Solderdude's Susvara measurement is a typo , I had a chat with him a few weeks back, as I was certain they measured 80dB mW, which he confirmed. The Susvara I know of actually measured 60 Ohm @ 79.2dB mW, so 120dB SPL is 448mA / 26.87V / 12W.
I have mine set at 95 dB SPL @ 1khz 0dB FS usually, which is a measly 28mA / 1.5V / 38.03mW
which you can get with something as lowly as a BTR3K.
110dB SPL is the loudest I set mine up for, 141mA / 8.5V / 1.2W
Just got my susvara and only driving with the ifi diablo until my amp for them comes tomorrow. But even with this weak amp I can say that these are the best headphones I've ever listened to, easily beating my focal utopia and stellia imo. Enjoying them immensely can't wait until I have proper power behind them!
Good to know, it sounds very good right now on turbo mode at about half volume but I do listen to music quieter than most. I'll see how it compares to the modded flux labs FA-10 I bought from someone here tomorrow
Hey Susvara Head-Fiers... My friend Tim generously loaned me his Susvara with Double Helix Prion 4 Cable for a bit of listen. We have been curious how the Susvara would fare in my system as my SS Amp was built for super inefficient planars. I thought I would share my initial impressions after 5 days with the Susvara.
System for Susvara:
Roon Labs through my USBe Perfect feeding a Silver Dragon USB Cable into the TEAC UD-505 Dual Mono DAC. I am using Roon's upsampling to 768k into the TEAC which is the max PCM file rate the TEAC can decode. I then have the TEAC set up to upconvert from 768K to 24.5mhz DSD. I am running Cardas Crosslink XLR Interconnects from the TEAC into the Cembalo Spring 1. The Cembalo is set up at Fixed 0db, which gives me more volume play and keeps the sound from distorting, which happens from time to time on the Cembalo if the voltage is set too high. Fixed 0 db keeps it to 2 vrms, whereas Fixed +6 db sends 4 vrms. The Cembalo prefers 2 vrms. My other amp is the Bottlehead Mainline. The Mainline cannot provide the Susvara even close to what it needs. The sound is flat and lifeless and will not be used for my impressions. The Cembalo, though was built for this moment.
Build Quality is impeccable. They are very comfortable and light. I can wear them for hours without issue. The DHC Prion 4 cable is a beast. It is big and heavy and seems to be providing a pretty great connection between the amp and headphone. I cannot honestly speak to its value or whether it is an upgrade from the stock cable. I would assume so as Hifiman isn't exactly known for providing quality wire for their TOTL headphones. I would think that would be part of their package with a $6000 headphone, but my guess is that they are spending around $3000 to make the headphone. After all, the drivers have 24k gold in them. The DHC Prion 4 sounds unbelievably good with the Susvara.
Sound is in a word, Magnificent! They are the perfect blend of speed, dynamics, subtlety, power and refinement. Let's begin with the Midrange, the part of this headphone that is beyond reproach. The midrange is open. Staging is wide both left to right and up and down. The midrange opens up like a parachute and you feel like you are floating down to earth. The ethereal nature of the headphone lends itself to an extremely open, articulate and surreal tuning. The Lower Treble and Upper Midrange is my favorite part. It is harmonious without being shouty. It is detailed without being sibilant. It is a truth seeker, and it wants only one thing. To let you hear your music exactly as it was intended. Bass is really fast and tight. It isn't boomy or humped in any way. In comparison to the Heddphone, Stellia or the Code X, the Susvara seems a bit bass light. But it isn't bass light at all. it is just faithful to the recording and so freaking fast... clean, accurate and lovely.
Amplification and Sourcing:
The Susvara is extremely picky. The drivers are extremely tight and rigid. It takes a lot to open them up. The problem is that the amount of power you need to really open them up takes them to the edge of distortion in my set-up. I keep going back and forth between 0db and +6db from my TEAC trying to find the right voltage for the Cembalo as the Susvara wants me to push them and I have to find the right combo to do so without changing the headphone's delicate balance. When I get it right, there is nothing like the way they sound. The Cembalo is powering them at 10 on the volume dial.
I am getting the best sound from the Susvara and Cembalo after the Cembalo has been on for about 30 minutes. I am not going to turn off my Cembalo tonight and keep it warmed up for tomorrow's listening session. (this was written last night). Tonight the Susvara is singing for me. PRAT is off the charts. It is so fast and agile.
Comparison to the Code X:
If I am being super honest, I prefer the Hifiman Code X. So does my 16 yr old, who has become a budding audiophile with impeccable listening skills. To be very clear, the Susvara is the better headphone. The Susvara blows it out of the water with its superior technicalities. However, the soundstage on the Code X is way better to my ears and I love the way the Code X plays my music. Bass is deeper with the Code X. The treble on the Susvara is a class above. It isn't even close. The Susvara's treble is the best I have heard on a headphone. However, the Code X isn't far behind. I hope this doesn't offend anyone because I truly love the Susvara and it is a better headphone. There is no doubt. But, this is the 2nd time I have put the Code X up against a TOTL Planar (Diana V2 was the other) and in each instance the Code X more than held its own. LFF put some serious love and tech into the mod. It just rips and is the only headphone I will never sell. The Code X isn't as detailed, but it is detailed enough. The Susvara is for when I want to analyze my music and hear for everything that the artist recorded. The Code X is for when you want to hear 95% of what is recorded and sit back and listen without analyzing. I cannot speak highly enough about the Code X.
The Susvara has one issue and only one as far as I can tell. It is a picky little bugger and needs a lot of amp jostling to sound its best. It is very inefficient, but that isn't really the issue. It gets plenty loud on my rig. In fact, the Cembalo has loads of reserve for the Susvara. The bigger issue is how it pairs with an amp. It needs the right current load, voltage and enough power (no clue if I said that correctly) at the exact right time. When you do, you are rewarded with everything you could ever want from a head-fi experience. When not, I prefer other things more. It is a neurotic headphone, that is for sure...
My Cembalo has fully opened up tonight so I am putting the Susvara through the paces to see if I can keep the pickiness bugs at bay. The Susvara is so fast. I feel like it is actually a proactive headphone. Anticipating the needs of the song and amp and trying to pull out its best. Gotcha Susvara. I hear you! Tonality is spot on. It almost makes the bass feel light. But it isn't light, it is just moving faster than every other headphone. Interesting how they were able to create something that is this insensitive and sensitive at the same time. That is a neat technological trick and shows how capable Hifiman is at making headphones. They have created something special, that is for sure. It is intense and ethereal simultaneously. It makes you listen, whether you want to or not. I can't get over the Susvara's sense of PRAT. Timing is perfect.
My comparisons of the Susvara are limited to only 2 other headphones currently. The Hifiman Code X (obviously as I have referenced it several times already), and the Focal Stellia. I just sold a Heddphone, so I have a lot of thoughts about how they compare, but since it isn't in house I will keep my thoughts to myself. I principally use the Stellia on my Bottlehead Mainline and the Code X on my Cembalo Spring 1. I love the Stellia and Mainline. But, it is such a different headphone that comparing it to the Susvara wouldn't be fair to either. I think the Code X is actually the better headphone to compare against the Susvara. Even though the Susvara is $4000+ more. Each night I listen to the Susvara I am becoming more and more a fan.
That's all from a newly minted Susvara listener. Thank you for reading my post. Thank you, Tim for encouraging me to share my thoughts with the Susvara gang.
...or, normal headphones need juice, planars need vodka, Susvara needs vodka with gin mixed with rat poison boiling at 300 degrees. For the best results you need to throw in your favourite music CDs into the boiling mixture, and stir until it completely melts.