The Battle Of The Flagships

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

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


  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?

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