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Dan Clark E3 Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 12 5.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 32 15.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 163 77.3%

  • Total voters
    211

Robbo99999

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Just received mine. I won't be selling my HD800S but I find no good reason to retain my closed headphone arsenal (even the Ether CX doesn't stand a chance).
What do you do with your HD800s re EQ if indeed you do EQ it? I'm guessing you use E3 at stock. Assuming that how does HD800s compare to E3, whilst also assuming you're probably EQ'ing to the same curve?
 

paudio

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Just received mine. I won't be selling my HD800S but I find no good reason to retain my closed headphone arsenal (even the Ether CX doesn't stand a chance).
No demo was available unfortunately. Too much money for me to order without hearing. Potentially just too much money even if I do hear them :eek:
 
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No demo was available unfortunately. Too much money for me to order without hearing. Potentially just too much money even if I do hear them :eek:
It's a lot of money to be sure, though the 15% off for previous buyers was much appreciated. I have owned many headphones and still have several around to compare to. The problem with many sealed headphones for me is the vocals, which tend to sound unnatural. When I switch from the HD650 to the E3 there is no tonality issue for me, only added clarity and bass definition with the E3. I can't say that about any other sealed headphone I've used. Compared to the HD800S the E3 lacks that unique layering the Sennheiser offers but the bass is cleaner and deeper with the E3. I do EQ the HD800S and have played with EQ on the E3; its neutrality and transparency make it ideal for EQing, but it doesn't need it. Ultimately the E3 allows me to listen to music with very high clarity, honesty, and intimacy. Here's a shot of a comparison with Dan Clark's other sealed cans and the HD800S.
 

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drey

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Does anyone have experience driving these with various amps? The bass is quite weaker compared to the Aeon 2 Noire, but I'm driving these with the Topping DX5. I get plenty of volume even at -20db, but the bass is just lacking compared to the Noire's. I'm trying to figure out if the E3 are just more power hungry and need a better amp.

I had a similar problem with the Noire's before: When running them through the DX3 Pro the bass was much more subdued, while with the DX5 I actually have to EQ and lower the bass because it rumbles too much.

Now I'm thinking if I have a similar problem with the E3's where I'll need a much more powerful (and expensive) amp to get these to have the full bass impact.
 

Robbo99999

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Does anyone have experience driving these with various amps? The bass is quite weaker compared to the Aeon 2 Noire, but I'm driving these with the Topping DX5. I get plenty of volume even at -20db, but the bass is just lacking compared to the Noire's. I'm trying to figure out if the E3 are just more power hungry and need a better amp.

I had a similar problem with the Noire's before: When running them through the DX3 Pro the bass was much more subdued, while with the DX5 I actually have to EQ and lower the bass because it rumbles too much.

Now I'm thinking if I have a similar problem with the E3's where I'll need a much more powerful (and expensive) amp to get these to have the full bass impact.
As long as it's getting loud enough then you're probably imagining all of the differences.
 

Grobbelboy

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Does anyone have experience driving these with various amps? The bass is quite weaker compared to the Aeon 2 Noire, but I'm driving these with the Topping DX5. I get plenty of volume even at -20db, but the bass is just lacking compared to the Noire's. I'm trying to figure out if the E3 are just more power hungry and need a better amp.

I had a similar problem with the Noire's before: When running them through the DX3 Pro the bass was much more subdued, while with the DX5 I actually have to EQ and lower the bass because it rumbles too much.

Now I'm thinking if I have a similar problem with the E3's where I'll need a much more powerful (and expensive) amp to get these to have the full bass impact.
The bass bump around 100Hz is clearly more pronounced on the Noire than the E3, that likely causes the difference you’re hearing.
 

Mumitroll420

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After well about 15 years in the Hi-fi hobby i am fully without a doubt fully content and sure that it will be a LONG time before i use more money on this hobby than i already have, i now have a topping D70s Dac and a smls SP200 Thx aaa 888 amp to power them, i must truly say that it really tok a lot of convincing of my financial brain to take the plunge and order but i truly did not regret a second and that is well after the honeymoon phase, this is by far the best sounding headphones i have ever had, and i have had quite a few over the years. Hifiman he 400, 560, Audeze LCD 2 classic, LCD 3, alot of Audio Thecnicas and lots of other aswell! expensive as they are they are the also are insanly good, and the funny thing is that they get better when you get used to them but i guess that relates to anything you like and have invested ALOT of money in, anyway thats my 2 cents on these anyway. enjoy music my fellow music lovers out these are the the state of the art headphones we have been hunting as far as i can hear! This is of course just a personal opinion and should never be used as anything other than that, in the spirit of what this forum is, and by the way i am so unbelivible happy i stumbled upon this site! this has by far been my NR.1 resource of unbiased info in the hobby the last few yers and i must confess it been a blessing in the skies.
 
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Robbo99999

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After well about 15 years in the Hi-fi hobby i am fully without a doubt fully content and sure that it will be a LONG time before i use more money on this hobby than i already have, i now have a topping D70s Dac and a smls SP200 Thx aaa 888 amp to power them, i must truly say that it really tok a lot of convincing of my financial brain to take the plunge and order but i truly did not regret a second and that is well after the honeymoon phase, this is by far the best sounding headphones i have ever had, and i have had quite a few over the years. Hifiman he 400, 560, Audeze LCD 2 classic, LCD 3, alot of Audio Thecnicas and lots of other aswell! expensive as they are they are the also are insanly good, and the funny thing is that they get better when you get used to them but i guess that relates to anything you like and have invested ALOT of money in, anyway thats my 2 cents on these anyway. enjoy music my fellow music lovers out these are the the state of the art headphones we have been hunting as far as i can hear! This is of course just a personal opinion and should never be used as anything other than that, in the spirit of what this forum is, and by the way i am so unbelivible happy i stumbled upon this site! this has by far been my NR.1 resource of unbiased info in the hobby the last few yers and i must confess it been a blessing in the skies.
Did you ever use EQ on your other headphones? If you did use EQ what target curve did you EQ them to? People always get used to their headphones eventually if they use them for long enough, even if they would be able to find better ones, it's basically brain burn-in. Having said that I'm not saying the E3 is a bad headphone, it's probably tremendous, but I'm just explaining brain burn-in.
 

Chagall

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Did anyone try @jaakkopasanen E3 EQ?


Kuulokenurkka's measurement deviates quite a bit from Amir's - something seems off in the 2kHz-4kHz range..?
 

Kuulokenurkka

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Did anyone try @jaakkopasanen E3 EQ?


Kuulokenurkka's measurement deviates quite a bit from Amir's - something seems off in the 2kHz-4kHz range..?

Hey,

Decided to register, so I can comment this. I actually realized that my first measurements (added to AutoEQ) had a bit too much upper mids, as E3 is quite sensitive on how high it is placed while wearing or measuring it. When ears are near the bottom of the earpad, the 2-4 kHz range quite well matches what I hear (a bit too aggressive vocals). On the other hand, when moving the headphones a bit lower they become more balanced, which is most likely preferable based on the FR.

On my rig the headphones sit a bit too high when just placing them without paying attention to ear location inside the pad (this is how I did the first time). Thus, I measured my E3 again with more realistic positioning:

https://kuulokenurkka.squig.link/?share=Harman_2018_Target,E3_**,Stealth_** (you can download the FR-file from Squiglink to upload it to AutoEQ, if you want to try it)

1715148013558.png


I would call my rig (the most accurate chinese clone parts) pretty accurate for ~800 € I paid for it, as I just write headphone reviews with my native language (Finnish) as a hobby.

1715151920448.jpeg
 

Chagall

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Hey,

Decided to register, so I can comment this. I actually realized that my first measurements (added to AutoEQ) had a bit too much upper mids, as E3 is quite sensitive on how high it is placed while wearing or measuring it. When ears are near the bottom of the earpad, the 2-4 kHz range quite well matches what I hear (a bit too aggressive vocals). On the other hand, when moving the headphones a bit lower they become more balanced, which is most likely preferable based on the FR.

On my rig the headphones sit a bit too high when just placing them without paying attention to ear location inside the pad (this is how I did the first time). Thus, I measured my E3 again with more realistic positioning:

https://kuulokenurkka.squig.link/?share=Harman_2018_Target,E3_**,Stealth_** (you can download the FR-file from Squiglink to upload it to AutoEQ, if you want to try it)

View attachment 368336

I would call my rig (the most accurate chinese clone parts) pretty accurate for ~800 € I paid for it, as I just write headphone reviews with my native language (Finnish) as a hobby.

View attachment 368342

Thank you for the explanation.
I had no idea the vertical position had such an impact, but I don't play with the position anymore so must have missed it.

In the first couple of weeks of owning E3, I did place them higher up - I was so focused on bass and getting the perfect seal.
But now I place them toward the center because it's more comfortable on my head and turns out the way it's meant to be placed to sound as intended - go figure:)

Thanks for sharing your new measurement, will give it a go.
 

Kuulokenurkka

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Thank you for the explanation.
I had no idea the vertical position had such an impact, but I don't play with the position anymore so must have missed it.

In the first couple of weeks of owning E3, I did place them higher up - I was so focused on bass and getting the perfect seal.
But now I place them toward the center because it's more comfortable on my head and turns out the way it's meant to be placed to sound as intended - go figure:)

Thanks for sharing your new measurement, will give it a go.

You are welcome!

Personally, I don't think E3 really needs EQ unless it has too much ear gain for some, or treble seems too lively compared to Stealth. There is always some variation in the amount of ear gain between different pinnae (different measurement rigs), so it is hard to say which works for earch of us when using the data for EQ. However, the industry standard rigs better match the population average, so you have to take these clone devices with a grain of salt.

The rig I use has "good hearing" between 3-4 kHz, so with E3 it probably still boosts that area 1-2 dB compared to GRAS, for example.
 

Robbo99999

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oratory1990 measured E3 and its Preference Rating recorded 100/100 at "Before EQ". Amazing!

Wow, yes, I think this would be a truly excellent headphone at stock! I don't need it really because I've got some good specifically/personally tailored Harman EQ's on a few of my current headphones, but this Dan Clark E3 has my most interest out of current headphones out there on the market, damn fine!

EDIT: and yes, Oratory has issued an update to a load of his headphones he's measured (either more units of existing headphones measured or new headphones measured), he issued this today on the 13th May, the E3 was also included in that update (two separate links following).
https://www.reddit.com/r/oratory1990/comments/1cqumkc
 

majingotan

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Finally got to hear the E3 and actually still preferred DCA Stealth over it. For the price though, E3 is almost as good as Stealth subjectively. Both absolutely do not need EQ to my personal preferences.

1716087154274.png
 
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