Introduction to the HiFiMAN Arya Organic Review
There are some companies, that you really had to live under a rock not to know them. This makes this part of our reviews a bit repeatable, as it’s hard to write the same thing over and over again. Guess if HiFiMan belongs to this group.
Yes, it does…
They make tons of great headphones at various price tags. From Shangri-La – an electrostatic headphone that was made to show that they can make Sennheiser’s Orpheus but better, through a bit more casual, but still ridiculous in terms of drive requirement Susvara, to a touch of high-end in a budget-friendly price – HE400se. In between there are even more headphones, but I don’t have enough time to write about them all. For all of you newcomers, let’s highlight the most important thing about the company HiFiMAN – the technology.
HiFiMAN is known for its relentless pursuit of technological innovation, consistently introducing groundbreaking advancements in the world of audio. The company’s commitment to research and development has resulted in numerous patents and industry-first technologies that have set new benchmarks in the audio quality of headphones. One of HiFiMAN’s most significant contributions to the industry is its development of planar magnetic headphones.
Driven by a passion for superior audio reproduction, HiFiMAN revolutionized the headphone market by popularizing planar magnetic driver technology. Furthermore, HiFiMAN has continuously refined its technology, introducing advancements such as improved diaphragm materials, advanced magnet structures, and many more. These innovations have resulted in headphones that offer exceptional detail retrieval, speed, and clarity.
I would like to write something more about the name because for example, SE in the previous Arya edition stands for Stealth Edition due to stealth magnets used in the drivers. Unfortunately Organic doesn’t mean that the magnets are made of organic material, it also doesn’t stand for the membrane material, because it’s the same as the one used in HE1000se. To be honest we can only guess what it stands for. My shot is, it’s because of the wooden veneer on the earcups. Or actually the altered tuning…who knows.
Actually, the first time that I’ve seen the HiFiMan Arya Organic in person was at the High-End Munich show in May 2023. HiFiMAN generated significant anticipation for this product by teasing it a few days before the show, which immediately sparked a tremendous amount of excitement within the audio community.
The demand for information regarding the sound quality of the new Arya was so immense that audio groups on Facebook were quickly inundated with inquiries. In response to your eagerness for an evaluation of the HiFiMan Arya Organic, we have pushed our limits to present this review to you as soon as possible. To the best of my knowledge, this marks the very first comprehensive written review of the Arya Organic available. So, sit back, grab a drink, and let’s go.
Reviewed HiFiMAN Arya Organic comes in the same box as most of their latest products – simple cardboard with subtle branding (I received a pre-production headphone with a box that featured no branding at all, but the final products will have a box with the branding known from e.g. HE-R9). What’s most important, the box secures the headphones well during transportation, so even if your delivery man is as brutal as Homelander, you don’t have to worry about the contents of the package, at least until he will use his laser eyes.
Inside the package you will find a cable – finally a decent one, it’s soft and flexible. It doesn’t feel premium at all, but when compared to the previous one that was added to all HiFiMAN headphones, It’s not even close, the new one is just amazing. Additionally, there are some papers inside and a stand. The stand is very basic, made of polystyrene-ish material, and when plugged, the cable bends a bit too much near the connectors, but it does the job while storing the headphone in a vertical position.
I actually appreciate this a lot. Including a stand for your headphones is a tradition long, long gone, and somehow we are always short on stands. So, while the included one is basic, it’s better than no stand at all, and this is just great.
Shortly speaking, the package of reviewed HiFiMan Arya Organic doesn’t contain anything fancy, you spent money somewhere else, but everything included is just fine.
Design, Build and Comfort
The Arya SE is (for me), one of the sexiest-looking headphones – all black, elegant, and stealthy (ba dum tsss). Reviewed HiFiMan Arya Organic follows the design language of its predecessors, but now it comes with wooden veneer rings on ear cups that provide a bit more organic look (I think it’s a moment to drink some water because my jokes will be as dry as the wine I’m drinking when writing this review).
Build quality is good, even though the veneer is placed on ear cups that are made of plastic the headphone feels really solid and well-made. It’s not a level of Meze products, there are some minor flaws like the scratch on the inside of the headband that is made by an adjusting mechanism, but overall the build quality can’t be rated separately from the comfort, because these features depend on each other, so let’s move to the comfort and then I will sum it up.
The comfort is just perfect, the headphone weighs 440 grams which isn’t light, but it’s ain’t heavy at all. The suspension strap makes the weight distribution superb. The hybrid ear pads provide the perfect balance between good sound thanks to the leather material on the outside and the comfort of the velour on the part that touches the head. Additionally, the clamping force is just perfect, not too strong so I can keep the headphone for hours on my head without feeling any discomfort, but also not too firm so I can move my head and I don’t feel the headphone will fall during faster movement.
Before people will go crazy about the wood veneer on such an expensive pair of headphones – chill. There are companies that used real wooden rings on their headphones in the past, and guess what…they tend to break, like a lot. Also, real wood increases weight, and this would have been everything that HiFiMAN doesn’t stand for. A lot can be said about HiFiMAN’s past regarding their build quality and materials used, but they always put comfort as their top priority.
Because of that, the wooden veneer looks good and “woody”, lol, while not adding any weight, and you guess it…it won’t break, literally never. You don’t have to moisturize it, you don’t have to worry about the humidity level. So yeah, when it comes to the whole discussion about the veneer-gate, we’re both hands on HiFiMAN’s side on this one.
Overall reviewed HiFiMAN Arya Organic is a well-built headphone that is pleasant to keep on the head for hours and additionally, it looks pretty good. The company pretty much mastered the perfect blend of sturdy build quality and incapable comfort, and the Arya Organic is basically as good as it gets in this regard. This is by no means the most luxurious pair you’ll ever feel, but it might just be the most comfortable one, and this is what really matters.
Now let’s dive into technologies that HiFiMAN has implemented into the reviewed Arya Organic, including its nanometer-thick diaphragm, stealth magnets, and window shade design. HiFiMAN is THE company to go to if you want the absolute cutting-edge technology in your planar magnetic headphones.
The nanometer-thick diaphragm is incredibly lightweight, allowing for faster response times and reduced distortion. It excels in accurately reproducing even the most delicate details, unveiling subtleties that may go unnoticed with traditional diaphragms. The result is a heightened level of transparency and detail retrieval.
In addition to its sonic advantages, the nanometer-thick diaphragm ofthe reviewed HiFiMan Arya Organic exhibits excellent internal damping properties. This characteristic minimizes resonance and unwanted vibrations, leading to cleaner sound reproduction and enhanced audio accuracy. The diaphragm’s ability to maintain structural integrity even under challenging conditions ensures longevity and consistent performance.
The stealth magnet design utilizes powerful neodymium magnets arranged in an array to achieve exceptional magnetic flux density. By precisely positioning the magnets, Hifiman engineers have created a uniform magnetic field, which contributes to improved driver control and reduced distortion. Furthermore, the stealth magnets employed in Arya Organic enhance the overall efficiency of energy transfer within the headphone’s drivers. This optimized energy transfer results in improved transient response and enhanced audio dynamics.
The HiFiMAN Arya Organic also features an innovative window shade design that further enhances its acoustic performance. This design element involves the use of strategically placed grilles on the ear cups, resembling a window shade, to control the interaction between the drivers and the surrounding air. The window shade design effectively addresses one of the common challenges faced by open-back headphones—the interaction between the drivers and the external environment. It enables precise management of the air movement, preventing unwanted reflections and resonances that can degrade the overall sound quality.
Yes, you can read all of this on HiFiMAN’s website, but hey, now you don’t have to, you’ve got it all here. Now, since we’ve got all the essentials settled, let’s get right into what’s really important – the sound. Buckle up.
Sound of reviewed HiFiMAN Arya Organic
All the previous versions of Arya have been massive hits. This is definitely one of the most popular high-end headphones on the market, with a vast fanbase. However, the Arya SE is definitely not for everyone, mainly due to its hot treble presentation, which might be simply too much for you. To be honest, it is a bit too forward sounding for me, and I actually get tired after listening to it for longer periods of time.
The Organic part in the name of the new Arya seems to suggest that it’ll sound more “organic” than the Arya SE, and…that’s exactly how things are in some ways. TL:DR – The HiFiMan Arya Organic has all the pros of the SE, but without cons.
The Bass is very fast, aggressive, and hard-hitting. Its character affects the overall sound signature. If you’re a bass-head, then you should definitely avoid this headphone, but if you’re looking for one that reproduces the bass in a neutral but pleasant way as well, then you should definitely give them a try. The quality of the lowest frequencies impresses me, nonetheless, it’s not thick or physical, but the bolt-fast attack sounds like it’s just made for very technical electronic music. Anyway, I wish the raves I’m visiting had sound reinforcement that sounds like the HiFiMAN Arya Organic. For example the punch of the bass in Distance of the Modern Hearts by Kamp! is extremely fast, but I wish it was more physical like in Audeze LCD-X. You can’t have everything, can you?
Actually, HiFiMAN got us used to that type of bass presentation. It was (almost) never about the amount of body and thickness to it, but rather about the sheer speed and clarity, and the Arya Organic definitely focuses on those. If you like your bass like your supercars – fast, agile, and firm, this is a great choice for you.
The midrange of the HiFiMAN headphone exhibits a consistent and balanced performance. It maintains linearity and neutrality, delivering an impressive level of detail and texture. The Arya Organic does not emphasize warmth or thickness in this range, as it prioritizes a flat and precise presentation. However, its exceptional staging capabilities create an intimate and captivating experience, with the midrange being particularly prominent and forward. A friend of mine told me after listening to them for a moment that he was afraid that the airiness of the sound will be a problem while listening to the vocals-based music, but after the first song, he was shocked at how airy and intimate at the same time the midrange can be.
The vocals are remarkably clear, precise, and pushed forward in the mix. Due to the linearity in the midrange, or some can even say lack of the lower midrange, HiFiMan Arya Organic is not the best pick for male vocals, but it shines when it comes to female voices, offering an airy and forward presentation that many listeners appreciate. However, it’s worth noting that the Arya Organic may not be everyone’s preferred option for vocals. However, if you’re a fan of neutral presentation, then go for them. To be honest, I hoped that the “Organic” in the name would relate to the sound, but unfortunately, there are many richer and more organic-sounding headphones, while Arya Organic is still quite sterile.
Now let’s dive into the treble. That’s a very impressive part, it’s very fast, detailed, and sparkly, but not as bright as the one known from the predecessors – Arya SE, or even brighter Arya OG, but still, it’s one of the most detailed headphones I’ve ever listened to. On the other hand the treble is even more relaxed than in previous versions of Arya, so it’s not that harsh or fatiguing. Even poorly mastered songs, when played with this headphone sound, maybe I wouldn’t use the word “good” but “acceptable” is more appropriate.
Overall the top end of the audible frequencies is very fast, detailed, and well-textured, but HiFiMan took another step to make Arya less extreme and more pleasant to listen to even for many hours. Most importantly, they didn’t do it for the price of the texture and detail retrieval, as the Organic retained all of the qualities of its predecessor. They simply retuned it slightly to appear to a wider audience, because of its more safe treble delivery, which was a very good idea actually. While I couldn’t really spend an entire evening with the Arya SE, I don’t have this problem with the Arya Organic. This is a job well-done, HiFiMAN.
And the final part of the sound description is the soundstage, the Arya OG was called the planar version of the Sennheiser HD800 due to its soundstage. With Arya SE HiFiMAN dropped this legacy, the soundstage became smaller and less spacious. And now came out Arya Organic with a bit more airy soundstage, but it’s still placed somewhere in between the first revision of Arya and the one with Stealth Magnets. What’s worth mentioning is the positioning of the sound sources, which is extraordinary.
Some time ago I used the Audeze LCD-X as my primary gaming headphone and it did the job great, but with the Arya Organic, the positioning of sound sources is on a completely different level. While playing Hunt: Showdown I can easily say from which direction my opponent is approaching. And when someone kills me I usually perfectly know from where the shot was taken, so the only issue that stops me from being a better player is my aim, but unfortunately I can’t blame the audio gear. Or can I? Naah, I need to rely on Paweł and Bruno to carry me every single time…tough life.
I was mentioning the predecessor a few times in the review and I think many of you are really interested in this comparison. Moreover, I would like to answer one very important question – is it worth changing from Arya Stealth Edition to Arya Organic, or maybe the older ones are better?
Let’s start with the price, the new headphone is cheaper, Arya SE costs $1599, while the price tag of the Organic edition is $200 lower, for me it sounds like a deal. I think the new model will definitely be more popular in the primary market. But how about the users who have already bought the Arya SE?
You need to answer this question yourself, but I will try to help you with my comparison.
The build quality is pretty similar, the only difference between these two is that the plastic ear cup cover of the Stealth has an anthracite color, while the Organic has a glossy black with wooden veneer on the side. The Headband, the shape of the ear cups, and even the grille are exactly the same, the weight difference isn’t noticeable as well, Arya Organic is 10 grams lighter.
In terms of driving capacities, the HiFiMAN Arya Organic features an impedance of 16 ohms (it’s even lower than many of IEMs), while the impedance of the Stealth edition is about 32 ohms. This means the new Arya is way easier to drive, but due to characteristics of the planar magnetic drivers it’s still pretty hard and you need some juice to hear the proper sound of them. So if you have some trouble with driving Arya SE on your setup you should definitely give a try to Organic.
And now the sound comparison, and first things first, let’s begin the comparison with the bass. Both headphones produce hard-hitting and ultimately fast bass, but the one reproduced by the Organic edition goes a bit lower so the sub-bass impact is a bit better, but it’s still a very planar-sounding bass, you shouldn’t expect the impact and physicality like of the one produced by dynamic drivers.
The midrange is extremely similar, the only difference is just how some vocals are reproduced in space, some are slightly further, but some are closer to the listener. It’s very hard to tell which one sounds better, they are just minimally different, but I think no one will tell that the midrange is a dealbreaker for any headphone.
And here comes the treble – a place with the biggest differences between the two headphones. In my Felix Audio Euforia Evo review, I wrote that it’s the first device paired with Arya V3 that made the treble of the HiFiMAN not causing my ears to bleed. The treble of Arya Organic is also very detailed and crispy, so fans of the Arya sound will be satisfied, but it isn’t as extremal as the one known from the Stealth. The new Arya doesn’t require that level of synergy between the source and headphones. Even with my daily setup – Topping A90 and SMSL SU9 it’s pleasant to listen to. For example, listening Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain with this setup and Arya SE made my ears exhausted after like a minute, while Arya Organic is just slightly smoother so no detail is lost, but at the same time I can sit with the headphone for hours and I don’t feel any tiredness.
Finally, the soundstage, which is also very similar, both headphones have brilliant positioning, but if you expect that with Arya Organic HiFiMAN came back to the spaciousness of the Arya OG, then you will be disappointed, there is a bit more space than in Arya V3 SE, but it’s still far from the first edition. Or am I a bit too harsh here…the Organic IS after all more spacious and vast sounding, and the Arya SE isn’t really condensed to begin with. Having that in mind, I need to appreciate that change and call the soundstage of the new revision a clear upgrade over its predecessor.
Shortly speaking, if you are tired of the harshness of HiFiMAN Arya V3 Stealth Magnet Edition, or at least you’re tired of the length of the name of your headphone, then you should definitely update to Arya Organic. But if you’re fine with the treble then you probably won’t spot any difference surplus, then you can only look for a good deal for Arya Organic and try to highball your “old” Arya V3.
Drop + Sennheiser HD8XX, despite the hype before release, didn’t steal the market due to the promised sound of HD800s, but with better bass didn’t match with the delivered signature, which was dull and unnatural. But with a simple mod, I’ve found on Reddit, it’s possible to “fix” their signature and make it sound nearly as good as Sennheiser HD800s, so for $1100 with 2 hours and minimal manual skills it was a steal.
But let’s start with build quality and comfort. Both headphones provide similar comfort, Arya Organic has a bit more comfortable headband, while HD8XX has bigger ear cups so there is more air to let the ears “breathe”. The build quality of Sennheiser headphone is a bit better, you can feel that it was a flagship model a couple of years ago, but the Lemo connectors – ok it’s ridiculously expensive and feels very premium, but no one else uses it in their headphones, so it’s nearly impossible to find replacement cable. HiFiMAN Arya Organic features “normal” 3.5mm jacks on each earcup, so I could easily find a better cable in my closet and I don’t experience a heart attack each time I’m unplugging the cable because I feel I could break the socket.
Ok, that’s enough bullying HD8XX due to its design, let’s move to the sound comparison, and let’s start with the bass. HD8XX produces way more bass than Arya Organic, but it’s way slower and lacks dynamics. It’s hard to find a genre where the bass reproduced by Chinese headphones won’t easily outperform the German one.
The midrange, is also more dynamic, with a better texture and overall it sounds like HiFiMan Arya Stealth was a way more expensive headphone than the HD8XX. There’s just more there, it sounds more lively, precise yet natural and pleasant. After all, planar-magnetic headphones are known for those perks, and the Arya Organic is a clear winner in this category as well.
Finally, the treble, which is also a bit suppressed when compared with Arya. While listening to music with the HD8XX, I hear a lot of sounds, and its sound is pretty decent. With a decent OTL headphone amplifier, like e.g. Feliks Euforia Evo, the HD8XX sounds really good, but at the same moment Arya Organic elevates the listening experience to a completely different level, you can discover something new even in songs you thought you knew really well. Again, a much more technically impressive sound coming out of the Arya Organic beats the HD8XX.
I would write something more in this comparison, but I feel I can offend some people who are fans of modded HD8XX/HD800s, so I will stop here to summarize it with one sentence.
If you’re a fan of Sennheiser then you can pick HD8XX and mod it, but if you’re looking for great, high-end headphones, then there is no reason to even consider it over the superb HiFiMan Arya Organic. It’s not even a contest in my book.
HiFiMAN Arya Organic review – summary
In this summary, I want to consider a couple of options. If you’re looking for a headphone under $1500 then Arya Organic should definitely be one of your main points of interest. It’s a very comfortable headphone with great resolution, dynamics, and soundstage. Due to low impedance, it’s also a very versatile one, you can plug it into a DAP and it will be able to show a lot, but when connected to a proper AMP it can shine. In my opinion, it’s one of the best picks in this budget.
Another option is if you’re considering buying the Arya SE, and you’re not a fan of razors in your ears, then there is no reason in spending an additional $300, just go for Arya Organic without any doubt.
And the last, the hardest one, if you’re already an owner of Arya SE. If you’ll be able to sell your old Arya at a good price, so you won’t make an extra payment when updating to the Organic version, then go for it – you will get lower driving requirements and a more pleasant sound for free, but if you would have to pay extra couple hundred dollars, then I think it’s not worth it, just stick to Arya SE and wait till next upgrade, because we all know it will happen sooner or later.
The Arya Organic is a strong contender for the “Product Of The Year” award as of now, and it is going to be hugely successful, I’m sure about that. We said it a few times in the past, but they really give us all the reason in the world to do so, so here it is: Good job HiFiMAN.
Big thanks to HiFiMAN for providing us with the Arya Organic for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.
I’m a 24 years old software engineer, but also coffee, wine, and audio gear freak based in Cracow, Poland. I like to get lost in the city, but I hate getting lost while reading pompous audio reviews. My goal is to provide simple and informative reviews that I hope will help you to find your way around the rabbit hole.