Hifiman ananda review: HiFiMAN Ananda Review – Planar Headphones Refined – Headphones.com

HiFiMAN Ananda Review – Planar Headphones Refined – Headphones.com

I had the opportunity to evaluate the HiFiMAN Ananda and Arya last year, but there are two reasons why I’m revisiting the HiFiMAN lineup in 2020. The first is that some of them have seen price drops along the way, namely the Sundara is now priced consistently at $350 and the Ananda’s current sale price of $700 puts it in a much more aggressive price bracket than its previous pricing did at around $1000. At the moment it’s unclear if this is just a sale price or if it’s going to stay discounted for a long time. I’ve had the opportunity to review numerous other headphones in the meantime as well, so it’s important to consider where the Ananda fits now – especially at the lower price tag – for anyone looking to potentially make a purchase. To me, there’s now an important question for prospective audiophiles looking to get into a HiFiMAN planar magnetic headphone: Is the Ananda worth the price increase over the entry to mid-level Sundara?

The second and perhaps more important reason to re-evaluate the HiFiMAN lineup is that some minor changes to the Sundara’s pads (which likely happened some time last year as well) yielded an improved frequency response. This has had me wondering if similar changes made it to other headphones in the lineup. During an interview with HiFiMAN CEO Dr. Fang Bian at the recent CanJam NYC 2020, he explained to me that while there are no official revisions for any of them, there may have been some efforts made to improve reliability and aesthetics – small tweaks to the dust cover look, and removal of paint on magnets and so forth. He assured me that none of this should impact the sound, but I wouldn’t be a very good reviewer if I didn’t investigate for myself as well.

🎧 Shop the HiFiMAN Ananda here at the best price


  • Headphone type: Over-ear, open-back
  • Driver: Planar magnetic
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB
  • Impedance: 25 Ohms
  • Cable Length: 1.5 m
  • Weight: 399 g
  • Price: $700


  • iFi Pro iDSD -> Cayin IHA-6
  • iFi Pro iDSD -> SPL Phonitor X
  • Mytek Liberty DAC
  • Earmen TR-Amp

Build, Design & Comfort

The Ananda (and other similar HiFiMAN headphones) has a very recognizable design style and aesthetic, opting for HiFiMAN’s egg-shaped cups, rather than the circular ones found in the Sundara. This is similar to their higher end headphones pioneered by the HE-1000 and Edition X from several years back, and is markedly different from the more traditional designs found in the HE-500 and HE-400 series that put HiFiMAN on the map.

For anyone wondering about how the design trajectory works for the various different headphones in HiFiMAN’s lineup, this tree illustrates where some of the influences stem from:

The Ananda feels fairly sturdy for most of it. I’m not a huge fan of the plastic arm extension pieces on the sides of the headband, but they do the job and keep the weight down. Thankfully the Ananda comes in just under 400g, so it’s one of the lighter planar magnetic headphones out there. That’s often the trade off we have to endure in order to get the excellent performance planars often come with, but HiFiMAN seem to have solved the weight issues reasonably well.

My biggest complaint for comfort is that there’s no swivel to the cups. This is mitigated by the fact that the Ananda is generally quite comfortable in its default position. However, I was hoping HiFiMAN had been able to update this headband design to include the small notches found on the Ananda-BT (the newer wireless version), which does allow for a small amount of swivel. Nonetheless, it’s very easy to get it to fit right and be comfortable, and I think most people will find the Ananda easy to wear for long listening sessions. I was able to wear it over the course of a full work day – nearly 8 hours – without any issues.

Score: 8/10

Technical Performance

As mentioned, the Ananda is a planar magnetic headphone, so many of the hallmarks of planar magnetic headphones show up in its technical performance. For the Ananda, HiFiMAN have implemented what they call their ‘supernano’ diaphragm, meaning it’s one of the thinnest materials being used. My guess is that this allows the headphone to be both lighter (without the need for heavier magnets), and also more efficient with a lower power requirement.

Detail Retrieval

The HiFiMAN Ananda has exceptional detail retrieval. When considering detail retrieval, I like to borrow the ‘image clarity’ analogy expressed by a friend of mine. If you’re looking through a window at a scene, how clear is the window? Even in a semi-opaque or translucent window, the images are identifiable, so it’s not that all the various pieces of the music don’t come through on lesser headphones, it’s just that all the details about the musical elements are that much more clear and well-defined on a headphone like the Ananda. In other words, the more clear that image, the better detail retrieval the headphone has. This also redounds to improved representation of textural nuances and image structure in the music.

At $700 the Ananda is one of the best at doing this. It’s a very transparent window – not quite on the level of far more expensive flagships like the higher end Arya, or the HEDD audio HEDDphone – but still better than most if not all of the competition under $1000.

Score: 9/10

Speed & Dynamics

This is an interesting category, because while the Ananda does well for speed, immediacy, and ‘tightness’ (it has that somewhat plucked quality for all the tones that come across that I typically associate with planar magnetic headphones), the Ananda’s punch and slam quality is a bit lacking for most of its frequency response. I say most of its frequency response because whenever I listen to music that tokens sub-bass frequencies, the punch comes back a bit. This is something that I also found with other HiFiMAN headphones that use this same ‘egg-shape’ design, and it makes me think this is just the nature of that parameter.

This means that the Ananda has a somewhat softer presentation overall, lacking some of the visceral impact that some highly excursive dynamic driver headphones like the Focal Elear or Elex offer. I think the argument could be made, however, that this softer presentation is more of a refinement, and that for certain types of music it’s actually more desirable. But for me I do miss a bit of that slam quality for music that doesn’t token the sub-bass frequencies as much.

Score: 7.5/10

Soundstage & Imaging

The Ananda gains some ground back when it comes to soundstage and imaging. Not only is the stage large and spacious, the Ananda presents everything very evenly in front of me – something I don’t normally associate with planar magnetic headphones. So while lateral definition is good, it’s not as much of an “all around you” kind of experience like some headphones have but instead more like being at a concert with the music in front of you. The center image is also well defined as a result of this. I often have concerns about planar magnetic headphones losing a bit of the center image where it collapses towards you, or when sounds pan from left to right, the switch over is so immediate that there almost is no center image, but with the Ananda that’s thankfully not the case.

Moreover, the Ananda also has excellent instrument separation and distinction – once again, very ‘planar-like’ in this regard. It’s very easy to isolate and focus on individual instrument lines or specific parts of harmonies coming through. On many other headphones, even more expensive ones, these can tend to blend together.

Score: 9/10


The Ananda doesn’t have the kind of dry planar bass that I sometimes worry about showing up, and it’s also not particularly artificial or metallic sounding either. But at the same time it’s not as natural sounding as some dynamic driver headphones. It’s a minor trade off, but it once again underscores the importance of that question of “natural and realistic dynamic driver headphones vs detailed and ‘plucked’ planar magnetic headphones” that prospective listeners will need to answer for themselves.

Score: 8/10

Frequency Response & Tonality

These measurements were taken with the MiniDSP EARS rig, using both the HEQ and HPN compensations. This measurement system is not industry standard and should not be compared with other measurements that are. Note that there is a coupler artifact at 4.5khz that shows up on just about every headphone.

The following shows how this headphone measures relative to the HPN compensation, which is closer to a traditional diffuse field target and doesn’t take the Harman bass elevation into consideration.

Ananda = Orange; Sundara = Green

The following shows how this headphone measures relative to the HEQ compensation, which is based on the Harman target and does add a bass shelf. Headphones that show flat bass extension on this compensation will have more bass than headphones that show flat bass extension on the HPN compensation.

The Ananda has possibly my favorite frequency response so far, and it’s also remarkably similar to that of the Sundara pictured in green. The Ananda is a little bit more elevated in the bass, but mostly just in the sub-bass. This means that the bass shelf stops at the appropriate place, coming back down before 200hz. This is one of the reasons why it looks so linear on the HEQ compensation, which assumes this kind of bass elevation is normal. Personally, I really like the way it’s done on the Ananda.

The mids for both headphones are quite linear, however around 1.5khz the Ananda drops down a bit, while the Sundara doesn’t, and then around 3khz the Ananda has a bit more energy compared to the Sundara. This means that for certain resonant tones from instruments like pianos or acoustic guitars you get an extra sense of clarity on the Ananda, which I really enjoy. But it’s such a minor difference that this will likely end up being a matter of preference more than anything else. Anyone who prefers modern genres like pop or EDM may prefer the slightly more relaxed upper mids of the Sundara.

The other notable difference here is that the Ananda has more treble energy throughout the primary treble region. This looks like it could be fatiguing, but really it doesn’t sound like that at all. The Ananda has such good detail retrieval that it’s quite smooth sounding in that range, which I think on lesser headphones could cause issues with sibilant sounds coming across a bit too aggressively. The Ananda does this region so well in fact that I think this graph is a bit misleading, because when you compare the Ananda to the Sundara, it almost sounds smoother on the Ananda for the ‘S’, ‘F’, and ‘T’ sounds, despite the Sundara measuring like it has less energy in that region. That’s also not to say the Sundara does it poorly either, they’re both close to perfect for that range.

So while both the Ananda and the Sundara have a somewhat ‘neutral’ tonality, the Ananda is the perfect blend of neutral and fun with slight bass and treble emphasis. I think the Ananda may even have my preferred sound signature overall, even more so than many headphones that cost thousands more. Therefore it gets top marks from me in that department. I think the only thing I could ask for would be a touch more air up top around 12khz, but that’s just nitpicking. I don’t EQ the Ananda at all.

Score: 9.5


HiFiMAN Sundara

The question of “is it worth it over the Sundara” in my mind comes down to whether or not you already own the Sundara. If you do, then I think the answer is probably not. The Sundara has a similarly excellent frequency response, has slightly better punch and slam, and is very competitive at half the price of the Ananda. If you don’t already own a Sundara, however, then the notion of spending more money for the Ananda means it’s worth considering what you gain by doing so. In my opinion, the main advantages of the Ananda are a larger and more refined soundstage, better detail retrieval, and a bit more bass energy (if you like that sort of thing). So maybe if you don’t already own a Sundara the Ananda is worth saving up for instead – if the aforementioned advantages are what you’re looking for.

HiFiMAN Arya

The bigger brother, the HiFiMAN Arya, also has a similar frequency response, however I find it’s not quite as smooth as the Ananda at around 6khz and 9khz. So for certain types of music, there’s a risk that the Arya can occasionally sound a bit more aggressive. However the Arya also has much better depth capabilities, and it’s also a noticeable step up for image clarity and separation qualities – appropriate for its higher price tag. So in my mind, if you don’t want to EQ anything and you listen to a wide variety of music, the Ananda may actually be the sweet spot. Otherwise, the Arya is definitely the more capable headphone of the two, and in my mind it is worth the upgrade, especially if you’re comfortable making small adjustments.


I went into this review wondering if there were any secret revisions or differences between this unit and the one that I had previously evaluated, and I can report that nothing jumped out at me to indicate noticeable changes. It looks like if anything was improved, it was merely cosmetic, and this didn’t impact the frequency response or the way it fits. And so just like my previous evaluation, it’s my pleasure to thoroughly recommend the HiFiMAN Ananda. It was great at $1000 and it’s just as good on sale now at $700. In my mind, the Ananda is so good that I consider it a bit of a benchmark headphone at this sale price – if indeed it stays there.

Weighted Score: 8.6/10

Weighting prioritizes detail, frequency response, comfort and image distinction

Review written by Andrew Park (@Resolve)

Check out the video review as well:

Read the Ananda review by Chrono

Join the discussion about the HiFiMAN Ananda at “The HEADPHONE Community”.

Buy the HiFiMAN Ananda on Headphones.com at the best price available.

HIFIMAN Ananda Headphones – Sweet Mids, Huge Stage — Audiophile Heaven

HIFIMAN Ananda Headphones – Sweet Mids, Huge Stage

HIFIMAN Ananda is the headphone I took the most photos of for the past 3 months, and it is a high-end planar magnetic design priced at 1000 USD, sometimes going on sale for 700 USD. They have been the culmination of price / performance ratio for HIFIMAN, and they will be compared to other high-end headphones, including Crosszone CZ-10 Dynamic Headphones (900 USD), LSA HP-1 (1400 USD), Sivga Peacock Planar Magnetic Headphones (1500 USD), HIFIMAN Arya Stealth (1600 USD), and Audeze LCD-XC 2021 (1800 USD). For this special headphone, I will also be including pairings with Astell & Kern SP2000T (2500 USD), Cyrus One Cast (2000 USD), and Lotoo PAW 6000 (1200 USD). 



HIFIMAN doesn’t need much of an introduction to music lovers, as they’ve been delivering awesome audio products, especially headphones and IEMS for years now, and their technology includes both dynamic drivers, planar magnetic drivers, but also DAPs, even with R2R tech inside. They are reliable, in fact being in top 3 most reliable companies from around the world right now, with offices in both Asia, Europe and USA, solving any problem that may appear with their products quickly, and offering a really satisfying customer experience. Even better, Ananda is one of their best seller headphones, with what can be called the best price / performance ratio that can be found out there, especially around the 700 USD price point it typically sells at.   

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with HIFIMAN, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank HIFIMAN for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in HIFIMAN Ananda find their next music companion. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3o5v97c

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3H7NCYc

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3G4njRq



First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

You may remember that I reviewed the Ananda Bluetooth a while ago, so I was impressed to see that the normal Ananda has the same package as HE6SE, rather than the Arya Stealth package. They come with the large wooden HIFIMAN package, with two HIFIMAN high-end cables, one in a 6.3mm termination, for desktop amplifiers, and one that’s shorter and ends in a single ended 3.5mm jack. 

If you need a separate balanced cable, you’ll have to source one yourself, but the two cables included are 1.5 meters in length for the one with a 3.5mm jack, and 3 meters in length for the one with a 6.3mm jack. 


Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

You have to admit that they look like Arya and Arya Stealth, and even like Ananda Bluetooth, HIFIMAN having applied the same design to all those headphones, but you also need to learn that this helps keep the costs low for them, and provide better sonics for lower price, so while it is tricky for us to take better photos every time, HIFIMAN actually has a good reason to stick to this design for their headphones. The window shade grill design helps reduce the sonic reflections coming from the driver and helps towards a good sound, so I’m happy to see it implemented as often as possible in HIFIMAN’s models.  

HIFIMAN mentions that Ananda has higher sensitivity than other planars, and that is entirely correct, but you still need a fairly strong source to drive them, like Astell & Kern SE180, iBasso DX300 and Lotoo PAW 6000, and Dethonray DTR1+. I also had excellent experience driving Ananda from budget sources like iFi’s hip-dac2, iBasso DX160, and Palab M1 Mini DAC/AMP. Please keep in mind that I have reviewed and still have all of the competitors and pairing sources to offer the info, and that you can click on them to check out that review as well. 

The headband of Ananda is made of leather, or at least imitates it very well, and looks pretty sleek. Having the leather part beneath the harder metallic skeleton is helpful for comfort and allows you to wear Ananda for many hours in a row, but the headband attaches to the earcups in such a way that it doesn’t swivel much in any direction, especially laterally.  

The earpads are of the highest quality, pretty much the same as the ones that can be found on HIFIMAN Arya Stealth, and this means that your ears will have tons of real estate, and Ananda is the most comfortable headphone you can find around this price point, with the oval ergonomic shape for the earpads, good ear pad thickness, soft-ish earpads that create a good seal, and great overall comfort. Ananda also has very common 3.5mm sockets at the earcup level, for connecting the cables, so it will be extremely easy to find aftermarket cables if you want to go balanced. The earpads follow an asymmetrical shape with thicker padding at the back of the ear, and thinner padding at the front, to fit better with the natural shape of the human head and ears. This works well for me and I get a great seal with them. 

There is a good amount of data available on Ananda if you read the manual that’s included with them, including their low weight, of 399g, 25 OHMs of impedance, and medium sensitivity of 103dB. They also used a high-end NsD diaphragm for Ananda, a thinner design than older designs, being 1 to 2 microns thick. In fact, this is a statement to their easier to drive nature, since HIFIMAN even managed to make a Bluetooth version of it, similar to how they made Deva pro sound amazing with the Bluetooth adapter, even though Deva Pro is otherwise quite hard to drive. 

Ananda leaks a bit, similar to how Arya Stealth and Arya, and even Ananda Bluetooth leak, and they all have pretty much about the same amount of passive noise isolation, around 10 dB. You won’t be able to blast metal in a library, but you won’t wake the neighbors or someone sleeping in a different room if you pump volume in Ananda. You need some power to get them loud, so I would not skimp on the source, and I would go for desktop amplifiers where possible, like Violectric HPA V340, Burson Funk, or Keces S3.   


Sound Quality

We need to start by mentioning all of the sources that I’ve been using to power and drive the Ananda, so you know where I’m coming from. It was basically all high-end DAPs like DTR1+ from Dethonray, Lotoo PAW 6000, iBasso DX240, Astell & Kern SE180, and Cyrus One Cast. I took the sonic impressions over the course of a few days to avoid personal bias, volume matching was done at a 1dB level using a SPL meter (for comparisons too), and I have allowed the Ananda to burn-in for 100  hours before taking the sound quality notes, to make sure they are given their fair time to settle in.

Ananda has a really natural sound, relaxed, smooth, with a warm and rich midrange that you could enjoy for hours without ever wanting to stop, a deep and punchy bass that goes hand in hand with the midrange, and has a natural balance in relation to it. The treble of Ananda is sweet, slightly wet in character and splashy rather than harsh or fatiguing, and the whole sound is simply sweet, musical and huge in the stage, even with very compressed metal and rock. The Rock Cat agrees with the performance of Ananda with both rock and metal. 

The bass of Ananda is really snappy and quick, deep and punchy, but is not the sub-bass that will take the highlight, but how naturally the bass combines with the midrange and how it has a really natural sound to it. The bass character is natural, with a natural speed decay, but natural quantity too. This means that the bass is not presented forward, and all of the warmth and thickness that I talk about and that people talk about when presenting the sound of Ananda is strictly the midrange being sweet. The bass of Ananda can be said to be close to neutral, but if you’re listening to rap, house or EDM in general, they can punch fairly deep and Virtual Riot doesn’t sound bland or flat on Ananda, having enough depth and impact to be true to their typical style. 

The midrange of Ananda is where all the magic happens, and they have a really sweet, dynamic, wide and airy midrange. The midrange has a certain harmonic resonance to it, that makes you go “man, those sound musical”. Ananda also has the largest soundstage you can expect to find around 1000 USD, and they present music with outstanding detail and instrument separation, but everything blends naturally, so they don’t come off as analytical and music is presented as a whole, with a rich and warm tonality to it. Instruments don’t get cut from each other, and Ananda is a master of naturalness even in the mids, where even more expensive headphones fail to deliver this kind of natural presentation. Ananda is great with both tube and solid state tech, inheriting the organic and sweetness of tubes if you use an amplifier like Feliks Euforia or Feliks Echo to drive them, but also inheriting the precision, clarity and depth of sources like Astell & Kern SE180, or iBasso DX240. Ananda can be said to have outstanding dynamics, and all music will sound natural, even extremely compressed metal and rock, from the post loudness wars era. 

The treble of Ananda is clean, slightly wet in character, like most of their sound, and they present music enjoyable, the treble is natural in balance to the bass and the midrange, never being too much, making them natural rather than bright or hot headed. The treble is the best part for a headphone as well balanced as Ananda, and it helps give contour to the musical and sweet presentation they give to music. This is one of my favorite headphones for sure, and it is worthy to consider if you can’t afford the Arya Stealth which is a bit more detailed and precise, or if you want a sweeter and richer sound than Arya Stealth. The sound of Arya is more upbeat, while the sound of Ananda is relaxed and smoother, and those are words that you can use to generally describe Ananda, smooth and relaxed. 



HIFIMAN Ananda vs Audeze LCD-XC 2021 (1000 USD vs 1800 USD) – It is a good idea to start with the most expensive comparison, because LCD-XC is the most expensive headphone that I will be comparing the Ananda to today. Starting with the package, Audeze uses a much more solid package for this version of LCD-XC, and they also come with a really nice cable, but no 4.4mm balanced cables here either. The overall comfort is slightly better on Ananda, as they are lighter. LCD-XC has much thicker and softer earpads, and they also provide an excellent seal, but the overall comfort takes a hit on LCD-XC solely due to their weight, which is higher than that of the Ananda. The overall sonic presentation is, shockingly, warmer, sweeter and more thick on Ananda. Although Audeze is known for providing a fairly thick and deep sound, LCD-XC is tuned for music mastering and production and it sounds much more neutral, cleaner and more bright than Ananda does. Ananda, by comparison is warmer, has a richer midrange, with better bass depth and impact, less midrange impact and less treble impact. The dynamics are comparable between the two, and the soundstage is comparable in size, although Ananda is more wide than it is deep, while LCD-XC 2021 has a similar width to depth ratio. The rule here is that the more you enjoy a wide and airy presentation with a rich and warm / sweet midrange, the more you should lean towards Ananda, while if you enjoy a more analytical sound and dead point precision, you should go for LCD-XC.   

HIFIMAN Ananda vs Sivga Peacock (1000 USD vs 1500 USD) – Peacock has been a personal favorite for a really long time now, so I can mention that the package for Peacock includes a carrying case, and a balanced cable, although it comes with a single cable, but with adapters to other terminations. Peacock has circular earpads, so it is a bit harder to find the perfect seal with it, while Ananda has a more fair fit at the earpad level. Peacock swivels in more directions at the earcup level. The weight is slightly lower on Ananda. Both have good and similar headband designs. The sound is more punchy, more warm, more thick, but also emphasized in the upper midrange on Peacock, which sounds more dynamic, but also more V-Shaped than Ananda. Ananda is sweeter in the midrange, has a wider midrange, more air between instruments and presents music in a wider space, compared to Peacock which is a bit more intimate and more focused. The more atmospheric and wider you like your music, the more you should go for Ananda, while the more punchy and direct, raw and live you like your music, the more you should lean towards the peacock.  

HIFIMAN Ananda vs HIFIMAN Arya Stealth (1000 USD vs 1600 USD) – Naturally, Arya stealth is a better headphone, with everything being better than Ananda, minus the package, which is better on Ananda. Well, they are from the same company, and there is no competition between models, and no reason for them to make Ananda better than Arya Stealth, but based on your request I would like to mention that the headband mechanism and the earpads are slightly better on Arya Stealth, HIFIMAN having shown improvement on those, and that HIFIMAN has been also improving the sound, Arya stealth sounding exactly like an upgraded Ananda. Everything is better on Arya stealth, it sounds richer, more open, wider, deeper, more dynamic and more punchy, but it is also harder to drive, and requires a stronger source to sound good, although the maximum loudness will be comparable with the same source. If you can splurge on Arya Stealth, it is recommended, but Ananda will offer an excellent price / performance point and you don’t need to go for Arya Stealth from the get go to enjoy your music.  

HIFIMAN Ananda vs Crosszone CZ-10 (1000 USD vs 900 USD) – CZ-10 is a unique take on sound and music, going for multiple driver setups, rather than a large planar magnetic or dynamic driver. The general comfort is comparable, because the CZ10 has really thick and soft earpads, but the pad size is much larger on Ananda, and they offer better space for my ears to sit in. Ananda also offers better overall aftermarket cable compatibility as they use typical 3-pole 3.5mm cables, so you won’t have trouble finding aftermarket cables for them. The sound is thicker, warmer and more impactful on CZ-10, also smoother and better rounded. Ananda ends up sounding more airy, lighter and snappier, but with less bass and warmth, and Ananda ends up focusing more on instrument separation and soundstage width, where CZ-10 is deeper and provides a more rich sound. If you listen a lot to atmospheric music, or if you like your music wide and airy, Ananda is the way to go, while if you enjoy your music more impactful and direct, more raw and more punchy, then CZ-10 would be the natural option here. The headbands will be similar in comfort, and CZ-10 has more lateral swivel for their earcups. 

HIFIMAN Ananda vs LSA HP-1 (1000 USD vs 1400 USD) – I left this comparison for the last, because I also stated that HP-1 has excellent price / performance ratio, and it has been purchased a lot based on my initial review, with many of you guys coming back to thank me for the advice, so you would naturally expect that HP-1 is pretty much double the value of Ananda. Well, things get a bit complicated here, because while the LSA HP-1 has great performance for the price, Ananda is more comfortable in design, and the overall comfort is better on Ananda most of the time. The sound is more neutral on HP-1, with less sweetness and less warmth, but more precision in the midrange. Ananda is more punchy in the bass, and has better dynamics, with better overall soundstage width, but HP-1 has a bit better instrument separation. Both work well with all music styles, but the more bass the music style has, the more I am leaning towards HIFIMAN Ananda.  



HIFIMAN Ananda + Lotoo PAW 6000 (100 USD + 1200 USD) – This is the kind of DAP you get when you want a softer, more musical and more nuanced presentation from your headphones. PAW6K is perfect if you also want to EQ and can become, from a softer sounding DAP to the hardest hitting piece-de-resistance out there, especially if you match the EQ profile with the headphone perfect. I never felt like Ananda needs any kind of EQ, but it is always fun to play with PAW6000’s default profiles, and their ATE setting of Sweet and 701 and 990 works well with Ananda giving a new perspective about their sound. At any rate, PAW6000 has more than enough power and dynamic for Ananda, and especially if you grab an aftermarket balanced cable, you’ll be delighted to hear the punchiness and control that such a tiny DAP with a good battery life can exhibit over Ananda, a large planar magnetic headphone. 

HIFIMAN Ananda + Cyrus One Cast  (100 USD + 2000 USD) – One Cast is an awesome do-it-all DAC/AMP for desktop that I’ve been using lately, and it has more than enough power to drive Ananda, and blow your head off if you’re not paying attention to how quickly you’re turning the volume knob. The overall sound is also detailed, clean and punchy, with a good sense of warmth in the dynamics, and excellent detail. Compared to most pairings, One Cast seems to have a really beautiful midrange, but at times you can hear the limitations of the DAC compared to the DAC that can be found in portables like PAW 6000 and SP2000T

HIFIMAN Ananda + Astell & Kern SP2000T (100 USD + 2500 USD) – The overall pairing between Ananda and SP2000T is superb, with excellent depth and impact, but also that organic, smooth midrange that SP2000T is known to offer. This pairing has one of the best overall dynamics and impact that you can expect to squeeze from Ananda using a portable music player, the only other DAP that’s close to this presentation being also an Astell & Kern, the SE180. Overall, Ananda has a huge soundstage, but with excellent instrument separation, and great overall punchiness, to the point where you sometimes forget you’re wearing a headphone, and think you’re right there in a concert hall, when listening to a live piece.  


Value and Conclusion

At the end of the day, HIFIMAN is known to deliver excellent value every single time they release a headphone, but Ananda is the best of the best, it is that kind of value you rarely see nowadays, and I am happy to report that if you decide to go for it, especially with the current price reduction from 1000 USD to 700 USD. What’s even better, the build quality is great, and Ananda comes with two cables, and every component is easy to service and replace in case something goes wrong, plus HIFIMAN’s reliable customer service makes working with them and purchasing their products a real pleasure. 

The overall comfort is excellent with Ananda, and while you can see the improvements in HIFIMAN’s build quality in the new Arya Stealth, Ananda is no slouch and has huge earpads where most ears will have enough space to relax. Speaking of relaxing, the sound of Ananda is really enjoyable, slightly warm, but airy, wide and well separated, with outstanding amounts of detail, so you are getting excellent performance for the price paid.  

Ananda convinced me of HIFIMAN’s ability to deliver a really well rounded headphone for a lower than the market price, so I am going to be adding it to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as one of the best headphones I have ever heard, and a headphone I can easily recommend to anyone, both beginners in this hobby, and seasoned music lovers, both those looking for something high-end and flagship in sound, and those who’re looking to stay on a more limited budget. 

At the end of the day, Ananda meets the best characteristics and strengths found in every HIFIMAN Headphone released to date, it is affordable, but it is well made, it has good comfort, but it is pretty sleek in aesthetics, it sounds sweet, but has a wide soundstage, has good impact and bass depth, but has a good instrument separation and detail, being really easy to recommend to anyone looking for what the perfect open back headphone with a sweet signature priced at 999 USD should sound like.  


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3o5v97c

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3H7NCYc

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3G4njRq


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Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.   PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!


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Review Hifiman Ananda – alien High-end headphones Portable. Blog.

To be honest, I have always been a little ambivalent about Hifiman products. On the one hand, it was Hifiman, along with the American company Audeze and the rest, who was involved in the renaissance of magnetic planar headphones, while offering a huge variety of models, as well as innovative technologies, and on the other hand, like it or not, when buying headphones for a thousand, two, or even five thousand dollars the inscription “Made in China” to put it mildly spoils the impression a little. I won’t say that I don’t really like headphones made in China, but still, for the same thousand dollars, Focal in the Elear and Elegia models, for example, offers amazing manual French assembly, coupled with incredibly high-quality materials, and Audeze in their truly legendary Lcd-2 headphones are hand-made American assembly with strict quality control. But does all this mean that Hifiman Ananda is inferior to American or French competitors? In this review, we will have to figure it out, as well as conclude whether they are worth their money, and most importantly, how good they sound.

Delivery set

Starting from the box, or rather its size, it is immediately clear that the headphones are definitely not cheap inside. In an ordinary cardboard box sealed with adhesive tape, which can often be found in Novaya Pochta, there is, in general, the case itself, but unfortunately, I had a lot of questions about it. In general, I don’t like to paint the delivery set in detail, but in this case I simply cannot help but share my experience. The case itself seems to look solid, sheathed with artificial leather and inspires with its black color and dimensions that nothing will happen to the headphones using it, but, firstly, I really did not like its ergonomics, and secondly, the impossibility of opening it without much effort.

It was insanely inconvenient for me to use this case. Getting headphones or a cable out of it is one sheer discomfort, and with its “thoughtfulness” it is very easy to harm both the headphones and the cable, since the connector where you can put this very cable is frankly small and therefore you have to fold it several times , because of which it can bend very easily, which can be fraught with its malfunction.

Still ok to use, but even more fun to open. When these headphones finally came to me, I couldn’t carefully open the box for 5-10 minutes, because its top cover sat so tightly in the box that only Harry Potter with his magic wand could open it without titanic efforts. “Having studied the issue” on “YouTube”, I found out that absolutely all users had problems with the case, and I was even a little amused by watching how bloggers in half of the video simply could not open the box and continue their “speech” about headphones. Here, of course, the Chinese obviously went too far with a sense of premium, it rather went to the detriment.

By the way, there are two cables in the kit, they sound very good and, therefore, you should not have any special reason to buy something better. But unfortunately, what I couldn’t understand at all is that one cable is designed for equipment with a 6.3 mm output, and the other for 3.5 mm, despite the fact that the kit includes a good adapter from 3.5 to 6.3 mm. What is the point of these two cables, I have no idea. It would be better if they put a balanced cable to match these headphones, if the manufacturer was so generous with two, but I absolutely see no point in these two cables.


Of course, unlike the case, the guys from Hifiman simply could not do something wrong with the quality, so I can’t say anything but laudatory words about the workmanship. Naturally, the entire design of the headphones is made of metal, the ear pads are made of very soft hypoallergenic eco-leather with a breathable fabric inside so that your ears do not sweat, and the headband is made of genuine leather, which is unlikely to ever tear. It is also worth noting that I very much doubt that the ear pads here will wear out at least a little, because, as it was written above, they have an inner part made of mesh fabric, so even despite the memory effect, in the next 5 years at least 5, you are unlikely to you will have to change them, which I consider a definite plus, since replacing ear pads is now an expensive pleasure, especially considering their price for this model. Also, of course, nothing creaks anywhere, does not play, and so on, and in general it seems that in terms of quality these headphones are no worse than Audeze Lcd-2.


Due to the use of very interesting design solutions, soft ear cushions, as well as a comfortable headband, the headphones turned out to be very comfortable. On the one hand, they weigh decently – 399 grams, but on the other hand, the same Audezes weigh as much as 595 grams, so I would not say that they are very heavy. In general, I did not have any comments about the weight. The headphones literally do not feel on the head, they don’t squeeze you anywhere, as, for example, Sennheiser hd 660 s do, and they also have not only an unusual, but also a very agile design that will suit everyone. Even if you sit in them for several hours, then be sure that you will not have any discomfort, except that your ears will get tired of the music and you will take them off.


Knowing in advance what these headphones would look like, I still could not imagine that they would look so cool in real life. Compared to all the headphones that are out there (including Audeze and Focal), the Hifiman Ananda is simply amazing with its Martian design. Yes, exactly Martian. The impression is that, using a time machine, aliens during an intergalactic expedition returned 100 years ago and accidentally forgot these headphones, which, in addition to unrealistic proportions and design, are also completely black. What I also liked was that, for example, the same Frenchmen from Focal like to make several versions of the same headphones, while putting a similar price tag and claiming that all models are “made from scratch”, although in fact, they differ only in design. Hifiman, thank God, has no problems with this. In this brand, despite the wide range of prices, there is a clear hierarchy of headphones, so it’s very difficult to get confused in their lineup, to put it mildly.


Initially, even with the magical price tag of over $1,000, I expected that, like the Hifiman headphones I’ve heard, the emphasis would be on the bass and the overall sound would be a bit synthetic. I won’t say that Ananda doesn’t have any synths at all, or an emphasis on bass, but if in other models from the Chinese it annoyed me a little, then in these, firstly, because of the good tuning, and secondly, because For the price, I really liked it. I would rather characterize this character of sound as modern. For my taste, both Audeze Lcd-2 and Focal Elear sound a little old-fashioned. Of course, there are an incredible number of fans of that same vintage, but this is not about Audeze and Focal, and it’s close. From what I see in the entire audiophile audio market, from inexpensive TWS headphones to cool $50-100 thousand floorstanding speakers, the trend now is towards assertive sound with a slight emphasis on bass with notes of slight synth throughout the entire frequency range and Hifiman were no exception. What is most interesting is that of the truly “high-end” headphones in my memory, these are the first with a similar sound character. Moreover, if we talk in more detail about high, medium and high frequencies, then, unlike the same Audeze and Focal, in these headphones, absolutely the entire frequency range has almost the same character and detail, which I really liked. I am not opposed to “motley” sound, but still, when you put on headphones and hear the same sound character at different frequencies in different compositions, it certainly makes them much more serious in your eyes. I repeat, it would be nice if they played, as most connoisseurs of high-end equipment like, in an adult way, that is, with virtually no bass, any synths and sharpness, but they play in a completely different way and at the same time have an absolutely uniform frequency range and in this is the whole magic of Hifiman Ananda! Almost all competitors, of which at least 5-7 can be counted from memory, actually offer the same thing, but with slight differences in design and sound, but in terms of their original and actual ideology, they are all the same. At the same time, everything on all fronts, especially in terms of sound, Hifiman bends its own line and, unlike other headphones, you either like it or not, in my opinion, it’s almost impossible to adhere to some neutral position here, but for me personally, in terms of sound, these I really liked the headphones.

Low frequencies

The bass in these headphones made me incredibly pleased with its speed and detail. Before that, I listened to an incredible number of headphones, including those with bass brought to the fore. This is not the case here, but it is incredibly accurate, biting, and also detailed. Unlike absolutely all competitors, there is an overabundance of “meat” in low frequencies, so with such a bass it will certainly not become boring. I think that compared to other models, the engineers achieved such a result not only due to more precise adjustment of the drivers, but also the technologies that are actually used in these same drivers.


Of course, the “syntheticity” that I talked about in almost half of this review is most relevant to the mids, as well as the tops of the vocals (but this is already high frequencies). This very unnaturalness even gave its charm to the mid-frequency range, since, unfortunately, instruments are often not recorded very well even on high-level recordings, and it was precisely due to this very syntheticity and, therefore, tint that a very interesting result was obtained – the sound was like returned to the reference, but with minimal differences that I managed to hear.


I initially found the treble to be a bit sharp and sometimes even cutting. Yes, the mid-frequency range itself is already sharp, especially its top, but the high frequencies initially in this regard were able to amaze me even more. Also, after warming up, the sharpness became to some extent less, and with the connection of a more serious amplifier, excellent control appeared, which affected not only high frequencies, but the entire frequency range in general, but the overall picture remained the same.


Having a low impedance and high sensitivity, in principle, you can rock these headphones with anything, it’s another matter whether you will be enough. I, in turn, connected these monsters to the Audioquest dragonfly cobalt, which, of course, was not even close to squeezing out everything that these headphones are capable of, the volume was certainly enough, but there was not enough microdynamics and detail, but with the connection of Schiit audio Jotunheim everything fell into place . Weighted aggressiveness in tandem with good detail and a fairly wide stage created a very high level of music reproduction, and in general, any comments would already be too subjective and individual, so there is absolutely no point in voicing them.

Comparison with competitors

In terms of concept and ideology, I would rather compare these headphones not with Focal Elear, but with Audeze lcd-2, because, unlike French headphones, they have no frills at all and that the first, that the latter have magnetoplanar emitters. But still, I personally found the Audeze Lcd-2s to be too heavy and a little uncomfortable, and in this regard, the Hifiman performs much better, demonstrating excellent comfort with less weight and a more thoughtful design. But Focal is the undisputed leader in this aspect, since they simply do not have giant magnetoplanar emitters, which, in addition to being larger, also negatively affect the size of the headphones as a whole, from the bowls to the headband.

In terms of the sound of Focal Elear, I would characterize it with the following phrase: “like the Sennheiser 600 line, only even cooler and more qualitative.” Here you already have all the goodies like hand-made assembly, a beautiful box, exquisite design, premium materials, but in terms of sound, Hifiman still give out better detail and give a more thrilling listening experience, while Focal sound a little more lax. Moreover, you can rock the Hifiman with almost anything, but Focal can frankly spit on the poor quality of the recording or equipment.

Audeze, in turn, may seem more natural, but in terms of detail, Hifiman, in my opinion, is still overplayed. Perhaps it was precisely because of their sharpness that the Chinese managed to achieve this feeling of “over-elaboration”, and, unlike the Lcd-2, Hifiman are generally not suitable for sound recording and working with sound, Focal can still be somehow used in this scenario, but that’s it. the preference in cool recording studios has always been given to either 600-m Zenhams, or, if funds allow, headphones from Audeze. In short, the engineers did not infringe on the nature of the sound, so they were free to create what they see fit, and not what the market for working with sound needs, therefore, their sound character is appropriate.

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