New on the headphone horizon, the Hifiman Sundara already begs comparison with the earlier, now-discontinued Hifiman HE400i. However, as a separate entry in the Hifiman lineup, how does it fare? And how does it compare to the competition overall?
Reviewing Hifiman Sundara
The Hifiman Sundara comes with a few basic accessories – a 1/4” stereo plug and a cushioned box. And that’s about it. Like most Hifiman headphones, this model doesn’t boast a bunch of extra bells and whistles – it’s really all about the sound.
Constructed from a durable aluminum with a leatherette suspension-style headband, the Sundara is lightweight and comfortable, while still feeling rather solid. Doubtlessly, it could take a beating, whether you tend to mistreat your earpieces or, like me, your cable.
With a heavy-duty construction and an overall length of 5 ft (1.5 m), the Sundara’s dual-entry cable is anything but fragile.
Frequency Range: 6-75,000 Hz
Impedance: 37 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 94 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): NA
As we can see from the specs, the Sundara offers a whopping frequency range of 6-75,000 Hz, a low impedance of just 37 ohms, and an SPL of 94 dB. As such, we can expect plenty of detail and a lack of power consumption, recommending these cans for use with low-output devices, such as phones, computers, and personal audio players. While harmonic distortion isn’t rated by the manufacturer, I’d place it easily around the <0.1% mark.
Sporting decent impact without being too powerful or overwhelming, the low end on this headphone sounds natural while still offering excellent detail. Crisp with no bleed, it’s a stately low end for a stately headphone.
In the mids, there’s a real sense of fidelity at play. No compression or distortion ruins the sound here, and the overall impression is one of near-perfection with TONS of detail.
A little bright but true-to-life, the high end of the Sundara offers a very detailed sound. Proving piercing only where the highest highs are concerned, I was pleasantly surprised by the well-developed sound. And while I was half-fearing a too-bright, screeching sound to the high end, the overall smoothness of this high end makes me wonder if I really can hear a difference thanks to that 75,000 Hz frequency range.
It should be no surprise that Hifiman delivers plenty of depth and placement here, resulting in a sense of soundstage that is never anything but realistic. Sucking you in and dragging you down through whatever music you throw at it, this soundstage is almost tangible. My only misgiving here remains the intense low end, which can sometimes overwhelm other elements of the soundstage.
Comfort! Like all but the heaviest Hifiman headphones, the Sundara is no slouch when it comes to longer listening sessions. You can leave these bad boys on for hours and never feel a thing – apart from the ecstasy, that is.
The sound. All around, the sound is just an amazing blend of detail and accuracy, with well-controlled but highly emotive lows and highs. Add to this the spot-on mids and the robust soundstage and you have one hell of a headphone.
If money is no object, and only the best is to be had, Hifiman’s more expensive offerings will deliver a compelling decision for any discerning audiophile. It may not be suited for travel or use on the daily commute, where an objectively “best sounding headphone” is concerned, the Sundara provides the final word at the $500 price point.
Whether you’re looking for dynamic highs and lows or razor-sharp mids, the competent sound and comfortable design of the Hifiman Sundara makes this one headphone you won’t want to overlook.