HiFiMAN Sundara HiFiMAN Sundara

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HiFiMAN Sundara review: A WFH audiophile’s dream

One of the best price-for-value pair of cans

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Because of today’s work-from-home lifestyle, everyone is rushing to grab the best laptops, PCs, webcams, and microphones to support their new home office. However, one overlooked accessory has yet to receive its time under the spotlight: a good pair of headphones. It’s even worse if you have audiophilic tendencies like I do. Today, I found one of the best price-for-value pair of cans well suited for both the home office and the hi-fi home audio setup: the HiFiMAN Sundara.

A pillow for your ears

Compared to anything I’ve tried in the past, the Sundara is extremely comfortable on my ears. When you’re looking at a headphone’s comfort, you’re considering a minmax combination of various factors: weight, cup size, clamp pressure, and flexibility. The Sundara handles all of those quite handily.

For a sizable pair, they are remarkably light; they don’t put too much pressure on your skull. Further, instead of the whole headband pushing down on your crown, the Sundara uses a suspended headband to cushion the weight. The softer secondary headband rests itself comfortably on my head without exerting too much pressure or trapping heat.

The earcups are also of notable size. They can fit my relatively smaller ears well. Though I do feel a bit of scrunching inside the cups, I never felt any pain or discomfort from wearing the pair for hours. I can wear the Sundara for four to six hours at a time without any pressing need to take them off.

HiFiMAN Sundara

In terms of durability, the Sundara is more than capable of withstanding major usage. Except for the two plastic portions at both ends of the headphones, the Sundara is made almost entirely out of metal. I did drop the headphones once while using it, and I couldn’t find a single scratch or dent. On a related note, the cups’ metal grille makes for an interesting but minimalist design — an epitome of its namesake, the Sanskrit word for “beautiful.”

Finally, since the headphones are open-back, leakage will always be a problem. However, compared to other open-back cans, the Sundara don’t leak as loudly. Likewise, even without noise cancellation, outside noise is only mildly annoying. That said, anyone sitting next to me can definitely hear whatever I’m listening to. And I can definitely hear whatever is happening beside me.

Playable in any genre

Armed with a planar magnetic driver, the HiFiMAN Sundara has one of the most impressive soundstages I’ve heard for a pair of cans in its price point. In practically any genre that I put the headphones through, there’s a remarkable level of depth. It’s almost as if I’m there where the music is happening. Christopher Tin’s orchestral To Shiver the Sky sparkled with every instrument, from wind to string to percussion. It’s the closest thing to attending a concert, especially in today’s times.

HiFiMAN Sundara

Though the headphones sport an impressive 6Hz to 75KHz frequency range, the Sundara leans marginally closer to the treble side. Instruments are sharper and tinnier, though still not at an uncomfortable level. However, if you listen close enough, sharp sounds can sound extra sharp on the Sundara, given the right track. Even then, the soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop, especially the iconic “Tank!” shines bright with the headphones.

Leaning over to the bass, the headphones can subsist on its own. They deliver a very mellow boom, as opposed to an offensive bombast well-advertised in today’s slew of headphones. That said, the Sundara is not a bass-heavy pair. If you’re looking for a bass monster, look elsewhere. Personally, I’m not a fan of bass-heavy tracks, so the Sundara is just the perfect fit for me. On lighter tracks, especially those from jazz, the bass caresses my ears just enough to tingle. On heavier metal music, like Nightwish’s Human :||: Nature, the lighter bass prevents overpowering and allows other instruments to come through.

For the mids, I’d say that the Sundara is attuned for it as well. I weaved the pair through more poppy tunes, like The Midnight’s Monsters. The vocals rose above other instruments without drowning them out.

Will you need an amp?

If you’re looking for some flaws in the almost-perfect Sundara, you might find it in the headphones’ amplification. The headphones are definitely a pair that can benefit from an external amp.

Just to be clear, the HiFiMAN Sundara can function well enough on its own. Regardless of whether you plug it into a smartphone, laptop, music player, or turntable, the device, sporting 37 ohms of impedance, can deliver audio at a workable clip.

HiFiMAN Sundara

However, according to my own tests, they benefitted greatly from an external amp. And you don’t even need an expensive amp. Even the portable (and affordable) FiiO A3 boosted the headphones to an extraordinary level. If you’re investing your hard-earned cash on the Sundara, you can’t go wrong with forking over a bit of extra cash on a small amp.

Is this your Gadgetmatch?

If you already have a home office setup, then you might like the Sundara. Keep in mind, though; a single-person home office is best for this pair. Because the headphones don’t have a built-in mic or any external functionalities, the pair exists solely as an audio device, not an office tool. It might just irritate any officemates you might have.

That said, the device’s extreme lightness is perfect for moving around the house. After a grueling day of working from home, you can unplug the Sundara from your PC and plug them into your hi-fi/entertainment setup.

With that in mind, though the headphones are light enough to move around the house, they don’t do well for a commuter, especially because of their leakage and lack of noise cancellation.

If you’re interested in the HiFiMAN Sundara, a pair will set you back by US$ 499. It’s definitely pricey. Compared to other more popular offerings, the Sundara belongs in an upper tier. However, for the quality you’re paying for, it’s a good way to start the next level of an audiophile habit.

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TWICE x CASETiFY collection officially dropping on Feb 9

‘Full of love to ONCE’

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TWICE really knows how to make ONCEs (they’re fandom) feel special. The global superstar K-Pop group is teaming up with tech lifestyle brand CASETiFY for a special collection. The waitlist for their first ever collaboration has begun. The official release is set on February 9, 2023.

TWICE x CASETiFY

The collection was made to celebrate TWICE entering their 8th year. There’s a huge focus on ONCE as well as artworks inspired by the world of TWICE.

The TWICE-ful Love Grippy Case is the highlight of the collection. It’s decorated with a cushion designed with the TWICE Logo. It’s the first 3D phone case from CASETiFY with this kind of design. The case, however, is only available for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

But cheer up since the collection does include many other designs made for different smartphone models and gadgets. The lineup is filled with TWICE’s history and ONCE’s memories.

There’s a sticker case highlighting the tracks from the past seven years, a signature case with the members’ signatures, a Heart case with the members’ names, and lastly, an artwork featuring one of their top songs, “What is Love?”

For Apple-loving TWICE fans, there are also AirPod cases, Apple Watch bands, MacBook Sleeves, and a bead strap with the original heart color stones of all the members. There’s also a phone strap with TWICE logo metal charm.

Win a phone case signed by your TWICE bias

 

Whichever member is your favorite: Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, or Tzuyu, you’ll have a chance to win a case autographed by one of the members. CASETiFY STUDIO Shibuya Parco in Japan will have special wall displays with autographed cases and artwork from the collection. More details on the campaign coming soon.

The TWICE x CASETiFY collection launches worldwide on casetify.com/co-lab, available for purchase online, in the CASETiFY Co-Lab app (available now in the App Store), and at CASETiFY Studio locations.

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2023 Minimal Desk Setup

With Logitech’s newest keyboard and mouse

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Last week, Apple launched the new Mac mini, a BYODKM device — bring your own display keyboard and mouse.

Paired with Apple’s Studio Display, this is the perfect time to pair it with a keyboard and mouse from Logitech!

But how will Michael Josh’s revamp his 2023 desk setup?

Watch our special Logitech desk setup and styling video now to know more!

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Google is working on an AirTag competitor

Codenamed “grogu”

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Since its launch, the AirTag has created a whirlwind of controversy because of how the tracking device was used (or misused). Today, the general consensus is that the AirTag offers more benefits than potential drawbacks. Everyone now wants in. Google, according to a recent finding, is reportedly working on its own AirTag competitor.

Via Kuba Wojciechowski and Mishaal Rahman on Twitter, Google is developing quite a bit in the tracking device segment. The developers are currently expanding the lineup of Fast Pair to include support for more locator tags like the AirTag. However, besides support for other devices, the development also includes references to a first-party tracking device.

The device, “grogu” as it’s currently called, is under development by the Nest team. It will include on-board speakers and Bluetooth LE support.

Google has not hinted at any developments to confirm any upcoming tracking device. With the currently available information, it’s impossible to check what the final product will be called or what features it will come with.

A Google-based tracking device will still be a godsend for users, though. Currently, only Tile offers an alternative to the Apple-based AirTag. Besides allowing users to keep track of their misplaced devices, a tracking device is now an essential must-have for travelers to make sure airlines don’t accidentally misplace pieces of luggage.

SEE ALSO: Android is working on a built-in detector for AirTags

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