Is Hifiman Ananda worthwhile upgrade from DT1990 Pro?

I am a happy owner of DT1990. I was thinking about trying out planar headphones which are as good as as or better than a DT 1990 within $600-700. Recently I came across discussions that Ananda are better that DT1990 in certain areas like verticality and overall sound signature being more analytical and neutral compared to DT1990.

Now, I primarily play Valorant and Warzone semi-competitively. I bought DT1990 mainly because I read about how precise it is with imaging. I am quite happy with it as I have got some custom pads so no problems are there.

However, sometimes I feel like it has problems with separation. Like say a TDM in shipment or in a small map with lots of players running around and shooting at the same time. I feel audio cues get lost many a times in that situation.

I have read in few discussions that Ananda has a greater separation than DT1990. Also, it presents more verticality in sound than DT1990. Obviously, these two are pretty important for me as I use this headphone 70% for gaming.

I can’t try out an Ananda as the online reseller won’t do return unless defective product was sent nor I can demo it as local shops are out of stock. So here I am asking for opinions regarding this conundrum, especially if you have used both.

So my question is, is Ananda a worthwhile upgrade from DT1990, purely from competitive FPS perspective? Or is it just a side grade with no actual benefits over a DT1990 in this scenario?

Anandas have kind of an odd center image transition problem just like the sundaras. Sounds at like 30° off of straight forward land in that weird transition spot and aren’t very accurately placed. Sounds moving from the left or right into the center have a wonky transition too.


Huh, I use 1990s for Valorant and haven’t had issues with placement. By the time you’re at an Ananda (assuming you also have a good DAC/Amp to drive them) I’d start to wonder if the game audio is the limiting factor.
Could be dead wrong, I don’t know a lot about how game audio is actually played back from a technical perspective.


I’ve said this quite a bit on here but I don’t think the ananda is good for gaming at all. It’s imaging accels in music more and can be quite disorienting in-game (I was getting a headache). The 1990 should be fantastic for your use case and any problems are most certainly primarily due to game audio design limitations. Verticality especially can be a common problem in alot of competitive games (like valorant sometimes). And in games like Warzone if there is a clusterfuck going on you won’t be able to pick sounds apart no matter what you’re using.


Hmm, so it seems that Ananda might be better at music than DT1990 but DT1990 is better than Ananda in FPS gaming.
So I guess it is prudent to save the cash for now and wait till a a planar headphone arrives, better than the Dynamic DT1990.

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For around $220 you can get the he400se and a pair of brainwavz XL micro suede pads with cooling gel and honeycomb grills and they’re absolutely fantastic. I find myself reaching for them over basically everything for gaming. They might not be the best thing ever for music (though they are very good for that too) but for gaming they really stand out. That leftover money could get you an amp and dac if you don’t have one or another pair of more “musical” headphones. The imaging on them is some of the best I’ve ever heard and vertical imaging is just outstanding. You usually need to get into the $1k bracket to get vertical imaging anywhere near what the he400se do (with pads and grills).

On another note have you tried Dolby atmos? They have a 14 day trial I think and I would say at least give it a try on the gaming performance mode. It gets rid of a lot of the bass that tends to get dynamic driver headphones congested and cluttered and seems to have a kind of dsp effect that makes sound separation a little clearer.

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to my experience there isn’t a planar that bests the 1990 in fps gaming within the same price range. Only Sundara and Ananda sit there and in terms of verticality its mainly the air quality the hifimans have that helps with that a bit… though as far as the ananda being more analytical I have no idea where that came from but I have to disagree to that by a very large degree… 1990 is extremely analytical much more so than an ananda

This isn’t the headphone… this is the game itself and an issue you will encounter with just about any headphone. Ananda can technically help but its not something I would encourage

Separation and verticality? sort of… its airier presentation allows it to do a bit better at spacing out sounds but its fairly marginal. It’s worth -trying- out if you can check a refund policy for one of the anandas. the 1990s do not have separation or verticality issues though… not at all… while they are aggressive to a fault unlike ananda and T1 2nd gen and this can cause some issues its not that big of a deal breaker… the main issues is that valorant and warzone have trash sound engines to begin with so properly placing sounds to an intensive degree is to say the least… complicated.

then hard skip. See if you can find a Sundara as they are extremely similar with the ananda being ever so slightly better. Sundara should be easier to find and potentially cheaper. If this doesn’t work check into T1 2nd gen. The T1 2nd is what I use myself over the 1990 and find better performance for these very reasonings as I found the aggression that forces your head into the music of the 1990 a bit much when I really wanted to hear further out sounds… Headphones that can do distance separations better than a 1990 in fps are sundara, ananda, T1 2nd gen, zeus, and GL2000

its a sidegrade

tried this, its not particularly bad but I personally despise those pads… they feel cheap and are quite uncomfortable to me. I definitely would NOT rate these better than a 1990 … not at all but they are a stronger contender and could even belong on my list as a solid option considering the price point… I was pleasantly surprised.

atmos is like… a few dollars… This CAN help warzone I will chime in on that. even with the 1990 as the sound engines are trash just be warned it can really screw up some sounds depending on the headphone. 1990 responds fairly well enough to use atmos in warzone though I wouldnt say it did valorant much good


Thanks for the detailed reply @Falenkor . I am having a hard time finding T1.2 around here. Is T1 3rd Gen similar to T1.2?

no, completely diferent

I got the Ananda’s coming from DT 1990 Pro some time back. I genuinely really liked the Ananda’s sound - more detailed, stage width maybe a bit bigger but I think imaging on 1990 Pro a bit better/more accurate. Vocals and mids less recessed on Ananada’s. Bass a bit more impactful on 1990 Pro’s.

The deal breaker for me was the bizarre cup shape on the Ananda’s. It extends way down to my jaw/upper neck area, applying pressure that I honestly couldn’t take my mind off the entire time wearing. YMMV, and obviously this is a highly subject thing. But I personally really don’t like the Ananda fit. And Sundara cup size is too small for me. So… Hifiman just not in the cards for me I guess.