We already saw the Hifiman Ananda BT headphones at the iEar show in November 2019; now we have the opportunity to try and test Hifiman’s Ananda Bluetooth. A bluetooth planar headphone with a price tag of € 1,200? Let’s hear it!
Bluetooth is starting to gain more and more status in the High End League of Audioland. The recently tested Burson Conductor V3 headphone amplifier/DAC has a bluetooth 5 connection that sounds very good. Bluetooth 5 is not specifically designed for better audio. But the higher data transfer rate of 2 Mbps (twice as fast as version 4.2) should make the audio transported via the Aptx compression protocol sound better.
However, Bluetooth 5 is primarily designed to be energy efficient, to cover long distances and therefore have less impact on the battery life of Bluetooth devices. For those who want to know more we refer to this extensive article by Bluetooth itself.
The Hifiman Ananda BT has a wired namesake. In the Hifiman series the Ananda is positioned between the Sundara (€ 499) and the Arya (€1,599). As with every review of Hifiman, we first look for the meaning of the name. Ananda was one of the disciples of Buddha and was what we would now call his PA, or Personal Assistant. He was present at almost all of Buddha’s speeches. The meaning of Ananda from Sanskrit is: “he who brings happiness and joy”. So, now we know what the benchmark of this review is!
The Ananda is a planar headphone, open back. What goes into your ear, your direct bystanders on the other side of the headphones can hear as well. You actually have a razor-thin foil on your head where the sound goes both ways. The advantage is that as a listener you are not cut off from the environment; it feels very free to have open back headphones on. The disadvantage is that at higher volumes there is a lot of noise leakage. Others can enjoy your music.
The Hifiman Ananda BT is equipped with Bluetooth 5 technology. You can also listen to music via an included USB-C cable. To do this, simply connect your computer to the Ananda via the USB output and select the Ananda in your music player which is visible as DAC. At the bottom of the left auricle are the controls and inputs. A button for on/off, bluetooth pairing and play/pause. A separate button for charging via the USB cable. Connections: USB-C and a 3.5 mm input. This is for the included microphone-dongle.