Today we take a detailed look at what could be a game changer in wireless audio; the Hifiman Ananda BT.
Disclaimer: The Hifiman Ananda BT is sent us from Hifiman directly. The price of this BT model is 999$.
Wireless audio is the new thing in personal audio these days. While we audiophiles look at the subject rather dubious, I personally can’t deny the overall development in this field. We now have good sounding wireless gear as a result, together with the modern Bluetooth codecs such as aptX HD and LDAC.
Although I think there’s more to come for Hi-Fi level of sound, the wireless technology has already reached to a good level in terms of general sound quality. The Hifiman Ananda BT is here to show us exactly that.
If you’re into personal audio, then you probably have some knowledge about the Hifiman brand. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. Fang in New York to produce high-end personal audio products. Hifiman was the first brand to release a high-end portable audio player, the HM-801, which was like a catalyst for Reference Audio Players that we know today.
Their HE-500 and HE-6 models are still in use today. A very close friend of mine is still using the original HE-6 headphone. Of course, Hifiman didn’t stop there. They’re on full speed with new models such as the HE-1000SE, HE6-SE, the R2R2000 DAP/streamer, the Arya, Sundara and Ananda. The one we’re looking at today is the new Bluetooth version of the latter.
Hifiman also has super high-end headphones like the Susvara and Shangri-La electrostatic. The former one will be reviewed on Headfonia in the upcoming weeks as well.
We tried various Hifiman gear, including this one at CanJam London 2019 show, and the HFN team were just as impressed as 2018.
About Ananda BT
This is simply a wireless version of the open-back Ananda headphone. You can find Lieven’s full review of the wired model below:
The price of the Ananda has dropped to 849$ whilst this Ananda BT costs 999$. I was already impressed by the standard model with its overall presentation and imaging capabilities with a very controlled, yet punchy bass.
The Hifiman Ananda BT is equipped with the latest wireless technologies. It captures the data signal and processes it with over 900kpbs through its on-board DAC. This allows the listener to listen to 24/96 with the LHDC protocol. For doing that, you need to install an application though, but I will get to that very shortly.
Apart from LHDC codec, you can also utilize the widely-known aptX, aptX HD and LDAC which the headphone supports. I used LDAC directly from my phone and LHDC from the Hifiman app for this review. The headphone also supports USB wired connection for 24/192 playback. Once again, Hifiman uses its Ultra-Thin Diaphragm inside for the lowest distortion, fast response and high level of detail.
This probably is the most serious Bluetooth open back headphone until now, in terms of wireless sound in a high level of fidelity. So I don’t have much doubt that sooner or later, this headphone will have its own place in the market.
Design & Build Quality
The design of the Ananda BT is identical to the wired model. As you probably know, the Ananda is a successor of the Edition X models. The new headband system, which was also present with the standard Ananda, is retained. The grills, ear cups and ear pads are all the same. To me the headphone looks very stylish and serious at the same time.
The only difference to the wired model is the weight. The headphone weighs 460 gr., compared to the 399 gr. of the wired Ananda, and that’s because of the on-board DAC. Yet, this is a very small difference to me, which should be hard to differentiate from its sibling on the head.
The build quality is quite nice. I didn’t feel any difference from the Ananda wired, which was already built very well. The ear pads have a premium feel, the metal used on the headband and yokes feels very good, and the grills look sexy as ever. This feels like a premium headphone top to bottom.