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HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2019: Editor's Choice - Part 1

By Team HardwareZone - 11 Mar 2019

Best Premium Headphones

Best Premium Headphones

Driven by smaller homes and the ever increasing prices of loudspeakers and its accompanying components, traditional audiophiles are turning to headphones in droves. Coupled with improvements in headphone research and driver technology, headphones have never sounded better than they have today. As such, headphones are now one of the biggest market of growth not just in the audiophile space but also in the entire consumer technology industry.

To make the cut for this category, the headphones must employ planar magnetic drivers and must be in their respective company’s flagship range.

 

Nominees:

  • Abyss Phi-1266
  • Audeze LCD-MX4
  • Final D8000
  • Hifiman Susvara
  • Kennerton Thror
  • Meze Empyrean
  • MrSpeakers Ether 2

 

And the winner is...

Hifiman Susvara

On first impressions at least, it's tempting to dismiss the Hifiman Susvara. It's very expensive - obscenely so - and the build quality isn't the best. Even though it uses premium materials like aluminum and wood, it feels somewhat flimsy when compared to its rivals. And then there is its insane power requirements. The Susvara is woefully insensitive and so it requires a very powerful - and often equally expensive amplifier - to run. However, if you get past all that and put it on and play some music, you will see why the Susvara is so highly rated and you'll start to appreciate its astronomical price tag. It might not have the best bass or the sweetest highs, but no other pair of headphones does everything as well as the Susvara does, and that's a rare feat. No other headphones is as tonally correct and balanced, and no other headphones combines hard-hitting bass with luscious mids and sparkly highs. If your wallets are fat enough, the Susvara will transport you to headphone heaven.

Scoring Breakdown

Criteria
/Model

Abyss Phi-1266 Audeze LCD-MX4 Final D8000 Hifiman Susvara Kennerton Thror Meze Empyrean MrSpeakers Ether 2
Design 7.5 8.5 9.0 8.5 8.0 9.5 9.0
Performance 6.5 8.5 9.0 10 8.0 8.5 9.0
Features 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.5 8.0 8.5 8.0
Value 5.0 7.5 8.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 9.0
Overall 6.5 8.0 9.0 9.5 8.0 8.5 9.0
Price S$6,388 S$4,500 S$4,999 S$9,500 S$4,888 S$4,299 S$2,899

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed in the References section at the end.

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