• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Hifiman Arya Review (headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 11 5.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 45 21.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 102 48.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 54 25.5%

  • Total voters
    212

dannut

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Messages
28
Likes
12
Yes, they seem to be. Can it be defined? Best for binaural recordings (double pinna-activation-problem with circumaurals...)? Best for emulating a perfect equilateral-triangle-speaker listening (obviously not without crossfeed/HRTF processing)? Or just good/clever (mechanical) processing, that give sensation of spaciousness? I have a feeling, as like 'studio recordings' don't always chase realism but is an art-form by itself, so is headphone listening not supposed to emulate 'speaker listening'. So we pick what is pleasant, not what is correct. Whatever that means.
(now this thread has history, it seems. Accidentally stumbled here from the front page...)
 

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,626
Likes
7,649
You can get them to measure exactly the same on the that particular test fixture in one particular position. They will tonally be very close, at least closer than when no EQ was applied. They will not measure the same on another test fixture nor sound the same to everyone using the exact same headphone on that exact EQ.

In other words... even the most exact EQ based on 1 measurement is not as exact as some folks expect it to be.
And even for the same text fixture or ear equalising them to some same windowed frequency response doesn't even guarantee that the tonality will be the same as you could have some non-minimal phase problems like partial cancellations and ringing which even if you use EQ will give different responses for different time windows.

Then there can be of course also distortion differences, also the question is can the eardrum be reduced to just one point and the corresponding frequency response, or is it more complex and spatial than this?

All these underline that the attempt to make different headphones identical with EQ are an utopia and I am not talking about the Focal reference series name.
 

GaryH

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
465
Likes
498
The Harman Target is simply a FR profile of what many consumers (also untrained) find preferred or acceptable.
Wrong. The Harman target is based on the measured response from a HATS of a neutral (anechoically flat on-axis) speaker in a studio-like room (therefore close to the artist's intention), slightly modified by the average preferences of both untrained and trained listeners. In their paper Segmentation of Listeners Based on Their Preferred Headphone Sound Quality Profiles, Harman identify three main groups of preference:
Class 1: “Harman Target Lovers”
They make up the majority of listeners (64%) tested, and prefer neutral sounding headphones equalized to the Harman Target response curve. Membership includes an approximately equal balance of members across gender, age groups, and trained/untrained listeners. The exception is listeners over the age 50 who are more likely to be members of Class 3.

Class 2: “More Bass is Better”
This is the smallest class (15%) of listeners who prefer headphones with 3-6 dB more bass than the Target curve below 300 Hz. Members in this group are predominantly male, and include 30% of the trained listeners in our sample.

Class 3: “Less Bass is Better”
The second largest class (21%) prefers headphones with 2-4 dB less bass than the Harman Target curve below 100 Hz. Membership is comprised entirely of untrained listeners, and predominantly female and older listeners (50+ years).
So this means a large majority of 70% of trained listeners preferred the Harman target, 30% preferred more bass than Harman, and none preferred less. Anyway, you, and the vast majority of people (including on this forum) are untrained consumers, so I don't know why you're trying to use that to diminish the applicability of the Harman target.
 

HRTF_Enthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
169
Likes
69
So this means a large majority of 70% of trained listeners preferred the Harman target, 30% preferred more bass than Harman, and none preferred less.
I do not think this is the correct way to look at it. The harman target objectively has more forward masking than a flat bass response would. To support this, Sean Olive mentioned that speech intelligibility improves with less bass. In Floyd Toole's book, there is a section illustrating that there are significant differences in recreational listening vs professional mastering. For example, even among professional mastering engineers, many preferred wider dispersion loudspeakers for orchestral music. However, in Kishinaga et al. (1979), it was confirmed that engineers preferred narrow dispersion loudspeakers in the creation of a recording.
 
Last edited:

GaryH

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
465
Likes
498
I do not think this is the correct way to look at it. The harman target objectively has more forward masking than a flat bass response would. To support this, Sean Olive mentioned that speech intelligibility improves with less bass. In Floyd Toole's book, there is a section illustrating that there are significant differences in recreational listening vs professional mastering. For example, even among professional mastering engineers, many preferred wider dispersion loudspeakers for orchestral music. However, in Kishinaga et al. (1979), it was confirmed that engineers preferred narrow dispersion loudspeakers in the creation of a recording.
I was talking about the Harman target for headphones. Also, visually 'flat bass' as measured by a HATS in a good room does not correspond to neutral sound from an anechoicically flat (on-axis) speaker; it corresponds to a speaker significantly lacking in bass, so is in no way neutral (and hence was not preferred by any of the trained listeners in the study I linked). Whether it would improve speech intelligibility is irrelevant. For music listening we (and the mixing and mastering engineers) want balance and neutrality across the whole spectrum, including bass (which contributes around 30% to preference).
 
Last edited:

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,626
Likes
7,649
There is no physiological mechanism in the ear for anything more than 'one-dimensional' detection of sound frequency arriving at the eardrum.
According to research the human eardrum has a surface of approx. 85 mm², of which approx. 55 mm² are effectively used to transmit sound which is big enough to have an influence on the transfer functions/impedances at different points at high frequencies/small wavelengths.
 

GaryH

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
465
Likes
498
According to research the human eardrum has a surface of approx. 85 mm², of which approx. 55 mm² are effectively used to transmit sound which is big enough to have an influence on the transfer functions/impedances at different points at high frequencies/small wavelengths.
Look at how the sound is transmitted on from the eardrum to the ossicles. They move in and out, nothing more. Even if the eardrum moves in two dimensions, only one dimension of this (along the axis of the ear canal) is transferred on to the ossicles.
 

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,626
Likes
7,649
Look at how the sound is transmitted on from the eardrum to the ossicles. They move in and out, nothing more.
I saw that and that doesn't change what I wrote above, that the membrane will probably have a different transfer function when impacted close to its middle vs close to its edge which can happen at high frequencies.
 

GaryH

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
465
Likes
498
I saw that and that doesn't change what I wrote above, that the membrane will probably have a different transfer function when impacted close to its middle vs close to its edge which can happen at high frequencies.
I don't see how that could possibly happen when the wavelength of the highest audible frequency of 20 kHz is ~17 mm, yet the diameter of the eardrum is just 8-10 mm.
 

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,626
Likes
7,649
I don't see how that could possibly happen when the wavelength of the highest audible frequency of 20 kHz is ~17 mm, yet the diameter of the eardrum is just 8-10 mm.
The difference of course would be rather small but it can be there even at lambda/2, see for example also the polar responses of 1/2 and 1/4 inch mic capsules.
 

edahl

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
301
Likes
240
I must say this discussion is at best tangential to the subject at hand: the Hifiman Arya.
 

AdamG247

Hearing damage on steroids!!! Shockwave of Bass.
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
1,939
Likes
4,280
Back on topic Gentleman. Please take your off topic conversation to a new thread or to PM. Thank you!
 

watchnerd

Grand Contributor
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
12,195
Likes
9,827
Location
Seattle Area, USA
I have the HE400i, which I'm pretty pleased with, although I like it EQed slightly differently than what Amir uses in his old review.

I also find them very comfortable, and they have a headband with ear cup swivel that looks similar to the Arya.

So I'm a bit torn if I should upgrade to:

1. HE6SE (V1) -- Amazingly low distortion, iconic status, but no ear cup swivel

2. Arya -- Headband with cup swivel I know and like

Thoughts?
 
Top Bottom