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Drop Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X

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TheHighContemplator

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Wow! I've been away for awhile and this thread has been rocking away in my absence. First, congratulations to all of the new owners of these amazing headphones. I've been tinkering away myself, only to discover Oratory had measured and developed an EQ profile. @Robbo99999 's Sample 2 is still king, for me, and many others it would seem. Gotta give thanks for the work he's done. Oratory's does sound "thin" by comparison.

Here's something I noticed with regards to these headphones not sounding "dynamic" for some people:

I use a Topping L30 to power my set. I always left the gain at 0, but one day I decided to try using the High Gain (+6db) setting. It really is incredible how much more alive the Closed X sounds with this setting engaged. I thought it might be the additional current, but reading through the thread showed me that gain doesn't affect current, only voltage. Well, whatever the case, the Closed X definitely benefits from the extra it gets in High Gain. I actually had to remove all of my tweaks and I'm now running it in the stock Sample 2 configuration. I think this is the reason people complain/comment on the lack of perceived "slam". As @Finder and others have noted similar experiences, I can only conclude that these headphones are hungry, but once fed, become everything I could ask for in a pair of headphones for the money I spent. Honestly, I feel like they are a bargain.

I also own an E1DA 9038D (single ended), and they actually do fairly well with the Closed X, as long as you don't require concert level volume. It doesn't sound as refined or dynamic as the L30, but I would still recommend it for people on the go or on a tight budget.

As far as positioning these on my noggin for optimal sound quality, I position mine so the top of my ear is about 2mm from the top of the cup, while the back of my ear just grazes the back of the cup. This provides me with the largest soundstage and the best bass response.

I look forward to reading more new and existing owners' experiences.
 

FreaK

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Wow! I've been away for awhile and this thread has been rocking away in my absence. First, congratulations to all of the new owners of these amazing headphones. I've been tinkering away myself, only to discover Oratory had measured and developed an EQ profile. @Robbo99999 's Sample 2 is still king, for me, and many others it would seem. Gotta give thanks for the work he's done. Oratory's does sound "thin" by comparison.

Here's something I noticed with regards to these headphones not sounding "dynamic" for some people:

I use a Topping L30 to power my set. I always left the gain at 0, but one day I decided to try using the High Gain (+6db) setting. It really is incredible how much more alive the Closed X sounds with this setting engaged. I thought it might be the additional current, but reading through the thread showed me that gain doesn't affect current, only voltage. Well, whatever the case, the Closed X definitely benefits from the extra it gets in High Gain. I actually had to remove all of my tweaks and I'm now running it in the stock Sample 2 configuration. I think this is the reason people complain/comment on the lack of perceived "slam". As @Finder and others have noted similar experiences, I can only conclude that these headphones are hungry, but once fed, become everything I could ask for in a pair of headphones for the money I spent. Honestly, I feel like they are a bargain.

I also own an E1DA 9038D (single ended), and they actually do fairly well with the Closed X, as long as you don't require concert level volume. It doesn't sound as refined or dynamic as the L30, but I would still recommend it for people on the go or on a tight budget.

As far as positioning these on my noggin for optimal sound quality, I position mine so the top of my ear is about 2mm from the top of the cup, while the back of my ear just grazes the back of the cup. This provides me with the largest soundstage and the best bass response.

I look forward to reading more new and existing owners' experiences.
When you change the gain setting, you change the volume (SPL level) too, and louder is almost always perceived as better. That's why this is one of the most important things in a controlled test, to very precisely match SPL levels (not with ears).
The gain setting shouldn't make the Headphone sound better/worse, it just gives enough headroom to use with different sensivity HP's.

..."It doesn't sound as refined or dynamic"..
Sorry to say that, but those are subjective misconceptions, we should do better here on ASR :)

I'm always struggling with the positioning, this headband design is not for me. Those sliders always change their position, but i guess i could try to adjust them carefully.
 

Robbo99999

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Wow! I've been away for awhile and this thread has been rocking away in my absence. First, congratulations to all of the new owners of these amazing headphones. I've been tinkering away myself, only to discover Oratory had measured and developed an EQ profile. @Robbo99999 's Sample 2 is still king, for me, and many others it would seem. Gotta give thanks for the work he's done. Oratory's does sound "thin" by comparison.

Here's something I noticed with regards to these headphones not sounding "dynamic" for some people:

I use a Topping L30 to power my set. I always left the gain at 0, but one day I decided to try using the High Gain (+6db) setting. It really is incredible how much more alive the Closed X sounds with this setting engaged. I thought it might be the additional current, but reading through the thread showed me that gain doesn't affect current, only voltage. Well, whatever the case, the Closed X definitely benefits from the extra it gets in High Gain. I actually had to remove all of my tweaks and I'm now running it in the stock Sample 2 configuration. I think this is the reason people complain/comment on the lack of perceived "slam". As @Finder and others have noted similar experiences, I can only conclude that these headphones are hungry, but once fed, become everything I could ask for in a pair of headphones for the money I spent. Honestly, I feel like they are a bargain.

I also own an E1DA 9038D (single ended), and they actually do fairly well with the Closed X, as long as you don't require concert level volume. It doesn't sound as refined or dynamic as the L30, but I would still recommend it for people on the go or on a tight budget.

As far as positioning these on my noggin for optimal sound quality, I position mine so the top of my ear is about 2mm from the top of the cup, while the back of my ear just grazes the back of the cup. This provides me with the largest soundstage and the best bass response.

I look forward to reading more new and existing owners' experiences.
Good to see you back again! Pleased that the Sample#2 EQ I did from Resolve's measurements have worked well for you. About the High Gain & the headphones coming alive - I think Freak's post before this one explains the differences - you're probably just listening at a louder level, you'd have to Level Match at each gain setting to test, and Lower Gains should theoretically be better than High Gain as long as it's getting loud enough for you on Low Gain.
 
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TheHighContemplator

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When you change the gain setting, you change the volume (SPL level) too, and louder is almost always perceived as better. That's why this is one of the most important things in a controlled test, to very precisely match SPL levels (not with ears).
The gain setting shouldn't make the Headphone sound better/worse, it just gives enough headroom to use with different sensivity HP's.

..."It doesn't sound as refined or dynamic"..
Sorry to say that, but those are subjective misconceptions, we should do better here on ASR :)

I'm always struggling with the positioning, this headband design is not for me. Those sliders always change their position, but i guess i could try to adjust them carefully.
Good to see you back again! Pleased that the Sample#2 EQ I did from Resolve's measurements have worked well for you. About the High Gain & the headphones coming alive - I think Freak's post before this one explains the differences - you're probably just listening at a louder level, you'd have to Level Match at each gain setting to test, and Lower Gains should theoretically be better than High Gain as long as it's getting loud enough for you on Low Gain.

I should have been more detailed in my description. I did comparisons where I level matched between normal and high gain by using the separate EQ profiles and adjusting the preamp gain using test tones at 200hz and 1khz, and there is a pronounced difference in bass impact between the two settings. Perhaps my method was flawed and I'll accept that.

"Sorry to say that, but those are subjective misconceptions, we should do better here on ASR"
Again, you're correct. What I meant was perceived percussive impact across the frequency range with demo content I've listened to thousands of times presented themselves differently than when using the Topping L30, which has the power to prevent compression of the signal during moments featuring high dynamic peaks.

I didn't make these observations after one listening session, but by continuously switching between normal and high gain and checking myself to see if I was just being biased. Took about two weeks to come to any conclusion. While it was not done under blind or double blind conditions, and it is impossible for me to have no bias affecting the outcome of my perceptions, I'm just presenting an observation. Not sure what's going on. I'm very much aware of loudness bias, having conducted double-blind speaker shootouts in the past, which I really miss doing.

What could be the reason others have had similar experiences like I have? Do you think it's just bias, which I'm fine accepting as the cause if that is indeed the case. Are there any other reasons this perception exists?
 

Robbo99999

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I should have been more detailed in my description. I did comparisons where I level matched between normal and high gain by using the separate EQ profiles and adjusting the preamp gain using test tones at 200hz and 1khz, and there is a pronounced difference in bass impact between the two settings. Perhaps my method was flawed and I'll accept that.

"Sorry to say that, but those are subjective misconceptions, we should do better here on ASR"
Again, you're correct. What I meant was perceived percussive impact across the frequency range with demo content I've listened to thousands of times presented themselves differently than when using the Topping L30, which has the power to prevent compression of the signal during moments featuring high dynamic peaks.

I didn't make these observations after one listening session, but by continuously switching between normal and high gain and checking myself to see if I was just being biased. Took about two weeks to come to any conclusion. While it was not done under blind or double blind conditions, and it is impossible for me to have no bias affecting the outcome of my perceptions, I'm just presenting an observation. Not sure what's going on. I'm very much aware of loudness bias, having conducted double-blind speaker shootouts in the past, which I really miss doing.

What could be the reason others have had similar experiences like I have? Do you think it's just bias, which I'm fine accepting as the cause if that is indeed the case. Are there any other reasons this perception exists?
In the past I have thought High Gain sounded better, but I hadn't level matched accurately. How did you level match using the two test tones? Did you measure, what did you measure? Or did you theoretically work it out based on knowing what the Gain Factor was of High Gain vs your previous Low Gain & then perhaps using EqualiserAPO to create a negative preamp that cancels out the difference whilst running the volume pot at full volume?
 
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TheHighContemplator

TheHighContemplator

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In the past I have thought High Gain sounded better, but I hadn't level matched accurately. How did you level match using the two test tones? Did you measure, what did you measure? Or did you theoretically work it out based on knowing what the Gain Factor was of High Gain vs your previous Low Gain & then perhaps using EqualiserAPO to create a negative preamp that cancels out the difference whilst running the volume pot at full volume?
Unfortunately, I have no means to measure, so I did it be ear and adjusted them. It is a flawed way to do it, so maybe nobody should take my observations too seriously. I wish I had a measurement rig to see if what I'm hearing is real or not. That said, I am able to perfectly detect 0.5db changes when listening to test tones. My audio buddies couldn't get past 70%.

Anyhow, unless someone has the means to measure any differences, ignore my observations. The more I think about it, the more flawed my observations seem to be.
 

Robbo99999

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Unfortunately, I have no means to measure, so I did it be ear and adjusted them. It is a flawed way to do it, so maybe nobody should take my observations too seriously. I wish I had a measurement rig to see if what I'm hearing is real or not. That said, I am able to perfectly detect 0.5db changes when listening to test tones. My audio buddies couldn't get past 70%.

Anyhow, unless someone has the means to measure any differences, ignore my observations. The more I think about it, the more flawed my observations seem to be.
Yeah, fair enough, doing it by ear is not really accurate enough. I suppose you could do it mathematically if you know what your High Gain multiplier is, then use a negative preamp to cancel out the gain multiplier - it's possible to work out how many dB you'd have to reduce it. And you'd just run the volume pot at full volume to be sure it's in the same place during your testing, and you'd use a negative preamp to dial it down to listenable levels whilst retaining the X number of dB difference that you've worked out between your High Gain & Low Gain that describes the multiplier difference.
 
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TheHighContemplator

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Yeah, fair enough, doing it by ear is not really accurate enough. I suppose you could do it mathematically if you know what your High Gain multiplier is, then use a negative preamp to cancel out the gain multiplier - it's possible to work out how many dB you'd have to reduce it. And you'd just run the volume pot at full volume to be sure it's in the same place during your testing, and you'd use a negative preamp to dial it down to listenable levels whilst retaining the X number of dB difference that you've worked out between your High Gain & Low Gain that describes the multiplier difference.
I lowered it by 6db, as indicated by the gain switch, and then adjusted by ear using the two frequencies. Never-the-less, not the best means to draw any conclusions.
 

Robbo99999

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I lowered it by 6db, as indicated by the gain switch, and then adjusted by ear using the two frequencies. Never-the-less, not the best means to draw any conclusions.
Well if the manufacturer specifications are bang on to a couple of decimal places re what the Gain factor is for the Gain Switch, then it should be accurate to work it out mathematically, but if the manufacturer is rounding it up or down to the nearest whole number for instance to describe the gain factor of High Gain, then it won't be accurate. It doesn't matter though - there shouldn't be a reason why High Gain would really sound better once level matched, theoretically it would be worse re lower SINAD.
 

Tkay

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Any recommendation for amplifier for these ? My iFi Micro iDSD just failed me today. It seems to be working, but the amp part doesn't work, I can hear it only very faintly.
 

JanesJr1

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Any recommendation for amplifier for these ? My iFi Micro iDSD just failed me today. It seems to be working, but the amp part doesn't work, I can hear it only very faintly.
I have used the JDS Labs Atom Amp ($99) and the Topping A50s ($219) for both the DCA Closed X and the Noire without a hitch and with good headroom. The Topping is more expensive but in addition to a regular, single-ended headphone jack, also is balanced internally and via a second, 4.5 mm Pentaconn headphone jack to provide lots of current for a low impedance, inefficient headphone like the DCA's. (Of course, that means balanced cables. BTW the inputs are not balanced, just the output, for extra power in a very compact unit.) I like having the power in reserve for whatever phones I use, so I use the balanced output on the A50s, but the Atom is ok by itself, lots of single-ended power for a moderate price and great specs. (If aesthetics matter, the Topping has the edge. That said, I admire the kind-of-plain but handsome-enough Atom, because JDS put the emphasis on high-performance at moderate cost (the internals), rather than on making audio jewelry.)

Both the Topping and JDS amps have matching DAC's, so you can stack them with a very small footprint in both cases.

If you listen by streaming on your PC and want to be connected away from your desktop amp, I have been very happy with the Hidizs S9 Pro USB dac/amp dongle (~$109), using its balanced output jack. It has both balanced and single-ended headphone jacks, and the most power I'm aware of for a dongle without a separate battery, and so is both very small and has enough headroom for the DCA phones. Also specs typical of top-tier desktop units. The max SPL is lower than a desktop, but is higher than I ever need. (I've used a couple of dongles that failed that test with these headphones; but not this one.) That's using the balanced output, which again would require a balanced cable with a 2.5mm jack, or at least a 2.5mm adapter if you already have balanced cables. But I use mine almost daily, so worth it for me.

If you use your phone, rather than your PC, as a mobile streaming source, you can find a number of battery driven dac/amps in the ASR reviews section. If you need to EQ from your phone, the Qudelix 5k dac/amp dongle does so extremely well and has a small battery supply in a compact dongle for about the same cost as the Hidizs. I haven't used it, but I've seen comments on ASR that it drives the DCA phones well with (I believe) a balanced output.

If you decide to use balanced outputs (A50s or S9 Pro or both), I have had good luck with Hart Audio cables, which are well made and not that expensive as these things go. The extra cost of balanced cables is, however, not necessary with the Atom or A50s (in single-ended mode), but is with the Hidizs S9 Pro for those headphones IMO.

If you decide to use balanced cables for both desktop and dongle as I did, I ordered a 4.5mm pentaconn-tipped cable from Hart and then a pentaconn 4.5mm-to-2.5mm balanced adapter, which I found online in China. Alternatively, Hart has a modular approach to matching input jacks to output jacks, and if you wanted a balanced cable with both a 4.5mm pentaconn for the desktop and a 2.5mm for the S9 Pro or Qudelix, I'd send a message on their site, at the custom cable tab, and they will return a quote. One cable, two headphone jacks that could be swapped on the fly.

(The Atom and Topping amps are reviewed here on ASR. The Hidizs S9 reviewed on ASR is an older version with less power and a discontinued processor, but you will still get relevant info from the review on functionality and design.)

[PS, I just registered on the fact that you're replacing what I assume is a portable amp or dac/amp. I didn't give much advice in that direction here, but maybe someone else will have more experience. Still, check the ASR reviews section, too.]
 
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Tkay

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No, I am using it as a desktop amp only on my PC, the fact that it was portable was just a bonus for the days when I was going to the office (no longer the case now). Thank you, I will check those options :)
 

Tkay

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I checked reviews today and I think I might go with a Topping L30 II / A30 II combo. I might wait a bit to see if they are available in my country, otherwise I will order them from France. I fear JDS Labs Atom Amp is a bit at the limit with these and I can't find it easy anyway here. I checked again the review for Aeon RT and man, are these hungry.
 

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I checked reviews today and I think I might go with a Topping L30 II / A30 II combo. I might wait a bit to see if they are available in my country, otherwise I will order them from France. I fear JDS Labs Atom Amp is a bit at the limit with these and I can't find it easy anyway here. I checked again the review for Aeon RT and man, are these hungry.
The L30 will sound good. The Atom will handle them, too. But whatever you get, enjoy...
 

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Quite late to the game here im highly considering getting the aeon closed x for audio mastering.

I have the Smsl m500 Dac/Amp so im wondering if this dac will suffice for these cans. Thanks :)
 

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Quite late to the game here im highly considering getting the aeon closed x for audio mastering.

I have the Smsl m500 Dac/Amp so im wondering if this dac will suffice for these cans. Thanks :)
Not sure which version of the M500 you have but here's Amir's review. Maybe read through that and see if it's going to be enough. In Amir's review of the Aeon RT, he measured 677 mv and 32 ohm to get 94 db. The Dan Clark Stealth needs 549 mv at similar impedance to get to that same level. Given that Amir seemed to indicate that the 500 MKIII was just enough for the Stealth, it seems that it could be a bit marginal. Probably need a stronger amp. I'm using a Drop THX 789 with mine. Lot's of choices for similar amps that are super good and low cost.
 

Tkay

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The L30 will sound good. The Atom will handle them, too. But whatever you get, enjoy...
I got my L30 II and it's great. I am using EPO with Closed Sample 2 (-6.1db) and I find myself wanting more than M gain, I use it mostly on high gain. On some classic music I can reach max volume even on high gain. I am waiting for the E30 II to arrive, I will post my impressions in a few days.

LE : I had my wife test a bit :) In the end it appears she likes more the first sample for EPO ( from the first post on this thread) and also on the L30 II she can't stand the high gain, she likes medium gain :) (I tried to normalize volume as much as possible, so it's not related to that)
 
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Hubentus

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I can see the txt files for Resolve's PEQ settings -is there a txt file for the Oratory PEQ settings somewhere? And is the Oratory measurement with or without the damping pads/filters?
 

FreaK

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I can see the txt files for Resolve's PEQ settings -is there a txt file for the Oratory PEQ settings somewhere? And is the Oratory measurement with or without the damping pads

I can see the txt files for Resolve's PEQ settings -is there a txt file for the Oratory PEQ settings somewhere? And is the Oratory measurement with or without the damping pads/filters?
It's in the AutoEQ database of Peace EQ, just have to select it from the list. There's 4 different EQ's for it, including 2 Oratory's. Search for: dan clark audio aeon

Edit2: sorry, wrong one, we need the drop X

But most people agree, that the best setting is the sample #2 here in this topic
 

doug2761

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It's in the AutoEQ database of Peace EQ, just have to select it from the list. There's 4 different EQ's for it, including 2 Oratory's. Search for: dan clark audio aeon

Edit2: sorry, wrong one, we need the drop X

But most people agree, that the best setting is the sample #2 here in this topic
If you’re asking where you can find his settings then just do a Google search for Oratory PEQ Aeon X and you’ll find his Reddit page.
 
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