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1,618 word post, approx. 3-4 min. read
9/1/2020. Article Posted!
Is HIFIMAN’s Ananda just an updated Edition X with better build? Has the sound actually changed
at all? Which is best for YOU?
All of these answers and more, comin’ up!
Greetings mate! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience, that will make you fall in love with music.. all over again, so.. don’t want to read?!
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At A Glance
Note: The Edition X is not currently available on Amazon, so we’ll take a look at the Ananda – which happens to be our pick!
HIFIMAN Ananda Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones with High Fidelity Design Easy to Drive by iPhone/Android Studio Comfortable Earpads Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping
Before we get started, all links to these products, as well as any articles related will be here in this post. Check out my Gear Recommendations below as well for most of my top picks, all in one place!
If you do purchase through one of my Drop or Amazon links, I will get a small kick back depending on where you live. Your continued support of the blog and channel means everything to me, so thank you!
We’ll start with build, which has changed significantly since the 1st generation Edition X came out. That headphone’s ear cups could rotate fully, side to side as well as up and down.
The second generation Ananda’s can rotate up and down, but not around. While the frame itself is made of the same material, it’s no longer shaped like a deformed Ostrich, instead appearing rounded off and more normal looking.
Both sport the window shade grilles, and bear a similar cup shape, which conforms quite nicely to the natural contours of the human ear.
If your ears are rather large and in charge like a police officer at thanksgiving dinner, well.. you’re in luck!
CHEERS BIG EARS!!
You’ll notice that unlike the Edition X, the Ananda feels more robust and solid, with stronger headband adjustment mechanisms that aren’t made of plastic this time around. Adjusting the headphone isn’t the smoothest task in the world, but you’ll have more peace of mind knowing the Ananda isn’t likely to break down any time soon.
Both terminate in dual 1/8″ TRS cables into each ear cup with a 3.5mm jack at the business end.
Both also have the thin headband pad underneath, but the Ananda’s pad feels like a more premium material than that of the Edition X. Still, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference in terms of overall comfort.
Speaking of comfort, let’s talk about it..
Comfort on both is definitely above average, but I noticed that each likes to dig into that small crevice behind your ear, and into the bone to some extent.
Clamp force is spot on for the most part, but you may encounter some sliding, similar to the DEVA. Still, for a planar magnetic, the weight is exemplary and also happens to be distributed rather evenly – with a non intrusive clamp force and plenty of room for your ears to breath inside.
You may look like an autistic football player with them on, but that never stopped me from showing them off in public!!
How do they sound in relation to one another though?
Glad you AKSED, homie!
The Edition X was perhaps the smoothest and most neutral sound that I’ve ever heard out of a headphone. It almost lulled me to sleep with it’s promise of a better tomorrow, but still sounded phenomenal for the most part.
It’s natural, effortless mid-range and treble are complimented nicely with an articulate an impactful bass, but don’t expect to get really excited about this sound signature. It’s very relaxed and laid back, but dare I say a bit dull at times. I was almost constantly trying to decide whether I was madly in love, or completely repelled.
It’s like that chick in grade school who was rather attractive with a pleasant smile, but you couldn’t decide whether or not you actually wanted to pursue her because she was the ultimate goody two shoes.
The Edition X is similar.
The Ananda by contrast is much livelier sounding, with more pronounced peaks and dips scattered throughout the spectrum. It sounds crisp and cool, but still smooth and effortless. This in large part what makes the Ananda so special in the hearts and minds of the people.
It’s open and airy sound feels like skiing down a mountain in January while chewing winterfresh gum,
while the Edition X feels like cuddling on a Saturday night with your boo while watching Netflix
and chill dog. Both have above average Soundstage, with excellent imaging and instrument separation.
Think of the Edition X in terms of taking a downer, while the Ananda represents an upper.
With the Ananda, you may feel a bit like Ric Flair and go WOO! WOO! a lot..
With the Edition X, you may look like Daria, or Larry from Big Lebowski.
“Is this your homework Larry?” XD
In listening to your old favorites, you may say things like:
“Wow, the bass on this song sounds so smooth and natural. I can feel it pulsating, but it never sounds out of control. There’s an incredible amount of rumble here, but it doesn’t feel bloated, cheap, or artificial. I can actually hear individual notes being played and they sound crystal clear.”
Do I make myself clear Mr. bender? Crystallll.
“There’s so much micro detail. I’m starting to hear subtle background instrumentation that seems to want to make it’s presence known in a way that compliments the overall sound portrait.”
“The music feels like it’s being performed in an actual space rather than simply heard through a small device. There are so many subtle nuances to the track that I wasn’t aware of before.”
“The way a voice trails off is so revealing. I can actually hear the subtleties of his/her breath, and their faint but auditory vocal inflections really add to the overall immersion – giving the songs, a big boost.”
Do these need amplification though?
At 25 Ohm Impedance and 103dB Sensitivity for each, no. You can get away with strictly using a mobile
device, but I’d still recommend an Amp/DAC to pair them with for best results sound wise.
DON’T OVERTHINK IT THOUGH!!
A couple of great Amp/DACS to consider are the ifi hip-dac and DragonFly Red. While the hip-dac will certainly help to mitigate the Ananda’s minor treble brightness, the DF Red will only enhance the overall sound of the Ananda, as it too is a very crisp, open, and airy sounding dac.
In the case of the Edition X, I’d probably aim for the DF Red, as the overall sound of the X is already fairly warm.
Remember: Both headphones are extremely efficient and also have a low impedance, so don’t go overboard in trying to find a super expensive dac with heaps of power. It will be overkill. Either of these will work incredibly well.
Speaking of set ups, check my store link. I’ve got some great ideas for both of these headphones and your support helps keep the blog and channel going, so thank you much in advance!
I’d say both do incredibly well with most genres, which is a strength of the planar sound for sure. You’ll find that most music will be rendered quite well with these: Rock, Hip-Hop, Indie Pop, Regular Pop, Classical, Jazz, Acoustic, Gaming, and Film.
You’ll find yourself frequently wanting to dig up old albums and songs long since forgotten about.
Headphones like the Ananda and Edition X breath new life into old classics, and will most certainly
re-invigorate your love for sound.
If you’re a kick back and relax typa homie, and prefer a warmer, more neutral sound, the Edition X is the solution.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.