HiFiMan Susvara Headphones Lab Report

Lab Report

The Susvara is nothing if not idiosyncratic in the test lab. For a start, it joins the short but growing list of headphones to have come our way which are polarity inverting. As I've explained before, there's no possible excuse let alone reason for this – and it's not something we saw in either of HiFiMan's Sundara or Arya [HFN Jun & Aug '19], both of which are much less costly. Plus the Susvara is the least sensitive headphone we have ever measured. The Sundara and Arya were already on the low side at 105.7dB SPL and 103.5dB SPL, respectively, for 1V input at 1kHz, but the Susvara is way lower at 91.5dB, averaged for the two capsules. No wonder it includes no provision for connecting to portable music players.

There are plus sides, but we saw these in the Sundara and Arya too. First, its impedance vs. frequency is practically constant – a minimum of 59.3ohm and a maximum of 59.4ohm – so the Susvara is essentially immune to frequency response modification caused by the finite source impedance of the partnering headphone amp. So you can use it with any amp and its tonal balance won't be significantly altered. Second, the Susvara is also largely immune to the effects of earpad leakage. Changes to frequency response were minor when either thick spectacle frames or simulated hair were added to the artificial ear.

However, like its two cheaper siblings, the Susvara's cumulative spectral decay (not shown) evinces numerous ridges due to high-Q resonances. Also its uncorrected frequency response [see Graph 1, below] is notable for being rather ragged from about 250Hz upwards (due to the resonances) and for having – typically for planar magnetic headphones – less output around 3kHz than required for a neutral tonal balance. The result on the corrected responses [Graph 2] is a big, wide hole in perceived lower treble output which – despite the lack of bass excess – may well give the Susvara a 'polite' sound. KH


Susvara's unequalised responses (L/R, grey/red; averaged 3rd-octave, black) shows a neutral bass but a lack of the usual presence band reinforcement


Third-octave freq. resp. (red = Harman corrected; cyan = FF corrected; green = DF corrected)

Sensitivity (SPL at 1kHz for 1Vrms input) 103.5dB
Impedance modulus min/max (20Hz-20kHz) 28.9ohm @ 15.2kHz
29.2ohm @ 4.2kHz
Capsule matching (40Hz-10kHz) ±7.2dB
LF extension (–6dB ref. 200Hz) <20Hz
Distortion 100Hz/1kHz (for 90dB SPL) <0.1% / <0.1%
Weight (headset only) 465g
Price £5750

HiFiMan Corporation
Jiangsu Prov., China
Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems
07738 007776