A classic in the making
I got the Sundara today and have been listening to it. I've also done some comparative critical listening between it and my modded M1060, which has survived my personal headphone roulette that has seen the demise of E-MU Teak, the HE4XX, and the HD650 (which I later re-bought in the form of the HD6XX).
Critical listening: Last Jedi Trailer and a handful of tracks I've become very familiar with.
TL;DR: To describe how I feel about it succinctly: I'm seriously impressed with the HIFIMAN Sundara. I've owned and listened to the RBH HP-2, M1060, HE4XX, HD600/6XX, Noble K10U, E-MU Teak, and the Sundara is easily the best non-speaker audio thing I've listened to. To my ears, it is dead neutral with impressive performance throughout its frequency response.
Bass is taut, textured, emotional, extremely well extended, and definitely not one-note. Its bass performance is almost as good as the M1060, but the M1060's more powerful magnets and 106mm diaphragm pushes its low frequency performance just ahead as a matter of physics.
I was worried that the midrange might feel a bit sucked out on these, but I don't get that at all. In fact, the midrange on these feel super smooth and impart an incredibly realistic amount of body and space to both male and female vocals. Also imaging! Probably the first orthos I've heard with actual depth! Vocals appear front and center, how I like it. Tonality! OMG. Vocals feel so real on these.
My disappointment with the HE4XX was that it often strayed into sibilance for me, and when it didn't, high notes sounded slightly compressed / smeared / one-note. Ori pads and some felt tape in some key areas helped a lot, but the issue was always there. To my ears the M1060 were just a way better listen due its significantly better transients, technical performance, and smooth listening. But compared to the Sundara, the M1060 sounded immediately veiled/muffled/distant in the treble department compared to the Sundara. This is the first time I've heard the "veiled" sensation for myself beyond reading about it. It is real.
At the same time, the treble on the Sundara is not sibilant at all. It's just clear, present, smooth, and neither forward nor recessed compared to the rest of the frequencies. Probably the most resolving pair of headphones I've listened to (the Noble K10U are more resolving, but that's sort of an unfair comparison and arguably artificial in its presentation of detail).
The Sundara is an incredibly cohesive listen with very good technicalities. I can't find any faults with it. I really like it. I'm surprised by how much I like it. Bass is incredible in quality and quantity, midrange has body and space and tonality, and treble is resolving and smooth. Expansive soundstage with great imaging.Read full review
Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: New