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Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire – True Flow Music Design 

Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire – True Flow Music Design 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire is an 899 USD pair of headphones with a full black design, in-house designed and created planar magnetic drivers, and a multitude of cables available for you upon purchasing them. They will be compared to other high-end headphones, including Sendy Audio Peacock (1500 USD), Underwood HIFI LSA-HP1 (1400 USD), HIFIMAN Ananda (1000 USD), Crosszone CZ-8a (1600 USD), and Audeze LCD-XC 2021 (1800 USD). 

 

Introduction

Dan Clark Audio is a huge audio company, best known for their previous works as Mr. Speakers. They’re from San Diego, USA, and they offer free shipping for their headphones, along with a free 15-day return policy, being quite confident that you’ll like the sound of their assiduous works. Their current offer is comprised of a few headphone lines, and the one we’re looking at today is DAn Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire, a closed back headphone. I previously reviewed and fell in love with the overall performance of their Aeon RT, having found it to be an outstanding headphone in both price / performance ratio and overall sonic prowess. They also have an Ether C Flow, Ether 2 system, and Voce electrostatic headphones, and their best headphone to date, Dan Clark Stealth, which I’ll hopefully get to review in time, and get to compare to Audeze LCD-5, which I reviewed in the previous months. 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Dan Clark Audio, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank Dan Clark Audio 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 2 Noire Headphones find their next music companion. 

 

Product Link

Official Link: https://danclarkaudio.com/aeon-2-noir.html

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3c42zjG

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3K5GeP6

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3QTJU9a

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

Starting with the design of Aeon 2 Noire, the newly released headphone is the latest variant of the Aeon 2 Closed Back headphones, and it is an update offered by Dan Clark answering two big requests from their customers. They made the headphones available in a beautiful, black color, and they included the perforated pads. The technology is Planar Magnetic driver, but Dan Clark Audio has their own in-house planar drivers, with no off-the-shelf parts. 

Usually, when a company talks a lot about the weight of their headphones, it means that it is still rather heavy, but Aeon 2 Noire has a super light weight of just 328 grams, and that weight is super evenly distributed. The earpads offer a bit of pressure and clamping force, so part of the weight rests on your ears, but they also offer a flexible headband that offers support for the headphones, the weight distribution being so even and natural that Aeon 2 Noire feels like a feather on your head. I can confirm this through personal, subjective experience, as wearing them other headphones that have similar weight, including open-backs from HIFIMAN, Aeon 2 Noire is lighter and puts less strain on me. The baffle is made of Carbon fiber, and the ear cups are designed to offer the best sonic performance possible. 

At a technical level, we have uniquely designed planar magnetic drivers that are lighter than most of the competition offers, by having more efficient transducers, and the TrueFlow technology, which basically allows for better airflow through the motor, increasing the overall detail retrieval of Aeon 2 Noire. The idea is similar to HIFIMAN’s Stealth Technology, but Dan Clark Audio has a special V-Planar Driver that’s patented which adds textures to the driver surface for better low frequency performance and improved overall stability (lower distortion). 

Dan Clark Audio headphones are hand built and tested in San Diego, California, and you can have both a closed back and an open back version of the Red and Blue, while the black version only comes as a closed back option. It is good to keep in mind that while at the design level, Aeon 2 Noire looks very similar to Aeon RT, they have very different drivers and sonic performance. Naturally, if you’re budget constrained, you can always grab an Aeon Flow RT, as I enjoyed it a lot and still consider it a superb headphone with superb sonic performance. 

We have a large planar magnetic driver on each ear, 62mm x 34mm, and we have a THD that’s lower than 0.3% at 20Hz to 20kHz. The earpads are made of Japanese Synthetic protein Leather. The raw performance of the driver can be quite impressive in both resolution, but also by having a sparkly, energetic treble, so for those who want to tune them, there is a set of tuning pads included in the package, which allows you to tune Aeon 2 Noire for a smoother, softer sound. The default cable is slightly springy, but good at rejecting microphonic or handling noise, while Aeon 2N is super comfortable on my head. They are sold as closed back, they offer an excellent passive noise isolation, good enough for me to be able to enjoy even quiet music outdoors, in full blown Bucharest Traffic, but Aeon 2 noir can leak a bit, especially if you listen loud. 

The construction quality of Aeon 2Noire is superb, this is a headphone with no creaking, and no parts that you’d expect to ever break. In fact, even my pair of Aeon RT looks like it did the first day, with signs of wear, Dan Clark Audio doing good work on the reliability of their headphones. 

 

Sound Quality

While it can be easy to get lost when writing about a headphone you enjoy, it is important to note the source used for driving Aeon 2 Noire, and here’s a bit of a trick. Dan Clark Aeon2 Noire is quite hard to drive, and you will need a pretty strong source to properly reach the bass and impact it can have. I strongly recommend going for the Balanced Cables when purchasing Aeon 2 Noire, since it can open your options to a vast selection of affordable sources, including Aune X1s GT, iBasso DX320, SMSL HO100, Questyle M15, AudioAnalogue AAdac, Astell & Kern A&Ultima SP2000T, Feliks Euforia Tube Amplifier, Violectric HPA V340, and Cyrus One Cast. You can notice that in reality, as it is drivable from a wide selection of sources as long as you’re going balanced, but if you have a single ended cable only, you will need a stronger source like Audio-GD Master 19, and most DAPs and portables won’t be able to give enough volume and impact for Aeon 2 Noire, even Astell & Kern SE180 struggling over Single Ended, while it does a superb job if you’re using a balanced cable. 

The basic way to describe the sonic signature of Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire is superb. This is a headphone that could easily become my favorite all-time best closed back headphone. To be fair, most high-end closed-back headphones I spent a lot of time with have focused on delivering a soundstage that’s as wide and as deep as possible, all whilst sacrificing other aspects of their sonics in the process, but Aeon 2N goes for exactly the other thing. They go for a sound that’s technically precise, with a super deep, fast and punchy bass, with superb imaging and clean sonics. It is quite surprising to say this, but they managed to get a stage that’s not very small or narrow, and to my ears, Aeon 2 Noire nails the width and depth of a song rather well. 

The tuning pads included in the package do a good job at increasing the damping factor for the sound of Aeon 2 Noire. They help round the bass to a deeper, slower, and more punchy presentation, with white giving the best bass depth. On the other hand, listening to Aeon 2 Noire with no dampeners and with their bare naked drivers will result in the brightest, most clean and crisp sound they can offer. The higher damping factor of adding the filters increases the perceived soundstage and width of Aeon 2 N’s sound. 

The bass of Aeon 2 Noire is super fast, clean and clear. In fact, the best part about them is how distortion-free they are for the price range they’re being sold in. We have a deep, clean and fast bass that’s able to keep up with your music, even if you listen to technical death metal, punk or trancecore. The bass is slower, fuller and warmer if you put on acoustic dampeners. Aeon 2 Noire can softly vibrate on your head if the song calls for it, but it is not a diehard basshead headphone, having a quantity that I’d qualify as natural towards slightly emphasized. While the Aeon RT I reviewed in the past had a pretty clear U-shaped presentation, Aeon 2 Noire is more linear. 

The midrange of Aeon 2 Noire is surprisingly good with detail, clarity and has superb impact too. For a planar magnetic headphone that’s fairly hard to drive, Aeon 2 Noire is super dynamic and resolute, having a very good instrument separation, and a fairly good soundstage size. I want to recommend once again to experiment with the included damping filters, as the midrange can be quite a bit smoother, and while less precise, it can make it more fluid and more relaxed. I want to emphasize on the emotion that Aeon 2 Noire is able to capture from music, as it is a pair of headphones with a pretty good timbre and which will capture the whole emotion in rock and metal songs, presenting both male and female voices naturally. Aeon 2 Noire has a slight upper midrange / lower treble emphasis which helps a lot with piano and violins getting the desired emotional response from the listener. 

The treble of Aeon 2 Noire is sparkly, detailed and sharp, with super good micro detail and overall texture presentation. The treble is affected greatly by the damping filters included in the package, and sticking with the thickest ones will result in a fairly smooth and clean treble that’s easy to enjoy even at super high volumes. The sound with no filters installed is clean, detailed, but also fairly sharp and with no space for mistakes, revealing everything the original recording has to offer. With them having a super low distortion, they can be brought extremely loud and stay clean / clear, which helps with the dynamics too. The dynamics, impact and punchiness is better at very high volumes. 

 

 

 

Comparisons 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire vs Underwood HIFI LSA-HP1 (899 USD vs 1400 USD) – We start with a comparison where the competitor is pricier, and we’ll keep this trend throughout today’s review, but the default comfort is actually better on Aeon 2 Noire, thanks to their softer earpads, slightly lighter build, and more ergonomic design. The sonic presentation is actually quite different, despite both headphones having planar magnetic drivers, and Aeon 2 Noire is more natural in the midrange, has better upper treble extension and detail, and it also has better sub-bass and impact. By comparison, LSA HP 1 has a sharper treble and less sub-bass and bass, less warmth. The instrument separation is great on both, about equal, the midrange is slightly smoother on LSA HP1 which has a more emotional presentation, but Aeon 2 Noire has a more natural tonality and the much-needed improved sub-bass and bass. Both are great options, but as I noted in my initial review of LSA HP-1, I loved listening to Classical through them, but Aeon 2 Noire is more general, being great with Rock, Metal, Pop, Punk, EDM, and basically any music style you can imagine. The soundstage is better on Aeon 2 Noire, which creates the feeling of space and depth better than LSA HP-1 which tends to be more intimate and brings everything a bit closer to the listener. 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire vs HIFIMAN Ananda (899 USD vs 1000 USD) – We have two good options here, and Ananda can physically be found at a price that’s lower than Aeon 2 Noire. Truth be told, while both are comfortable, Aeon 2 Noire offers slightly better comfort, thanks to softer and thicker earpads. The overall sound is warmer, more midrange forward and slightly more natural in the mids / tonality on Ananda, but it has a much stronger impact, more sparkly treble with better extension in the high registers, and better micro detailing / instrument separation on Aeon 2 Noire. The soundstage is wider on Ananda, but slightly deeper and better defined on Aeon 2 Noire. Both headphones handle dynamics and punchinness well, and both are good for rock and metal. If you prefer a sweeter, more analogue-like sound, with more warmth and less of a technical presentation, Ananda is quite nice, while if you want your sound to be more technical, cleaner, and with a stronger, more punchy sub bass, and a more sparkly, more airy treble, then Aeon 2 Noire should be the evident option to go for. 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire vs Crosszone CZ-8A (899 USD vs 1600 USD) – We have two closed back headphones here, with both CZ-8A and Aeon 2 Noire being closed back, but with the presentation being quite different. The two companies seem to go for two different signatures, and while the comfort is great on both, Aeon 2 Noire has slightly softer earpads, and slightly better weight distribution. The sonics are more V-Shaped on the Aeon 2 Noire, with more sub-bass quantity, better bass impact, and more treble sparkle, with less midrange forwardness and less midrnage quantity. By comparison, CZ-8A does two things really well, they are quite midrange forward, especially right down in the middle, at times having a slightly colored signature, and they really go for a soundstage that’s as wide and deep as possible. The instrument separation is about equal between them, both having a strong technical side, and the overall clarity is also excellent on both. CZ-8A is an interesting boutique headphone with super good staging and a wide presentation, and it is easier to drive than Aeon 2 Noire, while Aeon 2 Noire is a more sensible option if you like a natural sound, if your budget is limited, and if you want to have better sub bass and bass. 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire vs Audeze LCD-XC (899 USD vs 1800 USD) – Here things start to get interesting, because LCD-XC is also closed back, but goes for an entirely different sonic signature and comfort. Aeon 2 Noire is lighter than LCD-XC, which gives them an advantage in comfort, and although the earpads of LCD-XC are softer than those of Aeon 2 Noire, the final comfort is pretty much the same between them. The overall drive factor is about equal, both headphones being quite hard to drive and master, and needing a good AMP behind to sound their best. When driven at their best, Aeon 2 Noire sounds more natural than LCD-XC, with a less sharp treble, but just as good of a treble extension / clarity, with better overall sub-bass impact, and more bass quantity, and with options to fine tune their sound, to make the sound either more resolution, and sharper, or smoother and softer. All in all, LCD-XC handles certain details better and it is a better mixing / mastering headphone, but at less than half the price of LCD-XC, Aeon 2 Noire is a sensible option for those who’re looking to using their headphones mainly for listening, or for those who want a less sharp, less aggressive, yet about as detailed sound, and who want to stay on a mindful budget. The instrument separation is about equal between Aeon 2 Noire and LCD-XC when placing them side by side. 

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire vs Sendy Audio Peacock (899 USD vs 1500 USD) – Starting with the build quality and comfort, Peacock is bulkier, heavier and less comfortable, with Aeon 2 N being lighter, having softer ear pads and being more comfortable in general. The default cable needs to be selected to be Balanced for Aeon 2N, while Sendy Audio includes a balanced cable from the start. Peacock is open-back while Aeon 2 Noire is closed-back, offering better passive noise isolation and lower leakage. Here comes the funny part, because even though Peacock is open back, the soundstage of Aeon 2N still manages to be deeper and wider, and they offer better sub-bass impact, and better punchiness in general. The overall signature is different, with Peacock being forward in the midrange, with a better vocal presence, while Aeon 2 has better sub-bass, better bass and a more sparkly treble that extends better in the highest octaves. I am willing to go as far as saying that Aeon 2 Noire has slightly better resolution, especially if it is paired with a DAC/AMP combo that can drive them fully. Aeon 2 Noire has slightly better instrument separation when placed directly against Sendy Audio Peacock. 

 

Value and Conclusion

When it comes to the value of Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire, you can say that at 899 USD, it is a pair of headphones with super good pricing. In fact, there’s nothing that offers a performance as good as Aeon 2N which I can recommend at the moment, and you can see this in the comparison part of the review too, all of the headphones I’m comparing them to are more expensive, meaning that Aeon 2 Noire has better performance than the price would otherwise indicate. 

It is easy to add Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as one of the best headphones ever designed around the price point. Not only that, but the super nice comfort, good build quality, and reliable support from Dan Clark Audio helps me give them a well-deserved seat in our Hall Of Fame

At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for a super dynamic, super punchy, detailed, clean, and ultra-low distortion headphone, and especially if you have a source that’s strong enough to drive them, Aeon 2 is a superb choice, and the best closed back headphone I’ve heard if you like a typical sound signature, easy to tune with the included tuning kit. 

 

Product Link

Official Link: https://danclarkaudio.com/aeon-2-noir.html

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3c42zjG

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3K5GeP6

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3QTJU9a

 

Packaging

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

I keep praising companies for including large and voluminous packages with their headphones, but there’s Dan Clark Audio that does exactly the opposite. They manage to cramp the headphones, a carrying case and all the other extras in what I’m willing to consider the smallest, most practical package I’ve seen in ages. The full package includes: 

  • Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire Headphones
  • Professional Carrying Case
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Manual
  • Tuning Kit
  • Cables (You can pick the cable according to your needs when you purchase them)

 

Technical Specifications

  • Driver: 62mm x 34mm single-ended planar magnetic
  • Driver matching: +/-2dB to target curve, channel matched to 0.5dB weighted 30-8KHz
  • THD: less than 0.3% 20-20KHz, 0.1% 100-8KHz
  • Headband: Nickel-Titanium (Nitinol) memory metal
  • Baffle: Carbon Fiber
  • Earpads: Japanese Synthetic Protein Leather



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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!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/embed?listType=playlist&list=PL_cjBXGmwSHSdGcwuc_bKbBDGHL4QvYBu[/embedyt]

 

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George Dobrescu

George Dobrescu

Hello, and welcome to Audiophile-Heaven! I am George, the Creator of Audiophile-Heaven, and I love music! I will be sharing insights and comparisons of audio products with you. I invite you to join me in the exciting journey of discovering joy through music!!

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