The Battle Of The Flagships

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

Abyss Diana Phi

  • Price – $4000
  • Driver – Planar
  • Sensitivity – 91 dB
  • Impedance – 32 Ω
  • Power requirements – Average
  • Tone – Fast aggresive

A revelation of the past few years, Abyss has been one of the most popular choices in the high-end headphones market. The Diana Phi is their “smaller” offering, while their flagship is the vastly unique Abyss 1266 Phi TC. Proud of its US heritage, rocking the thinnest planar-magnetic cups in the world, the Diana Phi is surely quite a looker.


Crosszone CZ-1

  • Price – $2500
  • Driver – 23mm DD + 40mm DD
  • Sensitivity – 97 dB
  • Impedance – 75 Ω
  • Power requirements – Average
  • Tone – Weird

A niche Japanese headphone using two dynamic drivers per side. A very unusual approach to creating soundstage in headphones, but how good does it sound compared to the competition? It’s definitely the least popular model in this comparison, but looking at its asking price, it should offer great audio performance.


Drop + Sennheiser HD8XX

  • Price – $1100
  • Driver – Dynamic
  • Sensitivity – No information
  • Impedance – 300 Ω
  • Power requirements – Average
  • Tone – V-shaped

The newest version of the legendary HD800 by Sennheiser, this time in cooperation with DROP. This introduction has been wildly popular ever since its announcement. The least expensive entry in the lineup as well as the oldest if we’ll look at it as an updated HD800.


Final D8000 Pro

  • Price – $4199
  • Driver – Planar
  • Sensitivity – 98 dB
  • Impedance – 60 Ω
  • Power requirements – Average
  • Tone – Fast neutral

Final Audio released its flagship D8000 Pro back in 2019, after a big success of its earlier version, the D8000. Widely regarded as one of the fastest, cleanest sounding headphones on the market. Final is not a newcomer to the high-end headphones market, as they proved their worth many times already.


HEDDphone

  • Price – $1899
  • Driver – AMT
  • Sensitivity – 87 dB
  • Impedance – 42 Ω
  • Power requirements – High
  • Tone – Big and warm

The HEDDphone is the first headphone release by the legendary HEDD Audio. It uses an innovative AMT driver, and it’s the heaviest headphone in the lineup. Widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best value in high-end headphones.


Hifiman HE1000se

  • Price – $3500
  • Driver – Planar
  • Sensitivity – 96 dB
  • Impedance – 35 Ω
  • Power requirements – Low
  • Tone – Fast neutral

The HE1000se is the third iteration of the vastly popular HE1000. Thanks to using Stealth Magnets, it got as close as it could to Hifiman’s flagship Susvara. Our “Best High-End Headphone of 2021” award winner. Widely regarded as one of the most detailed headphones in the world.


Hifiman Susvara

  • Price – $6000
  • Driver – Planar
  • Sensitivity – 83 dB
  • Impedance – 60 Ω
  • Power requirements – Extremely high
  • Tone – Natural

The Hifiman Susvara is a force to be reckoned with. Ever since its launch in 2017 it’s been widely regarded as the best headphone on the market. The most expensive entry in the lineup. Being known for its crazy power hunger as well as its unparalleled audio quality.


Meze Elite

  • Price – $4000
  • Driver – Planar
  • Sensitivity – 101 dB
  • Impedance – 32 Ω
  • Power requirements – Low
  • Tone – Warm/Dark

The Meze Elite is an upgraded version of the Empyrean. Meze Audio took the market by storm with the release of the Empyrean, and now it is even better (by a lot actually). The best-built headphone on the planet as well as the newest model in the comparison.

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.