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Dan Clark Expanse Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 2.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 12 3.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 64 17.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 280 76.5%

  • Total voters
    366

AlephAlpha001

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This is only anecdotal, but I have not had problem with using the Stealth 10+ hours every day of the week aside from really hot summer days.
What’s more, the Stealths are just the thing for attenuating the noise from split aircon units and dehumidifiers during tropical summers (Hong Kong where I am being case in point). When I want to listen to my Susvaras during summertime I need to turn off everything or close connecting doors to really enjoy them.
 

KiyPhi

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Do what I do, shaved head and clean shaven for a good seal, :), my avatar is a very accurate representation of how I look, although there are more scars on my head.
I already switched to contacts, lol. But I don't have the Noir or Ether 2 anymore. I returned them after having no luck getting a good seal. I have started making sure of the seal tolerance on any headphone I buy ahead of time now. My criticism isn't exclusive to DCA headphones but I felt most disappointed with them because they are otherwise amazing and I had my hopes up for them.
Sooner or later I will be bald though. I inherited male pattern baldness. Thanks mom!
 

Jimster480

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4 grand for a headphone is laughable regardless of how it measures. there is nothing in materials that justifies this cost!
Engineering expertise. They know this won't sell 10000 units so they have to built it for a price where they can recover R&D money and then later they will bring some of the tech to their cheaper headphones.
 

DualTriode

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Hello,

Before retiring during Covid I made my living Mechanical Engineering live performance venues, Schools, Universities, Hospitals and research labs chasseing fan and airflow noise. Conference rooms live performance venues, classrooms and A V studios are common locations where noise and vibration are problematic.

Air motion noise can tend towards being white noise.

Fan noise can be dominated by separate peaked tones. You need to do the testing.

Fan noise is dominated by a frequency equal to fan RPM times the number of fan blades divided by 60 seconds per min.

The way to test the ambient noise while testing head phones is to set up the test sans the power to headphones. What does the headphone test plot look like when the headphones are unplugged?

Thanks DT
 

Jimster480

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The counterpoints about price correlates very little to the actual performance about these headphones. I don't get why some of you keep mentioning it like it's the deciding factor of this product?

I can understand if you guys bash on expensive products that perform very terrible or mediocre, but this one here is one of the class-leading products in the entire market. Besides it's not like nobody knows it's $4000. If you discourage spending lavishly on audio products that's fine, but at least pick something actually terrible to say it.
IT is totally the deciding factor. As good as this headphone is, I will NEVER buy it for $4k. It just doesn't matter, I won't pay $4k for a headphone. I won't even pay $3k. At the most I would only ever pay $2k as the final headphone I Could ever buy... I would probably still wait years to make a $2k purchase but if it was closer to $1000 then it could be achivable. It isn't because I don't make money, it is just because it simply isn't worth it to me. I have an original Aeon Flow Closed, Oppo PM-2, Denon AH-MM400, Hifiman Ananda and I didn't pay over $600 for any of them.. In fact I paid around $550 tops for any of them. So $3k or $4k or anything around that price is literally irrelevant because I won't buy it.
SO yes the price is literally the deciding factor. It is like measuring how fast a Ferrari is and trying to sell it to the working class, people will say "cool" and move on. That is what is happening here.
 

KiyPhi

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{scratches head} :D
Colorblindness and male pattern baldness are X-chromosome traits, you get them from your mom (who carries it thanks to her dad, and so on). Women have 2 so they compensate for the other as the one without the issue overrides the one with it. That's why X-linked traits like male pattern baldness and colorblindness is so rare in them.
 

GaryH

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AP fan is like a tornado. I can't even think with it on and in the open. No way is it representative of environmental noise. I put the AP in a rack which quiet it down substantially and then moved the measurement gear about 6 feet away from it. This nicely solved the problem. You can see proof of this from my distortion measurements of 86 dB SINAD.

Remember reflections are right in the cup and an inch away from microphone. They have orders of magnitude higher power than ambient noise.

Finally me distortion measurements of Stealth had better score than jude using an expensive environmental chamber.

To be sure there is some impact here but not at all the cause and effect for my testing. Others may not be in the same situation.
Do you have any group delay measurements of the same headphone before and after you 'quietened down' the AP by distancing it from the GRAS?
 

nyxnyxnyx

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IT is totally the deciding factor. As good as this headphone is, I will NEVER buy it for $4k. It just doesn't matter, I won't pay $4k for a headphone. I won't even pay $3k. At the most I would only ever pay $2k as the final headphone I Could ever buy... I would probably still wait years to make a $2k purchase but if it was closer to $1000 then it could be achivable. It isn't because I don't make money, it is just because it simply isn't worth it to me. I have an original Aeon Flow Closed, Oppo PM-2, Denon AH-MM400, Hifiman Ananda and I didn't pay over $600 for any of them.. In fact I paid around $550 tops for any of them. So $3k or $4k or anything around that price is literally irrelevant because I won't buy it.
SO yes the price is literally the deciding factor. It is like measuring how fast a Ferrari is and trying to sell it to the working class, people will say "cool" and move on. That is what is happening here.
You will never buy it for $4k? It's perfectly fine, that's totally up to you too, and personally I think I'm similar to you in that way.
The thing is it does not relate or affects the quality in any way. FWIW these headphones might drop in price in the future, or somehow the price goes up because components scarcity or whatever, but the performance will remain the same. Price might not be static, but the quality will pretty much always be consistent. And it was never about buying or spending our money on the headphones in the first place, it was about how good or bad these headphones are.

My point is you and me or whoever else don't wanna buy headphones at a certain price point should not matter or affect the quality or prestige of these headphones, and people who are willing to drop $4k for a pair of headphones already know it's going to cost them $4k so they don't need any warnings that the headphones are $4k. The continuous nagging about price in this forum not only happens with expensive products like this one but even way cheaper ones sometimes make me think it's not audiosciencereview but it's actually audiobudgetreview.

And to be fair, Ferarri isn't trying to sell their cars to the working class, just as DCA isn't trying to sell this model to the average audio enthusiast and people who seek price/performance as their #1 priority.
 

PeteL

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I have an original Aeon Flow Closed, Oppo PM-2, Denon AH-MM400, Hifiman Ananda and I didn't pay over $600 for any of them.. In fact I paid around $550 tops for any of them. So $3k or $4k or anything around that price is literally irrelevant because I won't buy it.
But what is the point of having many headphones if one of them perform better than all of them on any metrics, all the time. I am not saying this headphone is the Expanse or that it is worth it. But generally speaking, as a general thought. Does four 1000$ dollars imperfect headphones is a better buy than one 4000$ headphone that brings you the most enjoyment. In other words, do you feel that all headphones that you own are equal, if not, what's the point to listen to the lesser one, to keep it?
 
OP
amirm

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There was a request for the impulse response. It is added to the review. It is identical to Stealth:

index.php
 

GaryH

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Ha, ok, well it sounds like we're referring to different things when talking "fine grass", lol! I've put red arrows what I was referring to in following pic:
View attachment 230761
Yeah I'm talking about the very high-Q, low amplitude 'fuzz' in between where your red arrows are pointing.

but to be honest it is noticeably rougher even using your definition of "fine grass" vs the HD560s, which I admit has a small amount of it between 1-4kHz, but the HE4XX has more. Following is HD560s again, and also HD600 as another datapoint:
View attachment 230762 View attachment 230763
Yes, and if it is environmental noise, the lower isolation of the HE4XX (more 'open' back) would explain the higher amplitude 'fuzz'.

I don't think it's outside noise that is causing the differences between HE4XX and the other two
No, I suspect it's noise (or maybe fixture resonance) that's causing the similarity between the two :) When you see the same measurement feature on every (true) open-back headphone you measure, of varying designs (even present to a small degree on your HD600) i.e. 'fuzz' around the same 1-4 kHz region, that strongly points to an artifact of the measurement environment or apparatus.
 
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amirm

amirm

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No, I suspect it's noise (or maybe fixture resonance) that's causing the similarity between the two :) When you see the same measurement feature on every open-back headphone you measure, of varying designs (even present to a small degree on your HD600) i.e. 'fuzz' around the same 1-4 kHz region, that strongly points to an artifact of the measurement environment or apparatus.
You don't think it is related to simple physics? That wavelength gets small enough to match the dimensions of the cavity and with it, response becomes modal with peaks and valleys. Same thing that happens with speakers in rooms but at bass frequencies. I suggest watching the interview with Dan that was posted earlier. He talks about the acoustic filter in front of the drive to solve this problem.
 

garbulky

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@amirm Forgive me if you've answered this but what about weight comparisons and comfort? Closed versus open back?
 

Jimster480

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But what is the point of having many headphones if one of them perform better than all of them on any metrics, all the time. I am not saying this headphone is the Expanse or that it is worth it. But generally speaking, as a general thought. Does four 1000$ dollars imperfect headphones is a better buy than one 4000$ headphone that brings you the most enjoyment. In other words, do you feel that all headphones that you own are equal, if not, what's the point to listen to the lesser one, to keep it?
Well there are a few points here.
Number one is that I spent under $2,000 for all four of these headphones over the course of 5 years.
Number 2 is that they are all for different things.
The PM-2 is semi open.
The Aeon is closed.
The Ananda is fully open.
They all have their place as to when to wear them based on what is going on and what I am trying to achieve.. For example if I am waiting for someone to arrive to drop off packages or for my wife to call me when she's done with something; I'll wear the open back (Ananda)
When I want more bass but some noise isolation I'll wear the semi open (PM-2)..
When I want a fully technical sound especially for classical and jazz music; I'll wear the closed (Aeon).

When I am traveling I will use my 1More triple driver or the Denon AH-MM400 as my mobile devices can drive them fine. Especially when I work while being on trips. Or if I want to play a game on my Aya Neo at night time... The over ear is more comfortable and the Neo can drive it just fine as can my LG G8 & Velvet.

I never felt comfortable traveling with my big bulky headphones as they are not only large but obviously expensive.

If I were to sell all of my headphones to purchase this headphone I would still need $2,000 more and then I would only have one headphone. I would need ~$8,000 to have the choice of closed back and open back with similar sound quality.
Then I would still not have a semi-open as that is a rare design only made by a few mfg with OPPO being one of them (and discontinued).
All of my planars sound great with amazing distortion figures, so any additional performance provided by this headphone is not worth 8x to me over any single headphone I have purchased.
 

GaryH

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You don't think it is related to simple physics? That wavelength gets small enough to match the dimensions of the cavity
1-4 kHz corresponds to a wavelength of ~10-30 cm. If anything this supports the idea it could be a resonance within the test fixture, as that's too large for the cavity between driver and DRP.
 
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