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Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 3.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 34 19.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 78 45.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 55 31.8%

  • Total voters
    173

Mauro

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As noted by Amir earlier in his comments the customer sent him the Aeon 2 Noire without the included tuning pads. As such, the review really only covered a subset of the system's performance options. It's important to note that the tuning system not only affects the frequency domain, but also THD performance. For most users using the tuning kit is recommended as the tuning of the top octaves may sound bright to those looking for a more neutral or more Harman response.

The following shows the effect of various filters on frequency response. For myself I generally use 1 notch white + 1 black as shown in the blue line. The reason the filters reduce the amplitude of the peaks and sometime valleys is they serve to reduce standing waves. Their ability to do so is limited, which led us to develop our Acoustic Metamaterial to give better control of all aspects of upper octave performance.

View attachment 296338

As is evident, the blue curve is significantly smoother than the no-pads tuning, and is also therefore easier to PEQ, using the following settings:

View attachment 296339

View attachment 296340

Last of all, as noted above the filters significantly reduce THD, including in the lower midrange. This particular unit I pulled from inventory also has a bit less bass THD, but Amir's unit was within norms. Note the reduction in THD around 700Hz.

View attachment 296341

I hope this provides additional insight into both the intended use of the product as well as the performance effects of the tuning system.
Hello Dan @Dan Clark

oratory1990 measured the aeon closed 2 with perforated pads and the noire (the latter in line with your measurements).
- https://www.dropbox.com/s/pc11x3fotqtbs7l/Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed (perforated earpads).pdf?dl=0
- https://www.dropbox.com/s/yx9cqi00pfzbtox/Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire.pdf?dl=0

They measure differently. Reading online people seem to say they are the same.
Could you please confirm it?
If not what are the differences, not only sound-wise?
It seems that the former is better balanced in the upper midrange/treble.. I would like to buy one but I am a bit confused.
Cheers
 

Dan Clark

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Hello Dan @Dan Clark

oratory1990 measured the aeon closed 2 with perforated pads and the noire (the latter in line with your measurements).
- https://www.dropbox.com/s/pc11x3fotqtbs7l/Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed (perforated earpads).pdf?dl=0
- https://www.dropbox.com/s/yx9cqi00pfzbtox/Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire.pdf?dl=0

They measure differently. Reading online people seem to say they are the same.
Could you please confirm it?
If not what are the differences, not only sound-wise?
It seems that the former is better balanced in the upper midrange/treble.. I would like to buy one but I am a bit confused.
Cheers
They clearly had a better seal on the second set. It's also possible one set had damping in the other didn't, etc. It's pretty hard to comment on 3rd party measurements definitiively, but technically the heardphones are the same other than color so they should sound the same, modulo the usual variables...

Variances in measurements can include how much pad wear there is, getting a seating on the fixture, and whether filters were installed. Looking at the 2 I suspect the Noire is setup with one of the felts in use while the A2C is not, and the A2C maybe has worn pads, but if both had new pads and the same damping the only difference should be normal unit variation.
 

Mauro

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Nov 23, 2019
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They clearly had a better seal on the second set. It's also possible one set had damping in the other didn't, etc. It's pretty hard to comment on 3rd party measurements definitiively, but technically the heardphones are the same other than color so they should sound the same, modulo the usual variables...

Variances in measurements can include how much pad wear there is, getting a seating on the fixture, and whether filters were installed. Looking at the 2 I suspect the Noire is setup with one of the felts in use while the A2C is not, and the A2C maybe has worn pads, but if both had new pads and the same damping the only difference should be normal unit variation.
Got it. Thanks for the quick reply!
 

randing

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As noted by Amir earlier in his comments the customer sent him the Aeon 2 Noire without the included tuning pads. As such, the review really only covered a subset of the system's performance options. It's important to note that the tuning system not only affects the frequency domain, but also THD performance. For most users using the tuning kit is recommended as the tuning of the top octaves may sound bright to those looking for a more neutral or more Harman response.

The following shows the effect of various filters on frequency response. For myself I generally use 1 notch white + 1 black as shown in the blue line. The reason the filters reduce the amplitude of the peaks and sometime valleys is they serve to reduce standing waves. Their ability to do so is limited, which led us to develop our Acoustic Metamaterial to give better control of all aspects of upper octave performance.

I hope this provides additional insight into both the intended use of the product as well as the performance effects of the tuning system.

Hey @Dan Clark, for the measurements you referenced with the filters in place, this is with the thinner white felt (1 notch white) and the black foam (not the black felt)?
 

drey

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But maybe I'm talking nonsense and I should just adapt to the Topping signature sound. I mean the clarity and "speed" of the bass is much better on the Topping.

I'll keep using these for a month and see where I'm at. :)

I'm happy to report I've become very happy with my Noires. I realized using the extra gain mode on the Topping drives the headphones much better in the bass department. Though I do have to EQ them to remove the nasty highs. Still despite this I love to use them. There's so much clarity in the sound. And they are comfortable to wear for many hours.

I just hope I nail down the EQ settings at some point. I've tried the various EQs posted online but none of them did the trick. And Peace EQ is a PITA to use compared to most modern VST EQs, for example.
 

holdingpants01

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I'm happy to report I've become very happy with my Noires. I realized using the extra gain mode on the Topping drives the headphones much better in the bass department. Though I do have to EQ them to remove the nasty highs. Still despite this I love to use them. There's so much clarity in the sound. And they are comfortable to wear for many hours.

I just hope I nail down the EQ settings at some point. I've tried the various EQs posted online but none of them did the trick. And Peace EQ is a PITA to use compared to most modern VST EQs, for example.
I've found the perfect EQ curve to clean up some high end and upper midrange with Noires, I use it as a TXT file in the Sound Source headphone EQ module and it goes like this:

Preamp: -3.21 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 105.0 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 0.70
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 101.7 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 1.29
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 181.6 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 3.21
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 315.9 Hz Gain -1.0 dB Q 1.23
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 826.6 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 2.04
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2171.0 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 2.30
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3720.5 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 3.81
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 5562.5 Hz Gain -2.8 dB Q 4.11
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 9232.5 Hz Gain 4.3 dB Q 1.74
Filter 10: ON HS Fc 10000.0 Hz Gain -9.8 dB Q 0.70

It's also very easy to manually adjust, especially the shelves. I think it was created for Noires without the inserts and I use them like that
 

rarewolf

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I've found the perfect EQ curve to clean up some high end and upper midrange with Noires, I use it as a TXT file in the Sound Source headphone EQ module and it goes like this:

Preamp: -3.21 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 105.0 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 0.70
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 101.7 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 1.29
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 181.6 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 3.21
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 315.9 Hz Gain -1.0 dB Q 1.23
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 826.6 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 2.04
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2171.0 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 2.30
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3720.5 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 3.81
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 5562.5 Hz Gain -2.8 dB Q 4.11
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 9232.5 Hz Gain 4.3 dB Q 1.74
Filter 10: ON HS Fc 10000.0 Hz Gain -9.8 dB Q 0.70

It's also very easy to manually adjust, especially the shelves. I think it was created for Noires without the inserts and I use them like that

That’s a lot of work considering everyone’s ears are different…

#jussayin
 

holdingpants01

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That’s a lot of work considering everyone’s ears are different…

#jussayin
that's not a lot of work to bring it closer to the harman curve, as that's the goal. The last 4 filters making it much more natural sounding in the midrange and highs and it's hard to listen to them without after experiencing it, first 5 can be skipped
 
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drey

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Does anyone know where I can find some thin cable replacements that have these Hirose 4 pin style connectors? The only ones I've found so far are these Black Dragon ones, but I'm not going to shell out $400 for this.

The stock cable is very bulky. Not unusual for this type of headphone, but I'm more used to the thing cables like the ones on the Sennheisers.

The other cables I've seen in web shops all look similarly bulky to me as the stock one. The issue I have with it is that it keeps twisting and it won't sit firmly on the desk, or it's too heavy if I let it slide off the desk.
 

xophere

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New Nior owner. WRT to Amp choices what "works" vs what sounds good is very variable here. Bot the Fii0 k7 and the Qudelix 5K can produce volume using balanced cables. But an Asgard 3 single ended has vastly better sound to my ear. Both with filters and not. I use them in a noisy env so I use the thin white and black dampening to help with the outside noise isolation and then take the black out when it is quiet.

Haven't tried EQ but will likely wire up Amir's just to see. This seems to be true of the higher end DCA cans. That amp characteristics can have a large effect on tone across the frequency band. The k7 sounded fine. Loud reasonable. The Asgard just sounds so much better. I could listen to them on the 5K but probably won't. Might as well use IEM's for that use case. For traveling I would need something else. Though that isn't my intent with them.
 

paudio

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@amirm There seem to be some autocorrect errors in the review's conclusion
The Aeron 2 Noire brings expected bass response
I am not going to recommend the DAC Aeron 2 Noire

I keep thinking Herman Miller X Dan Clark Audio product when I read it
 

jhaider

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New Nior owner. WRT to Amp choices what "works" vs what sounds good is very variable here. Bot the Fii0 k7 and the Qudelix 5K can produce volume using balanced cables.

My experience is they’re a little too inefficient for Qudelix, be it “active ground” or 2.5 mm TRRS. RME ADI-2 is probably the best fit - plenty of headroom and EQ.
 

CedarX

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My experience is they’re a little too inefficient for Qudelix, be it “active ground” or 2.5 mm TRRS. RME ADI-2 is probably the best fit - plenty of headroom and EQ.
Another portable option is the Qudelix T71: that’s what I use to drive my Noire headphones with a balanced cable.
 
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paudio

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My experience is they’re a little too inefficient for Qudelix, be it “active ground” or 2.5 mm TRRS. RME ADI-2 is probably the best fit - plenty of headroom and EQ.
Even 3.5mm in high gain mode with EQ is loud enough for me on the Qudelix. So I guess it depends on how loud you listen.
 
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jhaider

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Even 3.5mm in high gain mode with EQ is loud enough for me on the Qudelix. So I guess it depends on how loud you listen.
Or what you listen to. For compressed music you’re probably right. Music with wide dynamic range tends to sound a bit bleached because the headroom isn’t there.
 

Grobbelboy

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I also had no problem listening loud enough to my EQ’d Noire on the unbalanced connection of the Qudelix. Only wished it could get a bit louder when listening to certain quietly mixed music, like the classic Pixies albums.
 

paudio

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Or what you listen to. For compressed music you’re probably right. Music with wide dynamic range tends to sound a bit bleached because the headroom isn’t there.
That too but I can run EQ on high gain on 3.5mm single ended. I must listen a lot quieter though.
 
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