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Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 79 40.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 88 45.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 18 9.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 4.1%

  • Total voters
    193

amirm

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This is a review, listening tests, equalization and detailed measurements of the Hifiman Ananda Nano headphone. It was kindly purchased by a member for testing and costs US $499.
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone planar open back headphone review.jpg

The Nano looks attractive although the feel is not that of luxury. It is a bit light. The forward part of the pad is quite a bit thinner and I had a bit of difficulty mounting it on my GRAS 45CA test fixture. The suspension headband is not adjustable but was comfortable enough for me. But again, causes some difficulty in measuring as it would not let the cups go lower.

Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Measurements
Let's start with our usual headphone frequency response tests and comparison with our desired target:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Frequency Response Measurement.png

As noted, we have good compliance over an important range of frequencies. Above and below we have some deficiencies. There is quite a bit of wiggliness in the response. Relative response shows variations that should be relatively easy to EQ:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone relative Frequency Response Measurement.png


Distortion response is disappointing especially for a headphone with such large drivers. It should be cruising but it is not due to many resonances:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone THD Distortion Percentage Measurement.png

We have seen this type of problem in Hifiman Ananda as well but it is worse here. Company really needs to start measuring this and find and fix the source of these. I think some don't see these issues because they apply too much smoothing in frequency response and distortion tests which hides much of the problems here. Absolute distortion measurements despite being smoothed more, still is problematic:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone THD Distortion Measurement.png


We could tolerate bass distortion but having lower treble distortion could cause more more audible issues.

Group delay is not pretty, likely due to those internal resonances:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Group Delay Measurement.png


Impedance is low and flat:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Impedance Measurement.png


Sensitivity is better than average, making the Nano an easy headphone to drive:
Best planar headphone review 2024.png


Hifiman Ananda Nano Listening Tests and Equalization
Immediate impression of the headphone is one of rather flat sounding with some exaggeration of high frequencies. Definitely listenable but substantial improvements can be had with EQ:
Hifiman Ananda Nano Headphone Equalization EQ Parametric Filter.png

That bit of bass boost really balances the response, taking the headphone from cold sounding to pretty nice. The other filters are also critical in opening up the spatial qualities while taking away some of the high frequency harshness. Is the distortion audible? I don't have the reliably way to determine that subjectively. I can tell you that the highs really stand out. Is this harmonic distortion? My Dan Clark E3 daily headphone had much more tamed high frequencies. This could be due to lack of distortion, better frequency response, or both.

Power handling was excellent and I could get the headphones quite loud with my RME ADI-2 Pro at quite attenuated volume positions. Cranking up the levels momentarily, didn't result in any clipping or odd behavior. I think this is due to good low frequency distortion measurements.

Spatial qualities were quite good. I would give them B+.

Conclusions
Out of the box, the Nano is not to my liking as someone who wants to hear and feel low frequencies. These large drivers have incredibly ability to deliver on that but they keep getting released with flat bass response. Combine this with some uneven high frequency response and you have the makings of something I would not buy. A bit of EQ nicely transformed the sound, creating impressively fidelity across my list of reference tracks.

Per above, I can't recommend the Hifiman Ananda Nano as is. With EQ, it becomes a good headphone, albeit with potentially some impact from high distortion/resonances in high frequencies.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Attachments

  • Hifiman Ananda Nano Frequency Response.zip
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Azathoth

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I notice that these Planars from Hifiman always have had bad distortion figures. In any case, coming from the original Ananda I've heard this and it sounds fine to me. Great review as always.
 

hash70

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Oh wow,I waiting for this,nearly hit the buy button a few times to compare to my sundara,
 

Rja4000

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Thanks for this review.
Definitely "not terrible" as far as measurements tell.

How much of that may be due to difficult mounting on test head ?
Isn't that impacting mostly low frequencies?
Or could a non-perfect fit also be the source of some resonances?
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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How much of that may be due to difficult mounting on test head ?
I think it mounted fine at the end. I actually moved it around and response didn't change.

IMG_0640.jpeg
 
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amirm

amirm

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Or could a non-perfect fit also be the source of some resonances?
I touched the outside during sweep and didn't feel much vibration. I think it is internal driver/magnet resonances.
 

phoenixdogfan

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I keep rating all of these Hifiman phones as poor for several reasons. First, I think they all look to be made below the quality bar set by their peers in their price tier: Cheap shiny plastics, glued on veneers, crummy headbands, thin pads, and the list goes on.

Next, they're very poorly tuned. Susvara, a $6000 phone is tuned to have no deep bass. And then they add the post 10k peak. For what? Air? No headphone should come out of the box with this kind of tuning. Utterly inexcusable.

Then, they seem to have extremely poorly designed earcups with little if any damping. I guess that's why every one of them exhibits such horrendous group delay. If I'm wrong, I'm certain someone will enlighten me. But I don't think so.

And finally, the true deal killer. Massive levels of distortion, especially at higher power. They seem to play like cheap toys, rather than premium audiophile products costing hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars.

I continually see their Arya and HE1000 models in all their confused naming variants praised to the skies in headphone circles. Think it would be interesting for Amir to review some of those. I'd be willing to bet half my 401k nest egg (not really) that they suck every bit as hard as the stuff he's reviewed to date.
 

solderdude

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These are more comparable plots for comparing the HE400SE vs Ananda Nano:

index.php


Excellent as no one will ever play music with content above 500Hz at 114dB.
 
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ObjectiveSubjectivist

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To my ears it sounded grungy/edgy/messy/hot in the upper midrange and treble area. Even after EQ. Something is wrong with the driver being resonances, distortion or both.
 
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Soria Moria

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I'm not going to judge these too harshly if I've never listened to them, but oof some of those charts look rough.
The FR looks decent (aside from the wobblyness and the peak). Everything else looks poor. Then again now that I have seen these graphs I don't think I'd be able to ever listen to the headphone unbiased again. I did afterall like it when I heard it.
 

ObjectiveSubjectivist

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I touched the outside during sweep and didn't feel much vibration. I think it is internal driver/magnet resonances.
Old Aryas had this problem as well as Susvaras (old ones, chassis was changed to different one during production) and other egg shaped Hifimans. You could feel frame vibrations during music listening.

ps. with some music it feels ok/good/nice. It's definitely added something to the sound, colored it. But on the other hand with different music it was bad.
 
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Ra1zel

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Perhaps that's why they always sounded muddy and "messy" to me despite the overall tonality, interesting.
 

martin900

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The wireless version was one of the worst HP's I've ever heard. Tinny and tiring sounding, on higher volumes they were unbearable. Similar to JBL L100/431x series with that extremely strident mid/high range + lackluster low end.
 

_thelaughingman

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index.php


What a mess this is? Yup definitely not worth a splurge
 

Koeitje

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These are comparable plots for the HE400SE:

index.php


Excellent as no one will ever play music with content above 500Hz at 114dB.
Huh, the Ananda Nano has MUCH more distortion at 94dB than this.
 
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