Jotunheim 2 or stick with Fiio K9 Pro for Arya Stealth?

Here’s my dilemma: I have a new pair of Arya Stealth cans. I love them, they are great. I currently have a FiiO K9 Pro (AKM model). I keep reading that the Aryas will truly sing if powered by a discrete class A amp. The Schitt Jotunheim 2 is frequently mentioned. Most of the other class A DAC/amps mentioned are way beyond my budget, which is a maximum of $800. So… will I notice a significant difference if I switch to a Jotunheim 2 with one of their DAC cards? (Note: for several reasons, I really want to keep to an all-in-one box rather than two separate units.) Between the two DAC cards Schitt offers, which might pair better with the Aryas? Any other DAC/amps I should consider?

Or should I just leave well enough alone?

Maybe also consider Nitsch Pietus Maximus with one of the DAC cards?

Not sure what other headphones you have, or what you are looking for with sound signature, Pietus will be a bit more “euphonic” than Jot 2, but less powerful since it’s single ended.

It’s worth looking at, Jason Stoddard designed it also. It’s a much revised Asgard with Continuity and the programmable output stage of the “piety” amps, plus better parts throughout.

Thanks for the tip… I did not know that about the Pietus. I have the Aryas and a pair of DCA Drop RT (closed). Ever since I got the K9 Pro, I have used balanced output, so the cables are balanced, one reason for looking at the Jotunheim.

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I have the Arya Stealth with the Jotunheim 2. It’s a good pairing, even if isn’t technically a class A amplifier, as it is a Schiit Continuity amp.

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Check out the HiFiman EF400 amp/dac. It is on sale on their site for $310. It is very highly reviewed, and should be a good match for the Arya.

I had the K7 and Arya and thought it was beautiful. I’ve just upgraded to the Flux Labs Mentor, which is Class A, and :scream: I’m in love with this amp. There is a totally different quality to the sound, I guess the word is euphonic? And it really smooths out the treble on Hifimans, I always needed aggressive EQing with them before, but I barely need it here. I didn’t want to spend so much but the cheaper amps from Flux that everyone loved so much are hard to find nowadays.

There are a ton of glowing reviews for the RebelAmp, a class A amp made in Ukraine. I was very tempted to get it before settling on the Flux. Here it is on Head-Fi for $500: Rebel Audio RebelAmp | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org You could just pair it with something like the Geshelli DAC and still be under $800

I would say if you’re not growing your headphone collection, you should probably stick with the K9. It’s one of the main amps that DMS uses, and he’s heard everything. The only reason I upgraded to the Flux is cause I have a Tungsten incoming and so have to have more volts :zap: Otherwise, I think Fiio and Arya is absolute Hi-Fi gold, no need to chase endless upgrades

Thanks for that. I am still on the fence. What I really need to do is to find somewhere I can compare the two directly for myself. If the difference is only very marginal, I would be happy sticking with the FiiO.

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Thanks for your response… it’s exactly what I need to hear. If the difference between the FiiO and the Jotunheim is only very marginal, I would be happy sticking with the FiiO.

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Actually, that was the one amp I HAVE been able to directly compare with the FiiO (a work colleague has one). It made the Aryas sound ‘thin’ to me, nowhere near as engaging as the FiiO.

One more thing FWIW I found these Dekoni pads to be a major improvement for Arya: Dekoni Elite Fenestrated Sheepskin replacement earpads for the HiFiMan Arya

Right now it says out of stock but I’m sure they’ll be back. I got mine on sale for $60 I believe, and it was worth every penny both in sound improvement and comfort

Fwiw, I had Arya v2 for a couple of years and found Schiit Lyr to be a perfect match for it. The tube warms it up and smooths it out just enough to bring it to its maximum potential. I would wager the same is true with Arya Stealth.

Contrary to conventional wisdom on planars, Hifiman cans benefit greatly from a little tube magic.

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I will keep an eye out for them to be back in stock. I see that the pads smooth out the treble but the graph makes it appear that these pads also reduce the bass… was that your experience?

Something I had not thought of. Thanks!

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Not at all, but I always had EQ on with Arya, which added a bass shelf and brought down the treble spikes.

OK, got it. I haven’t used EQ for some time, but I am not adverse to it.

I would stick with the FiiO. Headphones make more difference to the sound that you hear, and the FiiO is going to be fine with the Arya, they are not difficult to drive. As @Svadhyaya said, unless you are planning on expanding your headphone collection to include some tough to drive headphones like the HE6SE, the FiiO will be fine.

Now, if you want something different, a tube amp may be fun, but that is a completely different rabbit hole to fall down, but probably not something you would need with the Arya.

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Yeah, I am pretty sure that is my decision. :grin:

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