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Drop Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

doug2761

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Sample 2 wins easily (just a really full, expansive sound and great bass that I can't get enough of), Oratory's settings by comparison sound a little teenier drier
Thx for sharing. That's been my experience too. Following the suggestions that Oratroy notes in his comprehensive PEQ settings, I've played around with adding a touch of bass and lowering the treble slightly. Doing that moves the sound closer to Sample 2 but seems a bit clearer in the highs. Different tactics to get to the same goal? I also played around with Amir's settings he used for the Aeon RT and applied them to the X. Looking at the frequency response of the RT compared to the X, it doesn't need as much boosting in certain areas. I changed the filters at 2884 from 3 down to 1.75, 190 from 3 down to 1, 30 from 3.5 down to 2. To me that gets a little darker sound that works well on certain tracks.
 

Robbo99999

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Thx for sharing. That's been my experience too. Following the suggestions that Oratroy notes in his comprehensive PEQ settings, I've played around with adding a touch of bass and lowering the treble slightly. Doing that moves the sound closer to Sample 2 but seems a bit clearer in the highs. Different tactics to get to the same goal? I also played around with Amir's settings he used for the Aeon RT and applied them to the X. Looking at the frequency response of the RT compared to the X, it doesn't need as much boosting in certain areas. I changed the filters at 2884 from 3 down to 1.75, 190 from 3 down to 1, 30 from 3.5 down to 2. To me that gets a little darker sound that works well on certain tracks.
I gave you a like there definitely for experimenting with Sample#1#2 EQ's in this thread as well as Oratory's, but you're probably barking up the wrong tree by using Aeon RT EQ's (the Amir one you mention) as they're not the same headphone. I can see you've done some experimentation & listening though which is what needs to be done to try to get the best sound.
 

vole-boy

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Another person that prefers Sample#2 then. The differences we're seeing might just be down to unit to unit variation. It could well be that Sample#2 measurement is more representative of most units out there, which is why you might like it more as it might match your unit closer. This idea would be even further validated if for example you knew you liked the Harman Curve, from perhaps Harman EQ's you've used on a variety of other headphones.
I'm new to EQ ing so almost by definition haven't really had sufficient experience of the Harman curve to properly know if I like it. But I can say that I've owned a pair of LCD-2s for years, and love them...but 1) Oratory's EQ settings (tried this week) for them are transformative, and I much prefer the way they sound when EQd to be closer to Harman. It just opens them up and takes put some boominess.And 2) (whisper it) I currently prefer the Aeon Closed Xs over the LCDs (even if miss the LCD's low end a bit). So I suspect I'm a Harman-phile, with a bit of added bass thrown in.
 

Robbo99999

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I'm new to EQ ing so almost by definition haven't really had sufficient experience of the Harman curve to properly know if I like it. But I can say that I've owned a pair of LCD-2s for years, and love them...but 1) Oratory's EQ settings (tried this week) for them are transformative, and I much prefer the way they sound when EQd to be closer to Harman. It just opens them up and takes put some boominess.And 2) (whisper it) I currently prefer the Aeon Closed Xs over the LCDs (even if miss the LCD's low end a bit). So I suspect I'm a Harman-phile, with a bit of added bass thrown in.
I think you've probably chosen a good headphone with the Closed X right at the start of your experience with headphones, I've not listened to them but they measure quite well and people seem to like them in this thread. Being planar and Dan Clark you'd expect them to be low distortion too.
 

vole-boy

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I think you've probably chosen a good headphone with the Closed X right at the start of your experience with headphones, I've not listened to them but they measure quite well and people seem to like them in this thread. Being planar and Dan Clark you'd expect them to be low distortion too.
Had a few others (hd 58x, just sold on, akg k702, got rid of early, beyer 1990 pros, bower and Wilkins P7 still got) but never EQd them to test my Harman preferences... but I can say I never enjoyed any of them as much as the Aeons!
 

Robbo99999

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Had a few others (hd 58x, just sold on, akg k702, got rid of early, beyer 1990 pros, bower and Wilkins P7 still got) but never EQd them to test my Harman preferences... but I can say I never enjoyed any of them as much as the Aeons!
That's good, you've had quite a few, I have the K702 too, but it has quite high unit to unit variation & requires EQ so it's not easy to get right but it's a headphone that has good potential, pity about the loose production tolerances. You can probably appreciate how important EQ is for headphones now that you've tried it, and it's also fun to mess around with as well as providing a better experience.
 

JanesJr1

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Question for DCA owners who are headphone vets.

I'm pretty new to headphones, and cycled from Etymotic IEM's to Senn HD6XX and recently graduated to the DCA Closed X. I visited some other websites who reviewed the Closed X. The more objective reviewers (and one was a die-hard measurement person) seemed to echo others that the DCA Closed X, like the DCA Noire, has a "blunted" sound, that they associated with being less dynamic, but better at separating instruments and possibly being more accurate.

Hmm.. an auditory continuum from "blunt" to "dynamic and lively, slammin'"...

I haven't heard enough headphones to know whether they're describing something phantom or something real. Is there any measurable phenomenon that goes along with being blunted (as in blunted trailing reverb of the notes or something) as opposed to being dynamic or lively or good at slam? Or is this a will o' the wisp like "speed"?

Whatever the Closed X has, it does tickle my auditory pleasure center. I love how it can be tuned so easily to disclose a lot of detail without glare or harshness (something I can't do very well with the Ety's). I love the clear, accurate sound of the individual instruments, and I can even sometimes pick out voices in a small chorus. I love the way the bass is deep and clear and integrates smoothly without bloat into the mids. These are great phones for what I like!.

I understand the psychoacoustic audiophile endorphin that goes with getting a new transducer and then hearing an improvement by virtue of the personal attention paid to the new stuff during the transition. At the same time, I've gone through several such equipment transitions with the same reference recordings. and the DCA phones' transparency, detail and lack of distortion under fire do seem real to me. If it's only imagined, then I'm still happier with these phones than without them. I tamed the EQ on my HD6XX's until I could appreciate the friendly smoothness of those headphones, which I originally had mixed feelings about; but the feeling of a big step up was far more immediate with the Closed X headphones. (All hail the Drop DCA BluntX's!)
 
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Congrats on your new cans! I have a pair as well, and am very happy with how they sound. I have them eq'ed with oratory's recommendations, tweaked a little. The blunted decay and minimal microdynamic criticism of some reviewers is lost on me... These cans have gotten me re-interested in music I had forgotten about. Steely Dan Aja & Gaucho, Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, Michael Jackson Thriller were the first albums I listened to, and blew me away!

And a hat tip to @Robbo99999 too for his measurement efforts!:)
 
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Robbo99999

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Question for DCA owners who are headphone vets.

I'm pretty new to headphones, and cycled from Etymotic IEM's to Senn HD6XX and recently graduated to the DCA Closed X. I visited some other websites who reviewed the Closed X. The more objective reviewers (and one was a die-hard measurement person) seemed to echo others that the DCA Closed X, like the DCA Noire, has a "blunted" sound, that they associated with being less dynamic, but better at separating instruments and possibly being more accurate.

Hmm.. an auditory continuum from "blunt" to "dynamic and lively, slammin'"...

I haven't heard enough headphones to know whether they're describing something phantom or something real. Is there any measurable phenomenon that goes along with being blunted (as in blunted trailing reverb of the notes or something) as opposed to being dynamic or lively or good at slam? Or is this a will o' the wisp like "speed"?

Whatever the Closed X has, it does tickle my auditory pleasure center. I love how it can be tuned so easily to disclose a lot of detail without glare or harshness (something I can't do very well with the Ety's). I love the clear, accurate sound of the individual instruments, and I can even sometimes pick out voices in a small chorus. I love the way the bass is deep and clear and integrates smoothly without bloat into the mids. These are great phones for what I like!.

I understand the psychoacoustic audiophile endorphin that goes with getting a new transducer and then hearing an improvement by virtue of the personal attention paid to the new stuff during the transition. At the same time, I've gone through several such equipment transitions with the same reference recordings. and the DCA phones' transparency, detail and lack of distortion under fire do seem real to me. If it's only imagined, then I'm still happier with these phones than without them. I tamed the EQ on my HD6XX's until I could appreciate the friendly smoothness of those headphones, which I originally had mixed feelings about; but the feeling of a big step up was far more immediate with the Closed X headphones. (All hail the Drop DCA BluntX's!)
I'm not entirely sure what "slam" is, but if it's what I think it is and is related to an element within drum percussion, then in my experience with EQ'ing a headphone that had a deficit at 750Hz with a width of Q2, was that I was able to bring that element of the drum percussion by EQ'ing up that area using a 750Hz Q2 Peak Filter. It somehow rounded off some of the lower end drum strikes giving them a lovely impact towards the tail end of the drum strike, that for me might be described as "slam", but still I don't really know if that is slam or not. Just putting in my thoughts on "slam". So perhaps experiment with EQ'ing up that 750Hz area, especially if your headphone has a deficit in that area.
 

solderdude

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The difference between 'slam' and 'muddy' is not very big. It is a boost in the upper bass/lower mids.
The width and amplitude of the boost and combination with lower bass roll-off, listening level, recording and clarity of the headphone can make the difference if a headphone is found to have 'slam' or is found to sound 'muddy/bloated'.

Slam is usually referred to as powerful lows but not yet sounding muddy.

Headphones peaking around 1-3kHz are often found to be sounding 'dynamic'/'forward'/'clear'/lively' but there is usually more to it than just a (small) boost there. Bass for instance should not be too overpowering or muddy. Too muddy lowers the 'dynamic' sound feel.
 

JanesJr1

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I'm not entirely sure what "slam" is, but if it's what I think it is and is related to an element within drum percussion, then in my experience with EQ'ing a headphone that had a deficit at 750Hz with a width of Q2, was that I was able to bring that element of the drum percussion by EQ'ing up that area using a 750Hz Q2 Peak Filter. It somehow rounded off some of the lower end drum strikes giving them a lovely impact towards the tail end of the drum strike, that for me might be described as "slam", but still I don't really know if that is slam or not. Just putting in my thoughts on "slam". So perhaps experiment with EQ'ing up that 750Hz area, especially if your headphone has a deficit in that area.
I kind of figured it was all the EQ. I don't have this problem with the Closed X but will play with it just to learn to hear the problem and the EQ solution. Thank you.

I find it odd that reviewers in general dwell on frequency response without talking about EQ solutions. (Unlike ASR, which is my short-cut to audio common sense.)
 

JanesJr1

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The difference between 'slam' and 'muddy' is not very big. It is a boost in the upper bass/lower mids.
The width and amplitude of the boost and combination with lower bass roll-off, listening level, recording and clarity of the headphone can make the difference if a headphone is found to have 'slam' or is found to sound 'muddy/bloated'.

Slam is usually referred to as powerful lows but not yet sounding muddy.

Headphones peaking around 1-3kHz are often found to be sounding 'dynamic'/'forward'/'clear'/lively' but there is usually more to it than just a (small) boost there. Bass for instance should not be too overpowering or muddy. Too muddy lowers the 'dynamic' sound feel.
Great minds alike, you and Robbo9999 pinned it on frequency response. I don't have this problem with the ClosedX 'phones, but will play both with his "slammin'" 750 Hz and your "lively" 1-3kHz FR bands in EQ to make sure I have the mental connection between FR and subjective response. (I followed a similar rabbit hole once on the subject of "speed", so I should have known better.) Thanks!
 

JanesJr1

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Congrats on your new cans! I have a pair as well, and am very happy with how they sound. I have them eq'ed with oratory's recommendations, tweaked a little. The blunted decay and minimal microdynamic criticism of some reviewers is lost on me... These cans have gotten me re-interested in music I had forgotten about. Steely Dan Aja & Gaucho, Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, Michael Jackson Thriller were the first albums I listened to, and blew me away!

And a hat tip to @Robbo99999 too for his measurement efforts!:)
It may be that I spend more listening time with classical, but my next stop with the DCA Closed X's is going to be to try out Robbo's "slam" EQ solution with PJ Harvey. In her early days, I think PJ could turn a harp into a percussion instrument, as she did with every other instrument she touched. Maybe "Rid of Me" for the slammin' drums, though. (Three decades later, Polly Jean is still my girl, though she's not for everybody. But a good thing, that, or I'd be jealous.)

I'm glad there's someone else out there who's finding his inner teen-ager on these smooth, suave 'phones! I'll haven't tried the Oratory EQ yet but will.
 
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Thanks for the tip on PJ Harvey! Will check her out.
I find the fast transient response of the Aeon Closed X ver revealing of percussion instruments, with sharp initial impact and to me natural sounding decay. PS I love the sound of harps!
 
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Robbo99999

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Congrats on your new cans! I have a pair as well, and am very happy with how they sound. I have them eq'ed with oratory's recommendations, tweaked a little. The blunted decay and minimal microdynamic criticism of some reviewers is lost on me... These cans have gotten me re-interested in music I had forgotten about. Steely Dan Aja & Gaucho, Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, Michael Jackson Thriller were the first albums I listened to, and blew me away!

And a hat tip to @Robbo99999 too for his measurement efforts!:)
(Ah, I hadn't realised earlier when I read your message - I didn't make any of the measurements, it was Resolve that supplied the measurements, but it was myself that made the various EQ's from those measurements).
 

JanesJr1

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Thanks for the tip on PJ Harvey! Will check her out.
I find the fast transient response of the Aeon Closed X ver revealing of percussion instruments, with sharp initial impact and to me natural sounding decay. PS I love the sound of harps!
In PJ Harvey's early work, rhythm was at the center, and she'd be a good test of headphones' liveliness and slam. I don't want to divert this thread from its mission, but I will say PJ mixed razor-sharp musical intelligence with brutal, gut eruptions of music like no-one else. For example, she wrote "Sheela Na Gig" in 1987 at age 18, and if you don't know what that name means, check wikipedia before you listen to the song. She worked that topic into a feral, sexually-inflamed taunt by a young woman that sounded brutally authentic, and even worked in a refrain from the musical "South Pacific" that was the perfect rhythmic and lyrical counterpoint to the rest of the song. "Gonna wash that man right out of my hair....Gonna take my hips to a man who cares..." indeed. Even the words have rhythm: that's just a slurred couple of syllables away from perfect iambic pentameter when sung out loud. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...ANNTH1&refig=c077ed3144f341718756fcc9a5f05ca9

She spoke to me, anyway, when I was already edging into middle age. (And no, not because she wrote a suggestive piece of music!) She could play half a dozen instruments well, is still the only performer in the UK to win the Mercury Prize (top recording artist) twice, and she also won four Grammies. Rolling Stone loved the London cobblestones she walked on. But she didn't have as large an audience as Nirvana and the other early alt-rockers. Everyone in my family, especially my musically-trained daughter, whose musical opinions I revere, look on me with patronizing silence if her name comes up. She really isn't for everyone. But I'll be 70 in a couple of years, and I'll eventually die with the regret I missed a concert of hers in Boston in the 90's.

"Dry" in 1990 or so was a brilliant debut album, and "Songs from the City" a decade later was the most commercial and accessible album. Listen to the "Dry" album on the Closed X's and then the "Rid of Me" album and you will then have a laser fix on the DCA headphones' rhythmic drive or lack of it. But if she catches your interest, it's all the albums that fall between "Dry" and "Songs from the City" that will pull you in deeper. Her music has evolved far afield since then and been successful, but that first decade or so was her peak for me.
 
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JanesJr1

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(Ah, I hadn't realised earlier when I read your message - I didn't make any of the measurements, it was Resolve that supplied the measurements, but it was myself that made the various EQ's from those measurements).
My own praise for the cans was using your EQ as well! Thanks again!
 
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In PJ Harvey's early work, rhythm was at the center, and she'd be a good test of headphones' liveliness and slam. I don't want to divert this thread from its mission, but I will say PJ mixed razor-sharp musical intelligence with brutal, gut eruptions of music like no-one else. For example, she wrote "Sheela Na Gig" in 1987 at age 18, and if you don't know what that name means, check wikipedia before you listen to the song. She worked that topic into a feral, sexually-inflamed taunt by a young woman that sounded brutally authentic, and even worked in a refrain from the musical "South Pacific" that was the perfect rhythmic and lyrical counterpoint to the rest of the song. "Gonna wash that man right out of my hair....Gonna take my hips to a man who cares..." indeed. Even the words have rhythm: that's just a slurred couple of syllables away from perfect iambic pentameter when sung out loud. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+sheela+na+gig&view=detail&mid=484599447D93A0C8FFED484599447D93A0C8FFED&FORM=VIRE0&ru=/search?q=youtube+sheela+na+gig&form=ANNTH1&refig=c077ed3144f341718756fcc9a5f05ca9

She spoke to me, anyway, when I was already edging into middle age. (And no, not because she wrote a suggestive piece of music!) She could play half a dozen instruments well, is still the only performer in the UK to win the Mercury Prize (top recording artist) twice, and she also won four Grammies. Rolling Stone loved the London cobblestones she walked on. But she didn't have as large an audience as Nirvana and the other early alt-rockers. Everyone in my family, especially my musically-trained daughter, whose musical opinions I revere, look on me with patronizing silence if her name comes up. She really isn't for everyone. But I'll be 70 in a couple of years, and I'll eventually die with the regret I missed a concert of hers in Boston in the 90's.

"Dry" in 1990 or so was a brilliant debut album, and "Songs from the City" a decade later was the most commercial and accessible album. Listen to the "Dry" album on the Closed X's and then the "Rid of Me" album and you will then have a laser fix on the DCA headphones' rhythmic drive or lack of it. But if she catches your interest, it's all the albums that fall between "Dry" and "Songs from the City" that will pull you in deeper. Her music has evolved far afield since then and been successful, but that first decade or so was her peak for me.
Can put a lot of the sonic characteristics of her early work down to Steve Albini's production. Or, probably more accurately, down to her insistence on working with him. There's a lot of what you describe on the Big Black LPs of the time.

Oh, and check the recently released England Shake Demos LP. Very interesting to hear how she built said rhythms using some very leftfield samples.

Anyway, I digress....

Closed back Aeons: Firmly on my radar. Are there any major differences between the Drop and non drop, X, XS, Ghia, Vanden Plas and GTi versions?
 
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Jimbob54

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Can put a lot of the sonic characteristics of her early productions down to Steve Albini's production. Or, probably now accurately, down to her insistence on working with him. There's a lot of what you describe on the Big Black LPs of the time.

Anyway, I digress....

Closed back Aeons: Firmly on my radar. Are there any major differences between the Drop and non drop, X, XS, Ghia, Vanden Plas and GTi versions?
A matter of some controversy. Some including reps of DCA would say the Drop X Versions are (cosmetics aside) the same as the RT versions. Others insist there are differences. Personally, I'd buy the one that's easiest to get /cheapest for you. The Aeon Noire are a variant of the Aeon 2 which are definitely different to the Drop X or RT versions (newer drivers, collapsible form).
 
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A matter of some controversy. Some including reps of DCA would say the Drop X Versions are (cosmetics aside) the same as the RT versions. Others insist there are differences. Personally, I'd buy the one that's easiest to get /cheapest for you. The Aeon Noire are a variant of the Aeon 2 which are definitely different to the Drop X or RT versions (newer drivers, collapsible form).
What a surprise. This game is a minefield of choices as it is, I'll never understand brands' constant model tinkering and use of unfathomable nomenclature.

I'm pretty sure the Mk2 models are all out with my budget, so at least I can forget those.

If buying new, I assume I can add 20% UK import tax to the price shown on Drop's site?
 
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