susvara's.

The review system is as follows:

Aurender W20 source with its internal clocks slaved to the Femto 33 clock in the DAC which is a MSB Select II, with the Femto 33 clock upgrade and the AES 110 ohm signal module which also incorporates the 75 ohm BNC Word Clock which has a bayonet twist lock fitting. The Select DAC is running dual power supplies as in two seperate power supplies in place of the standard single Power Supply which has individual seperate power outlets. The dual power supply option has one power outlet for each unit. The dual power supply option I was unsure about as it does add considerable expense - however it is worth every penny as it the femto 33 Clock. I use the AES 110 ohm digital connection in place of USB for its SQ benefits.

Given that the Susvara's are very inefficient 83dB at 60 ohms you will be needing a powerful amplifier to dive them properly. I cannot overstate the importance of supplying the Susvara's with enough high quality power. Amplifiers are custom built Woo 234 mono's. There are a variety of options with the 234 of how to drive Headphones, you are able to select High or Low impedance as well Cathode or Plate power. Every other Headphone I have runs fine using the lowest power setting Cathode-LO-Z. I tried this with the Susvara's and immediately was greeted with distortion and clipping at high volume. Hmm so in went the Plate-LO-Z output key. This has proved to be more than sufficient. The 234's are not only powerful amps they also supply plenty of current driving abilities.

Valves were split between the new KR HP 300B Balloon and the KR HP 274B Rectifier, the driver
tube my favourite Tung Sol Round Plate 1940's vintage with Oval Mica's. I am highly impressed with the new KR HP valves and strongly recommend them. They have excellent detail, good bass and are musically satisfying. The 2nd round of Tubes I am currently using are the new production Elrog 300B and Takatsuki 274B rectifier again with the TSRP 6SN7 driver tube.

My Woo 234's have ben modified to allow for the use of an external pre-amp on one of the two RCA inputs. This is single ended amplifier. I used the Single ended output module from the Select DAC as the volume control. The gain having been pre-set by Woo at its maximum. Significant care needs to be taken with this arrangement for all the obvious reasons. However it allows for the volume controls to be completely bypassed no doubt adding to the excellent Sound Quality.

The system sits on an HRS SXR stand with MX3R isolation bases, Vortex footers and power is supplied by a dedicated line feeding Shunyata Triton and Typhon with Sigma Power Cables.

Okay, so thats the summary of the review system dealt with I will include a photo.

Listening impressions:

Initially I tried using the Susvara's stock cables and decided to flip over to my preferred Headphone cable the DHC Prion4S with the Lemo adapter system so fortunately I had the right adapter as the Susvara's use the same 2.5mm Jack as the HE-1000 series. This has always been an issue as over time I find that the Jack connector weakens and then fails eventually. I feel strongly that for this kind of money HIFIMan should have come up with a better connector such as the excellent Focal Utopia's Lemo connectors. While I am on my connector rant, its high time the industry standardised and agreed upon a default connector such as the widely acclaimed Lemo's. They cannot come apart and will probably outlets the Headphone they are attached to, not to mention the Electrical benefits of such a sturdy connector.

Out of the box I was impressed with the Susvara's build quality and initially the Susvara's sound was a little edgy and clearly not yet fully developed. These was enough promise however to excite me as to further potential. The sound has excellent detail at times it can be quite startlingly. The bass is strong and superior to the Focal Utopia's and the LCD-4's, it does not have the heft of the Abyss but it is dynamic and fast and it goes deep. The soundstage is excellent rejecting an image just in front of my ears. I find the best listening point to be with my ears just off the rear of the ear-pads. I am sure this will be the subject of debate and YMMV. I have recently been listening to a variety of Movie Soundtracks.

Sicario: For its excellent depth and weight,
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword for its dynamic driving pulsations, speed and the complexity of the mixes.
Bach Cello Suite No.1 is sublime, the leading edge of the Cello and again the weight and detailed complexity of the Celloist's skill shines through in perfect timing.
Eva Cassidy: - What a wonderful world, this is a surprisingly difficult track to get right, the Susvara's sail through it and as its one of my wife's favourite tracks she exclaimed after how much she had enjoyed it and she felt this was the best rendition of it so far.
Vide Cor Meum: The Susvara's exceptionally lightweight driver allowing the Choir to raise the tempo high with seemingly little to no effort.
Kothbiro: From the Constant Gardener another excellent piece where the Susvara 's can really show off their speed and musicality.

Summary:
If you have the requisite funds to purchase this headphone AND have an amplifier power enough to drive them with ease they will not disappoint. I am not going to get into a price/value debate as that has been hotly discussed ad nauseam on this site and others. If you are demoing the Susvara's make sure they have had at least 150 hours on them (as is recommended in the informative manual) and that the dealer gives you more than adequate time to evaluate them for yourself preferably in your own system.

For me the Susvara's are the best sounding headphone I have heard and I find I thoroughly enjoy them everyday. To me that tells the story.

To Edwood - I hope that you do not take any offence at my musings. With at least 2 or 3 other threads I thought it best to post my impressions here.

5D21E294-EF44-4AAB-9016-6108DB42E6C3.jpg
377C234B-520A-47D3-8469-0368E8C09039.jpg
IMG_0352.jpg
IMG_0353.jpg
5D21E294-EF44-4AAB-9016-6108DB42E6C3.jpg
377C234B-520A-47D3-8469-0368E8C09039.jpg
083A0298.jpg
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 3:58 AM Post #22 of 11,296

Stars700

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I have received a set of Susvara's as well for review purposes for Mono and Stereo. I haven't finished the review yet as I have been waiting and waiting for them to fully stabilise. Mine now have 325 hours on them. I liked them so much that I purchased my pair.

I have all of the top flight Headphones except for the Abyss Phi - My Abyss have been sent back for upgrade. However in my view the 2 Headphones do not really sit in the same category. The Abyss in my view is a more specialised Headphone to be used when I can afford to do nothing else but listen. I have my Headphone rig setup in my office you see.

When getting a feel on a Headphone I like to play with them for a while, in this case six weeks before I say anything about them. It also gives me a chance to reflect on how much listening I have done with that Headphone and if it has changed my listening habits, in other words, have I felt the need to listen to another Headphone and am I listening more and for longer sessions.

The answer in the Susvara's case is an unequal yes on both counts. I have not listened to any of my other Headphones and my listening sessions have extended considerably. This has now become my default favourite Headphone.

The previous review covered the packaging and I can only agree and say that I have not experienced the same level of attention to detail with the packaging with any other Headphone. It truly is an experience unboxing the Susvara's.

The review system is as follows:

Aurender W20 source with its internal clocks slaved to the Femto 33 clock in the DAC which is a MSB Select II, with the Femto 33 clock upgrade and the AES 110 ohm signal module which also incorporates the 75 ohm BNC Word Clock which has a bayonet twist lock fitting. The Select DAC is running dual power supplies as in two seperate power supplies in place of the standard single Power Supply which has individual seperate power outlets. The dual power supply option has one power outlet for each unit. The dual power supply option I was unsure about as it does add considerable expense - however it is worth every penny as it the femto 33 Clock. I use the AES 110 ohm digital connection in place of USB for its SQ benefits.

Given that the Susvara's are very inefficient 83dB at 60 ohms you will be needing a powerful amplifier to dive them properly. I cannot overstate the importance of supplying the Susvara's with enough high quality power. Amplifiers are custom built Woo 234 mono's. There are a variety of options with the 234 of how to drive Headphones, you are able to select High or Low impedance as well Cathode or Plate power. Every other Headphone I have runs fine using the lowest power setting Cathode-LO-Z. I tried this with the Susvara's and immediately was greeted with distortion and clipping at high volume. Hmm so in went the Plate-LO-Z output key. This has proved to be more than sufficient. The 234's are not only powerful amps they also supply plenty of current driving abilities.

Valves were split between the new KR HP 300B Balloon and the KR HP 274B Rectifier, the driver
tube my favourite Tung Sol Round Plate 1940's vintage with Oval Mica's. I am highly impressed with the new KR HP valves and strongly recommend them. They have excellent detail, good bass and are musically satisfying. The 2nd round of Tubes I am currently using are the new production Elrog 300B and Takatsuki 274B rectifier again with the TSRP 6SN7 driver tube.

My Woo 234's have ben modified to allow for the use of an external pre-amp on one of the two RCA inputs. This is single ended amplifier. I used the Single ended output module from the Select DAC as the volume control. The gain having been pre-set by Woo at its maximum. Significant care needs to be taken with this arrangement for all the obvious reasons. However it allows for the volume controls to be completely bypassed no doubt adding to the excellent Sound Quality.

The system sits on an HRS SXR stand with MX3R isolation bases, Vortex footers and power is supplied by a dedicated line feeding Shunyata Triton and Typhon with Sigma Power Cables.

Okay, so thats the summary of the review system dealt with I will include a photo.

Listening impressions:

Initially I tried using the Susvara's stock cables and decided to flip over to my preferred Headphone cable the DHC Prion4S with the Lemo adapter system so fortunately I had the right adapter as the Susvara's use the same 2.5mm Jack as the HE-1000 series. This has always been an issue as over time I find that the Jack connector weakens and then fails eventually. I feel strongly that for this kind of money HIFIMan should have come up with a better connector such as the excellent Focal Utopia's Lemo connectors. While I am on my connector rant, its high time the industry standardised and agreed upon a default connector such as the widely acclaimed Lemo's. They cannot come apart and will probably outlets the Headphone they are attached to, not to mention the Electrical benefits of such a sturdy connector.

Out of the box I was impressed with the Susvara's build quality and initially the Susvara's sound was a little edgy and clearly not yet fully developed. These was enough promise however to excite me as to further potential. The sound has excellent detail at times it can be quite startlingly. The bass is strong and superior to the Focal Utopia's and the LCD-4's, it does not have the heft of the Abyss but it is dynamic and fast and it goes deep. The soundstage is excellent rejecting an image just in front of my ears. I find the best listening point to be with my ears just off the rear of the ear-pads. I am sure this will be the subject of debate and YMMV. I have recently been listening to a variety of Movie Soundtracks.

Sicario: For its excellent depth and weight,
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword for its dynamic driving pulsations, speed and the complexity of the mixes.
Bach Cello Suite No.1 is sublime, the leading edge of the Cello and again the weight and detailed complexity of the Celloist's skill shines through in perfect timing.
Eva Cassidy: - What a wonderful world, this is a surprisingly difficult track to get right, the Susvara's sail through it and as its one of my wife's favourite tracks she exclaimed after how much she had enjoyed it and she felt this was the best rendition of it so far.
Vide Cor Meum: The Susvara's exceptionally lightweight driver allowing the Choir to raise the tempo high with seemingly little to no effort.
Kothbiro: From the Constant Gardener another excellent piece where the Susvara 's can really show off their speed and musicality.

Summary:
If you have the requisite funds to purchase this headphone AND have an amplifier power enough to drive them with ease they will not disappoint. I am not going to get into a price/value debate as that has been hotly discussed ad nauseam on this site and others. If you are demoing the Susvara's make sure they have had at least 150 hours on them (as is recommended in the informative manual) and that the dealer gives you more than adequate time to evaluate them for yourself preferably in your own system.

For me the Susvara's are the best sounding headphone I have heard and I find I thoroughly enjoy them everyday. To me that tells the story.

To Edwood - I hope that you do not take any offence at my musings. With at least 2 or 3 other threads I thought it best to post my impressions here.

BTW How's it with WA7?
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 4:10 AM Post #23 of 11,296

isquirrel

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Jun 28, 2017 at 6:16 AM Post #24 of 11,296

Whazzzup

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Drooling, but even us humble desktop audiophiles can enjoy susvara. Thanks for sharing isquirrel and DHC prion 4 for sure is a good choice.
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 6:36 AM Post #26 of 11,296

Matez

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I'm not sure why the lettering is offset like that. Glad I'm not the only one that noticed it, but then again, the kerning of the fonts is less important than sound quality and the headphones themselves.

Still, it is important. For $6'000 everything's important. Every detail there is. I've had several HiFiMAN models in the past and almost every sounded nice or very nice. Still, none was perfect as far as build quality goes. HE-1000 V1, which I own, don't look like $2'999 product. Times more affordable HD800 is much better in this regard. I'm talking about materials used, their assembly and overall craftsmanship.

I respect what HiFiMAN does, I really do. I voted with my wallet and bought HE-1000 after all, which proves the point. Still, after knowing a number of this manufacturer's DAPs and headphones, I can only say that it's not 'there' yet when it comes to build quality. It's not Astell&Kern of headphones but rather iBasso or FiiO. That's my subjective take on the HiFiMAN case and I believe that a bit of constructive criticism won't hurt but influence them to make products of greater build quality than thus far.
 
Jun 28, 2017 at 8:00 AM Post #29 of 11,296

Whazzzup

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I feel inadequate after seeing that system. Running the Susvara off a £160 marantz amp...

Unfortunatly I don't have a high end system, but by god do the Susvara sound excellent with power behind them.

Don't feel bad, your post is as impactful frankly, and I agree after testing on less powerful, and quality inputs, susvara is not a monster to enjoy buy can be on many types of systems. Better ones are just better...
 

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