HIFIMAN Arya - Impressions Thread
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mixman

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I do hear more bass from Ananda than Arya. Arya is more clean and clear.
That's pretty much what I found, that the Ananda had more bass and also more highs, but the Arya was more resolving.
 
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Yes, don't need to hurry. So many products are being introduced in a short time span. An increment in performance is marginal.
I even think that Empyrean sold at 3k is a side grade from Clear which was sold at 0.8k recently. Don't need to rush.
I was one of the purchasers of the Clear at 0.8k. They are very revealing, and I'm constantly finding quiet tracks in my music that I didn't know were there, because they blended into the background with lesser cans. I don't like them however for music that sounds brassy, or sibilant. They also are a bit polite when used to play hard rock, where I want the extra mid bass that a closed back offers.

I want to get a darker pair of headphones to supplement. I am struggling with the $2000 price tag of the Ether 2's, and am inclined to look at the Aryas instead.
 
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I was one of the purchasers of the Clear at 0.8k. They are very revealing, and I'm constantly finding quiet tracks in my music that I didn't know were there, because they blended into the background with lesser cans. I don't like them however for music that sounds brassy, or sibilant. They also are a bit polite when used to play hard rock, where I want the extra mid bass that a closed back offers.

I want to get a darker pair of headphones to supplement. I am struggling with the $2000 price tag of the Ether 2's, and am inclined to look at the Aryas instead.
I'm not sure what amp and dac you're using but with my current setup, the ether 2 is outstanding with metal/hard rock. It's not too bassy or too bright. There's other headphones that are also great at metal, but I have cervical spine issues so the ether 2 is perfect for me. I wouldn't call it darker, but it hits hard in the right spot. I owned the clear and I thought it was a good headphone, but just not good enough for the types of music that I listen to most.
 
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Unfortunately, many of the high end headphones I have on me are newer models and I generally prefer closed cans. Focal Elegia, Denon D9200, Sennheiser HD820.

For reference, I consider the Focal Clears to be the closest to neutral among the headphones I have. The Utopias are slightly bright. The HD820 are pretty neutral too, but they have an unusual FR that makes them sound pretty dry despite strong bass and not-too-strong treble.

I haven't done too many direct comparisons, but the Arya, to me, is rather similar to the clear in tuning overall, but just slightly warmer. It depends on the track, but Bass is a bit stronger and extended than the clears, a treble very similar but maybe a bit tamer. Those huge drivers are able to move a ton of air, and you can really feel the sub-bass on tracks that dare dip to 20hz and below.

On the other hand, it has a wider soundstage and I think it is the more resolving headphone, so it doesn't feel more congested for that extra warmth.

I think that their neutrality with a small bass boost and big soundstage makes them great with pretty much every genre.

Certainly not sibilant or bright IMO. Very smooth treble - actually personally wish they had a teensy bit more energy there. But I tend to gravitate towards more V shaped cans. All the sparkle is there.

Overall: very linear and neutral overall, but tending towards warmth. I can see that varying slightly depending on your reference for "neutral". But it's very hard to imagine anyone considering them significantly bright, and definitely not sibilant.
I have the Clears, and found your review most valuable. The Aryas could be just what I'm looking for, given the $2000 price tag of the Ether 2 that is making re-evaluate its competitors. I'm looking for a warmer, darker planar headphone to use with music that sounds harsh and brassy, where getting more mid bass presence in an open back would be a bonus. I find with Focals, there's lots of detail, but there's a cold metallic sheen to everything, so music that was recorded this way can fatigue the listener, and make me want to turn the volume down. My other options would be getting an alternate DAC or amplifier that tends towards warmness.

I find the sound stage of the Clears to be average at best, and not exceptional at its price point. Mid bass quantity was average too, and I had preferred the Audezes for that during testing. I use cheaper Shure closed backs most times for hard rock music, and the Clears most times for quieter passages having strings, acoustic guitars, and pianos. Sometimes, I think those Shures have the better sound stage when used with after market pads (though I hadn't done an A/B/X comparison against the alcantaras). I think we are dealing with the laws of physics here in a dynamic headphone with regard to low bass, and that I would notice the same trends with most other open backs.
 
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mixman

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So my Aryas finally arrived. I don't have the Anandas anymore to do a proper comparison, but from memory I can say these have less base punch for sure. I think the low end sound is probably a bit cleaner sounding. I'm not sure if that's an over all good or bad thing, but I suppose that makes it more neutral.Don't get me wrong, the base is still there, but it just has less oomf. The Sibilance issue that the Anadas have (guessing the 8k peak I've read about?) appears to be gone with these, which is definitely a good thing. Overall these sound really damn good with a really wide sound stage and very good clarity when focusing on specific pieces of the music. The only other difference I can speak to without talking out my ass since I can't do a proper back to back test is these seem to be more comfortable to wear, which I'm guessing is due to the fact the ear cups can rotate. If the exaggerated Sibilance of of the Anandas and other Hifiman (i.e. 400i, which was significantly worse than the Anandas by quite a bit) doesn't bother you, and you find them comfortable, I'm not sure these are worth the $500 extra to be honest (especially if you'd like a bit of extra base). Overall I'm pretty happy with them so far after just an hour of listening to them. It's worth noting that my Magni 2 Uber is at 80% to listen to these at what I'd consider my peak volume (higher would be painful fairly quickly).

Looks like my M1060s (which I do love) are being retired next to my HD600/HD650s.
Good comparison. I am still up in the air about getting the Arya and EQ if I have to or getting a used pair of HEK V2 cheap. At least with the V2 I could use them and get the upgrade to the HEK SE’s eventually. I do love the Hifiman soundstage and accuracy so I am seeking to get one of these soon.
 
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That's pretty much what I found, that the Ananda had more bass and also more highs, but the Arya was more resolving.
I'm a little shocked by this. I have the HEX V2 and somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that the Arya has more bass than the Ananda and about the same amount perhaps better quality than the HEX V2. Gotta review my notes and impressions.

I was one of the purchasers of the Clear at 0.8k. They are very revealing, and I'm constantly finding quiet tracks in my music that I didn't know were there, because they blended into the background with lesser cans. I don't like them however for music that sounds brassy, or sibilant. They also are a bit polite when used to play hard rock, where I want the extra mid bass that a closed back offers.

I want to get a darker pair of headphones to supplement. I am struggling with the $2000 price tag of the Ether 2's, and am inclined to look at the Aryas instead.
I'm struggling with the hype on the E2's. I had a pair for a couple weeks and although they had promise, I wasn't sold on them for $2K. That headphone is a learning experience for me. YMMV, right?
 
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dan3952

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I'm not sure what amp and dac you're using but with my current setup, the ether 2 is outstanding with metal/hard rock. It's not too bassy or too bright. There's other headphones that are also great at metal, but I have cervical spine issues so the ether 2 is perfect for me. I wouldn't call it darker, but it hits hard in the right spot. I owned the clear and I thought it was a good headphone, but just not good enough for the types of music that I listen to most.
I have a Gilmore Lite mk2 and a Musical Fidelity MX-DAC, which is the beginning of the high end for me (the $1500 price point), once you have revealing headphones. I'm not afraid to own three pairs of headphones, I just can't be buying them all at once. All of the Audeze headphones I had tried, sounded darker than the Clears. Tyll Hertsens, before he had left Inner Fidelity, had said that's because their frequency response is down in the presence region, and doesn't follow the Harman curve as much as he'd like. If circumstances were different, I might not be afraid to EQ them. I had almost bought the LCD-X, but it's insanely heavy; not what I need when I'm traveling for work. The Arya and the Ether 2 have come out since. I had seen the Ether 2 at the store, but I hadn't tried it. That was a shame.
 
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I'm a little shocked by this. I have the HEX V2 and somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that the Arya has more bass than the Ananda and about the same amount perhaps better quality than the HEX V2. Gotta review my notes and impressions.



I'm struggling with the hype on the E2's. I had a pair for a couple weeks and although they had promise, I wasn't sold on them for $2K. That headphone is a learning experience for me. YMMV, right?
Yes, sitting at the Hifiman table at CanJam for about 45 min going back and forth between the Ananda, Arya and HEK SE. I could hear that the Ananda had more punch up top and more impact in the bass. The Arya seems like a mid range monster with nice soundstage and great resolve, just in a relatively laid back manner.

I feel the same about the E2, I liked them a lot but I am not sure I liked them at $2K.
 
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Yes, sitting at the Hifiman table at CanJam for about 45 min going back and forth between the Ananda, Arya and HEK SE. I could hear that the Ananda had more punch up top and more impact in the bass. The Arya seems like a mid range monster with nice soundstage and great resolve, just in a relatively laid back manner.

I feel the same about the E2, I liked them a lot but I am not sure I liked them at $2K.
In your opinion, does the Ananda treble get in the way compared to the trade-off of the Arya having less bass? What's your impression on amount of difference in detail of there is such a thing? Any comments on comfort between the two?
 
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In your opinion, does the Ananda treble get in the way compared to the trade-off of the Arya having less bass? What's your impression on amount of difference in detail of there is such a thing? Any comments on comfort between the two?
If you like your cans on the warm/dark side don't go for the Ananda, they are definitely on the brighter, analytical side of the spectrum. For me, the Arya's slight lack of bass impact isn't the problem as much as the overall character of being a bit too laid back. The Arya does have more detail and a little more clarity, not night and day but it is noticeable. The soundstage is also larger. The Arya is a bit of a conflict for me in that I do feel it is better in some ways but in others it is a let down. As for comfort, I cannot say one is much better than the other, especially compared to let's say Audeze HP's.
 
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If you like your cans on the warm/dark side don't go for the Ananda, they are definitely on the brighter, analytical side of the spectrum. For me, the Arya's slight lack of bass impact isn't the problem as much as the overall character of being a bit too laid back. The Arya does have more detail and a little more clarity, not night and day but it is noticeable. The soundstage is also larger. The Arya is a bit of a conflict for me in that I do feel it is better in some ways but in others it is a let down. As for comfort, I cannot say one is much better than the other, especially compared to let's say Audeze HP's.
That's probably the biggest criticism of the HEX V2, a laid back presentation. It also gets pinged for a slightly recessed mid range and perhaps just a tad treble roll off but in terms of pros, planar subbass, large soundstage, musical/easy listening, easy to drive (debatable), very comfortable, no offensive treble peaks, and to my ears, good to great detail. Detail would be the toughest metric to compare because it's so subjective yet it shouldn't be. Perhaps to my ears? All in all, I think it's a great headphone and was hoping the Arya could take it to the next level, including the bass. I don't know if i could give up that aspect of the HEX V2.

Perhaps it really is the one off'er from Hifiman. I've heard the 4XX, own 400i, demo'ing HE-500, and demo'd the Sundara. Unfortunately, the HEX V2 is the only variation of Hifiman's very large driver headphones I've heard.
 
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That's probably the biggest criticism of the HEX V2, a laid back presentation. It also gets pinged for a slightly recessed mid range and perhaps just a tad treble roll off but in terms of pros, planar subbass, large soundstage, musical/easy listening, easy to drive (debatable), very comfortable, no offensive treble peaks, and to my ears, good to great detail. Detail would be the toughest metric to compare because it's so subjective yet it shouldn't be. Perhaps to my ears? All in all, I think it's a great headphone and was hoping the Arya could take it to the next level, including the bass. I don't know if i could give up that aspect of the HEX V2.

Perhaps it really is the one off'er from Hifiman. I've heard the 4XX, own 400i, demo'ing HE-500, and demo'd the Sundara. Unfortunately, the HEX V2 is the only variation of Hifiman's very large driver headphones I've heard.
Well, the HEX V2 is supposed to have more bass than the Ananda and from what I heard the Ananda had more bass than the Arya. The Arya is supposed to sound like the HEK V2. I would say go to the HEK SE thread and read what many of the former owners of the HEK V2 said about them, many used the words laid back and soft. The SE improves on that laid back sound with a more dynamic sound.....unfortunately at a much higher cost. Now, many will prefer a softer more laid back HP, especially if they already have a headphone in your face like a Utopia.

I am strongly thinking about getting a used HEK V2 and later on doing the upgrade to the SE or just getting the latest Hifiman that's out at the time. The strong appeal right now with the Arya is that it can be had for a cheaper price than a used HEK V2 and of course it will be new as opposed to being used.
 
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I don't remember if this was posted here before but he has the Arya and HE1000se simultaneously and finds them indistinguishable......
 
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I don't remember if this was posted here before but he has the Arya and HE1000se simultaneously and finds them indistinguishable......
Uh.. I heard that many people are saying that the HEKse is a solid step-up from the HEKv2.
Is it true that HEKse ~ Ayra > HEKv2 ?

One thing I hear consistently is that Ayra and HEKse are brighter than HEKv2, so it might be the case that they indeed sound similar.
Some reviewers have to do serious comparisons between them.
I really miss Tyll.
 
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