I recently tested the Abyss Diana. And despite its serious price tag, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sound signature. But now Abyss has released the Diana Phi, which sells for a cool 4 grand. Boasting the ultimate in luxury with primo sound quality, these cans have to be good. So, what can you expect from this very pricey lady? Let’s find out in this Abyss Diana Phi Review.
Abyss Diana Phi Review
IN the BOX
Don’t expect plush ear pads that give you that cosy swaddled feel. Though the leather is primo and the ear pads are soft, Abyss has taken a minimalist approach with the somewhat austere design. That being said, I wore these cans for a few hours, and I didn’t have any problems with comfort. The only issues I had in this department was that fit felt kind of loose on my ears. That being said, I have a small head, and this design is intentionally made to form to all head shapes.
Diana Phi sports 63mm Phi planar drivers, which were made famous by Abyss’ flagship, the massively sized AB-1266 Phi CC. Also kind of unique to this brand (though Bang & Olufson has used it too) is the Fibonacci hole pattern on the earcups. Fibonacci was a mathematician from the 12th Century who loved holes. Actually, he discovered a sequence of numbers that geometrically looks like a spiral. If you suffer from trypophobia, you’re probably not a fan of this genius. Regardless, the spiral pattern “properly tunes the sound while following the flow of nature.” That’s some hippy dippy stuff right there. But I guess it works.
What really sets these cans from others in this echelon is the crazy thin shape of the frame. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, Diana Phi is a tough broad too. And to make her pretty, they’ve given her a ceramic finish, while colors are also customizable.
Abyss allows you to choose the termination on your cable, which is 1.5 meters in length: 3.5 mm, 2.5 mm balanced, 4 pin XLR or 4.4 mm balanced plug.
These cans are pretty easy to drive, at 32 Ohms and a sensitivity of 91 dB. A small portable amp should give you enough juice at around 70% volume. But for the purposes of this review, I used the iFi Black Label Micro.
Overall Impressions: Beautifully balanced, clean, yuge soundstage, easy listening.
Though the lows are closer to the neutral end of the spectrum, you’ll still get some great punch when listening to pop tracks. And the tightness of the bass lends itself well to that genre. But was is most striking is how well Abyss has balanced fantastic detail with an easy-listening smoothness. Cellos in this range, for example, had plenty of texture and substance. But when you move onto double bass plucks, for example, the note progressions have a honey-like fluidity that’s oh so pleasing to the ears. And although there is some warmth in this range, it’s a super clean sound, with the lows well separated from the higher frequencies.
You can expect pretty balanced mids here. That is, the upper mids avoid overemphasis, while the low mids are given plenty of love too. As a result, big rock songs will give you an all-encompassing feel, full of body and richness. And vocals sit comfortably within the mix without any artificial forwardness. At the same time, the layering is very tidy, and not one instrument is lost in the mix, even in the heaviest of arrangements. You’ll get a sense of just how good the separation is when you listen to guitar strums in the lower mids, which often sound mushy even in the priciest of cans. But with the Diana Phi, the strums are very clean and well delineated, making it a perfect headphone for folk music as well. However, I could have used a little more drum attack on some tracks. Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love and John Lennon’s Watching The Wheels, are two examples. On both tracks, the snares ideally have a lot of presence, and should help drive the songs. But there was slight lack of impact that detracted from the energy of the tracks. Other than that, no complaints.
The Diana Phi displays good transparency when listening to strings in this range. But again, there’s a mellowness to the sound that’s really agreeable. And even though you’ll get some nice sparkle in this range, it’s a forgiving sound signature. Still, listening to pop, you’ll hear crispy percussion, giving the tracks a fun, snappy feel.
This is one of my favorite things about the Diana Phi. Tons of dimension and spaciousness, and some of the most precise imaging I’ve heard in a high-end headphone. If you appreciate a truly 3D listening experience, you’re going to dig it.
These cans can handle every genre you throw at them. Ample detail, lots of body, clean separation, and a well-balanced, sweet sound signature that lends itself well to long listening sessions. In fact, the Diana Phi would surely be a crowd pleaser if everyone in the crowd had 5 grand to spend. But for the lucky few, there will be no buyer’s remorse.
You can find the Diana Phi for the best price here: