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Dan Clark Aeon Flow RT – Hardest Of Them All

Dan Clark Aeon Flow RT – Hardest Of Them All

 

 

Hardest Headphones? More like hardest to drive from their price bracket, but also some of the best sounding, so I’m excited for this review! The Aeon Flow costs about 500 USD, and will be compared to iBasso SR-2, Adam Audio Studio PRO SP-5, Beyerdynamic Amiron, and Sennheiser HD660s. The pairing list will include iBasso DX300, FiiO M11 PRO, and Singxser SDA-2

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

Before we dwell deeper into the review, please take my words seriously. Aeon Flow is hard to drive. I put that in the title, and want to warn you, they are somewhat harder than Sundara. Some DAPs will make an easy time out of them, like DX300 or DX220 MAX, but they are not made for light stuff. This being said, that’s not the only hard part about them, their build is a tank, and their sonic quality is incredible. The company behind Dan Clark, also previously known as Mr. Speakers, is one of the best in audio. Quick answer times for mails, excellent communication and proper support for music lovers all over the world all make them easy to recommend. 

 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Dan Clark, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank Dan Clark for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Dan Clark Aeon Flow RT find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

(US + Worldwide) You can purchase the Aeon Flow from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/MrSpeakers-AEON-Flow-Headphones-Black/dp/B0788Y58RM

 

(UK) You can purchase the Aeon Flow from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/MrSpeakers-Aeon-Headphones-AWARD-WINNER-Black-Blue-Highlights/dp/B073HLP16P

 

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

 

 

 

I remember the day I unboxed this baby like it was yesterday. I got them from a central DHL point and had to wait for my gf in the car, while she was solving school issues, so with a bit of hesitation and excitement I started unboxing the Aeon Flow. 

 

 

 

 

 

At first I was really surprised by how much the package weighed and how nicely small it was for the headphones inside. The best part I noticed were the soft, thick earpads, but the cable also felt beautiful at that moment. 

 

I plugged them into my smartphone and quickly realised I will have to wait until I get home and plug them in a proper DAP to learn more about their sound. This meant spending a bit more with their package, and learning that they have sonic filters included. I would say that it is more of a dampening system because their filterless sound is quite crisp and detailed, but could be fatiguing. 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

 

The best part about the Aeon Flow is that I can totally guarantee that they have an amazing build quality. They are not only built like a tank, but comfortable, to the point where I don’t understand why other headphones are round. I mean, our ears aren’t exactly bananas like the shape of the Aeon Flow, but that shape sits really nicely on my head. The earpads are soft and thick, while the cable has zero microphonics and is long enough for all practical usage scenarios. 

 

 

The cable is proprietary at the cups and you need to get one from MR. Speakers or find someone who’s willing to make you a really special one. 

 

Furthermore, they are really hard to drive, and need a source that’s at least a FiiO M11 PRO, FiiO K5 PRO, Centrance DACport HD, or Earmen Sparrow to drive them. It isn’t like they aren’t driveable from a small source, but it needs to be one of those high-power ones. 

 

 

They are also made in the USA, so you know they’re not just talk, but also quality. In fact, this is in the top three 500 USD headphones I’ve seen thus far, and feels like it can withstand a beating. I’m already in love with the comfort, and quality of them, so let’s go to their sound. 

 

 

The sound leakage is low for an open-back and more characteristic of a semi open-back, and they have a really good passive noise isolation. 

 

 

 

Youtube Video

 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

The sound of the Aeon Flow RT is a U-Shaped one and depending on what level of dampening you want to apply, it goes from a lightly U-Shaped sound to an aggressively V-Shaped one. The dampeners add to the bass, thickness of the sound, and kill some of the treble. You can totally listen to Flow RT unfiltered, and be happy. You can be SO HAPPY. But if they get fatiguing, applying a dampener is as simple as putting a piece of cloth inside the earcup. 

 

The sound is generally extremely detailed, a bit aggressive everywhere, clean, crisp, impactful, has excellent extension both ways, and is somewhat thin in the midrange without dampeners and gets thicker with more dampening. I listened to them mostly undampenet and free of filtes (against the producer’s advice to not to do lol). I loved what the drivers inside can do, and well, I’m not afraid of a bit of treble bite and sparkle. 

 

 

 

 

The bass is always deep and full. The sub-bass has more presence and expression than the main bass. The upper bass tends to be recessed, and there’s a very gentle slope dip that starts in the mid bass and ends in the lower treble. The whole midrange is also recessed compared to the sub-bass and the treble, so the sub-bass really stands out. Aeon Flow RT has extreme clarity to that bass, and the driver is not even close to its maximum, so it has some headroom in case you want to EQ them. In fact, the driver is one of those really high-quality ones and you could add as much as 5 dB of bass without them distorting at all, provided your source is strong enough. 

 

The midrange depends a bit on the filter and dampening level. Undampened, it is clean, clear, analytica and somewhat thin. I liked it like this too, it is natural tuned, but really really clear. Textures are crazy detailed, and there’s no grain. I’m so relieved that the dampeners don’t dampen a grain, but just add to the weight of each musical note. This means that you could use Aeon Flow RT for metal, for rock and even go as low as technical death metal. But add some dampening, and you could listen to Country, Soundtracks, Classical, and Pop. Add some more dampening (there’s levels of it in the package), and you can listen to Rap, EDM, Dubstep and they have a beautiful bass, and less treble so you can crank up the volume. 

 

The soundstage is always huge, and the dynamics are always extremely good. The sound is a bit characteristic of Dynamic drivers usually, really punchy and dynamic, with zero distortions and zero grain, which I found interesting, given that they are planar magnetic headphones.

 

On the other hand, the treble is sparkly, extends as far as the ear can hear, and is really clean and crisp. It has zero harshness and zero grain, so I can enjoy anything with them. The filterless treble quantity is a bit high, so you can add damping to thicken the sound and take some edge off, and give them a more laid-back sound. I wouldn’t kill the treble by adding all the dampeners, but don’t worry, they sound beautiful either way, and don’t lose detail or crispness. 

 

 

 

Comparisons 

 

The main comparisons need to come from the ~500 USD price range, so I went with iBasso SR-2, Beyerdynamic Amiron, Sennheiser HD660S, and Adam Audio Studio PRO SP-5.

 

 

I personally like the Aeon Flow RT a bit more than Audeze LCD-2, as they have a more natural midrange and the sound has less grain. The sound reminds me a bit of a mini Meze Empyrean, and the driver has some characteristics that are similar, so I would consider getting Aeon Flow RT instead of the Empyrean, especially if you don’t have the money for the Empy, but want that flavor. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow vs iBasso SR-2 (500 USD vs 500 USD) – iBasso SR-2 has softer pads and less clamping force, but Aeon Flow has thick and soft earpads, so both headphones feel equally comfortable. There’s a good natural midrange with SR-2, but they have a somewhat less punchy sound with less top end bite, where Aeon Flow RT has a really nice edgy top end. The dynamics are slightly better on Aeon. Generally, I prefer the Aeon RT for rock, metal, EDM, Dubstep and prefer the SR-2 for Jazz, Classical, Country and slow music. The Aeon has more focus on detail, where SR-2 has more focus on how good the tonality of the midrange is and how much weight each musical note has. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow vs Beyerdynamic Amiron (500 USD vs 500 USD) – Amiron feels a bit more comfortable, having a larger design, but still good pads. Amiron leaks more and isolates less than the Flow, and also needs a ton of driving power, although Aeon Flow RT needs more. The sound is more sparkly, has more sub-bass rumble, and more punch for the Flow RT. The midrange is more natural, more juicy, more musical and more engaging for the Flow RT, and Amiron sounds more mature and a bit fatiguing. Aeon Flow RT sounds energetic, engaging, punchy and fresh, making it my pick for almost any musical style out of those two. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow vs Sennheiser HD660S (500 USD vs 500 USD) – HD660S has tons of detail, and it is indeed a good one, but not as clean and clear as the Aeon Flow, which has more sub-bass rumble, more punch in the sound, and a cleaner overall sound. Aeon Flow RT is harder to drive than HD660S, and the comfort is better on Aeon Flow. I prefer the Aeon Flow for Metal, Rock, EDM and Dubstep. HD660S has a really mature sound with a more grand midrange, and works it well for classical and country, but Aeon Flow RT is generally more engaging. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow vs Adam Audio Studio PRO SP-5 (500 USD vs 500 USD) – The comfort is much better on the Aeon Flow RT, and it leaks more and isolates less than the closed-back Adam SP-5. The Adam is also much easier to drive, and has a much more punchy sound, with more focus on the treble. I find the Aeon Flow considerably less fatiguing, with more detail in the midrange, a wider soundstage, and more dynamics, where Adam SP-5 reveals mistakes in a mix faster and is a bit better for music recording, mixing and mastering. 

 

 

 

Recommended Pairings

 

The pairing list includes DX300 from iBasso, FiiO M11 PRO, and Singxer SDA-2. Aeon Flow needs a decent source, but there are plenty of portables that have good driving power out there. Let’s say Centrance DACport HD, and also Earmen Sparrow, as both are enough. This being said, FiiO M3 PRO, or Hiby R2 won’t be enough. I struggled to find an entry-level source to recommend, and most DAPs in the entry-level price point don’t get loud enough for Aeon Flow RT. 

 

 

Another thing I noticed about the Aeon RT is that it is not very dependent on the source, and it keeps the same overall sonic signature regardless what you power it from. Also, it has good detail always, so you don’t have to go crazy, but it improves a bit if you use a better source. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow + iBasso DX300 (500 USD + 1200 USD) DX300 is the type of source that will sound beautiful with everything and have enough driving power for everything. The pairing has a really natural midrange, with exceptional detail and clarity, and excellent dynamics. I enjoyed the musicality of the Flor RT the most, and I really appreciated the way DX300 can push some sub-bass rumble into them. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow + FiiO M11 PRO (500 USD + 6500 USD) M11 PRO is at the edge with the driving power, but the Dan Clark Aeon RT gets beautifully dynamic and punchy from it. The sound is a bit edgy and it really needs the dampeners to sound good with M11 PRO, but the detail is good, and this is a really holographic-sounding pair. 

 

Dan Clark Aeon Flow + Singxer SDA-2 (500 USD + 800 USD) I loved the pairing with the SDA-2 because it has a slightly warm midrange, and it helps make the Flow RT a bit sweeter and a bit more musical. It never lacked musicality, but now it sounds even more sweet and detailed. There’s plenty of power, and the overall detail level is as awesome as I ‘d expect from a high-end source. 

 

 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

The value of the Aeon RT from Mr Speakers is excellent, and they are a high-end headphone at a mid range price, making them a really easy to recommend pair. 

 

They go for a minimal package, easy to carry, and they come with a carrying case, making them a good package too. 

 

 

I wasn’t a big fan of the non-detachable cables, but they are good quality and they have excellent overall quality, and they have some of the most comfortable ear pads I have ever seen in my entire life. 

 

Furthermore, they have a minimal amount of leaking for a headphone that’s open-back, and they isolate a bit from the outside noise, making them good even for portable usage. And we’re talking about the open-back variant.

 

 

The sound is U-Shaped, detailed, extended, wide and clear. Everything about the sound is beautiful, it is musical in the midrange, and has a sparkly top end, with a full sub-bass. 

 

 

Before the end of today’s review, I want to add Dan Clark Aeon RT to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as it is an awesome headphone, with a ton of detail, value, and being an awesome overall headphone. 

 

 

At the end of today’s review, if you need an open-back headphone that’s really awesome with detail, has a great comfort, leaks little and isolates a bit from the outside noise, and which has a wide soundstage, then Dan Clark Aeon RT is a really recommended one.  

 

 

 

Product Link

 

(US + Worldwide) You can purchase the Aeon Flow from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/MrSpeakers-AEON-Flow-Headphones-Black/dp/B0788Y58RM

 

(UK) You can purchase the Aeon Flow from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/MrSpeakers-Aeon-Headphones-AWARD-WINNER-Black-Blue-Highlights/dp/B073HLP16P

 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

 

 

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