HiFiMAN Ananda Headphone Review

 

 

 

 

HiFiMAN Ananda Headphone Review

 

Introduction:

HiFiMAN was founded by Dr. Fang in New York – USA and is one of the most well-known personal audio companies in the audiophile word.

HiFiMAN has a wide variety of Hi-Fi, Reference and Premium class products like Portable Audio Players, Planar Magnetic Headphones, Desktop Amplifiers, Earphones, IEM’s and True Wireless Monitors and Headphones.

The HiFiMAN Ananda is a full sized Open-Back headphone that features a Planar Magnetic Driver with an Ultra-Thin NsD Diaphragm (NEO “supernano” Diaphragm). The NsD is 80% thinner (1 to 2 microns) than previous designs resulting in a faster response.

 

 

Disclaimer:

The HiFiMAN Ananda was provided to me by the company HiFiMAN for review purposes. I am not affiliated with HiFiMAN beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

 

  

Price:

The actual price of HiFiMAN Ananda is $699.00 and can be purchased under the link bellow;

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The HiFiMAN Ananda comes in a relative big cardboard box due to the size of the headphone with the illustration of the product and some brandings of the company.

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 piece x HiFiMAN Ananda Open-Back Headphone
  • 1 piece x 3.5mm to 3.5mm Headphone Cable (150cm long)
  • 1 piece x 3.5mm to 6.35mm Headphone Cable (300cm long)
  • 1 piece x User Manual
  • 1 piece x Warranty Card

The box doesn’t include any protective case.

The HiFiMAN Ananda comes with two headphone cables, one with 3.5mm TRRS headphone L angled plug that is approx. 150cm long, while the second cable has a 6.35mm headphone plug with a length of 300cm.

The cables do have two sockets with 3.5mm terminations.

The cables are made of OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) wire material that does feature a transparent insulation.

 

 

 

 

Design, Build Quality, Comfort:

I really like the appearance of the HiFiMAN Ananda which shares same oval shape that we have seen with the companies “Top of the Line” model’s like the HE1000 & 1000se and has a nice industrial look with a combination of parts made of plastic and metal material, which are in black and silver color. The Ananda feels fairly sturdy and is also fairly lightweight with a weight approx. 399 grams compared to older generation planar headphones of the company like the HE6 (502grams) 5& HE500 (499 grams).

HiFiMAN seems to have solved the quality control issues that were mentioned by customers with products in the past, since I didn’t have seen any remarkable imperfections (gaps, burrs, glue residues, etc.) on both the Deva and Ananda headphones. But to be honest I would wish that HiFiMAN could use at least a metal frame instead of plastic material for the earcups. The overall build quality is fine but not class leading for a product at this price range.

Like mentioned before the outer frame of the ear cups are made of plastic material with a black finish that shows a nice shimmering effect.

The metal grill on the earcups is the focal point of the Ananda that looks to my eyes very esthetic with its design and finish in silver/metallic color.

 

The earpads are replaceable and do have a nice fabric surface in black color, while the outer/exterior coating is made of pleather material in black color. The padding is quite comfortable same like the ones that are used on the HiFiMAN Deva headphone.

Under the metal grill and inside the earcups is a thin layer made of fabric material to protect the very thin planar magnetic diaphragm.

On both earcups are the 3.5mm female connectors for the detachable cable.

The headband system is made from a combination of metal (spring steel), plastic and leather material and feels pretty sturdy.

The mechanism is a bit too tight but shows a quite solid look and feel.

The bow/crown is made of spring steel material with a black finish that is fairly bendable.

Just below the sides is the adjustment mechanism of the headband system that is covered with a plastic housing on each side which is mainly in black color with exception of a small part in silver color located on the top and bottom.

Here are the HiFiMAN logos along with the Ananda branding on the right side and the HiFiMAN letter on the left side.

The headband is made of leather material in black color with a fabric lining in the inner surface.

At the inner surface of the grey plastic parts are the L (left) and R (right markings).

When it comes to the comfort of the HiFiMAN Ananda I can say that the earpads are pretty comfortable and I do like the size of the pads that do cover your ears. The clamping force is also fine while the size and shape of headband could be a bit small for people with a relative big head.

The Open-Back design of the Ananda makes it to a headphone with almost no isolation, which means that the Ananda is only suitable for the use at home.

 

 

Isolation:

The HiFiMAN Ananda is an Open-Back headphone Planar Magnetic Driver that offers an bellow average isolation due to the nature of any Planar Magnetic Headphone. The noise/sound leakage from the outside to the inside and from the inside to the outside is pretty high which makes the Ananda not to an ideal headphone for the use in environments with high noise.

 

 

Drivability:

The HiFiMAN Anada has an impedance of 25ohm and sensitivity of 103dB which looks prey efficient on paper. Yes, it can be driven with Portable Players like the FiiO M11 Pro or iBasso DX220, while devices like Smartphone’s or Tablets with relative weak amplification are not ideal for the use with Planar Magnetic Headphones like the Ananda.

However, to hear the true potential of the HiFiMAN Ananda,  I would highly recommend you to use it with more powerful sources like Portable Amplifiers or DAP’s with good amplification like the HiFiMAN R2R200, QLS QA361 or iBasso DX220 MAX.

 

Technical Specifications: 
  • Driver Type                            : Planar Magnetic Driver with NsD Diaphragm
  • Frequency Response             : 8 Hz – 55kHz
  • Impedance                             : 25Ω
  • Sensitivity                               : 103dB
  • Weight                                    : 399g
  • Cable Material                        : OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) Wire Cable

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • Headphones                          : HiFiMAN Ananda and iBasso SR1
  • Sources (DAP/DAC/AMP)    : iBasso DX220 MAX, QLS QA361, xDuoo XD05 Pro

  

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • George Frederic Handel –Sarabande in D Minor (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • The Dave Brubeck Quarted – Take Five (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • No Doubt – Hella Gut (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Long Distance Calling – Immunity (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The HiFiMAN Ananda is a full sized open-back headphone with a planar magnetic driver of the latest technology which offers a nicely tuned warmish tonality with impressive timbre. The bass is very fast and controlled with good level of layering, the midrange shows a warm and lush character with decent amount of detail retrieval, while the treble range shows a good level of extension and definition along with decent amount of airiness and sparkle.

Bass:

The HiFiMAN Ananda features a Planar Magnetic Driver with an Ultra-Thin NsD Diaphragm (NEO “supernano” Diaphragm). This design is the main reason for the fast and controlled bass response of the Ananda open-back headphone.

The subbass region of the Ananda offers a good level of depth and rumble for a headphone with a planar magnetic driver. The subbass extension is on a decent level while listen to it with Digital Audio Players like the iBasso DX220 MAX & QLS QA361 and when paired with portable headphones amplifiers like the xDuoo XD05 plus & FiiO Q5s. The subbass intensity is surprisingly good, while the separation from the midbass area is another remarkable feature of the Ananda.

The HiFiMAN Ananda shows a very controlled and detailed midbass character that is also very impressive in terms of speed and extension. The presentation of this area is pretty impactful and tight, while it is also quite responsive to hardware equalizing that I have tested with the “Bass Boost” switch of the Q5s and XD05 Plus that makes audible improvements while listen to bass intensive electronic songs. But please don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t expect a kind of bass quantity and intensity you would normally hear with closed back headphones that do produce the bass with a dynamic driver.

The general bass character improves the musicality of the Ananda without to without affect the overall balance of those wonderful coherent sounding headphone.

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the HiFiMAN Ananda sounds very spacious and open with a nice touch of warmth that helps to makes the general presentation of instrument and the vocal very pleasant to listen to. The level of transparency and airiness is top notch and fulfills the expectations from a headphone at this price tag. The detail retrieval and clarity is absolutely stunning, which was always the focal point of the HiFiMAN sound signature.

The lower midrange of the Ananda shows a good amount depth and fullness which makes it to a successful headphone while listen to male vocals like Barry White or Isaac Hayes that do sound very emotional and lively. Female vocals on the other hand do sound very realistic and lively from vocals like Edith Piaf and Diana Krall up to Dionne Warwick and Randy Crawford.

The HiFiMAN Ananda shows a slightly warmish, quite musical and natural instrument tonality. For example; instruments like electro and acoustic guitars do have a mildly bassy, pretty sweet and warmish tonality which makes them very enjoyable to listen to. Other Instruments like pianos or violins do have a bright tonality and are shown with a good level of extension and detail retrieval.

All in all, I do find the HiFiMAN Ananda quite successful in terms of clarity, definition, separation and detail retrieval of instruments and vocals.

 

Upper Midrange & Treble:

The upper midrange of the HiFiMAN Ananda is pretty highlighted and crisp with good amount of detail retrieval. The transition in the upper midrange are in general pretty controlled even in moments when instruments do play with higher distortion. The upper midrange of the HiFiMAN Ananda shows a nice tonality in this area and has good presence without to sound overly sharp or sibilant.

The most remarkable feature of HiFiMAN Ananda in the treble range is the crispness of the presentation that shows a great level of extension as well. The treble range is nicely highlighted without to sound overly sharp or to dry and shows a warmish tonality rather than a clinical/analytical one, which makes it also ideal for longer listening periods.

String instruments in classical songs like violins or harps do sound quite natural and detailed with good level of extension, while pianos and cymbals in jazz music are shown with a natural tonality in this area.

 

Soundstage:

The HiFiMAN Ananda offers you a refined soundstage presentation with a nice sense of expansion that benefits from its open back design and shows also a quite impressive performance in terms of separation of instrument & vocals. The soundstage has a good level of wideness and gives you also a decent sense of depth. The air & space that is produced by the HiFiMAN Ananda between the instruments sounds quite impressive.

 

 

Comparison:

 

HiFiMAN Ananda versus iBasso SR2:

The iBasso SR2 and the HiFiMAN Ananda are both full sized headphones; but one of the main difference is the driver implementation. The HiFiMAN Ananda comes with a planar magnetic driver, while the iBasso SR2 features a dynamic driver with Bio-Cellulose Dome Diaphragm.

The second difference is the open-back design; the HiFiMAN Ananda has a fully open-back implementation due to the use of the planar-magnetic driver and shows very low to non-isolation. The SR2 on the other hand has a semi open-back design that offers a far better level of isolation.

When it comes to the sound, both the iBasso SR2 and HiFiMAN Ananda do have a very open and spacious presentation with a musical and warmer than neutral tonality. The SR2 shows slightly more warmth and a noticeably fuller presentation.

The HiFiMAN Ananda shows less subbass depth and intensity compared to the iBasso SR2 which offers also more rumble and a slightly better level of extension. The Ananda is the headphone with the faster subbass decay, while both headphones do offer a decent performance in terms of control in this region.

The iBasso SR2 is the headphone with the higher midbass intensity compared to the HiFiMAN Ananda which shows a pretty linear midbass response. The Ananda has a more neutral and less colored midbass character. The iBasso SR2 shows more midbass depth and is also more impactful/punchy. The Ananda has the upper hand in terms of midbass speed thanks to its planar magnetic driver, while both are very successful in terms of bass control and layering.

Both headphones do have a warmer than neutral midrange tonality and do offer a great level of airiness and detail retrieval. The midrange of the iBasso SR2 is more forward oriented, full bodied and does produce more warmth, while the midrange of the HiFiMAN Ananda is slightly more neutral and shows less fullness. The Ananda has the upper hand in terms of upper midrange brightness and extension while both do offer a detailed presentation in this area. Instruments like snare drums, violins and pianos do sound slightly crisper with the HiFiMAN Ananda, while instruments like the acoustic guitar or the viola are more natural and musical with the iBasso SR2.

Male vocals do have sound fuller and more detailed with the iBasso SR2, as well as female voices. The SR2 offers also a more emotional and intimate presentation while listen to female vocals like Aretha Franklin up to soprano vocals like Sertap Erener.

The lower treble range of the iBasso is able to produce a higher level of clarity, detail and definition. The treble range of both headphones is quite successful in terms of control and extension, while the HiFiMAN Ananda shows a higher amount of airiness and sparkle due to boost in the upper treble region.

Both Headphones do offer a decent performance in terms placement and separation of instruments and the vocals. The soundstage of both the HiFiMAN Ananda and the iBasso SR2 is huge, while the Ananda has the upper hand for both soundstage depth and wideness due to the fully open back design that was pretty audible while listen to classical songs.

 

           

Conclusion:

The HiFiMAN Ananda is an impressive sounding full sized open back headphone that offers a top of the line detail retrieval with an excellent frequency response. The bass of this headphones is fast and accurate, while the midrange shows a warm and lush character with decent amount of detail retrieval. Finally, the treble range offers you a good level of extension and definition along with decent amount of airiness and sparkle. All of these sound features have been implemented in a headphone that is visually impressive and that shows an acceptable build quality.

 

 

Pros & Cons: 
  • + Tonality & Timbre
  • + Overall Detail Retrieval & Frequency Response
  • + Soundstage & Imaging
  • + Design & Comfort
  • – Stock cables don fit the quality of those headphones
  • – No Protective Storage Case

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

 

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