The Sundara headphones from HIFIMAN are the best entry-level magnetic planar headphones. And since it’s a hit among audiophiles, we’re focusing on this product in our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review.
Although released in 2020, the headphones don’t have a hype shortage around them in the audio community. But is it just a fad, or is the Sundara that good of a pair of headphones?
We tried the headphones for more than a week and used them as a daily driver. It has a lot of positives but are they good enough for your needs and preferences? Continue reading our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review to find out.
HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Packaging
The headphones arrived in time for our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review, and these came in a fine-looking package. It sports a dark and sophisticated-looking theme that gives off a premium vibe.
On its rear, you’ll find the product’s specifications and other details about the company. There’s a QR code that takes you to HIFIMAN’s Facebook page. Underneath the QR code is a list of the company’s other official social media accounts.
Inside, HIFIMAN made sure to pack everything in an organised manner. All items are secure, so no damages will incur when shipping the product to your home or office.
Aside from the Sundara headphones, HIFMAN included a1/8” TRS – L/R 1/8″ TRS cable and a user manual. The company also added a 1/4″ TRS – 1/8″ adapter.
HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review – Design and Functionality
Like other circular over-ear headphones, the Sundara’s size is just right and isn’t too big to give you discomfort. That means they’re light enough and generally comfortable to wear.
The Sundara has a good build like the company’s Sundara from 2018. The difference between the two is the earcup pads of the current version fit against the head at different angles. Its hinges, yokes, and earcups are metal-made to give them a solid and sturdy feel.
All other materials used for creating the headphones are premium, and their metallic parts offer a nice density.
We let our fingers glide over the headphones’ edges, and we felt it was slightly sharp. It also felt a bit stiff and gritty.
Remember that its earcups don’t shift sideways, so they can be challenging to move. For its headband arms, it gets scratched easily, especially when you try adjusting it. This issue isn’t new since some people also experienced this with HIFIMAN’s Arya headphones.
The company calls their pads “Pali pads” – a combination of velour and synthetic leather. It’s a bit angled, though it’s soft enough to provide adequate comfort when worn.
The headband’s suspension strap has a synthetic material but doesn’t feel as smooth as the earpads.
Shifting to comfort, we were surprised when we wore the Sundara. It felt fine at first, but after some time, it started giving us a bit of discomfort.
The clamp was a bit tight, but luckily, none of us felt any pinching issues from its cups. We expected to feel the latter due to the lack of sideways movement. But of course, the fit may differ on your part, so keep that in mind.
The Sundara is light at 370g even if most of its materials are metal. Plus, its suspension strap helps balance out its weight.
The circular cups aren’t as snug as oblong-shaped cups, though it’s secure enough for our preferences. Sundara has adequate stability and should stay fixed while listening to music casually. Remember, the product isn’t for sports use, so expect them to slip during quick and high-intensity movements.
Aside from the headphones’ design and comfort, we’re also discussing its connectivity in our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review.
You can connect the Sundara to your computer, smartphone, amp, or other sources. It uses a 3.5mm TRS cable with a 1/4-inch adapter for devices with jacks.
The plug has a right angle, allowing you to tuck it out of the way if you’re using it with a computer on your desk.
The Sundara only uses wired connectivity, and the included cord doesn’t have a microphone. Each earcup has a female 3.5mm jack connecting to the Y-shaped cable.
When plugging in the cord, ensure that the cord channel plugs in securely. Some users report that the headphones’ right portion doesn’t work but found out they didn’t connect the cable properly.
Key Features of the HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones
What makes the Sundara better than its older version and its other predecessors? Let’s find out as we discuss the product’s key features in our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review.
NEO Supernano Diaphragm (NsD)
The new NsD used on the Sundara is thinner by 80% than the previous designs. As a result, these headphones deliver faster and more detailed responses without compromising musicality.
All New Planar Driver of the HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones
HIFIMAN utilised advanced manufacturing processes to create Sundara’s new planar drivers that set high standards for performance-to-value ratio. It delivers unparalleled high-quality audio that you’ll never experience with other headphones.
Hybrid Headband Design
The Sundara’s headband has a unique strap that evenly distributes weight to provide outstanding comfort. It also has an accentuated design with a sleek matte black finish.
Form and Function Combined in the HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones
The Sundara offers both good looks and durability. Its all-metal headband can withstand the rigours of urban street life and outdoor use. This product even uses a 3.5mm headphone connector for more durability and zero latency.
SuperMini for Pocket Powered Performance
The slimline SuperMini is HIFIMAN’s portable music player that is excellent when paired with the Sundara. It’s an impressive source that provides abundant audio power output to unleash Sundara’s maximum potential.
This section of our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review will discuss the product’s specifications.
The Sundara is a pair of open-back headphones with a circumaural fit weighing 372g. These feature planar magnetic drivers with a frequency response ranging from 6Hz to 75kHz. Plus, they have an impedance of 37Ω and 94dB sensitivity.
Hands-on with the HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones
The product’s sound profile was well-balanced and natural, though it lacked some thump and rumble. It’s understandable since the headphones feature an open-back design.
However, the rest of its response was balanced, making it ideal for different types of content and genres. Unfortunately, the headphones don’t feature audio customisation features like presets or EQ.
Its soundstage is wide and spacious, helping the headphones establish an engaging and immersive audio experience. Additionally, the headphones deliver consistent sounds, so you won’t have to readjust them constantly.
For us, the Sundara is right up our alley since it handles all the genres we love. Some genres that the headphones sound best include ambient, classical, and drone. The Sundara brings a pleasant and inviting softness to the audio while boosting the power of each instrument.
We tested the product to know how well it performs. Here in our HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review, we’ll provide you with more details on its sound profile.
The Sundara’s bass accuracy was good with its underemphasised low-bass range, resulting in mixes not having enough thump and rumble. Its bass response might be lacking for fans of EDM, hip-hop, and other bass-heavy genres.
Although underemphasised, it was unobtrusive, which can be good or bad, depending on your preferences. It wasn’t overpowered and textured like its other siblings, and its audio was well-extended, fast, and neutral. These headphones provided a clean, reverberating thump without muddy sounds.
The Sundara’s mid-accuracy was incredible since its range was well-balanced and flat. It resulted in an accurate and clean reproduction of vocals and instruments.
The headphones offered a slightly laid-back mid-range that was smooth. It wasn’t too loud or over-the-top, which was good.
The Sundara didn’t lack body or sound anaemic and they sounded fantastic and is recommended for anyone looking to get more serious with their audio listening experience.
The Sundara delivered great treble accuracy but was somewhat underemphasised. Its treble veils lead vocals and instruments, but it wasn’t too noticeable. These headphones offered a well-balanced mid-treble range, so the sibilants were bright but not piercing.
Its treble’s frequency response was smooth and dominated by a broad boost around 10kHz. There were slight peaks at 9kHz and 11kHz.
The Sundara had a natural soundstage with precise imaging and instrument separation. Although the audio was slightly indistinct in bright recordings, it didn’t sound congested. Most of the sounds held their specific positions in space when we played loud or fast passages.
The Sundara offers a more spherical and cohesive shape than other headphones with a broader soundstage. Also, the Sundara delivered an excellent passive soundstage that was wide, improving the overall audio quality.
These headphones from HiIFIMAN outdo most dynamic headphones despite not being dynamically monumental like the company’s other headphones.
The overall soundstage of the Sundara wasn’t the most notable, but good enough if you want balanced yet detailed audio.
We loved the audio quality of the Sundara when used with a powerful amp. The headphones delivered an excellent detail and dynamic impact with an improved overall sound profile.
The Sundara is customisable via the equaliser, but we didn’t find it necessary to equalise the headphones. But you can do some tweaking to bring out its best audio quality.
HIFIMAN Sundara Headphones Review Summary
The Sundara is a pair of high-quality headphones that deliver impressive audio out of the box and we highly recommend these headphones to anyone that wants to dive into a more premium listening experience.
These headphones have a great design, feel comfortable when worn, and offer superior audio quality, which is satisfying. They are excellent if you like smooth, laid-back and inviting sounds.
The Sundara is the ideal headphones for enjoying high-end audio without having to shell out a fortune. With these planar magnetic headphones, you get comfort, durability, ease of use, and quality audio in a single package.