Hello my name is Trev I am the self professed expert on all things Geek. They call me the Geekologist. If you want a straight up straight down take on all things that are Geeky, you have arrrived at the right place on the World Wide Web. Congratulations. You have found me.
Today, I’ve been given the opportunity of a sneak preview of the HiFiMan Svanar Wireless . Loyal followers will note my previous review of the £2000 Svanar Wired Model. HiFiMan realise this is not the price point they can realistically achieve for a bluetooth earphone, as, of course, wired models are considered to be far more posh, and can attract a discerning audiophile with a far bigger wallet. The Svanar Wireless is a TWS earphone. As I am the Geekologist, I can you not just a definition of the above abbreviation; it stands for Truly Wireless. I know, it should be 3 words, but its not. TWS is simply, no cable between the 2 earphones and a charging cradle for when said lefts and rights are not in use.
There; the science is over, at least for now. The Svanar Wireless will be retailing at under £500, and has a claimed performance within the range of the £2000 Svanar Flagship. I’m going to save my assesment of said claim for later, after all, we are still painting a picture here, amd i wish to hold back the final flourishes of my brush strokes until it seems right.
You’ll have plenty of chance to take a look at my Svanar Wired review, there seems little point in regurgitation other than to say, yes, it is expensive, and yes, I like it. It doesnt beat a HiFiMan full size headphone in a similar price bracket for technical skills, but boy, does it deliver when you need a bit of intimacy in your musical life.
Given my reaction to the Wired at that price point, its not surprising that I’d be one of the first to get hold of this, dare I say it, budget version of the big brother.
First of all, let us deal with the elephant in the room. For a TWS, this is some serious cash being asked. What does this have to offer, as potentially the most expensive TWS ever made? HiFiMan have managed to incorporate their R2R Himalaya DAC chip into this design. This is the same DAC that goes into their £12000 EF1000 DacAmp. What’s R2R? I hear you, I hear you. It’s a type of digital processing from the earliest CD Players, and is still considered to be the Gold Standard for purity of sound, dCS and Lampizator are 2 other ultra high end companies who swear by R2R. To keep the no compromise audiophile happy, they have managed to cram an LDAC codec into the Svanars. I know! LDAC is a lossless codec for bluetooth, and it can deliver the bit rates of a CD. An LDAC is the de facto for a higher end TWS these days. This TWS offers 3 modes using a gesture control on the left shell of the Svanar. You can change it from ANC (automatic noise cancellation) to transparent (you can pick up outside noises) to hifi (that’s what we’re all about). HiFi mode works with LDAC, the others have drop outs. For serious listening, HiFi mode is the only way forward. Believe you me, I am all about serious when it comes to this sort of stuff. You can make and receive calls and do voice searches, just like most of the TWS.
The snazzy stuff the Svanar Wireless is capable of is perhaps not quite as amazingly spectacular as, for instance, Sony, Samsung or Apple are doing with their multitude of mics and apps for their devices. I dont think HiFiMan had any intention of outdoing their rivals on Geekiness. HiFiMan are staking their reputation on this as being a TWS that dominates on sound quality, at least for a TWS.
Dont worry, I’m almost there. You’ll soon get to know how good, or bad, these things sound. There is 1 more aspect I must address, and this is wearability. That almost feels like a made up word, because I regard wearability as being a make or break factor for a TWS. It must look good, these do. It must be comfortable in all weathers, these are. Finally, it is absolutely essential that a TWS fits well. HiFiMan have been in the TWS market with the TWS600 and 800, neither of which were a good fit for my somewhat diminutive earlobes. Not only have HiFiMan been the culprits. Shame on you Samsung! I had to call my Wife out to search for a left earbud on one dark, rainy night. We realised she’d accidentally driven over it due to my confusion as to where it could have bounced. The thought of such things happening to a £500 TWS? Unimaginable! Im pleased to say that the fit of the Svanar Flagship has been replicated with the Wireless Model. It feels rock solid. For those who insist on a HiFi experience, even when at the gym or running, the Svanar Wireless shouldn’t give you any problems with sweat ingress, given their rating of IPX5 for wayer resistance. A rating of 5 is comfortably above the IPX1, which is the sweat resistant and dripping water level of protection. Wearability has now been done in full, the Svanar has passed this, the strictest of standards. And now, finally, the much anticipated verdict.
How do they sound? How close do they get to the Flagship? The Wireless Model is close to the Flagship. This is indeed a serious attempt at making a TWS earbud into a musical experience. The bass is full and rich, the clarity coming through despite the viscerality of the sub bass. There are micro details present , the vocals are easy to follow and there is a reasonably wide sound stage. The TWS models I have; the HiFiMan 600/800, Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Sennheiser Momentum, none of them can live with the Svanar on sound quality. The sq on the rivals sounds either ordinary, shrill or compressed in comparison. If I was thinking as to a genre that the Svanar might struggle with, it wouldnt be a genre that I tend to listen to. I’m not sure that the sub bass herein would suit drum n bass and hip hop, especially that synthetic bass. I’m sure there’ll be those of you out there that are finding their favourites among that lot a trifle dry sounding, in which case, yep, these will appeal.
We’ve now arrived at the end. The Svanars are expensive. They are less than a quarter of the price of the Flagships, but with TWS convenience added. Can they do everything a normal TWS can do? No, not everything. Do they sound like they’re HiFi. Yes, the TWS market has had a bit of a shake up here.