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HIFIMAN Arya - Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by XERO1, Oct 5, 2018.
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  1. Jodet
    Got my LQI yesterday and am very pleased with it.

  2. sean-xenos
    I compared the Arya with the HE-1000 V2 and the HE-1000 SE at a headphone auditioning studio today, all headphones were driven balanced by a Violectric HPA V280 and a Lakepeople DAC, 24bit/96kHz HiRes Audio files.

    The sound signatures of the three headphones were easy to distinguish from one another, the HE-1000 SE being the brightest and the HE-1000 V2 the most relaxed and balanced sounding. The Arya struck me as vivid, but also a little too turbulent and unbalanced sounding, but certainly very good for the lower price. In the end the HE-1000 V2 really grew on me, I really enjoyed its sound signature and soundstaging most of all headphones in the studio, including the Focal Utopia, MrSpeakers Ether 2, Audeze LCD-4 and Meze Empyrean.
    marhol and XERO1 like this.
  3. Jodet
    I have a V280 too. In my experience Hifiman and Violectric is a marriage made in heaven.
    sean-xenos likes this.
  4. Relaxasaurus
    Thanks for the commentary. I've yet to hear any of the HEK's but sounds like Arya's bigger brother is a bit more refined, albeit at twice the price. How do you compare the Utopia's to the Empyrean?
  5. sean-xenos
    Yes, the Violectric and the HE-1000 V2 had really great synergy.
    Dobrescu George likes this.
  6. sean-xenos
    Both headphones, the Utopia and the Empyrean have top notch build quality. It's really a joy to take them into your hands and to feel and see how well they are made. In comparison the build quality of the Hifimans feels a little sloppy and rather compares to the HD 800 or the T1 but not to TOTL headphones.

    Soundwise the Utopia didn't convince me because of its narrow and congested soundstage. I am a big fan of headphones with a larger soundstage like the HD 800 or T1 or K812. The Utopia felt fatiguing in comparison to the Hifiman HE-1000 V2, the sound was too much inside my head. Tonal balance and impact, bass, mids, treble were great but I still didn't like the Utopia.

    The Meze Empyrean was a big surprise, I didn't expect the construction to be so excellent, really classy and perfect finish. There was a little problem to obtain a suitable balanced cable with XLR plugs for the Empyrean, so the cable was may be a little sub par. Anyways a noticed a big improvement to hear the Empyrean via balanced outputs like the other headphones so I guess the cables were sufficient in quality.
    In short the Empyrean with velour pads reminded me of a High End, luxury version of the HD650 (which is not a bad thing as the HD650 is loved by many people). Soundstaging was okay but not as large as the soundstage of the Hifimans or the T1 or HD 800 S. With leather pads the soundstage of the Empyrean shrinked but the sound became a bit more vivid and revealing, but the difference is rather about nuances.
    The Empyrean sounded very polite and well behaved, never sibilant or harsh. Upper midrange tended to be a bit "nasal" and reminded me again of the HD650. Bass was very extended, a noticeable mid bass hump, very impactful in general, of good quality and texture. The treble of the Empyrean felt slightly rolled off, I was missing any kind of treble sparkle, so the sound signature was a bit on the dark side and I was missing some resolution, some very fine details sounded subdued, they were there but not very prominent. In general I liked the sound signature of the HE-1000 V2 better than the Empyrean's. May be a balanced silver-copper cable could add some treble sparkle to the Empyrean, that could be a tuning option. I might try that out... if the appropriate cable will be available. I found it hard to let the Empyrean go because of its superb construction and workmanship, so I might give it another try.
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    Wildcatsare1, Relaxasaurus and XERO1 like this.
  7. XERO1
    My impressions of the all the headphones you mention above mirrors yours almost exactly!

    You are dead-on about the Empyrean sounding like a higher-quality version of the HD-650. It's a shame they didn't end up offering both tunings that they originally were considering.

    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    sean-xenos likes this.
  8. mixman

    I would say take a listen to the HEK SE again before you pick up the V2. The SE is clearly better. I would say only consider the V2 if you are getting it used for a good price, new it's now overpriced. I have had both here with the same cable and amp and the SE is really the better more balanced HP. It should have a more even treble response than the V2 and a better, more detailed bass. The V2 has a spike in the treble region that can sometimes irritate, Now there are not monumental differences, but they are there. Take a look at the SE thread where other V2 owners will compare also.
    XERO1, Hifiearspeakers and sean-xenos like this.
  9. sean-xenos
    That's what my headphone dealer recommended, too.
    He suggested to take both headphones on loan to my home over the weekend and to compare them with my own headphone amp, the SPL Phonitor 2.
    He also offered a considerable discount on the V2.
    Maybe the synergy with the Violectric amp in the studio was simply better with the V2 than the SE... On the Violectric the V2 sounded fuller and tonally more balanced than the SE. It could be vice versa on the Phonitor 2.
    I'll do a thorough comparison with my own amp before I buy, that's for sure. I expected the SE to be better than the V2 and was surprised that it wasn't... Maybe the headphome amp plays an important part in that.
    The V2 seemed to be well worn in (had sufficient "burn-in" time). I have to ask my headphone dealer if the SE was rather new and how many hours of playtime it had up to now.
    I was also surprised that the Arya didn't match the sound of the V2 .... I expected less differences after reading many reviews and listening experiences. Somewhere I read that the Arya should be 90 or 95% of the V2 but I didn't have that impression.
    I found the HE1000-SE thread and 200 hours were recommended for the Hifiman phones to settle in, so both the HE1000-SE and the Arya are rather new on the market compared to the V2 ... especially the Arya is rather new in Germany.
    The next thing are the disturbing experiences about sample variations with Hifiman products, so maybe it's best to buy the V2 as a demonstration model from the shop to avoid surprises (and save money) if I like that sample of all three headphones best.
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
    Wildcatsare1 and mixman like this.
  10. dan3952
    Thank you for your objective review, it contained a lot more content than, "These are end game headphones", without comparing and contrasting with other models (Inner Fidelity's long awaited Ether 2 review had done this, though I would have liked to see Focal and Audeze comparisons as well). I can afford none of them at this time, but I would rather take my time and get a pair that I will be happy with for a long time, after studying reviews for over a month, than make a mistake and be forced to unload something at a loss.

    I had always doubted that HiFiMan would offer something very close to their HE-1000 sound at little more than half the price: why should they? I mean, look at their past behavior in terms of marketing: always bringing out new models at ever increasing prices, and I don't know how many different drivers they really have. They charge people $650 to upgrade from the HE-1000 v1 to the HE-1000 v2, then again to go from the HE-1000 v2 to the HE-1000 SE.
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
    sean-xenos likes this.
  11. TheAttorney
    +1 to all of the above (with me as a previously very satisfied V2 owner, and now an even more satisfied SE owner. I've not heard the Arya).
  12. Focux
    of those you tried,

    how would u rank them with HE100V2 as no.1?
  13. sean-xenos
    I had the chance to hear a Hifiman HE-1000 V2 with my own equipment this afternoon. I mostly listen to HiRes audiofiles (24bit/96kHz or 192kHz)
    of widely spread musical styles (Jazz, Rock, classical and electronic music ... ). My amp is the SPL Phonitor 2, my DAC is the RME Fireface UC, I use Supra cables from Sweden, all balanced XLR connections.
    My impressions of my recent hearing session from last Friday are still rather fresh, too. The HE-1000 V2 sounded different with my own equipment than in the headphone studio (equipment there: Violectric HPA V280 / Lakepeople DAC).
    I suppose that my own headphone amp sounds much more neutral and uncoloured than the Violectric V280.
    I could clearly hear the treble peak of the HE-1000 V2 at around 5-6 kHz that many of you mentioned in this thread or the HE-1000 SE thread.
    The Violectric seems to have concealed this treble peak and enhanced the lower midbass of the V2 in comparison. I might take the HE-1000 SE and the Arya as a loan during one of the next weekends for another comparison.
    I also noticed that the V2 needed a different gain setting than other headphones like the T1 or HD800. I spent around 4 hours to get a full impression of the V2 as I came across a used V2 for sale in the neighbourhood
    owned by a very likeable and friendly American living in Berlin who was also interested to compare my headphone set-up with his own equipment.
    Unfortunately the 5-6 kHz treble peak bothered me the longer I listened to the V2.
  14. sean-xenos
    The Violectric headphone amp is probably not a good starting point for a comparison of high end headphones, so my ranking might be very biased.
    A more neutral and uncoloured sounding amp like my own at home would be more appropriate I guess.
  15. TheAttorney
    I'm pretty sure the V2's (and V1's) key treble peak is around 8-9khz. Or at least that is the only peak that has ever compelled me to EQ my HEK V2.
    The SE doesn't seem to have this peak, or at least not to a level that bothers me.
    sean-xenos likes this.
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