2.0 out of 5 stars | Fine headphone, not made in a clean enough area. Avoid.
Had read about people commenting on poor quality control on the headphone in the reviews due to the scratch that some have seen on the driver on their review units, or even some people after owning the headphone. So something i looked for before even listening to the headphone and to my recall I did not see any large marks on the driver. Wooo. Now give them a listen for a while (ifi xDSD DAC/amp). Remember them sounding really pleasing and even a big more sound than I expected. Little later in the listing, go to turn the volume up and hear a loud crackle in the left driver. A bit later another little crackle in the right driver (not as loud). Music is still playing through both driver, i'm tired, go to bed. Didn't really think anything of it at the time. Next day go to listen. Now something seems off, the headphone sounds a bit drunk in the treble and not as good. Bit confused. I look at the drivers and now i can see what looks like a big scratch on the driver. After finally pulling the pad off to see what I can see. It looks like a hair from the person assembling the headphone was caught between some layers in the planer driver. So when the headphone was turned up loud enough the voltage arched across the hair. vaporized the hair and scared the driver. Going to be avoiding HiFiMan for a while after this ... They went too cheap in the labor and environment to assemble this headphone in it would seem.
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2018 by Xiao Di
5.0 out of 5 stars | If audio is an addictive drug, welcome to the hard stuff.
This review is for anyone considering these awesome headphones with an emphasis on comparing them to the Hifiman 400i's and Sundara's. Negatives- While they sound shockingly good driven from a phone, they are not well suited to portable use (due to size, cost, transparency etc.) but are perfect for critical listening at home. The sound will cut out if you press inward towards your neck on the input jacks. This happens accidentally if you turn your head sharply and push the plug into your shoulder. Not defective, just don't be rough with them. Also if you listen to rock/metal exclusively and want a headphone with a ton of punchy bass and rolled off highs you'd be better served by a pair of Audeze LCD-2's (or LCD2C's). Positives- These headphones sound amazing, absolutely sick. The bass goes all the way down (20hz), with nice detail. There is a focus on the clean mids and vocals are very present and rich. I think they nailed the highs because they are detailed, spacey and unfailingly smooth. The Ananda's party trick has to be the size of the sound stage they produce. When you combine the deep bass with the airy highs the effect is to create music with an absolutely enormous sense of scale. Music is big, full, and interesting. There is a place for each instrument to whirl away around your head in mesmerizing fashion. I know of no other headphone (at a sane price anyway) that combines this much bass with such an open sound stage. The Ananda's are well rounded and I can confirm they sound great with Jazz, Lounge, Funk and Pop. Saxophones and horns are smooth, acoustic guitars are clear and resonant. Rhodes piano's have lovely tone and clavinets are crisp. Synth sounds are beyond ridiculous and Electronica/Dance will leave you absolutely stunned!. While these headphones will treat your old favorites well, the real magic is in exploring the depths of Tidal looking for new music that really makes these phones go off. Try out Rhye, Fkj and Astrix "Deep Jungle Walk". This song will melt the synapses in your brain! The Ananda's are also very comfortable, my big ears do not touch the pads at all. They are very forgiving of placement and the size and weight are not a factor at all. The cable (2 lengths included) is unusual (like an I.V.) but works quite well. It is very light and not microphonic. I am running these with a Modi Multibit dac and a Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid with a Genalex Gold Lion tube and recommend all three. They Modi digs out the detail, the MCTH fills in the bottom end and the tube smooths out the top. 400i vs Sundara vs Ananda. 400i= least bass, most treble distortion, decent comfort and compares pretty well considering the price. Sundara= better bass, slightly recessed vocals, smoother highs, terrible comfort (non-swiveling cups aggravated my jaw, sent them back). Ananda= best bass, elevated vocals, smoothest highs, largest sound stage, best comfort, and believe it or not -the best value of the bunch. All three sound similar enough that if you don't have a quality amp and dac you won't even notice a difference. The 400i's well amped, will sound better than the Ananda's with a cheap amp (Schiit Magni 3 level). Your dac and amp should cost at least $500 before it becomes worth it to move up from the 400i's. In short, the 400i's are like the girl next door. She is accessible and has all the goodies you need. The Sundara's are like a cheer leader, she has been working out her body and it shows. You think she is really something until in walks a super-model named Ananda. She has beauty, refinement and grace you didn't even know existed but now so desperately crave. She is a bit unobtainable but surprisingly easy to live with if you can land her and treat her right. You will settle down with her gladly. Surely someday, there will be a new model to come down the runway that sends all the boys chasing, but for now, Ananda is Queen. Thank you HifiMan. -Update, I added a Schiit EITR which absolutely cleaned up the sound and made it a bit punchier as well. I also added a Schiit LOKI equalizer. It is really nice to have. The Ananda's are well balanced so I don't radically adjust the sound, just little tweaks. It has revealed that there is a limit to the bass before it gets muddy. Overall, I think my set up has more or less pushed pushed the Ananda's close to their best. To ask for more is like wishing your Lamborghini was faster. Silly, but that won't stop me. After months of daily listening, I'm still in love and still surprised how much they can get out of a song.
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2018 by Bearclaw
5.0 out of 5 stars | Beats The Competition
TLDR first: The Hifiman Ananda in a shootout against other various headphones I own, they blew the competition away. However may not be worth the paying double the price over the Hifiman Sundara which gives em a run for their money. Tested with various music in the Metal, Indie, Rap, Jazz, and Electronic Genres, the Anandas provided a much wider soundstage, greater detail retrieval and overall the music sounded clearer, better, and more powerful compared to the other headphones in my collection. These are definitely a keeper and money well spent. -------------------- The contestants: 1. Hifiman Ananda 2. Hifiman Sundara 3. Beyerdynamic T1 (Gen 2) 4. Fostex T50RP Mk3 (w/Mayflower Mod + Mr Speakers Alpha Pads) Songs tested (all lossless): 1. Daft Punk - Giorgio By Moroder 2. The Prodigy - The Day Is My Enemy 3. The Great Kat - Vivaldi's The Four Seasons For Violin, Chamber Orchestra 4. Warren G - Regulate 5. Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A G Thang 6. The Game - Let's Ride 7. Symbolik - Invoking Oblivion 8. Arch Enemy - Pilgrim 9. Fleshwrought - Inner Thoughts 10. Pavement - Range Life 11. Stereo Lab - Miss Modular 12. Cradle of Filth - Beneath The Howling Stars 13. Psyclon Nine - Crwn Thy Frnicatr 14. Marcus Miller - Boomerang 15. Nine Inch Nails - Ruiner 16. Summoning - Over Old Hills 17. Beastie Boys - Shake Your Rump 18. Dream Theater - Scene Seven: I. The Dance Of Eternity 19. Rancid - Daly City Train 20. Ataraxia - Cobalt Equipment: PC running Foobar WASAPI output up to 24bit 192khz Micca Origin G2 DAC/AMP Sennheiser HDVD 800 DAC/AMP Hifiman Ananda: These headphones accelerated above the competition, no matter the genre I toss as them. Everything from fast and heavy death metal, to deep and complex electronic, to rhythmic and sub bassy Rap/Hi-Hop, and everything in-between. While they are no where close to being bass cannons, especially with hip-hop/rap, they still manage to rattle your ears and deliver clear and satisfying sub bass. Then the one department where the Anandas delivered above the rest was in sound stage and clarity.. Especially with The Prodigy's The Day Is My Enemy, after hearing this song with the Anandas, everything else sounded muffled or closed-in/shallow in comparison. - - Hifiman Sundara: It was hard to tell any difference between the Sundaras and the Anandas, they competed neck and neck in most songs, except the Anandas excelled in complex/heavily layered songs such by The Prodigy by providing more clarity and detail retrieval and clear instrumentation to complex songs with a wide range of overlapping low, mid, and high frequencies, and the Anandas had less sub bass or lower frequency range roll-off such as in hip-hop/rap songs, providing a slight bit more physical air movement pushing feeling on your ears. Overall I highly recommend the Hifiman Sundara headphones as they offer a similar listening experience to the Anandas, in the majority of songs in my testing, you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind test, and at 1/2 the cost, unless you believe a 10-15% slightly more bass and slightly wider soundstage in certain types of music is worth the extra $350 to you then go with the Anandas, otherwise the Sundaras get my complete stamp of approval and recommendation. - - Beyerdynamic T1: All I can say is I am disappointed, I received these at the same time as the Anandas and immediately from first listen, they failed to impress and got an instant fail in my book. While they are great as the competition in detail retrieval, unfortunately everything through them sounds muffled and closed-in, even the Sundaras which cost up to 3 times less than them provided a much cleaner, clearer, and wider sound with the exact same detail retrieval. I expected more from a brand's Flagship headphone. The other area where these headphones fail is in being pushed, just one of those downsides of dynamic drivers, where the Planar Magnetic headphones can be pushed to uncomfortable volume levels and beyond while retaining clarity, the Beyerdymanic headphones, even with their "Tesla Technology" drivers begin to deliver distorted sound which gets worse. Needless to say, I am returning these headphones.. I bought these along side the Anandas to compare and planned on keeping the better of the two and these are a definite instant rejection. - - Fostex T50 RP (modded): Less detail retrieval compared to the competition... but bass cannons! What can I say? if you desire planar magnetic headphones at an extremely affordable price (can be had for $150 or less) and have a big modding community behind them, you can do no better than the Fostex T50s.. They even give the flagship Beyerdynamics a run for their money at up to 3 times less the price (up to 6 times unmodded), The one and only area where the Beyers beat the t50s was in detail retrieval, but other than that, they had similar soundstage/imaging, similar overall performance, but I have my t50s modded to be bass cannons thanks to the Alpha Pads and tweaks to the Mayflower mod. - Conclusion: My recommendation, save $350 and go with the Sundaras and use the $350 to upgrade your dac/amp or buy another pair of headphones for variety.. unless you desire a bit more soundstage, larger planar drivers, bit more clarity and bass then go with the Anandas, either one, you'll have a great listening experience.
Reviewed in the United States on June 14, 2020 by Raven