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ANANDA-BT is the first ever wireless planar magnetic headphone to come out of HiFiMAN. HiFiMAN has a long track record when it comes to planar magnetic headphones, but fairly little when it comes to wireless technology. Beyond the ANANDA-BT, HiFiMAN also released their first ever true wireless stereo (TWS) in-ears in the TWS 600, so it is a safe bet that we will see more and more wireless technology in HiFiMAN products going forward.

HiFiMAN has played it relatively safe with the ANANDA-BT and stuck with a proven all-in-one chip from Quallcomm in the CSR8675. The CSR8675 enables all of the newest codecs Bluetooth has to offer and has the HiFiMAN ANANDA-BT stream close to lossless over Bluetooth. Given the ANANDA-BT is a full-size headphone, size and implementation should also be straightforward.

Where it gets interesting is that HiFiMAN has paired this wireless technology with what is their latest and greatest in headphone driver design. The ANANDA-BT and the normal version both run their new NEO NsD diaphragm based driver, which gives a welcome boost in efficiency for a planar driver, resulting in an impressive 103 dB/mW. This and a sizeable battery combine to give the ANANDA-BT 10 hours of battery life when running at normal listening levels. Charge times are a bit slow at 2.7 hours, but you can listen to the headphones via USB while doing so.

On the supported codecs list you find all of the usual Hi-fi suspects: HWA, LDAC, AptX, and AptX-HD. So it seems HiFiMAN has done their very best to ensure compatibility and performance going forward.

The Package

HiFiMAN ships the ANANDA-BT in a sturdy cardboard box. Inside, you find a very nice, rugged traveling case that is sculpted to fit the headphones without adding too much bulk.

HiFiMAN stepped up their bundle game tremendously with the ANANDA-BT. The carrying case and the cable options, along with the microphone, really make it a complete package.

The headphones are charged through a USB-C port. The USB-C can also be used to plug the headphones into PCs, tablets, etc., if you run out of power, which is a great feature. Inside the box, you find both a USB-C to USB-C cable, along with a normal USB to USB-C cable.

Another new feature for the ANANDA-BT is the inclusion of a boom microphone. This means the headphones can double up as a high-end gaming headset if needed. As a headset for home use, the ANANDA-BT works flawlessly, but in a LAN scenario, I would prefer having something that gives a good amount of noise attenuation.

Closer Examination

The ANANDA-BT is a full-size headphone that features the same ear cup design as the Edition X and Arya headphones. The ear cups completely envelope your ears, and the plush ear pads mean you can listen for hours without really noticing the headphones.

Even though it is designed as a headphone, it doubles as a headset when you insert the boom microphone. The boom is definitely not the longest, but it does get the microphone about 5 cm closer to your mouth, which really helps pick up your voice compared to headsets that rely solely on a beam-forming microphone array on the ear cups. Compared to the Sony WH1000-XM 2, the quality of speech is on par, with perhaps a slightly higher noise floor, which might be due less processing in the microphone path on the ANANDA-BT.
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