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The HifiMan Sundara headphones are an open-back planar magnetic audiophile set of cans.
Fashioned with a similar build as other HifiMan headphones and consisting of a floating headband which allows users to listen comfortably for hours on end, the Sundara is priced as an entry-level music lover's headphone.
The HIFIMAN SUNDARA is an open-backed headphone with a specially designed planar magnetic driver. The connection to which is made via the supplied cable with socketed connectors which offers a secure and sturdy connection yet allow for easy cable swapping. The headphone's relatively high sensitivity is higher than is typical in a planar magnetic headphone and allows it to be driven with some ease by conventional headphone amplifiers and even many mobile phones. The SUNDARA also offers an impressive frequency response range, from 6-75kHz and with all the dynamic realism that HIFIMAN headphones are renowned for.
Compared with previous HIFIMAN headphones the SUNDARA features an all-new headband that borrows from our two previous designs. All of the comfort and even weight distribution of the latter style but the more conventional appearance of the early designs. This means you can enjoy your audio in all possible comfort and with their angled pads, you can listen all day long. Sonically they share the same HIFIMAN level of resolution and even-handed sonic performance across the acoustic spectrum that you have come to expect. Smooth and highly extended, delicately nuanced treble and rich, hearty, punchy and rhythmic lows too. Vocals and strings are astonishingly true to life.
The SUNDARA is meant to be used by a wide range of sources, from the upper-end quality of a large desktop amplifier and yet it can also be run superbly from our own little SuperMini. Power, control, and finesse all sewn up into sumptuous headphone that we think is as visually stunning as it is sounding.
HIFIMAN has been researching and developing diaphragms for many years, this core technology has been further utilized in the design of SUNDARA. The production, processing, and installation of diaphragm materials is highly complex, trying to create materials with both high tensile strength and low weight. The driver's extremely low thickness and mass means it can produce tremendously low distortion levels yet offer a highly dynamic response. This, while difficult to achieve it is made possible by HIFIMAN's extensive Planar Magnetic technology, offering headphones that can be powered by nearly any portable device or mobile phone. Yet, the SUNDARA can offer the listener a perfectly integrated end result where the audio produced has a remarkable tonal quality and clarity.
Compared to conventional dynamic driver headphones, planar magnetic headphones have solved problems such as surface distortion of high-frequency audio and the lingering vibrations in a dynamic loudspeaker. The large and heavy magnets used face a residual vibration due to the retained momentum in the driver as it moves. In a Planar Magnetic, the utilization efficiency has been improved by the weight of drivers being reduced with the use of our ultra-fine diaphragm in the SUNDARA.
The thickness of the SUNDARA s diaphragm is a sliver of the width of a human hair. This light, high tensile strength material with HIFIMAN s patented Planar Magnetic technology are a perfect sound producing pairing. We have had to select from numerous prototype designs and production methods and the best-sounding materials yet keeping an eye on making such audio technology affordable.
The ergonomic and comfortable headband is designed to fit for most people, with greater reliability and durability.
The new SUNDARA headband retains the comfort of the weight spreading head strap but the overarching headband has been contoured to a more human shape. The SUNDARA remains as comfy to wear yet makes a more urban visual aesthetic. The headband's more minimal look perfectly complements the matte black anodized finish which absorbs the eye as it does light.
The new headband also incorporates a sleek unibody yolk attaching the frame to the headphone cups making a seamless ergonomic sweeping curve that is both elegant and functional. Its single piece of metal construction makes it durable enough to withstand the rigors of modern urban life. To adjust the headband, simply move each ear cup up or down until the top of the headband rests comfortably on your head and the ear cups surround your ears.
The new outer grills have been designed with three key aspects, sound, protection, and aesthetics. The New SUNDARA grill strikes a perfect balance of all three providing a sturdy protective outer barrier for the delicate innards without disrupting their audio and does it all with a jet black finish. The gently glossy sheen creates a striking balance against the matte black cups. Black against black, shimmer against pure light absorption, it’s the perfect match to their sumptuous audio.
The cable configuration used for the SUNDARA is a crystalline copper wire. Comprised of materials chosen to ensure low resistance in the signal transmission and high mechanical strength for daily use which should ensure a long and fruitful existence. The cables are user-replaceable and have channel orientation for left and right. An “L” and “R” are indicated inside the headband. Once the cable is installed with the correct channel orientation, an easy way to tell left and right is the cable is connected slightly toward the front of the ear cup. The cable will then drape across the user’s chest for greater comfort.
The New SUNDARA makes use of a new 3.5mm socket for its cable connection. This gives an even more sturdy and robust physical connection for attaching the cables to and gives a greater surface area for signal transmission to boot. Giving not only a boost to its audio potential but raising the levels of punishment the connection can withstand too.
The symmetry of the earpads on the SUNDARA conforms around the human ear, comfortably distributing the weight evenly yet offering a secure and sound grip. The pads themselves are gently beveled, contouring and molding to the users head thus providing superb comfort for long listening sessions.
All-in-all, I found the Sundara to be a physically solid product offering at this price point. The look is understated but nicely stylish; build quality and materials are quite good; comfort is quite good; ... I feel like this is probably the most balanced and coherent product offering I've seen from HiFiMAN."Tyll Hertsens, Inner fidelity | March 4, 2018