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Drop Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

Robbo99999

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I've been playing with my ACX eq a bit for about a month, and settled on a 6 band solution based on @oratory1990 FR graph and @Robbo99999 adjustments that sounds quite good to my old ears.
Using RME ADI-2 FS
1- low shelf G 5 F 150 Q 0.7
2- peq G 3 F 1k Q 3
3- peq G 3 F 2k Q 3
4- peq G 3 F 7k Q 3

Bass adjustments
G 0>+5 F 100 Q 0.8
Treble adjustments
G 0>-4 F 6.5k Q 0.7

A few recordings benefit from the B & T adjustments, the rest only the 4 fixed bands.

Thanks to contributors to this thread!

Test music:
Return to Forever: Romantic Warrior, Light as a Feather
Al Dimeola: Opus, Elysium, Casino
Edgar Winter: Jasmine Nightdreams
The Band: Rock of Ages
Jean Luc Ponty: Aurora
Mahavishnu Orchestra: Visions of the Emerald Beyond
I didn't draw them out, but I did compare the major dips and peaks in the curve and how the corrections from you and Oratory fit. My final dcision was to address only the biggest dips in the midrange / lower treble, and instead of decreasing the midbass bump to incorporate it into the low shelf correction.

In trying to correct the midbass bump and then apply the low shelf correction, I noticed on the well produced RTF album, Stanley Clark's bass would walk up and down and the volume of the notes would swell down low and thin out up top. Also the bass would often take center stage, this does not happen live with that group. Unless improvising out front all instruments are evenly balanced volume wise. No slamming bass leading the way. Anyway, that is what I aimed for, even-ess of bass. With the FR graph as the starting point.
I was just now visualising your EQ. So for the bass you're changing it by using 2 filters: Low Shelf 150Hz +5dB Q0.7 as well as Peak Filter 100Hz +5dB Q0.8. If that's the case then you're basically boosting the entire stock bass of the headphone by a massive +10dB altogether, and that seems like madness?! And if you are indeed doing that then wouldn't that contradict your observations that your EQ makes bass instruments take a step back?? Did I instead just interpret wrongly which bass filters you're using?
 
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I was just now visualising your EQ. So for the bass you're changing it by using 2 filters: Low Shelf 150Hz +5dB Q0.7 as well as Peak Filter 100Hz +5dB Q0.8. If that's the case then you're basically boosting the entire stock bass of the headphone by a massive +10dB altogether, and that seems like madness?! And if you are indeed doing that then wouldn't that contradict your observations that your EQ makes bass instruments take a step back?? Did I instead just interpret wrongly which bass filters you're using?
Ahh, my bad explanation. The adjustable bass control is adjustable -6 to +6 centered at 0, treble control adjustable -6 to +6 centered at 0 for all but a few albums. So for most anything the bass is just +5. The intent was to have a shelf that included the 190 hz bump as the up ramp of the low shelf to even out the upper bass.

I'm sure I muddied up the description a bit... In a nutshell just 4 bands...
 

Robbo99999

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Ahh, my bad explanation. The adjustable bass control is adjustable -6 to +6 centered at 0, treble control adjustable -6 to +6 centered at 0 for all but a few albums. So for most anything the bass is just +5. The intent was to have a shelf that included the 190 hz bump as the up ramp of the low shelf to even out the upper bass.

I'm sure I muddied up the description a bit... In a nutshell just 4 bands...
Ah, I see a bit more now what you mean, although now given your explanation I can see you had written in your original message that your bass was adjustable from 0 to +5dB with your 100Hz Q0.8, and that was on top of your 150Hz +5dB Low Shelf, so your bass is being adjusted anywhere from +5dB to +10dB according to which track you're listening too, which is still a lot of bass, but if that's how you like it, that's fine. So I don't see how you're saying the most the bass is +5dB.
 
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Ah, I see a bit more now what you mean, although now given your explanation I can see you had written in your original message that your bass was adjustable from 0 to +5dB with your 100Hz Q0.8, and that was on top of your 150Hz +5dB Low Shelf, so your bass is being adjusted anywhere from +5dB to +10dB according to which track you're listening too, which is still a lot of bass, but if that's how you like it, that's fine. So I don't see how you're saying the most the bass is +5dB.
re:most - I meant most of the time, not the absolute most bass applied. I have no excuse as English is my first language!:facepalm:
I should have just left out the adjustable BnT settings, since I don't use them much. That makes it simpler. Bass can also be adjusted to +5 -5 as well, so I can thin out the bass as needed. Eg the Thriller album is so bass strong I dial in -3 in the bass tone control ( for a total of +2 shelf ). The RME BnT tone controls adjustment are a bit unusual, as they decrement as well as increment and are adjustable for freq as well as Q. They are in addition to the 5 band eq.

A simplified image- take your adjusted freq response, move the lower shelf start to 150, and the rest of the graph looks more or less the same... If I knew how to draw out the Q values I'd give a whirl at freehand graphing.o_O;)

PS Thx for your patience with my extemporaneous writing style - or lack of...
 
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Robbo99999

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re:most - I meant most of the time, not the absolute most bass applied. I have no excuse as English is my first language!:facepalm:
I should have just left out the adjustable BnT settings, since I don't use them much. That makes it simpler. Bass can also be adjusted to +5 -5 as well, so I can thin out the bass as needed. Eg the Thriller album is so bass strong I dial in -3 in the bass tone control ( for a total of +2 shelf ). The RME BnT tone controls adjustment are a bit unusual, as they decrement as well as increment and are adjustable for freq as well as Q. They are in addition to the 5 band eq.

A simplified image- take your adjusted freq response, move the lower shelf start to 150, and the rest of the graph looks more or less the same... If I knew how to draw out the Q values I'd give a whirl at freehand graphing.o_O;)

PS Thx for your patience with my extemporaneous writing style - or lack of...
Ha, it's ok, no need to apologise. I can visualise what you mean.
 

JanesJr1

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If you're for sure certain in your observations there, then for some reason it seems your Surface Pro is not able to output enough power to your dongle. Different types of USB port have different specs in terms of how much "power" (I say this in quotes because I don't know the unit of variance - is it milliamps?) they can offer, and sometimes there are anomalies like some ports are charging ports that can offer more power than standard.......hmm, I don't know how much variance there can be from manufacturer to manufacturer but there are for sure some minimum standards associated with various types of USB ports. Maybe that's the deal, you're experiencing. I can't help you much with that, Google is your friend as well as knowing specifically the specs for the ports on your specific devices.
I finally left my post-surg couch-a-thon and got back to my desktop setup. It's head-smackin' time. The Hidizs dongle is back in fashion with the DCA Closed X's.

I plugged my Surface Pro 7 into the private network I use, and was disappointed by what I heard with the Closed X's whether using the desktop amp or the Hidizs S9 Pro dongle. I was getting ready to chuck the SP7 into the toilet, when I started thinking, "what's going on with it to muck up the sound? What process could be choking the USB power output on that particular machine?"

I started to try to run it in exclusive mode and make sure all enhancements were ruled out in the Windows sound device setup. Then it hit me: although I usually go online only with private networks where I don't need a VPN, I still had my VPN turned on for the SP7 (not my ThinkPad), and the VPN network can slow down at times. I closed out the VPN and just to be sure, ran Amazon Music HD in exclusive mode.*

This step opened up the sound, so that I didn't even need the high-pass EQ filter here in my office. Now, at the location where I was laid up, that network is sometimes also bandwidth-limited, so I think the high-pass filter may have helped there, as it did with my no-VPN-loaded Thinkpad
earlier.

It wasn't a USB problem or really a dongle-current-limitation. It was network bandwidth. Just closing the VPN also restored most of the 'slam factor' deficit in the headphones (although I still think the HD6XX's are even stronger there). All percussion is much more forward. Pumping and bass-suckout are pretty much gone when using the Hidizs dongle on a full-bandwidth network in balanced mode.

Yes, I'm feeling sheepish. Another grim reminder to think outside the dots. Or maybe, we were still inside the dots and I should have thought of it sooner, anyway.

Nevertheless, there may be a useful lesson for experimenting with headphones that require power or current. Bandwidth limitations can reduce headroom just like current or power demands, especially when both factors may be at work.


* Yes, I know everyone is figuring out that Amazon exclusive mode doesn't auto-switch the way it should to match the resolution of source material on playback. But I'm pretty sure that it does run in exclusive mode in the sense of carving off the audio stream from the Windows audio processor when you fully defeat shared-mode both in Windows and in the Amazon app.
 
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hoverdonkey

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Just checking in to report that I have got the hang of doing parametric EQ on LMS and am having a fine old time switching between stock, Robbo99999's sample#2 and oratory1990. It is easy enough to swap EQ profiles in a few seconds by pasting the EQ script into the config file in situ (using WinSCP). There's probably a much better, more Linuxy, way of doing this, but that's beyond me!

I have also rediscovered the benefits of "self-EQ" - i.e. I often find that popping my ears (gently!) when commencing a listening session can really open things up. I reckon this free upgrade is worth £100s! I wonder if ASR can measure it...?
 

JanesJr1

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Just checking in to report that I have got the hang of doing parametric EQ on LMS and am having a fine old time switching between stock, Robbo99999's sample#2 and oratory1990. It is easy enough to swap EQ profiles in a few seconds by pasting the EQ script into the config file in situ (using WinSCP). There's probably a much better, more Linuxy, way of doing this, but that's beyond me!

I have also rediscovered the benefits of "self-EQ" - i.e. I often find that popping my ears (gently!) when commencing a listening session can really open things up. I reckon this free upgrade is worth £100s! I wonder if ASR can measure it...?
Re; self-EQ: I'm not sure I want to even know how you're doing that... Are you closing your mouth, holding your nose, and exhaling hard? Scraping out the earwax with your bic pen cap and then tugging on your earlobes?

Do all Linux users do this kind of thing? I don't know that I've met a Linux user before, at least in person....

Can you get Amir to demonstrate the technique in an ASR Youtube video?

BAck to earth: is LMS a linux EQ pkg, I assume? How do the Closed X's sound?
 

Robbo99999

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I finally left my post-surg couch-a-thon and got back to my desktop setup. It's head-smackin' time. The Hidizs dongle is back in fashion with the DCA Closed X's.

I plugged my Surface Pro 7 into the private network I use, and was disappointed by what I heard with the Closed X's whether using the desktop amp or the Hidizs S9 Pro dongle. I was getting ready to chuck the SP7 into the toilet, when I started thinking, "what's going on with it to muck up the sound? What process could be choking the USB power output on that particular machine?"

I started to try to run it in exclusive mode and make sure all enhancements were ruled out in the Windows sound device setup. Then it hit me: although I usually go online only with private networks where I don't need a VPN, I still had my VPN turned on for the SP7 (not my ThinkPad), and the VPN network can slow down at times. I closed out the VPN and just to be sure, ran Amazon Music HD in exclusive mode.*

This step opened up the sound, so that I didn't even need the high-pass EQ filter here in my office. Now, at the location where I was laid up, that network is sometimes also bandwidth-limited, so I think the high-pass filter may have helped there, as it did with my no-VPN-loaded Thinkpad
earlier.

It wasn't a USB problem or really a dongle-current-limitation. It was network bandwidth. Just closing the VPN also restored most of the 'slam factor' deficit in the headphones (although I still think the HD6XX's are even stronger there). All percussion is much more forward. Pumping and bass-suckout are pretty much gone when using the Hidizs dongle on a full-bandwidth network in balanced mode.

Yes, I'm feeling sheepish. Another grim reminder to think outside the dots. Or maybe, we were still inside the dots and I should have thought of it sooner, anyway.

Nevertheless, there may be a useful lesson for experimenting with headphones that require power or current. Bandwidth limitations can reduce headroom just like current or power demands, especially when both factors may be at work.


* Yes, I know everyone is figuring out that Amazon exclusive mode doesn't auto-switch the way it should to match the resolution of source material on playback. But I'm pretty sure that it does run in exclusive mode in the sense of carving off the audio stream from the Windows audio processor when you fully defeat shared-mode both in Windows and in the Amazon app.
So you reckon it was just the streamed music playing in some ultra low kbps format, so like below 128kbps MP3 or something? I suppose you could always test by playing back the same track at different bit rates to see if it exhibits the behaviour you mentioned.
 

hoverdonkey

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Re; self-EQ: I'm not sure I want to even know how you're doing that... Are you closing your mouth, holding your nose, and exhaling hard? Scraping out the earwax with your bic pen cap and then tugging on your earlobes?
Yes, just like descending in a plane. Earwax might be the reason I have to do it however, good point, I'll grab my colleague's bic...


Do all Linux users do this kind of thing?
I hope so.


I don't know that I've met a Linux user before, at least in person....
If you know somone who uses an Android device then you do.


Can you get Amir to demonstrate the technique in an ASR Youtube video?
I have no power over @amirm, but I'd like to see it too.


BAck to earth: is LMS a linux EQ pkg, I assume?
LMS is Logitech Media Server, a music server package which can run on many systems including Windows and Linux (in my case a RPi). It does most of what Roon does but is free! LMS started as proprietery system for Logitech's own hardware (e.g. Squeezebox) but they released it to developers, which is nice, as it is still thriving long after the original hardware was discontinued.


How do the Closed X's sound?
Lovely! I can hear clear differences between stock, Robbo9999 sample#2 EQ and oratory1990 EQ. I need a bit more listening time before attempting to articulate in writing what I am hearing, however.
 

JanesJr1

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Yes, just like descending in a plane. Earwax might be the reason I have to do it however, good point, I'll grab my colleague's bic...



I hope so.



If you know somone who uses an Android device then you do.



I have no power over @amirm, but I'd like to see it too.



LMS is Logitech Media Server, a music server package which can run on many systems including Windows and Linux (in my case a RPi). It does most of what Roon does but is free! LMS started as proprietery system for Logitech's own hardware (e.g. Squeezebox) but they released it to developers, which is nice, as it is still thriving long after the original hardware was discontinued.



Lovely! I can hear clear differences between stock, Robbo9999 sample#2 EQ and oratory1990 EQ. I need a bit more listening time before attempting to articulate in writing what I am hearing, however.
I agree with your patient listening. I have jumped the gun on that too often.
 

vitty0425

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Hi All,
I just ordered the Closed X to use in the actual office (with coworkers around). I want a simple, clean, sleek all-in-one DAC/Amp to power these efficiently. Been reading a lot about the high current / power recommendations. Would the new JDS Element 3 have optimal current / power to drive them effectively? Probably better than the Topping EX5? Which would be your recommendation if amp power is the highest priority? DAC extra features not considered since I'll be using USB connection to drive headphones only. Other recommendations below $600 welcomed as well.

I already have the RME ADI 2 DAC FS but I am hesitant to bring that sweet thing into the office so I'm looking at cheaper combos.
 

hoverdonkey

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I agree with your patient listening. I have jumped the gun on that too often.

I have been hearing lots of distortion from these cans... in the recordings! I think I could be properly experiencing the destruction of the loudness wars for the first time. I sheepishly admit that I was worried at first, thinking I had a fault somewhere in my nice new hardware chain. Until I played a few decent recordings. Silly me.

DR compression was something that I was aware of, but hadn't particularly noticed before, so it would seem that ASR and DCA have taken my listening to a new level! Thanks for ruining my enjoyment of my music collection guys! :)
 

Robbo99999

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Hi All,
I just ordered the Closed X to use in the actual office (with coworkers around). I want a simple, clean, sleek all-in-one DAC/Amp to power these efficiently. Been reading a lot about the high current / power recommendations. Would the new JDS Element 3 have optimal current / power to drive them effectively? Probably better than the Topping EX5? Which would be your recommendation if amp power is the highest priority? DAC extra features not considered since I'll be using USB connection to drive headphones only. Other recommendations below $600 welcomed as well.

I already have the RME ADI 2 DAC FS but I am hesitant to bring that sweet thing into the office so I'm looking at cheaper combos.
Considering it's 12 ohm it looks like the Element 3 starts increasing in distortion at 1.5V output which equates to 114dB:
index.php


worked it out here:
DCA Closed X & Element 3 amp.jpg


So there's enough power there to do a +10dB boost in the bass in EQ (and probably more depending on how loud you listen), and not that you need to put in +10dB EQ boosts into this headphone. It's not the most powerful amp out there, I think some dedicated headphone amps put out more power, although when I checked now it looks like Topping L30 and JDS Labs Atom Amp have similar power as dedicated headphone amps. I think it would be ok. Amir found it ran out of steam at the absolute highest playback volumes on his Stealth, and they're similar sensitivity headphones. But this headphone amp would be loud enough for me with this headphone, I'd only need to be certain it can get to 104dB (and that would be excessive overkill for me), and you've got an extra 10dB with this headphone amp before the distortion starts to climb for your 12ohm load. I think it's ok, unless you can do some research on ASR and find some other headphone amps which have the first diagram I showed you in this post - I think it's a newer addition, but it gives you visibility into what happens with your 12ohm load - you could try to find one with a better 12ohm load graph.
 

JanesJr1

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I have been hearing lots of distortion from these cans... in the recordings! I think I could be properly experiencing the destruction of the loudness wars for the first time. I sheepishly admit that I was worried at first, thinking I had a fault somewhere in my nice new hardware chain. Until I played a few decent recordings. Silly me.

DR compression was something that I was aware of, but hadn't particularly noticed before, so it would seem that ASR and DCA have taken my listening to a new level! Thanks for ruining my enjoyment of my music collection guys! :)
Oh, get some tubes and go euphonic in your distortion diet!

More seriously, my LP/CD collection goes back to the 50's (including some my parents owned), and I have found many remasters in the streaming sources that are wholesale improvements on the originals (especially non-classical pressings and re-pressings). Ok, there are titles missing in the streaming catalog, and some remasters are weak, and newer music (less-so older selections) shows compression. The DCA headphones are a nice way to sample the improvement side of things.
 

vitty0425

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Thanks @Robbo99999 you’re a great help. I’ll probably never go past 90db average with some light EQ. BTW I’ve used your EQ suggestions for the HE6SE V2 in another thread and I’ve been using it ever since :).

As for the amp to drive the Closed X, I’m really leaning towards the Element because of its sleek look and nice knob. I’ve got an EX5 already on the way so I’ll do the comparisons and sell one off.
 

Robbo99999

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Thanks @Robbo99999 you’re a great help. I’ll probably never go past 90db average with some light EQ. BTW I’ve used your EQ suggestions for the HE6SE V2 in another thread and I’ve been using it ever since :).

As for the amp to drive the Closed X, I’m really leaning towards the Element because of its sleek look and nice knob. I’ve got an EX5 already on the way so I’ll do the comparisons and sell one off.
You're likely to need more than 90dB to be delivered as a peak, but when I mathematically worked out what peaks I was using it was 86dB as a worst case but I don't listen loud. I think the Element 3 will be fine for your needs, and it's an attractive sleek good looking piece of kit, and you've got the digital volume control on there that ensures a perfect left/right channel balance. Mind you I just checked the EX5 review here on ASR, I think this will be a better headphone amplifier for you, it measures better generally, and here's that 12ohm load graph I was talking about, you get over 3Vrms at 12ohm before distortion starts to rise vs the 1.5Vrms of the Element 3:
index.php

The EX5 has also 20dB less THD than the Element 3 before the 12ohm load distortion starts to rise. I think you should get the EX5, it's less money too. Element 3 would be fine in practice for your needs, but EX5 is better suited to that headphone, and costs less money as well as measuring better.


EDIT: thanks, yeah, I'm glad you're enjoying that HE6se V2 EQ which I did in that thread, I just looked up my pics I do of my EQ's, I think this is the one you're talking about: HE6se V2 EQ.jpg. Yeah, that was a really nice frequency response to EQ, it didn't need any sharp/large filters and was possible to get it bang on the curve. Note for folks reading, this is an EQ for the HE6se V2, don't use it on your Closed X!
 
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JanesJr1

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Excellent headphones for it's price , I use it few month's.
More comfortable, than many other (HiFiMan's , Beyerdyniamic's and Sennheiser's).
I only have personal experience with DCA Aeon Closed X, HD6XX and some IEM's. Would you be willing to compare the phones youi're familiar with to the DCA Closed X phones?
 

Evgeniy

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Would you be willing to compare the phones youi're familiar with to the DCA Closed X phones?

Beyerdynamic DT990pro, 770pro, AKG K712, HiFiMan HE400, HE560, Sundara, and few other HiFiMan's, Sennheiser 600, 650, 800.
(and many IEM's, but comparison's with IEM's, I think, is incorrect).
AKG K712, for me, also is very comfortable, but AeoN Closed X sound is better - more accuracy, lower distortions and more speed.
 
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