The HiFiMAN Sundara Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Driver Headphones are the latest addition to the popular Sundara lineup, which includes the highly-rated open-back version. In this review, we will examine how well these new closed-back headphones compare to their open-back counterpart. Our review is based on testing the new Sundara closed-back headphones with the HiFiMAN EF400 R2R DAC and amplifier, paired with the Earaudio balanced cable.
Design and Build Quality:
The HiFiMAN Sundara Closed Back headphones feature a sleek and classic design, made with high-quality materials such as metal, leather, and wood. The headband structure is made of solid metal with a matte black finish, while the headband and earpads are made of a combination of leather and fabric. The outer earcups are made of wood, giving the headphones a unique and elegant look. Overall, the Sundara Closed Back headphones are built with decent quality materials, and their classic design will appeal to many.
Comfort and Fit:
Despite the use of metal and wood in their construction, the Sundara Closed Back headphones are surprisingly comfortable to wear, even for extended periods. The headphones are slightly heavy when held, but once worn, the weight is well-distributed, and they don't feel heavy on the head. The closed-back design also offers some passive noise isolation, making these headphones suitable for use in noisy environments.
The HiFiMAN Sundara Closed Back headphones offer an all-around excellent sound quality for the asking price. The bass is clear, tight, and responsive, without bleeding into the midrange and treble frequencies. The midrange is lush, textured, and well-weighted, making female vocals particularly engaging. The treble is crisp, fast, and well-rounded, producing an immersive and detailed listening experience. Overall, the Sundara Closed Back headphones offer a natural sound signature, with a slight emphasis on the midrange and treble.
The Sundara Closed Back headphones deliver tight and responsive bass, with good presence and weight. The bass response is fast and snappy, making bass-heavy tracks like "Late Night" by Shamoon Ismail sound engaging and immersive. The bass doesn't bleed into the midrange or treble frequencies, making it suitable for a wide range of music genres.
The Sundara Closed Back headphones excel in the midrange, offering lush, textured, and well-weighted vocals. Listening to "Aise Kyun" by Rekha Bhardwaj, Anurag Saikia, Raj Shekhar, you can feel the weight and texture of Rekha Ji's voice, making it sound forward and engaging. For male vocals, "Tere Bin" by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal is a great example of the smooth and effortless sound the headphones produce. Overall, the Sundara Closed Back headphones offer an excellent midrange that is well-tuned and engaging.
The Sundara Closed Back headphones produce excellent treble that is detailed, fast, and crisp. You can hear all the musical instruments clearly without any harshness or sharpness. Listening to "Mann Mohanaa" by A.R. Rahman and Bela Shende, the treble is well-rounded, and you can feel it behind the vocals with the bass. This kind of sound arrangement makes music listening sessions memorable and enjoyable.
The soundstage on the HiFiMAN Sundara closed back headphones is a bit narrower compared to the open-back version, but still spacious for the asking price. You can feel like you're sitting in the front row, with the middle singer exactly in front of you and the rest of the elements behind the singer. You can experience an orchestral-like arrangement on the HiFiMAN Sundara closed-back headphones.
The imaging on the HiFiMAN Sundara closed-back headphones is very precise. You can sense the direction and distance of each music element with great accuracy, which is particularly impressive considering the price range of these headphones.
Value and Competition -
When comparing the closed-back and open-back versions of the HiFiMAN Sundara headphones, both have their pros and cons. In our testing, we found that the open-back version has a wider soundstage, more openness in sound, but with less bass, while the closed-back version provides better bass with excellent midrange and treble, but with a narrower soundstage. The open-back version requires more amplification power to drive it decently, while the closed-back version is easier to drive, and you can even use a battery-operated portable DAC and amp to drive it. However, with a proper desktop setup, you can scale up the performance of the HiFiMAN Sundara closed-back headphones a lot.
If you are looking for planar magnetic driver headphones to use at home, office, or cafes, then the HiFiMAN Sundara closed-back headphones are definitely worth considering.
Pros and Cons -
Lush and textured midrange
Stock cable can be balanced with better build quality
Clear and crisp treble
Earpads material can be better
Sometimes you feel metallic timbre
Easy to drive
Suitable for everyday use at home, office, and cafes
In conclusion, we highly recommend the HiFiMAN Sundara closed back planar magnetic headphones for those who want to try planar driver headphones but need them to be closed-back, or for audiophiles who are using planar headphones but need closed-back headphones so they can use them indoors and outdoors. The tuning of these headphones follows the typical HiFiMAN tuning, giving a lot of weight to midrange and treble and tight bass. Overall, they are great headphones that can be used for listening to music, gaming, or for studio work.
At The Audio Store, we sell HiFiMAN Sundara closed-back headphones with a 1-year warranty and offer free express shipping and EMI payment options. If you are interested in purchasing them, please visit our website or contact our customer support team for more information.