HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Earphones Review

Posted on 24th August, 2023

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Earphones Review

Cheryl Tan auditions this neat-looking pair of premium-priced true wireless earbuds…


Svanar Wireless Earbuds

£479 RRP

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

The new Svanar Wireless earbuds from China-based HIFIMAN are quite possibly the best-sounding pair of true wireless types released in 2023. Inspired by and named after the brand's top-of-the-line wired in-ear Svanar monitors, the Svanar Wireless does bear quite a resemblance to the same semi-custom moulded shell, although this time it's made out of carbon fibre instead of brass. The shell shape has also been changed slightly, with the pointed stem being the optimal position to hold onto the earbuds when inserting or adjusting them in the ear.

The case is rather bulky, with a black and silver colour scheme that looks classy and premium. There's a silver lip all around its opening, and the black plastic has a textured finish that helps prevent scuffs or scratches from showing. On the rear, there's a button for Bluetooth pairing that also lights up when charging as an indicator of the case's remaining battery level. As for charging, there's a USB-C port on the bottom, although there's also wireless charging available here.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

As for battery life, you get up to seven hours in the earbuds with an additional three charges in the case for a total of 28 hours. Turning on ANC drops that estimate down to six hours, with just four if you're using the earbuds in High Fidelity mode. While it's not anywhere near the best battery life on the market, at least the estimates given by the manufacturer are relatively accurate and not an exaggeration. Of course, these estimates are greatly affected by how loud you're listening to music. I personally do so at low volume, and the earbuds dropped by about 14% in an hour of listening in High Fidelity, with the earbuds managing to eke out just under five hours in total.


Flip open the lid, and you'll notice the earbuds cradled nicely inside. One plus point of the case being this big is that there's enough space to allow the earbuds to sit properly even if bigger ear tips or third-party ear tips are used, which is excellent for tip-rolling enthusiasts. For the sake of this review, however, we stuck to just using the stock tips provided. Additionally, as HIFIMAN just passed the earbuds directly to us without the box and included accessories, we only had the medium tips on hand – thankfully, they offered a great seal.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

The bulk and size of the case make it seem like it would be heavy, but while it does feel dense and substantial in the hand, it's less weighty than it looks at around 84 grams for the case and 8 grams each for the earbuds. However, I do want to note that the earbuds are pretty big, resulting in a bit of wearing fatigue for people with smaller ears over long periods of time. After an hour and a half or so of wearing, I found my ears were hurting a little.

Let's talk about what's inside the earbuds because this is where it gets really impressive. Each sports a 9.2mm dynamic driver with a special nano-particle coating applied to the surface of the diaphragm. This is HIFIMAN's signature Topology Diaphragm, inherited from the wired Svanar earphones. Also, R2R ladder DACs are specified, making this the only pair of earbuds in the world, for now, with this feature. The DAC in question is the brand's Himalaya (sometimes written Hymalaya) DAC, the same one found in the EF400 desktop DAC/amp offering.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

The earbuds run on Bluetooth 5.2 and support standard SBC and AAC codecs as well as Sony's LDAC, which is currently the best option for streaming music in high-res. The connection on AAC was always rock-solid, with no stutters or cut-outs, even in crowded areas or train stations. However, with LDAC, I noticed stuttering in the left earbud when I cupped my hands over my ears, even with the phone just about 60cm away from my head.

Unfortunately, there's no companion app for these earbuds, so there's no way to remap touch controls or adjust any sort of EQ. It's a shame because I would have loved to have found a way to include volume controls in the list of touch controls instead of having to control it from my phone. Each earbud has a proximity sensor for automatic play/pause when removed or inserted into the ear, although it's a little slow and can take seconds to react.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

These earbuds operate on touch controls as per usual, with a single tap controlling play/pause, a double tap skipping tracks backwards, a triple tap skipping tracks forwards and a long press and hold handling switching between ANC, High Fidelity and Transparency modes on the left side, and pulling up the voice assistant on the right. HIFIMAN has a convenient graphic done up, which can be seen above.

ANC is also provided, with the company claiming that the Svanar Wireless can cancel out up to 35dB of noise. I did test this on trains and even on a plane, and while it's nowhere close to the ANC performance of heavyweights such as Sony's WF-1000XM4 or Apple AirPods Pro 2, it does a reasonable job of damping down most low-pitched noises. Voices don't really slip in as much as higher-pitched sounds do, but those are mostly drowned out as long as you have music playing at a reasonable volume.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

Another point to note is that the ANC and Transparency modes do result in music being played at a softer volume than if the earbuds are in High Fidelity mode. The earbuds actually default to High Fidelity mode whenever they're removed from the charging case, so if the volume level on your source is set too high, you'll end up with very loud music blasting into your ears if you don't remember to turn it down. Transparency mode is also decent. Voices don't sound quite as natural, but you'll be perfectly fine holding a conversation even with the earbuds in your ears.

Most of my testing was done with the earbuds in High Fidelity mode, streaming Apple Music lossless tracks through both an iPhone 14 Pro Max as well as a couple of Android phones (Nothing Phone 2 and Poco F5 Pro) so that we could use LDAC for the best experience. The Svanar Wireless shone the brightest in High Fidelity mode, which is clearly optimal. Not only does the soundstage widen considerably, but you get a thumping, powerful bass with a bright treble that offers a good amount of shine and sparkle without crossing the line into harshness or sibilance.


Clarity and even-handedness are what stand out about the sound of these earbuds. Playing Back to December (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift, and the mix was surprisingly transparent. They conveyed her vocals and the instrumentation in their full glory, showcasing how this artist's voice has matured over the years compared to the original song released in 2010. Vocal layering was also easily picked out, which isn't always the case – as evidenced by my having to pay a bit more attention when using my Bowers & Wilkins PI7 S2.

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless Review

The fade-in at the beginning of About a Girl by The Academy Is… was also very well served with a wide soundstage and accurate positioning, plus warm, natural vocals backing up the energetic guitar and drum work. Vocals were rather forward with extra emphasis but still retained a natural richness, which I enjoyed.

I have a few go-to tracks for testing headphones, but one that's typically not on my testing playlist, although I really enjoyed through the Svanar Wireless, is Money by Pink Floyd. The expansive soundstage made listening to the sound effects of the cash registers, the coins jingling and so on such fun. The amount of detail made it very easy to pick out the different guitar riffs set against that unique bassline, making for a great listening experience.


Overall, then, the HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless is a seriously classy pair of true wireless earbuds. While it can't match the same noise-cancelling levels that rivals like Sony or Apple provide, clarity and definition are outstanding. So this manufacturer offers an attractive option for audiophiles looking for some of the most natural-sounding, true wireless earbuds around. A little on the pricey side, but still well worth the money.

Visit HIFIMAN for more information


    Cheryl Tan's avatar

    Cheryl Tan

    After diving down the custom IEMs rabbit hole since she was 18, Cheryl has embarked on a long journey trying out as many audio products as possible ever since. She’s still waiting for the day a company can create a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound just as good as wired earphones.

    Posted in:Headphones Applause Awards 2023 Headphones In Ear Monitors Noise Cancelling Bluetooth / Wireless
    Tags: hifiman  signature audio systems 


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