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Dan Clark Expanse Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 2.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 8 2.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 58 18.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 246 76.9%

  • Total voters
    320

Mozi

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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.
Thank you for the response! My frames are close to the sides of my face but my head is rather large and ears rather sensitive to pressure so many headphones grow uncomfortable very quickly. I've been looking on your website and can't find details of the 15 day return policy - just in case these don't work out for me, what would I be out if I took advantage of that policy? Just shipping back, or something else, etc etc?
 

DJBonoBobo

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solderdude

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Sorry for my lack of basic knowledge and skills, but what does this mean for the SPL peak (in bass) in dB one could expect from the ADI-2 DAC + Expanse? I see it is much less than 120dB and much less than the A90, but how much (in dB)?

In the bass region the impedance of the Expanse (as well as sensitivity) is higher so it requires less power to drive the lower frequencies than mids and treble.
Lower frequencies, by far, have the highest amplitude in music so that's where most of the 'power' is and there will be many dB's less in mids and even less in the treble.

Based on the data sheet from RME:
You can reach 6.8V in the bass area (current limited) so 1.6W = 117dB SPL is impressively loud.
 

Aperiodic

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Some might be tempted to call it the "Dan Clark Expense", but he seems to be offering products that beat most everything in their price bracket, including those from the 'big names'... His offerings 'walk the walk'
 

solderdude

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At 5.5kHz is there some kind of resonance spike?
Looks like it but... it does not peak very high nor does is ring for very long so not audible/annoying. Nothing to worry about IMO.
 

edahl

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Some might be tempted to call it the "Dan Clark Expense", but he seems to be offering products that beat most everything in their price bracket, including those from the 'big names'... His offerings 'walk the walk'
The Stealth and Expanse have been a major leap for headphones. Can't wait for the "trickle-down" offerings.
 

dixter

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The Stealth and Expanse have been a major leap for headphones. Can't wait for the "trickle-down" offerings.
I have a feeling there are way too many super expensive headphones on the market now and with the economy doing bad things the " trickle down " is going to be a " price reduction " pretty quick... there are only so many people around the world willing to pay $4K plus for a headphone and most of those people all ready have a high cost headphone.. the market is getting saturated and the money is getting tighter and tighter... and thats for most high end products..
 

edahl

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I have a feeling there are way too many super expensive headphones on the market now and with the economy doing bad things the " trickle down " is going to be a " price reduction " pretty quick... there are only so many people around the world willing to pay $4K plus for a headphone and most of those people all ready have a high cost headphone.. the market is getting saturated and the money is getting tighter and tighter... and thats for most high end products..
I would not mind that. I feel like the squeeze is real for most people
 

Snoopy

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Still plenty of people out there that consider $4k peanuts.
My "comfortable" limit is 2k euro. Not that I would never consider spending more money, but at the moment money is tight.
Especially with gas prices and electricity prices doubling every few months.

But at the same time Im not in Desperate need for yet another midrange headphone..


Aren't there already enough 500-1500$ headphones? Aeon Drop X, RT, drop ether.. hifiman. Audeze as well.


Hifiman is showing that great soundquality is available relatively cheap.. but I wouldn't want a headphone with that buildquality.
The stuff that I saw from moondrop so far is even worse. Looks like a 3D printed kids toy.
 

dixter

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for hifiman at least I think they got a bad rap out of the starting gate and have done wonderful with their support and QC lately...
the HE1000V2 at $2K is an amazing deal with the prices of headphones going north... many claim the HE1000V2 to sound better than the HE1000SE at $3500 and even more than one saying the V2 sounds better than the LCD-4... not that $2K is cheap... but thats a bargain when compared to $4000 plus headphones
 

FrantzM

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for hifiman at least I think they got a bad rap out of the starting gate and have done wonderful with their support and QC lately...
the HE1000V2 at $2K is an amazing deal with the prices of headphones going north... many claim the HE1000V2 to sound better than the HE1000SE at $3500 and even more than one saying the V2 sounds better than the LCD-4... not that $2K is cheap... but thats a bargain when compared to $4000 plus headphones
Some of the bad rap is justified. They have stepped up their customer services , in my case replacing the HE6SEv2 in a two days! Not much complaints. They need to clean up their lineup. it is a mess. Too many models to choose from.
This said:

I understand this DCA is a hell of a headphones. One that redefines the SOTA. And it's price is commensurate with its performances.
For those who are unwilling or unable to pay such dear prices there remain several options. I, for one have come to see EQ as a necessity for headphones. Not a cure all for all flaws but some headphones when EQ'd approach or surpass what we had considered up to then as the ultimate. An example is my current reference, the HifiMan HE-6SEv2. It has one of the lowest distortion of all headphones reviewed here. Easily top 5. It is a beast to drive , then so is this Expanse headphones. Granted, the HE6SEv2, doesn't look as cool or is so well built ...and I have the strange feeling that the "pleather" may not last long... we'll see about that... It remains a stellar headphones and it is still available for <$600.oo at Adorama. You need a powerful amp, figure about $250.oo for that and ... EQ... then it seems to me, and I will be corrected if I am wrong, that it challenges any SOTA headphones, on most sonic/audible issues.
There are, thus, alternatives, if one can not spend that$4K amount; if you can.... then these DCA Expanse and its brother, are the SOTA in headphones. at any price.

Peace.
 

Robbo99999

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Some of the bad rap is justified. They have stepped up their customer services , in my case replacing the HE6SEv2 in a two days! Not much complaints. They need to clean up their lineup. it is a mess. Too many models to choose from.
This said:

I understand this DCA is a hell of a headphones. One that redefines the SOTA. And it's price is commensurate with its performances.
For those who are unwilling or unable to pay such dear prices there remain several options. I, for one have come to see EQ as a necessity for headphones. Not a cure all for all flaws but some headphones when EQ'd approach or surpass what we had considered up to then as the ultimate. An example is my current reference, the HifiMan HE-6SEv2. It has one of the lowest distortion of all headphones reviewed here. Easily top 5. It is a beast to drive , then so is this Expanse headphones. Granted, the HE6SEv2, doesn't look as cool or is so well built ...and I have the strange feeling that the "pleather" may not last long... we'll see about that... It remains a stellar headphones and it is still available for <$600.oo at Adorama. You need a powerful amp, figure about $250.oo for that and ... EQ... then it seems to me, and I will be corrected if I am wrong, that it challenges any SOTA headphones, on most sonic/audible issues.
There are, thus, alternatives, if one can not spend that$4K amount; if you can.... then these DCA Expanse and its brother, are the SOTA in headphones. at any price.

Peace.
I think you'd have to compare yourself to know for sure. I also think a lot comes down the frequency response in terms of how much unit to unit variation there is and if it seals & interacts with your own ears/anatomy ok. Frequency response, and for you to reliably know what that is (low unit to unit variation) is a very important part, and I think channel balance throughout the frequency range is quite a big factor. There's also the soundstage factor that comes down to physical design, I currently think it's enhanced by angled pads or angled drivers and spacious earcups that allow your ear free to float in the earcup without touching parts of the headphones. Low distortion will be a factor, but I'm thinking below a certain threshold it won't make much difference. So to me it's about getting the frequency response right and having the right physical design of headphone that does what it can to enhance soundstage - so I don't really see high price headphones as a crucial aspect to achieve that, but on average you'd expect a high priced headphone to have less unit to unit variation and better channel matching, but it's no guarantee. For instance my fairly cheap Sennheiser HD560s has great channel matching and low unit to unit variation (amoungst the 3 units I bought at least), as well as low distortion, combined with angled drivers and spacious earcups, I'll include a couple of graphs showing unit to unit variation and the channel balance of each unit, and the low distortion figures (frequency response looks strange because measured on a miniDSP EARS rig, but valid for comparing unit to unit variation & channel matching):
HD560s all units AVG of left & right channel.jpg HD560s Unit 1 Channel Balance.jpg HD560s Unit 2 Channel Balance.jpg HD560s Unit 3 Channel Balance.jpg HD560s Distortion.png
I'm certainly not saying the HD560s is better than the Expanse, not by any stretch (I can't say that), but I don't think you need to get hung up on price when you're considering the best headphones you could ever get, and it wouldn't be right to equate price with performance, and indeed it's been proven in the Harman Research that price is not an indicator of headphone performance. You might not even need to spend the $600 that you did to get your best performance.....anyway I sure would like to have the Expanse for a while as a means of comparison, that's the only way we're really gonna know what kind of a difference it can offer. Given that I've talked about how important frequency response is then that's another string to the bow of the Expanse, as I expect it would have very low unit to unit variation and the frequency response is pretty much bang on at stock.....so it's got a head start there vs all other headphones.
 
Last edited:

tifune

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Thread grew quick, a lot to keep up with so maybe I'm missing it. What are some strengths over Stealth that might motivate one to switch? Historically open back solves a lot of problems inherent with closed back, but Stealths design also solved most of those problems.
 

dixter

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I guess this is one way to help out with the rising cost of TOTL headphones... Audeze announced at CamJam a new trade up program for the LCD-5 or the CRBN electrostatic ... you can now get either of those for $2495 with a trade in.... what a deal
 

jae

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I guess this is one way to help out with the rising cost of TOTL headphones... Audeze announced at CamJam a new trade up program for the LCD-5 or the CRBN electrostatic ... you can now get either of those for $2495 with a trade in.... what a deal
Sounds like a great program, LCD-5 is actually an attractive purchase with this (would 45% off). Dan Clark currently has a flat 15% off if you have bought one of his headphones from an authorised retailer, but I think that is a bit eclipsed by 45% off from Audeze. The disadvantage is that you would be giving up your old Audeze, but no one is going to be using the old ones after upgrading to the LCD-5 anyway. As soon as I bought an Expanse/Stealth I would be selling my old DCA headphones to recoup the cost anyway.
 

oscar_dziki

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Conclusions
What more could you ask for when a company delivers a headphone that both objectively and subjectively delivers on tonality, spatiality (instrument separation) and vanishingly low distortion? I know, you want it cheaper.
That's why the name is Dan Clarke Expense(ive)
 

srkbear

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I haven't had time to do a direct comparison. From memory, I say spatial qualities are better. Will do a close comparison later and report back.
Since I’m just about to treat myself to my next headphone purchase and have been agonizing back and forth between the Stealths vs Meze Elites, I would very much appreciate your comparative assessment of this new option before I take the plunge.

My interest in the Stealths primarily came from your original review, and if I buy a pair only to learn that you prefer this new model, there’s a chance I might immolate myself in your front yard in the most melodramatic fashion possible. Just a friendly heads up! :cool:
 

El_Arte

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The number of votes in the opening poll gives me pause as to the meaningfulness of all other polls in these threads.

But I wish I can hear them soon.
 
OP
amirm

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Since I’m just about to treat myself to my next headphone purchase and have been agonizing back and forth between the Stealths vs Meze Elites, I would very much appreciate your comparative assessment of this new option before I take the plunge.

My interest in the Stealths primarily came from your original review, and if I buy a pair only to learn that you prefer this new model, there’s a chance I might immolate myself in your front yard in the most melodramatic fashion possible. Just a friendly heads up! :cool:
There is no way to do a quick AB test so anything I offer, won't be that reliable. In general though, if you don't need a closed headphone, then the decision is easy to go with Expanse.
 
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