HIFIMAN Goes Wireless, with Bluetooth Open-Back Headphones & A Wireless Speaker
Dr. Fang Bian, founder and CEO of the audio brand HIFIMAN, is a self-professed audio hobbyist whose product designs are informed by a philosophy he stated during a New York City demo of his latest introductions this week – namely, that “the objective listening experience has to be real.”
They are due out in Spring, and they are the Ananda-BT ($1,199), a wireless version of his open-back Ananda planar magnetic headphone, and the BA1000 ($599), the company’s first wireless streaming speaker. They will begin selling through a core network of 30 U.S. dealers as well as through the company’s online store.
The new headphones are his answer to what research showed him were consumers’ unmet desires for an optimum wireless headphone experience. He said he discovered in his investigations that while in the last two years, wireless headphone sales had exceeded wired headphone sales, online comments about Bluetooth headphones were that they were not up to audiophiles’ expectations. The problem, by his reckoning: Bluetooth standards had been “made by engineers, not audiophiles.”
His solution, engineered with an audiophile’s sensibility, is the Ananda-BT High-Definition Bluetooth Audio headphones, which feature a built-in, jitter-free USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a headphone amplifier that enable the streaming of content at high-fidelity bit rates up to 24Bit, 96kHz through high-resolution Bluetooth, from smartphones, digital audio players and other portable devices. They contain a specially engineered ultra-thin and ultra-light diaphragm, designed to propel the audio signal faster with more musical information. Specs are equivalent to HIFIMAN’s Ananda wired headphone, according to the announcement; frequency response is given as 8Hz to 55kHz and the sensitivity spec is 103dB. It is compatible with high-res Bluetooth codecs including SBC (Subband Codec), LHDC (Low Latency and High Definition Audio Codec) and aptX HD. The headphones are said to function for 13-1/2 hours on a single charge. They are also suitable for use by gamers when they are tethered to a computer or gaming console through a USB connection.
The 30-watt HIFIMAN BA1000, which is the company’s first wireless speaker, will play for 72 hours on a charge (with three-hour recharge time), and its compact leather-embossed cabinet registers a diminutive 8 inches wide, and holds two-inch drivers. It, too, is compatible with all the aforementioned hi-def Bluetooth codecs. Through a line-in input, listeners can connect a pair of BA1000s for two-channel true wireless stereo.