In this preview we give a first look at the just announced Halcyon by AAW. Another contender in the estat-race! It sells for 1,399$, but how does it perform?
Disclaimer: This post is part of our First Look Sunday series, where we give our first impressions on gear we have in the queue. A full review of the Halcyon will come in due course.
Oh so many companies have been launching new monitors with Sonion’s electrostatic tweeters. Sonion released three different models of them so far to my knowledge. There is the single estat, the dual and now the quad setup. They all come with single transformers.
Until today we have mostly seen brands use the single and dual electrostatic tweeters. It was over a year ago already, that Sonion and FitEar have introduced these tweeters. Since then the Danish driver manufacturer has kept working on a more efficient model. Which gets released in new models as of now. We only saw quad estat sets used rarely, and these were used as double dual drivers. So there were two transformers and four drivers in the shell. If you have ever seen the transformers you know that they indeed take up quite some space. A nightmare to work with for IEM makers.
The new quads are, as mentioned, more efficient and only need a single transformer.
Singapore’s Advanced AcousticWerkes is one of the very first companies to adopt these new drivers. They have been working very hard at a new tri-brid IEM that utilizes the quad estat for the entire high frequency range. At Can Jam Shanghai they finally showed the world their new goodie. I have been fortunate enough to have been playing with a custom set of these already.
The Halcyon uses a dynamic driver for lows, two Balanced Armatures for midrange and the aforementioned quad electrostats for treble. It has a sensitivity of 104dB per mW and a rated impedance of 24 Ohms. Yes, that means it asks for a bit more juice to get to your average volume, but it’s still moderately easy to drive. Halcyon uses a four way crossover and comes in both universal and custom shape. Prices are set to 1,399$ for the universal and 1,599$ US for the custom. Their availability is estimated for this Christmas.
Halcyon is not the first tri-level hybrid AAW sends out in the estat-race. With their Canary they already have a very competent flagship. One thing that very much surprised me personally about Canary is the seamless integration of all drivers. Its coherence is just perfect. With Halcyon that’s pretty much not different. The dynamic and BA’s are perfectly flowing into each other, but I find the estats to be a bit disconnected. They sound as they are standing on their own ground. Nonetheless, the tuning of them is just excellent.
Halcyon has a nicely smooth midrange which is also one of the key-strengths of Canary. But Halcyon’s treble is just so clean and pure, it sounds effortless and rich, energetic and inoffensive at the same time. It’s a remarkable sound, that I am enjoying a lot. Some people complained that Canary’s treble was not what they wanted. Well, gather around people, because Halcyon might just be what you seek.
Of course there is a lot more to tell, but I don’t want to spoil your appetite for the full review. So please be patient with me, while I kick back and enjoy the hell out of Halcyon.