• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

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

Leiker535

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
285
Likes
355
Perhaps they established that an average consumer likes to hear the new extra details that are not there in the original recording. Who knows.
The oval hifimans are getting ever more bright, to the point that I'd call them the Klispsch of headphones. And with that, I call forward the usual drama known in the speaker world since the dawn of electronics: boosted fatiguing treble in order to make the transducer seem more detailed. Store sellers do this extensively to this day in demos of their products to impress buyers.

I myself thought I was not fit for the hifiman sound until I tried the he6se with EQ. Not only it lacks the resonant peaks of the ovals in upper mids and treble, it also has little to no distortion and do very well with EQ, so much so that they made me sell my HD 650s.
 

MbphotoX

Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
107
Likes
46
Amir, could you provide measurements after EQing them, too?

I see that you try to EQ headphones to better match the target curve.
Could you not provide measurements to show how well they take that EQ?!
e.g. FR after EQ, THD, etc.

Some claim that planars take incredibly well to bass EQ.. but how does the distortion look after that boost?
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
8,324
Likes
13,402
Could you not provide measurements to show how well they take that EQ?!
e.g. FR after EQ, THD, etc.
FR after EQ is completely deterministic.
You take the raw FR, you add the filter FR, you get the final headphone FR.

That's what @Maiky76's graphs show:

In black, you see the Nano's frequency response with Amir's EQ applied:
Hifiman Ananda  APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz.png

Or as a Harman compensated graph:
Hifiman Ananda  APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz (1).png
Pink=stock
Black=Amir's EQ
Blue=Maiky's EQ
 

InfiniteJester

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2024
Messages
176
Likes
151
FR after EQ is completely deterministic.
You take the raw FR, you add the filter FR, you get the final headphone FR.

That's what @Maiky76's graphs show:

In black, you see the Nano's frequency response with Amir's EQ applied:
View attachment 361766

Or as a Harman compensated graph:
View attachment 361767
Pink=stock
Black=Amir's EQ
Blue=Maiky's EQ

But THD after EQ may be interesting, though.
 

srkbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
1,043
Likes
1,465
Location
Dallas, TX
I own these, along with the Edition XS, the HE1000se and and HE1000 Stealth. I traded in my Arya Stealths for the latter utilizing Hifiman’s ridiculously reasonable trade in policy—they’ll accept any lower-priced option for the higher-priced item of your choice for just the cost of outbound shipment plus a fraction of the list price delta.

They’ve retrofitted all of their major sellers with their Stealth magnet, and have managed to forge a suite of features that have become a proper “signature” for them—the oval pad design here, the Stealth magnet, the nanothin diaphragm and neodymium coils and the window shade grilles—these are common amongst the Edition XS, the Aryas, Anandas, HE1000se/Stealths and the Audivina. I think it’s an extraordinary feat to innovate a set of proprietary technological designs such as these and create a brand identity around them—so much so that I don’t mind their rather haphazard way of evolving their product line to include them.

The Stealth magnet by apparent design is going to give you a bright headphone. I think their most recent iterations—the Ananda Nano, Arya Organic and HE1000 Stealth—have managed to tame the highs sufficiently to obviate fatigue, but they’re still on the bright side. For a guy with 54 year old ears such as myself, I find it a welcome signature, but admittedly some may find it excessive. Certainly Hifiman is not alone in this category—I’m looking at you Sennheiser, although Hifiman’s offerings trounce them in the low end.

In my experience the Edition XS outperforms these Nanos in every category except the more utilitarian design of the former. The XS has fewer swivel options and lacks the mesh headband, but I find it equally comfortable, with smoother highs and significantly more oomph in the sub and mid bass, and a wider soundstage. For $200 less than these, I think they’re the best headphones you can get under $500.

I also own the DCA E3s, Meze Elites, Sony Z1Rs and 2020 Utopias, and by a wide margin the HE1000 Stealth remains my all-time favorite headphone. For me it has it all—the best out-of-box tuning I’ve yet encountered, with an unusual amount of physicality in the low end, and just enough openness in the highs to complement their extraordinary speed and detail.

They also have an enormous soundstage, a very natural-sounding timbre, a dazzlingly premium build, and a lovely presentation in their imaging—with their large cups enveloping your ears without touching them, they offer a terrific seal and leave me feeling cozily nestled up amidst the instruments without having to fuss with placement.

That’s just my experience. But at $1,399, given the absurd, what-was-I-thinking prices I paid for my others, it’s one of the rare deals/steals I’ve ever gotten paying full price for a “flagship”-tier headphone. I feel the same sense of satisfaction having found these as I did buying my Topping d90se, based on this site’s review and measurements.

Out of all the HFM’s that I own, I think these Nanos are the least capable of demonstrating what they’re capable of. As such I hope folks who read this review will keep an open mind about this brand, because I think they represent the same cost-benefit advantages that the other Chinese manufacturers we champion offer, and (other than their eight-year old Susvara), they’re unusually honest and fair in their pricing.
 

Verig

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2023
Messages
134
Likes
82
Age is a valid point. I'm 43 and while my hearing is ok and without any apparent damage I start to feel certain decline in the grasshopper population.

Another point is simply taste. I had HE560 back when they were released and never considered them too bright but saw many posts about the matter. And some people were able to listen to Beyerdynamic T1 first version. I mean that's something.
I grew up listening to and making music with the classic AKG sound so my preference (and reference) has never been very dark anyway.
 

Human Bass

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
693
Likes
710
Anything below Arya is coarse. HE400 variants sounding almost broken to me. No surprise here that Ananda Nano is like Ananda. It's not totally useless, more usable than measurements look like, but still, pass.
I actually purchased the Arya Stealth, but had to resell due to the high mids/lower treble being a bit too spicy.

In my experience, planars in general seems to struggle with this 5k to 8k region. I love the speed and resolution, but I will take a "slower" DD that avoids harshness.

Funny that my former Focal Clear was a DD that sounded like a planar. Felt very clean and punchy, but harsh on that region. For now I gave up headphones and am focusing on iems where the FR have been much better fine tuned
 

Verig

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2023
Messages
134
Likes
82
I actually purchased the Arya Stealth, but had to resell due to the high mids/lower treble being a bit too spicy.

In my experience, planars in general seems to struggle with this 5k to 8k region. I love the speed and resolution, but I will take a "slower" DD that avoids harshness.

Funny that my former Focal Clear was a DD that sounded like a planar. Felt very clean and punchy, but harsh on that region. For now I gave up headphones and am focusing on iems where the FR have been much better fine tuned
True. The upper range is tricky. Audeze LCD's (at least older ones) didn't have this... but were way too dark for me. Even muddy.
 

Human Bass

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
693
Likes
710
True. The upper range is tricky. Audeze LCD's (at least older ones) didn't have this... but were way too dark for me. Even muddy.
Yeah, finding the sweet spot in that range is the greatest challenge in the headphone industry imo.
 

Rhamnetin

Active Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2023
Messages
219
Likes
453
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.

Whereas their older models had very little, with the HE-6 series having truly impressively low figures. Bizarre.
 

Leiker535

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
285
Likes
355
I remember seeing graphs on some Hifiman models with and without grills and the FR indeed changed. I don't remember the details, sorry.

EDIT: It was the HE400se and I was wrong, the changes were probably inside measurement error. View attachment 361582

You might've thought of the he6ses. I have the v2s and removing the grills does bump the subbass.
 

Attachments

  • Hifiman HE6SE V2 Grill.png
    Hifiman HE6SE V2 Grill.png
    83.6 KB · Views: 55

Neo Cyrus

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2023
Messages
5
Likes
3
I got these as an upgrade to my Sennheiser HD6XX, & I'm very happy with it, considering I always use an EQ... but even without EQ I like it a lot. I could swear I hear more detail & finer imaging on these than on the Edition XS, & it puts the technical ability of the HD6XX to shame IMO, I didn't think it'd be such a huge upgrade over anything in the 600 line. I'm new to pretty much all the terminology, so correct me if I use any terms wrong.
- The soundstage's imaging is very obviously greater, it's far easier to tell the position of a sound.
- The resolution/retrieval/whatever it's called at every frequency is very obviously greater. I hear sounds in my music that I didn't hear before, at any volume.
- The separation is very obviously superior across the board.
- All the expected advantages of being PM vs DD such as the crisp/fast start/stops (decay it's called?).

Edit: I forgot to mention any gripes.
1 - The headband's pressure is a bit much & doesn't swivel, but I much prefer this over the Edition XS which just couldn't properly fit me, & I assume it'll loosen a bit over time plus the foam will shape a bit.
2 - The plastic, why is so much of it just cheap plastic at this price point? Looks bad, feels bad.
3 - The stock cable is a joke; it's a 3 kilometer long 3.5mm single ended cable... & made of pure garbolium... despite it coming with a carrying case which it juxtaposes against. You'd think at this tier+ they'd include a passable balanced cable.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I was split between a new Ananda Nano or a used Arya (old/non-stealth) when I saw HiFiMan were listing used Aryas for $90 USD more than a new Ananda Nano. I chose the Nano to avoid dealing with HiFiMan directly (purchased it from their Amazon shop), to avoid a used item, & because I found it borderline impossible to find good/non-contradicting info on the Nano vs old Ayra.

I assumed with the upgrade to the stealth magnets, then the 2nd upgrade which changed the driver to a 1mm membrane, the technical ability wouldn't be obviously worse than the original Arya. Anyone heard both to compare?
 
Last edited:

Verig

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2023
Messages
134
Likes
82
Balanced cables are pretty much never supplied as standard. Rarely used and don't really give you anything. But yeah, 3,5mm is not my preference either. As for the cable garbolium, what's wrong with it?
I need to try Nano. Org. Arya vs org. Ananda was no contest.
 

Neo Cyrus

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2023
Messages
5
Likes
3
Balanced cables are pretty much never supplied as standard. Rarely used and don't really give you anything. But yeah, 3,5mm is not my preference either. As for the cable garbolium, what's wrong with it?
I need to try Nano. Org. Arya vs org. Ananda was no contest.
I'm hoping I just got a cable from a bad batch or something, but it looks/feels cheap. More importantly, maybe it's placebo, but I got the impression that it somehow sounds worse than an IEM cable I'm using instead on it. I didn't expect any difference whatsoever. Many reviewers on YT also said the stock cable doesn't bring out the best sound, but I have no idea if it's placebo to them as well, or if it actually is a subtle, but real, difference.

Honestly, the more I think of it, the more I'm finding it hard to believe the cable is actually making anything worse by even the slightest bit, must be my imagination. I'll do some proper (as I can) A/B testing if I ever muster up the patience for it. But I still don't like that it appears/feels so cheap.
 

Verig

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2023
Messages
134
Likes
82
Ok, I appreciate tactile and visual candy (and I'm willing to pay for it within limits). I'm sure the cable is doing technically just fine but these are not cheap headphones so I get your point.

If all stock cables were somehow bad all makers would provide "the real cable" to review. Like here is our $1600 pretty nice headphone but you really need to hear it with this cable. Which costs $400 so the actual price for the set is $2k. This is actually how phono preamp business works. :D (Not the preamps but the business.)
But not even the makers claim that you really need to change your $500 headphone's cable to something, like an IEM cable.

When it comes to tweaks different pads certainly make a big difference. But that's simple as you're really altering the structure.
Also, a balanced cable can make a huge difference if your amp is underpowered single ended. But that is not a feature of the cable.

I'm not saying you shouldn't get another cable. It seems the standard cable is not to your taste and that will definitely have an effect on your feel. So of course, buy/make/have made something nicer. :)
 
Top Bottom