My first impression is "Is this what $1600 headphones are suppose to sound like?" I have no reference. It's certainly good (probably very good) and seems to perform as well as folks have described in this thread but it doesn't put me in awe of heavenly sound quality. Beyond that I see an issue with telling you what I think when you can't really know how I'm driving them, and I think that explanation should come with the critique. FWIW my only practical experience is with a recently acquired set of HE4XX when a need for headphones came about. Then I found myself wondering a lot about how much better it could get and how much I was willing to spend on finding out. I have an issue with Arya that I think makes it worth spending another $140 to discover how silver plated conductors in the headphone cable might affect the sound for the better. I think Arya could use more sparkle and extension in the top. But that's in my system and I won't be taking the headphones elsewhere. It's an issue that others in this thread have mentioned about Arya then said higher models have superior extension. To which I say 'meh'. Also, I stopped using equalization to compensate for system inadequacies in the 1980s. I prefer listening to my office ambient system to using headphones. I love sitting across from it and hearing the 3D spatial stuff filling the room. Saying that requires talking about the music I like and what I've done with the system to eliminate digital jitter issues which it isn't the time or place to go into detail. I'm from the decade-plus old Steve Nugent school that states your stereo image isn't optimized with crap in the digital stream between the source and DAC. I realize audiophile component companies have come a long way to resolving jitter problems in the last decade but I'll still bet there are a majority of Headfi participants who really have no idea how good or bad they have it. The subject belongs in another thread anyway, but it's relevant to Arya's performance. I'm not going to go into all that stuff for the time being. Maybe not at all. I'll be back with a critique after I receive the Amplifier Surgery cable and let it run for some days. Edit. I've nearly decided to get an RME ADI-2 DAC. Another very high value component that will be a straight forward source and help a lot with an accurate critique of Arya. I'm surprised the RME hasn't blown up Headfi. It looks like an excellent and respectable headphone DAC-amp for a very reasonable price.