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✒️ Written by Leong | 📷 Photo credit : Hai Wei
For the budget of RM5000 up to RM8000, what are the common headphones being discussed the most? Audeze, Sennheiser, Hifiman and now even the Sivga and Beyerdynamic have joined the discussion.
Hifiman Arya was being praised as the planar HD800 by some. Now, with the new revision of the “Stealth Magnet '' technology, has improved further from its origin. The refreshed Arya has a deeper sub-bass extension that rumbles like never before compared to the previous model. It has a more enjoyable low end while smooths out the treble ever so slightly. You can now wear it longer and keep on enjoying the music. It has an oval-shaped like staging, going deeper into the depth and slightly decreases the lateral stage. The layering and placement of instruments, vocal are stacking up nicely from the top to bottom. Tonality wise, it is more neutral, similar to the HD800s which does not coloured the sound too much. It is also easier to drive compared to the previous model without Stealth Magnet.
Next we have the headphone with rave reviews from the internets and forums, the Sendy Audio Peacock. It complements the Audeze LCD-X as a smoother and airier sounding headphone. The bass is not as elastic as the Arya, but provides a hard-hitting mid-bass and more intimate imaging. The soundstage is slightly smaller than the Arya, and vocals are slightly forward as well. While Audeze LCD-X has a hall like imaging, Peacock has a more intimate feel but in return you would get an airier treble extension. The male vocals are lush and just a tad thicker, giving the weight and full-bodied feel to them.
The 3rd planar contender we have in this list would be the Audeze LCD-X, the heavyweight fighter. LCD-X has a darker and slightly warmer tone compared to the Sivga and the Hifiman. For the bass department, it has a linear bass response down to the sub as well. It has the snappiness and agile response that you expected from a high-end planar magnetic headphone. It has a slightly recessed upper mids that lacks a little treble energy for the treble lover out there, but there are no severe sibilance at the top part but you will still be able to pinpoint the details of cymbals and crashes. The vocals are not as forward as Peacock, but still sounds natural and lifelike. They tend to be slightly recessed overall, but nothing out of place for the Audeze. The staging is considered medium-small, but with a hall like presentation which is pretty fun to have with different genres of music.
Beyerdynamic T1 has come to the new 3rd generation as of now. The German still possessed the solid build quality, without the hefty weight like the Audeze. With the stock pads the bass is pretty striking despite it being an open-back headphone. The headphone feels comfortable sitting on top of the head, without heavy clamp to the face. The overall tone is pretty neutral, but slightly more emphasized on the low end compared to the Peacock. The famous Beyerdynamic treble experience is still the star of the show for the T1 and quite engaging compared to the lot.
Lastly we have the Sennheiser HD800s, the famous headphone that is known for its wide and far soundstage. The HD800s has a fairly energetic bass and low end response, albeit being lower in the quantity. But the smoothness and the overall instrument layering and separation is one of the top performers within this list. You can really expect the HD800s to perform every song with naturalness and with good pairing even adding a little body to the low end response. The Arya’s staging on the other hand is not as wide as the HD800s, but it does have better depth and headroom than the Sennheiser, also with stronger bass rumble into the mix. You can consider that the Arya is a good complement to this German icon.