Over-ear headphones are constantly evolving, with manufacturers giving us new ways to listen to the music we enjoy. One of the latest innovations in driver technology is stealth magnets, most recently seen with the Dan Clark Audio Stealth. Now HiFiMAN has updated one of its flagship models with this technology, the Arya. This will be the third version of the Arya to be released. Do the stealth magnets make any difference?
What You Get
- Pair of headphones.
- 1.5m headphone cable (6.35mm)
- Pair of ear pads (Mounted on headphone)
- Owner’s guide.
Look and Feel
If you’re familiar with the Arya, this is pretty much the same exact design. It also comes with the same cable as well, so if you already have the Arya, now you have an extra cable. I’ve always liked the super-lightweight feel of the Arya, so I’m glad they didn’t feel the need to change much here.
What exactly does a stealth magnet do, and what are its advantages? These magnets allow the signal to pass through the driver while avoiding interference. With less wave diffraction impacting the quality of the output, the signal flow is allowed to be purer than originally before.
Before its revision, the Arya was one of my favorites from HiFiMAN because of its immaculate soundstage. Everything on the Arya is crisp and airy, culminating in a spacious stereo field that’s highly immersive and wide. Now with the stealth magnets, a slightly different effect is presented. Most of what makes the Arya great isn’t lost in translation, but I could definitely spot the difference immediately. The sound elements appear a lot less floaty, instead of focusing on stricter positioning for more accurate imaging. It still keeps a wide and spacious presentation, but the layers feel a lot less exaggerated, filling in the space between sound elements with more tonal resonance. You still get a great sense of height to the sound, as the image comes in with a large display, but I felt there was a feeling of distance that was taken away. Sounds in the original Arya bloomed from an intended source, but here the response is a little more linear.
While the sub-bass frequencies don’t lose their effect on the sound signature, the mid-bass also makes a lot more of a statement here. Its weight is much more significant on the V3, showcasing a more even distribution of power between all bass regions. Their transient response can be considered more laid-back than the original, but their presentation is just as clear to be as they originally had.
The midrange on the V3 is more solidified compared to the original Arya, which had a more spacious display of frequencies. Here, the mids are tighter and pushed forward to balance the timbre while still featuring its wealth of details. The V3 put a lot more meat on the bone but still excels in crisper tones and resonances. Vocals are clearer and as transparent as ever, but its acoustic instruments that made a more considerable impression on me. The plucks of strings and fingers sliding down the frets were as clear as day on the V3, and possessed a lot more character than I remembered.
Certain high-end elements lose some of their airier properties but retain a great amount of shine. Their timbre seems a bit less delicate this time around, and instead covers the sound signature in a layer of subtle brightness. They never felt fatiguing, but certain frequencies had a lot more piercing elements for a much hotter treble overall.
The new stealth magnets make the Arya a specific type of headphone. If you weren’t a fan of its floatier elements, then this version might satisfy you more. The range of accuracy on the stealth is greater than the original, but I personally preferred the more textured and open sound it had. Both versions are heavily articulate, but some more subtle elements get lost in translation. However, in terms of purity, this is definitely a big improvement.
The HiFiMAN Arya V3 Stealth is available at Audio46.