Abyss recommends letting the Diana Phi burn in for at least 100 hours on moderate loudness, so the headphones can unleash their full potential. When I received the Diana Phi, that was what I did. After a week of having the Diana Phi on continuous play, I started listening to them.
The Diana Phi creates a very nice wide and deep stage, which goes beyond your head and places musicians and instruments in front of you. It’s a great holographic image, where every instrument is neatly separated from each other. You get superb resolution and texture, there is lots of air in the sound, so it doesn’t feel compressed or too heavy.
The Diana Phi has a background that’s impressively dark and instruments stand out clean and clear from this darkness. It images beautifully and pin-pointing musicians is as easy as it gets. It places every note with precision and not only once have I caught myself turning around thinking someone was behind me when it was just the Abyss playing tricks on me.
Bass has good impact, it’s indeed very fast and precise with extension that goes deep into the sub-bass regions. Lows have good resolution and pump with authority. Body-wise it’s on a lighter side, where bass has good presentation but might be missing some weight. The impact of the Abyss is particularly enjoyable if you like synthetic bass. It’s tight and quick.
Midrange is beautifully transparent with excellent texture and accuracy. Instruments enjoy good, yet lighter body. There are good amounts of air in the midrange, where especially vocals can become easy-going and seem to float in front of you. Lower mids are a touch heavier in weight than the rest of the mids. They possess a nice grunt, body and power to enable a pleasing experience.
I often fall back to Leonard Cohen’s ‘You want it Darker’ to test this particular frequency range. Cohen’s voice becomes immersive and has the ability to take you over, where you just sink in and enjoy the show. That’s one of Diana Phi’s best characteristics. You sit back and let her take care of you.
Center-mids are precise and on the dryer side, where every little detail gets tickled out. Upper mids appear more forward and can cause for some vocals to sound shouty. They are not overly rich or wet, but to me they do sound a tad richer than mid-mids.
Treble is fast with impressive energy. The top end is crisp and sparkling, with a slightly forward approach. It’s never harsh or sibilant though, always staying in the clear of becoming piercing or painful. The Diana Phi brings out heaps of details, with macro lens precision they are portrayed clearly in the entire musical scene. When you listen to live recordings you can really pick out each pair of clapping hands.
Overall the Diana Phi comes in with a neutral signature with a tilt towards brightness. It’s a headphone that might enjoy a warmer source, something with a good analogue low end. The Phi is a headphone that is quite critical about the recording. Feed it decently mastered files and it’ll reward you, but make the mistake to give it something sub-par and you will immediately know you haven’t listened to something adequate for the Diana Phi.
Best pairings? All about that on page four.