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Hifiman Ananda Review: Rich sound with an underlined character

HiFiMan Ananda Review
HiFiMan Ananda Review

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, 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 in artificial leather and inspires with its black color and dimensions that nothing will happen to the headphones using it.

Hifiman Ananda

There are two cables in the kit, they sound very good and, therefore, you shouldn’t 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.

Workmanship

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 quality of workmanship. Naturally, the entire structure 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, 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.

Comfort

In connection with 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.

hifiman ananda

Knowing in advance in detail what these headphones would look like, I still could not imagine that they would look so cool live. 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 French people 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. At Hifiman, thank God there are 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.

Sound

Initially, even despite the magical price of more than one thousand dollars, I expected that, like in those models of Hifiman headphones that I listened to, the emphasis here 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, starting with inexpensive TWS headphones and ending with cool floor acoustics for 50-100 thousand dollars, the trend now is for assertive sound with a slight emphasis on bass with notes of slight synth throughout the entire frequency range and Hifiman are 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 love, 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, which from memory you can count at least 5-7 pieces, actually offer the same thing, but with slight differences in design and sound, but according to 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 stick to a neutral position here.

HiFiMan Ananda

HiFiMan Ananda

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 tuning of the drivers, but also the technologies that are actually used in these same drivers.

Mid frequencies

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.

High frequencies

Initially, the HF seemed a little sharp to me, 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.

Equipment

Having a low impedance and high sensitivity, in principle, you can rock these headphones from anything, it’s another matter whether this is enough for you. 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 their concept and ideology, I would rather compare these headphones not with Focal Elear, but still with Audeze lcd-2, because, unlike French headphones, they don’t have any frills at all and that the former and 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 describe it with the following phrase: “like the Sennheiser 600 line, only even cooler and better.” 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 outplayed. 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.

Conclusion

In general, HiFiMan Ananda really went to me. Yes, they are not perfect, but they do their main task very well – they give a rich  sound with an underlined character. In terms of class, it’s clear that this is High-end, it’s even useless to argue here and at the same time it’s not initial, but very strong. Even if these headphones cost somewhere around $1,500, I would still say that for the money they play well. In any case, the model turned out to be incredibly interesting and exciting in its own way, but as always, the decision “to take or not to take” is up to you. In this review, I tried to tell in as much detail as possible all the pros and cons of these headphones, and also compared them in detail with competitors.

Check out official site here.

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