Hifiman Sundara Review – Outstanding is the New Standard

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Pros –

Well-balanced signature, Comfortable, Very coherent imaging, Nice build quality

Cons –

Mediocre sub-bass extension

Verdict –

The Sundara provides a natural, tonally excellent presentation and one of the most accurate midrange timbres in its price range. Buyers would do well to choose the Sundara.


Introduction –

Hifiman are one of the original Chi-Fi hits, shocking users with their cost-effective designs and sound signatures usually only found on considerably more expensive audio products. No doubt, those following the hobby for the last decade would have heard of their legendary RE in-ears that have evolved through various incarnations over the years and honed the same neutral-orientated tunning. And with their headphones, Hifiman achieved similar renown, the HE line becoming high and frequent recommendations for their excellent value.

However, though sonically excellent, these headphones were for their inconsistent quality control and average build quality. Then there’s the Sundara, with a new name, new sound, and new design. Gone are the plastic fittings and exposed seams of the past in favour of a solid yet sleek and minimalist design. Similarly, treble is tamed, unveiling background details previously unheard. At $400 USD, the Sundara maintains Hifiman’s legendary value while appending common complaints from past models to produce one of their most well-rounded products yet! You can read more about the Sundara here and treat yourself to one using the link below:

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Hifiman very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Sundara for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

Design –

Hifiman has always been known for offering excellent sonic performance considering their asking price, however, many considered this to come at the cost of poor build quality and quality control. With the Sundara, I can happily report that this is no longer the case, with the headphone exhibiting a significantly sleeker and more refined design and a higher level of finish. Their coherent matte black colour scheme complements a clean design with minimal parts. This ensures a solid feel and no squeaks or rattles.

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The headphones are predominately metal with only the adjustment system sporting plastic covers. Though the design and level of finish is simple, edges are nicely finished and the machining is delightfully consistent. The faux leather headband is very wide, distributing the weight of the headphones over a large area to avoid the formation of hotspots. The headphones are quite light for a planar which contributes to their comfortable fit.

Meanwhile, though the ear cups do not pivot, the ear pads are naturally angled and conform very comfortably to the head. They have large openings and are of the hybrid faux leather/fabric variety. They breathe nicely and offer ample room for larger ears. Despite appearing thin, they comfortably enclosed my wider than average ears without forming hotspots over longer listening. The Sundara is a very comfortable headphone to wear and it has a stable fit.

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At the bottom, users will find a dual mono 3.5mm removable cable system. The cable is reasonably thick but it doesn’t weigh down the headphones. It has metal connectors and a reasonably smooth rubber sheath. The cable is markedly more compliant than that included with past HE-400 models. It is terminated with an Oyaide-style right angle 3.5mm plug. The cable resists tangles well and appears to be markedly better constructed than previous Hifiman units, it is also the easiest to live with from an ergonomic standpoint.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

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