Did HiFiMan false advertise Susvara's nanometer diaphragm?

Soo… I’m doing some searching and Googling about planar-magnetic diaphragms in headphones. HiFiMan marketed Susvara’s and HE1000’s diaphragm to be “nanometer-grade diaphragm”. Even in their marketing material, they say that it’s less than one millionth of a meter.

One millionth of a meter is what’s called a micrometer, or more commonly known as a micron. A micrometer is equal to 0.001mm (millimeters), 1000x smaller than a millimeter.

A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, 1000x smaller than a micrometer. A nanometer is equal to 0.001µm (micrometers).

I guess that if it really is less than one micron thick, it’s nanometer-grade… but by how much? Technically speaking, if the diaphragm is 999 nanometers thick, it would still be eligible to be “nanometer-grade”, no? When companies make such bold claims, they always avoid talking numbers, and it doesn’t take much thought to understand why.

I mean, not to defend shady advertising, but does it even matter at that point? Anything in the nanometer range is damn thin, hell same with the micrometer range as well. I would guess that it’s probably hard to get a consistent number due to qc differences/variance, and it’s not really something the consumer can verify for themselves without I’d assume ruining their headphone, so it’s probably not worth looking into. If it did happen to be greater than 1 micrometer, what does that actually change? Suddenly is the headphone bad and another headphone with a thinner diaphragm is better?

I guess the point I’m getting at is that marketing is marketing, it’s always going to represent numbers and specs in the most ideal or misleading way they can get away with. I feel like it’s kinda universally known/accepted that with most audio equipment, the marketing claims are always something to take with a pinch of salt, and not really anything to base your decision off of. If the headphone sounds amazing, frankly I don’t really care about how thin or large the diaphragm is lol, but that’s just me

I feel like there’s different levels of acceptable fudging or misrepresenting of claims, I think it’s one thing if a company claims an ultra thin diaphragm and it ends up being super thick, but it’s another if their claimed ultra thin diaphragm is only very thin, one is absolutely misrepresentation and should be held against them, another is slight embellishment which is par for the course in advertising.

I doubt the diaphragm is near the low side of nanometers and likely more toward a micrometer as you say, but that’s still technically true for their advertisment, and would still fall on less than a micrometer which still is an impressive achievement I guess (although if that actually matters for sound is another question). So I don’t really think it’s fair to call it false advertising if it fell in that range. If the diaphragm ended up being multiple or tens of microns thick, then I think it would fall under false advertising. For who wants to tear apart their susvara and get the equipment to properly test that, I don’t know, it’s not going to be me lol


Yup, marketing is marketing, but I think there’s this thin diaphragm “war” going on, who’s got the thinnest diaphragm?

Of course, us, consumers, will never be able to test the thickness. It doesn’t sit right with me that someone can make such a claim and not be held accountable. But then, how many of us can put the technical specifications to the test? So, in the end, you did sum it up well, marketing is marketing.

For example, Shanling marketing the M9 to have a 2k screen, when in reality it has a weird wide variant of 1080p, is something else. Then you jump to read some reviews about the M9, and you see that these guys are just echoing the marketing claims without any checking… just shows you how much they care about spreading accurate and true information =)

I’m not saying that Shanling did this on purpose, but this is an example of a very big false claim.

Bla bla bla… I think when technical and scientific things are being talked about, they should be accurate and true.

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Yeah that’s been the trend with a lot of planar, going thinner and thinner (admittedly I miss the sound of the thicker planar lol)

I mean, they could be held accountable, if someone cared, which I think they might if it didn’t sound good, I feel like it would only become something people would investigate if they had a reason to investigate. Like for example, I’m sure someone figured out the shanling thing simply because they looked at it and went “that doesn’t seem like a 2k screen” or something of the sort because it didn’t look the res it claimed

Fair enough, but I also wouldn’t then throw the words false advertising around without actually being able to prove or even have some inkling that it wasn’t true, rather than automatically making the assumption a company is lying and the argument of “well it could be.” But yeah, there’s no way to prove, so it’s all in the air

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Totally agree, but then we have to be clear on what it means to be scientifically accurate. In the context of measuring a physical dimension, it’s normal practice to report the units of measure in clusters of 3 orders of magnitude, ie every 10^3. The metric system is base 10 and therefore lends itself to this practice. For car rides we often say the distance traveled is something like 25 kilometers rather than 25000 meters. The number 25 is a bit easier to grasp than 25000. When things get very small, we do the same thing, but the numbers get bigger because the units get smaller. 1 micrometer is easier to grasp than 0.000001 meters. We have prefixes like “nano”, “micro”, “kilo” for every 10^3 change. So once the measurement breaks one of those 10^3 chunks, we tend to use the next prefix. So let’s say the hifiman diaphragm is just slightly under 1 micrometer thick, say 0.9 micrometer. Since we now have a measurement smaller than a micron (which is a micrometer), we usually rollover to the next prefix category. 0.9 micrometers = 900 nanometers. So while the diaphragm thickness may not be down to a single digit number of nanometers (which is smaller than the diameters of many atoms), it’s not necessarily wrong or even dishonest to say basically “we’re into the range where using the nanometer unit makes sense”.