Hifiman choice, Ananda or XS

Had the Sundara’s and sold them once I heard a friend’s Edition XS. Currently auditioning an Arya
( along with the XS) and have an Ananda on the way.
At this point I cannot tell a big difference between the XS and Arya. Actually, they are real close to me. Ordered the Ananda because I don’t know if I can live with the headband on the XS.
I am figuring that if the Ananda sounds as good as the XS it would be worth the extra $200 if the headband is like what the Sundara was for me. The Arya is overpriced for the minimal difference it presents to my ears. All being driven by an Asgard.
Is there a better solution for the XS? I would love to have a suspension system on them.


I dont have any of those headphones. Just came to tell you that the new Ananda stealth magnet edition is out!
Did you order that one?

Ordered it yesterday on Amazon. It did say stealth version on Hifiman’s Amazon store, but did not indicate that when I purchased it.

I haven’t heard the Ananda Stealth yet but I will say that there is a much bigger difference between the XS and the Arya than between the XS and Ananda, so you could be very happy with the Ananda.

I have the Xs, and im considering modding it with the Ananda headband though right now im more focused on pads (i find the comfort OK but it certainly can be better)

If you want to try it yourself he headband is only is really cheap on ali express still havent figured if there is a way to leave the cups intact when removing the headband

Let us know!
I’m thinking about buying the edxs but im also interested in the Ananda Stealth.

Those things don’t fit. You gotta drill out the holes yourself and even then the yokes are for circle cans. Total lies in their description.

You can buy a piece of leather and use electrical tape or small zip ties to create a suspension headband for the XS. The aesthetics will depend on your level of craftsmanship.

But I have seen photos in the Edition XS thread at head-fi from a dude who did a terrific job with his suspension mod. Almost looks professional.

I also have found that gently kneading the XS headband with your thumbs softens the foam. I had a terrible hot spot atop my bald head before I did this. Now I don’t feel the headband at all.

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Well aware of that, the plan was to take out the cups and the adjustment mechanism as well and put them into the newer headband.

But like i said i havent looked into that too much and there are a billion issues that can come up. So before i take apart my most expensive headphone im gonna focus at one problem at a time, and stick to pad swapping for now :smiley:

Sure enough they shipped the Stealth Magnet edition of the Ananda. Tried them for fit and they are way better than the XS but not as good as the Arya…to be expected. Will put in some serious listening and comparing over the next few days.

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For the serious listening, I recommend at least 3-5 days with one headphone (1 week would be better) and then move to the other using the exact same DAC+amp. On the first day, your brain adjusts to the sound signature. Usually, around day 2, either Imaging or soundstage starts to unlock. In a few days, you get a grasp of what the headphone can do. Specifically, the Arya is known for having good 3D holographic depth, and a natural stage that the Ananda isn’t able to reproduce.

I just now read this post so I have it all screwed up. I have spent time burning in the Ananda and comparing the other 2. Not seeing much of a difference at this point. Yesterday i picked up an RME adi-2 dac. Love all the bells and whistles on it, but I am unable to find a big difference between it and my Liquid Spark amp straight off of my motherboard. And now all of the headphones are sounding way too similar. Actually I would rank the Ananda lowest and the Arya slightly better than the XS. Perhaps I should stick to one set up at a time like you advised. I will try that tomorrow.

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How bright is the Ananda Stealth compared to the others? Which version of the Arya? What’s the soundstage like? Thanks.

Just now spending 3 days with Arya only. All are Stealth magnet version; Arya, Ananda, and Edition XS.

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Which one is better? Because i am considering buying either the Arya or Ananda Stealth version, I just got the XS and i haven’t got a chance to test them out yet. How are the Mids and Vocals, i am very big on Vocal, i have to hear them loud and clear, also sounding natural at the same time.

Based on my limited time with each one I would say that it is really hard to choose. But at this point I cannot see the Arya as a $600-800 better headphone. While it does have the best headband for a secure comfortable session the Ananda is not too far off if you stretch it out for a while and the XS either works for you or it doesn’t. Sound wise they all are pretty close. To me the Ananda is the brightest while the other 2 provide a little more Bass. If you can live with the fit of the XS it is the clear winner of the 3 in my opinion so far. And the fit has sort of grown on me. I read somewhere that the way they are designed helps with bass response. Not sure if there is any way to bend the headband itself, I think that it is plastic not metal, as it seems that bending it makes little difference. I will update as I spend more time with them and the RME adi2 dac/amp.

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Let me know, since i want to upgrade to more Stealth Edition Hifiman’s

For what it’s worth, when I had the ADI-2, it was pretty sub par for driving planars. Didn’t have it while I owned the XS, but had some similarly sensitive planars at the time and it was honestly about as good as an entry level stack (in the $300-400 range). Maybe that’s just the way the ADI-2 sounds or something but really everything sounded pretty unrefined. Personally I don’t really understand that DAC at the price point. I guess if you need EQ and want to swap all the time to different sources and keep the EQ?

To piggyback on what you are saying I believe that I may be in the same camp at this time. I am directly comparing the ADI-2 to a Liquid spark that I picked up for $79 that is running directly off of my motherboard’s soundcard ( ASUS H170 Pro GAMING), and I am having trouble trying to to differentiate between them. Actually the Spark/MB combo is a touch warmer, which is to my liking. Really love the options, lights, and bling associated with the ADI-2, but frankly most of that I can attain via APO/PEACE software on my PC. Would you have any recommendations for these Hifiman’s because I do love these. Funny thing I have noticed with these 3 is that they all are pretty much at the same level when swapping between them, with the Ananda just 2-4 db more efficient.

Price? Are you trying to stay in a combo unit?