by Brian Hunter
HiFiMAN makes a headphone for every budget. While still hot on the trail of the now-named planar magnetic flagship Susvara ($6k), a similar-sounding entry (with a name, not a number designation) called the Sundara looks to fill in the $500 slot for the lineup. The current placeholder at that price point is the HE400i, however the new headphone promises an upgraded diaphragm along with a new headband/suspension system for additional comfort on the head. The new driver claims a 80% thinner design to help with a faster response and better frequency retrieval.
The feel and look did indeed come across as a little more refined and comfortable on display at Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2017. The market for planar magnetic headphones in this range expanded some at the event, so it was nice to see HiFiMAN pushing the collective envelope along with the changing landscape. The exact release date for the Sundara is still TBD.
Beyerdynamic introduced 4 new products, starting with a new Sony MDR 7506 competitor launching this week. The new DT 240 Pro will retail for a mere $99 when it hits the streets. The 34 ohm closed-back dynamic driver headphone takes aim at the budget pro market that continues to grow with the increasing total numbers of podcasters, mobile musicians and budget filmmakers.
Beyerdyamic has developed a version of a lighting cable specifically for their 3 Tesla model headphones (T1 G2/T5p G2/Amiron). The Impacto Essential will essentially perform DAC/Amp capabilities in line from a digital source. A $329 “universal” version will connect to Android and computer USB with 3 included cables (USB-A, C, and Micro-USB). In addition to the obvious controls for a phone the ESS SABRE 9018Q2C chipset that inhabits the tiny device will even support the audiophile-favorite DSD format up to 5.6 MHz. The Apple version with a lighting connector is a separate product and will retail for $379 when it hits the streets this year.
The new Aventho Wireless ($449) headphone partners with Mimi Hearing Technologies to deliver a listening experience that is customized to the listeners hearing capabilities. A corresponding app delivers a hearing test which is then used to create a custom sound profile which can be stored permanently into the headphone (without being connected to the app).
The headphone is a fully wireless design with an internal battery that claims playback up to 20 hours. The usual built in microphone gives the product a more flushed out portable classification. What pushes “mobile” to the next level is the interactive touchpad that covers the right ear cup. The interface can be utilized for picking up calls, volume control, track selection and can be further customized through the app for even more dedicated functionality. Bluetooth connectivity includes aptX HD and support for Apple’s AAC. The street date for the Aventho should land within the week.
The final update is a new version of the flagship In-Ear we first saw at NAMM last year. The Xelento Wireless
($1199) adds a few dollars onto the price, but also delivers aptX HD into the equation. The clip-on controls and battery compartment connect to the IEM in a similar fashion to the Noble BTS, but also come with a fully mmcx-wired connection just like the original Xelento. The micro-sized transmitter is rechargeable via a hidden USB port on the side and is rated for 5 hours of continuous use.