• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

HIFIMAN Susvara Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 214 62.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 59 17.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 32 9.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 38 11.1%

  • Total voters
    343

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,373
Likes
4,085
Interesting. It scores a lot better than I thought it would on the preference rating score.
And the slope is a lot flatter than I thought it would be. I guess the folks who suggested it is balanced were not wrong after all.

One question if I may, regarding the frequency at which to normalize the FR to the target curve, do you use what Amir uses or do you make adjustments on that?
 

Maiky76

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
444
Likes
3,743
Location
French, living in China
Interesting. It scores a lot better than I thought it would on the preference rating score.
And the slope is a lot flatter than I thought it would be. I guess the folks who suggested it is balanced were not wrong after all.

One question if I may, regarding the frequency at which to normalize the FR to the target curve, do you use what Amir uses or do you make adjustments on that?
Two factors in priority order:
1. minimum biquad count
2. stay close to Amir's sensitivity to make it easier for readers

For circumaural HP there no hard frequency just some recommendations as the score does not depend on the normalization frequency (contrary to IE devices).
 

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,373
Likes
4,085
Two factors in priority order:
1. minimum biquad count
2. stay close to Amir's sensitivity to make it easier for readers
Makes sense. Does it also mean that EQ you create is a quite an iterative process, in that it involves creating the biquads, moving the normalization frequency around, calculating the filters again so see if that is optimum and so on?

For circumaural HP there no hard frequency just some recommendations as the score does not depend on the normalization frequency (contrary to IE devices).
Oh. How the absolute slope would not change with normalization frequency is pretty obvious. SD does not change with NF is not so much :) If you chose a frequency which is further away from the general FR curve, that would increase the SD would it not?
 

Maiky76

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
444
Likes
3,743
Location
French, living in China
Makes sense. Does it also mean that EQ you create is a quite an iterative process, in that it involves creating the biquads, moving the normalization frequency around, calculating the filters again so see if that is optimum and so on?


Oh. How the absolute slope would not change with normalization frequency is pretty obvious. SD does not change with NF is not so much :) If you chose a frequency which is further away from the general FR curve, that would increase the SD would it not?
Allons bon Monsieur Fourier! :)

Assuming "SD" means standard deviation and we have Gaussian/normal distribution :

91021445_3571887652828330_7251484037942870016_n.png

The average value (μ) of the deviation is where the center of the gaussian curve seats on the x axis.
The SD (σ) estimates the width of the curve (68/95/99.7% rule) around the the average (μ).
The normalization process adds a constant offset (i.e. μ + offset) but does not change the spread around this value i.e. SD (σ).

∀a∈ℝ
X a vector of length n
X∈ℝ^n
σ(X+a)=σ(
X)
 
Last edited:

srkbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
1,034
Likes
1,452
Location
Dallas, TX
Indeed, you are quite right.

Dekoni provides measurements on their site for their pads with the FR curve of the original earpads on the same graph : there are some differences, but not much, and in any case the FR by Hifiman have some issues, the worse for me being the recession in the presence area, weakening the voices.

Here for example the measurement graphs comparing the Dekoni hybrid pad to the stock Susvara pad:

Susvara-HYB-1536x971.png
Actually I purchased the Dekoni Elite Hybrid pads for my HE1000se, despite being a long-time skeptic of the company, and they solved the fatigue factor I was struggling with and allowed me to cut back on the bass boost. I was pleasantly surprised, after I was finally able to get the damn things to snap on properly.

I made a similar mod to my Utopias by rolling them with Stellia pads, which aren’t fenestrated like the stock Utopias are. That allowed me to eschew any bass PEQ at all!

There may be some cases where a little experimentation with aftermarket pads might offer a benefit—after all the tuning of most headphones is Harman-averse and mostly arbitrary anyway, and I’m accustomed to PEQ’ing all of mine either way!
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
This is an astoundingly good headphone! I have personally used it for 4 months. The first time I heard it at a show, I wasn’t expecting much and was blown away by the clarity & detail retrieval. Measurements people on this forum have praised it as well. If you cannot hear its beyond obvious sheer quality - you are biased or you need your ears testing.
 

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,373
Likes
4,085
This is an astoundingly good headphone! I have personally used it for 4 months. The first time I heard it at a show, I wasn’t expecting much and was blown away by the clarity & detail retrieval. Measurements people on this forum have praised it as well. If you cannot hear its beyond obvious sheer quality - you are biased or you need your ears testing.
You heard clarity& detail in an open back headphone while testing it on the show floor? Or maybe they had a special, sound isolated listening room?
 

FINFET

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
Messages
113
Likes
203
If you cannot hear its beyond obvious sheer quality - you are biased or you need your ears testing.
Whether you appreciate it or not is a matter of individual specific subjective opinion at a given moment. It is not sufficient to infer or assume others' opinions or preferences based on this alone. We need information like objective measurements provided in the review which can work as much more reliable clues to infer possible average preferences.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
You heard clarity& detail in an open back headphone while testing it on the show floor? Or maybe they had a special, sound isolated listening room?
It was not the kind of atmosphere you think, there were hardly 40 ppl in 2 separate halls, I was the only one listening to Susvara.
Just stop it guys, this is beyond absurd
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
Whether you appreciate it or not is a matter of individual specific subjective opinion at a given moment. It is not sufficient to infer or assume others' opinions or preferences based on this alone. We need information like objective measurements provided in the review which can work as much more reliable clues to infer possible average preferences.
There’s got to be real life bearing of those objective measurements. Susvara is by far the best headphone to maintain sanctity of sound at loud volumes, that I have heard. Everything else distorts way quicker. I am not the one to worship expensive audio gear and I think Abyss Diana TC was poor when I had it but Susvara is leagues ahead and genuinely outstanding.
 

isostasy

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2022
Messages
354
Likes
633
This is an astoundingly good headphone! I have personally used it for 4 months. The first time I heard it at a show, I wasn’t expecting much and was blown away by the clarity & detail retrieval. Measurements people on this forum have praised it as well. If you cannot hear its beyond obvious sheer quality - you are biased or you need your ears testing.
What new details could you hear which you couldn't with other headphones? It would be helpful to know which songs you listened to and specifically which new details in those songs you could hear. Thanks
 

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,373
Likes
4,085
It was not the kind of atmosphere you think, there were hardly 40 ppl in 2 separate halls, I was the only one listening to Susvara.
Just stop it guys, this is beyond absurd
I tried a few headphones in a fancy audio shop recently, it was mostly quiet but there were still a few customers around and it was hard to focus and tell minute differences apart. I asked them if I can use one of their isolated listening rooms and they kindly obliged. Only there I was able to tell things apart.

The story of you hearing “clarity and detail you never heard” in a show hall with “only 40 people” is clearly BS. You keep telling yourself whatever you want. Try and be a bit sensible when you are going to lie to others on the internet though.
 

Blorg

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
470
Likes
716
What new details could you hear which you couldn't with other headphones? It would be helpful to know which songs you listened to and specifically which new details in those songs you could hear. Thanks
That isn't what "detail" means, it's almost never that you actually hear something you didn't on something else. Almost anything, in terms of a binary did you or not hear a specific thing, you will hear pretty much the same thing on anything whether it's a $6,000 headphone or $20 IEM. At least if the $20 IEM has a reasonably sensible and comparable frequency response, which many do these days.

It's a subjective perception of the sound sounding crisper and more detailed. I'm sure it's in the frequency response at the eardrum and some of it is the treble level, but it's not just the treble level, there are brighter headphones that sound (subjectively) less detailed and less bright ones that sound more detailed.

Clarity is easier and I think better correlated to the FR, that's usually upper mids presence / "pinna gain". More of that is more clarity, until it starts to hurt. Another aspect of clarity for people might be naturalness, i.e. if it just sounds natural (i.e. pinna gain suitable for your personal HTRF, which for the average person is close to Harman). So you can maybe have something that sounds like it has more "clarity" in that sense but is lower, if it's just bang on "natural".

I'm just explaining what people mean when they say this, they almost never mean you can actual hear X which you can't on something cheaper. That's not what it means.
 

Rhamnetin

Active Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2023
Messages
217
Likes
444
There’s got to be real life bearing of those objective measurements. Susvara is by far the best headphone to maintain sanctity of sound at loud volumes, that I have heard. Everything else distorts way quicker. I am not the one to worship expensive audio gear and I think Abyss Diana TC was poor when I had it but Susvara is leagues ahead and genuinely outstanding.

The data shows otherwise. It clipped at a lower SPL than many other headphones tested here. And as others have said, there's nothing you can hear on the Susvara that you won't be able to hear on any other full range headphone. It might make you focus more on a certain frequency spectrum and thus notice something more, that's it, and bias might have led you to focus more on the sound than usual. Granted, being in public even harms that for open back headphones.

You need to realize everyone doesn't necessarily dislike a headphone just because it measures badly; there are plenty of other poor measuring headphones, even expensive ones, that are liked. Look at the entire Audeze lineup and their absence of upper mids and lower treble, yet they have their fans. The Susvara is no different, I'd even say it's generally less offensive than those (it doesn't have a particularly offensive FR which is the most important attribute). But technically speaking it's not great; it has some of the worst phase errors I've seen measured (speculated by some to be deliberate) and some distortion spikes.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
What new details could you hear which you couldn't with other headphones? It would be helpful to know which songs you listened to and specifically which new details in those songs you could hear. Thanks
Good question but better headphones don’t reveal new details. It doesn’t work like that, unless you come from overly warm and smooth entry level stuff. The difference is in presentation of those details - which is way smoother & crisper and just sounds natural. Diana TC will reveal all details but its got an absurdly unnatural & artificial timbre in everything from upper midrange to treble. Edition XS will reveal all details. But it lacerated my ears every-time I heard it. HD800S will get close to revealing all details but it sounds unnatural in a very dynamic headphone kind of a way. Plus a ton of sibilance. Susvara just schools everything with its presentation. You have to hear it to believe it. However it changes colour with whatever amp or DAC you use it with. You absolutely don’t need multi dollar setups. I used it with Topping D30 Pro and Burson Soloist 3XP, it was clinical and detailed but never sibilant. Bass was a bit thin. When I switched to Ragnarok 2, it sounded like sound was coming from 20 feet big speakers. Bass like it will smash you. I changed DAC to Burson Composer with Soloist Amp, the crispness and clarity went even a notch further. Majority of headphones don’t change colour too much with gear. But the really good ones do. Susvara will show you that Topping XLR interconnects are hardwired to magnify high frequencies and curtail bass. Its ultra revealing and transparent.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
I tried a few headphones in a fancy audio shop recently, it was mostly quiet but there were still a few customers around and it was hard to focus and tell minute differences apart. I asked them if I can use one of their isolated listening rooms and they kindly obliged. Only there I was able to tell things apart.

The story of you hearing “clarity and detail you never heard” in a show hall with “only 40 people” is clearly BS. You keep telling yourself whatever you want. Try and be a bit sensible when you are going to lie to others on the internet though.
Believe what you want. I know what I heard. There’s no question of lying. Lol
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
The data shows otherwise. It clipped at a lower SPL than many other headphones tested here. And as others have said, there's nothing you can hear on the Susvara that you won't be able to hear on any other full range headphone. It might make you focus more on a certain frequency spectrum and thus notice something more, that's it, and bias might have led you to focus more on the sound than usual. Granted, being in public even harms that for open back headphones.

You need to realize everyone doesn't necessarily dislike a headphone just because it measures badly; there are plenty of other poor measuring headphones, even expensive ones, that are liked. Look at the entire Audeze lineup and their absence of upper mids and lower treble, yet they have their fans. The Susvara is no different, I'd even say it's generally less offensive than those (it doesn't have a particularly offensive FR which is the most important attribute). But technically speaking it's not great; it has some of the worst phase errors I've seen measured (speculated by some to be deliberate) and some distortion spikes.
Headphones clip with too much volts but need amperes to sound proper. Not enough current & the bass doesn’t come. Just plug a planar into RME and then a proper amp.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
67
Likes
11
A simple fact about your data and measurements is that beyond 9khz headphone measurements are unreliable. Honest & genuine measurers like Rtings clearly state this with a disclaimer. Just imagine thos FR graphs abd suddenky you realise beyond 9khz its all random. Thats the region where quality & refinement of sound comes from.

The data shows otherwise. It clipped at a lower SPL than many other headphones tested here. And as others have said, there's nothing you can hear on the Susvara that you won't be able to hear on any other full range headphone. It might make you focus more on a certain frequency spectrum and thus notice something more, that's it, and bias might have led you to focus more on the sound than usual. Granted, being in public even harms that for open back headphones.

You need to realize everyone doesn't necessarily dislike a headphone just because it measures badly; there are plenty of other poor measuring headphones, even expensive ones, that are liked. Look at the entire Audeze lineup and their absence of upper mids and lower treble, yet they have their fans. The Susvara is no different, I'd even say it's generally less offensive than those (it doesn't have a particularly offensive FR which is the most important attribute). But technically speaking it's not great; it has some of the worst phase errors I've seen measured (speculated by some to be deliberate) and some distortion spikes.
 

rangs641

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
8
Likes
1
Location
India
I tried a few headphones in a fancy audio shop recently, it was mostly quiet but there were still a few customers around and it was hard to focus and tell minute differences apart. I asked them if I can use one of their isolated listening rooms and they kindly obliged. Only there I was able to tell things apart.

The story of you hearing “clarity and detail you never heard” in a show hall with “only 40 people” is clearly BS. You keep telling yourself whatever you want. Try and be a bit sensible when you are going to lie to others on the internet though.
There is some confusion here - he is not claiming that susvara is awesome by hearing it once at some audiophile event, but he actually bought the HPs and used it for a couple of months!
 

Dazerdoreal

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2022
Messages
214
Likes
217
I think by normal standards the measurements are actually good, just not worth 6000$.

- The overall tonal balance looks good, the sound signature "makes sense". The peaks & dips should not be here, especially in the lower mids, but I dont think they are a dealbreaker (unless for 6000$).
- This headphone is from 2017 or so. This was way before Dan Clark managed to establish "Harman Bass" on an open headphone - if you even want that.
The Susvara graph implies that there is hardly any bass roll off which is already good to me.
- I could not care less if a headphone has distortion peaks at 114 db. Unless you listen to certain very specific classical recordings with a ridiculous dynamic range, it is not recommend to ever listen this loud anyway. It would not make sense to pay 6000$ for a headphone in order to destroy your sense of hearing using it afterwards.

I havent listen to the Susvara yet, but with the spacious construction and all I can absolutely see how this can sound great to people.
 
Top Bottom