HiFiMAN Svanar Review

by: Gabby Bloch
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HiFiMAN Svanar Review

I’ve always been a big fan of HiFiMAN’s headphones. The Ananda and Arya stand out as some of my favorite cans in that price range, and they can certainly be called crowd pleasers. But the brand’s in-ear models tend to be a little more “off the beaten path”. And such is the case for their latest IEM, the Svanar. What kind of sound signature can you expect? And will the Svanar prove to be as widely popular and appealing as HiFiMAN’s over-ear headphones?

In the Box

  • HiFiMAN Svanar In-Ear Monitors
  • Hard Carrying Case
  • 2 Pin cable with 3.5mm termination
  • 4 Pairs of Flanged Silicone Ear Tips
  • Ear Hooks
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

Hifiman Svanar Review: What's in the box?

Look and Feel

Rarely do silver and gold compliment one another, but the Svanar has pulled off a classy look by incorporating aluminum alloy on the exterior, and 25k gold plated brass on the interior. HiFiMan has placed the center of gravity outside the pinna, which creates less stress on the ear canal. Before you dirty audiophiles get any ideas, the “pinna” means the external part of the ear, or the auricle. The Svanar only comes with flange ears tip, and while I usually don’t enjoy flange tips, I found the fit entirely comfortable, especially given the very ergonomic shell design.

Hifiman Svanar Review: 25k gold plated brass

Design

The combination of brass and aluminum alloy housing also have an intended effect on sound. According to HiFiMAN, the the aluminum alloy along with the brass’ “resonant performance and overall density reinforce sonics by way of synchronous vibration.” 

HiFiMAN has employed a 9.2mm dynamic driver and a silver-coated crystalline copper wire with a 3.5mm termination. For this review, I paired the Svanar with my ol’ Dragonfly Cobalt. The Svanar’s impedance is at 60 Ohms with a sensitivity of 100dB, and the Cobalt gave me more than enough power to drive it. (Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz)

Hifiman Svanar Review: Cable Design

Sound Impressions

Soundstage

The soundstage was less than mind-blowing for an IEM at this price point. For the most part it had a leveled feel, with instruments sitting mostly in the stereo field. There was a little depth, but overall, I was disappointed by the lack of spacial breadth and dimension that the Svanar offered.

Low-End

The Svanar presents a very modest bass response. So, don’t expect any low-end oomph when listening to pop or hip-hop. That being said, acoustic bass instruments in this range felt natural and detailed, even if they lacked the gravitas that more significant bass presence would add to the tone. And one can’t deny that the sound is clean and neatly separated from the higher frequencies.

Mids

Given the subdued bass presence, it’s unsurprising that the balance is intentionally skewed to favor the midrange. However, though the sound is in no way warm, the Svanar fairly represents the low mids. So, at least in the midrange, the sound is comprehensive. And again, these IEMs excel at conveying a tidy and well separated mix. There's an overall sense of precision with respect to guitars and other string instruments, especially. And you'll hear some nice crispness and  snap here too with respect to percussion. But with this comes quite a thin sound profile that avoids any weight or richness.

Highs

The Svanar really pulled it off in this range to present a detailed, yet fluid sound. The highs seem perfectly suited towards classical music; violin solos, for example, are very transparent, while remaining smooth in the highest frequencies. So, although you won’t sense any roll-off, you also won’t run into any piercing peaks or harshness. But once again, vocals, though buoyant, avoid much substance. And I couldn’t help but feel like a portion of the performance was missing. But that’s just me.

Summary

The Svanar leaves me with little to criticize in the department of skill. It’s super transparent and clean, with a lively midrange and sweet highs. But given the humble low-end and weightlessness of the sound signature, this IEM seems intended for a specific kind of Audiophile. And it probably won’t appeal to the wider audience, which leans towards a richer, more bass heavy sound. If you’re into modern genres, and you need that low-end oomph, keep looking. The Svanar may not be for you. But if you’re a sucker for classical music, you’ll probably gravitate toward the light and clean profile, especially in the high-end.

You can buy the Hifiman Svanar at Audio 46.

Hifiman Svanar Review: The magic of brass on sound

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