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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.
 
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