Arya (VS) Ether 2 (...or go for HE1000se?)

Will be getting my ThieAudio Oracle soon. If it doesn’t really impress me, and/or if I still want to try a headphone, I’m thinking about Arya. But I’m not sure what they sound like. Are they similar to Sundara? Or HD660? Or Mobius? None of these…? (Apparently like DT880, I just read)

Definitely aiming for maximum quality under $2000, music & FPS gaming. Would it be safe to say Arya literally does everything better than the GX?

Above Arya, the only worthy options I can think of = LCD-3, HE-6se, Ether 2. I’ve heard LCD-3 & HE-6(LOVE both), but I hate the weight, so can the light Ether 2 out-do them…?

Arya seems to have the biggest soundstage, but the most troublesome treble(not the case with Arya v2, apparently?). Artificial sounding treble…?

HE6se seems to need a new cable and various modding, magical amp, otherwise sounds gimped/problematic. These seem to have a small stage…(but I didn’t notice when I demo’d them)

Ether 2 & GX seem ready to rock out of the box. E2 = weird sounding…? BASS of Arya & E2 seems overall equally good, with more impact for E2. E2 seems darker sounding, with stronger bass kick than Arya, and almost as good stage as Arya(?). No idea about comfort, but round cups/pads like HE-500/DT880 SUCK.

My fav headphones I’ve heard so far = LCD3/HE6, and also liked HD660 & Mobius. Sundara much too thin sounding, and maybe a little too wide. I need excellent imaging, space, bass, and comfort always helps. I can handle some treble, but please God nothing like DT treble. HD660 & Mobius are perfectly inoffensive.

—> Should I just get HE1000se, to get the best of all of these? Or are they far too revealing to be enjoyable?

DAC+amp = Bifrost 2 + G111.

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Consider Focal Clear MG if you like the dynamic sound of a dynamic driver

Your amp might not provide enough current for the planars listed

Oh really? Jot 2? I could try an Asgard 3.

For planars (at least the ones u listed, seem pretty hard to drive to me) I think Jot 2 might be a bit better. U sacrifice a bit of the technical performance in exchange of power.

Yeah, I don’t know about that HE6se… I like how it’s much lighter than LCD-3, but at MSRP the latter seems the one to get, with several benefits(like zero modding needed).

Maybe I will try Arya first, then move to LCD-3 if it doesn’t blow me away.

Get the HE6se if you can get an adorama deal

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But how is the stage space…? The smallest of these?

I’m thinking Arya LCD-3 shootout, send the loser(s) back.

Arya is the most open sounding. Open sounding does not always mean big sounding. For example, my koss porta pro sounds really open, but the soundstage is small-medium sized. The Arya will have an impressive depth, meaning it can both sound far and intimate at the same time unlike the HD800s which can only sound far. The egg-shaped Hifiman headphones (HEK series, Arya, even Ananda) Have some of the best vertical stages of all headphones, so if you are into hearing sounds from above or below you get a Hifiman. The horizontal width isn’t the best, but it is enough for most people. The Arya is also significantly lighter than the LCD3, although not as well built
One more thing. If you want a punchy bass get an LCD3 or HE6se instead. They seal better and slam harder. The Arya bass is strong enough, but it’s like getting hit by a big pillow. You will feel it, but the initial slam isn’t very hard.


That’s exactly the stage I want/like/prefer; naturally expansive. Able to sound close and far. :slight_smile: Unlike K701, where the nearest sound seems 10 feet away.

Ok, so fairly significant differences between the bass and build quality. I wonder if there is a headphone that actually has Arya stage + LCD bass? Prob not. :\ I will simply have to choose the one that impresses me most overall. (Then buy the other one later on ;p)

By the way, the Ether 2 has a rolled off treble but the bass isn’t particularly strong either so it is kind of mid focused, especially with the stock pads

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Hm, I see… Did you get to hear one recently? :slight_smile: I haven’t heard anything from Dan, except Mad Dog.

So far, I am shooting for a VO, and then something else under $2K to compete/contrast with VO. Arya, LCD-1, GX, HE6se, LCD-3. Too hard to pick the 2nd one without hearing them first.

Maybe you can share some impressions with @M83 after you settle on your headphone choice as I know he’s looking for an upgrade to his Alpha Prime :grin:

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What is it about VO that you like, out of interest? I tried a VC but I preferred my Alpha Prime.

Never heard of Alpha Prime! Is that an older model, like a higher end Mad Dog? The only closed-back I’ve liked so far has been Mobius, but I haven’t tried tons since I have disliked nearly all of them so far.

Haven’t heard a ZMF yet, so I can’t say how they actually sound… But VO seems to be a higher end Arya, with big stage, better bass, no treble peaks/issues, no extreme weight like LCD’s, and very well praised. The bass of VO seems better than VC, as well, though I want open-back anyway. Being a dynamic worries me, since the best I’ve heard so far have been all planar(LCD-3, HE6, 1266), but I can just refund it if it doesn’t amaze. I would go for HE1000se, as a step up from VO(assuming you want ultimate transparency/revealingness, which I don’t think I do), as it seems to have all the similarities of VO/Arya, but improved. VO seems the most solid option around $2K; Ether 2, LCD-3, HE1000, HE6se, etc all seem to have particular issues, but not VO.

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All Dan Clark Audio orthodynamic (planar magnetic) headphones use small drivers, and that means the distortion is very low but the slam and impact is not hard.

The Ether 2 has a decent soundstage and imaging, but it does not sound as open as the Arya, which has almost no damping at all.

The Vérité Open is in my opinion the pinnacle of dynamic driver. Unlike the HD800 series, the bass is not anaemic. The beryllium coated driver (not beryllium) has all the advantages of dynamics such as a dynamic presentation and a natural timbre while maintaining an endgame level of detail and speed without colouring the sound too much. It does not need treble emphasis to shove the details in your face. It is just there.

The Ether 2 is more relaxing, and the Arya is more impressive. If you are sensitive to treble peaks and enjoy vocals, get the Ether 2. If you listen to classical music, get the Arya.


Great info… I wasn’t even aware of the beryllium. Hopefully HD800 will be a let down, by the time I finally get to hear one lol.

Definitely after the best all-arounder here.

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Ah ok no worries. It’s technically an upgrade from the Alpha Dog, but in terms of voicing it’s more of an upgrade to the Mad Dog. It’s a great HP though I guess it’s limited by being a T50RP mod. Only so far you can go with the base driver even with the driver knurling that Dan did.

The VC was better than Atticus by some margin, but it was not as crisp as the Prime. There is sharper definition to the Prime (not hard or fatiguing) that I preferred. It was probably a bit too smooth and laid back for me. The bass was lovely and textured, and the mids are nice, but it just wasn’t for me.

So far, I’ve yet to hear a dynamic HP that (for my current experience level and taste in sound) I prefer over planar. I cant explain it, but something in the delivery of planar appeals to me. When I moved from Denon D2000 to Modhouse Argon it was almost a relief (a bit dramatic I know lol).

I’ve read that for example LCD 3 and LCD for are overpriced, and heavy to wear. This puts me off.
Ether 2 sounds like it would not have the impact/slam I desire.

Maybe I will give Kennerton a go. I have been recommended Audio-Technica TOTL as well but need to do more reading.

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Thanks - this is all interesting to read.

As I listen to EDM/Electronica more than other genres, I thought the VC would be better than VO.

I have not heard VO though so cannot compare.

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Yeah, dynamics just feel like old, dusty tech now, that died with HD600 lol. I love HD660(and Erupt) , over Sundara at least, but they are not even allowed on the same tectonic plate when LCD-3/HE-6 are around. I tried a Clear, and it was a bad experience with the DAC & amp I used, at least. (Could have been a dudd unit) Planars and estats do get my vote, though I have to hit CEO status before I can go above an L700 system :slight_smile: