As I mentioned in the beginning, there’s an official Hifiman app that you can use, to get the full benefit of the wireless technology. I myself installed the application and tried it a few times.
The app did not work well with my smartphone and I simply couldn’t use it as the songs were stuttering all the time. However, when I installed it on the Hiby R5 it worked well. Yet I think there’s still some way to go for this application to be fully compatible with every device.
The point of using this app for this particular headphone is for listening to 24/96 files over the air. That’s when you can use the HWA (LHDC) Bluetooth codec. Some smartphones utilize this protocol already, so you don’t necessarily need this app with those. Also, it allows to use Tidal and Spotify services which is the best feature. Sure, you don’t have that fancy UI with the Hifiman App, but it works and that’s the main thing.
There are still some bugs however, which need to be fixed for an easier operation and user experience. For the most of this review, I sticked to the LDAC connection.
The standard Ananda model sounds very good and I was quite impressed with its performance when I tested it. The BT version retains the same characteristics and puts up a marvelous performance, and you start to wonder how better wireless headphones can get in the future.
The Ananda BT sounds very clear, detailed and natural with good sense of warmth. The headphone does lots of things correctly, and I personally couldn’t find an obvious weakness in its presentation, considering it being a wireless headphone. I already fancied it at the London show, but in my sessions I found out more about its sound which deserves a lot of credit.
The Ananda BT’s bass is quite punchy and the slam is pretty good, especially for a planar Hifiman. I find bass to be very natural and effortless without affecting the overall sound. Lows have good recovery and speed as well, thanks to the Ultra-Thin Diaphragm. So you have great decay, quickness and punch all at the same time.
Quantity-wise this is not the Audeze type of bass though, which was never Hifiman’s aim to be honest. Actually I found this one to be a bassy headphone when I compare it to the rest of the lineup, something like the Arya in particular. Therefore, I think Hifiman has done a good job of giving an adequate level of bass for many genres. I really liked RnB, Pop and Smooth Jazz recordings where you can hear that sweet bass which is not too much but not without good hit and rumble.
The texture of the bass is pretty impressive as well. What I found just as impressive as the overall bass presentation is that; the subbass and midbass levels are quite equal. The headphone can reach quite deep with its subbass, but also gives good midbass to present the base notes of the instruments nicely. Although you don’t have that amazing rumble that dynamic drivers give, you surely have a high quality bass which is actually amazing to find in a Bluetooth headphone in my opinion.
The Ananda BT’s mid range sounds very crisp and clear with a very nice tonality and lively nature. The upper mid section is slightly elevated, whilst the whole mid area has a very lifelike feeling. Especially the female vocals sound very impressive. Male vocals are just as much impressive though, but they’re not that elevated. The timbre is very realistic and correct in my opinion. Likewise, the overall tonality is very nice and sweet to listen to, which is quite close to my reference studio speakers.
The instruments are just a step back when compared to vocals, but they’re also nicely textured and positioned in a realistic stage. In some jazz songs without any vocalist, you can hear every nuance and detail with a good tonality performance. When you have some vocal presence, the vocal takes the spotlight -a very special voice like Natalie Cole’s or Randy Crawford’s for instance- and you just enjoy that life-like vocal presentation. But, if you want to focus on the instruments, you can smoothly do so. That implies the headphone’s separation performance very well.