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Ananda Loaner Tour

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  1. robthemac
    Ok, full review time.

    Headphones used for comparison are HD-800S, LCD-3F, HE-6SE, HD-6XX, DT-990. Amp is the Woo WA-7 with tube power supply.

    Comfort-wise, the Ananda are fantastic as far as planars go, and would be the second-most comfortable of my above headphones. They are heavier but more secure than the HD-800S, so I don't worry about them falling off my head every time I look over my shoulder. Much lighter and better weight distribution than the LCD-3. Pads much softer and comfier than the HE-6SE. Softer pads and less vice-like grip than the HD-6XX. The DT-990 is more comfortable, but this is understandable given how much small and lighter they are.

    While these are meant to be easily driven from portable sources, they actually required a little more juice from the Woo than any of my headphones but the HE-6. I was generally sitting at about 09:30, rather than 08:30-9 with my other headphones.

    In terms of the sounds, I would describe the Ananda a soft V-shape, leaning towards the warm and smooth end of the spectrum.

    The bass extends deep and hits hard, and is subtly elevated compared to neutral. It isn't quite as tight as the LCD-3F, but it's pretty close. The Ananda's bass is much more natural-sounding than any of the dynamics. The HE-6SE is an interesting comparison in planar bass. I actually thinks the HE-6 extends deeper than the Ananda, but the Ananda appears to have a bump in the 70-150Hz region which gives the impression of more bass. I think choosing between the HE-6 and Ananda is more of a matter of preference than anything else, and they suit my preferences just fine.

    The mids are somewhat recessed, especially in the upper-mids. Not anywhere to the extent of the DT-990 (or 90% of the consumer-oriented headphones out there), but they still are a bit V-shaped. This definitely gives a 'fun' sound signature, if not the last-word on mid-centric instruments and vocals. For me, the Ananda do this v-shape very tastefully, but fans of the HD-650/6XX type signature can probably look elsewhere. They still did Norah Jones' voice justice, but added a bit too much warmth to be entirely realistic (I have a similar complaint with the LCD-3). Again, the contrast with the HE-6 and its shouty upper-mids was interesting.

    Treble is well-extended and relatively smooth. I think there is a subtle lift in the 10-12kHz region, but this succeeds in adding some sparkle to an otherwise warm and smooth sound signature. The extra treble energy made the HD-6XX and LCD-3F sound very polite (even a little dull) in comparison. The Beyer DT-990 is the poster-child of aggressive high-energy treble, and the Ananda avoids going down this route. The HD-800S is my reference for treble response, and to my ears the Sennheiser is more even and extends further. Cymbals just sizzle slightly more on the HD-800S, although this can be a bad thing for hotly-mastered tracks. For example, the ride cymbal in Ray Charles' 'What'd I Say' had more sizzle and extention on the HD-800S, but the Ananda was much less fatiguing after five minutes!

    Instrument separation and detail are decent on the Ananda. They're above the DT-990, and about on par with the HD-6XX and LCD-3. The HE-6 upper-mids focus push it slightly ahead of the Ananda. The HD-800S is a detail retrieval monster, so the Ananda losing out in this regard is not a surprise (or a significant criticism!). In fact, the HD-800S can feel like a surgical blade dissecting recordings, rather than playing music. For relaxed listening, one could justifiably prefer the Ananda.

    So where does this leave us? The Ananda is a comfortable, technically-capable and subtle take on the V-shaped headphone. It excels at providing a warm, smooth sound, without sacrificing on detail or treble energy. There are no major flaws to pick out, but nor should there be on a USD$1000 headphone. Sure, the upper-mids sit back in the mix, but for many people this is exactly what they want. If a non-audiophile wanted to enter the headphone world with a $1000 to spend, this would be my clear recommendation. They are more natural-sounding than the HD-800S, more exciting than Audeze's offerings, and more comfortable to boot.

    Top work, Hifiman!
  2. The Socialist Nerd
    After I receive these soon, I will be posting a review in a separate section devoted to this set of cans instead of posting here. Link will be posted with the documentary photos.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  3. Brooko Contributor
    Review posted here :) - LINK
    robthemac and Monsterzero like this.
  4. Wiljen
    Ananda arrived at my doorstep today. Really been looking forward to this one.
  5. Monsterzero
    My loaner is shipping out tomorrow to Utah.
    I enjoyed my time with the Ananda. It has a nice,detailed sound,with wide and tall staging. Airy,nice layering too. IMO they can be a great compliment to a warm headphone,and they played well with most genres I threw at it.
    I will post my full review here in the next couple days.
    The Socialist Nerd likes this.
  6. The Socialist Nerd
    Woohoo I live in the Salt Lake City area in fact and nice to see these fine cans hit our lovely state :D
  7. Ragnar-BY

    Greetings from Europe!

    If it`s not late to sign in, I would be glad to participate in Ananda tour. I`m from Bialystok, Poland.
    Looking forward to hear Ananda in my system (Chord M Scaler + Chord TT2) and share my impressions.

    Thank you.
  8. Greendriver
    Hi. I have just taken part in the Sundara loaner programme, which was a fascinating experience. Would you consider enrolling me in the program to test the Ananda? It would be great to compare the two (I now have my own Sundara), and I look forward to promoting the brand in the UK. Andy
  9. Wiljen
    Really liking what I am hearing, but who said this was the replacement for the He560? To me it is way closer to the Edition X. Upper mids and treble are more forward on Ananda than He560.
  10. The Socialist Nerd
    Still in the midst of testing this.
  11. Wiljen
    The Socialist Nerd likes this.
  12. Takeanidea
    The Ananda arrived 30 minutes ago. I'll post an unboxing and bee is impressions shortly
    Ithilstone likes this.
  13. Dipper Mouth
    I am next in line! Have fun and also waiting for your reviews :L3000:
  14. Takeanidea
    Unboxed, the Ananda's have survived the couriers from China and, as expected, are sounding exactly as they are supposed to be out of the box. The attraction of the Ananda has to be it's versatility, being 25 ohms and 103 db sensitivity, it should sound fine out of any decent dap. Which makes it a more pocket friendly package than most rivals which you'll need to buy an amp for, or be tied to a desktop with if you already have one.
    They didn't outshine the HD800 phones from my Chord Mojo; the HD800s, modded with 2 really good improvements had a more detailed and wider sound, the Hifiman Ananda's had a smoother, more forgiving sound, which wasn't too much narrower than the Senns. In the end, I was turning the Mojo down 2 notches for the Ananda compared to the HD800
    The Socialist Nerd likes this.
  15. ksorota
    Just received the Anandas today and will get some more listening time in later on, but overall I would say they are handsome headphones and are very light.

    Initial listening notes:
    • warmer than Auteur
    • also bit wider headstage
    • very easy to drive loudly with absolutely no sound isolation
    • fit is perfect for me at the smallest setting
    • still do not like the new Hifiman cables for their feel
    Tidal Master/HIFI ->Chord 2Qute ->Jotunheim->Ananda
    comparing against ZMF Auteur Coco. and HD660S

    Ill provide full thoughts after putting some real time into these.

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