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The HifiMAN Sundara sounds terrible

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#1
After reading the amazing reviews of the HifiMan Sundara, I decided to buy and compare them to my Sennheiser HD 660 s for a few days. Wow, these headphones aren't in the same tier. The 660 S sounds like a upper mid-fi headphone while the Sundara sounds like it belongs in the same tier as the Beyerdynamic DT 880/990.

Where is this praise for Sundara's coming from? The sound is bright, the bass presence isn't there to balance out the thin, harsh highs, and the vocal performance of this headphone is nowhere near the $350 price point. The $170 Sennheiser 58X is better in every way except for linear bass.

Why do people put the Sundara in the same tier as the 660 S?
 
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flipflop

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#2
The sound is bright, the bass presence isn't there to balance out the thin, harsh highs, and the vocal performance of this headphone is nowhere near the $350 price point.
These problems can all be remedied with EQ.
 
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Thread Starter #6
I also need to add that this headphone sounds dead and even thinner when listening on low volume. When you try to increase volume, well now the harsh highs lead to listening fatigue. Yikes!
 

Veri

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#8
I also need to add that this headphone sounds dead and even thinner when listening on low volume. When you try to increase volume, well now the harsh highs lead to listening fatigue. Yikes!
The ananda sound is really quite good though, even un-EQ'd. Never got to give the Sundara an in-depth listen so can't help there...
 

abdo123

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#9
What's the point of being a planar headphone, which is supposed to do bass better than a dynamic driver, if the bass has underwhelming impact, quantity and quality?
Bass level is a really complicated personal thing. It is often also headphone dependent.

-64% of the population prefers the Harman Target Curve.
-15% of the population prefers the Harman Target Curve with 3 to 6dB more LF.
-22% of the population prefers the Harman Target Curve with 2 to 4dB less LF.

Source: https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=20289
 

devopsprodude

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#10
Oratory scores:

Sennheiser HD660 S https://www.dropbox.com/s/s4isno09gt20ozf/Sennheiser HD660S.pdf?dl=0 Score of 70 before EQ, 96 after
HD 58x https://www.dropbox.com/s/lr0t5bm0g9h167t/Sennheiser HD58X.pdf?dl=0 69 score before, 93 after

Hifiman Ananda can't even get above 90 with EQ https://www.dropbox.com/s/l1wivpf8901uflr/Hifiman Ananda.pdf?dl=0
Sundara cans score excellent without EQ and improve to 96 with it https://www.dropbox.com/s/o3fza1a4kmmy4vr/Hifiman Sundara (2020 revised earpads).pdf?dl=0

Beyerdynamic 880 improve from 67 to 99 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ev610urpz84nedi/Beyerdynamic DT880 (new earpads).pdf?dl=0
990 improve from 82 to 106 https://www.dropbox.com/s/sqb4mgfgq86idwc/Beyerdynamic DT990 (fresh earpads).pdf?dl=0

$1500 Sennheiser HD800 S go from 83 to 101 https://www.dropbox.com/s/zsp3jucy5lsty0m/Sennheiser HD800S.pdf?dl=0

I can do this all day. So no, my statement is not false. Nearly all headphones need EQ to sound their best. The Sundara cans are no exception.
 

garbulky

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#11
After reading the amazing reviews of the HifiMan Sundara, I decided to buy and compare them to my Sennheiser HD 660 s for a few days. Wow, these headphones aren't in the same tier. The 660 S sounds like a upper mid-fi headphone while the Sundara sounds like it belongs in the same tier as the Beyerdynamic DT 880/990.

Where is this praise for Sundara's coming from? The sound is bright, the bass presence isn't there to balance out the thin, harsh highs, and the vocal performance of this headphone is nowhere near the $350 price point. The $170 Sennheiser 58X is better in every way except for linear bass.

Why do people put the Sundara in the same tier as the 660 S?
What's your amp?
 

abdo123

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#12
Oratory scores:

Sennheiser HD660 S https://www.dropbox.com/s/s4isno09gt20ozf/Sennheiser HD660S.pdf?dl=0 Score of 70 before EQ, 96 after
HD 58x https://www.dropbox.com/s/lr0t5bm0g9h167t/Sennheiser HD58X.pdf?dl=0 69 score before, 93 after

Hifiman Ananda can't even get above 90 with EQ https://www.dropbox.com/s/l1wivpf8901uflr/Hifiman Ananda.pdf?dl=0
Sundara cans score excellent without EQ and improve to 96 with it https://www.dropbox.com/s/o3fza1a4kmmy4vr/Hifiman Sundara (2020 revised earpads).pdf?dl=0

Beyerdynamic 880 improve from 67 to 99 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ev610urpz84nedi/Beyerdynamic DT880 (new earpads).pdf?dl=0
990 improve from 82 to 106 https://www.dropbox.com/s/sqb4mgfgq86idwc/Beyerdynamic DT990 (fresh earpads).pdf?dl=0

$1500 Sennheiser HD800 S go from 83 to 101 https://www.dropbox.com/s/zsp3jucy5lsty0m/Sennheiser HD800S.pdf?dl=0

I can do this all day. So no, my statement is not false. Nearly all headphones need EQ to sound their best. The Sundara cans are no exception.
if by 'great' you mean 'absolutely perfect' then yes. otherwise there are quite few headphones on Auto EQ that follow the harman target curve pretty well.

also anything above '80' score is great to me.
 

devopsprodude

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#14
if by 'great' you mean 'absolutely perfect' then yes. otherwise there are quite few headphones on Auto EQ that follow the harman target curve pretty well.

also anything above '80' score is great to me.
80 is a B score...that's merely good...above 90 is great. I choose my words carefully.
 

Cahudson42

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#17
Unlikely but I would check the headphone cable with a multimeter for a short/'partial' short or high unequal resistance..
 

Raindog123

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#18
I don’t have a Sundara, but have a 400i (2020).. Was pretty terrible with a few dongles - just like you’re describing the sound - severely underpowered. But after I bought Heresy, I fell in love with my HifiMan... But as @devopsprodude says, with Heresy you should have enough power... Any difference between Heresy’s high and low gains?
 
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Veri

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#19
80 is a B score...that's merely good...above 90 is great.
It's just an indicator of how well they track the reference curve. 80+ can sound absolutely fine, improved with EQ. Again, Ananda sound really fairly good despite the "low" score. And I really don't particularly like the AKG K361/371 despite the good harman score. Personal preference still comes into play... you can't predict how much you'll like something by some rating alone. It's just a tool.
 
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