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

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

    Votes: 58 18.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 248 77.0%

  • Total voters
    322

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
13,041
Likes
29,372
Location
The Neitherlands
When you hear sharpness that is annoying then you either need to move the frequency up, lower the gain, or use less gain or modify the filter curve (Q).
 

oscar_dziki

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Messages
121
Likes
164
Ok, i take it all back. Now I've spent two hours comparing expanses to many other high-end headphones including Stealth and I decided to keep expanses. They are the best:)
 

srkbear

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
801
Likes
1,047
Location
Dallas, TX
The iFi Pro iCAN has an output impedance of 3.2 Ohm. Amir measured it and said be careful with <32 ohm headphones. While I know that planars don't usually suffer from this due to a flat impedance curve (?), but this one doesn't have a flat impedance curve. Could that possibly be a factor here?
The Pro iCAN Signature, which is what I own, has a balanced output impedance of <2 ohms, per its specs. It isn’t the same amp as the Pro iCAN. Multiplying that impedance by 8 (my rough guide) suggests that my amp should be able to handle any headphone with an impedance of 16 ohms and greater.

For more sensitive IEMs, the 4.4mm and 3.5mm jacks have iFi’s ieMatch tech built in (also reviewed on here) which is supposed to compensate for the excess gain and potential distortion in those circumstances, although this isn’t germane with these cans.

The original Pro iCAN was not gloriously reviewed on here, but Amir did say that it had more than a surfeit of power. I wish I could bear to part ways with my Signature to offer it up for review, because it allegedly has several improvements over the original, and I’ve been very happy with it. The principle reason I went for it was because it has a very well-implemented, built in analog bass boost with several setting levels that I far prefer over the sound with PEQ, and it’s just easier for me. I like quite a bit of bass.
 

Phoney

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
310
Likes
187
The Pro iCAN Signature, which is what I own, has a balanced output impedance of <2 ohms, per its specs. It isn’t the same amp as the Pro iCAN. Multiplying that impedance by 8 (my rough guide) suggests that my amp should be able to handle any headphone with an impedance of 16 ohms and greater.

For more sensitive IEMs, the 4.4mm and 3.5mm jacks have iFi’s ieMatch tech built in (also reviewed on here) which is supposed to compensate for the excess gain and potential distortion in those circumstances, although this isn’t germane with these cans.

The original Pro iCAN was not gloriously reviewed on here, but Amir did say that it had more than a surfeit of power. I wish I could bear to part ways with my Signature to offer it up for review, because it allegedly has several improvements over the original, and I’ve been very happy with it. The principle reason I went for it was because it has a very well-implemented, built in analog bass boost with several setting levels that I far prefer over the sound with PEQ, and it’s just easier for me. I like quite a bit of bass.

I had around 47db headroom with HE6se v2 on my RME ADI-2 FS Dac without EQ. 43db headroom with EQ. It obviously introduced no problems at all, lots of clean bass and no distortion. I could basically make the headphone 4 times louder (percieved) than my comfortable listening levels if I wanted to, but I didn't dare to try. The RME is rated at 1,5w in 32 ohm, and the HE6se is at 83.5 dB/mW sensitivity (64 ohm). You could argue that the lower impedance of the Expanse could complicate things a little, but I would be surprised if my RME could not drive them to very high levels without issues. HE6se is at the very top of Amirs list of power requirements, far beyond the Expanse:

most sensitive open back headphone review.png
 

Phoney

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
310
Likes
187
A 47dB volume increase is about 26x the perceived loudness.
4x louder is about +20dB.

Oh okay, thanks for the correction. +10db is 2x percieved loudness, and then it scales alot from there?
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
13,041
Likes
29,372
Location
The Neitherlands
Yes, around +10dB is a doubling or halving (-10dB) of perceived 'volume'. It is not exact but approximate.
10dB is a 3.16x increase of voltage (or current) level and 10x increased power level.
 

srkbear

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
801
Likes
1,047
Location
Dallas, TX
Yes, around +10dB is a doubling or halving (-10dB) of perceived 'volume'. It is not exact but approximate.
10dB is a 3.16x increase of voltage (or current) level and 10x increased power level.
What does Amir mean when he mentions the output voltage settings on a DAC (such as my Topping d90se), and says you’ll get a higher SNR at 5 volts vs 4 if “you have an amp that can handle it)? What determines whether an amp can handle 5v vs 4v? (admittedly off topic, sorry)…
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
13,041
Likes
29,372
Location
The Neitherlands
The difference between 4V and 5V is marginal (1.9dB)
You can see it this way:
The noise floor of the DAC is a certain amount of mV.
The maximum output voltage is 4V then there is a certain Signal to Noise Ratio, a difference between the noise voltage and signal.
When the noise floor remains the same but the output voltage is higher, say 5V then the distance between the noise and signal is 1.9dB higher.
So the SINAD number is 1.9 higher (assuming noise really stays the same).

The question about an amp being able to handle it actually can mean a few things.
Safe to say that I do not know of any amplifier (with a volume control) and XLR/TRS balanced in that cannot physically handle a 1.9dB higher input voltage without clipping its inputs or being damaged. I would say those balanced inputs usually can take a LOT of over voltage. I think all amps can safely handle 5V if they are rated for 4V.

One could be clipping an amp at levels above 4V though in which case the amp reached its maximum output power and a 1.9dB over (5V) would thus clip.

The practical difference between using 5V and 4V is not important and will bring no real advantage other than you can set the volume control 2dB lower to get the same SPL.
 

Zenairis

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
29
Likes
31
What were the differences for you?
More bass, More depth. Details tend to run together more than the Stealth which is more separated.
 

jae

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 2, 2019
Messages
987
Likes
1,187
For EQ'ing purpose, does this mean that for >8 kHz , best to never use any 'peak' filter and better to just use a 'high shelf' to personal taste ?

And is B&K 5128 better > 8 kHz ?
It is supposed to be, although as far as comparisons between other headphones and a revised Harman target for that fixture that accounts for HF preferences, we are lacking those investigations. If you are tuning by ear, no reason you cannot use a peak filter at HF. Most adults technically should be compensating for hearing loss after 12k, too, so that is an argument to use a broader shelf at HF.

I would consider using something like https://distortaudio.org/earful.html to see where you are threshold wise to maybe 16k at your typical listening volume, which may give you a better look at the general contour of the HF EQ you should be using rather than a generic shelf tuned by ear.

I generally don't EQ much beyond 8k when using measurements as a reference, a consequence of that is the headphone still retains some of its HF 'signature' to a certain extent while still being tonally consistent/balanced in the most important frequencies, which is going to cover 80%+ of what you hear anyway- making sure <8k is right is a majority of the battle.
 

Zenairis

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
29
Likes
31
If you want to see the headphones and my impressions of them just hit me up on my twitch where I game with them. I can show either the Expanse or the Stealth (normally the Stealth because I prefer the timbre just slightly over the Expanse) My Twitch is the same as my name here.
 

Zenairis

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
29
Likes
31
Just wondering if this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Topping-ES9038Q2M-768kHz-Bluetooth-Decoder-Black/dp/B07VJN11TQ/ref=sr_1_9?crid=14AQ1U7DSE3Z6&keywords=topping+dac&qid=1667231587&qu=eyJxc2MiOiI1Ljc3IiwicXNhIjoiNC44MSIsInFzcCI6IjMuNTIifQ==&sprefix=topping+dac,aps,101&sr=8-9 was priced at £1,999, would near enough the exact same argument apply.

Not the finest example but somebody might see my point.

A huge point of this forum is preaching that now, in 2022, engineering has come so far, it simply DOES NOT COST the 'earth' to reproduce audio with excellent fidelity.

I am not a scientist nor headphone designer but I am going to be interested what THIS level of headphone performance costs in 2032.

No disrespect to Mr Dan Clark, dude is clearly a master - but I am a long way from convinced 4K is not comedy ..... I'll go grab my audio quest cable to match.

Mr Yang - looks like there is a massive niche in high performance headphones at Topping prices, rally up a team, revserse engineer (common sense?) sell for £599-699 and you'll dominate the headphone market and sell an absurd amount of units!!! (rather than 3..... Because they cost 4K and 98% of heaphone enthusiasts will not touch them for one reason or another, that's a LOT of lost sales!!!!)

I'm probably too thick to even participate in this conversation.

The point is people say the same thing about Nvidia's cards. Just the 10 series cost just over $2,000,000,000,000 in design. Now when you think of a card costing the consumer between $250~1000 going into that price range alone is minuscule. That's not including the materials, marketing, shipping to retailers and AIB's as well as everything else that goes into that price.

I once showed a friend the crash cushions I was building as a welder when he said they should pay all of you over $25 a hour. My response to him was how many people do you think are required to build these? His answer was 3, my reply was multiply that number by 100 even though the actual number is closer to 200 with every step in the chain.
 

okok

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
337
Likes
123
my lord, my lord! their site don't even have sensitivity info, nor impedance, what happened to our dca?

 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
13,041
Likes
29,372
Location
The Neitherlands
DCA never publishes such data.
Usually only some pointless distortion data, driver dimension, weight and channel matching.
 

Rthomas

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 8, 2017
Messages
89
Likes
96
DCA never publishes such data.
Usually only some pointless distortion data, driver dimension, weight and channel matching.
This is similar to when Audeze would never publish headphone weights cause they were all damn heavy

I guess they don’t want to boast about how inefficient they are….

Can’t think of any other reason to leave out such basic specs
 

Jimbob54

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
9,623
Likes
12,502
This is similar to when Audeze would never publish headphone weights cause they were all damn heavy

I guess they don’t want to boast about how inefficient they are….

Can’t think of any other reason to leave out such basic specs


Figure 1 - "Mindy" - Week 2 of her Audeze odyssey. No idea what she has been doing with her arm though.
1_mindyJPG.jpg
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
13,041
Likes
29,372
Location
The Neitherlands
This is similar to when Audeze would never publish headphone weights cause they were all damn heavy

I guess they don’t want to boast about how inefficient they are….

Can’t think of any other reason to leave out such basic specs

I remember Dan stating his reasons for that back in the mrSpeakers days. Can't find it alas. Of course we could ask @Dan Clark directly.
Oops I think I just paged him.

Impedance (including tolerance range) and sensitivity (at say 400 to 500Hz) and weight does not seem to be asking too much. Power rating would be nice too.
Most data is easy to measure but power rating is more difficult. Requires blowing one up or getting close to it.
 

xaxxon

Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2022
Messages
144
Likes
123
Hi everyone!

If I see technical questions in the thread I'll update this post with responses so it's easy for folk to find.

Cheers,

Dan
Not exactly a tech question, but what's the best way to try a pair of these in seattle? Happy to buy them as long as I can return them after using them if I don't want them.
 

DualTriode

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
773
Likes
508
Hello All,

How much of this positive review of the Dan Clark Expanse Headphone is due to closely approaching the Harman curve without equalization?

How many other headphones get good reviews because they can be equalized to approach the Harman Curve?

Now recall the Harman AES paper where they equalized the AKG 712 PRO to match the response of other brand headphones. Listener preference was nearly a perfect match.

The next step was to equalize the response of the other headphone brands to the Harman Curve. Once again this was a listener preference home run.

What do you all think about using a much less expensive LCD-2 or whatever planar magnetic headphone to match the response of the Dan Clark Expanse Headphone.

For grins see the GRAS 45 measured LCD-2 and AKG 712 Pro response curves. These headphones are fully capable of being equalized to look like the Dan Clark Expanse Headphone.

What do you think?

Thanks DT

K712ProLevel and Distortion.png
LCD 2 Level and Distortion.png

 
Top Bottom