Disclaimer: The Hifiman Sundara was sent to us by the Hifiman directly in exchange for this review. Hifiman is an active advertiser on Headfonia.com.
If you’ve been reading Headfonia then you know we quite like the Hifiman sound, if there is such a thing. Hifiman over the years has delivered a series of incredible headphones in all price ranges, some of my favorite being the HE-500, HE-400i, HE-560, Edition X and the HE-1000. In Ear Monitor-wise I like both the RE800 and RE2000 24K Gold Edition IEMs a lot.
Recently Hifiman has mostly been focusing on the high end part of the market and they have developed the Shangri-La (the only HE-1 competitor) and the Susvara which we here at HFN like as well. Then when everyone thought Hifiman was going high-end only they surprised us with the launch of the Hifiman Sundara and then at High-End Munich there suddenly was the brand new Ananda. The price/quality ratio of Hifiman’s mid-range headphones has always been extremely good and I’m glad to see these two new headphones deliver great value once again.
For those of you who’d like to know more about Hifiman and their founder, there’s always this interview we did: https://www.headfonia.com/q-n-a-saturday-hifiman/
“Sundara” means beautiful in Sanskrit according to Hifiman, and while I like the name, it’s far more difficult to understand the Hifiman headphone hierarchy compared to when they were still using product numbers.
In case you don’t really care about all of the Sundara’s new features, this is what’s most important to know: The Hifiman Sundara comes with a newly developed diaphragm that is 80% thinner than that of the HE-400 and according to Hifiman that results in a wider frequency response, faster response time and a more lush and detailed sonic signature.
The Sundara is an open backed headphone with a specially designed planar magnetic driver. The connection to which is made via the supplied cable with socketed connectors which offers a secure and sturdy connection yet allow for easy cable swapping. The headphone’s relatively high sensitivity is higher than is typical in a planar magnetic headphone and allows it to be driven with some ease by conventional headphone amplifiers and even many mobile phones. The SUNDARA also offers an impressive frequency response range, from 6-75kHz and with all the dynamic realism that HIFIMAN headphones are renowned for.
More details about the Sundara can be found in the next chapter. If you don’t care about any of it, just skip to the Specs and other parts.
In this section we’ll take a closer look at some of the Sundara features such as the driver, the headband, the grills, the cables, the connectors and the earpads. This is the view of Hifiman only on these six features.
Ultra-Fine Diaphragm: HIFIMAN has been researching and developing diaphragms for many years, this core technology has been further utilized in the design of SUNDARA. The production, processing and installation of diaphragm materials is highly complex, trying to create materials with both high tensile strength and low weight. The driver’s extremely low thickness and mass means it can produce tremendously low distortion levels yet offer a highly dynamic response. This, while difficult to achieve it is made possible by HIFIMAN s extensive Planar Magnetic technology, offering headphones that can be powered by nearly any portable device or mobile phone. Yet, the SUNDARA can offer the listener a perfectly integrated end result where the audio produced is of a remarkable tonal quality and clarity
The Headband: The ergonomic and comfortable headband is designed to fit for most people, with greater reliability and durability. The new SUNDARA headband retains the comfort of the weight spreading headstrap but the overarching headband has been contoured to a more human shape. The SUNDARA remains as comfy to wear yet makes a more urban visual aesthetic. The headband’s more minimal look perfectly complements the matte black anodized finish which absorbs the eye as it does light. The new headband also incorporates a sleek unibody yolk attaching the frame to the headphone cups making a seamless ergonomic sweeping curve that is both elegant and functional. Its single piece of metal construction makes it durable enough to withstand the rigours of modern urban life. To adjust the headband, simply move each ear cup up or down until the top of the headband rests comfortably on your head and the ear cups surround your ears.
The Grills: The new outer grills have been designed with three key aspects, sound, protection and aesthetics. The New SUNDARA grill strikes a perfect balance of all three providing a sturdy protective outer barrier for the delicate innards without disrupting their audio and does it all with a jet black finish. The gently glossy sheen creates a striking balance against the matte black cups. Black against black, shimmer against pure light absorption, it’s the perfect match to their sumptuous audio.
The Cables: The cable configuration used for the SUNDARA is a crystalline copper wire. Comprised of materials chosen to ensure low resistance in the signal transmission and high mechanical strength for daily use which should ensure a long and fruitful existence. The cables are user-replaceable and have channel orientation for left and right. An “L” and “R” are indicated inside the headband. Once the cable is installed with the correct channel orientation, an easy way to tell left and right is the cable is connected slightly toward the front of the ear cup. The cable will then drape across the user’s chest for greater comfort.
Connection sockets: The New SUNDARA makes use of a new 3.5mm socket for its cable connection. This gives an even more sturdy and robust physical connection for attaching the cables to and gives a greater surface area for signal transmission to boot. Giving not only a boost to its audio potential but raising the levels of punishment the connection can withstand too.
Earpads: The symmetry of the ear pads on the SUNDARA conforms around the human ear, comfortably distributing the weight evenly yet offering a secure and sound grip. The pads themselves are gently bevelled, contouring and moulding to the users head thus providing superb comfort for long listening sessions.
Frequency Response : 6Hz-75kHz
Impedance : 37Ω
Sensitivity : 94dB
Weight : 372g
The Box, Accessories & Price
The Hifiman Sundara costs $499 and it comes in a pretty nice box where the headphone is nicely presented in. There also is the necessary plastic to prevent the headphone, band and cups from getting damaged during transport. You’ll immediately notice that there’s no carrying case or anything that comes with your Sundara.
What you do get is the following:
- Pair of headphones
- 5m headphone cable with the new 3.5mm plug
- Pair of ear pads (mounted on headphone)
- Owner’s Guide (with a lot of extra info compared to the Sundaras’ webpage)
The review continues on page two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.