HiFiMAN Sundara is great. But the Edition XS is awesome! Should You Upgrade?
HiFiMAN is one of those brands that are well known for presenting some high-end Planar Magnetic headphones, including the Sundara and the Edition XS. Both these headphones are the perfect introduction to the world of planar headphones and are also suitably priced. So if you're looking to rediscover the joy of music listening, look no further! In this video, we will talk about the HiFiMAN Sundara and HiFiMAN Edition XS headphones.
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Today we have something exciting we're talking about HiFiMAN headphones while we know HiFiMAN have made a name for themselves with the HE1000se and the notorious to drive HiFiMAN Susvara while they really sound good they are a little bit expensive. Today we have the more affordable options over here which certainly don't skimp out on the music of course we're talking about the Edition XS and the ever loved HiFiMAN Sundaras so let's get into it.
Alright so starting from the Sundara now this is a headphone that's been loved ever since it came out it saw a couple of revisions right from some minor earpad changes to even some tuning changes over the years but I think whatever they've done with the end product it still just as loved as it was earlier so that's really cool about the Sundara's and it's been one of the most popular beginner audiophile headphones we've seen at headphone Zone and even in the Indian Community filled with Audiophiles.
HiFiMAN Edition XS
Talking about the Edition XS for a little bit you get to see the all-new stealth magnet which you have even on the top tier HiFiMAN headphone so that's really nice to see that implementation done on headphones which are more affordable so you definitely know they're not skipping out a little bit about back to the Sundaras you have this shared kind of not exactly the same but you have this kind of inspired design from the Susvara earpads which is again good to see for just around 25,000.
Build & Design
Now talking a little bit about build quality I think these is where these headphones can really make or break your decision because even though the Sundara's are a little bit cheaper in this case they still built like a tank I mean anything you touch and feel over here feels premium so that's a really nice feature I think on these and even the headband, this kind of suspended headband it's in my opinion a lot more comfortable than what the Edition XS has. In fact you even get to see this on most of HiFiMAN Premium headphones be it the Ananda's or the Aria's or Susvara's anything you can think of using the suspension band because it's so much comfortable and at that price point it's nice to see that Sundaras get that.
So now coming to the Edition XS it kind of resembles the Ananda almost in everyway and in fact the outer design is pretty much I think the same you wouldn't be able to tell them apart if it weren't for the headband this coming to the headband over here this is a bit of a deal breaker for me now personally I don't like it a lot because it feels a little bit bulky it's not as comfortable as the suspension style but maybe your mileage may vary some people find this comfortable. I know a few people over here from Headphone Zone too but personally I'm not a big fan speaking about build quality I'm kind of sad to say that even though this is a little bit more expensive it doesn't feel as premium as the Sundara's I mean I'm kind of bummed out to see the same plastic design picked up from the Ananda's but apart from the other thing I really love about these are the oval shape design now this really helps in Sound Stage which we will talk about a little bit ahead in the video but that elevates the sound experience a whole lot more going from the circular design to the oval shape design.
So yeah all right so speaking about the sound in a bit more detail I think the HiFiMAN Sundara's are a little bit more mid-range focussed here so you have good emphasis when it comes to male vocals and guitars and drums as well I think that they work really well with the Sundara's that's why I think I liked a lot of classic rock on these they just felt natural you know effortless and that kind of is the main selling point of the Sundara's for me the way you can just kind of use and ease into most genres of music. The Edition XS I will describe being a more neutral type headphone and this is going to be really good if you want the best out of your recording speaking of soundstage here things really get quite different between them and I think can easily be one of the huge selling points for either one of them to be your best headphone at this price range. Sundara sound good and everything but until I tried the Edition XS that changed a lot in Edition XS it feels like you're sitting with a pair of speakers in your room it's just that wide when you're coming from something like the Sundara's. Everything is nicely spaced out and because of the neutral sound that we spoke about earlier on the Edition XS vocals instruments everything feel really well laid out and I thought at times the female vocals didn't have that kind of body to the music but you know overall I would still say the sound quality on the Edition XS is a little bit more towards my liking than what was laid out on the Sundara's. Speaking bit of the bass I found that the Sundara they had more punch and slam to them the Edition XS had a better low end extension so this really worked when you had a series of low end instruments like let's say you're listening to a bit of bass guitars as well as different kit pieces in in an acoustic drum kit you'll find that every note plucked or every you know every every kick from beat just sounded a lot more laid out than on the Sundara's so that also is kind of a negative point on these because they are so neutral if you're using a poor quality recording maybe you can get away with it on the Sundara's but on the Edition XS it kind of sounds unforgiving and music may not be as good as of an experience if you have poor quality recordings so that is something to definitely keep in mind while you're trying out these headphones
All right so coming to where both of these headphones lie I don't think so it's very easy because they're not directly competing with each other I think in the entire segment there's a place for Sundara as well as an Edition XS on your listening desk for me personally I think if I had to really nitpick and choose one I would go with the Edition XS overall but that's just for my listening preference overall if you're looking for something that's mid-centric and really your first gateway into planar headphones. I don't think so even in 2023 there's a better headphone to start than the HiFiMAN Sundara's but if you're someone who likes a nice neutral sound a huge soundstage and just want to have a nice pleasant listening experience and get that a bit of a top premium headphone feel for now not a lot of money I think the Edition XS is the way to do that now regardless of which headphone you go for I would highly recommend driving them with a capable Amp and DAC because although they don't need the most demanding headphone amplifier out there I think given the right amount of power these things really shine and if you underpower them they can sound really really bad so that's it guys for today I think we have covered the Edition XS and the HiFiMAN Sundara's.
If you guys want to have these you want to try them out I would encourage you to drop by our experience Studio here in Mumbai or you can catch us on our headphone connect tour that we're having across cities