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Susvara replacement pads

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 network switch, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Headamps: Cen.Grand Silver Fox, Enleum AMP-23R; Phones: HifiMan Susvara

Review component retail: $99/pr

Crack. It wasn't Colombian snuff hitting my brain. It wasn't my back heaving a 50kg amp. It was just two unsightly splits in my black Susvara ear pads. Through the cracks I saw the green foam padding beneath. Very uncouth for €6K luxo cans. Of course the pads on my older HifiMan HE-1000 had long since disintegrated. Now big brother started its downhill journey. Time to oppose entropy and reset the clock. So just hours before 2022 closed out, I hit up the web shop of New Jersey's Dekoni Audio and ordered a pair of these replacement perf lambskin jobs. They call them fenestrated. I had to look up the word. It does mean perforated. Next.

Why Dekoni? I'd heard really good things. I just can't tell you who by. Forgot. I never had reason to hit up the aftermarket for such parts. My brain only filed away the name on the far side of bad dogs. Good Dekoni. Mind, I've replaced plenty of headphone leashes with mostly Polish Forza Audioworks but also ALO, AudioArt Cables and Moon Audio all from the colonies. Now I Googled for replacement pads and Dekoni came up high. My brain spit out positive recognition. Plus, they could ship from inventory. And, they had a how-to YouTube video for getting the old pads off and the new ones on. Crack. Fixed.

Today's very brief story will be all about my customer experience from ordering to communications to receipt to usage. Despite a Saturday's late hour, an automated system dispatched confirmation within minutes. I saw a cheery "your order is now being processed". My order number was a very high five digits. If Dekoni's biz had really kicked off at invoice N°1 then progressed without big skips, they'd shipped tons of stuff in the interim. My initiation into getting properly padded out was underway. The plush life? Coming right up.

By Sunday January 1st I had the below email with my Route number, a 'resolve an issue' hot link and the promise of "easy and fast issue resolution. We have your back. If your package is impacted by damage, loss or theft, you can easily resolve shipping issues with Route. New items are shipped immediately, at no cost to you, upon approval." Not having encountered Route's add-on service for peace of mind before, I was impressed. That felt worth sharing.

Dekoni's photo of their fenestrated sheepskin pads with memory foam mounted to Susvara.

To be clear, this tale kicked off just to fix the first crack in Susvara's leatherette armor. But headfi cognoscenti know. The shape, thickness and composition of ear pads all influence the sound. If you think that hogwash, view a headphone's full enclosure as a miniature room stuck to your ear. Like with regular loudspeakers, sounds bounce off all boundaries and obstructions; or are partially or fully absorbed depending on frequency. Now it's obvious that pads must make a difference. To varying degrees they pack reflective, absorptive and damping properties. I liked Susvara's original sound just fine. It's not why I ordered my new ear cushions. There simply was virtual certainty that I'd notice at least a small sonic change. It's why Dekoni offer multiple pad options. It's not merely about comfort like velour vs leather. Pad pick is a sonic personalization path like tube/op-amp rolling; or wiring harness swaps. Dekoni's ventilated lambskin surrounds memory foam. Popular with mattresses, Wikipedia describes such foam as "mainly polyurethane with additional chemicals to increase viscosity and density. The open foam cells create a matrix through which air can move. Higher-density memory foam softens in response to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body in a few minutes. Newer foams may recover their original shape more quickly."