From the “Mid-Summit-Fi” of HiFiMan HE560 V4, we approach a new level of hi-fi in the HiFiMan Arya Non-Stealth. The leap from the HE560 V4 to the HiFiMan Arya comes with a big difference in the character of the notes, which makes the jump from the HE560 V4 to the HiFiMan Arya feels like so: let's come alive a bit – let’s give some softness, forwardness, depth, and dimension, more character, holographic, and beauty to these notes, with a cleaner background. I now understand the price-point change due to shift in character of sonic quality. In essence, this headphone does what the HE560 does as well, that is, it seems to immerse you in the music with by the character and space of the notes. To me, it's the cleanliness, grandness, and character of the notes that is the selling point of the Arya. The difference is in the degree/quality and signature/brand of the grandness between the HE560 V4 and the Arya.
The notes are surely beautiful. The experience of listening to the HiFiMan Arya being pulled into the sound, seemingly by the weight and character/shape/tonality of the notes. Being able to paint the dimensionality while rendering such rich/full tonality is a staple characteristic of the Arya.
Like in the HE560, everything sounds very controlled, with more frequency control being present in the Arya. In complex recordings, the HiFiMan Arya sets the tone with its base quality: its smooth, laid back presentation. There is a fullness to the tone and notes that affects the atmosphere of the stage and how grand the sound presentation can be.
In the end, 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 more fuller, lush sound than the HE560.
Oftentimes when I listen to headphones, I forget that the recording often dictates the mood and energy of the music, and if the notes aren’t there, they simply aren’t there for the headphone to reveal. But when they are, it’s magic with the Arya, and satisfying to my ears.
It’s interesting to think about when comparing headphones experience to a more speaker-like experience. I myself love speakers for the mood it sets and the bigness of the sound, but I can deeply appreciate and respect its own version of "bigness" that the Arya offers for its dynamics, giving such character and sophistication to the notes that allow you to see why it's worth what it is worth, and the value it brings. The Arya packs a rich musical representation with technicality and tonal richness.
HiFiMan has since come out with a Stealth Magnet version of the Arya that I'm interested in trying. It's already a beautiful sounding headphone. I'm actually curious what a second revision/enhancement holds.
If you'd like to experiment or add a bit more of a softer, more liquid presentation to your stable, I'd recommend buying the Arya. However, as with all headphones, I'd recommend trying the HiFiMan Arya before purchasing. Though the Arya rouses an awe-inspiring feeling in me, I find that, for the value, the HiFiMan HE560 V4 leaves me more in shock due to its price/value point. I feel it sounds a bit snappier as notes decorate the canvas with its beautiful presentation, which I feel the Arya does to a lesser extent due to its more laid-back signature. As someone who works for a living, at $1599, the Arya is not a headphone to be casually spending money on; because it may turn out it's not your signature, or it may simply be too expensive to justify when compared to a product like the HiFiMan HE560 V4, which I believe, for the Black Friday sale price of ~$250, is an unbelievable entry point. Because it's only $250 on Black Friday, you may wonder if the Arya is really worth the 5x you pay for it. Not that the Arya is not worth $1599. As a hobbyist, I understand the itch to climb and chase beyond, but the HE560 is a truly unique and special signature with sufficient ambiance, that the sonic changes in the Arya we're more of an improvement in the cleanliness and a different representation of music, rather than a necessary stepped upgrade. Don't get me wrong, going from the HE560 and Arya is a thrilling experience, but going back to the HE560, I just couldn't believe it's priced at $250 on Black Friday.
Update 12/16/2021: The Arya, with the ampsandsound Agartha, is simply wonderful. The Arya's liquid sound and bass presence are exemplified and given and depth and take on a different character in combination with the Agartha. This is actually a sound I like very much: bold, deep, but vibrant, and very deeply revealing sound. It feels like an enclosed soundstage which you can visualize; but when I visualize it with by the bass presence (which I believe headphones like HiFiMan HE6SE are not very strong in), it just seems more expansive, or more so the bass presence draws the soundstage. It's a more "close-up" sound, but it retains that cleanliness and is very "intimate"; just a very deeply satisfying sound for me personally. Very much an engaging and non-fatiguing sound. (It's the depth and thoroughness, micro detail revealing way the ampsandsound Agartha presents music, which will be discussed more in a coming review).
HIFIMAN Arya: https://amzn.to/3uyt4CF
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version: https://amzn.to/3pJcRbC