Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 Review
The reviewer is giving his honest experience with the product and was not paid to write a favorable article. The gear was purchased due to interest and enjoyment in sound quality and in pursuit of gaining more technical knowledge.
The HIFIMAN Arya was a headphone that was released in 2018. This is a headphone that has a few technological breakthroughs through years of research into planar driver optimizations. The result is an asymmetric design with smaller magnets on the side facing the ear, reducing interference in soundwaves from the diaphragm.
The Arya has a nice sleek design to it. All black; pretty low profile and unobtrusive. It has an impedance is 35 ohm and weighs quite light at 404g; it’s very comfortable and has asymmetrical ear cups that follow the natural shape of the human ear.
From HIFIMAN HE560 V4 to the HIFIMAN Arya comes with a difference in the character of the sound quality, notably the cleaner note quality. Overall, it sounds much smoother, and the notes don’t have the noticeably slightly “grainy” quality that is evident in non-planar magnetic headphones such as the HE 560 V4, Sennheiser HD 600, etc.
The HIFIMAN Advanced Asymmetrical Planar Driver seems to give much character to the presentation; since the soundwave transmission has less interference due to the new technology; the results are an incredibly smooth and whole sound.
The HE 560 V4 has a more even presentation, whereas, with the Arya, the sound seems to be slightly forward, still with a good stage, with more frequency control and smoothness being present in the Arya. It is more of a side-grade when going from the HE 560 V4 to the Arya; though the Arya is technologically impressive and unique in the sound, it really stands on its own and not as an all-rounder.
I would characterize the HiFiMan Arya as a headphone that has a somewhat more relaxed signature that sounds more clean, fuller, more extended, more life-like in notes, and goes deeper throughout the frequencies, resulting in a fuller, lush sound than the HE 560 V4.
The Arya has a silky smooth signature and rich dynamics that give character and sophistication to the notes. It has a truly impressive musical representation with technicality and tonal balance.
Compared to the HIFIMAN HE6SE V2, I would say they are somewhat similar, with the Arya being more softer and liquid. The Arya takes on some characteristics of HE 560 V4, but is easier to listen to. To make things more interesting, the HE 560 V4 actually has a larger and more ambient stage than the Arya.
In the end, I found that I preferred the HE 560 V4 for its value and sound. The Arya, while sounding good, to me, doesn't capture enough detail and feels like it has a veil. I find that while its base signature, while smooth, might be too linear for me; there's not enough dynamism. To me, the Arya is really a headphone for someone who knows they will be happy with the signature for the long term.
HIFIMAN has since come out with a Stealth Magnet version of the Arya, which has generated some discussion on which headphone is better. Right now, HIFIMAN has the Stealth Magnet version and the original Arya at the same price point.
HIFIMAN Arya: https://amzn.to/3uyt4CF
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version: https://amzn.to/3pJcRbC
Sources: Audio-GD HE-7 MK I, Topping D90SE
Cables: Blue Jeans Coaxial Cables (3 foot, 6 foot), Worlds Best Cables (RCA Neutrik, RCA Amphenol)
USB: Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2, Singxer SU-6
Amplifiers: ampsandsound Nautilus, ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2, Yulong A18, Feliks Audio Euforia
Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 Review
HIFIMAN HE-560 V4 Review (Updated 12/16/2021)
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