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Hifiman Arya Review (headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 11 4.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 49 20.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 112 47.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 65 27.4%

  • Total voters
    237

Tachyon88

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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?

I'd get the arya because of the spatial effects. I have the v2 and really enjoy it. I eq it with oratory1990 eq(Harman).
 

Ezees

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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?
I've never heard the HE6SE but I am partial to the Arya because of their sound quality, spatial abilities, and (the v3's) ease of driving - much easier than the v2's. They also scale greatly with better components in the chain, IMO. I also own the Ananda and it's somewhat of a benchmark at it's price - but the Arya is an all-around richer listening experience.
 
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Zenairis

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'Scaling' is an audiophile myth perpetuated by manufacturers to get gullible consumers to buy more and more expensive electronics. It's nonsense.
I disagree, I own this pair myself and have tested them on different DAC's/AMP's and cables, as well as interconnects. There was definitely a improvement on changing just the cables alone to pure silver cables.

I find it's very subjective others are capable of hearing it some can't.

It's just like many people cannot tell a difference above 60 Hz on monitors. I have a 144 and 360 sitting next to each other and can easily tell the difference between both regardless of if one or the other is being used side by side.

Then again I've been nit picking equipment for years. You know it's bad when you can tell when a monitor or TV is off of the 6500k white point because you used to spend 3+ hours a day a few days a week for years calibrating them. Some people are just more sensitive than others, I assure you 99.99998% of the population can't tell the difference between most of this equipment, or even calibrated or uncalibrated equipment unless it's just that far off of calibration. Until they actually AB them side by side and can actually see/hear the difference based on the equipment being AB'd.

That aside these are the best headphones I've owned period. Unlike other sound stage headphones they give you a accurate detail of positioning on everything this not only includes the surround effect, but depth and height as well. I remember the first time I used these on modded Minecraft I could hear a bird off of my 6 O clock, over my left shoulder but at a elevation that was above my head. I couldn't believe I could actually tell the height of where the sound was coming from it's something I've never heard from a headphone before prior to this.

The clarity, detail retrieval is also on another level from most headphones. It's solid across the spectrum some say there is a slight peak in the mids but I've never found it a problem

Arya, D90SE, A90.jpg
 
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Robbo99999

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I disagree, I own this pair myself and have tested them on different DAC's/AMP's and cables, as well as interconnects. There was definitely a improvement on changing just the cables alone to pure silver cables.

I find it's very subjective others are capable of hearing it some can't.

It's just like many people cannot tell a difference above 60 Hz on monitors. I have a 144 and 360 sitting next to each other and can easily tell the difference between both regardless of if one or the other is being used side by side.

Then again I've been nit picking equipment for years. You know it's bad when you can tell when a monitor or TV is off of the 6500k white point because you used to spend 3+ hours a day a few days a week for years calibrating them. Some people are just more sensitive than others, I assure you 99.99998% of the population can't tell the difference between most of this equipment, or even calibrated or uncalibrated equipment unless it's just that far off of calibration. Until they actually AB them side by side and can actually see/hear the difference based on the equipment being AB'd.

That aside these are the best headphones I've owned period. Unlike other sound stage headphones they give you a accurate detail of positioning on everything this not only includes the surround effect, but depth and height as well. I remember the first time I used these on modded Minecraft I could hear a bird off of my 6 O clock, over my left shoulder but at a elevation that was above my head. I couldn't believe I could actually tell the height of where the sound was coming from it's something I've never heard from a headphone before prior to this.

The clarity, detail retrieval is also on another level from most headphones. It's solid across the spectrum some say there is a slight peak in the mids but I've never found it a problem

View attachment 167413
:facepalm:
 

GaryH

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Some people are just more sensitive than others, I assure you 99.99998% of the population can't tell the difference between most of this equipment
Wow, with your 1 in a million (or 5 million to be exact according your figures) hearing ability, I'm sure you'll be able to easily pass 10/10 correct trials first time in this blind test and post your Foobar ABX log here. Of course, you level-matched to within 0.1 dB while doing all your hardware AB tests, which were double-blinded, right?
 
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Ezees

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May 18, 2021
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'Scaling' is an audiophile myth perpetuated by manufacturers to get gullible consumers to buy more and more expensive electronics. It's nonsense.
For you maybe but not for me and others. With the Arya I can definitely tell a difference between all 3 of my amps. The Magni 3+ is good overall, with decent timbre. The Emotiva a-100 (resistor bypassed) is lean but powerful, and has less bloom (the sound of the NE5532 opamp inside). The Gustard H20 has the most natural sound and best timbre, with the greatest width and depth to the sound-staging, and has the most inner detail and the best trailing edges. It's also a chameleon depending on which discrete opamps I put in it - either the Sparkos ss3602 or the Burson V6 Vivids. I'm having good times "gullibly" listening to all my "myths" and "nonsenses", haha.
 

Ezees

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I disagree, I own this pair myself and have tested them on different DAC's/AMP's and cables, as well as interconnects. There was definitely a improvement on changing just the cables alone to pure silver cables.

I find it's very subjective others are capable of hearing it some can't.

It's just like many people cannot tell a difference above 60 Hz on monitors. I have a 144 and 360 sitting next to each other and can easily tell the difference between both regardless of if one or the other is being used side by side.

Then again I've been nit picking equipment for years. You know it's bad when you can tell when a monitor or TV is off of the 6500k white point because you used to spend 3+ hours a day a few days a week for years calibrating them. Some people are just more sensitive than others, I assure you 99.99998% of the population can't tell the difference between most of this equipment, or even calibrated or uncalibrated equipment unless it's just that far off of calibration. Until they actually AB them side by side and can actually see/hear the difference based on the equipment being AB'd.

That aside these are the best headphones I've owned period. Unlike other sound stage headphones they give you a accurate detail of positioning on everything this not only includes the surround effect, but depth and height as well. I remember the first time I used these on modded Minecraft I could hear a bird off of my 6 O clock, over my left shoulder but at a elevation that was above my head. I couldn't believe I could actually tell the height of where the sound was coming from it's something I've never heard from a headphone before prior to this.

The clarity, detail retrieval is also on another level from most headphones. It's solid across the spectrum some say there is a slight peak in the mids but I've never found it a problem

View attachment 167413
My SPC XLR cable sounds slightly more "lean-ish" vs my Periapt copper XLR. I like and listen to both though (I switch back and forth on occasion). Do you have the v3 Arya or the v2's?
 

Robbo99999

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For you maybe but not for me and others. With the Arya I can definitely tell a difference between all 3 of my amps. The Magni 3+ is good overall, with decent timbre. The Emotiva a-100 (resistor bypassed) is lean but powerful, and has less bloom (the sound of the NE5532 opamp inside). The Gustard H20 has the most natural sound and best timbre, with the greatest width and depth to the sound-staging, and has the most inner detail and the best trailing edges. It's also a chameleon depending on which discrete opamps I put in it - either the Sparkos ss3602 or the Burson V6 Vivids. I'm having good times "gullibly" listening to all my "myths" and "nonsenses", haha.
If your amps have been measured on this site and measured well, then they'll be audibly transparent, as in you won't be able to tell the difference between them if it were possible to do blind controlled testing on them......I don't know if your amps have been measured on here though nor whether they measured well, so I suppose it could be possible for you tell the difference if some of them measure badly, perhaps changing things like frequency response in a significant way but until they're all measured then we don't know. If you buy good measuring DACS and amps then the audio chain will have no effect, which is the whole point of buying good gear. Silly audiophile terms like "scaling with good components" are then only seen as ignorance in the form of placebo or having previously chosen equipment that measures poorly and was creating audible effects.
 
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solderdude

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Scaling is only a myth to people that actually compare things under controlled conditions.
Scaling is not a myth to those that totally trust their ears and use sighted not controlled testing methods.

No point in debating this (nor silver cables) as there will never be any concensus.

I have tried to convince someone claiming silver cables sound brighter and even when he was proven there was no difference (and he is an electronics repair guy) to this day still is convinced he heard it in the past and considered it real despite not being able to tell in a blind test.

Maybe just a 'uh huh' is the best response to non provable claims ?
 

MalinYamato

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I have Sundara, worth an upgrade to this?
 

GaryH

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For you maybe but not for me and others. With the Arya I can definitely tell a difference between all 3 of my amps. The Magni 3+ is good overall, with decent timbre. The Emotiva a-100 (resistor bypassed) is lean but powerful, and has less bloom (the sound of the NE5532 opamp inside). The Gustard H20 has the most natural sound and best timbre, with the greatest width and depth to the sound-staging, and has the most inner detail and the best trailing edges. It's also a chameleon depending on which discrete opamps I put in it - either the Sparkos ss3602 or the Burson V6 Vivids. I'm having good times "gullibly" listening to all my "myths" and "nonsenses", haha.
Same applies to you:
I'm sure you'll be able to easily pass 10/10 correct trials first time in this blind test and post your Foobar ABX log here. Of course, you level-matched to within 0.1 dB while doing all your hardware AB tests, which were double-blinded, right?
 

Rayman30

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I have Sundara, worth an upgrade to this?

Rather its worth it to you is subjective, but is the Arya 8 times the sound quality? Nope! is it even twice the sound quality? Nope! so from a value perspective its pretty bad. For argument sake, say its 15% better, that small increase could be all the world to you, and you can't put a price on that 15% extra enjoyment.

I owned the Sundara and Ananda (Similar to Arya), and I did my best to compare them here.
 

Audionoob5000

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Hi everyone,
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!
 

Jimbob54

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Hi everyone,
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!
Its not easy to read but the black line on this from


but the biggest variations from the Harman target for the 558 are the peak at 3k and the shortfall in the bass

The biggest variations in the Arya are a shortfall in the bass, a (smaller) peak around 3k and a shortfall around 1500-2000k

So I can see how tonally they might be similar sounding certainly at first listen and not a night and day difference. Your wallet would certainly thank you for returning the Aryas. Maybe play around with EQ on both and see if anything more obvious stands out after more listening.

Sennheiser%20HD%20558.png
 

solderdude

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You listened to a HD414 most likely.

HD558 is an improvement over that and quite a decent headphone.
Your brain has adjusted to the HD558.

You have 2 options... learn to adjust and appreciate what the Arya can/will offer by using that headphone exclusively or return it and be happy with the HD558 and feel confident upgraditis is not for you.
 

Audionoob5000

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Its not easy to read but the black line on this from


but the biggest variations from the Harman target for the 558 are the peak at 3k and the shortfall in the bass

The biggest variations in the Arya are a shortfall in the bass, a (smaller) peak around 3k and a shortfall around 1500-2000k

So I can see how tonally they might be similar sounding certainly at first listen and not a night and day difference. Your wallet would certainly thank you for returning the Aryas. Maybe play around with EQ on both and see if anything more obvious stands out after more listening.
Thanks for the reply! Maybe I should have been more clear, I don't necessarily want a night and day difference, as I quite like the sound signature of the HD558, but I kind of expected to hear a bit more detail, soundstage, all that good stuff...
 

Audionoob5000

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You listened to a HD414 most likely.

HD558 is an improvement over that and quite a decent headphone.
Your brain has adjusted to the HD558.

You have 2 options... learn to adjust and appreciate what the Arya can/will offer by using that headphone exclusively or return it and be happy with the HD558 and feel confident upgraditis is not for you.
I had a look on the site you linked and it was not the HD414, but rather the HD420 (not SL, the headband is different). It looks like this.

Anyway, thanks for the reply, I guess I will try the Arya for a couple of days and see how I feel about them then.
 

solderdude

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I did measure the HD420SL

Use it exclusively for a few days and then compare.
When you still don't think it is an improvement (at least in some areas) then I suggest to return it.
 
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