HiFiMan Susvara Over-Ear Planar Headphone - Official Thread

Thanks for your impressions. I agree, the Susvara is probably the best non-Orpheus/HE1 headphone I’ve gotten to hear, but it can start to be just on the edge for me in terms of brightness on some tracks. That’s a matter of personal preference, though, and should be easily fixed by EQ. (I’ve only heard it a few times at shows, mostly amped by a Benchmark HPA-4.) As you probably know, there’s a huge discussion about amplifying the Susvara because it’s so difficult to drive. Out of curiosity, what amp are you using?

The Cayin IHA-6. This amp is specifically meant for inefficient planars like the HE6 and Susvara - and I don’t even get to 12 o’clock on the dial. Also this is a high current amp. I know people say you need a speaker amp to get the most out of it and whatnot but this thing drives it just fine.


Ah great, another Cayin amp user. I own the Cayin HA-300, and I’d love to hear the Susvara on it. I assume it’d be able to run it just fine, right?

Here it is with my LCD-3 Fazos. I’ve upgraded tubes to Psvane ACME 300b and Psvane CV181-T II tubes.


I had the Susvara on loan for a couple of weeks, it was an amazing headphone, along with the price. I tried it with the HA-300, THX 789, RME ADI-2, Master 9 and Crown XLS 2502.

Cayin HA-300 was good at low volumes, but had trouble getting it to its full potential. I tried it with Balanced 3.5W and Unbalanced 5W connections but not with the speaker out 8W. I think that was a missed opportunity, the 8W would have made the most difference.

THX 789 had the same problem with only 3.5W balanced. Sounded good at low volumes but lost oomph when trying to get higher volumes.

RME ADI-2 was good again at low volume but lacked when trying to reach higher levels.

The Master 9 was also good at lower volumes but with the headphones impedance it was probable in the same power class as the THX with more distortion.

The Crown XLS 2502 is a class D pro amp with tremendous power, up to 800W per channel into 4 ohm. This amplifier helped the Susvara reach levels of performance not found in any of the other amplifiers used. the sound achieved was effortless and high volumes were easily achieved.

My friend ultimately sold these headphones due to amplifier dependency and the realization that he was listening at volume levels that was not comfortable for extended listening sessions.

Oh yes, I remember seeing you on Head-fi’s HA-300 thread. So far with the HA-300 (I can’t remember if you still have it or not), which headphones do you like on it?

I have the LCD-3, but I may upgrade to the LCD-4 down the line. I have upgraded my tubes, by the way, to the Psvane ACME 300bs and Psvane CV181-T II. Excellent tubes for this amp!

Thanks for the write-up!

I’m surprised you rated the tonality very high because from what I’ve gathered with your other reviews, I thought you might find it off as did I, but hey, sometimes that’s just how it be. :slight_smile:

I also took some measurements - also measured on a MiniDSP EARS with HPN compensation.

The tonal balance here is more like the HE-1000v1 which I really liked besides the treble response. Comparison of the Susvara and the HE-1000v1 shown after the measurements below.

Hifiman Susvara Stock vs Beyerdynamic pads
Matched at 100 Hz.

Matched at 100 Hz.


These look similar to my measurements as well.

Admittedly my conclusion for tonality is so positive because it’s so much more ‘normal’ when compared to every other flagship planar. The one exception might be the D8K Pro. Also, I mainly get annoyed by 3-5khz recessions, not so much the 1.5-2khz dip that the Susvara has. I think this may also be where a specific gain factor shows up where an elevation would be bothersome for certain people but not so much for others.

Admittedly my conclusion for tonality is so positive because it’s so much more ‘normal’ when compared to every other flagship planar. The one exception might be the D8K Pro. Also, I mainly get annoyed by 3-5khz recessions, not so much the 1.5-2khz dip that the Susvara has.

Ah, I see. Yeah, at the time I used an HE-6 with the midrange/upper midrange EQ’d like how the Susvara looks currently like with the old Beyerdynamic pads I have for them. Maybe the difference between the stock Susvara and the HE-6 I had at the time was just so jarring to me at first that I found it to be very off. I did fail to mention that I did have a quick listen to the Susvara with the stock pads before shipping them out, and I didn’t dislike them as much as I did when I first listened to them.

1.5-2khz dip that the Susvara has. I think this may also be where a specific gain factor shows up where an elevation would be bothersome for certain people but not so much for others.

Yeah, I can see this being the case. Being forward or even “flat” in ~2 kHz region would probably deter most people. I do typically like a more laid-back response from ~ 1- 5 kHz relative to the Harman curve, but on the Susvara, it’s the notable dip centered around 1.7 kHz followed by a rise back up to 3 kHz that either I’m not used to or I just find to be really odd.

I’m curious as to how far you’re in the reviewing stage. I’ve been listening to a modded DT880 and it’s miserable after having the Susvara as my daily driver haha.

Also, I am sorta curious as what you think of the Susvara with the old Beyerdynamic pads. Doesn’t have to be included in the review, but I just wanted to know yours thoughts on it since I think it “improves” on some aspects of the Susvara besides just, from what I think, frequency response.

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Yeah I’ll post my impressions of them in here (along with measurements). I’m in the editing stage of the video at the moment - and yeah I focused more on the stock Susvara, with mention of the modded pads. I’m aiming to have it all done by the end of the weekend and then shipped back out to you early next week. I can only imagine what it’d be like without them for a few weeks. I have the opposite problem, where I now need to own one at some point - at the worst possible time too. Although now that I think about it, maybe it’s the ideal time being stuck at home for long periods.


It is definitely going to need a lot more voltage swing and current to hit the 104 dB of even LCD-4 at 1 Volt.



This should help you how much voltage swing is needed to match the dB output of LCD-4 @ 1 V

How about matching HE-1000se at dB level of 110.6 at 1v using the equation below, for to match of 15.4 dB gain you need 6 volts and 100 mA = 600 mW or .6 watts

dB Change Voltage Power Loudness
3 1.4X 2X 1.23X
6 2.0 4.0 1.52
10 3.16 10 2
20 10 100 4
40 100 10,000 16

You can use this equation to also find the voltage you need to hit dB delta
dBvolts = 20 * log (E1 / E0)

Just reminder be cautious with your hearing


Listening Loudness Voltage Needed Current Needed Powe Needed
Safe 85 dB SPL 0.31 Vrms 5.17 mA 1.6 mW
Moderate 100 dB SPL 1.73 Vrms 28.83 mA 49.88 mW
Fairly Loud 110 dB SPL 5.49 Vrms 91.5 mA 502.34 mW
Very Loud 115 dB SPL 9.75 Vrms 162.5 mA 1.584 mW
Painful 120 dB SPL 17.35 Vrms 289.17 mA 5.017 W

Hey, I just saw the review vid. Were the alternate pads there yours? Are they some kind of Beyer mods?

Sorry, just started reading this thread and the OP maybe the most "life of an audiophile " thing ever :rofl: :joy: :joy: :rofl: I think I’ve been on that journey a couple times now with headphones.

I’m glad you got the headphones you love.


Sheldon, your post sums up an “Audiophile” perfectly. :heart:


I try not to analyse when listening to the Susvarna because all it does is remind me that I don’t have the proper amp(s) for them. The fact that they sound better at the receiving end of a desktop>Micromega USB DAC>vinatage receiver (Pioneer SX-650) than they do when driven by the Naim DAC-V1 (in any configuration) is a pretty good pointer to that effect. Sure the receiver delivers plenty wattage (hail the ol’ swing) but the Susvarna doesn’t like power floods like, say, the HE6se does. Contrary to what I had initially assumed, this has nothing to do with efficiency and everything to do with the obvious: the Susvara is one heck of a finicky headphone. Because of that I’ve decided to wait until the price drops a little on the modest EF6 which is said to work good on that phone as long as volume requirements remain just as modest. I don’t listen to that phone often enough to justify the purchase of an amp that works good on only one headphone model.

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hahahah. I still don’t regret it either!


As you shouldn’t! :heart:

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Yeah, the alternative pads are mine. The ones in @Resolve’s video review are the stock pads but with perforations along the sides (the ones set on the desk). I was reminded of the “Jerg mod” for Hifiman’s stock pleather pads which brings up the ~ 2 kHz while bringing down the ~1 kHz peak in Hifiman headphones (or at least in the HE-6 that I tested with).

Measured on a MiniDSP EARS. HPN compensation. Matched at 200 Hz.
Actually in hindsight, it seems just the 1 kHz peak is brought down with the HE-6 (with a bit more treble energy). On the Susvara, the ~2kHz region is brought up as shown in my previous post. The bass does bump up a tiny bit but then rolls off - the roll-off in the bass happens because the front air volume (or the pressure created within the earcups when put on the side of the head) is no longer fully sealed as air can escape through the perforations. The bump in the bass, I think, is due to the diaphragms being not fully damped in the front side due to the air being able to escape through the perforations - this allows the diaphragms to “flop” around more.

I did also have some old Beyerdynamic(?) pads on them and those measure a bit differently than the modded stock pads in the video review:

Measured on a MiniDSP EARS. HPN compensation. Matched at 200 Hz. I typically like the ~2-5 region to be a bit laid back, so my preference goes to the old Beyerdynamic pads. That and also, the bass extension is kept up to level.

A note on the old Beyerdynamic pads: I’m not actually sure they’re Beyerdynamic pads. I got them a while back on a vintage headphone (maybe it was a vintage DT990) and they’re very different from modern Beyerdynamic pads (though I’m not saying, “Old, good; new bad”). For one, there’s no perforations underneath the pads and the other main thing being that the foam density is different - modern Beyerdynamic pads use a sort of quick-recovery foam; the old Beyerdynamic(?) pads I have on them seems to be a sort of memory foam though not quite as dense ones like on Dekoni or ZMF pads. In my limited experience, dense memory foam pads tend to bloat the bass and “close-in” the sound. Thicker pads tend to be more susceptible to reflections within the earpad and typically yield a peaky or sharp treble response. There are some pads that don’t always follow these results (that I found true at least to myself) such as the Audeze vegan pads, but it’s been a general thing that I’ve kept in mind before buying earpads.


Yeah this seems right. I think that’s also why there are efforts to do the perforated style or hybrid styles to get the best of both worlds for that. I was talk to Zach from ZMF at CanJam about this stuff and he mentioned that the Suede pads for his headphones also smooth out some of the treble peaks, so I can see that being the absence of reflective properties that would otherwise amplify certain resonances - probably not unlike ear-based gain factors.


This is awesome @Feilong4 :grin:

Both options look super interesting, thanks for the thorough reply.

I just picked up a Susvara, and will definately be looking into these kinds of options.

  • That being said… sound “pretty” good stock as well.

Whats the easiest way to make the pads come off of these cans btw?

  • Scurred of messing them up.
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