Stereophile's Products of 2023 Headphone Product of the Year

Headphone Product of the Year

Abyss Diana TC Headphones
($4495–$5995; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.5 review)

Finalists (in alphabetical order)
Apple Airpod Pro 2 In-Ear Headphones ($249/pair; reviewed by Rogier van Bakel in Vol.46 No.3 review)
Focal Utopia Headphones ($5000; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.5 review)
HiFiMan HE-R10P Headphones ($5499; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.8 review)
Naim Uniti Atom HE Headphone Amplifier ($3799; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.5 review)

The stock, fourth-generation Abyss Diana TC costs $4495. The version reviewed by Herb Reichert was the "Complete" package, which, for an extra $1500, substitutes a 1.8m Superconductor HP cable for the standard 1.5m cable, in the purchaser's choice of termination: three- or four-pin XLR or ¼" stereo jack plug. HR also used the optional ported pads, which are offered as an alternative to the stock lambskin or vegan Ultrasuede ear-cup pads. According to designer Joe Skubinski, these pads "add a gentle bass bump in the lower bass range, adding a bit more soundstage depth and openness." HR wrote that it was easy to distinguish between the punchier, more direct stock pads and the ported ones, which, as Skubinski suggested, play a touch warmer and more spacious. "It was not easy to choose a favorite."

HR found that streaming the album La Guitarra dels Lleons from Tidal, which features Xavier Díaz-Latorre on guitar and Pedro Estevan on percussion, the 69 ohm, 90dB/mW-sensitive Diana TC headphones "preserved the nuance of these artists' most subtle dynamic shifts, letting me feel the musicians 'feeling it' more and better than with the Abyss AB-1266 and every other headphone I can remember using." He concluded that the Abyss Diana TC "is the Abyss AB-1266 disguised as a pretty woman."

Notes on the vote
There was no ambiguity in the voting for this category: the Abyss Diana TC headphones scored head-and-shoulders above the other finalists. But the inexpensive Apple AirPod Pro 2 gets a shoutout for making it through to the second round of voting.