Name one planar headphone that forever changed headphone listening for you, justifying every cent. For some, it might be the HiFiMan Sundara; for others, the Ananda, but for me it was the Arya. If we ignore flagship headphones that cost a small fortune and instead concentrate on headphones offering flagship-like experiences, without selling a kidney on the black market, then undeniably HiFiMan Arya emerges, accompanied by a select few competitors.
When the original Arya hopped on our test bench, I was gobsmacked by how clean and resolving it was in comparison with my flagship planar headphones which were almost ~3 times more expensive. The Arya unveiled fine intricacies and nuances that had previously remained concealed. With the introduction of the Arya Stealth, the advancements arising from stealth magnets and nano-scale diaphragms had me impressed, effectively reducing their sensitivity.
Although the exterior retains the familiar appearance of the classic Arya adorned with a wooden veneer, on the inside things are getting more interesting, as we are getting a lower impedance which further improved their sensitivity, so much so, that even the smallest HiFi dongles could drive them adequately. The best part? Their starting price went down from $1599 on Arya Stealth to $1299 on Arya Organic and that’s what I’m calling a successful product launch that does everything right from the get-go. My Sauron eyes turned their gaze upon the Arya Organic as truth to be told, except for their TOTL Susvara, I didn’t know other HiFiMan creations that could be labeled as organic. Could these be giant killer headphones that lowered their technical abilities and became organic sounding across the board, or maybe we can eat our cake and have it (too), getting the same technical performance, but in a more (wildly) fun way? If you want to know the full story, you’ll need to keep on going. For now, let’s focus our attention on their packaging, build quality, comfort levels, and tech, and then I’ll reveal the truth about their sound in the most overkill way. Hey Ho? Let’s Go!
As anticipated, the packaging remains consistent, sporting a bumper sticker on the top that serves as a reminder of their Stealth Magnets and Nanometer thickness diaphragm, features initially introduced with the Arya Stealth.Just like all their headphones, the Arya Organic arrives at your doorstep with double boxing. The inner cardboard box works as a display case and after lifting the top cover, the beauty in black is revealed surrounded by lots of foam that serves as the ultimate defense against the outside world.
In addition to the headphones themselves, you’ll get a detachable cable, which looks nicer than those found on the HE1000SE and Susvara. The 1.5m cable is wrapped in a textile material (nylon), I find it extremely flexible, it is free of microphonics and it feels like a major step up from the cables that were bundled with their upper-echelon headphones. The cable is terminated with a 6.35mm (1/4”) jack and on the headphones end you’ll find the usual 3.5mm female jacks that HiFiMan has embraced in recent years. Overall, I’m getting a similar unboxing experience that I had with the original Arya and Arya Stealth.
Build Quality & Looks
By now, many of you have likely experienced the Hifiman Arya, and the newest iteration appears and feels nearly identical, with one exception: their cups are now adorned in wooden veneer, akin to the HiFiMan Susvara. If you’ve ever fantasized about a woody HiFiMan, now is your opportunity to bring that dream to life.
Design-wise, the Arya Organic follows the same contours that HiFiMan carved for their Ananda and HE1000 series a few years ago. The elongated ear-shaped cups are exceptionally comfortable during extended listening sessions, and I truly appreciate their generously sized cups—unparalleled by any other headphone maker to date. These cups gracefully embrace your ears, applying almost negligible pressure to your cheeks. After experiencing the heft of planar headphones like the Erzetich Charybdis and Audeze LCD-4, returning to the Arya Organic feels like shedding weight, becoming agile and nimble once more.
Their weight has increased by a mere 10 grams, reaching a total of 440 grams (15.5 oz), yet they remain among the lightest planar headphones I’ve encountered. While I could offer a minor critique regarding their materials—wooden veneers instead of genuine wood and the inclusion of plastics—these materials contribute to Arya Organic’s featherlight, ergonomic, and enduring comfort. Arya employs intelligent weight distribution mechanics relying on two key factors: an exceptionally wide and oversized headband that uniformly distributes pressure across the crown of your head, and the plush earpads that efficiently absorb any remaining lateral pressure. In short, Aryas are among the most pressure-free headphones I’ve had the pleasure of testing, earning top marks for comfort.
Their structure is entirely metallic (crafted from stainless steel), effectively dampening vibrations originating from the cups. Speaking of the cups, they are fashioned from sturdy plastics—a build akin to the Ananda and Jade II electrostatics. With these cups, I’m certain of one thing: Arya’s open-back design cannot be surpassed. Credit the Window Shade system, which nearly exposes the drivers to the outside world. Arya is as open as a headphone can be, revealing its magnet arrangement, alignment, and planar-magnetic driver assembly. This transparency and purity are key contributors to Arya’s exceptional sound.
HiFiMan has adopted hybrid earpads that seem particularly suited for fully open-back headphones. The section contacting your cheeks has transitioned from velour to polyester, enhancing sound transparency, while the remaining area is covered in pleather to preserve the impact and sound pressure levels generated by the drivers. The earpads possess an asymmetrical form that mirrors the contours of the human ear, ensuring your ears never come into contact with them for comfort during marathon listening sessions.
Their suspension mechanics are rudimentary but effective, similar to those found on most Kennerton and Meze headphones that naturally distribute the weight once you put them on your head. The only thing you can adjust is the height setting, which seems like a one-time set-and-forget job.
All in all, we are getting a sexier-looking headphone (in my opinion) that is comfortable to use long term as it was before, that should resist plenty of use and abuse at anyone’s listening station for extended periods.
Technology Inside the Arya Organic
Much like their predecessors, which replaced the Advanced Asymmetrical Magnetic Circuit with Stealth Magnets, the newest Arya uses a similar magnetic structure, found on Arya Stealth and even on their top-dog Susvara headphone. This magnet array aims to be acoustically transparent, dramatically reducing wave diffraction turbulence – which degrades the integrity of the sound waves. The final result? A reduced distortion throughout the entire audio band which yields a purer, more harmonious sound. HiFiMan also halved their impedance from 32 to 16 Ohms and it seems that the newest magnet array is more powerful as well. Due to a lower nominal impedance, their sensitivity went up by a little, which I measured using a MiniDSP EARS system. An SPL of 85 dB on the Arya Stealth translated to an SPL of 88 dB on the Arya Organic, making the newer version more sensitive, which should have a beneficial effect on people who aren’t using desktop components as headphone amplifiers.
There’s another change that HiFiMan isn’t mentioning anywhere in their marketing materials: the thickness of the magnets facing the ears (the ones pulling the diaphragms). If you have an EDC flashlight at your disposal, you might notice slightly thicker magnets facing your ears, likely adding a touch of weight. Thicker magnets typically correlate with better transients and I’m genuinely excited for this change.
Beyond this, these are the same open-back planar-magnetic headphones that HiFiMan has offered for several years. It employs the same Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm, an exceptionally thin and rigid material, that withstands considerable physical stress while effectively controlling diaphragm distortions, even at higher volumes.
The Window Shade System continues to divert undesirable acoustic waves away from the cups, enhancing the perception of a spacious sound, that can stretch in all directions. This ingenious design aims for an expansive soundstage and maximum transparency.
I’m genuinely excited to hear all the improvements and I’m curious how these will perform with both desktop and portable equipment. The prospects are promising, but how are they performing in a real-world scenario? Let’s hit some eardrums and uncover the truth!
I. Preliminary Impressions
Let’s pause for a minute and focus on my journey among the ranks of the planar mafia. I’ll bypass my early days with orthodynamic headphones like the Amfiton TDS-15 back in the late 90s and focus on the resurgence of planar headphones in the late 2000s and early 2010s. It all began with the original Audeze LCD-2, which gradually led me away from my Sennheiser HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1, both of which I still used at the time. There was something about the Audezes that made music sound just right for me – it wasn’t solely about the frequency response, as some might assume. There was a tangible sense of physicality that I didn’t experience with the Sennheisers; it wasn’t just about hearing the sounds, but also feeling them. For the first time, I felt my eardrums vibrating on modern music. The engagement factor skyrocketed, even as I was coping with the added weight and discomfort.
Soon after, HiFiMan creations began appearing on my desk. While I always admired the clarity, airiness, and precision of the original Arya, I found myself reaching for them less often, because I was listening to sounds through them and not to music. Something wasn’t clicking into place. I am, first and foremost, a music lover and if a pair of headphones doesn’t entice me to add more tracks to my playlist, then I won’t use them very often. Arya possessed remarkable qualities and back then, nothing could top their resolving abilities, their excellent imaging, and the grandeur of the sound. Yet, a slight treble itch and a lack of physicality and visceral impact made them less appealing over time. Arya Stealth entered the scene a few years obliterating its direct competitors, especially in terms of resolution, scale, speed, and note decay. The performance gap between Arya and higher-tiered HE1000 models narrowed considerably. Still, the HE1000 and Susvara managed to transmit more energy from the original recording compared to Arya which sounded visceral with specific amplifiers and DACs. Arya thrived with transformer-coupled tube amplifiers, flourished with fully discrete class-A amplifiers, and excelled with R2R and FPGA DACs which added substance and depth to the sound.
When Arya Organic landed on my table, I anticipated a higher midrange presence and significantly reduced treble energy which would resonate with their Organic surname. However, that expectation was met with a surprise. The upper treble had slightly more energy, and there was a more pronounced dip in the upper midrange. However, the physicality and sound weight had dramatically improved to the point of being unrecognizable.
I will conduct measurements shortly and provide comparisons with the original Arya and the updated Arya Stealth. Yet, there are several aspects that even the best headphone measurement rigs cannot capture. Precisely, soundstage capabilities and the sheer physical impact of each musical note cannot be measured. After spending about a week with Arya Organic, I began to understand why they earned the Organic moniker after all. It’s not about the frequency response per se, but how the music is presented to the listener. The magnet structure of Arya Organic differs from other Arya models, you can see thicker magnets pulling the drivers. This design caused a powerful effect: the sound has more volume and weight, it’s more saturated, textured, and more powerful as well. Subsequently, dynamics have improved significantly and you no longer need the biggest and the meanest amplifiers to make them jumpy and alive. The primary complaint with the original Arya and Arya Stealth has been addressed, and finally, I can have a nicer impact not only in the lowest octaves…but throughout their frequency response. There is more rumble down low, you are getting a stronger thump with snares, and cymbal hits won’t dissipate their energy within microseconds.
II. Soundstage & Imaging
My second gripe with the previous Arya iterations is that the sound was tall and deep, but it never quite ventured into your peripheral hearing. The sounds weren’t trying to fly off to your sides and that created an uncomfortable feeling with a few records. When headphones didn’t exist, music was mixed differently, leading to an “extreme stereo effect” on vintage recordings. Put some Django Reinhardt on repeat and you’ll find music to your left and right, with close to nothing residing in the middle. This is precisely why Jan Meier developed crossfeed effects, later incorporated into headphone amplifiers to counteract this issue. The older Arya and Arya Stealth didn’t handle these records well, sounding less pleasing and natural, demanding specialized equipment to mitigate the situation.
While I can’t definitively prove it, and my measurements can’t confirm it either, the enhanced treble extension beyond 12 kHz on Arya Organic seemingly makes a significant difference. There’s now a broader array of sounds on the sides, transforming the audio presentation from an oval shape to a more rounded one, which is less taxing on the mind. The soundstage has indeed improved, and although depth hasn’t changed much, the left-to-right soundstage has seen a marked enhancement. Consequently, I’m inclined to use these headphones more often with acoustic and live recordings.
Perhaps larger magnets are pulling the drivers more efficiently and that improved the weight, texture, and presence of the sound, which left a positive effect on the soundstage and the natural decay of the notes. The fading away effect on live recordings feels more natural this time around, nothing is being forced and the headphones aren’t nulling the low-intensity sounds anymore. There is more going on all around you, there’s more information and energy that subsequently improves the perception of more air hovering all around.
I can finally enjoy the newest Aryas without getting bothered by an oval-shaped stereo image. That’s no longer an issue and I don’t need to use tube amplifiers to further expand their sound, although you can still do that with the Organic if you want a grander sound than ever before.
I don’t know how much are you into avantgarde folk music, but if you wanna try something new, recorded and mixed to the highest standards, then I wholeheartedly recommend the newest Trippar, composed and produced by Frode Haltli (Qobuz / Tidal). On the Arya Stealth, the music feels deep, with instruments reasonably positioned around me. Yet, the performance feels somewhat cramped and not as free and unshackled as I would like it to be. Arya Organic, on the other hand, liberates the music on all axes, particularly on the X and Y, untangling everything and never bumping the notes into each other. Tiny nuances start appearing in the brilliance region, but that shouldn’t surprise you as Arya Organic is more extended exactly in that region. Ultimately, what was an acceptable experience via Arya Stealth, transformed into a stargazing adventure. I was constantly shifting my focus from one musical instrument to another, as more space was sitting in between them.
III. Transient Response
One of the main reasons why the original Arya wasn’t used that often by yours truly was their tendency towards thinness particularly noticeable when rendering acoustic music. You could hear all and everything, but you couldn’t immerse yourself in the music without having an R2R DAC and/or transformer-coupled tube amplifier on your table. Obviously, you could counterbalance those issues and make them punchy and alive, but you needed to invest some serious money and time, to get that perfect tonal balance and transient response.
The original Arya and Arya Stealth were extremely fast-sounding, especially when compared to direct competitors such as Sennheiser HD800S and Beyerdynamic T1. However, they often fell short when calling down the thunder with rock, metal, or electronic tunes. You could feel their need for speed, always snapping into action at lightning speeds, but then…there would be no action, and the bass and midrange felt too ethereal & lightweight for my taste. HiFiMan addressed that issue with the Organic improving their dynamics and liveliness. The sounds are getting more volume, more air was brought forward with each passing note, adding a sensation of weight. Are the newest Arya Organic capable of rocking hard? Absolutely! In fact, they performed even better than anticipated – no longer relying on specially tailored amplifiers for that to happen. While their sensitivity didn’t alter, their impedance halved, coming now at 16 Ohm, rendering them significantly easier to drive compared to prior Arya versions.
If you are already rocking a HifiMan EF400 or EF600 DAC/Amp combo, you’ll immediately detect a livelier sonic signature, without requiring a substantial volume increase. Their lower impedance and thicker magnets improved the transient response, quite drastically, and finally, the Aryas will be kicking some serious @ss with all kinds of modern tunes. An xDuoo XD05 PRO review will happen shortly and I was quite shocked by how thumpy and ear-drum shattering that one sounded with the Organic. I was smiling like a weirdo, whilst head-banging like a madman. In terms of transients and pure music enjoyment, this transportable combo sounded very much like my desktop setup and I mean it!
While listening to Symbolico’s Expressence (Qobuz / Tidal), I found myself in a somewhat awkward yet exhilarating state, particularly during the second track which seemed to caress my eardrums. The energy emanating from the generous drivers sent shivers through my spine. As I covered the earcups with my hands, I could feel them vibrating to the rhythm of the music.
IV. Power Requirements & Amp Pairings
The original Arya wasn’t an easy-to-drive headphone. After adding up their lightweight character that lacked substance on top of their limited stage size on a horizontal plane, you start realizing that dedicated electronics will be needed to make them nicer. When Arya Stealth landed on my table, I found them easier to drive, so much so that a few portable DAPs and DAC/Amp combos were sufficient to make them sing. Adding more powerful magnets to the newest model, the sensitivity went up by around ~3dB, and that my friends is quite a big deal, as you no longer need stationary headphone amplifiers to start moving their membranes.
With Arya Organic the impedance went down to just 16 Ohms (from 32 Ohms found previously on the Arya Stealth), which made it even friendlier with your wallet. I wasn’t surprised when several HiFi dongles made them sing, although I would still use a beefier DAC/Amp combo or better yet, a portable DAP. This is a positive change of pace since these won’t be a burden for your portable devices anymore. I’m glad we are dealing with a higher sensitivity headphone that can be enjoyed in a hotel room without the need for AC-powered electronics and I wish the legendary Susvara will get the same treatment somewhere down the road.
I’ll briefly mention that regular headphone jacks of my smartphone, laptop, and tablet were still not enough to awake impactful bass notes and deliver a desirable volume, but I presume the newest MacBooks won’t have that problem compared to my Microsoft Surface 8 Pro. If you have cash to burn for a headphone of this caliber, then stretch your budget a little and consider a source and amplifier, as Arya Organic sounds (much) nicer out of a dedicated setup. On the go, dongles like Shanling UA5, FiiO BTR7, and Hiby FC6 would be more than enough, but if you want to further expand their performance, then I recommend having a look at a Topping G5, Shanling H5 and H7, FiiO Q7 and if you want to have a desktop-like experience on the go, then nothing outperformed the xDuoo XD05 PRO which sounded like a desktop DAC put on top of a really good desktop headphone amplifier. Dynamics went from good to great and I immediately started tapping my feet feeling every beat of the music.
If portable devices aren’t appealing to you, then may I suggest checking HiFiMan’s own DAC/AMP combos like EF400 and EF600 which were doing a marvelous job with the Arya Stealth, let alone Arya Organic which were brimming with life on such units. Unsurprisingly, their somewhat bright character went missing and the enjoyment factor improved considerably so that I could focus on the music and less on their frequency response. I wouldn’t pair them with extremely linear-sounding headphone amplifiers like any of those THX-AAA and NFCA creations, although the Topping A90D and A70 PRO were pretty good with the Organic. I’ve got another pleasant surprise from the newest Aune S9C All-in-one combo, but their S17 PRO felt like an end-game amplifier for the Arya Organic, further stretching their stage and infusing an extra dose of dopamine.
V. Detail Retrieval & Transparency
When it comes to resolution, well, let’s just say that HiFiMan competitors are in real trouble after checking how detailed and clear the newest Arya sounds. When you are considering a HiFiMan headphone, you are doing that mostly thanks to their resolving abilities and if resolution is your thing, then honestly, any of their creations are impressive. From their super-affordable HE400SE to the God-tiered Susvara, it’s close to impossible to beat HiFiMan at their own game. The original Arya was already a champ in this category outclassing pricier offerings from Europe and USA. When I tried the Arya for the first time, I was still questioning why I’m still using the Audeze LCD-4, and please don’t get me started with the Meze Empyrean – great life-like tonality and flow, but mediocre resolution and transients.
Now that Arya is at its third iteration that bumped the top-end by a little, adding lots of brilliance and a bit of brightness along with it, had a serious effect on their resolving abilities. In my HE1000SE review, I mentioned that there’s a massive gap in terms of resolution when comparing the HE1000SE with the Arya Stealth…but I’m not comfortable using the same words when adding the Arya Organic into the same discussion. The resolution bump was substantial to say the least, especially if you’re a treblehead, there is more going on in that region and not only there. The whole frequency response was revitalized and bumped up to eleven with more information all around, resulting in a headphone that could be easily compared with flagship-tier headphones.
While I still hold a deep fondness for the Meze Elite, I genuinely believe that when it comes to resolution and information emanating from their drivers, Arya Organic matches that level of resolution at one-third of Elite’s price. That’s evolution in the headphone world and we are part of it. The coolest part about this story is that although Arya Organic is the most advanced model, it also has the lowest launch price of $1299. I wonder how headphones would perform ten years from now and what would be their prices. I hope one day we’ll have flagship-level cans at below $1K and I think HiFiMan has the expertise on how to do it.
Looking at the headphone wall in our HQ, there aren’t as many headphones that can go head-to-head with the Arya Organic in terms of resolution. Remarkably, it’s worth noting that some of these are considerably more expensive.
When examining the measurements of the original Arya, you could spot a straight line from 20 Hz up to around ~400 Hz, which would suggest that the Aryas were providing a world-class bass performance. However, once you put them on your head, the bass didn’t have the same energy, the same kick, and physicality of competitor headphones that would also have a straight line in the frequency response from the sub-bass to the lower-midrange region. It seems that some things just cannot be measured and that’s why subjective impressions are crucial. A set of measurements is one thing, but listening and assessing their performance individually in a quiet environment is something else and that’s why I tend to offer them both to you. Long story short, the bass of the original Arya went from where’s the nerve to please be gentle with my eardrums on the Arya Organic. The difference is immediate, the transients got improved, mostly due to a nicer kick in the bass that has an outstanding physicality to it. If you’re into modern tunes and you like a nicer kick with each passing note, then Arya Organic is quite an improvement. You no longer need to shelve serious cash for a set of HE1000SE for a similar low-end energy, as these are already pounding in line with upper-class HiFiMan cans. It seems that the market is slowly shifting towards a fun sound signature or maybe HiFiMan experiments with a new sound signature that’s more engaging, who knows? Dr. Fang Bian does.
The HiFiMan headphones weren’t always the champions of the midrange, particularly at reasonable prices. People tended to lean towards other brands like Meze, Audeze, and ZMF which specialized in bringing you a life-like midrange rendition and those brands made a name for themselves, particularly for their silky-smooth midrange. When checking out HiFiMan creations, you needed to go all the way up to Susvara, until the midrange would start purring like Ferrari SF90 XX. Susvara does an outstanding midrange, the best midrange in my opinion, but sadly, lower-tiered creations weren’t that smooth and silky sounding and Arya was part of that group. While measurements-wise, the midrange didn’t change that much going from Arya V1 to V3, as was the case with bass, there is a bit more energy in there. It has nothing to do with how loud it is, but how much color and contrast there is in the midrange. That’s exactly what you’ll be getting with the newest Arya – a bit more color and saturation that improves the midrange purity. These aren’t smooth as butter, but I still enjoyed my jazzy tunes as much as I enjoyed them on the Susvara. The vocals had the right pitch and my usual symphonic metal tunes were still putting goosebumps all over my body. Susanne Ehlers of Haggard (nicknamed Su) can reach incredibly high notes and instead of biting my tongue, I was hungry for more of that goddess, which once again proved that Arya Organic can do midrange well, without making you swap the gear or worse, lower the volume.
Probably the most controversial upgrade of the Arya Organic is the treble. You’ll be getting a stronger treble delivery and I’m sure many will wonder why HiFiMan went that road and with this particular name. Still, I’m sure about one thing: the treble indeed goes a bit higher versus the rest of the Arya family, but for the first time, there is more driver movement even past 15 kHz, where both Arya and Arya Stealth were rolling off massively. We can’t hear that well past 16 kHz, especially if you’re no longer a teenager, however, it is said that the brilliance region can be felt with our whole body. I don’t possess superhuman hearing, however doing these writings for a few years now improved my hearing abilities, or maybe I know where I should focus my attention. When swapping the Arya Stealth with the newest iteration, you get a feeling that there is more stuff playing in the highest registers. For example, I was able to focus easily on smaller things like maracas, claves, tambourines, and castanets, which weren’t as defined on the Arya Stealth. There is more extension in the treble and more information is coming from that region, at the cost of a slight bump in the most sensitive area of human hearing. At 8 kHz, the treble goes up by around ~5 dB from linearity and while that’s not troublesome in the long run, you get a feeling that treble should be tamed by a little. I don’t EQ that much, but for the sake of it, I tried lowering the treble exactly in the 8 kHz region, and voila! Arya Organic was no longer bothering me with treble energy excess.
IX. Headphone Measurements
After offering my subjective impressions, let’s check how things are looking from an objective standpoint. I used a Singxer SU-6 DDC which galvanically isolated the USB ports of my PC, followed by a Rockna Wavedream Signature DAC and Enleum AMP-23R which were doing the heavy lifting. The measurement rig used was a MiniDSP E.A.R.S. system calibrated with HPN (Original Headphone Compensation) files. Please note that E.A.R.S. is not following any IEC standards, meaning that my readings can’t be used as reference measurements or anything like that. I’m doing them for fun, getting a general idea about their sound signature & performance. I measured them a couple of times, as both channels needed to be matched, and finding the perfect spot on the test jig wasn’t so easy, considering their ginormous earpads. No side pressure was applied to the ear cups, they stood still in their natural position.
This is their RAW frequency response without any smoothing applied, please disregard the slight channel mismatch in the midrange, but take a look at the treble region which isn’t aligning that well. I redid my measurements a couple of times, but no matter what I did, there was still a driver mismatch happening in the treble. Luckily, the mismatch is not a massive one and I can’t hear it while listening to music. Both channels sounded loud regardless of the frequency response.
Applying a gentle 1/12 smoothing, you can see that these have an outstanding bass performance – the best from the Arya lineup. The midrange is good even if there’s a dip between 100 and 200 Hz, these still sounded natural to my ears. My test jig is not following the Harman curve so the treble might look like it’s riding a rollercoaster, but I assure you that’s a normal behavior. The most sensitive part of our hearing goes up by 5 dB, strengthening my claims that these won’t sound that great with aggressive music, appearing slightly brighter sounding than the rest of the Arya family. There are several slopes at various places in the treble, but there aren’t nasty rises that could add sharpness and badly affect their tonality. Surprisingly, there is a lot of driver movement even past our hearing abilities (past 20 kHz), an area where the original Arya and Arya Stealth didn’t shine as brightly.
If you are curious how the Organic compares to the original Arya and Arya Stealth, here is a graph that will tell you everything you need to know. There is a minor difference in the midrange, but the biggest one happens in the treble. Have a look at where the older Arya models are stopping at 20 kHz and then look at how much energy is left on the Arya Organic, trying to mimic the extension of the HE1000SE and Susvara.
Their THD reading is great, a usual sight for high-performance planar headphones, reaching as high as 3% in the bass and treble, but usually staying in the neighborhood of 0.2% which is great.
Spectral decay looks good and after sending a 300 Hz sweep tone at 84 dB, it drops to 25 dB at the lowest point and rises to ~73 dB at the highest point after a time frame of 160ms, usually staying at around ~37 dB.
Waterfall combines the FR plot and spectral decay into a single graph and you can better see their FR from a different angle including their decay.
The spectrogram shows a minor ringing happening between 20 and 30 Hz, but I don’t see nasty fluctuations building up anywhere else. Open-back headphones usually have more of these nasty vibrations and I’m glad to see a clearer picture here versus pricier headphones.
Overall, HiFiMan further refined the frequency response, extending the treble way past our hearing abilities, while adding more oomph in the lowest octaves. Distortions are staying under strict control and while these don’t have the fastest driver movements (spectral decay), these offer substantial improvements versus the original Arya and Arya Stealth to warrant a new name…and surprisingly, a lower price point.
X. An Important Comparison
HiFiMan Arya Stealth ($999/ or $1599 launch price) VS HiFiMan Arya Organic ($1299)
There is no point in comparing their build quality and their specs, but I’ll mention that the 3.5mm jacks are slightly elevated on the Arya Organic, they have tiny elevation pads borrowed from HE1000SE and Susvara, which will save their cups from scratches when inserting and taking out the detachable cable. Their nominal impedance had an impact on the sensitivity and that’s why I volume-matched both units with the help of the MiniDSP EARS. My listening volume was sitting at 85 dB and I commenced a long comparison session.
Right off the bat, you can feel that the music has more energy and oomph, not more bass per se, but a weightier, more present sound all around with the Organic. It feels like the notes got stronger in their delivery, they are no longer passing by, but these are demanding your full attention. If you ever heard about color volume or contrast when describing the picture quality of a display, then this is exactly what I’m getting with the Arya Organic. These want to impress you a bit more when they need to pound – they will pound harder when vocalists are shouting to the crowd, Arya Organic will shout louder and when a silent passage comes by, these will be husher. It almost feels like the dynamic range went higher and you can hear more energy happening down low and in the top octaves.
Bass notes are also more visceral sounding, to the point of becoming physical. I stopped writing on several occasions, surprised by the note weight and by the final impact that Arya Organic had over the regular Stealth. The predecessor could still kick and slam with a proper acoustic chain…but the Organic is doing that better and they no longer need a beefy amplifier to awaken those dynamics. The no.1 problem for me with the OG Arya and Arya Stealth was the transient response, their dynamics which felt shy and not as impressive as the HE1000SE and Susvara were doing it for me. It was natural for HiFiMan to have a less impactful headphone in their lineup, leaving the crazy transient nuts a single option – shelving more money for their upper echelon headphones. But with their Arya Organic, I no longer have the urge to swap them with punchier-sounding headphones when electronic music comes up on my playlist. I’m surprised that HiFiMan used bigger and heavier magnets which undeniably improved their performance, but I fear this change might cannibalize the sales of the HE1000SE. As a positive-thinking man, maybe HiFiMan is already reshaping their HE1000SE into scarier-sounding headphones and the same fate awaits their top-dog Susvara? One can only hope.
The left-to-right soundstage improved as well, the sounds are traveling a longer distance and you can easily pick them up versus the Stealth, which stopped their motion a bit earlier. This longer trail of music is not only expanding the music on a 2D plane but also improving the natural decay. While the Stealth sounds fantastic with fast-paced music, the big orchestras were fading away way too soon and that’s why I still keep around a pair of Sennheiser HD800S which is slowly fading away the energy in a big concert hall. Arya Organic improves the note decay and when asked for, will fade away the notes in a more natural manner.
The resolution went up as well, there’s more information not only in the whole treble region but everywhere across the frequency range. Tiny nuances will start appearing in the bass, midrange, and treble, arriving much closer to the legendary HE1000SE. These are still not beating the HE1000SE at their own game, but are arriving so damn close.
I can go on and on about how many advancements HiFiMan made with their Organic while shelving the price down to $1299. Could this be the headphone of the year? So far, it looks that way, taking a full lap ahead of the competition. The rest of the planar mafia gang has some work to do, which in the end will benefit the end user, us – the headbangers and music lovers all around the globe.
If somebody asks me today, what HiFiMan headphone has the best price-to-performance ratio, that’s the Arya for me. If somebody would ask me what planar headphones regardless of the brand, have the best price-to-performance ratio, then again, I don’t think anybody could dethrone their sound at $1299. HiFiMan knows about this, it’s still the most discussed planar headphone over headphone enthusiast forums, and with every major update like the Organic, they are trying to leave their build intact while performing major overhauls sound-wise. The Organic is still the Arya that people fell in love with a few years ago. These are just considerably easier to drive now, thumper and livelier sounding across the entire frequency response, clearer and more spacious sounding as well. When the frequency response extended its reach, a chain reaction happened which might put off several potential buyers, but I guarantee you that while Arya Organic is slightly hotter sounding up top, it’s still not as hot sounding as the HE1000SE.
When first-gen Arya was revealed, there wasn’t a way to carry them around due to their low sensitivity which made a mission impossible for most portable devices. With Arya Stealth, the sensitivity went up by around ~4dB which almost halved the necessary power to drive them at the same SPL as the original Arya and according to my measurements, Arya Organic further improved the sensitivity by around ~3dB versus the Stealth, making them the less of a burden, successfully driving them with entry-level portable DAPs and minuscule HiFi dongles. As a howling wolf, I see myself going home to the mountains with a dongle attached to my phone, enjoying some folk rock tales with a pair of Arya Organic on my head. Except for their slight treble elevation which might put off a few fans of the brand, everything else was improved, starting with their looks and finishing with the overall performance.
HiFiMan lowered the launch price from $1599 to $1299 on Arya Organic and I hope this move won’t cannibalize the sales of the HE1000SE, as besides having a lower price, the performance gap between the HE100SE and Arya Organic is at the shortest, easily scoring our highest Gold Award. It was fully deserved and I’m looking forward to their next developments.
You can get these directly from the HiFiMan web store right here, you can get them from your nearest authorized dealer right here, or you can get them from Apos Audio right here. No matter where you get them from, please leave a comment below and let me know how these are treating you.
- A timeless, unmistakable look
- The same strong metallic structure holds everything together, these could last a lifetime
- Their resolving abilities went up in the sky, closing the gap between these as HE1000SE
- The whole frequency range felt revitalized, there is more energy flowing through their diaphragms
- Transient response improved substantially, especially the kick into the eardrums
- The lateral soundstage improved, creating a more rounded stage as opposed to an oval-shaped one on previous Arya iterations
- Easier to drive versus the Arya Stealth and much easier to drive versus the original Arya (if only HiFiMan would do the same to their Susvara…one can only hope)
- Outstanding measurements
- Better sounding than their close competitors
- A technical-sounding marvel that won’t murder your wallet, their high value is undeniable
- Boring cardboard case, with minimal accessories found in the package
- System matching could be a thing due to a slight treble elevation
- DACs: Chord Electronics DAVE, Rockna Wavedream Signature XLR, Gold Note DS-10 PLUS & PSU-10 EVO, SMSL D1SE V2
- Wireless Streamer & Music Server: Rockna Wavedream NET 4TB, Zidoo Neo Alpha
- DDCs: Singxer SU-6, Matrix X-SPDIF 3
- Headphone Amps: Trafomatic Primavera, Enleum AMP-23R, HPA-23RM, Ferrum OOR + HYPSOS, Burson Soloist 3X GT 2023, Flux Lab Acoustics Volot
- IEMs: FiiO FX15, HiBy ZETA, Westone MACH50, HiFiMan Svanar, 7Hz Timeless AE & others
- Full-sized headphones: HiFiMan Arya Organic, Arya Stealth, HE1000SE, Susvara, Meze Elite & 109 PRO, Erzetich Charybdis & Phobos V.2021, Audeze LCD-5 & LCD-4, Sennheiser HD800S, Kennerton Rognir (planar) & Vali, Apos Caspian, Sendy Peacock, Apollo & others
- Preamps: Chord Electronics Ultima 3 Pre
- Power Amps: Chord Electronics Ultima 5 Power, Burson Timekeeper 3X GT (x2)
- Loudspeakers: KEF Reference 3, Sound of Eden Crescendo UNO
- DAC/Amps: Shanling H7, FiiO Q7, Topping G5, xDuoo XD05 PRO
- DAPs: FiiO M15S, Shanling M6 Ultra, HiBy RS8 & R6 PRO II
- Interconnects: Crystal Cable Reference2 Diamond (x3), QED Reference (x2), Topping TCX1 (x2)
- USB Cables: Supra USB Excalibur (x2), Chord C-USB, Matrix Hi-Fi USB
- HDMI Cables: Audioquest Diamond DBS, Supra 8K HDMI
- Speaker cables: Kimber PR8, Audioquest Type4
- Power Cables: Crystal Cable Reference2 Diamond (x3), Isotek EVO3 Premier (x2), iFi Audio SupaNova (x2)
- Balanced Isolation Power Conditioners: PLiXiR Elite BAC1500 (stereo setup), KECES IQRP-1500 and P14 (headphone setup)