• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 3.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 34 20.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 74 44.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 53 31.7%

  • Total voters
    167

doug2761

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2020
Messages
153
Likes
267
I have a non noire version and would need a replacement cable... any tips on ones that don't cost an arm and a leg?
Aliexpress. Amir, Archimago, and others have proven time and again that cables don't affect audio signals. Sighted A/B testing I don't hear any difference and I'm able to get longer cables at good prices.
 

Jimbob54

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
10,984
Likes
14,582
Aliexpress. Amir, Archimago, and others have proven time and again that cables don't affect audio signals. Sighted A/B testing I don't hear any difference and I'm able to get longer cables at good prices.
I don't think blieib was asking about good sounding cables. But a physically poor cable is a bad thing. And DCA replacements are somewhat limited for availability by the relatively obscure connector.
 

Bleib

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,192
Likes
2,091
Location
Sweden
I don't think blieib was asking about good sounding cables. But a physically poor cable is a bad thing. And DCA replacements are somewhat limited for availability by the relatively obscure connector.
Yup, long time since I believed in any cable "magic".
Function, length, build quality is what I'm after rather than miracles :)
 

starfly

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
353
Likes
287
In what way is the Aeon 2 a better headphone than the Aeon RT? Trying to understand where the additional ~$400 in value comes from and if it's worth it. How would I hear it?
 

Joel

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
30
Foldable gimbal and better materials. They have a different wave guide. I’ve never A-B’ed the two, I found the Aeon 2 on sale a few years ago and the portability and convinced me to spend the money. Would I pay $500 for the 2 vs RT? At that price difference I’d want to hear them both myself.
 

starfly

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
353
Likes
287
I always struggle to spend more than ~$400 on a pair of headphones, as I think it's severely diminishing returns after that. Hoping someone has tested both, or owns both and can share impressions.
 

Joel

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
30
I always struggle to spend more than ~$400 on a pair of headphones, as I think it's severely diminishing returns after that. Hoping someone has tested both, or owns both and can share impressions.
Amir has tested both. Aside from the technical/tonal/measured differences he outlines I think you’d need to listen to both yourself.
 

Chester

Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
418
Likes
993
It really is personal preference. I have both and prefer the RT, even though the Noire is meant to be technically superior.
 

starfly

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
353
Likes
287
Ehh, I'll probably just get the RT if anything and use some of the difference towards a good dongle dac/Amp.

Now I just need to decide between the open and closed versions. I like open because my ears don't get as hot, but having closed of course gives better isolation and less noise leakage for others around the house.
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
7,112
Likes
11,321
Now I just need to decide between the open and closed versions. I like open because my ears don't get as hot, but having closed of course gives better isolation and less noise leakage for others around the house.
The Aeon X/RT/2 Open models all have massive midbass boost.
If you want to use the headphone without EQ, then Closed Is probably the better choice.
 

JanesJr1

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
503
Likes
449
Location
MA
I always struggle to spend more than ~$400 on a pair of headphones, as I think it's severely diminishing returns after that. Hoping someone has tested both, or owns both and can share impressions.
A year or two ago, I did extensive A/B comparison of the Noire (Aeon 2) to the Closed X (RT re-brand for Drop distribution channel). They were level-matched comparisons and both 'phones were EQ'd to Harman/Oratory, but they were sighted comparisons. I spent too many hours comparing them. I understand this was subjective, but I also spent a year using the same two headphones on the same well-known-to-me music and source electronics. I don't know if the differences would be material enough for you to pay more for Aeon 2 technology (re-designed drivers and maybe some other tweaks to bring out soundstage) over Aeon 1 (RT) tech, but it was enough for me, even though I loved both headphones. I posted my detailed reactions on another thread then, but I can summarize here.

For me, the largest difference was in the soundstage. The Closed X is perceptually mostly between my ears, while the Noire has a larger stage outside my head. This was not always a very large soundstage, but with well-recorded, acoustic material that used good miking technique, the subjective space (including delay, reverb, etc) could be pretty large. For me, this was and is a dramatic difference, but at the same time, this kind of thing varies by listener more than other perceptual attributes, and listeners vary a lot in how much they care about it. All I can say is that over half my listening is of acoustic sources, and it is a material difference for me with these headphones. With the Noire, I had a good number of recordings where I felt like I was not far back in the audience in center stage; but rarely so for the Closed X.

(Although most comparisons were EQ'd to Harman for both phones, I also did comparisons without EQ because of Dan Clark's comments about tuning the Noire's FR for to create more recessed mid's as a means to create a more realistic soundstage. I think that is true, but I also had a similar perception even with common EQ. This is a complex subject, and probably a rabbit-hole. Go figure; we're well into subjective listening here.)

The other persistent difference involved two aspects of a single characteristic, that of separation. I have a good number of reference recordings that I use to evaluate separation. Some of them are, for example, orchestral, jazz or other recordings with congested, overlapping instrumental lines, while others were instrument-by-instrument comparisons of percussive transients (e.g. wood-on-wood effects, rimshots, etc.), or simpler, overlapping instrumental lines (e.g. bass viol, drums, sax and piano). Both the Closed X/RT and the Noire/Aeon 2 were very good in instrumental separation, but the Noire was better, and it seemed associated with a subjective characteristic that some call instrumental "decay". For example, the wood-on-wood had a more realistic reverberance or timbre as each transient decayed, while the Closed X sounded more damped. A very recessed bass line in a jazz ensemble recording was easier to pick out clearly with the Noire. The sense of a drumstrike propagating on a drumhead was a bit more realistic with the Noire. A very congested opening movement on a Brahms Piano concerto, that always gives my playback sources at least a little trouble, came through pretty well (I used to blame the recording, but my best sources can navigate it).

The differences that I heard, if others also hear them, probably are more relevant to someone who listens to classical, jazz, folk, or other acoustic sources. The Closed X/RT and Noire/Aeon 2 have more in common than they are different. They both have deep, clean bass and great separation, I could take either to a desert island; but found the Noire to fit my acoustic preferences somewhat better. If you are mostly an "experiential" listener, who focuses on the musical experience, you might not notice the differences because of the dominant similarities. But if you are sometimes also an "analytical" listener, who dwells on the audiophile experience, you might sensitize yourself to the aspects I noticed. Anyway, I recently sold the Closed X for $275 and when I originally got the Noire, I used the DCA Club 15% discount; so the financial pain of upgrading to the Noire was softened. a bit.
 
Last edited:

paudio

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2021
Messages
283
Likes
161
Have these out again for use when things are noisy around here. I am definitely glad the 2 notch white filters were included. I'm very treble sensitive and am I almost never fatigued with these filters inserted.

I wish there was a bit less clamp force. After wearing KPH40X with Yaxi pads and no clamp for a couple months putting these back on is definitely less comfortable. It would be amazing if clamp could be adjusted. Maybe I need to buy equivalent diameter nitinol wire and shape it myself to something with a bit less clamp?

Only other issue is with cables. I hate thick heavy cables. Not a fan of the stock dummer cable. Nor a fan of hart cables due to the microphonic friction noise of the cloth coating rubbing against my shirt when I turn my head. I yearn for a thin, flexible, soft and light cable.
 

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
125
Likes
124
Have these out again for use when things are noisy around here. I am definitely glad the 2 notch white filters were included. I'm very treble sensitive and am I almost never fatigued with these filters inserted.

I wish there was a bit less clamp force. After wearing KPH40X with Yaxi pads and no clamp for a couple months putting these back on is definitely less comfortable. It would be amazing if clamp could be adjusted. Maybe I need to buy equivalent diameter nitinol wire and shape it myself to something with a bit less clamp?

Only other issue is with cables. I hate thick heavy cables. Not a fan of the stock dummer cable. Nor a fan of hart cables due to the microphonic friction noise of the cloth coating rubbing against my shirt when I turn my head. I yearn for a thin, flexible, soft and light cable.

I have a Fog City cable for my Aeon 2 and have been very satisfied with it: https://fogcityaudio.com/products/d...adphone-cable-balanced-or-single-ended-mogami
 

Joel

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
30
Have these out again for use when things are noisy around here. I am definitely glad the 2 notch white filters were included. I'm very treble sensitive and am I almost never fatigued with these filters inserted.

I wish there was a bit less clamp force. After wearing KPH40X with Yaxi pads and no clamp for a couple months putting these back on is definitely less comfortable. It would be amazing if clamp could be adjusted. Maybe I need to buy equivalent diameter nitinol wire and shape it myself to something with a bit less clamp?

Only other issue is with cables. I hate thick heavy cables. Not a fan of the stock dummer cable. Nor a fan of hart cables due to the microphonic friction noise of the cloth coating rubbing against my shirt when I turn my head. I yearn for a thin, flexible, soft and light cable.
Sadly I can’t find the seller info but I bought a custom cable off an eBay seller that I think fits what you want. So they are out there. They aren’t as common and DCA doesn’t make affordable/low-end models so most custom cable makers are trying to appeal to the premium crowd with lower-gauges and thicker coatings that don’t make a difference in most use cases (IMHO).
 

JanesJr1

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
503
Likes
449
Location
MA
Have these out again for use when things are noisy around here. I am definitely glad the 2 notch white filters were included. I'm very treble sensitive and am I almost never fatigued with these filters inserted.

I wish there was a bit less clamp force. After wearing KPH40X with Yaxi pads and no clamp for a couple months putting these back on is definitely less comfortable. It would be amazing if clamp could be adjusted. Maybe I need to buy equivalent diameter nitinol wire and shape it myself to something with a bit less clamp?

Only other issue is with cables. I hate thick heavy cables. Not a fan of the stock dummer cable. Nor a fan of hart cables due to the microphonic friction noise of the cloth coating rubbing against my shirt when I turn my head. I yearn for a thin, flexible, soft and light cable.
Hart Audio carries the DCA-style connectors, and their cables are flexible and in my experience well-made. Less expensive than some, too. I've seen others refer to low-cost suppliers with the same DCA sockets at AliExpress, but I don't have the link.

[PS missed your comment the first time around that you'd already tried the Hart cables. I've got some on my Noire as I write, and I'm hearing close to zero microphonics... I can barely hear it if I turn my head and think about it, but it's got to be as good as any cable I've ever heard on microphonics, and I've heard many worse. I believe you are reporting your own experience, but you must have had a different cable material or construction for a different model.]
 
Last edited:

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
2,957
Likes
2,588
Location
Nashville
I too have a pair of Hart Audio cables for my RT Opens. Nice light cables. On the thin side as well vs the OG cables which were quite thick and stiff.
 

paudio

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2021
Messages
283
Likes
161
Hart Audio carries the DCA-style connectors, and their cables are flexible and in my experience well-made. Less expensive than some, too. I've seen others refer to low-cost suppliers with the same DCA sockets at AliExpress, but I don't have the link.

[PS missed your comment the first time around that you'd already tried the Hart cables. I've got some on my Noire as I write, and I'm hearing close to zero microphonics... I can barely hear it if I turn my head and think about it, but it's got to be as good as any cable I've ever heard on microphonics, and I've heard many worse. I believe you are reporting your own experience, but you must have had a different cable material or construction for a different model.]
Is it rubbing on your shirt when you rotate your head? Try running the cable across your shirt and listen. Else what covering do you have?

Can't compete much at all with stock Austrian Audio cables for instance.

Edit: I've got a corpsecable which is all PVC or rubber outer and I don't have the same problem as paracord covered cable. It's literally the cloth rubbing against my clothing that causes the noise up at the cups. It's still a heavy proaudio cable which is really overkill for my usage. Apple Dongle goes way louder than I need with EQ. I'm sure something lighter and more flexible would not affect performance.
 
Last edited:

darmok

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2023
Messages
18
Likes
16
Is it rubbing on your shirt when you rotate your head? Try running the cable across your shirt and listen. Else what covering do you have?

I also found the Hart Audio cable to be incredibly microphonic w/ the Closed X. When I'm sitting at my desk and working it's not a big issue, but if I'm trying to relax in a more reclined position the cable rubs on my shirt as @paudio describes. It's a shame as I like the interconnect system and use them for my other cans (HiFiMan and Sennheiser). I've thought about asking Hart if they'd make a PVC or rubber-coated cable just to alleviate this issue, but the reality is that the stock rubbery cable is just fine and I don't really want to run these balanced on most sources anyway as that'd present a 6Ω load to the amp.

DCA also sells a balanced cable but $99 is too much to spend on a cable for me (as are the $150+ corpsecable cables, phew!). I tried to register for the club to see if there was an accessory discount, but never received any email or other response so I'm assuming it's not open to Drop purchasers.
 

paudio

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2021
Messages
283
Likes
161
I also found the Hart Audio cable to be incredibly microphonic w/ the Closed X. When I'm sitting at my desk and working it's not a big issue, but if I'm trying to relax in a more reclined position the cable rubs on my shirt as @paudio describes. It's a shame as I like the interconnect system and use them for my other cans (HiFiMan and Sennheiser). I've thought about asking Hart if they'd make a PVC or rubber-coated cable just to alleviate this issue, but the reality is that the stock rubbery cable is just fine and I don't really want to run these balanced on most sources anyway as that'd present a 6Ω load to the amp.

DCA also sells a balanced cable but $99 is too much to spend on a cable for me (as are the $150+ corpsecable cables, phew!). I tried to register for the club to see if there was an accessory discount, but never received any email or other response so I'm assuming it's not open to Drop purchasers.
I actually asked Hart Audio about this awhile back

We can make that cable in our "NK series" Style, and can do a chin slider on those, and that should help quite a bit with what you're experiencing. Only issue is the cost associated. It'd be about $20-30 more than what our HC-12 is listed as. If that's a route you'd like to take, let me know and I can get a quote / invoice set up! Thanks -James
 

paudio

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2021
Messages
283
Likes
161
Also I'd add the friction microphonics bothered me so much when working that I bought a used Corpse Cable Gravedigger cable. I can report that the noise is way quieter than with the Hart cables but still present. The cable is less flexible and heavier though than the Hart one. I think I am going to end up just making my own cable for these and sell all the rest. At the same time I may also convert from Hirose to 3.5mm jacks.
 
Top Bottom