HiFiMan Susvara Over-Ear Planar Headphone - Official Thread

Thank you for the info, the Soncoz amp seems interesting. I’m using a +3db bass shelf with -3.5 on the pre amp. On the Jot2 12:00 on the dial is already loud enough on low gain, on high gain I am at 9:00. But then again I could also get it loud enough from the Rebel Amp easily (0.6w at 50ohm), but that didn’t sound that good. How would you calculate current output from manufacturer provided specs?

Thought I’d give a quick snapshot of where I’m at with my Susvara journey:

  • DAC: Holo May KTE
  • Tube Preamp: Schiit Freya+ (with RCA JAN CRC-5692 tubes on the right)
  • Amp: Parasound Halo a21+ speaker amp
  • Cans: Susvara with Skedra Viking silver coated copper cable

I don’t have golden ears but I like what I’m hearing.

The Holo May KTE sounds clear but never fatiguing. I stick with NOS (non-oversampling) as it sounds the most natural and enjoyable. USB and Toslink both sound fantastic. I haven’t messed with the other digital connections.

The Parasound Halo a21+ is a beast at 300wpc @ 8ohms and drives the Susvara (and I’d suspect most headphones) with ease and plenty of headroom. The amp sounds natural, agile and provides the Susvara with the most bass I’ve heard out of the limited amps I own (Focal Arche, SPL Phonitor XE, SAE 50wpc receiver). I have the incoming gain on rear of the amp set to 50% and rarely go past 12 o’clock on the preamp as seen in the photo, which corresponds to roughly 75db. This allows a large range of useable volume adjustment. Speaking of volume, at low volume, the amp seems to present music with a virtual ‘loudness control’ turned on. Normally we can’t hear lows or highs as well at low volumes but I was surprised to hear a bit of oomph in bass at low listening volumes…very cool. Naturally there’s no noise when I crank up the volume with music paused. Dead. Silence. This is a refined brute. So far I’ve measured the cooling fins at 103°F with an ambient temp of 70°F. Not bad for all day class-A listening pleasure. I’m running directly out of the speaker taps via cables (no boxes).

I’m still messing around with tube rolling with the Schiit Freya+. With the NOS tubes, the preamp injects little color and for about half the price of the preamp I’d probably suggest something that sounds a bit more ‘tubey.’ I’d describe this setup as close to neutral with marginal bass bloom, slightly smoothed trebles and a hint of a holographic effect.

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So this might be interesting about the (possible) pad revision. I live in Europe and received a pair of warranty replacement pads today after the original pads glue came loose on the thinner side of the pads. This might have been partially my fault, because I did multiple pad swaps using the credit card method, and something might have become stuck there. But luckily warranty replacement wasn’t a problem.

The new pads has a larger vertical opening of around 70mm instead of the previous 64mm.


The front (thinner side) of the replacement pads measures a little thinner (around 14mm, vs 16mm on my old pad) but the thicker backside is about the same (25mm). I also notice the leather outer part on the replacement pads is stitched up higher, it is now touching my head:


I am not sure if this is just variance in the pads or a deliberate change, maybe after some wear this will change.

As for sound, I don’t really notice a lot of difference. I noticed a lot of change when doing pad swaps to the Dekoni Elite hybrid, didn’t like how those pads changed the sound. As for comfort I prefer these new pads so far, but will have to see what happens after the pads wear. Because of the bigger opening I don’t feel my ears are being squished anywhere. I did experience this with my old pads that had the smaller opening. Kinda reminded me of the Sundara pads when I had them.

TLDR; got different sized replacement Susvara pads, probably just the older style.

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that looks like just normal variance to me

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HiFiMan…anything might be normal.

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So finally have you brought a Timekeeper 3iR and tried it with susvara ?

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Haha I don’t think I ever stated I was gonna buy one but, no, I don’t have either. I do want a susvara but I don’t have the budget to spend that amount of source gear I would like to spend on it for me to be satisfied.

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Budget? While not a dac/amp, a tt2 stacks perfectly with a 13r for a damned good stack. Other dacs i prefer in the price range but you kinda cant beat the form factor. Tbh the idsd+ican also works pretty damned well. A bit over priced for the sound quality imo but it does fully run the cans.

HOT TAKE: I would take a Sundara + Phonitor XE over a Susvara and Phonitor XE :grimacing:

-Without the gain switch on the bottom of the Phonitor engaged, the Susvara sounds limp to me - as if it’s thirsty for more current.

-With the gain switch on the bottom of the Phonitor engaged, the Susvara sounds notably better - among the most detailed and spacious combos I’ve ever heard… but it still sounds like it’s struggling a little - especially in the low end. It’s enjoyable, but in the end I prefer the less detailed and less spacious Sundara + Phonitor combo which, in contrast, sounds completely effortless.

I’m a HUGE Sundara fan. I think the level of space and detail that the Sundara has is already greater than what the artists making your favorite music are used to which makes the Sundara - with its borderline perfect tuning - an incredible value at a literal fraction of the cost.

Back to the Susvara - I should be receiving a Ferrum Oor + Hypsos stack in for review in the next few days and I can’t wait to hear what that combo sounds like! In the meantime, the Susvara is going back in the box :woman_shrugging:

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I don’t feel like this is all that much of a hot take tbh. Ignoring the fact that I dont think the phonitor sound plays well with sus in the first place, the XE (and all phonitors in general tbh) are high gain designs that just generally don’t have the grunt to run sus to its fullest. To be frank, I think sus is probabaly the hardest can I’ve ever owned to get the propper performance out of. Thats one of the reasons I dont recomend it much. I think basically every other TOTL can on the market would do better on the phonitor than sus (and all but utopia are just less picky in general).

All of this is to say, sus is a bit of a PITA and there is no shame in personal preference. I hope the Ferrum/sus combo is to your liking though (its what made me buy sus at canjam last year)!

Also, slight side note, but give sus some time. Dont just AB it right away. Give it a week or two of exclusive ear time so your brain can acclimate before swapping back. It may well be the slowest burn can I have ever bough in terms of “making sense of what it does”

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I feel the same way with the Susvara and the RME Adi. Yeah, the RME can get more than loud enough. But the stage is so small and the mids are so messy and forward, that I do not enjoy listening with it.

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Try with the smsl sp400

I have had the similar experience not involving the Sundara, or with the setup you are suggesting but the HE6se v2.

Those HiFiman headphones need a foolish amount of power or current.

I listened to the susvara at the Florida audio expo and it sounded like crap. Then at Axpona and it sounded like crap. I felt like my decision going with the HE6 was wise and definitely saved me a load of cash.

Then someone else had it at Axpona with a 20 wpc pure class A headphone amp and good god was it great.

My personal take is the HE6 does have probably one or two characteristics I prefer which stand out, however overall in every aspect the Sus does better but I wouldn’t say by a lot in my opinion.

I would really need to blind test it or A/B

One gentleman, @Torq, on here pointed out that there’s no chance my HE6’s were using 10 watts on the current amp I own and I could clearly say I wasn’t getting 20 wpc to my ears as well. Since that would probably mean I am deaf now.

I just think it needs that juice or it’s horrible. Sad really, since both are so grand in performance and require such great power which isn’t readily available.

I wouldn’t consider it a design flaw, yet as you pointed what they have done with the Sundara’s is amazing all around.

The Phonitor XE really shines with Dynamic headphones. With harder to drive planar magnetic headphones (Sus, LCD-4, HE-6) it doesn’t quite have the grunt to drive them properly. It might get loud enough but the current delivery isn’t really there.

Would definitely wait on that Ferrum stack coming in before making any judgements on the Susvara.

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Hi, I’d like to share what I wrote in the ZMF Verité Open thread.

I’ve been trying out different headphones in recent months. Some good, some not so good and one almost perfect.

For me, the Hifiman Susvara is a revelation. Nothing I’ve heard comes close to the way it combines technical capability with musical abillity, nothing. The first headphone I heard without feeling the need to adjust or change anything with eq…

It’s just too expensive (for me), and therefore almost perfect :smiley:

P.S. My daily driver is the ZMF Verité Open. It isn’t perfect but very charming and a joy to live with.

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What DAC and amp did you use for it?

I had the opportunity to try it with Auralic Vega 2.1 and iFi Audio Pro iCAN Signature.

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Btw, it was the first time I heard this combo and it was good. Loved the simplicity of ethernet into streamer/dac to headphone amp. Understand the allure of the aio DCS Bartok…

Hi everyone, I currently own many Focals, Audezes, but I’d really like to try the Susvaras before committing to the entire setup to buy them and amp them. I live in the Bay Area (San Franciso / San Jose), and I was wondering if anyone is local and would be open to let me visit and try them? I’m happy to pay whatever fee you feel is fair. I’m sure I won’t need more than an hour of your time. Or if you can recommend a showroom I can trial them in? But I haven’t found anything in the Bay. Thank you so much!

Henry

I’m in Redwood City. Send me a pm happy to have you over.

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