I decided to put everything regarding soundstage into one category. I’ll be rating the soundstage size, imaging, and separation together into a single rating for this article to be somewhat readable and not super long.
It is important to note that the size of the soundstage is not the most important aspect of the staging capabilities of the headphone. The accurate imaging and good separation are essential for you to get a natural sounding and highly involving soundstage, regardless of the size of the actual stage.
I’ll give the CZ-1 a point for trying. They really tried hard to make the CZ-1 sound like a pair of speakers in a room, but instead, the CZ-1 sounds…like you’re listening to music through a tube…in cardboard. This is nowhere close to being accurate, natural, or pleasant. Different sounds seem to come from random places around your head, and the amount of reverberation is just over the top.
The original HD800 is a living legend mainly to its huge soundstage unlike anything else on the market. Thirteen years (!) after its release it’s still one of the biggest (if not still THE biggest) soundstages you can get in headphones. The HD8xx also has a huge soundstage, but its imaging is not as precise as the rest of the lineup. While the original HD800 could have sounded a bit too diffused, the 8xx takes it to a higher level. Surely an impressive-sounding headphone when it comes to its stage size, somewhat limited by its mediocre imaging.
We’re getting into some really good staging headphones. The HEDDphone has an amazing depth of the stage and its imaging is unique and very accurate, but its width is not as impressive. The Diana Phi on the other hand has no weak points, but it’s just not class-leading in any way. Both of these headphones are good in terms of staging, but it’s definitely not their strongest point.
Both the Elite and the 1000se are brilliant when it comes to their soundstage. The imaging is very accurate, the size of the stage impressive and the amount of air and separation is among the best on the market. The 1000se is a bit more open and vast sounding, while the Elite has an ability to create large instruments resulting in a more intimate approach. While they create a different type of experience, they are both excellent in staging capabilities.
First joint winners in the comparison. Both the Susvara and the D8000 Pro offer an amazing soundstage in every aspect. Perfect imaging, great separation, and natural size both in depth and in width. I can’t rate them 10 however, as I still feel there’s more possible in the soundstage category in headphones. I really hope there will be a headphone in the future that will get 10 points, but for now, 9 points is the meta.
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
Founder of Ear Fidelity. I’ve been into audio for many years, working in production, distribution, retail, and marketing throughout my career. Now trying to revolutionize the art of reviewing audio gear, but one thing will never change: Music is the most important.