Pretty disappointed by the Mojo 2 + Sundara combo. I figured it would be enough power based on specs and reviews and while the Mojo 2 can make the Sundara plenty loud, it sounds like a lot transient detail is getting lost, dynamics are lame, and soundstage is relatively small. Mojo 2 into desktop amps* (even just a Schiit Heresy) is a significant step up in sound quality.
Comparing the Mojo 2 to other high-end DACs, the Mojo 2 is practically indistinguishable so I think it’s a great DAC - but I was hoping for a simple all-in-one battery powered solution for using Sundaras away from my studio.
I purchased a backup pair for the studio / for attended mix sessions and I’m happy to report that the 2022 Sundara I received (directly from HiFiMan) sounds more or less identical to the 2020 Sundara I purchased two years ago. The pads on the 2022 Sundara are actually a little more comfortable than the replacement pads I have on my 2020 pair which I also got directly from HiFiMan - I remember the original 2020 pads being more comfortable than the replacement pads too so maybe replacement pads are just a little different? Who knows.
INTERESTINGLY the 2022 Sundara is slightly more efficient than the 2020 Sundara. I was hoping to use the Mojo 2’s dual outputs to listen with my partner but we noticed that the new pair was always about two or three clicks louder than the old pair. I confirmed using another dac/amp that the new 2022 Sundara was a little louder all other things equal.
I’ve had my Sundara’s (2021) now for a few months, and I am blown away by the sound quality. It just sounds so rich and accurate.
I’ve been pairing the Sundara with the FiiO e10k, and have been happy with the volume levels the little dacp/amp can produce on both my PC and phone. I’ve been looking at the Topping DX3 pro+ as un upgrade to the e10k. I know the dx3 pro+ is a much more feature rich desktop amp, but how much of an upgrade would this be sound quality wise (soundstage, tonal quality, resolution, etc)?
The e10k already gets loud enough, so purely for the amp part I feel the dx3 pro+ would not be necessary. That leaves the DAC part, where the better chip and DSP could make the sound better.
what a beautifully written review, every part of it so coherent to read! I wonder if you gave the Sundara a try in the studio and if you would consider it for that purpose at all. Would you say it’s neutral/analytical enough for production work?
For those unaware, there’s an air gap between the driver and the housing on the Sundara, which gives it a subtle bass boost compared to other open-back planars. The tradeoff is that you lose sub-bass at 20hz due to the dropoff below the resonance frequency (Fs).
When sealing up the driver gap but putty (Funtak here in Canada), it drops the bass boost and provides extension all the way down. I don’t recommend doing this, since perceptually it’ll sound like there’s more bass if you just leave it open. But it is the explanation and conclusion to the curious case of the Sundara’s missing sub-bass below 30hz.