Build Quality and Comfort:
The entire body of Diana V2 is milled out of a solid block of aluminium. The earpieces and the sliders are covered in a black ceramic coating, which gives the V2 a very nice feel in my opinion.
With only 330 grams of weight, the Diana V2 is amongst the lightest of high end headphones. Diana V2 comes with what Abyss calls an EMotion headband, which magnetically adjust to the listener’s head and contours it for a comfortable fit.
The headband is rather thin and padded with just a little bit of soft Alcantara on the bottom. The top of it is covered with real leather. The earcups have this beautiful Fibonacci pattern on each side. As a lover of numbers and geometry, I truly admire this pattern and style.
On the bottom of the earcups you have the 2.5 mm mono ports for the cable. Though the 2.5 mm plugs aren’t considerably robust, Abyss has put them in recessed sockets for improved stability and support. This makes me less worried about breaking the connectors than on let’s say my HiFiMAN Susvara which uses the same connection.
The earpads of the V2 have also been changed from the original Diana. They are now bigger and sport more room for your ears to be placed in them. They are attached with pretty strong magnets and can of course be replaced. If you take the pads off, you’ll have access to the serial number of your unit.
Abyss proudly makes their headphones in the USA, and that’s shown a few times on the headphones too. When you glide the sliders all the way up, you’ll see the US flag and underneath the earpads it also says “MADE IN USA”. I for one am glad to see them not outsourcing their production.
The V2 displays a high clamping force when you hold it in hands, but the contrary is true when you place it on your head. I never felt any discomfort from them. Especially the thicker earpads help take off pressure a lot here.
The low weight also has a nice play in giving the Diana V2 good comfort levels. Though I feel the padding of the headband could’ve been improved. I can feel pressure build up on top of my scalp after about an hour or so. Given the goal of Diana V2 to become the world’s thinnest boutique headphone, it was inevitable to make compromises. Therefore some design considerations must have been made in order to achieve said goal.
The keen eye might have spotted, that I used a lot of the Diana Phi review for the past segments. The reason is simple, the Phi and V2 are almost identical in build, specs and packaging. My desire to finish these chapters quickly shall be excused.
If you have read my review of the Diana Phi, you know that I was very much into its sound. So much, that I named it best headphone of 2019. The Phi has a very fast, highly resolving and airy signature that most people would assign an electrostatic headphone. Unlike most e-stats, the Phi does come with good low-end though. It’s a Stax SR009 with bass if you will.
Being a fan of the Diana Phi I was very interested to get to know the Diana V2 as well. Also, since I heard what Abyss has done with the AB1266 Phi TC, I just had to hear the V2. The Diana V2 does have a pretty different tuning than the Diana Phi, that’s for sure. But there are of course many similarities which made it to the V2 via the Abyss DNA.
The V2 has an overall balanced, smooth and organic signature, who’s key strength is realism and beauty. The Diana V2 gives proper weight and body to each instrument, making them sound life-like.
One of Diana V2’s best traits in my opinion is its dynamic and full low end. It has great weight and density, where bass-instruments have excellent levels of texture and resolution. Bass reaches deep into the sub-bass areas, with good physicality and grunt. The sub-bass gives a very nice solid impression with good punch and drive.
Mid and upper bass are slightly elevated for a more dynamic approach. They give decent push to the lower midrange for a thicker and more physical sound. Male vocals enjoy a good dose of extra weight here, which makes them sound more vibrant and strong. Fans of that should definitely hear the Diana V2, as it truly shines here.
The Diana V2 portrays vocals, both male and female, with a very natural touch. There are good emotions and air in each singer. I have a problem with vocals that sound too warmed up, they never sound correct in timbre. The V2 thankfully does give singers good space to breathe, so they are not in that messed-up timbre category. The Abyss does put some warmth into the vocals, but just enough to give them a smoother sound, without making them sound nasal, chesty or congested. Vocal lovers definitely could dig the Diana V2 with its harmonic and slightly romantic vocals. Singers have good body, which sounds full and very enjoyable.
Mids overall have good smoothness and richness with very nice body. They sound organic with good texture. There’s some room for improvement in transparency, but nonetheless the quality is nice here. What the Diana V2 does really well in my opinion is layering, instrumental separation and imaging. It creates a well structured scene, where musicians are standing solidly on their own two feet. The midrange sports very good levels of clarity and high resolution.
The sound stage stretches in good dimensions in width, depth and height. You get a holographic stage, where the stage is set in front of you. Diana V2 has damn-fine imaging where it is very easy to pin-point the instruments. Musicians are separated sharply with good spot-light. There is a nice dark background, which helps imaging, but it isn’t pitch black to me. The Diana V2 renders a picture that is sharp and highly resolved. It presents the listener with many micro details and gives a very good view at the musical scene.
The Diana V2 has good abilities to keep its structure. Even in complex and information overloaded pieces the Abyss holds control very well. Songs like the LFO’s explosive masterpiece ‘Freak’ or Aphex Twin’s track known as Math Equation won’t get the V2 to sweat. The Abyss stays on top of every big orchestra or hardcore detailed Electronica track.
Treble on the V2 has good energy, but it’s never too agile. It features well formed lower and mid-treble, which have good richness and softness. The V2 won’t pierce your ears, but it certainly will make highs well displayed. Bright instruments and cymbals have good brightness, but won’t get close to an in-your-face sound.
The Diana V2 has a nicely balanced signature with a slight emphasis on the lower registers. It performs very well in regards to technicalities. It will unmask many details, but isn’t an overly critical headphone. Diana V2 is not a genre-specific headphone to me. It manages everything very well, from Smooth Jazz, Electronica, IDM, Minimal, Classical, Rock, Funk to Singer/Songwriter.
More on the Diana V2’s sound performance on the next page!