- Apr 3, 2020
I just bought the Arya (stealth magnet version) and I need some perspective because I'm actually rather disappointed.
My first "proper" headphone was a Sennheiser HD558 that I bought ca. 10 years ago, and back then it was an eye- or rather ear-opening experience, as it was an obvious improvement over everything I had heard so far. I still love them and use them every day, but having now a bit more disposable income and after reading forums such as this and Head-Fi every now and again, I decided to treat myself to something new and hopefully take my listening enjoyment to the next level. I initially wanted to get the Sennheiser HD660S, but after finding a deal to get a new Arya for more than 25% off, I decided to go for the "endgame" and never having to think about audio gear again.
I also got a Topping E50+L50 stack to properly drive the Arya, as I had so far plugged my Sennheisers directly into the headhpone outlet of my PC mainboard. I have now listened to the Arya for a couple of hours and I'm not sure what to think, because I don't really notice a difference. When I first listened to the Sennheisers 10 years ago, I felt like when I got my first pair of glasses, and only then realized how bad my vision had been without them. But now I don't have that at all. The Arya sounds good, but I don't think it sounds better or even different than the Sennheiser to me. I know sound quality does not increase proportionally to price, but surely a headphone that is 10x more expensive should still sound audibly better? I spend the last hour going back and forth between the two, but apart from having to adjust the volume on the headphone amp a bit because the Arya needs a bit more power, I'm not sure I can tell a difference. What is happening? Is my hearing that much worse than I thought? Does burn-in make that much of a difference? I would have thought that even if it does, the Arya should still sound better without it.
For some extra context, while I haven't listened to a lot of different headphones, I tried my dad's old Sennheisers a while back (not sure what model they are, but they are about 30 years old and have flat yellow foam pads), and I could hear a clear difference between them and my HD558.
I would love to get some input on what to do from someone with maybe a bit more experience than me. Do I have to get used to the Arya? Should I just return them and be happy with the HD558? I sadly don't have the option of going to a Hifi store and demoing a few different models. I would appreciate any advice!
You sound like me in the beginning. I think its expectations. You expect something to be so night and day especially for the price and how much people embellish their impressions. However its all nuanced and ALL headphones are overpriced, IMO. I was exclusively listening to my lcd2c and still pretty new to audio when I bought HD800s. As soon as I put the HD800s on I thought....sounds like a headphone.....I didn't even noticed the soundstage until after I listened to the HD800s exclusively for a few weeks and then went back to the lcd2c, then it was a massive difference. Now I can't unhear it. Bought a Diana v2 and after almost a year I never thought it sounded that much better than HD6xx. Got an arya and immediately could tell the how great the bass is and the soundstage was 2nd to the HD800s. In fact the arya doesn't make me want to listen to the HD6xx anymore, I never got that feeling with lcd2c and diana v2, both sold now.
IMO, you should listen to one headphone exclusively for a few weeks at least and then go back to the other headphone. I listen to everything with oratory1990 eq too just FYI.