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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 20.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 74 44.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 52 31.3%

  • Total voters
    166

Digidigi

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Thanks, this is really useful information.

My Aeon 2 Noire came with 3 sets of filters as listed above. What is the combination of filters and corresponding PEQ settings that would give me the closest effect to using 1 notch white + 1 black with the PEQ that you provided in the previous post?
I'm just guessing here but I think the closest thing would be to combine the two black filters since the 2 notch white is pretty aggressive. No idea what the proper peq settings for this combo would be though.
 

Hemi-Demon

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Jan 17, 2019
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I purchased a set of these for work when the original version (non noire) was released. They are the most comfortable closed cans I have ever used. The travel case is the perfect size, and they sound sublime, with minimal eq to my taste. The issue is that my next door cubicle mates complained of noise leakage. I wear glasses so that may be an issue.
When I owned them, I took the cans off and placed the pads together to imitate a complete seal, and pushed play on my dap. I could definitely hear music that could infringe upon someone sitting next to me. I never go above 25 on my dap, so I doubt I ever play above 65-75dba. So it's not an issue of listening at high volume.

Does the Noire seal better, than the original? Are there any mods that can help control sound leakage with these DCA cans? I'd like two use these again, but I need a closed can that seals better. For now I stick to items at work.
 

staticV3

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Does the Noire seal better, than the original?
The Noire is identical to the Aeon 2 Closed, except it uses ear pads with perforations on the inside wall (left), compared to the default pads (right):
202004_danclark_cups.jpeg

I don't see how that could possibly improve seal/leakage tbh. If anything, it ought to make leakage worse.
 

IAtaman

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The Noire is identical to the Aeon 2 Closed, except it uses ear pads with perforations on the inside wall (left), compared to the default pads (right):
View attachment 298384

I don't see how that could possibly improve seal/leakage tbh. If anything, it ought to make leakage worse.
It might if you use it with a warm, non-analytical DAC, maybe an R2R .
 
Last edited:

IAtaman

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The Noire is identical to the Aeon 2 Closed, except it uses ear pads with perforations on the inside wall (left), compared to the default pads (right):
View attachment 298384

I don't see how that could possibly improve seal/leakage tbh. If anything, it ought to make leakage worse.
On a more serious note, I remember someone explaining how a controlled leak has been used in a headphone to improve its bass response. I don't recall exactly which one unfortunately - it was Sundara maybe? In any case, maybe those perforations can be a way to introduce control leakage to improve bass response?
 

holdingpants01

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On a more serious note, I remember someone explaining how a controlled leak has been used in a headphone to improve its bass response. I don't recall exactly which one unfortunately - it was Sundara maybe? In any case, maybe those perforations can be a way to introduce control leakage to improve bass response?
there are small holes on the back of the Aeon, when I close them the bass disappear
 

IAtaman

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there are small holes on the back of the Aeon, when I close them the bass disappear
Interesting. Are those holes connected to the volume behind the driver or in front of it you reckon?
 

CedarX

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On a more serious note, I remember someone explaining how a controlled leak has been used in a headphone to improve its bass response. I don't recall exactly which one unfortunately - it was Sundara maybe? In any case, maybe those perforations can be a way to introduce control leakage to improve bass response?
The Sundara is indeed one of those headphones that shows an increase in bass levels (but not bass extension) when the seal is broken, See @solderdude review at:
A "controlled leak" can certainly produce the same effects.
 

markanini

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There's also The Beyerdynamic Customs series, with a three position switch that lets you control bass levels, by means of a controlled leak.
 

solderdude

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But that is a port on the rear of the driver which acts quite different from (un)intentional seal leakage.
 

paudio

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I rarely listen to my Noire louder than 30% on my Apple dongle. I was unable to notice any reasonable difference other than volume between several higher power amp/dacs. I think I must have way more sensitive hearing then some people here. At 30hz sine wave at 3/4 volume (way too loud for me) my USB-C power meter says 4.99V @ 0.07-0.10A. Normal volume it basically doesn't register anything.
 

juliangst

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My hearing also is on the rather sensitive side but at 30% the Noires are barely audible with my apple dongle (0.5V EU version)
 

dadduah

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DCA Aeon 2 Noires were my go-to headphones for the past couple years. They're reliable little workhorses that sound good, sometimes great, but never fantastic. Looking back I think I could have stuck with them, but they had enough drawbacks that encouraged me to sell them... and then repurchase and resell two more times.

I haven't read through all of this thread, but I imagine enough people have waxed poetic about the Noires so I will just throw out what I didn't like about them. First off the hotspots caused by clamping force/pad shape. It seems like a handful of people experience fatigue in the jaw area due to the amount of pressure applied from the nitinol, which the pad shape then sends to a very specific area beneath the lower portion of the outer ear/jaw. It wasn't a terrible sensation for myself, but it progressed from a minor annoyance to a frustrating occurence fairly quickly.

Another knock against the Noires is that I think they look goofy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but I just never warmed up to how they look.

Lastly the portable design. At first it's pretty cool that the Noires fold up to about 60% of their original design; the collapsible arms are well thought out and built sturdily. But the need for moderate external amplification kind of throws a wrench into this. It seems that there are dongles that when driving the Noires over a balanced connection get them firing on all cylinders, but thats still another thing to factor in when packing up your portable headphones. Additionally, when collapsing the Noires to fit into their case you have to unadjust the headband and, conversely, when taking them out to listen you have to readjust them. I might just be lazy, but it proved to be an annoyance nonetheless. And lastly, the case that comes with the Noires in a great case that has a nice little pocket for accessories, such as a cable. The bummer is that putting the cable in the pocket and closing the case up with headphones the cable seems to barely fit. Sometimes the connectors from the cable just squish into the pads if you packed everything right, but if you didn't then the metal cable plugs might scrape against the body of the headphone. Honestly feels like they forgot people might want to store the cable with the headphones when designing the case.

Ultimately the whole transportable angle has some pros and some cons and I consider it to be kind of a draw. The functionality is there, but not enough that I would reccomend them for that specific use case.

So although I had these gripes that led me to get rid of them a handful of times, I would still recommend the Noires. They're a headphone that doesn't aim to wow, but rather aims to be reliable. The stock tuning is a little spicier up top than I prefer, but applying some EQ made for a pretty enjoyable experience.

In the time between owning different pairs of Noires I had a pair of Audeze LCD-XCs (2021), ZMF Eikons, Denon AH-D9200s, Meze Lirics, and Mr. Speakers (DCA) Ether C Flow 1.1s. The ECF1.1s are what I ultimately have landed on. The build quality and comfort is great and rectifies all my gripes with the Noire's pad shape and portability focused design decisions. I also think they look cool. The stock tuning isn't bad, but warmer than I'd prefer. I've been using Oratory1990's Harman profile and it creates a solid listening experience. If you're down with EQing I'd say look for a pair of used Ether C Flow 1.1s. They seem to be selling for around the price of a used set of Noires.

While I wasn't completely sold on the Noires I think a lot of people will be/continue to be. I really enjoy the cans I have right now, and I think I'll be good for quite some time, but if the sweet siren song of consumerism beckons me to explore what else is out there, Dan Clark Audio will be the first place I look.
 

jdjung

Active Member
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Apr 28, 2023
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68
DCA Aeon 2 Noires were my go-to headphones for the past couple years. They're reliable little workhorses that sound good, sometimes great, but never fantastic. Looking back I think I could have stuck with them, but they had enough drawbacks that encouraged me to sell them... and then repurchase and resell two more times.

I haven't read through all of this thread, but I imagine enough people have waxed poetic about the Noires so I will just throw out what I didn't like about them. First off the hotspots caused by clamping force/pad shape. It seems like a handful of people experience fatigue in the jaw area due to the amount of pressure applied from the nitinol, which the pad shape then sends to a very specific area beneath the lower portion of the outer ear/jaw. It wasn't a terrible sensation for myself, but it progressed from a minor annoyance to a frustrating occurence fairly quickly.

Another knock against the Noires is that I think they look goofy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but I just never warmed up to how they look.

Lastly the portable design. At first it's pretty cool that the Noires fold up to about 60% of their original design; the collapsible arms are well thought out and built sturdily. But the need for moderate external amplification kind of throws a wrench into this. It seems that there are dongles that when driving the Noires over a balanced connection get them firing on all cylinders, but thats still another thing to factor in when packing up your portable headphones. Additionally, when collapsing the Noires to fit into their case you have to unadjust the headband and, conversely, when taking them out to listen you have to readjust them. I might just be lazy, but it proved to be an annoyance nonetheless. And lastly, the case that comes with the Noires in a great case that has a nice little pocket for accessories, such as a cable. The bummer is that putting the cable in the pocket and closing the case up with headphones the cable seems to barely fit. Sometimes the connectors from the cable just squish into the pads if you packed everything right, but if you didn't then the metal cable plugs might scrape against the body of the headphone. Honestly feels like they forgot people might want to store the cable with the headphones when designing the case.

Ultimately the whole transportable angle has some pros and some cons and I consider it to be kind of a draw. The functionality is there, but not enough that I would reccomend them for that specific use case.

So although I had these gripes that led me to get rid of them a handful of times, I would still recommend the Noires. They're a headphone that doesn't aim to wow, but rather aims to be reliable. The stock tuning is a little spicier up top than I prefer, but applying some EQ made for a pretty enjoyable experience.

In the time between owning different pairs of Noires I had a pair of Audeze LCD-XCs (2021), ZMF Eikons, Denon AH-D9200s, Meze Lirics, and Mr. Speakers (DCA) Ether C Flow 1.1s. The ECF1.1s are what I ultimately have landed on. The build quality and comfort is great and rectifies all my gripes with the Noire's pad shape and portability focused design decisions. I also think they look cool. The stock tuning isn't bad, but warmer than I'd prefer. I've been using Oratory1990's Harman profile and it creates a solid listening experience. If you're down with EQing I'd say look for a pair of used Ether C Flow 1.1s. They seem to be selling for around the price of a used set of Noires.

While I wasn't completely sold on the Noires I think a lot of people will be/continue to be. I really enjoy the cans I have right now, and I think I'll be good for quite some time, but if the sweet siren song of consumerism beckons me to explore what else is out there, Dan Clark Audio will be the first place I look.
I agree with the cables not fitting in the case, this is annoying. The rest I have a different opinion. I love the way they look. In terms of the headband, It seems strange to me that people don't realize that the head band is on screws.

You don't have to ever readjust the headband, except to simply rotate them when you fold the headband and they stay in place and don't compress the pads. Also you can store the headphones this way because it no longer compresses the pads given the clamp force is much worse if you put them on a head phone stand where the pads are touching the center of the stand or the clamp force is the same if you have them lose/unfolded on a peg given that the hinge is not spring loaded. I saw a YouTube video where someone was complaining that the headband compresses the pads when folded and all he had to do was rotate the headband.
 

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Robbo99999

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I agree with the cables not fitting in the case, this is annoying. The rest I have a different opinion. I love the way they look. In terms of the headband, It seems strange to me that people don't realize that the head band is on screws.

You don't have to ever readjust the headband, except to simply rotate them when you fold the headband and they stay in place and don't compress the pads. Also you can store the headphones this way because it no longer compresses the pads given the clamp force is much worse if you put them on a head phone stand where the pads are touching the center of the stand or the clamp force is the same if you have them lose on a peg given that the hing is not spring loaded. I saw a YouTube video where someone was complaining that the headband compresses the pads when folded and all he had to do was rotate the headband.
Yeah, I think it's a bad idea to leave any headphone "clamped" on a headphone stand - compressing the pads the whole time will cause them to flatten & need replacement prematurely and also it means the pad is less likely to conform to your own head properly - I find that over time a headphone pad will change shape to more ideally fit the contours of your own head, but those changes would be undone if you store it on a "clamped on" headphone stand.
 
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