HiFiMan SUNDARA Review
If you are shopping for a full-size over-ear headphone between the $350-$400 price point, the Hifiman Sundara sits a good position for someone that wants a solidly built quality pair headphone with balanced and rich tones. Hifiman may not have had the greatest track record with its other offerings, but the company has really upped its game and produced a pair that checks a lot of boxes. These headphones seem like a product of more a focused strategy from the clever guys over at Hifiman.
For someone who is just foraying into the land that is enthusiastic audiophile equipment, these open-back headphones are a great choice. This review will give you an in-depth look at the design, quality and the sound of these headphones. Let’s check these out and see if these are worth the price.
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We love a well-packaged headphone around here. There is something about a well thought out beautiful unboxing that sets the tone for the products itself. For manufacturers, the effort that they put into the packaging of the headphones speaks for how much they care about the products – which is a good indicator as to how they will perform. To answer the question, these come very well packaged in a well-designed box mostly with black color tones and subtle classy gold font for the name of the headphone.
We love the look of the box, its stealthy, and exudes premium. We figure you would be more interested to know what is inside the box more than how the box actually looks. Although the contents are nothing special, you have the basics covered here. In the box you have your audio cable, 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter, manual, and the headphones itself.
Great Design and Build
Hifiman’s newer line of headphones seemingly obliterates its previous offerings when it comes to building quality and design. The metal construction coupled with the overall sleek design language makes these quite the looker. The outer sides of the cups themselves are flat and feature a low-profile look which helps not stand out a sore thumb when you are out and about in your day. These are built to last all while being versatile in usage, you can pair this headphone with any look that you are going for.
Hifiman has reworked the cup to handle stress when in use but that leaves these Sundara over-ear open-back headphones with no swivel support. These headphones come as the successors to Hifiman’s own HE-400i pair. Compared to these, the Sundara stands out quite a lot due to higher quality controls on the cups.
Usually, with headphones of this size, the primary weak points could be the plastic bits connecting the yokes. However, given the improved quality in the construction, it leads us to believe this will last a good while. Hifiman has also gone the extra mile and improved the 3.5mm connector. The new connector is still your trusty 3.5mm variant, just now with added durability.
We noticed one oddity with the cable. If you happen to have them curled up and tucked away, they retain too much memory that wants to stay curled up. This isn’t a big issue as the cable will ease up just after a couple of minutes of use, but it was worth a mention. As for comfort, this strike a good balance of not having too much clamping force where it’s on the verge of unusable, and a good comfortable fit. The ear cup cushions are firm and provide a god seal overall around the ears. Plus, being over-ear, there is less chance that these will fit different people in different ways as is the case with in-ears.
Rich and Balanced Sound
Alright, let’s get on with the most important aspect of the review. These headphones look and feel great, but how do they sound? Actually, quite commendably. A word of caution, the sound signature for these is not for everyone. But for someone who enjoys a laid back and gentle sounding headphone, these should tick all the boxes.
For the right type of music, these headphones will do wonders but for sounds that need a bit of power these might not give out the most satisfying sound quality. Having said, the sound overall is quite good actually with rich tones where it needs to. The bass and low ends have a good thump to them will not muddying the low end out and good mid and high end.
We like the sound imagining of these, the tracks are clear and instruments can be easily distinguished as well. remember that these are planar magnetic, which means you get all the benefits that come with that such as fast frequency response times. The diaphragm of these is 80% smaller than the HE-400i pair it replaces. Which gives it more of detailed frequency response.
Although the Hifiman Sundara to be easy to drive, if you are using these with your phones, these might sound a tad bit underpowered. Usually, planar magnetic headphones tend to be on the power-hungry side. To our surprise though these headphones sound quite good even if they are underpowered. A statement that cannot be said for a lot of headphones out there in the market. To get the best experience pairing these with a great solid-state makes it transform into a powerhouse of its own with a lot of character.
Overall, we like the Hifiman Sundara for its great look and versatility. The design is minimalistic and eye-catching while not having to sacrifice comfort. The sound signature is soothing and rich even though it could be too gentle for some. For someone looking for well-built over-ear headphones that can get the job done, these are quite the option and worth a look, especially at the price point.
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