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Drop Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

dav3

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Glad to hear it @dav3! And kudos to the Asus card!
Cheers!

Yeah I couldn't be happier with how it sounds. The Asus sound card has served me well, I've used it pretty much on a daily basis for 12 years and it's never missed a beat. Apparently you can upgrade the headphone amp itself on these too, but it sounds great as is.
 

Robbo99999

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I took out all the inserts, and even without EQ to my ears much preferred the sound. The details, especially in things like female vocals are so much more enjoyable. Like there is more sauce on the dish :) Then, I applied your EQ @Robbo99999 and oh my goodness..... I can't put these down. It's like a whole new dimension of musical enjoyment has opened up and I don't want to leave. Truly fantastic, I'm gobsmacked.
Nice, which EQ of mine are you using? I think there's 3 different EQ's I did for the Closed X - Sample #1, Sample #2, and the average of Sample 1&2.
 

dav3

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Nice, which EQ of mine are you using? I think there's 3 different EQ's I did for the Closed X - Sample #1, Sample #2, and the average of Sample 1&2.
I applied Sample #2 and was pleased with it right away. It doesn't sound like it's missing anything to me. Haven't tried the average of the two samples yet, will give it a go to compare sometime.

Thank you for sharing it, It's good stuff!
 

Construct

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I've also been happy with Sample #2 EQ.

Although I wouldn't say the Sample #1+#2 EQ sounds worse, necessarily. It is slightly different, however, and I haven't really invested enough time with it to really know if I'd prefer it. I suppose I've avoided it because it feels like a compromise solution.

Also: These are the only headphones I've bought that have a pseudo-burn-in change over the first few hours. It's not actually the headphones changing their sound, though. It was the ear pads softening up enough to produce a proper seal. The headphones were cold when I first put them on because I brought them straight in from outside, but as they physically warmed up and the pads settled the bass improved significantly.
 

Robbo99999

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I applied Sample #2 and was pleased with it right away. It doesn't sound like it's missing anything to me. Haven't tried the average of the two samples yet, will give it a go to compare sometime.

Thank you for sharing it, It's good stuff!
I've also been happy with Sample #2 EQ.

Although I wouldn't say the Sample #1+#2 EQ sounds worse, necessarily. It is slightly different, however, and I haven't really invested enough time with it to really know if I'd prefer it. I suppose I've avoided it because it feels like a compromise solution.

Also: These are the only headphones I've bought that have a pseudo-burn-in change over the first few hours. It's not actually the headphones changing their sound, though. It was the ear pads softening up enough to produce a proper seal. The headphones were cold when I first put them on because I brought them straight in from outside, but as they physically warmed up and the pads settled the bass improved significantly.
It does seem most people prefer Sample #2 EQ. There were quite a lot of thoughts going around that Sample #1 looked a little dodgy in it's measurement (as in it might have been an unusual unit), so some of us were thinking that Sample #2 is likely to be closer to headphones out there in the wild vs Sample #1.
 

dav3

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I picked up a Burson Play Mate 2 today, very impressed with how it sounds. Really like the balance of detail and warmth/softness.

Could listen to it all day (actually I did :)) with barely any fatigue. It sounds very natural, imaging and dynamics are good too.

In my opinion it pairs very well with the DCA Aeon Closed X. Haven't seen any reviews use this combo so I thought I'd mention that here.

Versus the Asus stx sound card; while it had enough power to make them loud, the sound quality improvement is very apparent.
 

Shadez

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From a reply that Amir posted in another thread:
" I want to make sure a distinction is made:

1. Balanced headphone connection has nothing to do with it being "balanced." All headphone connections are balanced since one end of your headphone is not connected to ground. Balanced option on a headphone amp can simply be thought of providing more power and that is it. If you don't need its extra power, you can use its 1/4 inch or 3.5mm output and be just as well.
"

I'm using a Drop THX AAA 789. With my Drop HD6xx, I can't hear a difference between the single ended and 4-pin, "balanced", headphone connections. Both are dead quiet and bot provide plenty of power to the headphones. I also have the Drop Aeon X and they work perfectly well with the 1/4 connection on the THX. The Drop THX AAA One or the others recommended above will be more than sufficient with the Aeon X.
This comment on entry to mid FI amps is just wrong in the vast majority of cases. If you buy an amp which offers balanced and SE, the balanced output as well as offering more voltage and wattage will almost always be of better sonic quality than the SE. Either buy a entry to mid FI SE only amp or use the balanced output.
 

dav3

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This comment on entry to mid FI amps is just wrong in the vast majority of cases. If you buy an amp which offers balanced and SE, the balanced output as well as offering more voltage and wattage will almost always be of better sonic quality than the SE. Either buy a entry to mid FI SE only amp or use the balanced output.
If an amp has both SE and balanced outputs, then yes 99% of the time the balanced output will provide more power. As I understand it, manufacturers designed it that way to save costs. The main advantage of a balanced output is lower noise, hence recording studios exclusively use it. For headphone outputs though, a balanced vs SE can sound essentially identical if power provided and circuitry is the same.
 

Construct

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If an amp has both SE and balanced outputs, then yes 99% of the time the balanced output will provide more power. As I understand it, manufacturers designed it that way to save costs. The main advantage of a balanced output is lower noise, hence recording studios exclusively use it. For headphone outputs though, a balanced vs SE can sound essentially identical if power provided and circuitry is the same.
The balanced outputs provide more power because the output has amplifier circuits on both leads swinging in opposite directions.

Balanced amplifiers allow designers to get away with certain single-ended performance issues that can be cancelled out by the balanced design. The Schiit Magnius is a good example of this. Using a single-ended output shows a significant 2nd harmonic spike, but that spike almost disappears when using the balanced output. (See review here)

Balanced outputs will technically have worse noise than the equivalent single-ended amplifier because they have twice the number of amplifiers driving each channel. Amplifiers can only add noise (true noise, not harmonic distortion) so more amplifiers will add more noise. If the noise floor is low enough then this doesn't matter, but it can be a challenge for sensitive IEMs at low listening levels. Double the amplifiers also halves the damping factor, which again might be negligible depending on the architecture.

The real advantage of balanced connections is common mode noise rejection. This can be very helpful when connecting two active audio devices such as a DAC to an amp. It's not very useful, however, when connecting to passive headphones that don't have their own ground reference anyway. This is why some manufacturers, included well-respected ones like Benchmark, don't bother with balanced headphone outputs.

Balanced interconnects between devices are great, though.
 

WadDad

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Hello everyone! What is gross weight of own box with headphones?
 

GoMrPickles

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Got mine today. Using off of a DX3 Pro+ with Bluetooth streaming from Spotify, since that's what's available. Listening with phone at max and DX3 at -25ish. I don't listen very loud, usually.

First impressions:
Cables are surprisingly tricky to secure. Was worried I'd break them. Cable itself is fantastic tho.
Headphones feel decently made but not bombproof. Very light. Pads seem squishy.
More bass than Oppo PM-3. Bass is distractingly boomy on some tracks; actually hard to hear on others (System Seven). Will EQ if/when listening from a laptop.
Very good detail on some tracks (they're a great match for Aurora's voice, it seems). Sounds very similar to PM-3 otherwise.

Overall, these seem like a modest upgrade over the PM-3's; I think I was expecting more of a difference, but both are closed-back planars in the same price range, so I think my expectations were out of line. I suspect the Aeon could use a bit more power; I may try it with Dx3 Pro+ -> L30 and see how that sounds.
 

JanesJr1

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Got mine today. Using off of a DX3 Pro+ with Bluetooth streaming from Spotify, since that's what's available. Listening with phone at max and DX3 at -25ish. I don't listen very loud, usually.

First impressions:
Cables are surprisingly tricky to secure. Was worried I'd break them. Cable itself is fantastic tho.
Headphones feel decently made but not bombproof. Very light. Pads seem squishy.
More bass than Oppo PM-3. Bass is distractingly boomy on some tracks; actually hard to hear on others (System Seven). Will EQ if/when listening from a laptop.
Very good detail on some tracks (they're a great match for Aurora's voice, it seems). Sounds very similar to PM-3 otherwise.

Overall, these seem like a modest upgrade over the PM-3's; I think I was expecting more of a difference, but both are closed-back planars in the same price range, so I think my expectations were out of line. I suspect the Aeon could use a bit more power; I may try it with Dx3 Pro+ -> L30 and see how that sounds.
Hint on connecting the Hirose connectors to the headphone fast, every time ... grab the silver connector between thumb and forefinger, insert it gently into the collar on headphone and rotate it until the cable connector hits the headphone slot. Then pinch back your forefinger and thumb so as to roll your grip back to the collar behind the silver collar and push the cable connector in until it clicks. Practice this in one, careful motion two or three times, and you should find that you can connect fast each time from then on, pretty soon without even thinking about it. [EDIT:<-- this applies to Hart Audio cables Hirose. See note below for stock DCA cables*]

On EQ, you may already know this, but try the Oratory/Harman EQ or the ASR/Robbo9999 "Sample 2" EQ as a starting point. I found that with the Closed X, I dialed back the low bass a couple of dB below Harman just because I thought it integrated the smooth FR from bottom to top a little better for acoustic sources, and the Harman curve is a little bit north of neutral on bass anyway. But of course that's a preference item, and with the low distortion bass, these headphones are easy to EQ to taste. (I had the opposite experience with my Senn HD6XX headphones, where EQing the weakish bass just increased the audible bass distortion. After hearing the clean bass from these headphones, I can never listen to the HD6XX phones -- that I once liked a lot -- just because of it.)

* EDIT: I notice there are two versions of the Hirose connectors. The above instructions apply to the version provided by Hart Audio cables for my balanced headphone cables. By contrast, the best way to connect the stock cables provided by Dan Clark Audio is simply to grasp the BLACK collar located just below the silver collar, gently insert the male plug into the female receptacle on the headphones, rotate the plug until you feel the insertion slot, and just push the plug in until it clicks. Very simple, but it seems confusing if you instead grasp the silver collar, which seems like the obvious thing to do, but doesn't work.
 
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Morbosis

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The balanced outputs provide more power because the output has amplifier circuits on both leads swinging in opposite directions.

Balanced amplifiers allow designers to get away with certain single-ended performance issues that can be cancelled out by the balanced design. The Schiit Magnius is a good example of this. Using a single-ended output shows a significant 2nd harmonic spike, but that spike almost disappears when using the balanced output. (See review here)

Balanced outputs will technically have worse noise than the equivalent single-ended amplifier because they have twice the number of amplifiers driving each channel. Amplifiers can only add noise (true noise, not harmonic distortion) so more amplifiers will add more noise. If the noise floor is low enough then this doesn't matter, but it can be a challenge for sensitive IEMs at low listening levels. Double the amplifiers also halves the damping factor, which again might be negligible depending on the architecture.

The real advantage of balanced connections is common mode noise rejection. This can be very helpful when connecting two active audio devices such as a DAC to an amp. It's not very useful, however, when connecting to passive headphones that don't have their own ground reference anyway. This is why some manufacturers, included well-respected ones like Benchmark, don't bother with balanced headphone outputs.

Balanced interconnects between devices are great, though.

I wish more people understood this, you did a great job explaining this in a simple way. I was horrible at technical writing in college, hahaha. This should be a pinned post for every Single ended vs Balanced debate!
 

majingotan

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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.

Truly not a bad idea BTW. My tubes @ 32ohm output impedance absolutely loves the DCA AXO at 13ohm impedance surprisinglyl. DCA Aeon headphones IMO are one of the most efficient planars I've encountered since I haven't even cross 9 am on my amp (6am is minimum and 4 pm is max) yet it's already on my sweetspot 85-90 dB SPL (on chorus part) all day listening. I'm starting to think if Amir had a typo with the sensitivity measurements with the Aeon RT. No way in hell that it's 677mV for 94 dB SPL. Damping factor be damned when the fun factor is through the roof (more like damping factor applies less to tubes I guess?)

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sample1.jpg

sample2.png
 

majingotan

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Doodski

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Truly not a bad idea BTW. My tubes @ 32ohm output impedance absolutely loves the DCA AXO at 13ohm impedance surprisinglyl. DCA Aeon headphones IMO are one of the most efficient planars I've encountered since I haven't even cross 9 am on my amp (6am is minimum and 4 pm is max) yet it's already on my sweetspot 85-90 dB SPL (on chorus part) all day listening. I'm starting to think if Amir had a typo with the sensitivity measurements with the Aeon RT. No way in hell that it's 677mV for 94 dB SPL. Damping factor be damned when the fun factor is through the roof (more like damping factor applies less to tubes I guess?)

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View attachment 218636
View attachment 218637
That dB meter on your cel tel looks wonderful. Simply beautiful to look at.
 

majingotan

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