The Battle Of The Flagships

Welcome to the Battle Of The Flagships 2022 by Ear Fidelity.

Here we are, time to see the results and crown the king. This has been a wild ride, the most time-consuming reviewing project I’ve ever did and the most exciting at the same time. Let’s just get right into it.

8. Crosszone CZ-1 / 13 points

Presentation2
Build Quality and Comfort3
Tone1
Detail1
Soundstage1
Bass3
Midrange0
Treble1
Musicality0
Value1

The Crosszone CZ-1 scores 13 points out of 100, ouch.
The project was ambitious, but the delivery just disappoints a lot. The Crosszone CZ-1 is one of the worst values in the market and you literally can get better audio quality for 1/10th of its price (HD6xx). I strongly recommend not buying these headphones (I’m sorry my Japanese friends).


7. Drop + Sennheiser HD8XX / 46 points

Presentation4
Build Quality and Comfort6
Tone4
Detail5
Soundstage6
Bass4
Midrange3
Treble5
Musicality4
Value5

The HD8XX scores 46 points, which is actually not bad considering its low(ish) asking price. It has some major problems with its tuning, especially in the midrange area, but it is also well-built, very comfortable and it has a huge soundstage. If you can and will EQ these headphones, then it might actually be a great option.


6. Abyss Diana Phi / 51 points

Presentation6
Build Quality and Comfort4
Tone4
Detail8
Soundstage7
Bass9
Midrange4
Treble4
Musicality3
Value2

Just like I said in the previous category, I actually feel sorry for Abyss. They seem to be really chill people and I like their energy. However, I tried my best to be as objective as I could in this comparison, and the Diana Phi actually has been the biggest disappointment for me. Yes, it scored better than the 8xx, but it is almost 4 (!) times more expensive, and the 8xx is not a gem itself.
I remember listening to the AB-1266 a few years ago and I was blown away. It was so lively sounding, fun, and extremely pleasing. Would be cool to get the 1266 TC or the Diana TC to include in this comparison in the future.


5. HEDDphone / 70 points

Presentation4
Build Quality and Comfort4
Tone9
Detail8
Soundstage7
Bass6
Midrange7
Treble8
Musicality8
Value9

The HEDDphone is insanely impressive considering its asking price. While being 2-3 times less expensive than the competition it still managed to go head-to-head in many categories. For a first-ever headphone release, HEDD Audio did a magnificent job and I believe there’s a seriously bright future for this brand. Just please, make them lighter and more comfortable. Huge respect.


4. Hifiman HE1000se / 74 points

Presentation5
Build Quality and Comfort7
Tone6
Detail9
Soundstage8
Bass9
Midrange8
Treble8
Musicality7
Value7

The Hifiman HE1000se is a brilliant headphone with exceptional detail retrieval, only somewhat limited by its slightly sterile tuning. It is a very good value at $3499, especially knowing how technically capable the 1000se is. It also doesn’t need a ton of power to sound great, which is always a great feature to have, as you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the amplifier alone.


3. Final D8000 Pro / 80 points

Presentation9
Build Quality and Comfort7
Tone7
Detail8
Soundstage9
Bass8
Midrange8
Treble9
Musicality8
Value7

The Final D8000 Pro scores 80 points, proving that it is a great headphone. With its highly neutral, reference-like tuning and impressive technical capabilities it is among the best headphones on the market. The only things to criticize for me is the comfort which is questionable and the tuning which while highly impressive, feels a bit sterile.


2. Meze Elite / 85 points

Presentation10
Build Quality and Comfort10
Tone8
Detail6
Soundstage8
Bass7
Midrange9
Treble9
Musicality10
Value8

The Meze Elite is just a complete package. Best-built headphones on planet earth, insane ergonomics, and beautiful design, paired with an extremely musical and smooth sound that is just so easy to love. Sounds good with every device you’ll plug it into, with every music genre you’ll try. Not the most technically capable, but definitely one of the most charming on the market.


1. Hifiman Susvara / 88 points

Presentation6
Build Quality and Comfort8
Tone10
Detail10
Soundstage9
Bass8
Midrange10
Treble10
Musicality9
Value8

The king of headphones. The Hifiman Susvara is the best headphone I’ve ever heard, used, and owned. It is a perfect combination of insane technicalities with a beautiful and lifelike timbre that just sounds marvelous. Comfort for days, best detail retrieval ever, exceptional tuning, the Susvara has it all. If only it wasn’t that power-hungry, so more people would be able to hear them shine (Topping A90 just doesn’t do it for the Susvara).
Seeing that the Susvara has been released quite a long time ago, it’s really interesting if (or when) Hifiman will come up with its successor. If it’ll be significantly better than the Susvara, then this would be a really big day, introducing the next milestone for personal audio.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading this comparison, I hope you enjoyed it and that it’ll help you with your decision. As stated in the beginning, this comparison will be getting updated with more high-end headphones in the future, so this is definitely not the end. It was incredibly fun to do this and even though my head feels like it’s going to explode, I’m happy with the result. See you!

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Contenders
Page 3: Presentation
Page 4: Build Quality & Comfort
Page 5: Tone
Page 6: Detail
Page 7: Soundstage
Page 8: Bass
Page 9: Midrange
Page 10: Treble
Page 11: Musicality
Page 12: Value
Page 13: Results

10 Comments

  1. Great review! Pitty so many are missing – LCD-5, CRBN, DCA Stealth, Staxxes, Utopia, T+A Solitaire…

    • Thanks Peter!

      Yeah, but I’ll get all of them eventually and will constantly update this 😀

      Thank you again and enjoy your time here.

  2. Great idea, well executed, but one small item please. Why not use the real Sennheiser HD800S as it is a headphone that many folks in the headphone community know and love (or hate) but at least it is a widely known data point. The Drop is comparatively unknown and had a lot of poor reviews due to the many variations in tuning. This has ruined your hard work and effort, sorry.

    • Hi Ian!

      Thank you very much for your comment, I really appreciate all the feedback 🙂

      While I definitely wouldn’t call that it “ruined” the hard work, I might get the 800S eventually to include it in the comparison as well. The more, the better. The 8XX is a rather fresh release and I’ve got it here, so it was natural for me to include it and see how it scores.

      Thank you for your feedback and hopefully I’ll be able to get the 800S in the future. Enjoy your time here 🙂

  3. This is one hell of a comparison of top and upermost earphones around. Keep up the highest mountines of our ears Pawel!

    • Thank you Kris, I’m glad you like it! I’ve mentioned this article so many times to you that there was quite an expectation I believe haha 😀

  4. Dear Pawel,

    It was a refreshing read of a comparison. I was in the market to see if I wanted to get one of the headphones you compared here and your article just made the decision for me! Keep up the great work and looking forward to future updates on this summit-fi shootout!

    • Thank you very much Kelvin, this really means a lot to me!

      I’m glad it helped you with your decision. What headphone did you choose in the end?

Comments are closed.