HIFIMAN ANANDA-BT Loaner Tour
Jan 20, 2020 at 11:51 AM Post #46 of 115

Army-Firedawg

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I would appreciate being considered to allow an opportunity to experience these. I agree to all the terms and conditions requested for the tour and live in Concord, North Carolina (USA).

My interest for reviewing this product is to continue experiencing the advancement of BT technology and its incorporation into the high end market. As I've noticed on my YouTube channel, wireless technology is definitely that area that a wide margin of people are wanting. Experiencing the Ananga-BT would provide me another tool in my toolbox that I can use to assist those who ask me for guidance in product recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity for this community to experience a product we likely otherwise wouldn't've been able to.
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 12:10 PM Post #47 of 115

szore

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Hi everyone.
It seems that I am the first one so it is my sole pleasure to post first pics of the Ananda BT loaner.
@TeamHiFiMAN - thank you very much for letting me participate.






First impressions to follow in the next days.
I am going to listen but not critically as I am going to let them "burn" for about 100 hours.
I guess I was not picked...
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 12:30 PM Post #48 of 115

Ichos

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Plug and play!
IMG_20200120_235221901.jpg
 
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Jan 20, 2020 at 9:27 PM Post #49 of 115

DoctaCosmos

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I think his first sentence suggests he didnt have a clue they were coming to him to I'd guess no one got confirmation
 
Jan 21, 2020 at 2:30 AM Post #51 of 115

szore

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@szore
I got an email confirming that I was in.
The tour is just starting and mind that I am located in Europe.
From what I know there are multiple headphones running the tour not one.
So don't loose hope.
thanks!
 
Jan 21, 2020 at 5:00 AM Post #52 of 115

WDitters

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@szore
I got an email confirming that I was in.
The tour is just starting and mind that I am located in Europe.
From what I know there are multiple headphones running the tour not one.
So don't loose hope.

Looking forward to hearing from HifiMan then .. Fingers crossed .. I am especially curious about how the Ananda BT behaves with HWA on my FiiO M11 PRO. It appears that the FiiO M11 PRO supports native HWA directly in the FiiO Music Player .. As the HifiMan Ananda BT supports HWA, that should make for even better quality than APTX-HD (The reviews seem to indicate as much)! If that is correct, I could even see myself ditching wires permanently from now on.
 
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Jan 21, 2020 at 4:58 PM Post #55 of 115

.Sup

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I should have received it yesterday but it was delayed in transit. Shipped straight from China, didn't have to pay any customs fees. It took me about 30 minutes to figure it out that Bluetooth connection issues were due to low battery so I heard this headphone with the supplied cable first. How-ever I have been listening for 4 hours straight using Bluetooth. Great time to study. :)
At first, the headphone was pretty anemic but after an hour it started opening and now sounds very good. Very good balance across the spectrum, no piercing heights, no overwhelming bass here. Hard to grasp that this is a Bluetooth headphone. The headphone is very comfortable, albeit the velour is slightly itchy. Most importantly it's not heavy, I can't stand heavy headphones, regardless of their sound quality.
 
Jan 22, 2020 at 5:20 AM Post #56 of 115

Ichos

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First impressions mostly regarding build quality and accessories.

The headphone comes with an elegant travel case of a very good quality indeed with an extra pouch to store cables and mic.
There are two USB cables supplied of very good quality.
The one is a USB type A to type C 3m or 2m long I think and the other one is type C to type C but I didn't measure it.
The supplied mic can be attached at will at the socket which is located at the bottom of the one earpiece.

Build materials are the typical Hifiman plastic , aluminium and leather but this time it seems that quality control got better because the headphone is very well finished and assembled without any noise at all.
Very well done although the overall impression is a little bit lower quality than the suggested price.

The headphone weights only 60gr more than the original and there is no way to tell the difference and certainly you won't feel it while using the headphone.
Comfort for my head and ears is excellent thanks to the hybrid headband and the roomy ear shaped pads.
Pads are a combination of leather and velour very easily replaceable from the user.

Overall nothing of note to complain about very well done.

Bluetooth pairing is very easy and you don't need to use the Hifiman app as all players and streaming services are natively supported up to LDAC / aptx HD quality.
In order to use HWA you need the app plus a compatible device which are very few in the market as far as I am aware.

As for sound impressions well let me say that out of the box and brand new I find it to sound excellent but more to come in the end of the trial period....
 
Jan 24, 2020 at 1:24 PM Post #57 of 115

Asspirin

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The Ananda BT arrvied in Southern Germany on wednesday but only now had I the time to do an unboxing and have a few first listening sessions :)

Regarding build quality and accessoires, @Ichos basically said everything that's needed to know :)

The Ananda BT is light and feels relatively comfortable on my head. I'm not a fand of the pad material that feels a little bit scratchy on my skin,. but that may be the result of the cold weather today.

First sound impressions:

Rather bright with focus on upper mids around 3-4k and treble around 10k, so despite the rather bright signature, there is no sibilance (which usually occurs around 8k). Bass is there, well textured and extends well. It seems to roll off a little, but not as drastically as the Sennheiser HD600, for example.

Sound stage is about average for an open back headphone and didn't blow me away. Imaging is pinpoint accurate though and we might have a potential gaming headset here. Dynamics are fantastic and among the best I've ever heard. Snares and cymbals are an absolute delight.

As far as I can judge, the timbre is quite natural and correct. Despite the 10khz peak, the Ananda don't sound metallic or abrasive, which is nice to hear.

As far as I can tell, the Ananda BT offer a very clean and analytical listening experience. The bluetooth connection is good with great HQ-codec-support. Wired headphones will be a niche product in the near future, so Hifiman are making an important step here.

This might be a very good option for people that want to mix critical listening with freedom of movement. Further impressions will come. You guys can always ask me questions.

Here is my test-playlist for audio equipment:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/15txkTYOhE5UAiNac1HfzD?si=52Pn0FPbSPWkDhJt_VHnNA
 
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Feb 6, 2020 at 5:40 AM Post #60 of 115

Ichos

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Hi everyone.
It time to share my impressions with you.

Hifiman Ananda Bluetooth


Introduction

This review is part of the Ananda BT loaner tour made possible thanks to Hifiman.
Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
English is not my native language so please excuse any errors.

The impressions that follow are purely subjective and reflect only my personal view and sound taste

As I have noted in my initial impressions the Ananda BT is identical to the original Ananda plus an extra weight of only 60gr in a total of 460gr pretty impressive considering the extra electronics inside the unit.
In daily use this extra weight isn't noticable at all and doesn't cause any comfort issues.
Build quality is the typical Hifiman with a combination of plastic and aluminium but this time extra care has been taken regarding assembly of the parts as everything is in place and there aren't any annoying cracking noises.
Quality control seems to be much improved as it should be regarding the price.
The pads are the known ones with asymmetrical design following ear shape made of velvet and leather easy replaceable by the user.
They are very roomy and fit my ears with enough space to breathe.
The headband is the same design as the original a hybrid one for even distribution of the weight.

Regarding the electronics inside there is no information available except that there is a Bluetooth receiver plus a dac chip split into two amplifiers for symmetrical amplification.
Hifiman claims that filter and analog circuit are from the same engineers who designed their top player R2R2000.
The Ananda BT is the first Bluetooth headphone in the market to support the new high resolution codec HWA LHDC offering 24/96 wireless transmission.
Of course a suitable transmitter is required and there are only a few available till now in the market.
For my part of the listening I used the usual aptx HD and LDAC protocols.
There is an extra wired USB type C dac connection with a PC or an Android device for true lossless transmission supporting up to 24/192.
Analog cable connection is NOT supported.
The headphone comes with a top quality traveling case , two USB cables the one type A-C and the other type C-C plus an extra microphone that can be plugged into the headphone for gaming and calls.

In use

The Ananda BT is an open back design so it will not block any outside noise and it is best suited for indoor use.
It does not offer any kind of noise cancelation , it is bulky and doesn't fold so this is not going to be your wireless commute headphone.
The two buttons at the left earpiece are only for powering and charging and you cannot control music playback and calls from the unit itself.
Portability aside this is a very comfortable headphone.
I used it for hours without any comfort issues regarding fit or weight , it clamps good without pressing your head and ears stay cool enough.
Battery life is lower than the one claimed by Hifiman but still good for such a headphone about 8 hours of wireless use.
When connected to a PC it has the ability to charge while playing music but the PC must be plugged to the mains.
Please note that battery must be charged for it to work with a PC connection and it will deplete your laptop / phone battery very fast.

Sound

I used the headphones mainly with my mobile phone , a Fiio M9 player and a mini PC.
The wireless protocol used was LDAC and as it is expected the wired USB connection yielded the best results by a fair margin.
The sound of the Ananda BT is more or less the same as the original wired one and even better as we are going to find out later.
This is one of the best tuned headphones in the market with a very natural timbre an even and cohesive presentation , clear and detailed reminding of a good speaker set.
All frequencies are treated equally with a slight peak at about 8khz which is audible but not overly offensive and doesn't cause any kind of fatigue.
It just adds an ethereal flavor to the overall sound presentation.

Bass extends very well down to sub bass region and it is of great quality and quantity.
It is not going to rattle you teeth and bass heads will find it lacking as this is the audiophile kind of bass.
Slam and dynamics are very good as is texture and speed.
This is not one note bass as it is very clear and tight you can hear bowings and plucking notes very easily making it for a very lifelike experience.
There is no bleeding to mid bass and transition to the mids is very even.
Mids region is crystal clear and detailed with a natural warmth and ease of presentation.
On certain recordings there is a very slight emphasis on male and female voices with the instruments just a step behind.
This is the kind of mid region that it is never forward resulting in a free flowing sound that is always sweet without fatigue.
Treble is very smooth despite the small 8khz bump and it is going to be loved by people which are sensitive in this region.
But don't be mistaken as the headphone isn't forgiving of poor quality and sometimes can get a little harsh.
There is enough detail and extension but this is the part where the wired original version excels at.
Or let me point it otherwise this is the Bluetooth connection week spot as treble extension gets a hit and becomes a little grainy and muted.
Let's not forget that despite the advertising of the opposite Bluetooth transmission is a loosy process no matter the codec used.
Wired USB connection can be a remedy to this but still the OG Ananda is the better performer.
Soundstage is the typical Ananda not overly wide but with top notch instruments separation , air and pinpoint positioning able to tackle the most complex orchestral recordings.
Now this is the part where things get very very interesting.
In my review of the original Ananda I found them a little lacking in overall dynamics and decay speed was very fast for my tastes especially in high pitched instruments resulting in a thin and very ethereal presentation with a little artificial sound.
This is not the case with the Bluetooth version as I am hearing them quite differently and improved at the above aspects.
Now the headphone is presenting ample dynamics especially in the bass region and overall decay is much more natural resulting in a fuller sounding headphone with better transients and proper notes fading over time.
It seems to me that Hifiman engineers have tailored the dac / amp sound in order to address that few shortcomings of the original headphone.
At the time of writing this review there seems to be a problem with the progression and the maximum volume of the headphone when connected to a Windows OS PC.
The issue is reported by several users and Hifiman is now aware of this so hopefully a solution will be provided sooner or later.

At the end

Hifiman Ananda Bluetooth is easily the best wireless headphone in the market with audiophile quality sound.
For my ears it is even better than the original and it can directly compete with a lot of wired headphones of the same category.
Soundwise there are no negatives especially when used with the USB cable it is one of the best presentations I have ever heard and will suit equally many music genres and tastes.
But the best part is the simplicity and the ease of use.
This is not a headphone only for the frequent traveller , but it is also a headphone for everyone who craves for big sound but doesn't have the budget or the mood or the spare time to deal with players , dacs , amps and other time and money consuming things.
With a very fair asking price you buy yourself great sound in a user friendly plug and play package.
This headphone can't get more recommend by me and needles to say that I bought the loaner unit.

Copyright by Petros (@Ichos)

Thank you for reading.
The review is also going to be published at the reviews category.
 
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