Hifiman recently released their newest headphones, the Hifiman Ananda BT. I was extremely impressed by the original Ananda, as it had a super fun sense of spaciousness and musicality. But does this Bluetooth version of the same headphone stand up to the previous version? And will its wireless design keep up with the standards of picky audiophiles? Let’s take a closer look with this Hifiman Ananda BT Review.
Hifiman Ananda BT Review
In the Box
-Hifiman Ananda BT headphones
-USB C to USB C cable
-rugged protective travel case
Look and Feel
The Hifiman Ananda BT looks almost identical to the original Ananda. In fact, if you didn’t check the underside of the earcups, revealing the charging port, single aux port, power button and charging button, you might not notice the difference. It’s matte black finish contrasts from the silver “window-shade” grill. The straight lines against the asymmetric cup shape give the headphones a modern, mature look. Additionally, the thin metal of headband and yolks gives it a sturdy, yet lightweight feel. The yolks connect to the earcups via small proprietary screws, letting the cups rock inward. They rock until the wires on top have strain, which is something users should be aware of to avoid breaking them.
Comfort and Fit
The Hifiman Ananda BT is super comfortable on my head. Its hybrid, two-tiered headband stretches across the entire width of my head, distributing the weight of earcups evenly. Additionally, the earpads are made of bouncy foam. Coated with leather on the outside edges, a spandex-like material touches the ear, giving them a cool and breathable feel. Additionally, the headphones fit perfectly on my head with a comfortable yet secure clamping force. For larger heads, this clamping force will feel stronger, but will maintain a stable and secure feel.
The Hifiman Ananda BT, just like the original Ananda, features planar magnetic drivers with Hifiman’s Neo “supernano” Diaphragm. This diaphragm is 80% thinner than other Hifiman diaphragms, which they claim imaging and transient response.
The Hifiman Ananda BT can connect wirelessly via aptX, aptX-HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC), and AAC/SBC. It has a special DAC filter design, which is the same as the one found in the RSR2000 player, as well as its own Bluetooth chip.
With 10 hours of battery life, it’s worth noting that if the battery dies, you won’t be able to listen with the wire instead. However, the headphones charge fully in about 2.5 hours.
The Hifiman Ananda BT comes with a gooseneck microphone, meaning these headphones are great for talking on the phone and gaming. Additionally, one can listen wired to a computer or phone via the USB-C cable.
The low frequencies of the Hifiman Ananda BT have a sense of extension and clarity. However, they are also groovy and punchy. A boost around what sounded like 60 Hz brings kick drums, basses, sub synths and other low frequency rich instruments forward. However, the clean amount of space around the lows also provides separation and emotional impact.
For example, when I was listening to the song I’m Callin’ by Tennis, the kick and bass had great separation from each other, but both moved a solid amount of air. As a result they had a good sense of emotional expression, impact, and grooviness. The kick had a feeling of extension, yet remained tight and punchy.
The middle frequencies of the Hifiman Ananda BT, have a good sense of separation, with emphasis toward the high-mids. The middle part of the midrange feels even and full. However, a cut at the base of the high-mids around what sounded like 2 kHz provided stringent differentiation between the two regions. This cut was followed by boosts at 3 kHz and 5 kHz, bring vocals and attacks forward in the mix, but favoring articulation rather than thickness.
For example, when I was listening to the song Thrash Unreal by Against Me, the bass guitar and electric guitar had full bodies and harmonic complexity. However, the different electric guitars had good separation from one another, and also a good feeling of movement which contributed to their emotional impact. However, the guitars seemed to lean a bit toward the fuzzy part of their distortion. Additionally, the vocal sat forward in the mix, emphasizing the mouth, teeth, and a little bit of the throat rather than the chest.
Like the middle frequencies, the high frequencies feel harmonically complex, but lean upward. A cut at the base of the lower treble around what sounded like 6 kHz helped to create a good sense of separation between the high mids and instruments more purely with high frequency information. A boost right after it at 7 kHz brought attacks of drums, guitars, strings, and piano hammers forward, can contribute pronunciation to vocals. Additionally, a boost around 9 kHz provided a pretty sense of texture to percussion, vocals, cymbals, and horns. Finally, the sense of extension had emphasis around what sounded like 11-12 kHz. This provided life and air to mixes as a whole.
For example, when I was listening to the song 1919 by Terri Lyn Carrington, the cymbals felt rich, yet learned upward away from thickness. Additionally, the texture of the snare brushes, cymbals and even the wood of the upright bass felt forward in the mix and clear. Lastly, the piano hammers felt elevated in the mix, with lots of space around them. As a result, they felt harmonically complex and clear.
The soundstage of the Hifiman Ananda BT has a beautiful feeling of width and height. It has a sense of intimacy which contrasts beautifully from instruments further back in space. And while the space around transients has movement, it also feels a slightly compressed when arrangements become thick. It feels like the open-back nature and quick responding planar magnetics provide most of the soundstage as opposed to purely a low-noise-floor wireless connection.
For example, when I was listening to the song Diamond Heart by Lady Gaga, the vocal felt dry and forward and intimate. In contrasted well from the synths and rhodes which felt further off in space. Additionally, the headphones had a solid sense of phantom center, however the wide synths were able to move and dance while remaining under control. Additionally, the sub information in the kick drum contrasted wonderfully in height from the vocal and brighter synths. However, the song begins very sparse and becomes thicker toward the middle. I found the punchiness and spaciousness was better able to keep up during the sparser parts of the song rather than the thicker parts.
Overall, the Hifiman Ananda BT is a great option for the audiophiles out there who want a pretty and engaging sound without the mess of cables. While the wired version feels cleaner overall, the folks that need to be able to move while listening will be thrilled with the convenience of this design.
The Hifiman Ananda BT is available for the best price here:
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