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Dan Clark Expanse Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 2.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 2.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 63 17.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 273 76.9%

  • Total voters
    355

theoblue80

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For anyone interested in buying this excellent headphone in mint condition and at a bargain price (especially if living in EU), you can find my listing here ;)

 

babar

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can anyone recommend a transportable / portable amp to drive the Expanse? -tube a plus!
2) also a amplifier with tube under 750 to drive the Expanse?
3) and lastly, does the Fiio R7 or RME-ADI DAC2 have enough power to adequately drive the Expanse?

I have the RS8 but it doesn't have enough power.
 

DJBonoBobo

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does the ... RME-ADI DAC2 have enough power to adequately drive the Expanse?

This question has been answered a lot of times already. If you want to listen to very quiet records, like some high dynamic range classical recordings, with very high volume or if you want to feel you have unlimited headroom all the time, no.
For most other cases i would say yes. When i tested the Expanse with "normal" (Pop/Rock) music, i had the ADI 2 at around -30dB or less most of the time. Everything above that felt too loud for me with all the music i regularly listen to.
 

babar

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Thanks so much DJBonoBobo

Is there a resource or page where I can find comparisons and reccomended amps for tbe Expanse which I really am considering buying but need something ti power them. Preferably tubes.

Any portable/transportable?
 

solderdude

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How loud do you need it to go would be the first question.
Please don't mention dB levels or such as most have no idea... just something like:
All evening background level or all day listening level, or active listening (up to 1 album or so) or 'sometimes moderately loud' or so.
When you never need to reach impressively loud or even somewhat loud levels the range to choose from will be a lot bigger.
 

babar

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I have trouble with treble and I like a warm sound. For background listening I prefer loudspeakers.

I am looking for low/moderate while working but when I'm listening to be able to reach impressively loud

please ask me any other questions you may need to.
 

Jimbob54

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I have trouble with treble and I like a warm sound. For background listening I prefer loudspeakers.

I am looking for low/moderate while working but when I'm listening to be able to reach impressively loud

please ask me any other questions you may need to.
Why do you need (want /prefer?) a tube in there?
 

solderdude

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I have trouble with treble and I like a warm sound.

Tone control is your friend here.
Tubes get warm, that doesn't have to do anything with the sound. That just creates harmonic and intermodulation distortion.

The problem here is transportable and impressively loud combined with the Expanse.
This requires quite a lot of power in a low impedance.

You would be better off with a separate portable rig with a more sensitive headphone.
 

babar

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Tone control is your friend here.
Tubes get warm, that doesn't have to do anything with the sound. That just creates harmonic and intermodulation distortion.

The problem here is transportable and impressively loud combined with the Expanse.
This requires quite a lot of power in a low impedance.

You would be better off with a separate portable rig with a more sensitive headphone.
I do want the warm effect that the tube brings to the sound. if I am to invest in a amp specifically for the expanse I would prefer it be a tube.

With regards to the transportable, I travel a bit for what can be a few weeks at a different location and ideally would like to take the expanse with me. It would be a nice plus to have if it can run it for me (as described earlier). I don't need it to be battery powered per se.

I already have the Stellia which is more sensitive and great with the Mojo2 and RS8. I really like the Expanse and want to buy it and use it. Just need to find the appropriate power source.
 

solderdude

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Then you should buy a speaker tube amp that can do 15-25W in 8ohm and use the speaker outs into a balanced connector.

The Expanse will work fine on the mojo2, just not really loud but moderately loud should not be an issue.
 

Robbo99999

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(Don't know how much longer babar is going to be enjoying his ears, but will develop a strong right arm for extra luggage carrying!)
 

babar

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Then you should buy a speaker tube amp that can do 15-25W in 8ohm and use the speaker outs into a balanced connector.

The Expanse will work fine on the mojo2, just not really loud but moderately loud should not be an issue.
Oh NICE! I'll try this out. You've been so very kind! I am very grateful for your help.

I have a couple of follow up's. How would I connect the Expanse to the Mojo2 as it only has a 3.5mm output?

I have an RS8 - Specifications are below. I guess this won't be enough.

Table header 03.5mm PO(AB)3.5mm PO(A)4.4mm PO(AB)4.4mm PO(A)3.5mm LO4.4mm LO
Maximum output voltage (Vrms)3Vrms3Vrms5Vrms5Vrms2Vrms4Vrms
Maximum output power (mW)280mW280mW780mW780mW//
Output power (THD<1%)280mW280mW780mW780mW//
Nominal THD (%)0.0030.0030.0030.0030.0030.003
Noise floor (uV)5uV5uV8uV8uV3uV6uV
SNR (dB)114dB114dB115dB115dB116dB115dB
Dynamic range (dB)106dB106dB106dB106dB//
Channel separation (dB)75dB75dB93dB93dB101dB104dB

Lastly, can you point me to a few tube amps to consider.
 

solderdude

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Mojo2 will be able to drive the Expanse to 3.3V = 108dB SPL peak (moderately loud)
This is the same as RS8 in 3.5mm by the way.
The RS8, when used balanced can provide around 4.5V so about 3dB louder = 111dB SPL peak (loud)

I can't advise on tube amps, not my thing... speaker tube amps.
 

babar

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Mojo2 will be able to drive the Expanse to 3.3V = 108dB SPL peak (moderately loud)
This is the same as RS8 in 3.5mm by the way.
The RS8, when used balanced can provide around 4.5V so about 3dB louder = 111dB SPL peak (loud)

I can't advise on tube amps, not my thing... speaker tube amps.
Thanks. Is there any portable/transportable amp which would give me sufficient power.

Cayin C9 Portable Amplifier - any thoughts on this?

SettingTest Condition
Loading16Ω32Ω150Ω300Ω
Power 3.5mm SETube/Solid State1200mW700mW160mW80mWHigh/Low Gain
Power 4.4mm BALTube/Solid State4100mW2600mW640mW320mWHigh/Low Gain
Freq. ResponseTube/Solid State15Hz-60kHz (+0.5dB)15Hz-60kHz (+0.5dB)15Hz-60kHz (+0.5dB)15Hz-60kHz (+0.5dB)High/Low Gain
Single-Ended/BalancedConversionSE>SEBAL>SESE>BALBAL>BAL
Solid State0.00%0.01%0.01%0.00%@1kHz, 1Vrms,
THD+NVacuum Tube0.03%0.03%0.05%0.03%A-Weighted
Solid State120dB114dB114dB123dB20Hz~20kHz
Vacuum Tube112dB111dB111dB114dBHigh Gain, A-Weighted,
Dynamic RangeSolid State122dB119dB119dB125dB20Hz~20kHz
Vacuum Tube118dB117dB117dB120dBLow Gain, A-Weighted,
Solid State120dB114dB114dB123dB20Hz~20kHz
Vacuum Tube112dB111dB111dB114dBHigh Gain, A-Weighted,
SNRSolid State122dB119dB119dB125dB20Hz~20kHz
Vacuum Tube118dB117dB117dB120dBLow Gain, A-Weighted,
Solid State75dB97dB114dB@1kHz,
Channel SeparationVacuum Tube75dB90dB110dBA-Weighted
1.5V3.0V1.5V3.0VHigh Gain
Line In3.0V6.0V3.0V6.0VLow Gain
Input Sensitivity2.1V4.2V2.1V4.2VHigh Gain
Pre In4.2V8.4V4.2V8.4VLow Gain
Output ImpedanceTube/Solid State<50mQ<50mQ<50mQ<50mQHigh/Low Gain
 

solderdude

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C9 in balanced operation will be fine.
It even has the Korg nutube in there.
 

303909

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This is my quick review of the Expanse, more of a comparison and personal experience, but I wanted to leave it in this thread for posterity or in case someone experiences the same.

I’m a mixing and mastering engineer and have been doing this for a while, and that’s what I do for a living. Headphones are a big part of my workflow. I do 50% of my work in a mixing room with a +-1 dB deviation of my target (close to Harman target for speakers) from 15Hz to 20kHz, and the other 50% on headphones, the last few months on the DCA Expanse, and before that, on a pair of Audeze LCD-X with EQ. The EQ part is very important. I wouldn't mix or master on the LCD-X without EQ, so everything I’ll say only applies to the LCD-X EQ’d. Both headphones are driven by the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R.

The first thing I noticed when I used the Expanse is that they are really comfortable, light, and well-constructed. There’s just no contest with the LCD-X, and the ability to fold them and put them in the small included case is a big plus.

On the not-so-good side, my Expanse are very sensitive to how I place them on my head. One little movement, and I can hear the frequency response changing, especially the low end so I have to keep re-adjusting, while the LCD-X, no matter how I throw them on my head, they always sound consistent. Initially, I thought the earpads on the Expanse would soften, and this wouldn’t be a problem anymore, but here I am almost six months later, and it hasn’t changed.

Sound-wise, I find them to be on the same level, but it’s a very different experience. I notice there’s some sort of a “room feeling” on the Expanse that I can’t explain, like if there are some reflections happening on the inside of the headphone that makes it feel “roomy”. My assistant tried them and immediately mentioned “it feels like you’re in a room with speakers” and honestly, it makes for a very pleasant listening experience, but it’s probably a fake one that you wouldn’t want when mixing. When comparing to the LCD-X, the LCD-X are clearly more analytical and precise, which in my line of work is extremely valuable.

When I start comparing between the room, the LCD-X, and the Expanse, all SPL measured and matched as close as I could, it becomes clear that while both headphones match the frequency response and low-end feeling of the speakers, the Expanse adds this blurriness that comes with the reflections/room I’m talking about, it feels good but once you analize it and know exactly where the source material comes from, you can tell its not real. Maybe it’s the meta-material? Or the driver being smaller and further away from the ear? I’m not 100% sure, but we tried about ten reference tracks that we know perfectly, as well as our mixes, and the feeling was consistent between all of them.

So in the end, I’m going to stick with the LCD-X as my main pair of headphones for mixing (EQ’d of course). They just have this clean analytical quality that is very valuable for my work, and they don’t change that much no matter how I wear them. Oh, and don’t get me wrong, I’ve probably done 100+ mixes using the Expanse, and they came out great, and clients are happy. They are really amazing headphones, they just add a level of uncertainty that I can’t risk having.

I’m still not sure if I’m going to sell the Expanse. I’ll probably keep them as a third reference. (But if someone wants to buy them DM me lol)

If someone knows if those reflections/roomy feeling is something that’s fixable, I would love to read your thoughts.
Hi @NMixes , i am working in a well treated studio. May I ask you where can I find that curve that you mention? (close to Harman target for speakers)
I just used the Oratory1990 eq settings for my pre 2021 LCD-X. And I am so happy with the result. Is that what you done eq wise to your LCD-X?
I got 2 x Neumann KH310 + KH750DSP and 2x Genelec 1038 wall mounted.
I just try to set this up in my Neumann Alignment tool but I don't know where to find more information about it. Thanks!
Also would be great if you can share your LCD-X EQ that you use, if it is not the one from Oratory1990.
 

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DJBonoBobo

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I just try to set this up in my Neumann Alignment tool
I don´t understand what you try to achieve, but it looks like you are trying to EQ the speakers to a headphone target? That´s not how it works.
 

303909

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I don´t understand what you try to achieve, but it looks like you are trying to EQ the speakers to a headphone target? That´s not how it works.
Thanks for your reply.
As I said. I want to archive this „(close to Harman target for speakers) „ curve he mentioned.
Is there any recommend eq setting for a flat room to change it into this „(close to Harman target for speakers)“

Thanks
 
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