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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

AVKS

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You can add reviewers like me in the list of people who don't like it. :) Having to test the headphone 2 or 3 times with various config adds tremendous burden and confuses the messaging of what the headphone is about. In the age of ready EQ, we don't need blunt instruments like that anyway.
Not everyone has access or the inclination to use EQ. For example, I can not use a computer as a source so do not have access (or inclination) to digital parametric EQ. The pads are great for general modification that many enjoy using. I definitely use the filters for my Aeon Closed RT.

There were other reasons as well, and this can be added to the list. But I thought an important for you to be aware that the high frequency emphasis you observed, was actually not expected to be the way most people would listen to it. But as you know, we don’t do it this way anymore on our new products and we won’t going forward…. Part of the concept of the ability to tune a product to taste comes from my own history modifying audio products, as we’ve moved to a broader audience, and people who are less interested in fine-tuning and tweaking things that model just doesn’t make sense for us or the majority of our customers anymore.
Can the tuning kits still be requested?
 
Last edited:

Dan Clark

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When I am in the shop tomorrow I will post measurements with the damping for the curious…
Not everyone has access or the inclination to use EQ. For example, I can not use a computer as a source so do not have access (or inclination) to digital parametric EQ. The pads are great for general modification that many enjoy using.


Can the tuning kits still be requested?
hi, they are still part of the product and are also available as an affordable kit for anyone who loses parts.
 

DJBonoBobo

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Snoopy

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I think the filter pads are great. You don't need EQ.. they offer extra protection for the drivers (hair, dust, humidity?).

The Noire are the very comfortable with the big wide cups. They sound great even without EQ. And they are not "crazy" money.

The folding mechanism is great for a vacation. Just to bad that they are so current dependent. But a good DAP or portable headphone amp will take care of that.
 
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There were other reasons as well, and this can be added to the list. But I thought an important for you to be aware that the high frequency emphasis you observed, was actually not expected to be the way most people would listen to it. But as you know, we don’t do it this way anymore on our new products and we won’t going forward…. Part of the concept of the ability to tune a product to taste comes from my own history modifying audio products, as we’ve moved to a broader audience, and people who are less interested in fine-tuning and tweaking things that model just doesn’t make sense for us or the majority of our customers anymore.
That's a bit of a shame, i really like them on my Closed X. I would have though that it would increase appeal to a wider audience rather than reduce it.

In the age of ready EQ, we don't need blunt instruments like that anyway.
That's not fair to say. Most people, i would think, don't use EQ at all.
I like the filters on my DCA Closed X because i use them with everything from a phone or PC (where i can do all the EQ i want) to CD players, game consoles and an old cassette walkman where EQ are never an option. Besides all that, tweaking the sound can be a bit fun.

I just wish they'd quite the "no no, these filters really do burn in" nonsense. It seems pretty unlikely to be true.
Actually, it may be worth your time to test that theory.
I have a pair of the white filters that i've never tried, so that i can throw them on my MiniDSP EARS and see if they made that up. I just need a few days where i can leave them playing on the rig.

Edit because the word "not" was missing from "That's not fair to say.".
 
Last edited:

PeteL

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That's a bit of a shame, i really like them on my Closed X. I would have though that it would increase appeal to a wider audience rather than reduce it.


That's fair to say. Most people, i would think, don't use EQ at all.
I like the filters on my DCA Closed X because i use them with everything from a phone or PC (where i can do all the EQ i want) to CD players, game consoles and an old cassette walkman where EQ are never an option. Besides all that, tweaking the sound can be a bit fun.

I just wish they'd quite the "no no, these filters really do burn in" nonsense. It seems pretty unlikely to be true.
Actually, it may be worth your time to test that theory.
I have a pair of the white filters that i've never tried, so that i can throw them on my MiniDSP EARS and see if they made that up. I just need a few days where i can leave them playing on the rig.
I like EQ, but at least on MacOs an IOS, it is very difficult to find a decent system wide solution that is not expensive that will work with everything, for me being Tidal, BluOS, Internet content like Youtube and Netflix, etc. It's a very popular blanket answer here the typical "Just use EQ to get the sound you want" It sounds easy. but in reality, passive headphones should not rely on frequency manipulation to sound good, I will never consider an headphone that don't sound good out of the box on the premiss that it can be fixed afterward, we are not there yet unfortunately. I would also not consider headphone that are that inefficient neither although I had in the past. Flexibility is Key for headphones, along with confort and sound quality. I want them to do all that. My Speaker system can be tweaked, I's not going anywhere, but the beauty of headphones is that It can be used in all sort of situations. I don't want 5 different headphones, I want one. I have to be able to plug it straight in my Laptop and enjoy. Or in my Pro console, or in the headphone output of my Audio Interface.
 

Snoopy

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I like EQ, but at least on MacOs an IOS, it is very difficult to find a decent system wide solution that is not expensive that will work with everything, for me being Tidal, BluOS, Internet content like Youtube and Netflix, etc. It's a very popular blanket answer here the typical "Just use EQ to get the sound you want" It sounds easy. but in reality, passive headphones should not rely on frequency manipulation to sound good, I will never consider an headphone that don't sound good out of the box on the premiss that it can be fixed afterward, we are not there yet unfortunately. I would also not consider headphone that are that inefficient neither although I had in the past. Flexibility is Key for headphones, along with confort and sound quality. I want them to do all that. My Speaker system can be tweaked, I's not going anywhere, but the beauty of headphones is that It can be used in all sort of situations. I don't want 5 different headphones, I want one. I have to be able to plug it straight in my Laptop and enjoy. Or in my Pro console, or in the headphone output of my Audio Interface.

Just use a rme ADI DAC and do the EQ stuff there :)
 

holdingpants01

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SoundSource on Mac Os works great, I use Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 for EQ in it, but they have some built in EQ and also headphone EQ profile loader with Oratory, Crinacle, Rtings etc profiles available directly from the app
 
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Just use a rme ADI DAC and do the EQ stuff there
Right, but that costs more than my DAC, 2 different headphone amps and one of my decent pairs of headphones combined. Good audio doesn't require tons of money.

I can't use the RME at work, either, and i sometimes spend ten hours listening to music at work in one day. I use all sorts of audio sources for that.
I'd rather buy a decent pair of headphones that will sound good anywhere and with anything, personally.
 

juliangst

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Doing EQ on PC and Mac is pretty easy and mostly free.
But if you want to use them on the go with your iPhone it’s a lot more complicated and you basically have to get the BTR7 or Qudelix 5K.
That’s why I always use my Aeons with the white felt pads and don’t apply any EQ.
 

Snoopy

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Doing EQ on PC and Mac is pretty easy and mostly free.
But if you want to use them on the go with your iPhone it’s a lot more complicated and you basically have to get the BTR7 or Qudelix 5K.
That’s why I always use my Aeons with the white felt pads and don’t apply any EQ.

I have a Mac and I do EQ in roon at home. And EQ with Crossfeed etc on the go with Roon ARC. Plenty of DAPs work with roon arc or have EQ features.

Obviously it doesn't work for TV. But don't really care for EQ with movies and TV shows. AirPlay with the Noire is good enough there.
 

CedarX

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Right, but that costs more than my DAC, 2 different headphone amps and one of my decent pairs of headphones combined. Good audio doesn't require tons of money.

I can't use the RME at work, either, and i sometimes spend ten hours listening to music at work in one day. I use all sorts of audio sources for that.
I'd rather buy a decent pair of headphones that will sound good anywhere and with anything, personally.
Same here…. Love the Noire, but they are indeed a little hard to drive. I use them with a Topping G5 in a “transportable” type use—remote working from different places in the house.
 
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Love the Noire, but they are indeed a little hard to drive.
Are they any harder to drive than the DCA closed X? I usually use those with a THX 789, so i obviously don't want for power.

But sometimes, i power them with a Schiit Valhalla 2. From memory, that thing fails to put out more than a handful of milliwatts.
It works fine, though i don't crank the volume that high with it.
 

Robbo99999

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Is the difference in bass quality (and quantity) between the HD6X0 line and the HD560s really that big?

I ask because I've never tried the HD560s and now I'm curious, I generally lean towards dynamic drivers and Sennheiser is my de facto brand (although I don't like the inferior build quality of the HD500 series compared to the HD6X0 line).
Yep, in my experience it is, the HD560s EQ'd bass is basically as good as the planar HE4XX and closed back NAD HP50 in terms of bass after all have been EQ'd - ie the best bass I've heard in headphones (the Truthear Crinacle Zero X IEM also easily matches this) - that's about 4 different headphones incorporating different tech that for me virtually equal each other in bass reproduction - ie sounds perfect in definition, can't imagine better bass than that. Bass is notably of poorer quality in HD600 & also my K702 when all EQ'd, but K702 better than HD600 in terms of bass. For me the HD560s with EQ is far superior to the HD600, because HD560s has better imaging & soundstage whilst having better bass and is really just as resolving as the HD600 in the other frequency ranges.
 

Dan Clark

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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.

Various Filter Options Relative 425Hz.JPG


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:

PEQ With 1 Notch White + 1 Black.png


PEQ Settings.png


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.

THD Ratio Aeon 2 Noire with 1Black +1 1-Notch White.jpg


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

Robbo99999

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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.
That's undoubtedly good & accurate information to have for owners of this headphone, so thanks on behalf of ASR!
 

majingotan

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@Dan Clark

Any plans in the future of bringing that AMTS tech into something like Aeon line up and would cost about 1/2 or less than the Flagship planars? (they're too expensive for a lot people). A smaller AMTS with the same planar surface volume as current Aeon headphones would solve these resonance peaks and provide a more natural timbre to our ears
 

Dan Clark

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@Dan Clark

Any plans in the future of bringing that AMTS tech into something like Aeon line up and would cost about 1/2 or less than the Flagship planars? (they're too expensive for a lot people). A smaller AMTS with the same planar surface volume as current Aeon headphones would solve these resonance peaks and provide a more natural timbre to our ears
We don't talk about future products at all, sorry. I'm ex-Apple, after all... ;)
 
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