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Dan Clark Expanse Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 2.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 12 3.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 65 17.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 281 76.4%

  • Total voters
    368

Benesyed

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Follow up, any recommendations for a portable DAC/AMP (USB C and 6.35mm out) OR a dap that can power these. Many thanks!!
 

Jimbob54

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Follow up, any recommendations for a portable DAC/AMP (USB C and 6.35mm out) OR a dap that can power these. Many thanks!!
Topping G5 (reliability aint great) or Chord Mojo 2 (Price aint great)
 

Jimbob54

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I dont think either the G5 or M2 have a 6.3mm port sadly
Good point, hadnt twigged that. You could get a 3.5 to 6.3 adapter and store it on the end of the headphone cable but yes that becomes faffy if using it out and about.

Think some of the xduoo portables pack a bit of punch and do look to have 6,3mm but they dont have great measurements. Probably good enough if powerful enough,
 

Benesyed

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Good point, hadnt twigged that. You could get a 3.5 to 6.3 adapter and store it on the end of the headphone cable but yes that becomes faffy if using it out and about.

Think some of the xduoo portables pack a bit of punch and do look to have 6,3mm but they dont have great measurements. Probably good enough if powerful enough,

I might just get a 4.4mm tip cable and a 4.4 to 6.3 adapter
 

DarginMahkum

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I dont think either the G5 or M2 have a 6.3mm port sadly
There's the FiiO Q7 but it is bulky and expensive. I think there's no objective review for it, but FiiO often does a good job.

If you go with an adaptor, FiiO just released the Q15 which has PEQ for BT and USB inputs.
 

Roland301

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Adorama is selling ifi micro signature finale for $300 with the email promo right now. The input is still the weird male USB-A, but you can get an adapter from Amazon to convert that to USB-C.
 

Benesyed

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I've been using the Expanse a fair bit since I got it. Bought it open box so it's mine for better or worse.

The jaw pressure I've gotten more used to though I still don't love it. On the flip side the actual ear pad material is very pillowy and nice. I might even go as far as to say it's the most plush and comfortable material.

I can power it pretty well with my gen2 Hiby r6. On high gain 65-75/100 is more than enough. I know Hiby devices aren't the cleanest dac/amp so it might be adding noise and distortion
 

Benesyed

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It is not as open as other open backs in terms how much outside noise comes through so there is still a isolating feeling which is neither good nor bad perceptually and certainly has pragmatic benefits
 

Rhamnetin

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I suppose then A90 would be able to handle the Corina just as well?

Since the Corina is electrostatic with active elements in the headphone, you'd need either an electrostatic amplifier or a power amp plus one of those energizer transformer boxes (they connect to speaker output terminals on power amps). I believe Dan Clark designed/tested it mostly with the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE, which is both very old and extremely expensive.
 

jaraheel

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Since the Corina is electrostatic with active elements in the headphone, you'd need either an electrostatic amplifier or a power amp plus one of those energizer transformer boxes (they connect to speaker output terminals on power amps). I believe Dan Clark designed/tested it mostly with the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE, which is both very old and extremely expensive.
Ok that’s too much work for me even without considering the expenditure. Thanks for helping me make the decision of which headphones to get
 

scotchrocks

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After reading the reviews here and getting a hefty open-box discount, I recently decided to pick up a pair of these. They arrived in like-new condition, and I've been extremely impressed overall.

I have an HD800S that I bought a couple years ago that I run with my RME ADI-2 Pro, and while it was acceptable after the Oratory EQ settings, I could never get the tonality to my liking. The bass was generally too light, and since I'm very sensitive to treble, I always had issues with the treble peaks. Further EQing the peaks to reduce fatigue just made it sound too dull.

On the other hand, the Expanse sounds great right out of the box. Bass is strong and defined, treble is clear but not harsh, and voices all sound natural. I suppose I just like the Harman tuning and the midbass bump. If listening at higher levels, I do like to EQ down around the 10.5 KHz area a few dB to stomp out any sharpness/fatigue, but even flat, it's totally acceptable. I run it unbalanced, and it gets more than loud enough for me. As someone else mentioned, -30 on the RME is a nice regular listening level, but I sometimes push to -20 or so for the types of music I listen to.

I've also run it straight out of a MacBook Pro and iPhone and Apple USB-C headphone adapter, and they both work very well. I have no issues driving them to high enough levels for me.

My only critique of the Expanse is that although they're technically open back, it does feel more like a closed back headphone. This is a big difference compared to the HD800S, which is almost like not having anything on at all. I do like being able to hear my surroundings (e.g. family members in the house) and having my voice sound more natural to myself when chatting in calls (using an AntLion ModMic wireless). Comfort-wise, though, I think I prefer the Expanse over the HD800S since the pads are so soft and with a higher clamping force they don't slip around as much when moving my head.

All in all, an outstanding headphone. While it's very expensive, I don't see myself buying another pair of wired headphones in the next 5-10 years, so maybe this is going to actually end up saving me money!
 

Benesyed

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After reading the reviews here and getting a hefty open-box discount, I recently decided to pick up a pair of these. They arrived in like-new condition, and I've been extremely impressed overall.

I have an HD800S that I bought a couple years ago that I run with my RME ADI-2 Pro, and while it was acceptable after the Oratory EQ settings, I could never get the tonality to my liking. The bass was generally too light, and since I'm very sensitive to treble, I always had issues with the treble peaks. Further EQing the peaks to reduce fatigue just made it sound too dull.

On the other hand, the Expanse sounds great right out of the box. Bass is strong and defined, treble is clear but not harsh, and voices all sound natural. I suppose I just like the Harman tuning and the midbass bump. If listening at higher levels, I do like to EQ down around the 10.5 KHz area a few dB to stomp out any sharpness/fatigue, but even flat, it's totally acceptable. I run it unbalanced, and it gets more than loud enough for me. As someone else mentioned, -30 on the RME is a nice regular listening level, but I sometimes push to -20 or so for the types of music I listen to.

I've also run it straight out of a MacBook Pro and iPhone and Apple USB-C headphone adapter, and they both work very well. I have no issues driving them to high enough levels for me.

My only critique of the Expanse is that although they're technically open back, it does feel more like a closed back headphone. This is a big difference compared to the HD800S, which is almost like not having anything on at all. I do like being able to hear my surroundings (e.g. family members in the house) and having my voice sound more natural to myself when chatting in calls (using an AntLion ModMic wireless). Comfort-wise, though, I think I prefer the Expanse over the HD800S since the pads are so soft and with a higher clamping force they don't slip around as much when moving my head.

All in all, an outstanding headphone. While it's very expensive, I don't see myself buying another pair of wired headphones in the next 5-10 years, so maybe this is going to actually end up saving me money!

Yes they are a very closed open back. I actually use them as a portable closed back option.
 

Benesyed

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I've owned these now for 2 months. All in all good headphones but ultimately I find I prefer other open backs.

I think it's because these are still fairly isolating and compared to my caldera or other open backs they still feel very closed in. I have not tried the Dan Clark E3 but I would probably suggest those over these since the price is much more affordabl and I don't feel that you truly get the perceptual advantage of an open back out of these.

the other aspect to assess would be your own personal bass preference. for me I prefer a flat bass response which is something I've come to discover going back and forth between these and other headphones and playing around with equalization.

All that being said of the 8 or 9 different headphones that I own these are probably my second most commonly used. My most commonly used are the caldera oftentimes just with their default tuning but every once in a while I'll do on Amirs tuning minus the bass boost.

I hope this is helpful for anyone considering these headphones. ultimately I don't think you will be disappointed and certainly if financial resources are not a limitation that craftsmanship is wonderful. I had mentioned previously that they were not that comfortable on my head but as I've continued to wear them they've broken in a little bit presumably the pad has softened and they are now probably the most comfortable pair or tied for most comfortable pair I have used.

one aspect that might be a little irritating to some people is that there is a lot of driver flex anytime I manipulate the headphones and cause compression. It's not an issue at all if I'm just sitting wearing the headphones it only happens when I put them on or take them off or adjust them only while handling them
 

Jimster480

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I've owned these now for 2 months. All in all good headphones but ultimately I find I prefer other open backs.

I think it's because these are still fairly isolating and compared to my caldera or other open backs they still feel very closed in. I have not tried the Dan Clark E3 but I would probably suggest those over these since the price is much more affordabl and I don't feel that you truly get the perceptual advantage of an open back out of these.

the other aspect to assess would be your own personal bass preference. for me I prefer a flat bass response which is something I've come to discover going back and forth between these and other headphones and playing around with equalization.

All that being said of the 8 or 9 different headphones that I own these are probably my second most commonly used. My most commonly used are the caldera oftentimes just with their default tuning but every once in a while I'll do on Amirs tuning minus the bass boost.

I hope this is helpful for anyone considering these headphones. ultimately I don't think you will be disappointed and certainly if financial resources are not a limitation that craftsmanship is wonderful. I had mentioned previously that they were not that comfortable on my head but as I've continued to wear them they've broken in a little bit presumably the pad has softened and they are now probably the most comfortable pair or tied for most comfortable pair I have used.

one aspect that might be a little irritating to some people is that there is a lot of driver flex anytime I manipulate the headphones and cause compression. It's not an issue at all if I'm just sitting wearing the headphones it only happens when I put them on or take them off or adjust them only while handling them
Thank you for sharing. That actually does put in some good insight for myself. I did just try these out at the audio show in Tampa. How do you identify driver flex? Well, I'm not really sure that I would be able to pick that out. When I put these on and took them off, I didn't necessarily hear something different than when Putting on other headphones, but I did notice that the chassis was a bit rattly.
 

Benesyed

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Thank you for sharing. That actually does put in some good insight for myself. I did just try these out at the audio show in Tampa. How do you identify driver flex? Well, I'm not really sure that I would be able to pick that out. When I put these on and took them off, I didn't necessarily hear something different than when Putting on other headphones, but I did notice that the chassis was a bit rattly.

I hear a click when I press on the ear cups esp the right side.
 
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