What's the Best HIFIMAN Headphone for me in 2023?

What's the Best HIFIMAN Headphone for me in 2023?

HIFIMAN’s planar magnetic headphones are highly regarded across a wide range of price points. The HE400se and Sundara are common recommendations for people who are just getting into audiophile headphones. Arya remains a favorite in the $1000 range, and Susvara has stood for years as a “gold standard” for top of the line headphones. Whether you’re buying your first set of HiFi headphones, are looking to expand your collection, or are on a quest for the ultimate endgame sound, there’s almost definitely a HIFIMAN headphone that could work for you.

HIFIMAN Technology

HIFIMAN’s proprietary driver tech is a key part of their brand identity. Terms like Stealth Magnets and Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm have become synonymous with the fast, resolving sound of HIFIMAN’s headphones. Stealth Magnets are “acoustically invisible,” enabling reflected sound waves to pass through the magnets without causing interference, and give the headphone designers more tuning freedom as they don’t need to compensate for the interference in the tuning. The Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm provides an almost impossibly thin, lightweight driver diaphragm, which requires less energy to generate sound, and was a big upgrade in how quickly the drivers could respond.

HIFIMAN does more than planar magnetic headphones, and their dynamic driver design, featuring the Topology Diaphragm design has been featured in both over-ear headphones and IEMs. Along with headphones, HIFIMAN’s Himalaya R2R DAC has become a key part of their desktop and wireless products.


Currently, HIFIMAN’s IEM market is defined by the Svanar series. Svanar comes in both wired and wireless versions, functioning as the brand’s flagship IEM, and premium TWS option.

Svanar Wireless - $499

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide Svanar Wireless

Svanar Wireless comes in at a very premium price for a TWS, but it matches the price point with features and excellent sound quality. One of the unique pieces of Svanar Wireless’s design is the R2R DAC which is built into each of the earbuds. Along with that, the Topology Diaphragm dynamic drivers provide a full, rich sound, with a level of detail that surpasses virtually every other option in the TWS space.

Svanar Wireless uses Bluetooth 5.2 and supports LDAC – currently the best option for high resolution Bluetooth playback – along with the standard array of wireless codecs. You can activate ANC or Transparency, or turn those off for High Fidelity mode.

Svanar - $1999

Svanar Wireless is the baby brother of HIFIMAN’s flagship IEM, Svanar. Svanar uses the same Topology Diaphragm, but with a number of upgrades in its single dynamic driver design. The core sonic character remains natural and detailed, but Svanar takes it to the next level, offering much more immersive imaging and stronger detail retrieval. Svanar’s materials are also a big step up, with a copper shell and aluminum faceplate.

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide Svanar

Where Svanar Wireless offers some of the best sound quality available in the TWS space, Svanar is one of the best single dynamic driver IEMs on the market right now. It’s balanced, natural delivery combined with excellent, but understated technical capabilities make it an excellent choice in high end IEMs.


With prices ranging from $149 to $5999, HIFIMAN may actually have a headphone for everyone – if you like open back planar magnetic headphones that is! But they’re separated by more than price, with components like the tuning and efficiency meaning that the most expensive one might not be the best one for you.

HE400se - $149

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide HE400se

HE400se is a great place to start with HIFIMAN headphones, and its sound and performance tells you a lot about their entire product line. HE400se offers a level of detail that exceeds anything else at this price, along with a surprising soundstage and crisp imaging. The overall tuning is somewhat bright, but if you give it a little extra power, you can bring out more depth and power in the bass. The brighter tuning certainly isn’t going to get the bassheads on board, but there’s nothing else at this price offering the same level of technical performance.

Sundara - $349

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 Sundara

Sundara takes everything we like about HE400se, but steps it up a few notches. The build quality, comfort, and materials are a big step up from HE400se, and the sound is similar, but with a few tweaks that shift it more towards a neutral, reference sound, and one that may even have a touch of warmth in the mids. If HE400se delivers the technical goods, but comes up just short of an accessible tuning, Sundara delivers all the same technical elements while also providing a more balanced tuning.

Sundara Closed - $399

Did you like everything you heard about Sundara, but need the isolation of a closed back? Have we got a headphone for you! Sundara Closed maintains all the key characteristics of Sundara, even keeping a solid sense of space in the closed format. The isolation isn’t as strong as as some other closed backs, so while it’s not an ideal choice for travel or commute, it can manage the sort of noise isolation you need for silencing noisy roommates or keeping them from complaining that you’re playing your music too loud.

Edition XS - $449

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 Edition XS

Edition XS is a no-nonsense, all performance headphone. It hits closer to the tuning of the upper end of HIFIMAN’s lineup than anything else under $1000, but there’s a little extra subbass to the mix, giving Edition XS a crowd-pleasing deep bass emphasis that you won’t find anywhere in HIFIMAN’s lineup. The imaging and soundstage are also excellent, but the build of the headphone is a bit odd: seemingly borrowing pieces from the HE400se and Ananda. While Edition XS’s build and comfort comes up short for the price, the sound quality redefines what’s possible in a $449 headphone.

Ananda Nano - $599

HIFIMAN Ananda Nano

Ananda Nano defies expectations as well, but in a different way than Edition XS. Ananda has a more premium look and feel, but rather than take the next step up in HIFIMAN’s signature spacious sound, Ananda offers a slightly warmer tuning. Along with that, it’s one of the most efficient headphones in HIFIMAN’s lineup, working well with a range of portable devices. Ananda Nano is the third revision of the Ananda line, giving you the most refined version of the Ananda yet.

Arya Organic - $1299

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 Arya Organic

Arya represents somewhat of a breakpoint in HIFIMAN’s lineup. While everything below it has some strong characteristics and great performance “for the price,” Arya is where you start getting world class performance. Period. With Organic the build, tuning balance, imaging, and technical performance are all refined significantly over previous models, combining aspects of Arya’s past into something new: you get the airy top end of the original version combined with the stronger deeper bass of Arya V3 Stealth. The result is perhaps the best, most refined version of Arya yet, and the perfect gateway into the absolute top-end of personal audio.

HE1000v3 & HE1000SE - $1999

In 2015 HIFIMAN launched the original HE1000 as their flagship headphone. Since then HIFIMAN has reshaped and evolved the original HE1000 sound into the HE1000v3 and HE1000SE. HE1000v3 maintains more of the original HE1000 character, but has tweaked the tuning to extend the bass, balance the treble, and more closely follow the flagship Susvara sound. HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 HE1000

HE1000SE has more of a unique identity, possessing a greater sense of clarity and spaciousness, but with a tuning that favors instrumental and classical music. Both deliver astounding sonic performance, and both have had recent price drops which make that level of performance seem even more astounding.

Audivina - $1999

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 Audivina

Do you like everything you’ve been hearing about “air, clarity, and spaciousness,” but need the isolation of a closed back? Audivina might be the headphone for you. The sound is 100% HIFIMAN, and you’ll catch some similarities to the Arya and HE1000v3 in your listening. It’s not quite as spacious or resolving as HIFIMAN’s high-end open back headphones, but Audivina provides a crisp, open sound that you might have a hard time believing is coming from a closed-back headphone.

Susvara - $5999

While the number of headphones priced at $4000 and up has continued to increase since Susvara’s release, Susvara remains the benchmark for absolute top-of-the-line, endgame headphones. Susvara presents a massive soundstage, and a holographic stereo image within that stage. It can deliver delicate treble, layers of detail in the midrange, and pounding, physical bass – capturing the full range of power, beauty, and emotion in the music. All this comes with a price (in addition to the sticker price), and you’ll need a top of the line headphone amp to get the best performance out of Susvara. With the right setup though, Susvara delivers a sound that’s at the pinnacle of planar magnetic headphone technology.

HIFIMAN Buyer's Guide 2023 Susvara

So… what’s the right one for me?

While many brands have a wide range of tuning options throughout their headphone line, HIFIMAN keeps everything pretty close to their classic house sound, meaning that your budget is the biggest factor here. However, there are a couple places where you may prefer the less expensive model over the next step up. Between Ananda Nano and Edition XS, Ananda gives you an upgrade in the build, along with a warmer sound, but you might prefer the slightly U-shaped Edition XS.

When you’re stepping up into the $1000-$2000 range, there are a number of subtle differences between Arya Organic, HE1000v3, and HE1000SE. HE1000SE has the strongest technical capabilities of the three, but also the least bass quantity combined with more of an upper midrange emphasis. Arya, meanwhile, has airier highs than either version of HE1000, with a bass that’s better balanced for rock and pop than HE1000SE. HE1000v3 ends up being the most versatile and least fatiguing of the three, but it lacks the sort of standout characteristics that help define the identities of Arya Organic and HE1000SE.

Your amplification and setup will play a part as well. Without the right amplification, HE1000SE and Susvara will come up far short of their potential, while Arya Organic and H1000v3 have more modest power requirements. At the lower price points Ananda Nano will be much more forgiving of a low power amp and inexpensive DAC than Arya Organic or Edition XS. Put it all together and between the price range, the nuances in each headphone’s tuning, and what will work well with your system and lifestyle, you should have all the information you need to find the headphone that’s right for you.





The Bottom Line



Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones

Slight bright, neutral

Easy to drive

Amazing technical performance for the price.



Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones

Neutral, with a slight warmth, and rolled off subbass

Moderately hard to drive

A balanced sound, with excellent detail makes Sundara a great place to start.

Sundara Closed


Closed Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones

Neutral, with a slight warmth, and rolled off subbass

Moderately hard to drive

Loses Sundara’s spaciousness, but otherwise solid performance

Edition XS


Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones

Slightly U-shaped, with a bit of extra subbass and air.

Moderately hard to drive

While the build quality isn’t $500 level, the sound quality is absolutely stellar.

Svanar Wireless


Dynamic Driver TWS Earphones



Some of the best sound possible in a wireless earphone.

Ananda Nano


Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Easy to drive

Slightly warm, and very efficient, these balance performance and musicality very well

Arya Organic


Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Moderately hard to drive

Excellent soundstage, imaging and separation. The start of the Endgame.


List: $1999 Sale: $1399

Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Moderately hard to drive

Highly balanced tuning with flagship-level technical performance.



Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Hard to drive

A step up from HE1000v3 in imaging and clarity, with slightly less bass



Dynamic Driver IEMs


Easy to drive

Highly natural, very well balanced IEMs, with strong technical performance.



Closed Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Moderately hard to drive

Flagship HIFIMAN sound in a closed-back package.



Open Back, Planar Magnetic Headphones


Very hard to drive

Summit-fi tuning and technical performance. The best of the best.