Moondrop recently released their very first planar headphone with the Venus. In the review, some comparisons were made to the HiFiMAN Ananda, so a full comparison review might be worth doing. Contrasting these headphones came up naturally and brings up questions about which pair might fit your taste the most. Is it worth spending the $699 on the Ananda, or are you getting something better with the Venus for a hundred dollars less?
What You Get
Both headphones come with similar packaging contents, like a detachable 3.5mm cable and a quarter-inch adapter. Moondrop gets the points though for offering an additional 4.4mm balanced silver cable in the box.
Look & Fell
Aside from their suspension headbands, the Venus and Ananda are very different-looking headphones. On the surface, the Venus appears to be more striking with its design and its build quality is miles away from the Ananda in terms of durability. You might find that the Venus is a heavier set of headphones than the Ananda though, and it even has a better seal. So, it’s really the Ananda that shows its strength in comfortability.
Both headphones possess planar drivers with specialized diaphragms. The Venus utilizes a sub-nanometer diaphragm that supports a secondary diaphragm to lessen the stress of the driver. With the Ananda, the diaphragm is a super-nano design that focuses more on eliminating reflections within the housing. While I would recommend using an amplifier with both headphones, the Ananda is significantly easier to drive than the Venus.
It’s hard to call any aspect of the Venus or Ananda a weakness when compared to the other. Both headphones possess all of the attributes that planar open-backs should bring to their soundstage and imaging. They fulfill an immersive holographic headspace with dimensional properties that makes each performance easily identifiable in their respective space. If I had to choose a strength for each, I think that the Venus does a slightly better job communicating the distance of certain elements within its layers. The Ananda is better with its precision and accuracy in its positioning of sound elements. Compared to the Ananda, the Venus is just a bit too floaty in that regard.
Neither headphone has the meatiest bass, but they both have their timbral differences. The Venus establishes more of a solid foundation in its sub-bass compared to the Ananda, but they both still lean back on the energy. That’s not to say that the Venus and Ananda can deliver a detailed response. In fact, that is far from the truth. The Ananda is particularly clean and feels more natural than the Venus. Moondrop’s headphone puts in the effort with the lows, but there are fewer intricacies to extract from the timbre as a whole. However, I think I had the most subjective fun with the bass response on the Venus.
These mids have a similar warmth to them, but the Venus exhibits more room in its sound signature for the frequencies to play around in. The Venus makes sense of a lot of midranges frequency content, handling them competently and leaving room for instruments to express themselves in a more natural timbre. With the Ananda, you get a similar clarity, but I think the Venus ends up feeling lusher showcasing individual notes. However, the Ananda still has the most texture in its midrange, giving more character to certain instruments and vocal performances.
The Venus is less rolled off in the highs than the Ananda, but its timbre is less bright. You’ll get more of a wispy timbre on the Venus, while the Ananda is more concerned with featuring smoothness on top of some more energetic characteristics. If you like a thinner and airier tone, then the Venus will provide that. The Ananda is better at articulating a balanced tone. Bright features add more resolve to the frequencies while never showing harsher quirks.
There are many things to love about both the Venus and Ananda. They both offer a pleasant listening experience for those who enjoy hyper-detail, as well as immersion. While there are blatant differences between the two, this is definitely a matter of taste. I think the only area where these headphones are clearly better than the others is in their construction and comfort, but even then not everyone is going to have the same experience. Getting the Ananda will always be worth it, but for a hundred dollars less, The Venus doesn’t really miss anything either.
The HiFiMAN Ananda and Moondrop Venus are available at Audio46.
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