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DROP + Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X Headphones US$394 (~A$531) Delivered @ Drop

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When the original version was first released in 2017, they were highly rated at their retail price of A$1,150. Usually sells for US$494 / A$665 delivered via Drop.

Given that Addicted to Audio don't seem to be run their A$599 Focal Elegia deals anymore, this is probably the best deal in audiophile closed back headphones under $1000.

Known to be light and comfortable to wear, with an airy and surprisingly expansive soundstage, a highly detailed, smooth and bright leaning neutral sound signature that passively isolates background noise very well.

If it's your first time buying from Drop, don't forget the referral bonus which will knock an additional US$10 off the price.

Reviews (RT and Drop versions virtually the same):

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closed Comments

  • +1

    Looks very professional…. Waiting for more comments

    • Not good, for the price. You'd be better off with a DT770 in my opinion.

      I do have quite a lot of headphones and like the hobby, don't use it professionally to mix it or anything. I would say these are neutral sounding, so nothing wrong with that and that's good.

      But they somehow sounds totally dead… like music isn't enjoyable. It's hard to describe because I can't really point to anything specific and they do measure well but this is a common complaint with these they take away the enjoyment of the music, as oppose to HD58X and 6XX - albeit they are open back of course. Look online and you will see plenty reviews to this affect from people who have other references.

      Anyway for that price, even with the discount, really not worth it. If you have nothing to compare this to, you might actually think it's good, but once you do, it's abundantly clear that these are way too expensive for what they are. Something like a Beyer DT770 would do the same, they sound great and still neutral, tho might need a little EQ to take away the top end a little, like 2-3dB. but at least that can be fixed unlike the Aeons. And if not looking for a closed back in particular, HD58x, 6XX, Fidleo X2HR are much much better options at much cheaper price.

      EDIT: Also I think this heavy discount (unusual for Drop, especially lower value stuff like this) is because they are not selling well, because, well… they are not worth $479US or even $379

  • +1

    Bought the open version of these when they were discounted recently. Can't compare them directly, but I'm very happy with them - great sound, superb quality, arrived quickly etc. Have heard similar about the closed.

  • +1

    Yeah I'm waiting for Addicted to Audio to drop the Elegia down to $599 again, but I've been waiting months. Still, willing to wait for it to happen again.

    • +3

      I have a theory as to what happened. Just after the last time they ran the sale (around March) a couple of prominent headphone reviewers (Z-Reviews and DMS) released very favourable reviews of the Elegia, saying that they even prefer it to some of Focal's higher end offerings.This in turn drove renewed interest and a lot of demand for the Elegia, which is why they haven't had to drop the price again. I'm doubtful that we'll see it drop to $599 for quite sometime - and it might even sell out completely before it does, given that the Elegia has apparently been discontinued. Very annoyed at myself for not picking it up in March, if it ever drops down to $599 again I'll place my order immediately.

      • +1

        Yeah I mean I'm not too bothered about it. I already have headphones, I'm assuming you do too. There'll always be deals and new headphones that'll drop in price. Will just wait for a worthy discount. Hopefully the Elegia hits $599 again end of the year though.

        • Haha, you're right - I do, it certainly is an addictive hobby. Fingers crossed A2A blesses us with a Christmas / New Years discount.

    • The Elegia were on my Xmas list too, but what do you think about the cracking headband? Is it overblown you reckon?

      Will A2A help with warranty as well I wonder?

      • I own a pair of Elears that share the same headband, they're going well - but I will say that the headband does seem brittle and I'm always very careful not to stretch them too far when I put them on or take them off. As long as you're careful with them, I think it should be fine.

    • +2

      Relevant graphs: https://headphonedatabase.com/oratory/headphones?ids=170,188

      Elegia needs a bit of work either with pad roll or EQ, Dan Clark is better out of the box, more open sounding too.

      I generally don't even bother going this far up with closed backs, money tends to be better spent on open backs and IEMs.

      • +2

        Unfortunately I agree, even though the Elegia and the Aeons are great for closed backs, they just don't hold a candle to what a pair of open backs can do.

        I do have an issue where Planar headphones seem to trigger my tinnitus, which is why I'm a bit hesitant to get the Dan Clarks - although at this price it is very tempting.

  • +1

    I have got a pair purchased a few weeks back. Nice and wide sound stage. Comfort to wear, I prefer this over HD6xx as its clamp force is too hard for me and made my ear bit pain after sometimes.

  • Before you buy this headphone, take a look at the frequency response posted on ASR that OP provided. The measurement for the FR does not look good at all i.e. lack of subbass extension, 7db dip in the mid-range, terrible LR driver matching, and 0 treble extension.

    • If the target is Harman, the graph isn't awful. Flat bass out of a closed back tends to make for a much more detailed sound, while the upper mid dip can give a diffuse field response that will sound a bit more open.

      Most people would prefer a 2-4 dB cut at 1.5-3.5 kHz, something that the AKG K371 does a fair bit despite a massive sub-bass shelf (note: the target curve I've linked is not Harman, and is lessened a bit at 1-4kHz already). By default, Harman has bite in the upper mids and lower treble, which adds a bit of bite to voices.

      • The whole point of buying a closed back headphone is to have better/deeper subbass impact, i.e. e-mu teak purpleheart, also you shouldn't be comparing graphs that were measured on different system as it would not be accurate.

        By default, harman is considered V-shape, the aeon is not one and barely meets harman curve. If you look at the measurements from ASR, you can see at the 2 to 3khz there's a 10db disparity, which is 10x loudness in difference, not to mention the terrible QC with the channel imbalance from a premium headphone, it would do well for people to at least demo it first before buying or just outright steer clear and get something reliable.

        • The whole point is isolation, and you're still going to get better bass extension in any scenario.

          There almost isn't a single closed back that brings the bass shelf without bringing issues into some combination of the mids, timbre, or detail levels. The materials in use today just don't cut it for preventing resonance and reflection issues. This kind of planar design goes close though.

          'True' Harman borders on V-shape due to the upper mid and lower treble rise to go with the bass shelf, but in terms of how engineers actually execute that in an individual headphone? The K371 highlights what they wind up going for with decent components: sub-bass shelf, no bleed into mids, bring down that 2-4kHz bump a little to reduce the heat & sibilance.

          Remember that Harman is an amalgamation of preferences, built off testing a group of people's ratings (trained and untrained) across common headphones, and that it's only done every so often (last time being 2017-2018). Materials engineering is in the middle of some big leaps, so that reference is frankly dated, and only applies to budget gear because you're not getting sibilance out of such dull drivers when you boost the upper mids.

          • -1

            @jasswolf: If you want better isolation, buy an iem. You say better bass extension, but again the FR says otherwise due to channel imbalance and QC issues.

            There almost isn't a single closed back that brings the bass shelf without bringing issues into some combination of the mids, timbre, or detail levels. The materials in use today just don't cut it for preventing resonance and reflection issues. This kind of planar design goes close though.

            Per your example, K371 says otherwise, not planar but still.

            Yes I know what is harman and v-shape is and if you look at harman over the years, it's been V-shape with minor adjustments but the general shape has always been V-shaped. The consumer market has also always preferred a bass boosted / V-shape signature, so saying the reference is dead is untrue and not factual at all. High end headphones, i.e. focal utopia, susvara, HEDDphone all have subbass extensions as well despite being open back and don't lack treble extension like the aeon.

            Furthermore, based on the FR provided by ASR, there's a random 10db 5k peak and the FR after 5k is an outright joke. HD800 which is one of the best high end headphone on the market, has a 5db peak at the 5-6khz and has been criticized intensely by the public. What makes you think a 10db peak from the aeon would be a good idea.

            Not to mention as well that the QC issue that has been plaguing the headphone, people should really not blind buy it without trying the headphone.

            • -1

              @ilikeblue: You've completely ignored the nuance in my comments, and you're over-focusing on a a 5kHz jump (helpful for imaging) that sits below the target you're chasing. I don't think you understand what the curve shows and doesn't show, and where and why it can be ignored. For all the good work that can be done on ASR (and plenty bad, even by the staff), you're showing the ignorant commentary that rides in on the back of it.

              Utopia, Susvara and HEDDPhone represent extremely high levels of design in terms of minimising distortion, maximising dampening and improving conductance of bass through pads and enclosure. That being said, the HEDDPhone and Utopia don't have the bass extension of the Susvara, but they offer different physics in regards to the bass (AMT driver on the headphone pushing more air, Utopia having more punch and slam along with its dynamics than most headphones).

              No one worth their salt in audio engineering will use Harman as an absolute target, it is a reference point for preferences based on very specific comparisons. If you consider yourself a student of such things, I emplore you to go through this recent interview with Dr Sean Olive, the guy who invented the damn thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7vnKHxtVUE

              He doesn't agree with your take.

              BTW, HD800 was replaced with the 800S for the reasons you describe, but it's built on a modified diffuse field curve, not Harman. That reflects the intended use case (orchestral, live music) and the design of the headphone enclosure itself. Not a perfect headphone (no such things really), but a great headphone, and when compared with hi-fi and summit-fi, great value.

              Hard to audition a Dan Clark closed back in AU, and if you look in my comments, I basically tell people to stop at the K371 and stick to open backs and IEMs if they want to reach in this price range.

              Closed backs are still built for great isolation though, I don't know what world you live in to think that isn't the case… IEM fitment is challenging (but rarely impossible), but at least tip rolling can be relatively cheap.

              Going forward, I implore you to actually improve your product experience before you get so adamant in the comments.

              • -1

                @jasswolf: First of all, you're ignoring the 100-200hz dipped for no reason. Besides that, if you really think 5khz is good for imaging, why do you not see other companies doing this. Furthermore, while ASR is questionable most of the times, i'm not even using anything they say to prove my point apart from the FR that he posted. You on the other hand is ignoring the FR for so called better "imaging", unless of course you want to tell me that the FR past 5khz doesn't matter.

                The whole point of me talking bout Utopia, Susvara, and HEDDphone is to show that customers do want a sound signature that has subbass with actual slam and treble that has actual extension. Both which the Aeon does not have.

                No one worth their salt in audio engineering will use Harman as an absolute target, it is a reference point for preferences based on very specific comparisons. If you consider yourself a student of such things, I emplore you to go through this recent interview with Dr Sean Olive, the guy who invented the damn thing:

                Yes, the same reason why AKG ,Samsung, and Moondrop are using the Harman Target. Because the target is bad and consumer doesn't like it right? /s

                Again, the whole point of me mentioning HD800 was that even though it's great, it still got criticized because of the 5db 5khz peak. What makes you think the Aeon can get away with a 10db 5khz peak?

                I never said closed back were bad for isolation, I'm just saying IEMs are an obvious choice for isolation. I have to say, your reading comprehension is terrible, you ignore what I say, don't response to the concerns I lay out, and just tell me background history about headphones that has nothing to do with the discussion. I now understand why you got banned from IEF discord.

                FYI, if you still think the Aeon is a good product, https://imgur.com/a/DeZ8u6d

                • @ilikeblue: The ego in this post outrageously outweighs the substance, where you again misunderstand acoustics and how they pertain to headphone and speaker design.

                  First of all, you're ignoring the 100-200hz dipped for no reason.

                  Negative, it dips to prevent bass bloat into the mids, a common fix and mostly filled in by resonance in actual listening experience.

                  Besides that, if you really think 5khz is good for imaging

                  This isn't a consistent thing, but a reasonably common thing, and you'll see it the most in Beyers, Sennheisers and gaming headphones. It's dependent on the enclosure design and dampening, you can't just spike 5kHz and get better imaging.

                  Lots of headphone enclosures, particularly from the 70s/80s/90s were similarly designed, so similar tricks were deployed to generate an acoustic result. It's one of several tricks to deviate away from a target like Harman (8kHz peaks, 1-3kHz dips, 10kHz dips are others) to produce a better sense of space, and these are picked through acoustic simulations and testing, as well as the intended use case and typical musical preference the product is designed for.

                  Yes, the same reason why AKG

                  Harman owned, and I again point you back to the K371 graph (set the target to Harman).

                  Samsung

                  Harman owners

                  Moondrop

                  They use the VDSF target, something they designed, which borrows slightly from Harman… and still doesn't match it in the upper mids and lower treble, like I have repeatedly mentioned to you. They also do an incredible job on perfecting those mids so that vocal presentation (timbre) doesn't generate sibilance.

                  All of your examples notably deviate from Harman, because get this: it's a preference curve, not universal constant. Literally every different driver, current/signal supplied, cable, pad, filter, enclosure, headband placement, etc… it all modifies how the sound presents. Dan Clark gear does some very different things with the enclosure and their planar dampening, hence why you can forgive the lack of a more accentuated upper mids and lower treble.

                  Again, the whole point of me mentioning HD800 was that even though it's great, it still got criticized because of the 5db 5khz peak.
                  It's not 5dB above the Harman target on the HD800… it's almost 8… on the wrong gear it's like getting stabbed in the ear. On the 800S it's 2 dB.

                  Where are you getting this info from??

                  What makes you think the Aeon can get away with a 10db 5khz peak?

                  Except it's not… it doesn't have that at all. Are we still talking about this headphone from Drop or do you need some food and water?

                  No one here was suggesting the Aeon RT was better than the Clear, we're discussing the $500 price point for closed backs, and you're squirreling around avoiding the consequences of your successively awful arguments by trying to find a new source for internet points.

                  Stop, and educate yourself further on the subject matter, please. Won't be replying to you any further.

  • +1

    I want a Sundara deal ;(

    • Me too! Hanging out for one of those.

    • +2
      1. Black Friday on Amazon, stack Zip & Amazon cashbacks if that's how you want to go. Should be around $430 before considering discounted gift cards, but those would come at the expense of Zip cashback (though better, and technically stackable with Zip if you don't have enough, I think).

      2. There are several recent HIFIMAN releases you might want to check info and reviews (and demo) before making that choice: the HIFIMAN DEVA Pro (not the original Deva) and the HIFIMAN Edition XS.

      These are brand new releases, with listening impressions on the Deva Pro only coming in right now. Both use the Susvara magnets that have had an impact for the HIFIMAN HE400SE (built-off the HE400i 2020 edition), which seems to improve resonance, in turn likely brightening the treble and improving detail in the mids and treble.

      Both are starting at $429 USD I think, though I'd imagine a wired DEVA Pro will price closer to the Sundara. Good chance all three options will be worth the ~$100 step up.

  • +2

    Thanks OP, purchased. Will leave a comparison to my Elegias when they get here :-)

    • Enjoy! The comparison would be greatly appreciated! :)

      • +1

        I am expecting the Eligia to be more resolving. I have tried the old Aeons a long time ago and liked them, but they were around $1200 back then. Very laid back from memory, which I like sometimes. These will be more portable than the Elegia with a smaller case, which is what I'm after with things opening up. Hoping I can find a pentacon cable cheap, off to AliExpress now;-)

        Wound up buying this cable.

  • Good for 128kbps mp3s, right?

    • Only if it has been ripped from Youtube

      • No grandfather clause for something I got off Napster and just kept moving between computers?

        • +1

          That should work well too!

          • @poppingtags: God, and I thought my 64kbps rips of Dolby HX Pro cassette tapes recorded from FM radio were high-res!

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