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So is the HEX V2 less bright than both of these?
HEXv2 is definitely less bright than Arya
If anyone is interested in an HEKv2... -sigh-
Is the Arya a bit cleaner/tighter with more impact vs. HEXV2?
This may have been answered already, but I can't recall.
For those of you that have/had the Sundara, is the Arya worth the upgrade in your opinion? I've read some conflict about that in some reviews/impressions, just looking to hear more thoughts on that. Anything to deter the likely Arya purchase, I suppose.
I own the Sundara, Arya and HE6se. I think the answer to your question would depend on the kind of music you listen to (e.g. metal and hardrock vs classical or ambient) or on how you want it to sound (more relaxed or not).
My dealer once explained to me that Hifiman has been developing planar magnetic headphones along two different main lines, roughly said the round ones and the elongated ones. I think it makes sense, so that in the "round line" the logical upgrade for the Sundara would be the HE6se (and ultimately the Susvara) while in the other line the Arya would be an upgrade instead for the Edition X xx and the Ananda. Going from the Sundara to the Arya would then also mean changing lines.
Changing lines doesn't make the comparison so easy as the lines seem to aim at different genres. The round line would be rougher (esp. the HE6) and tend to be more optimized for genres like metal and hard-rock. The elongated line would be smoother and tend to be more optimized for classical music or softer genres. When you reach the current TOTL models like the Susvara and the HE1000se the differences between the lines are less perceptible.
Back to Sundara vs Arya.
Re. most sonic aspects, the Arya clearly beats the Sundara, e.g. in resolution, speed, cleanliness (of the background, what SNMR would measure), soundstage, imaging... I think everyone would agree with this.
And yet... the technical superiority isn't all, their character according to their differing lines comes into play.
For example if I listen to Amon Amarth (Viking melodic death metal, e.g. their latest album Jomsviking), the Sundara rocks better for me, gives me a strong temptation of turning the volume up (I have to fight to resist this temptation, as I try to listen at low levels to preserve my ears) and of banging my head (I don't headbang but I feel the temptation strongly). If I listen to the very same music with the Arya, I don't experience these strong feelings, the music feels more controlled, "behaved" and less exciting with such genres.
So in my experience, if you like your Sundara for having fun (rocking) with metal and hardrock, the real upgrade for the Sundara is the HE6se, it is somehow "wild" and "harsh" in a positive sense (i.e. in the context of metal music), not as great as the Susvara but so much worthier for the price you have to pay for it.
If you listen mainly to classical or ambient music, then the Arya is a definite upgrade for the Sundara, as it will be better to "change lines".
If you want a more relaxed presentation of metal (e.g. to focus on your work while listening), then the Arya will be more suitable but would you then need to pay more money if you won't focus on the more detailed presentation?
I personally bought the Arya for listening to dark ambient, at which I find it excels, and to some bands which mix ambient with metal (e.g. Elffor) or mix metal with neoclassical, neofolk or rock.
In general I think that the Arya is a bargain compared to the HE1000xx, while the Sundara at € 350 is much more than a bargain, it is a real steal, i.e. the Arya is great for the price you pay for it but not incredibly great for the price like the Sundara.
Hoping this may help you,
This is a great post. Thanks.
I much prefer the LCD2C vs Sundara.
On the other hand I find it difficult to choose between LCD2C and HEXV2. I wish for a headphone that's a mixture of these two latter headphones. If you heard the LCD2C, would you say the Arya keeps the airiness and smoothness of the HEXV2 while improving it with a bit more clarity and punch what the strengths of the 2C's are?
Honestly, it sounds like the HE-1000se would be perfect for you.
1000SE is out of budget. 1000V2 secondhand could be an option.
The Arya in my opinion is a lot better the Sundara in all aspects. I just didn't like it at the $300 I got it for, so yes I would say the Arya is a big improvement over the Sundara.
A higher end Hifiman headphone, especially a HEKse has incredible micro-dynamics, which other planar headphones are hard to compete with.
Compared to a LCD, I didn't find a high-end Hifiman headphone is lacking macro-dynamics, but found it has a different style. It is hard to describe, but I would say it is sort of 'airy' punchiness. I think it is due to the Hifiman's extremely open design approach without using any damping material, while most open back headphones use damping material (Audeze, MrSpekaers) or subject to cup resonance (Focal), or rely on both damping material and cup resonance (ZMF).
I know the difference between Audeze and HiFiMan in general.
I am more interested in the difference between the Arya and the HEXV2.
Arya is more detailed, has more treble quantity (that can get sharp at times), and is harder to drive. The HEX V2 is the smoothest Hifiman I’ve ever heard. It has more bass than the Arya and is easier to drive.
The Arya will put a spotlight on flaws and expose them for the filthy animals they are. The HEX V2 will tell you it’s not a filthy animal but a cuddly Cocker Spaniel that you should take home and give a bath.
They’re both excellent. It’s a matter of sonic preference.
I enjoy the smoothness of the HEXV2 especially due to my treble sensitivity. Time to time however I wish the sound was just a bit tighter, punchier and better defined especially at the low-end. I could trade in 10% of bass quantity for a better bass quality. I wonder if the Arya would do that without being too harsh in the treble. (I could take a maximum of 10% more treble energy vs HEXV2.)
What’s wrong with the bass quality? I found the HEX V2 bass to be very tight and controlled. It didn’t have Audeze impact, but no Hifiman can has that. But I can’t find any fault with it in terms of quality. The only thing the HEX V2 needed to be a near perfect headphone, was greater detail retrieval, in my opinion. The Arya is definitely brighter. Depending on your preference, that can be a blessing or a curse.