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Drop Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

TheHighContemplator

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This thread is to cover Drop's release of their version of Dan Clark Audio's Aeon Closed RT headphones, which Drop calls the "Aeon Closed X". All discussion is welcome.

Here is the link: Drop + Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

Drop's description of their collaboration: "Our last collaboration with Dan Clark Audio—the Aeon Open X—was an instant hit in the world of planar magnetic open-back headphones. Now, we’re unveiling it in a closed-back variation: the Aeon Closed X. A refinement of the Aeon Flow Series, these passive-isolating headphones feature the same warm and punchy audio, excellent power response, and ultra-comfortable fit as their predecessors. Where they improve on the Flow Series is in the soundstage: we added partially fenestrated earpads and reduced driver dampening to even the tone and minimize reverberation. Now featuring new, carefully selected earcups, the individually serialized Aeon Closed X gives listeners the best of both builds: closed-back isolation with an open-back-caliber soundstage."

While we all thought the RT and X were the exact same headphones, it seems the earpads are different, as the measurements don't line up. ASR member @Resolve measured the X model and here is the result:

DCA Aeon X Closed.jpg


Here is @amirm 's measurement of the RT model from his review:
Dan Clark Audio ÆON RT Measurements Closed.png


Here is Oratory1990's measurement of the RT model:
DCA ARTC FR.png


It would appear that the X model doesn't have the dip between 120hz-200hz, while also having more energy in the upper mids to treble region, closer to the Harman curve. @Resolve is going to receive another copy of the X from Drop to test and see if there is any unit to unit variation. In the mean time, @Robbo99999 took Resolve's measurement and plugged it into VirtuixCAD and using REW, generated an EQ profile based on the measured frequency response. Having personally compared both Oratory1990's EQ for the RT and Robbo's EQ for the X, the latter is the superior for my ears, which suggests, at least anecdotally, that the two models are different in some way. We suspect it is the earpads, but we are waiting on confirmation. Here is Robbo's EQ:
Drop Aeon X Closed.jpg


I've also attached his APO EQ file at the bottom of this post.

Here are the changes I've made to his profile:

Filter 9 - High Shelf, 11,000hz, -2db, 0.71Q
Filter 10 - Peak/Bell, 12,140hz, -4db, 2.0Q
Filter 14 - Low Shelf, 75hz, +3db, 0.5Q

Basically, because measurements of headphones above 10khz is subject to variations based on precise positioning of the cans on the measurement rig, those readings can be unreliable. Robbo told me he was just trying to get it as close to the Harman Curve based on the measurement we had to work with and that I should experiment with Filter's 9, 10, and 14. I found the initial EQ to be a little dull up top, so I added 4.4db of boost to Filter 10, and subtracted 1db from Filter 9. The last filter is just a personal preference. I know convention is to use a low shelf filter at 105hz for bass boosting, but I prefer to boost from 75hz with a wider Q as it sounds more natural to me. The Harman Curve sounds great to my ears, and I just want a little more tactile sensation in the lowest notes. Your mileage may vary.

I personally love these headphones. Even with Oratory's RT EQ profile, I enjoyed the open-feeling soundstage, detail retrieval, bass impact, and overall texture in every part of the spectrum. The distortion is audibly non-existent, and barely visible in measurements, so you can EQ these with ease. Things only got better with Robbo's X EQ profile and my adjustments. The sound is full, detailed, and completely enveloping. I can listen for hours without fatigue or strain. They are incredibly comfortable in all areas. If I could change anything, I would increase the clamp force a bit, but that might be because of my narrow, long skull.

I hope owners and those interested can share their thoughts on these incredible closed-back headphones.
 

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Jimbob54

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This thread is to cover Drop's release of their version of Dan Clark Audio's Aeon Closed RT headphones, which Drop calls the "Aeon Closed X". All discussion is welcome.

Here is the link: Drop + Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

Drop's description of their collaboration: "Our last collaboration with Dan Clark Audio—the Aeon Open X—was an instant hit in the world of planar magnetic open-back headphones. Now, we’re unveiling it in a closed-back variation: the Aeon Closed X. A refinement of the Aeon Flow Series, these passive-isolating headphones feature the same warm and punchy audio, excellent power response, and ultra-comfortable fit as their predecessors. Where they improve on the Flow Series is in the soundstage: we added partially fenestrated earpads and reduced driver dampening to even the tone and minimize reverberation. Now featuring new, carefully selected earcups, the individually serialized Aeon Closed X gives listeners the best of both builds: closed-back isolation with an open-back-caliber soundstage."

While we all thought the RT and X were the exact same headphones, it seems the earpads are different, as the measurements don't line up. ASR member @Resolve measured the X model and here is the result:

View attachment 154058

Here is @amirm 's measurement of the RT model from his review:
View attachment 154059

Here is Oratory1990's measurement of the RT model:
View attachment 154060

It would appear that the X model doesn't have the dip between 120hz-200hz, while also having more energy in the upper mids to treble region, closer to the Harman curve. @Resolve is going to receive another copy of the X from Drop to test and see if there is any unit to unit variation. In the mean time, @Robbo99999 took Resolve's measurement and plugged it into VirtuixCAD and using REW, generated an EQ profile based on the measured frequency response. Having personally compared both Oratory1990's EQ for the RT and Robbo's EQ for the X, the latter is the superior for my ears, which suggests, at least anecdotally, that the two models are different in some way. We suspect it is the earpads, but we are waiting on confirmation. Here is Robbo's EQ:
View attachment 154062

I've also attached his APO EQ file at the bottom of this post.

Here are the changes I've made to his profile:

Filter 9 - High Shelf, 11,000hz, -2db, 0.71Q
Filter 10 - Peak/Bell, 12,140hz, -4db, 2.0Q
Filter 14 - Low Shelf, 75hz, +3db, 0.5Q

Basically, because measurements of headphones above 10khz is subject to variations based on precise positioning of the cans on the measurement rig, those readings can be unreliable. Robbo told me he was just trying to get it as close to the Harman Curve based on the measurement we had to work with and that I should experiment with Filter's 9, 10, and 14. I found the initial EQ to be a little dull up top, so I added 4.4db of boost to Filter 10, and subtracted 1db from Filter 9. The last filter is just a personal preference. I know convention is to use a low shelf filter at 105hz for bass boosting, but I prefer to boost from 75hz with a wider Q as it sounds more natural to me. The Harman Curve sounds great to my ears, and I just want a little more tactile sensation in the lowest notes. Your mileage may vary.

I personally love these headphones. Even with Oratory's RT EQ profile, I enjoyed the open-feeling soundstage, detail retrieval, bass impact, and overall texture in every part of the spectrum. The distortion is audibly non-existent, and barely visible in measurements, so you can EQ these with ease. Things only got better with Robbo's X EQ profile and my adjustments. The sound is full, detailed, and completely enveloping. I can listen for hours without fatigue or strain. They are incredibly comfortable in all areas. If I could change anything, I would increase the clamp force a bit, but that might be because of my narrow, long skull.

I hope owners and those interested can share their thoughts on these incredible closed-back headphones.
Dan Clark himself has said the differences between the X models and the RT are "cosmetic" but I don't believe he elaborated further. I would call different pads more than cosmetic. EDIT- I cant find the Dan Clark post saying this so I am likely misquoting/ mis remembering that. He has commented the RT closed and Drop Closed are "similar" but I'm not sure you can apply that to the Open models.

Some thoughts :

Dca headphones ship with various felt inserts so you need to compare measurements where the insert or lack of is known and the same

Individual unit variations can be up to a few dB in various parts of the spectrum depending on manufacturer qc

I don't put too much stock in comparing measurements of unit A by reviewer X vs unit B by reviewer Y even if they are using the same measuring rig. Useful to identify outlying/rogue measurements but not ruling out 2 similar models being physically different.
 
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TheHighContemplator

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@Jimbob54 , well reasoned and I agree that the insert filters need to be acknowledged in each measurement. It is interesting that Oratory's measurements and Amir's of the RT line up quite well. We have not had many independent measurements of the Aeon Closed X to see if there is consistent differences. We'll get another from Resolve when he receives his second copy.
 

Robbo99999

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Hey @TheHighContemplator , nice to see you've created a thread for these headphones, glad you found my EQ useful. For the readers of the thread, regarding my EQ (which you can see pictured in first post of this thread as well as the attached EqualiserAPO file at the bottom of the same post) I just want to add that people should tweak the following filters for the following reasons:
  • Filter#14: Low Shelf 105Hz - currently this is at 0dB and people should tweak the Gain on that (dB) to their own taste of what they like in bass, at the moment with it at 0dB the EQ is conforming to the Harman Curve, so you can use this filter to raise the bass above or below Harman levels. Or indeed leave this at 0dB if you like my EQ the way it is.
  • Filter#9: High Shelf 11000Hz - likewise people should tweak this filter to their own taste by changing the Gain (dB) value. I've set it to what I think would be a sensible level based on what I see in the measurement but over 10kHz is unreliable and also very variable from person to person, so people should change the Gain (dB) value of that to see what sounds best - it will generally influence all frequencies above 11000Hz, which a lot of people would describe as "air".
  • Filter #10: Peak Filter 12140Hz - this was to tame the large & expansive treble peaking you can see in the measurement between 10-14kHz. I'm a bit unsure on this filter because it's unusual to see a measurement with such extreme peaking in this area, so I'm not certain that the measurement is reflecting the reality of what you'd hear at this point, simply because I'd kinda expect such large peaking to be unpleasant and almost painful to listen to, so it might be a measurement anomaly or unit to unit variation of the unit that was measured (or maybe that's the way the headphone actually is). Either way experiment with turning this filter on & off to see which is better or indeed change the Gain (dB) value (probably making it less negative) to see what sounds best.....of course you might like it how I've done it in the EQ already, but I'm uncertain regarding this filter & the measurement in this area.
  • Negative Preamp (currently at -3.3dB) - if you add any additional boosts to my EQ then you should check to make sure you're not getting digital clipping - you want to increase the negative preamp (make it more negative) if you add additional boosts.
These could well be some promising headphones and at a good price if they turn out to be as "good" as the Aeon RT that Amir measured:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-audio-aeon-rt-review-closed-headphone.19393/
Amir hasn't measured the Drop DCA Aeon Closed X yet, but hopefully he'll be able to get his hands on one so he can provide some more detailed measurments like distortion, etc, as well as his subjective opinion of the headphone.....like I say they're a promising price with some good pedigree.....I am a bit concerned about the peaking that I discussed in the 10-14kHz zone as it's quite difficult to sort out with EQ, but we'll have to read some listening impressions of this headphone from people (you lot) and hopefully from Amir if he decides to measure this headphone, I hope so.
 
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Robbo99999

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@Resolve , you said in the other thread that Drop are gonna be kind enough to send you another pair of these for measuring. If you're willing, it'll be interesting to hear in this thread how it compares to your previous pair you measured, especially in terms of the peaking from 10-14kHz. It'll also be interesting what you think to my EQ you said you'd have a go with....and also if you notice any peaking in the 10-14kHz when stock or if my EQ with that filter at 12140Hz works with taking that peak down (if it exists!). Once you've measured the new pair that Drop are sending you, if you post up the measurement I'd be happy to compare & combine them & update my EQ - it's always better to have more units on which to base an EQ.
 

Resolve

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@Resolve , you said in the other thread that Drop are gonna be kind enough to send you another pair of these for measuring. If you're willing, it'll be interesting to hear in this thread how it compares to your previous pair you measured, especially in terms of the peaking from 10-14kHz. It'll also be interesting what you think to my EQ you said you'd have a go with....and also if you notice any peaking in the 10-14kHz when stock or if my EQ with that filter at 12140Hz works with taking that peak down (if it exists!). Once you've measured the new pair that Drop are sending you, if you post up the measurement I'd be happy to compare & combine them & update my EQ - it's always better to have more units on which to base an EQ.

Yeah I'll post here, along with our forum. I'm actually working on a review/comparison with the Aeon Open X and the Closed X. It might not be until early October though since I'm going to CanJam shortly and will be quite busy on stuff from that. By the way, all those measurements of the Aeons I did were without any of the tuning filters. I'm generally not a fan of using them, and prefer to just EQ.
 

raistlin65

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Just got the Aeon Closed X, and I'm quite enjoying them using the default white filters that were in place when I opened the box. Soundstage is impressively wide for a closed headphone. They are keepers.

I need to get used to them. And then I'll be curious to see if they replace my Elear with Dekoni sheepskins as my go to closed headphones.
 

f1shb0n3

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Has anyone compared Aeon Closed X to Noir? I wonder if the Noir would be worth more than double the price.
 

Robbo99999

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Just got the Aeon Closed X, and I'm quite enjoying them using the default white filters that were in place when I opened the box. Soundstage is impressively wide for a closed headphone. They are keepers.

I need to get used to them. And then I'll be curious to see if they replace my Elear with Dekoni sheepskins as my go to closed headphones.
Cool, they do have an impressive pedigree, so there's quite a lot of hope/expectation that they'd be good. Are you a Harman Curve fan? If so, have you tried my EQ I did which is based on Resolve's measurement, how was it? Resolve is gonna be posting up another measurement of another unit (so he will have measured two samples), so perhaps the 2nd unit won't have that 10-14kHz treble peaking - however he measured without any of the physical filters installed within the earcups of the headphone, and I believe some of those take down treble peaks - you've got your physical filters installed so my EQ is not valid for that configuration, so perhaps if you try my EQ then you'd have to remove the physical filters that come with the headphone. If the physical filters specifically take down that 10-14kHz peak then there would be a strong argument that this headphone should be measured with the filters installed, especially as they come with the white filters installed based on what you saw with your own sample. (So might be useful if @Resolve was to measure with various physical filters installed to see the effects of said filters vs no filter.)
 

raistlin65

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Cool, they do have an impressive pedigree, so there's quite a lot of hope/expectation that they'd be good. Are you a Harman Curve fan? If so, have you tried my EQ I did which is based on Resolve's measurement, how was it? Resolve is gonna be posting up another measurement of another unit (so he will have measured two samples), so perhaps the 2nd unit won't have that 10-14kHz treble peaking - however he measured without any of the physical filters installed within the earcups of the headphone, and I believe some of those take down treble peaks - you've got your physical filters installed so my EQ is not valid for that configuration, so perhaps if you try my EQ then you'd have to remove the physical filters that come with the headphone. If the physical filters specifically take down that 10-14kHz peak then there would be a strong argument that this headphone should be measured with the filters installed, especially as they come with the white filters installed based on what you saw with your own sample. (So might be useful if @Resolve was to measure with various physical filters installed to see the effects of said filters vs no filter.)

Sorry. Not much of an HTR fan.
 
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TheHighContemplator

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Just got the Aeon Closed X, and I'm quite enjoying them using the default white filters that were in place when I opened the box. Soundstage is impressively wide for a closed headphone. They are keepers.

I need to get used to them. And then I'll be curious to see if they replace my Elear with Dekoni sheepskins as my go to closed headphones.
Sorry. Not much of an HTR fan.

Congrats on the acquisition. I'm really enjoying mine as well. I have experimented with every configuration of filters, with and without EQ. If you are enjoying the large soundstage, it gets better without filters, and with Robbo's EQ settings tweaked to your hearing curve. Because of the ridiculously low distortion, these take EQ brilliantly. Even if you're not a fan of the Harman Curve, it is worth giving it a go with no filters to see if it works with this headphone. You can always go back if you don't like it.

Has anyone compared Aeon Closed X to Noir? I wonder if the Noir would be worth more than double the price.

Oratory has the measurements and EQ up for the Noir. Out of the box, it is the closest to the Harman Target Curve than the RT and Closed X. That's all I know so far.
 

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TheHighContemplator

TheHighContemplator

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Cool, they do have an impressive pedigree, so there's quite a lot of hope/expectation that they'd be good. Are you a Harman Curve fan? If so, have you tried my EQ I did which is based on Resolve's measurement, how was it? Resolve is gonna be posting up another measurement of another unit (so he will have measured two samples), so perhaps the 2nd unit won't have that 10-14kHz treble peaking - however he measured without any of the physical filters installed within the earcups of the headphone, and I believe some of those take down treble peaks - you've got your physical filters installed so my EQ is not valid for that configuration, so perhaps if you try my EQ then you'd have to remove the physical filters that come with the headphone. If the physical filters specifically take down that 10-14kHz peak then there would be a strong argument that this headphone should be measured with the filters installed, especially as they come with the white filters installed based on what you saw with your own sample. (So might be useful if @Resolve was to measure with various physical filters installed to see the effects of said filters vs no filter.)

I now have the 11,000hz filter at -5db, the 12,140hz filter at -6db, and a 100hz lowshelf (0.71Q) at +1.5db. I find this most pleasing at my listening levels. The process of getting the most out of these is a fun one that I'm enjoying.
 

ziddy76

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X Closed arrived since they are the same, I will pocket the savings. Already sent the RT back. Felt no need to do comparisons since I will believe the man himself who designed and sells these said they are the same. As anti audio science it can get from me, they sound good. I don't notice any discernible difference by my flawed and subjective ears.
 
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ziddy76

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Anyway...

I hope those who were holding out on a closed pair of Ortho and were interested got in on that sale.

I would say these are most enjoyable for all genres I listen to for closed so far. For those who buy to listen to music and not listen to $$$, these are worth a listen.
 

Robbo99999

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X Closed arrived since they are the same, I will pocket the savings. Already sent the RT back. Felt no need to do comparisons since I will believe the man himself who designed and sells these said they are the same. As anti audio science it can get from me, they sound good. I don't notice any discernible difference by my flawed and subjective ears.
(They're not the same, measurements clearly different and pads different)
 

Winzzy

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Just got these recently and I love everything about them EXCEPT.... they are not very dynamic. What I mean is the softest sounds and the loudest sounds don't seem to be massively different. Is this a normal thing for Planars or is it just this headset?
 

Jimbob54

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Just got these recently and I love everything about them EXCEPT.... they are not very dynamic. What I mean is the softest sounds and the loudest sounds don't seem to be massively different. Is this a normal thing for Planars or is it just this headset?
Depends what you are coming from. They arent V shaped in their response and whilst you get good bass (if they seal right) you dont get elevated highs. So music wont "pop".

Are you driving them enough? They can be a challenge for weaker amps and need a good turn of the volume knob to drive properly.

Im assuming you arent adding EQ but if you can, a peak around 150hz and 3khz as indicated by Amirm in his Aeon RT (very similar phones) and that will liven them up a bit too.
 

Winzzy

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Depends what you are coming from. They arent V shaped in their response and whilst you get good bass (if they seal right) you dont get elevated highs. So music wont "pop".

Are you driving them enough? They can be a challenge for weaker amps and need a good turn of the volume knob to drive properly.

Im assuming you arent adding EQ but if you can, a peak around 150hz and 3khz as indicated by Amirm in his Aeon RT (very similar phones) and that will liven them up a bit too.
I am not talking about EQ, but the volume difference between soft and loud portions of the music.

I am running them through the Schitt Magni Heresy (specs below) and the Drop Aeon closed are 12.5 ohms so I should be running about 2.9-3 watts of power?

Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 2.8W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 2.4W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 1.6W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 410mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 215mW RMS per channel
 

Resolve

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Since Drop was kind enough to send another unit over for review, here are the measurements of the second sample:

DCA Aeon X Closed V2.jpg


Honestly, pretty darn good if you ask me - albeit a bit concerning to see how different these two units measure. I'm going to wager a guess that this is due to slight pad variation (yes pads do make a difference), and potentially adhesive uniformity for this style of pad connection. As to whether this is the same as the RT I'm still not sure - but here you have two samples of the Aeon X Closed, and thankfully this second sample doesn't have any channel imbalance issues so that could've just been a one-off bad luck the first time around. Here are the averages overlaid:

DCA Aeon Closed Sample Comparison.jpg


Here's the on-head response to check bass level on my head, surprisingly there's a bit more there, BUT this isn't to do with a boost from Fs, as it's around 500hz on these headphones with significant damping.
1633476067036.png


Air gap measurements (and resonance frequency). GREEN = small gap (a pair of glasses with thick arms). BLUE = free air:

1633476203236.png
 
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