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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 18.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 233 76.9%

  • Total voters
    303

Ornette

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Jun 19, 2021
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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.
DCA and most retailers will charge a restocking fee on returned headphones. The Expanse is listed on Amazon, and appears to be eligible for free returns, but I'd probably verify that prior to placing the order. I have no idea if a physical store near Seattle has them available for audition, but DCA's web site likely has a store locator.
 

Zenairis

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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

View attachment 244464View attachment 244465

Just remember matching the curve doesn't actually mean the timbre will be the same. Each headphone will sound considerably different. I've had other neutral headphones that are close but not quite the Expanse or Stealth. Really the closest thing I've heard to them is the Susvara
 

DualTriode

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Just remember matching the curve doesn't actually mean the timbre will be the same. Each headphone will sound considerably different. I've had other neutral headphones that are close but not quite the Expanse or Stealth. Really the closest thing I've heard to them is the Susvara

Believe what you like.

That was not the results of the Harman research.

You do not need to spend $4000 to get close.

Thanks DT
 

Phoney

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Nov 1, 2021
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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

View attachment 244464View attachment 244465


You can't actually EQ LCD-2 in specific to match the Expanse FR. The reason being that huge treble dip of the LCD-2 (around -12db recession below Harman). You can EQ it about halfway up, or maybe sligthly more, before it will start causing some issues. Such a narrow 12db boost in the treble is not going to work very well. That being said, there are several headphones out there that can easily be equalized to Harman without issues like these. I'd say as long as the response is easy to EQ (without sharp dips or peaks, or deep recession from the target), it's promising. Outside of that, my personal opinion is that spatial qualities plays a role in how the response is presented. A very narrow stage never sounds pleasing to me, nomatter how well it is tuned. Leakage effects can also be a very important factor, a harman tuned headphone doesn't help very much if the bass easily leaks out.

Staging and that "unfixable" treble dip is actually the 2 reasons why I sold my LCD-2F.
 
Last edited:

xaxxon

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Apr 3, 2022
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DCA and most retailers will charge a restocking fee on returned headphones. The Expanse is listed on Amazon, and appears to be eligible for free returns, but I'd probably verify that prior to placing the order. I have no idea if a physical store near Seattle has them available for audition, but DCA's web site likely has a store locator.

Yep,

> minus a 5% restocking fee

That's a $200+shipping trial for 15 days.

And DCA doesn't show any shops near me - closest is SF or... montana?
 
Last edited:

Robbo99999

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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

View attachment 244464View attachment 244465

I know from my own personal experience EQ'ing all of my headphones to the Harman Curve that they definitely don't all sound the same.....some of that is due to unit to unit variation (including channel matching issues) and other aspects are specific interactions of a model of headphone with your own anatomy which would yield a different frequency response at your eardrum vs another model of headphone that has been EQ'd to the same curve.......it's also theoretically due to differences between headphone models above 8kHz which can't really be accurately EQ'd using dummy head measurements.
Believe what you like.

That was not the results of the Harman research.

You do not need to spend $4000 to get close.

Thanks DT
Well, Harman were able to measure all of their tested units on their measurement rig so they were able to remove the element of unit to unit variation which can be quite substantial. There is no doubt though that EQ'ing different headphone models to the same target curve (eg Harman) will make them sound quite similar, but not necessarily exactly the same.....as an idea it's possible that the testing regime they used wasn't able to be "fine-grained detailed enough" to separate the remaining differences through preference.
 

Dan Clark

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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.
We don't publish specs for efficiency because there's not a standard people use. Using a 1K-centric value is problematic because that's actually near the lowest output level on a calibrated 711 fixture while bass can be 6dB higher. White noise makes more sense to me but it's not a standard.

We also don't publish "frequency response" because there is no standard to measure this for headphones and the big companies all lie through their teeth and say "5-75,000Hz" and crap like that when they're -20dB at those extremes, and it doesn't account for linearity and tone, which is more important anyhow.

It's just something we've never found a good answer for.
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.
Headphones.com and Moon Audio have good return policies...
 

Phoney

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Nov 1, 2021
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We also don't publish "frequency response" because there is no standard to measure this for headphones and the big companies all lie through their teeth and say "5-75,000Hz" and crap like that when they're -20dB at those extremes, and it doesn't account for linearity and tone, which is more important anyhow.

I've allways found this funny. Who cares wether the headphone goes to 40khz or 75khz.. Not only is it above human hearing limits, but music doesn't even have content up there. They act as if it is one of the most important specs, it's pretty much anywhere. While they leave out important specs like weight.
 

solderdude

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We don't publish specs for efficiency because there's not a standard people use. Using a 1K-centric value is problematic because that's actually near the lowest output level on a calibrated 711 fixture while bass can be 6dB higher. White noise makes more sense to me but it's not a standard.

We also don't publish "frequency response" because there is no standard to measure this for headphones and the big companies all lie through their teeth and say "5-75,000Hz" and crap like that when they're -20dB at those extremes, and it doesn't account for linearity and tone, which is more important anyhow.

It's just something we've never found a good answer for.

Headphones.com and Moon Audio have good return policies...

Yep, I remember you posting something similar regarding numbers and plots. I agree with the number thing (frequency response) its nonsense. Performance can not easily be captured with just a few (meaningless) numbers. Yet you do mention distortion at a specific SPL only.

I would suggest band limited white noise (300Hz to 1kHz) but that too is no standard, nor is 400Hz or 500Hz. An escape would be to use a +/- tolerance over a specific frequency range.

That said... others seem to be able to post frequency response (to a specific standard), efficiency numbers, impedance and it sure looks like some measurements were taken to tune Stealth/Expanse ;)
Maybe... time to find a better answer for some aspects.

Yet, something basic like impedance (incl. tolerances) and weight, clamping force, space inside the pads for the ears etc. are not that difficult to determine.
 
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brianfromspace

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Dec 29, 2021
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Considering my first set of test was on a Oor/Hypsos I would not say my test were a lack of amplification even if it wasn’t mentioned. You only have a few amps that push more than that without going speaker build.

I just wasn’t a fan of the Oor so I sold it in favor of the A90D

On the bright side I will have an Expanse coming in a couple of days.
Wow you prefer the A90D over OOR. Almost buying the OOR for the Expanse. What didn't you like about the OOR compared to A90D?
 

xaxxon

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Apr 3, 2022
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We don't publish specs for efficiency because there's not a standard people use. Using a 1K-centric value is problematic because that's actually near the lowest output level on a calibrated 711 fixture while bass can be 6dB higher. White noise makes more sense to me but it's not a standard.

We also don't publish "frequency response" because there is no standard to measure this for headphones and the big companies all lie through their teeth and say "5-75,000Hz" and crap like that when they're -20dB at those extremes, and it doesn't account for linearity and tone, which is more important anyhow.

It's just something we've never found a good answer for.

Headphones.com and Moon Audio have good return policies...
Yeah 10% restocking fee isn’t fun on $4000 headphones. How on earth would you try a handful of headphones to find which one you want to keep? That’s $1600 plus the cost of the ones you kept.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Figure 1 - "Mindy" - Week 2 of her Audeze odyssey. No idea what she has been doing with her arm though.
1_mindyJPG.jpg
C'mon!
They are not that heavy, perhaps Twiggy would look like that, not Mindy :).
I was listening to my 2021 XC (their heaviest) last night and had no problems.
Mind you, if you fall sleep, with them on, and your neck drops to one side - then when you wake up, you know they were heavy! (pain in the neck)
But with Edition XS, no pain.
Back to DCA headphones . . . .
 
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Dan Clark

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Yeah 10% restocking fee isn’t fun on $4000 headphones. How on earth would you try a handful of headphones to find which one you want to keep? That’s $1600 plus the cost of the ones you kept.
We have a 5% fee not 10% so the restock fee is $200 on the flagships. Also we don't charge a restock if for example you buy a Stealth then decide to exchange for an Expanse.
 

Zenairis

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Wow you prefer the A90D over OOR. Almost buying the OOR for the Expanse. What didn't you like about the OOR compared to A90D?
The A90D sounds more pronounced than the Oor. I found the Oor with the Hypsos more relaxed. still very detailed but more relaxed as far as sound goes.

Now what I really want to see is the Holo Audio Bliss <_< that thing has my full attention right now.
 
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