HiFiMAN Susvara: Unboxing and first impressions

Okay, so I’ve had this thing unboxed for a few days now.

I’ve played it on my Questyle CMA600i and it was loud enough, but boy was that not all that it can do. Holy moly.

Some loaners from SCV Distribution here in the UK just arrived to properly drive this beauty: a set of two Questyle CMA800R Golden running in monoblock configuration with a 3 pin XLR to 4 pin XLR convertor from Atlas Cables out of Scotland and a proper aftermarket cable, the Atlas Zeno headphone cable. The CMA600i – Susvara with stock cable combo is dad on the left. That’s a damn good toss. The CMA800R Golden Monoblocks + Susvara + Atlas Zeno = Irresponsibly Epic. For those keeping score that’s middle dad.

There may be other factors at play here. The stock cable could be pretty meh—switching cables on the HD600 did make a difference (see WyWires Red review). There has been burn-in on the drivers since I first opened it. I had been told that burn-in was necessary. I’m incredulous on this sometimes, but I tested. When I first played it I ran noise and frequency sweeps. Initially I heard the drivers straining (kind of a crackly noise) on some low frequency parts of the sweep. After more hours running my burn-in regimen: pink/brown/white (neapolitan noise), digital silence, and an Ayre acoustics glide tone for a few days (literally days, I’m at about 80 hours burn-in right now), that crackling has gone and the sound is a bit more open. The final factor, of course is the change in amp.

So, a brief description of the sound:

  • Dynamic
  • Wide open stage with big height and width, but especially depth (this depends on being driven well)
  • Crystal clear and super revealing. I’ve heard a lot of headphones and these do catch parts of recordings that I’ve never noticed.
  • Linear response. These have good solid bass, but it isn’t pumped up.
  • Incredibly realistic
  • Very natural timbre
  • Responsive to increased amplification, these scaled up massively with the CMA800R Golden monoblocks.

Now for the unboxing video:

Here’s some pics to get nice and bothered about. I skipped the outer box as it is just a brown nondescript box that says HiFiMAN and has a line drawing of the Susvara, like 1980s technical manual style. This manual is more interesting than the box.

From jeffreythompson.org




The owner’s manual is loaded with opera houses. Opera houses are friggin’ pretty. It kind of fits the headphone. Opera houses scream opulence and membership in the elite, so does the finish and price of the Susvara.

My first reaction when seeing this bag was “what the shit.” What is a faux felt bag doing with a $6000 headphone. I still have this reaction, but I’ve calmed down a bit. Do better HiFiMAN. Personally, I’d rather ditch the presentation box all-together and do something more like MrSpeakers carry cases, except attractive. Dan makes beautiful headphones, but that case is the wrong shade of brown.

The cables are both 3 meters and aren’t particularly attractive. I noticed weak join points on the top of the y-split, so I’m not sure how durable these will be. I also discovered observed, with limited reliability, that using the Atlas Zeno improved the treble incisiveness and soundstage modestly (caveat: no volume matched comparison, yet). It looks a helluva lot better with the Atlas Zeno and the build quality of the Zeno is stellar.

7 thoughts on “HiFiMAN Susvara: Unboxing and first impressions

Add yours

  1. Thanks for this first impression. For me the BIG question is: how better is this Susvara compared to the HE1000 V2 that I really like ?


    1. I happen to like the design. The clamp is good around my ears and the swivel hinges allow for different head shapes and positions. There are lots of headphones that incorporate spring steel, but many use small sections with plastic bridging them together. The construction of the headband is sturdy and light with loads of adjustability.

      How would you have accomplished the same adjustability, durability, and distinctive style?


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