• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Dan Clark Expanse Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 2.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 8 2.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 56 18.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 234 77.0%

  • Total voters
    304

Bow_Wazoo

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
455
Likes
379
Now I see it.
But no, even for 4099€ I would definitely not buy the Stealth.
 

Music1969

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
3,649
Likes
2,116
ML5909 has same bump in bass region.

Intentional by both companies?
 

dixter

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
65
Likes
73
That's how I understand it, you have to wear the in-ear microphones and go through a process to record sweeps from speakers placed at different orientations to you. What @dixter seems to be saying below seems like somekind of a shortcut - @dixter you're suggesting a shortcut right? Because your shortcut is not capturing your whole HRTF. I would think if you go to the trouble & expense of a Smyth Realizer that it's worth going through the full process to fully optimise it. On the topic of "headphone performance", I've said before in this thread that I reckon you'd get a better experience investing in the Smyth Realizer and using an under $1000 headphone if you're gonna be considering spending thousands/thousands on a headphone.
what I described isn't a short cut... the procedure I wrote is what is called the HPEQ ( headphone EQ ) . The routine is required for each model of Headphone you plan on using with the A16... the A16 records the characteristics of the headphone driver and how the cups interact with your ears... so its best to perform this procedure with each user for optimum playback performance. The procedure is linearising the frequency response so it can apply the DSP portion...
Once it has the headphone and your personal interaction recorded then you have two options... either record a listening room with the listener in the listening room recording the speaker positions of each speaker via the sweeps... that is nice and works very well but in practice who actually has access to several listening rooms with speakers that could run thousands and thousands of dollars.... so the obvious option is to buy a listening room recording ( PRIR) that has been professionally recorded... all you do is copy the file and load it into the A16... the A16 comes loaded with two different recording studios to get you started and a HPEQ for the HD800 to get you started... one company that records listening room with different speaker brands is 3D sound shop and a French dealer AV-in .... and there are owners who record listening rooms and auditoriums for free exchange... how nice would it be to listen to the Beatles using a PRIR from the Abby Road Studio as an example...obviously many many different recording studios/listening rooms/cinema theaters... and the emulated speakers are perfect in playback...
I still listen to two channel but it is nice to be able to listen to a DTSx or Dolby Atmos disc if I have them available... and of course Tidal and Apple Music providing 3D source via streaming... the newly released Auro3D completes automatic upmix for all non 3D content. I can only imagine how the DCA Expanse will sound with a configuration of 13.1.10 ( 24 channel mode )
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,756
Likes
4,439
Location
UK
what I described isn't a short cut... the procedure I wrote is what is called the HPEQ ( headphone EQ ) . The routine is required for each model of Headphone you plan on using with the A16... the A16 records the characteristics of the headphone driver and how the cups interact with your ears... so its best to perform this procedure with each user for optimum playback performance. The procedure is linearising the frequency response so it can apply the DSP portion...
Once it has the headphone and your personal interaction recorded then you have two options... either record a listening room with the listener in the listening room recording the speaker positions of each speaker via the sweeps... that is nice and works very well but in practice who actually has access to several listening rooms with speakers that could run thousands and thousands of dollars.... so the obvious option is to buy a listening room recording ( PRIR) that has been professionally recorded... all you do is copy the file and load it into the A16... the A16 comes loaded with two different recording studios to get you started and a HPEQ for the HD800 to get you started... one company that records listening room with different speaker brands is 3D sound shop and a French dealer AV-in .... and there are owners who record listening rooms and auditoriums for free exchange... how nice would it be to listen to the Beatles using a PRIR from the Abby Road Studio as an example...obviously many many different recording studios/listening rooms/cinema theaters... and the emulated speakers are perfect in playback...
I still listen to two channel but it is nice to be able to listen to a DTSx or Dolby Atmos disc if I have them available... and of course Tidal and Apple Music providing 3D source via streaming... the newly released Auro3D completes automatic upmix for all non 3D content. I can only imagine how the DCA Expanse will sound with a configuration of 13.1.10 ( 24 channel mode )
That's interesting to get some more confirmation on how the process works, but I'm sure you'd get better results by actually doing the speaker sweeps in the room, as really then you are incorporating your full HRTF. Any kind of surround sound without your full HRTF is going to be a generic approximation. I mean I use the SoundblasterX G6 in Virtual 7.1 mode for gaming, and it does give you an in-front & behind effect (and is better for me than all the other virtual surround gaming options I've tried), and that must be based on a generic HRTF, which I think is configurable to some degree by how far you set the Surround dial from 0-100 (it changes the virtual speaker positioning I noticed), but it's not fantastic, so I think you'd probably be missing out on a fair portion of the potential by not doing speaker sweeps with mics in your ears. (It is an added complication/hassle though, so I can see why some people wouldn't want to do it.)
 
Last edited:

dixter

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
65
Likes
73
That's interesting to get some more confirmation on how the process works, but I'm sure you'd get better results by actually doing the speaker sweeps in the room, as really then you are incorporating your full HRTF. Any kind of surround sound without your full HRTF is going to be a generic approximation. I mean I use the SoundblasterX G6 in Virtual 7.1 mode for gaming, and it does give you an in-front & behind effect (and is better for me than all the other virtual surround gaming options I've tried), and that must be based on a generic HRTF, which I think is configurable to some degree by how far you set the Surround dial from 0-100 (it changes the virtual speaker positioning I noticed), but it's not fantastic, so I think you'd probably be missing out on a fair portion of the potential by not doing speaker sweeps with mics in your ears. (It is an added complication/hassle though, so I can see why some people wouldn't want to do it.)
Yes you are correct that its best to complete the speaker recording in person... but it really comes down to does the purchased PRIR recordings serve your personal listening enjoyment.. do they sound correct or do they not sound correct... is not really a situation where you record a listening room and you do an A/B test of the recording of the same room... plus right now there seem to be around 50 different recordings and that would be impossible for an individual recording session. So there is value in a professional recording with the price around a couple 100 dollars vs having to spend thousands on 24 speakers and the room treatments required
 

Dro

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
216
Likes
183
As i can see from the German press,
the price is supposed to be €5,000!
1000€ more compared to the USA?!
If that should be right, I will not even bother to go to the next hi-fi store, to listen to the Expanse...
Completely adequate considering VAT in Europe tends to be around 20% and is included in the sales price, unlike US sales tax, which gets added later.
 

dixter

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
65
Likes
73
as much as I like talking about the A16 we should get back on topic here.... again... I think the DCA Expanse would sound amazing on the A16
 

Spocko

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Messages
1,271
Likes
2,358
Location
Southern California
I'll just add my point of view to the discussion you're having. For sure I would mark this headphone down greatly in the poll if it only measured ok or just good and still costed $4K, I would for sure mark it down extra due to the high price, but because this headphone is unprecedented and at the pinnacle of performance then I did not mark it down in the voting poll at all, I voted it great. I do factor in price when I vote in the poll. If these headphones had costed $14K like the Chord Dave, then I would have marked them down even though these headphones are at the pinnacle - so I do have limits for pricing in terms of how I'd vote.
You bring up a good point about value and our personal scoring criteria - for me it's impossible to vote without subjectively taking price into consideration. It goes the other way as well: 4-star performance for headphones costing less than $20 will get 5 stars from me while the exact same performance from $2,500 headphones will not receive 5 stars - should I have scored the $20 headphones as 4 stars without taking value into consideration?

Scoring where value is taken into consideration ultimately leads to inconsistencies for forum shoppers especially the "price is no object" crowd who may perceive all scores to be based purely on performance without any regard to value because that's how they may be approaching the scores.

Should we also score for good looks or ergonomics? I always give bonus weighting to well designed UI interactive elements like a large tactile volume knob or ultra light weight headphones and so forth.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,756
Likes
4,439
Location
UK
You bring up a good point about value and our personal scoring criteria - for me it's impossible to vote without subjectively taking price into consideration. It goes the other way as well: 4-star performance for headphones costing less than $20 will get 5 stars from me while the exact same performance from $2,500 headphones will not receive 5 stars - should I have scored the $20 headphones as 4 stars without taking value into consideration?

Scoring where value is taken into consideration ultimately leads to inconsistencies for forum shoppers especially the "price is no object" crowd who may perceive all scores to be based purely on performance without any regard to value because that's how they may be approaching the scores.

Should we also score for good looks or ergonomics? I always give bonus weighting to well designed UI interactive elements like a large tactile volume knob or ultra light weight headphones and so forth.
I think just vote how you want, I get the impression most people vote taking a host of things into consideration in terms of their general perception of where the product sits in the market as a value & performance proposition. I can't mark this Dan Clark Expanse headphone down from 5 stars though - it deserves to be there for it's achievement and uniqueness of an open backed headphone hitting Harman Bass whilst basically hugging the Harman Curve and providing perfect measurements in every aspect measured - so it's unique currently.
 

Mozi

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2022
Messages
7
Likes
3
Would wearing glasses compromise the performance of these headphones?
 

Another_Moon

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2021
Messages
2
Likes
0
I wonder if Snorry NM-1 and Trion will ever get to the review...
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,756
Likes
4,439
Location
UK
Would wearing glasses compromise the performance of these headphones?
Yes, it could do, depending on the how disruptive the arms of the glasses are, it could reduce the bass of these headphones, have a look at the following post from Dan Clark:
 

phoenixdogfan

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
2,557
Likes
3,302
Location
Nashville
what I described isn't a short cut... the procedure I wrote is what is called the HPEQ ( headphone EQ ) . The routine is required for each model of Headphone you plan on using with the A16... the A16 records the characteristics of the headphone driver and how the cups interact with your ears... so its best to perform this procedure with each user for optimum playback performance. The procedure is linearising the frequency response so it can apply the DSP portion...
Once it has the headphone and your personal interaction recorded then you have two options... either record a listening room with the listener in the listening room recording the speaker positions of each speaker via the sweeps... that is nice and works very well but in practice who actually has access to several listening rooms with speakers that could run thousands and thousands of dollars.... so the obvious option is to buy a listening room recording ( PRIR) that has been professionally recorded... all you do is copy the file and load it into the A16... the A16 comes loaded with two different recording studios to get you started and a HPEQ for the HD800 to get you started... one company that records listening room with different speaker brands is 3D sound shop and a French dealer AV-in .... and there are owners who record listening rooms and auditoriums for free exchange... how nice would it be to listen to the Beatles using a PRIR from the Abby Road Studio as an example...obviously many many different recording studios/listening rooms/cinema theaters... and the emulated speakers are perfect in playback...
I still listen to two channel but it is nice to be able to listen to a DTSx or Dolby Atmos disc if I have them available... and of course Tidal and Apple Music providing 3D source via streaming... the newly released Auro3D completes automatic upmix for all non 3D content. I can only imagine how the DCA Expanse will sound with a configuration of 13.1.10 ( 24 channel mode )
As someone who had the opportunity to have 25 channels of the D & D 8C's PRIRs captured in a professional recording studio together with sub, I see myself as having achieved endgame with my HD800's, but I am still curious about the Expanse's. The A16 can play very well with a variety of phones. I use my LCD X's for a lot of two channel rock and roll, so I'm certain either of the Dan Clark TOTL offerings would be great.

Right now, however, Smyth Research is in recovery mode from Covid and the AKM fire, so they still have major supply chain challenges. Hopefully, they will rectify them in 2023. The current Realizer with the latest firmware (which encompasses ATMOS, DTS-X, and Auro 3D) goes a very long way toward fulfillment of the initial design spec and it works amazingly well. They do still need to add vertical headtracking and the mode for gamers as well as the Realizer Exchange to achieve something very near 100% fulfillment of their initially promised product. When they achieve that, and solve the supply chain problems, I think they will be a viable, super premium option for immersive sound through headphones. A niche product to be sure, but a viable one.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,756
Likes
4,439
Location
UK
As someone who had the opportunity to have 25 channels of the D & D 8C's PRIRs captured in a professional recording studio together with sub, I see myself as having achieved endgame with my HD800's, but I am still curious about the Expanse's. The A16 can play very well with a variety of phones. I use my LCD X's for a lot of two channel rock and roll, so I'm certain either of the Dan Clark TOTL offerings would be great.

Right now, however, Smyth Research is in recovery mode from Covid and the AKM fire, so they still have major supply chain challenges. Hopefully, they will rectify them in 2023. The current Realizer with the latest firmware (which encompasses ATMOS, DTS-X, and Auro 3D) goes a very long way toward fulfillment of the initial design spec and it works amazingly well. They do still need to add vertical headtracking and the mode for gamers as well as the Realizer Exchange to achieve something very near 100% fulfillment of their initially promised product. When they achieve that, and solve the supply chain problems, I think they will be a viable, super premium option for immersive sound through headphones. A niche product to be sure, but a viable one.
That sounds like a great setup! You're very fortunate.
 

Curvature

Senior Member
Joined
May 20, 2022
Messages
326
Likes
375
actually all you have to do is take your headphones and the included microphones and record the interaction of the headphones to your ears... the A16 will then correct the frequency response and you just take out the microphones from your ears and fine tune the results to finalise the interaction with your inner ear and brain perception.... once it has your personal hearing with those headphones its just a matter of you selecting what listening room you want to emulate while wearing the headphones.... there are two sites that sell the listening rooms for you to choose and at least one free site with several listening rooms for your use... and of course you have the option to record any listening room you might want... they just released a new firmware so now you can listen to an emulated listening room full of speakers costing at least $250K via Dolby Atmos, DTS-X and Auro 3d ... its 24 channels over a set of headphones... it don't get any better...
It uses microphones situated at the canal entrance?
 

Dan Clark

Active Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Messages
129
Likes
1,031
Location
San Diego, CA
US price for Stealth 3999$
EU price for Stealth 4099€

US price for Expanse 3999$
EU price for Expanse 4899€

EU price went up 20% because Euro is down 20% and the distributors could no longer absorb the currency fluctuation, the Euro to $ is 1:1.

When you add ~24% VAT plus shipping you get the EU price. Also in the US taxes are added after purchase where in the EU they're included.
 

Dan Clark

Active Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Messages
129
Likes
1,031
Location
San Diego, CA
Would wearing glasses compromise the performance of these headphones?
Not usually but if it does the glass' arms can either be rested on top of the pad or inserted in the pad a bit above the ear. Glasses with very thick frames and/or ones that pull away from the face as soon as they leave the ear are hardest to fit.

Whats the weight of these?
~415gr
 
Top Bottom