Most audiophiles in the headphones world have heard of or know the HIFIMAN Sundara. It is among the popular and favourite open-back planar headphones because of its price and great sound. In our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review, we will discuss everything related to the product.
The original Sundara is a mid-fi product that is already a favourite among enthusiasts. And recently, HIFIMAN decided to offer us a closed-back version for us to enjoy more optimised and established audio.
But will it perform as excellently as the original Sundara? And will it be able to cater to those who prefer closed-back headphones? Continue reading to learn more about the headphones and see if it is worth purchasing.
When the headphones arrived for our review, we did not have many things to say about the box. It shipped in a simple cardboard package with a black sticker strip holding a few details about the product. This black sticker strip provides information about the headphones and secures the box from opening unnecessarily.
On this black sticker sheet are the product and company name, an image of the headphones, and the features.
Inside, you will find the headphones resting on a thick foam that can also work as a headphone stand. Another box inside the package holds the dual-sided 3.5mm cable connector with a 3.5mm termination. In that small box, you will also find a quarter-inch jack.
Like other HIFIMAN products we reviewed, the unboxing experience is simple. And this HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review is no exception.
HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review – Design and Functionality
The Sundara Closed-Back features hand-assembled, elegant, and classy beechwood ear cups that isolate you from background noise. It also accentuates the natural bass response of original recordings.
Like its open-back counterpart, this closed-back version of the headphones sports the HIFIMAN ultra-thin Super Nano diaphragm. It is 80% thinner than the diaphragm of standard headphones. Because of its build, the headphones offer an ultra-wide frequency response plus sonic details revealing fine points in recorded audio.
To take full advantage of these elements, you can pair them with a dedicated amp for portable use.
The design of these headphones is similar to the original Sundara open version. However, they sport different types of ear cups. Another similarity between the headphones is their headband design; plus, they have the same yokes and earpads.
What makes the earcups of the Sundara Closed-Back different is its material. It uses wood with a polarising colour. We love its orange-brown shade that blends nicely with the black accents of the product.
The colour combination looks classy and gives off a premium vibe.
We will also look into the planar magnetic drivers with stealth magnets in our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review. This element is present in the Sundara Closed-Back headphones and lessens the chances of unwanted reflections and diffractions.
It also has a supernano diaphragm that delivers a fast transient response for enhanced and more detailed performance. Although it only has 20 Ohms, we consider the headphones tough to drive.
Build-wise, HIFIMAN did a splendid job with the product, especially its wooden ear cups. We think these are high-quality for their price, plus it has a more premium feel, unlike other similar products.
We should also take note of its headband since it is durable for turns and twists. Thus, making the headphones a dependable product in the long run.
The headband, earpads, and yokes all feel good. Plus, its cups look premium.
This part of our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review will focus on the comfort the headphones bring.
Generally, these headphones distribute weight adequately when worn. That means you can enjoy listening to your favourite music for long periods at a comfortable level.
But remember that the clamping force it offers varies depending on your head size. When we tried it, some of us felt too much clamping force while others did not.
It is not an issue to worry about since the clamping force is not at extreme levels. Also, it effectively does its job of keeping the headphones in place. Aside from that, we did not experience discomfort or similar issues with the Sundara Closed-Back.
These are the materials used for its earpads which give a very comfortable and soft feel. Our ears did not touch the inner portion of the ear cups, which is excellent.
One more aspect to discuss is its weight. Despite being a planar type of headphones, it is not heavy, which makes it a plus for a comfortable experience. But since it does not have swivelling ear cups, it tends to be stiff on the head.
Key Features of the HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone
Our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review will discuss the product features to share what makes it a crowd favourite. We listed the elements these headphones offer to help determine if they are ideal for your needs.
Stealth Magnets for Detailed Sound
Traditional magnetic headphones use rectangular-shaped magnets that decrease the sound quality of audio. But the Sundara Closed-Back sports acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets for enhanced performance. These reduce diffractions and reflections effectively for a more optimised and sonic output.
Neo Supernano Diaphragm for Super Enhanced Sounds
These headphones sport the Neo Supernano Diaphragm or NsD, which is 80% thinner than diaphragms in traditional headphones. The NsD offers a faster transient response, full-range sonics, and detailed imaging.
Beauty and Comfort in One Package
You will experience exquisite sounds with a pair of headphones that look gorgeous. Its matte-black headband has an ergonomic and lightweight design for enhanced comfort.
Its earcups use Beechwood grain that is hand-assembled to perfection.
Seamless Connectivity with the HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone
Connect the headphones to a source of your choice since its dual-sided cable ends with a 3.5mm plug. You can also find a 6.35mm adapter included in the package for seamless and easy connectivity.
Stealth Magnet Design
The Stealth Magnet design on these headphones is acoustically invisible. And compared to standard headphones, it enhances output by decreasing reflections which are detrimental to your listening moments.
A Long Heritage of Excellence
HIFIMAN was always known for its diaphragm design, and the Sundara Closed-Back headphones are no exception. The company utilises only the best elements for their products to ensure precise and fast audio delivery.
Closed Cups for Immersive and Isolated Sounds
The highlight of these headphones is their elegant beechwood cups that surround and encapsulate your ears with rich tones. These are aspects that only closed-back headphones can offer.
It also has an impedance of 20 Ohms and a response range of 6Hz to 50kHz. These are possible while retaining a weight that is under 450g.
Ready for Anything and Everything
The Sundara Closed-Back headphones sport a 3.5mm headphone connector for improved durability and plenty of connection options. Also, the headphones come in a stunning finish that blends nicely with its sturdy design.
This section of our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review will focus on the product specifications.
These are all vital aspects to consider when purchasing headphones and similar products.
The Sundara Closed-Back has a 6Hz to 50kHz frequency response and a sensitivity of 98dB.
Its impedance is 20 ohms, and it weighs approximately 432g.
Hands-on with the HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone
Headphones from HIFIMAN sound excellent and are generally strong. So in our review, we put it through some tests to see if these headphones are an exception or not.
We used the Sundara Closed-Back for over a week, and during our tests, it produced focused, clear, and natural sounds. Aside from these, it gave us audio with plenty of warmth and body, making our listening experience enjoyable.
When we listened to our favourite tunes, the headphones offered audio with a certain openness and brightness in their tuning. And like other HIFIMAN products, these closed-back headphones are not a shocker.
The sounds it produced had perfect resolution and ideal texture with notable transparency. Plus, it provides a neutral sound with bright treble, energetic mids, and warm bass.
We can describe the sounds it produces as being intimate and personal.
While writing our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphone Review, we noticed it could not match the soundstage offering of its open-back counterpart. But despite that, we did not have any complaints with its soundstage, plus its imaging and layering were excellent.
When we compared it with other similar products in its price range, the Sundara Closed-Back is special. Why? Because the soundstage outnumbered plenty of closed-back headphones in terms of dimension and width.
It takes the floaty sound environment from the open-back version and turns the spaciousness into a closed setting. There, we got a similar effect that enveloped our headspace perfectly.
Listening to music gave us a great sense of scale for vocals and instruments. So, these stacked up clearly to each other.
There were instances of narrow separation, which could not showcase enough space between each performance. But with the Sundara Closed-Back, it remained articulate with its positioning. From left to right, the tracks we listened to were able to span wider compared to other similar products.
For back-to-front layering, it was also able to retain dimension. Plus, it was the best soundstage representation we have heard from a pair of headphones.
The treble of the Sundara Closed-Back is transparent with an ideal level of resolution and detail. It was not the best treble among planar headphones, but it is impressive for its price.
Additionally, these headphones have a bright character, especially in the lower-treble range. Despite that, its detail and transparency are good, so there were no complaints.
These headphones offered ideal articulation and extension. However, the treble required more refinement, considering the brightness and spikes on its lower treble.
While testing the headphones for our HIFIMAN Sundara Closed-Back Headphones Review, we did not consider them overly bass-heavy. Instead, it provides a substantial low-end response while keeping adequate clarity in its sounds.
The first track we listened to using these headphones offered bass that sounded alive. Also, the bass had significant force and power, which was pleasant to the ears.
Its sub-bass was powerful since it gave us an excellent vibrating foundation for its tone. It resonated with a well-balanced and controlled rumble that made particular sounds better.
Bass instruments sounded prominent, blending with the mid-bass with speed and lightness.
The Sundara Closed-Back can be a favourite among bass enthusiasts. Why? Because its depth and the mid-bass had a punch and growling tone that offered great sounds.
The clarity of the mid-range in the open version of Sundara is also present in the closed-back version. HIFIMAN retained its realism on these headphones but sacrificed a few spatial aspects.
As we expected, the instruments did not sound too individualised, but the timbre on each note sounded expressive.
The vocals and the instruments had a crystal-clear resolution, so particular artefacts were audible.
The Sundara headphones were always a crowd favourite among enthusiasts and within the mid-fi headphones market. And because HIFIMAN decided to produce a closed-back version, this will become just as popular.
What makes these closed-back headphones a head-turner is the presence of excellent features. These include the Stealth Magnet, Neo Supernano Diaphragm technology, etc.
The Stealth Magnet helps decrease wave diffraction turbulence which downgrades the soundwave integrity. According to HIFIMAN, this feature also reduces distortion to almost inaudible levels, thus, offering purer melodious sounds.
Then, its Supernano Diaphragm is thinner than earlier versions, so it offers efficient PRaT. Additionally, these headphones sport a unique headband from HIFIMAN, which is more comfortable and lighter.
Overall, the Sundara Closed-Back headphones from HIFIMANnot only sound excellent but look gorgeous too. Plus, it has a build that will last.
And for its price range, you will receive a quality and good-looking pair of headphones without burning your budget. So, we will recommend this product to you.