Review: Hifiman Ananda BT

Ananda BT

Treble

The treble section is nicely extended and articulated with good level of detail and transparency. It’s not like the best treble you can have amongst planar headphones of course, but once again very impressive for a Bluetooth sound.

I found the extension not the best in particular, though this is understandable. It’s by far the best treble I’ve heard from a wireless headphone, and it’s still better than some wired models as well. However you can get a little more clarity and extension with the wired Ananda and the Arya.

Apart from the extension, I didn’t find any weakness in this part. The treble is slightly forgiving and a little thicker than some planar and electrostatic headphones, but that can be either good or bad depending on your preferences. I liked its unaggressive approach in treble which allows it to be very pleasing with most genres.

Technical Performance

The sound stage of the Ananda BT is not very wide, which brings a sense of intimacy especially with vocals and instruments. The depth is pretty good, although not being too long. So don’t expect a huge sound stage magnitude, but do expect enough width and depth.

The instrumental separation is very good and you have great positioning which I found very correct and realistic. I just wanted a little bigger sound stage with this headphone but I think that’s also one of its characteristic features. Because I don’t think the mids and the vocals in particular would’ve been that impressive and lively with a distant approach.

Hifiman Ananda BT

What I found very successful with the Ananda BT is its great tonality performance. It just plays so natural, “real” and correct. For a Bluetooth can, this presentation is quite extraordinary. I also want to highlight its cohesiveness and bass control with good subbass/midbass level. The headphone sounds very consistent with its all-round presentation. It also plays very transparent in the mid range, and I don’t think anyone can easily differentiate it from a wired planar headphone in a blind test.

HWA Codec

As I remarked, this new Bluetooth protocol can be activated through Hifiman’s own mobile application to listen to 24/96 resolution. For the sound, I found the treble to be a bit more clear and transparent with good extension. Overall dynamism in the sound is a bit improved as well, and the warmth is presented a little more intensely.

So yes, the application does give you a bit better sound. However I did not find it very useful since it has some stuttering issues with some songs when I used Tidal streaming. If you have a phone which directly supports HWA, then you’re luckier because you don’t have to use the application and still enjoy the Hi-Res sound.

Conclusion

To be honest with you, I was never a fan of Bluetooth earphones/headphones. This Hifiman Ananda BT however, changed my perception about wireless sound. This easily is the best wireless headphone I’ve ever listened to and it’s not even close. Together with the sound, the general user experience is very pleasing and simple.

That’s why it’s now in our Best Headphone Recommendations page already. Maybe the direct competitors of Hifiman will release these types of headphones in the future. But for now, the Ananda BT is the star of the wireless show.

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

4 Comments

  • Reply November 27, 2019

    JA

    Thanks for a well written and interesting review!

    I just find myself with one question after reading it – how much worse is bluetooth headsetthan wired? You state many times things like ” …. For a Bluetooth can, this presentation is quite extraordinary.” but if you should get same quality with wire, how cheap will it get?

    I can now choose Ananda with Chord Poly for my Mojo or this. But Ananda BT seems really convenient. How much drop in quality will there be? What would be your choice?

    • Reply December 4, 2019

      Berkhan

      Of course you will lose some quality compared to the wired Ananda, but in my experience it’s not a huge difference. That’s the actual success of this headphone indeed. You get a similar sound without a wire.

  • Reply August 31, 2020

    Josh B

    The audio quality is excellent, though others have noted there is not much bass, so look elsewhere if that’s important to you. However, there are several major flaws that make this headset unusable.

    First and most importantly, the headset mode is incompatible with all Windows devices. This is because these headphones do not recognize audio input / output in “headset” mode, and go to sleep every 10 minutes. You must use headset mode in order to use the build-in mic. Thus, these headphones cannot be used as a headset for a Windows laptop – you will constantly be disconnected from audio during your zoom, skype, and other teleconferencing activities!

    I contacted customer service about this issue. They gave me a generic response, and after A MONTH are still trying to claim that their “engineers will look into this problem.” Useless customer service. When you pay $1,000 for a set of headphones, you expect better.

    The other major flaw is that the headphones can only be charged when powered down, plugged into a USB C port, and then a button must be held down for two seconds to activate charging. This is ridiculous. If I plug in the headphones, I expect them to start charging. HiFiMan claims that this was done in order to prevent accidentally draining the battery of the device you’re plugging into, but any device with a USB C port will have a much larger battery (if it has one at all) than the one in the Ananda. Even after owning these for a couple of months, I still sometimes forget to “turn on” the charging, and start the next day with a totally drained headset.

    I’ll be returning these.

    • Reply September 11, 2020

      Berkhan

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the headphone.

      I think that for the sound quality that it brings, it deserves lots of praise but if you’re gonna use them as daily go-to headphone for other tasks, I think it’s better to choose a mainstream headphone instead.

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