Being a devout Zen student, I read a lot of books on Buddhism. And I’m starting to see Hifiman references on every page. Who knew the Buddha was an audiophile? Arya means “noble” or “extraordinary” in Sanskrit. We’ll see about that. But Hifiman has lifted me into spiritual transcendence in the past with models such as the Ananda. And today, I’ve been lighting incense sticks on the unopened Arya that sits on my desk, hoping it will do the same. So, allow us to enlighten you in this HIFIMAN Arya Planar Magnetic Headphones Review.
Yes, it’s weird to have triangles on your head. But it works. It’s a bit hard to adjust the headband while the cans are on your head, but once you get it right, they feel secure, roomy and light enough to forget you’re wearing them. The earpads (leather on the sides and fabric on the top) are nice and plush while being unobtrusive. The earcups are also fully rotatable. Golf clap.
Hifiman has designed the Arya with an impedance of 35 Ohms. Sensitivity is at 90 dB. So, they should be easy to drive, right? To see if these numbers played out in reality, I first connected the Arya to my iPhone. Blasphemy, I know. Indeed, it needed way more juice. So, I then hooked it up it to the iFi Black Label Nano. But it still wasn’t nearly enough to blow me off my meditation cushion. I had no choice but to connect the cans to may go-to iFi Black Label Micro. Perfect. I went for iFi to keep it neutral, but I bet the Chord Mojo would be a sweet combo as well. So, the Arya definitely needs more power than the numbers suggest.
Note that the Arya only comes with one cable. So, if you want a balanced connection, you’ll have to invest a bit more. For the price, I think we deserve a balanced cable, but hey…Life is full of disappointments.
We’ve got impactful, well-defined lows here, and the Arya does something very interesting; the bass, while not hugely forward leaning, has a depth that grips your insides. But rather than sounding reverberating or subby, it’s dry and textured. So, if you love pop music (and bass) but don’t like to feel like you’re riding in a hydraulic car with teenagers, this low frequency profile is perfect for you. Clarity in this range is great; acoustic basses had a realistic timbre and plenty of resolve. I dig it.
A present and very well balanced midrange. The low and high mids are given equal play, allowing rock songs to reach their potential in terms of fullness and warmth. Vocals are nicely embedded in the mix, so all the instrumentation is right in front of you with nothing left out. Clarity is decent, but could perhaps be a little more skilled in the lower mids. Listening to acoustic guitar strums, the separation was a little lacking, and I was left wanting just a little more definition in the sound. So, these cans may be less suitable for folk or anything that involves intricate musical arrangements.
We’ve a got smooth highs here, but the transparency is less than mind-blowing. Strings in this range had a beautiful fluidity, but they could have used a bit more detail. Listening to pop, percussion instruments had a decent amount of snap, but didn’t reach a crisp sparkle. However, the high registers are easy to listen to and nicely complement the character of the lower frequencies.
The sense of dimension is impressive on these cans. Though not endlessly spacious, instrument placement feels super accurate, and you get the feeling of standing within the sound, rather than in front of it.
In terms of listening enjoyment, these cans might be my favorite in the Hifiman line-up. Warm, colorful and very well-balanced, the Arya reminds me of the Ananda, but with a bit more character. Is it as skilled with respect to clarity? Perhaps not. But if you’re looking for personality with a sound signature that suits almost all genres (Bob Dylan fans beware), the Arya is a great choice.
Impedance : 35Ω
Sensitivity : 90db
Frequency Response : 8Hz-65kHz
Weight : 404g (14.3oz)
Think the Arya has everything you need? Order it online at Audio46.