HIFIMAN, known for its exceptional headphones, IEMs (In-Ear Monitors), headphone amplifiers, and portable players, is also known for its path of refinement that continually evolves its products. One of those headphones to recently receive an update is the Arya line of open-back, planar magnetic driver headphones, which are part of their Reference line.

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

The Arya Organic is the fourth generation of a highly regarded model. The previous version had the Stealth magnet addition, and the Organic adds the Nano Thickness Diaphragm found in its flagship headphone, the Susvara, which was reviewed here at Secrets, by John Johnson. So, how does the newest Arya, with its auspicious parentage sound?

The HIFIMAN Arya Organic presents the best qualities of the open-back, planar-magnetic sound. A huge soundstage that is airy and transparent, while being detailed and responsive. Though Dynamic-driver headphones are known to be the leaders in bass response, the Arya Organics punch deep with the best of them. The sound is three-dimensional, reaching not only wide but tall and deep as well. The extraordinary detail pulled me in, and the warm, natural sound invited me to stay.


HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones Highlights

  • Asymmetrical ear cups are some of the most comfortable I’ve worn.
  • Beautiful all-black design, with a warm-toned wood veneer strip outlining the outside of the ear cups.
  • Solid build quality: clearly premium headphones built to last.
  • Just the right amount of clamping force.
  • The hand-finished metal and cloth suspension headband has a wide range of adjustability and is comfortable for hours of listening.
  • The single Crystalline Copper, user-replaceable, 6.35mm-plug cable is easily swappable with balanced cables.
  • The sound has both warmth in the mids, and bright detail in the highs while digging deep into rumbling bass.
  • Though the Arya Organics love a good amplifier, the 16 ohms impedance lets them become “portable” with a quality dongle/DAC.
  • Keeps the best-loved traits of the earlier Aryas while adding refinement and polish to the overall sound.
  • Swiveling ear pads make getting a proper fit very easy.

In all my years of owning headphones, except for my 1970s when I used yellow foam open-back Sennheisers, they were always closed-back with dynamic drivers. Owning the best I could afford, I pretty much thought I had found audio nirvana. Until I read about planar-magnetic, open-back headphones. The descriptions of sound using terms like transparent, and soundstage were new to me, and I was curious. I read a few reviews and articles and a company name kept coming up; HIFIMAN, and one affordable model, the HE400S was getting great reviews. Around 2016, I took a chance and bought a pair, and my headphone life was changed for the better. I still own and listen to those HE400S, though they are a bit worn and “well-loved” looking, and I replaced the stock ear pads with a higher-level ear pad which made the sound bigger and better. I think of my HE400S headphones as “baby’s first Planars”. The soundscape and detail that Planar headphones presented to me really introduced me to a more refined way of listening to music.

When I was offered an opportunity to audition the HIFIMAN Arya Organics, I was intrigued by how the current generation of reference HIFIMAN planar-magnetic headphones might sound compared to my HE400S. Since HIFIMAN was founded by Dr. Fang Bian in 2007, the company has become one of the leading headphone and headphone accessory companies in the world with numerous patents and awards, including a Secrets Of Home Theater And High Fidelity 2016 award for best Headphone with the Edition X.

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones Specifications



94 dB

Frequency response:

8 Hz-65 kHz


440g (15.5oz)






headphones, headphones reviews, hifiman headphones, hifiman headphones reviews, hifiman reviews, reviews 2023


They arrived in a simple, understated, natural brown cardboard box (their new eco-packaging) with the only “bling” being the two gold foil stickers announcing both the Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm and the Stealth Magnets Design. Tightly packed in black foam, including a surround that doubles as a headphone stand (great idea!), my first thought was how handsome they looked with all-black metal, contrasted with cherry wood trim.

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

I was impressed by the large oval earpads, having only owned round headphones before. The Aryas, with their black metal construction, and substantial window shade grilles feel tank-like compared to my silver, plastic HE400S. The Arya ear cups are deep and the beveled, cushy, memory foam, leatherette pads are trimmed with perforated black knit fabric. They offer just the right amount of pressure while covering the entire ear to provide a good seal (in my case, they don’t touch my ears at all). I found them comfortable and spacious, with a cool, open-air feel.

The open-back ear cups use a patented alloy grille “Window Shade” system, which protects the large Stealth Magnets while preventing the sound waves from reflection and refraction. The Stealth Magnets, due to their double-sided, asymmetrical shape, allow soundwaves to pass through without interference, and, according to HIFIMAN, lower distortion, and allow them to be as acoustically transparent or invisible as possible (hence the name “Stealth”). Finally, the newest addition to this update to the Arya line, is the Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm, a thin film placed between the inner magnet and the larger outer magnet. Because of the film’s lower mass, it yields a faster response and lower distortion. According to HIFIMAN, this film is so thin, that viewed from the side, it would be invisible. The diaphragm was developed by HIFIMAN and is one of the key components that give the Arya Organics their unique sound signature.

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HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

In the accessory box is a 1.5-meter, cloth-wrapped, single Crystalline Copper cable with a 6.35 mm connector and two 3.5 mm connectors marked “L” and “R” for the corresponding left and right 3.5mm sockets on the base of the headphones. The cable is replaceable with a 4.4 mm or XLR balanced cable, not included in the box. After previously reviewing two wireless headphones, it felt a little strange to not find a charging cable and instructions to download the app. Just the basics; how nice to be back in an analog world.

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones


My listening station is simple. My Apple M2 14-inch MacBook Pro provides the USB feed to the Topping DX7 Pro. The Arya Organics are plugged in using a balanced XLR 4-pin cable. I can also play the headphones plugged directly into the MacBook Pro, using a 3.5 mm adaptor on the stock HIFIMAN 6.35 mm cable. The MacBook has a sophisticated headphone amp that reads the impedance of the headphones, and meters out power as needed. For portability, I use the Earmen Colibri dongle/DAC, with a balanced 4.4mm cable, and my iPhone. My primary source is Qobuz, for its superior-sounding audio files followed by Apple Music for the extensive playlist I’ve built up over the years. I seek out Hi-Res versions of songs whenever possible.

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HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

In Use

When I first set up the Aryas, I used the included 6.35 mm cable, plugged into the Topping DX7. The first thing I noticed was the headphones really like a fair amount of power. Though not necessary, if I turn the gain to High on the Topping the fullness and loudness really fills out the music. The second thing I noticed was that the highs were a bit too bright at times for my hearing. It was suggested that the headphones need a good 50 hours of break-in. For me, the jury was out on whether break-in is necessary on new audio gear, however, I asked several people who are much more experienced in high-end audio than I am, their thoughts, and the consensus was to leave them playing various types of music for at least 50 hours.

The second suggestion was to use balanced cables, so I switched to a 4-pin XLR HIFIMAN cable, after the break-in period. Since the new cable and the end of the break-in period were around the same time, I can’t offer a scientific answer to which change might have made the biggest difference, but the maturation of the sound signature was clear. The too-bright highs were gone, though the highs were still wonderfully airy and sparkly with detail. It was as if the sound, which was really engaging and lovely before, had blossomed into a magnified version of what I loved about these headphones. There was a new warmth filling the space while leaving all the crisp detail and fullness untouched. The bass seemed to dig deeper and fuller, while also holding the crisp precision I had noticed before.

Unless otherwise noted, all music has been played through the Topping DX7 Pro, using a 4-pin XLR HIFIMAN balanced cable.

Eric Clapton

Three O’clock Blues, Eric Clapton-Riding With The King CD 16-bit, 44.1 kHz-stereo Qobuz

This collaboration between B.B. King and Eric Clapton is an intimate and joyful recording. Eric Clapton arranged the sessions and invited B.B. King, who is one of his idols, to sit in on these recordings with Eric and some of his regular musicians. Anyone who knows Eric Clapton’s history will know that when Eric was a kid in England, he fell in love with American Blues, which shaped his own development as a guitarist.

What I love about this cut is how “alive” and spacious it sounds. It may have been recorded in a studio, but it has the feel of a Delta Blues club. When listening, I can almost feel the heat and humidity. The Aryas gave this session all the space and three-dimensional placement of the musicians the recording had to offer. The first time I listened to this recording with the Aryas, the opening strike of the drumsticks made me jump. It was as though it was in the room with me. The bass and drums are clear and detailed, every note of the bass drives the rocking tempo. The Honky-Tonk piano sits far right, and its notes go from tinkling-bright to the pounding lower register of the chords and the timbre of the piano is perfect. Eric Clapton sits to the left and B.B. King sits at about 2 o’clock. The soundstage is wide and deep. The crisp rhythms of the snare drum are set back and center and B.B. King’s and Eric Clapton’s guitars flow in a call and response from one side to the other. The open airiness and space of the studio come through and highlight what this open-back headphone does so well.

Yosi Horikawa

Bubbles, Yosi Horikawa, Wandering, CD 16-bit, 44.1 kHz-stereo, Qobuz

On the opposite end of music, we go from the earthy, elemental blues to “Bubbles” by the Japanese sound artist, Yosi Horikawa, who blends electronic and natural sounds into a wild and very three-dimensional soundscape. It is as much of a journey as it is a piece of music. Marbles bounce and roll all around, sharp and crisp. The Arya’s handle the clacking sounds well. Though the very sharp and high bounces could be too edgy with an overly bright headphone, they have just enough rounding of the edges of the sound to make it fun. Ping Pong balls bounce off every kind of surface, along with the marbles and other small objects. Then the rich deep electronic tones of the music begin, and I dare anyone to sit still while listening to this piece.

The Aryas bring “Bubbles” alive. The Aryas offered incredible transparency and huge space, and they kept up with the rapid-fire sounds with ease. The music is everywhere. I smile the whole time when listening to this incredible piece of music. Yosi Horikawa’s music seems made for planar magnetic headphones.

Rolling Stones

Under My Thumb, Rolling Stones, Aftermath Hi-Res 24-bit, 88.2 kHz-stereo, Qobuz

The Rolling Stones just released their first new album of original songs in almost 20 years, “Hackney Diamonds.” So, in honor of the ageless expression of creativity that still flows through them (message to self: should I have the good fortune to make it past 80, my icon of vitality will be Mick Jagger, who is still damn sexy at 80), I gave a listen to “Aftermath, the rolling stones” (the lower case is theirs…). Listening to Under My Thumb with these headphones was a revelation. From the initial crack of Charlie Watts’s snare drum, followed by the marimba riff played by Brian Jones (who was known for playing with unusual instruments), I was already hearing each musician more clearly than I remembered them. As Keith Richards comes in from the right with his brilliant counter-point electric and acoustic guitar, there is the sound of someone snapping their fingers. I’ve never heard that before.

The background clapping is also more crisply defined. In previous listening over the years, I thought one of the bass tracks was distorted. Now it is clear that we are hearing Bill Wyman playing fuzz bass, with no distortion. His playing of the rhythm bass is musical and so present; I can sense the pressure of his fingers plucking the strings. Mick Jagger is placed clearly in the center. Every little sliding innuendo and growl comes through. I’ve always enjoyed Mick Jagger as an actor, as well as a singer/dancer, but I hadn’t noticed before listening this time, that he is acting in this recording. The shadings and coloring are so clear that he is almost Shakespearean in how he reveals the character behind the storyline. I had so much fun discovering new details in this song I played it several times.

Shady El Gendy

Flaminco, Shady El Gendy, Hi-Res 24-bit, 48 kHz-stereo, Qobuz

Shady El Gendy is an Egyptian musician, Kanoun (classic stringed instrument of Turkey) player, composer, and music professor. He also has an extraordinary jazz group. If you need a reason to smile and dance around, play this piece. Like “Bubbles”, this recording makes good headphones sing. The piece begins with a classic Flamenco guitar, and you may be lulled into thinking you are going to hear a traditional Flamenco performance, however, the spelling “Flaminco” is a hint that something with a different cultural twist is occurring. This becomes clear at about the 45-second mark. There are so many instruments, including Middle Eastern Darbuka drums as well as Latin percussion and Cuban style piano flooding into the mix, that lesser headphones would have a hard time keeping them all clear and separate; but with the wide soundstage of the Arya’s, there is plenty of room for each musician to shine. The presentation is warm and lively. I tried to count how many instruments I heard playing, but there were so many, I lost count.

New York Philharmonic

Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 “From the New World: 11”: Largo, Hi-Res 24-bit, 96kHz-stereo, Qobuz
New York Philharmonic, 175th Anniversary 2016/2017 Season

This live recording is stunning. When Antonin Dvorak came to America at the end of the 19th century, he was an immigrant coming to a young country. He was hired by the National Conservatory of New York to help American composers find an American voice, rather than echoes of European composers. In looking for a new American sound, Dvorak discovered that the roots of American music lay in the African-American spirituals of the South and used this music as an inspiration for his American masterpiece, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1893. The “sound” of the concert hall is very present. A tiny cough can be heard near the beginning, as well as the occasional taking of a breath. Though not a studio recording, the production values, which capture the depth and breadth of the orchestra are pitch-perfect and present a deeply emotional and sweeping soundscape as large as the country that Dvorak fell in love with. The Arya Organics, with their transparent sound, and immense soundstage are perfect for recreating the sense of spaciousness of the hall as well as the wide dynamics that run from a single flute to the swelling crescendos and kettle drums.

Various Artists

The Art of HiFi: Percussion, various artists, Octave Records, audiophile series

This compilation of percussion sessions recorded at Octave Studios is my new “must-have” for testing any kind of audio system. This superbly mastered collection of performances includes every kind of percussive instrument, from the highest tinkle of bells to the deepest large drums (I’m guessing Taiko drums). Here’s an interesting tidbit, Taiko drums can exceed 120 dBs! One piece, titled “Gongs” has extraordinary dynamics. The Aryas capture the challenging tonal ranges from large gongs to cymbals. These sounds are a perfect challenge for the Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm. The rapid strikes combined with the natural sustained decay of vibrations of the various instruments hang three-dimensionally in space. I would be curious to hear how a dynamic driver would handle these airy, dynamic tones. In my opinion, The Arya Organics put to rest any concerns that a planar magnetic headphone is less capable of producing punchy dynamic bass. I highly recommend this reference recording.


HIFIMAN Arya Organic Headphones

I don’t think there is a better open-back, planar magnetic headphone within the $1-2k range. If someone is looking for a portable ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) headphone to throw in a bag, this is not that headphone. But for settling in for focused enjoyment of many genres of music, the HIFIMAN Arya Organics will reward the listener with a polished, refined, and generous sound that can be played with a variety of sources. A good dongle/DAC will make them easy to play anywhere, and a desktop amp will magnify more of what makes them so special.

  • Solid, quality construction. The Arya Organics feel like they will last years.
  • Revealed new details in old songs; listening to familiar music feels like an adventure of discovery.
  • Handsome in all-black with the cherry wood strip.
  • The cushy, elongated ear cups feel natural and give the ears room to “breath”.
  • The headband adjusts easily and should have no trouble fitting a range of head sizes.
  • The sound! So warm and rich; with incredible detail, and a wide dynamic range and soundstage.
  • Eco packaging and dual-use foam packing that doubles as a great headphone stand.
  • A good value: the price reflects the caliber of the headphones and not fancy packaging.
Would Like To See
  • An included 1/8” adaptor for portable devices
  • A 3-meter cable would be nice.

Dr. Fang Bian, the founder and president of HIFIMAN continues to innovate and refine his products. As new technologies are developed, often those features will be added to current models of headphones, pushing them closer to the ideal sound signature each model is known for. Behind every brand of headphones, there is a personality that shapes what we are hearing. In the case of Dr. Bian, he found inspiration in visiting various concert halls and noting the unique characteristics of each one. Somehow that seems fitting for the spacious airy soundstage the HIFIMAN sound is known for. The Arya Organics with the addition of the Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm, have taken the Arya line up to another level while amazingly lowering the price from the previous generation. They embody the best qualities of planar magnetic drivers, and for me, personally, they are an astonishing evolution from my 8-year-old HE400S headphones.