HifiMAN announce easy-to-drive Ananda open back planar

Who likes new headphones?

C’mon raise your hands… don’t be afraid, no one here is going to slap it down.

My hand is up. Waaaaay up.

I like to hear about a new set of cans, especially ones with an impedance around 25 Ohms and a 103dB sensitivity so they are designed to work well with a smart phone and I don’t need to lug a DAP around all the time to get the best performance out of them.

Dr. Fang Bian has been busy designing and building headphones since 2005 when he started Head-Direct which morphed into the HiFiMAN Electronics company we now know today.

Seems like Dr. Bian is into listening to the people who like to buy headphones for portability – not just great sound – and came up with the Ananda open-back planar ‘phones which are specifically designed to maximize performance from personal audio sources (specifically in this case for smart phones and tablets).

Dr. Bian said that the idea behind the Ananda was creating a design that would be targeted at those consumers who wanted ONE high-end set of cans that could work flawlessly regardless of what was driving them. With an MSRP of $999 USD, while not a budget set of headphones for sure, they are certainly not price spec’d out of reach of most individuals looking for that end-game pair of ‘phones.

According to Dr. Bian “Ananda is designed for music lovers who want one high-performance, extraordinarily comfortable headphone for all personal listening, whether it’s a home system, high-resolution portable player, or an everyday smartphone.

“The word ‘Ananda’ is derived from the Sanskrit term for ‘bliss,’ which is what this headphone will bring to anybody who enjoys audiophile-grade performance, no matter the source.”

Featuring lightweight, ultra-fine planar drivers rated at 103dB sensitivity, a frequency response of 8Hz – 55kHz, and weighing in at 14.07 ounces, HiFiMAN says this configuration will provide “consistently low distortion, high-fidelity output when used with a smartphone, let alone current and upcoming high-resolution digital audio players and home audio systems.”

With a new external grille pattern fabricated to reduce sonic reflections, the company claims the design allows the drivers to be more neutral in their presentation. The Ananda also sports a hybrid headband with weight-dispersion strap and next-generation asymetrical-design ear cups which more naturally follow the shape of the human ear.

I’ve contacted HiFiMAN to get a review pair, so as soon as I can get a set shipped here, we’ll do a detailed unboxing post on them with initial impressions.

US Dealer
Music Direct 1811 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago IL 60660

xnor's picture

103 dB SPL/mW or /1Vrms? If the latter, then something like the LCD-3 is still more sensitive.

Btw, low impedance doesn't make drivers easier to drive for mobile devices. Higher sensitivity /1Vrms does.
The ideal load would be high sensitivity at very high impedance (=> requiring very little current).

KaiS's picture

Forget it, factory sensitivity claims are usually worth ... nothing.
They refer to whatever they like to and don't tell, and even if they would refer to 1mW you still don't know what signal, 1kHz or 400Hz sinewave, or whatever.
And for the standards 1mW/1kHz sinewave reference you still need to take the frequency response into account, if the headphones are midcentric they look louder on paper than they are in reality.

25 Ohms BTW are a good starting point for mobile devices, not too low to challenge the devices output stages too much and low enough to draw enough current for sufficient power: This would be 40mW or 14dB above 1mW on an iPhones 1V output voltage (European models 6dB lower, crippled by EU laws).

So, if (if!!!) the 103dB are referenced to 1mW you would get about 103+14=117dB max. level on an iPhone.

Sufficient to destroy your hearing over some time, or giving a gain margin for lower level recorded music like classical.

So far the theory goes, must be proven in situ.

Rlmendez20's picture

I wouldn't bother with factory specs. The HE-6, for example, shows a lot higher of an efficiency than it actually has. If you do the math that for most of Hifiman's headphones, especially the HE-6 that's actually in the 70s, you'd find that they give specs that are higher than they actually are.

maelob's picture

Not something new, this headphones looks like an update of the Edition X V2 and cheaper. Looking forward to your impressions. I am big fan of the edition x v2.

Peter Puck's picture

I own the new Sundara and they are my 4th pair of Hifiman headphones I love the sound signature and I use a Fiio E12 and I also use a Peachtree Shift I really don't mind that they are not very efficient rated at 83 DB , even though these new phones are very efficient at 102 DB the two common traits they have is both are open back and the new headband is super comfortable. Neither is ideal for playing in public places or out doors . I really like the Sundara they replaced the very popular 400i they sound an order of magnitude better though . Looking forward to your review .

KasperK's picture

I hope you get a chance to listen to at wide variety of headphones. I figure at lot of the critique that has been voices has to do with the fact, that most of us have spend a lot of time and money getting to know at lot of headphones. The journey from a rebuild ipod with home build cmoy end inaers or hd600 and a cheap valveamp to what we listen to today is an important part of headphone community narrative. Newbies have allways been adviced to start low and realise what you liked before moving upscale. I guess that makes it tough to accept an Authority that haven't been listening all that much to headphones. You seem like a nice guy and I really want innerfidelity to stay a place for entusiast as well as a broader audience. Therfore I really hope you take your time to listen to a lot of what is out there. Wish you All the best! - and sorry for my bad english.

Rafe Arnott's picture

About 20 pairs of headphones just arrived today, I'll be unboxing them, cleaning them up and getting them sorted with head-amps as soon as I've got more than an A&K KANN, a PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC and an iPhone.

Chord is sending me some amps/DACs, as are Naim, Astell&Kern, totaldac and a number of others.

I'll be reaching out to Bottlehead too.

Takes time.

KasperK's picture

Sounds like fun! Happy listening then!