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Sundara vs. Ananda revisited

Rayman30

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I originally posted a subjective comparison of these 2 headphones, I have spent a lot more time with them and figured I would post a quantifiable comparison between them that can serve as a conclusion of the original comparison.

Ananda
+Sense of size and space (Soundstage)

+Softer presentation on stock tuning, allows for higher volume tolerance, which creates a euphoric experience.

+Better stock tuning.

-Slightly boxy sounding at times, as if there is some unwanted resonances occurring.

-Cooler tracks and female vocals can lack body, which comes across as slightly unnatural, while warmer tracks sound more analytical.

-The large soundstage can sometimes present a hollower image, specifically in the bass department, where it sounds like the bass is pushed to far back into the stage, its there, its decent but I wish I could reach out and pull it forward a bit.

Sundara
+Note weight (Instruments have greater sense of presence, more realistic tonality)

+Bass is warmer and more coherent, has better control and a more natural presentation.

-Soundstage is the biggest difference here, the difference is significant, its not small but its nothing like the Ananda.

-Grainy upper mids/lower treble on stock tuning make for borderline sibilance.

-Requires EQ to sound their best

What are the similarities?

Imaging is similar, might come across as better due to the Ananda's driver size, but likely not down to technical performance.
Detail retrieval is not perceptively different, but may be easier to detect details on the larger drivers.
Both are tuned on the brighter side out of the box.

Conclusion

The Ananda both gains and loses a lot with the large soundstage, they seem at times to be technically worse than the Sundara at pure sound production (When using EQ) but the sense of euphoria created by the larger drivers and superior stock tuning elevates the Ananda over the Sundaras for music enjoyment (Most of the time) which proves that that somethings are greater than the sum of their parts. When you take the Sundara's off and put on the Ananda's, it feels like you are going from a small bookshelf speakers to floor standing speakers, and it pulls this off while coming across as less intense. Some tracks do better with the Sundara's, but only for intimate or cooler sounding tracks, and id say there are better options such as the HD6XX in those circumstances.

I no longer view the Ananda as an upgrade path from the Sundara, they are different headphones that excel at different things. For an upgrade path, Sundara owners should look at the Audeze LCD-X (With EQ) while Ananda owners should look at the Arya, and don't expect huge improvements in either case.
 

pozz

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quantifiable
Was initially puzzled by the lack of numbers in your post, but then I figured it out: you're presenting abstract quantities.

Interesting way to subjectify numbers.
 
OP
Rayman30

Rayman30

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Was initially puzzled by the lack of numbers in your post, but then I figured it out: you're presenting abstract quantities.

Interesting way to subjectify numbers.

Perhaps I mispoke, my intent was to emphasize that I was summing it up.
 

anander

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Man... stock cables are truly junk, though. Heard there was a silent revision to their cables, seems like it affected essentially all of their headphones. Otherwise, nice little comparison.
 
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Rayman30

Rayman30

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Man... stock cables are truly junk, though. Heard there was a silent revision to their cables, seems like it affected essentially all of their headphones. Otherwise, nice little comparison.

Yes they are trash, I use Periapt and Artic Cables.
 
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