The Battle Of The Flagships 2022 by Ear Fidelity
May 9, 2022 at 6:10 AM Post #61 of 66

Whazzzup

Headphoneus Supremus
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Toronto, Canada
You can try the music samplings of probably 6 genres threads here at head fi, I also use I tunes to search what others bought, or link to band members.
 
Aug 14, 2022 at 8:53 AM Post #65 of 66

TDHEAD

New Head-Fier
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musicality.jpg

This category reflects how well these headphones handle different music genres and different qualities of mastering. This is an incredibly important aspect of every kind of audio gear. Sure, you can kind of rate this by just looking at the frequency graph, but in MY OPINION, it won’t give you a full picture.

See, different music genres, types of production, different brands all have different flavors that are often quite surprising. That’s why I always say that it is essential to test a product you’re potentially thinking about buying with your favorite music, not those sound demos available from different manufacturers. There’s no perfect loudspeaker or headphones for every single type of music, that is just impossible and will probably never be achieved (at least in a form of a single tuning), and yes, Harman target isn’t that as well. Try a perfectly neutral pair of headphones with German Power Metal like Helloween – I dare you.

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This one is as simple as it gets – the CZ-1 does sound incorrect and simply weird with every single type of music and type of masterings there are. What’s incredible is that it doesn’t sound good even with ambient, which is a type of music that gains a lot from good reverberation in my opinion. Yes, “good” is the key here. Audio-Technica W5000 was a horrible headphone, but it did have a rather coherent reverb aspect to it. The CZ-1 doesn’t. I’m sorry.



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Here’s the deal. The Diana Phi is an incredible headphone for some metal and electronic music. Which ones to be specific? Well, this question is impossible to answer, to be honest. The tonality of these headphones is so uneven, that paired with its highly aggressive and hyperdetailed sound gives you a rather slim chance of the music actually sounding “bearable”. If it does, then you’ll be absolutely amazed by this headphone, but if it doesn’t, then you actually might be better off with something like the HD6xx or Sundara.



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This one is weird as well. There’s a catch to it – don’t go for vocals, and the 8xx might actually be a great headphone for you. If you like electronic music, or basically anything with no vocals and (preferably) no natural instruments, the vast soundstage with great physicality of the sound of the 8XX could be just perfect. However, due to its poor midrange, the 8xx can’t really sound natural nor pleasant with most music genres.



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The Hifiman HE1000se is a slightly bright headphone and it could lead to some problems with poorly mastered albums or some music genres. As far as the music you’re listening to is at the highest level of production then you’ll get a high-contrast, dynamic, and insanely detailed type of sound that could be just next to unbeatable by any headphone in the world. But, most of the Indie scene (low-budget mastering) doesn’t sound too good on the 1000se. Because of that, it can’t score more than 7 points.



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The Final D8000 Pro is a highly neutral headphone that is just a hair bright, not as much as the HE1000se, so it scores a point higher. Basically, the D8000 Pro is a jack of all trades but master of none. It does every music genre exceptionally well, but none worth calling the best in the world.
The HEDDphone however has that lovely tune to it that is not as neutral, but it does do many things beautifully, especially male vocals. It “adds” things to the music, but in a very, very good way.



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The Hifiman Susvara scores 9, as it is almost perfect with most music genres. Almost, because it tends to sound a bit anemic with some heavier tracks. When listening to metal or electronic music you definitely want that bass impact and kick to the sound, and the Susvara just doesn’t do that. It always sounds exceptionally smooth and natural, but it doesn’t do “fun” as much as it could have.
Other than that, the Susvara is just a masterclass for rock, indie, jazz, classical…basically everything that is meant to sound natural and pleasing.



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This is the most impressive aspect of the sound of the Elite – it just sounds wonderful no matter what you’ll throw at them. Every music genre, every level of production, the Elite does it all with an unparalleled level of refinement. This is the headphone to get if you’re looking for a “do it all” type of experience. Also, it does sound fantastic with both high-end and budget-friendly devices and it needs basically no power to be driven properly. Fantastic.




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This is the last category of this comparison – the value.

As you remember from the “disclaimers” part in the beginning, all of the ratings have been given without considering the price of the headphones. Because of that, now it’s time to rate the value of each entry.

A quick guide to this category – 8 means that the headphone is well worth its asking price, no questions asked. Even if its price is extremely high, it is just class-leading (or simply the best), and it’s fairly priced because of its exceptional quality. Everything above 8 means that the headphone is actually worth more than its asking price (spoiler alert: there’s one), and everything below is…well, you get the idea.


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If you’ve read this entire article then you already know that you should NOT buy the Crosszone CZ-1. Its value is just one of the worst in the market.



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This is harsh, but I stand behind it. The Diana Phi basically requires you to buy the upgraded pads and something to help with no padding on the headband. The included cable is not great, and because Abyss used proprietary connectors, changing the cable gives you basically no choice other than their own offerings, which are extremely expensive.
Lastly, the sound quality is just not worth the $4000 asking price. It’s way too aggressive and the frequency response is very uneven. I really like the energy of this brand, their YouTube channel is great, I like how they are proud of the “USA heritage”. I hope the best for Abyss, but the Diana Phi is a letdown for me. Hopefully, I’ll get the Diana TC or 1266 some time to include in this battle.



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The value of the 8XX is kinda hard to judge. First of all, it’s a fantastic gaming headphone with its huge soundstage and bassy presentation. Without EQ I would say this headphone is not worth the asking price, but after EQ I saw many people bringing a lot of life into them. Having in mind how comfortable the 8XX is together with a fairly “affordable” price in 2022 for a Made In Germany high-end headphone, I think 5 is fair, but please, EQ them.



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The Hifiman HE1000se and the D8000 Pro by Final are ALMOST worth their price. Almost, only because there

‘s a headphone called Meze Elite, which scored higher in this comparison while being very similarly priced. Any discount on these two or buying them used instantly make them a great deal and you can buy them with no hesitation – you’ll be amazed.



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The Susvara is the most important headphone in this entire comparison, but it is also the best one. Because of that, even though it comes at a monstrous $6000, I believe they are well worth it. After all, you’re buying the best of the best.
The Elite is a similar story, $4000 is far from being affordable. However, it gets you the best-built pair of headphones on planet earth, lovely tone and simply a headphone that is excellent with everything. I’m not in place to question the prices of audio gear. Actually, I worked in audio manufacturing in the past and I know that it has to be expensive. The price of the Elite is very, very fair considering what you’re getting and what it took to craft this magnificent piece of tech.



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The HEDDphone scores 9, which means it is actually worth more than its asking price (HEDD Audio please, don’t use it to raise its price after seeing this!). It’s pretty self-explanatory, it is 3x cheaper than the Susvara, 2x cheaper than the Elite, D8000 Pro, Diana Phi, and almost 2x cheaper than the HE1000se. Wait for the summary and you’ll see how impressive that is when you’ll see its score.
Actually, it would have been 10. Would have, because it is simply too uncomfortable to get that score. If HEDD Audio came up with the same headphone, for the same price but just more comfortable and lighter, then it would have been 10 with no hesitation.




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Here we are, time to see the results and crown the king. This has been a wild ride, the most time-consuming reviewing project I’ve ever did and the most exciting at the same time. Let’s just get right into it.

8. Crosszone CZ-1 / 13 points

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Presentation
2
Build Quality and Comfort
3
Tone
1
Detail
1
Soundstage
1
Bass
3
Midrange
0
Treble
1
Musicality
0
Value
1
The Crosszone CZ-1 scores 13 points out of 100, ouch.
The project was ambitious, but the delivery just disappoints a lot. The Crosszone CZ-1 is one of the worst values in the market and you literally can get better audio quality for 1/10th of its price (HD6xx). I strongly recommend not buying these headphones (I’m sorry my Japanese friends).



7. Drop + Sennheiser HD8XX / 46 points

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Presentation
4
Build Quality and Comfort
6
Tone
4
Detail
5
Soundstage
6
Bass
4
Midrange
3
Treble
5
Musicality
4
Value
5
The HD8XX scores 46 points, which is actually not bad considering its low(ish) asking price. It has some major problems with its tuning, especially in the midrange area, but it is also well-built, very comfortable and it has a huge soundstage. If you can and will EQ these headphones, then it might actually be a great option.



6. Abyss Diana Phi / 51 points

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Presentation
6
Build Quality and Comfort
4
Tone
4
Detail
8
Soundstage
7
Bass
9
Midrange
4
Treble
4
Musicality
3
Value
2
Just like I said in the previous category, I actually feel sorry for Abyss. They seem to be really chill people and I like their energy. However, I tried my best to be as objective as I could in this comparison, and the Diana Phi actually has been the biggest disappointment for me. Yes, it scored better than the 8xx, but it is almost 4 (!) times more expensive, and the 8xx is not a gem itself.
I remember listening to the AB-1266 a few years ago and I was blown away. It was so lively sounding, fun, and extremely pleasing. Would be cool to get the 1266 TC or the Diana TC to include in this comparison in the future.



5. HEDDphone / 70 points

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Presentation
4
Build Quality and Comfort
4
Tone
9
Detail
8
Soundstage
7
Bass
6
Midrange
7
Treble
8
Musicality
8
Value
9
The HEDDphone is insanely impressive considering its asking price. While being 2-3 times less expensive than the competition it still managed to go head-to-head in many categories. For a first-ever headphone release, HEDD Audio did a magnificent job and I believe there’s a seriously bright future for this brand. Just please, make them lighter and more comfortable. Huge respect.



4. Hifiman HE1000se / 74 points

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Presentation
5
Build Quality and Comfort
7
Tone
6
Detail
9
Soundstage
8
Bass
9
Midrange
8
Treble
8
Musicality
7
Value
7
The Hifiman HE1000se is a brilliant headphone with exceptional detail retrieval, only somewhat limited by its slightly sterile tuning. It is a very good value at $3499, especially knowing how technically capable the 1000se is. It also doesn’t need a ton of power to sound great, which is always a great feature to have, as you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the amplifier alone.



3. Final D8000 Pro / 80 points

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Presentation
9
Build Quality and Comfort
7
Tone
7
Detail
8
Soundstage
9
Bass
8
Midrange
8
Treble
9
Musicality
8
Value
7
The Final D8000 Pro scores 80 points, proving that it is a great headphone. With its highly neutral, reference-like tuning and impressive technical capabilities it is among the best headphones on the market. The only things to criticize for me is the comfort which is questionable and the tuning which while highly impressive, feels a bit sterile.



2. Meze Elite / 85 points

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Presentation
10
Build Quality and Comfort
10
Tone
8
Detail
6
Soundstage
8
Bass
7
Midrange
9
Treble
9
Musicality
10
Value
8
The Meze Elite is just a complete package. Best-built headphones on planet earth, insane ergonomics, and beautiful design, paired with an extremely musical and smooth sound that is just so easy to love. Sounds good with every device you’ll plug it into, with every music genre you’ll try. Not the most technically capable, but definitely one of the most charming on the market.



1. Hifiman Susvara / 88 points

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Presentation
6
Build Quality and Comfort
8
Tone
10
Detail
10
Soundstage
9
Bass
8
Midrange
10
Treble
10
Musicality
9
Value
8
The king of headphones. The Hifiman Susvara is the best headphone I’ve ever heard, used, and owned. It is a perfect combination of insane technicalities with a beautiful and lifelike timbre that just sounds marvelous. Comfort for days, best detail retrieval ever, exceptional tuning, the Susvara has it all. If only it wasn’t that power-hungry, so more people would be able to hear them shine (Topping A90 just doesn’t do it for the Susvara).
Seeing that the Susvara has been released quite a long time ago, it’s really interesting if (or when) Hifiman will come up with its successor. If it’ll be significantly better than the Susvara, then this would be a really big day, introducing the next milestone for personal audio.


That’s all for now. Thank you for reading this comparison, I hope you enjoyed it and that it’ll help you with your decision. As stated in the beginning, this comparison will be getting updated with more high-end headphones in the future, so this is definitely not the end. It was incredibly fun to do this and even though my head feels like it’s going to explode, I’m happy with the result. See you!
WOW! Great Job………BTW Susvara is that good. AB1266 TC Next time?
 

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