Build quality and comfort:
Customers of MrSpeakers will definitely be used to the design and style of their headphones. It’s no surprise Dan Clark kept going with that with his new brand-name.
From what I can tell, the Aeon 2’s most distinct difference to the original Aeon is the color. The Aeon 2 comes in a dark-red tone, while the original was held in metallic blue. Of course there is also the new folding mechanism, that makes a clear difference.
Let’s talk about that one for a bit. The folding mechanism actually is pretty smart in my opinion. Most manufacturers fold their headphones by inverting the cups and tilting those towards the headband. DC Audio however goes a different way. With the Aeon 2 you have joints on each side, that make the Aeon 2’s headband collapse on the top of the cups. For it to come to its minimum position, you have to move the headband all the way up. Only then you can achieve the most compact form and put it in the carrying box.
The closed Aeon 2 has, just like the original, a Carbon fiber inlay on both sides. The headband is made of leather and moves on the metal wires with two clips. I think the comfort of the Aeon 2 is very good, as it comes with very soft and comfortable leather ear-pads. The clamping force also is not extreme, but enough to firmly put the Aeon 2’s on your head. On the bottom of each ear-cup you’ll find the 4-pin HIROSE plugs, to which you can connect the cable to. I also spotted a ventilation hole in each ear-cup of the Aeon 2.
I’ll admit, I have never heard the original MrSpeakers Aeon headphone. The Ether C was and still is the best closed back headphone I have heard, so a smaller closed back planar from the same people got my interest up. Now, almost three years later, I got the chance to listen to the Aeon 2 closed back on an extended run and give it my review treatment.
Let’s find out how the Aeon 2 sounds and if it proves worthy.
Bass has really nice extension and weight. The Aeon 2 puts a lot of physicality to the lower regions, which makes them sound impactful and authoritative. There is good body and density in the bass-notes, which sound organic and bold. Bass is not overly tight, but gets some space to move around. It’s not the fastest low-end out there, but it sure knows how to deliver a certain drive. There is good resolution from top to bottom in the bass-response. The Aeon 2 comes with good texture, which is more on the smoother side.
The lower midrange is a bit boosted by the upper bass, which results in a more visceral and warmer sound. This warmth still is at a moderate level and does not colour the midrange too much. The Aeon 2 has a nicely balanced midrange, but there seems to be more focus on the lower and upper midrange. Female vocals can sound a tad thin, but they do transport a good dose of emotions. Male singers have more weight in their voices.
For a closed back model, the Aeon 2 does have a good sense of space. Although there of course are limitations, and you won’t get an open stage as with non-closed headphones. The Aeon 2 does possess good width and depth, but it keeps the scene on a more intimate level. It will never throw you into a massive stage, where things are happening all around you. No, the Aeon 2 is more about a personal concert experience.
The Aeon 2 does have very good layering from top to bottom. It manages to separate instruments pretty well, with a good and clear cut. The background is nicely black and it puts musicians in a well lit position. This enables the Aeon to imagine very well. Every instrument is put in its own space. The Aeon has good resolution, which is best heard with live audiences in my opinion. Where you can pick out individual claps. What the Aeon 2 does impressively well to me, is its ability to keep structures. Even in complex situations it seems that the Aeon 2 does not break a sweat.
Treble on the Aeon 2 is well defined and energetic. There is good sparkle and a decently bright sound in the high notes. The Aeon 2 however does not come out as a treble forward headphone. It keeps highs in a safe place where sharp edges are covered. Sibilance also is not an issue with the Aeon 2. It does possess good energy, but won’t ever become in your face sounding.
Sources and amplification:
The Aeon 2 is touted as a portable headphone, that does not require a lot of power. That does not automatically mean, it reaches its peak with just about any gear. Almost all planar-magnetic headphones enjoy an extra dose of amplification. And to me the Aeon 2 is no exception here. I have spent my time with the Aeon 2 pairing it with various sources, and the following few I found particularly noteworthy. Some pairings are great, others not so much.
Matrix Audio – Element M
The Element M has quickly become one of my favourite desktop sources. With a massive selection of different inputs, the ability to stream audio via Roon, a good control App and of course good sound.
With the Element M you get a nicely controlled, heavy and thick low end. It reaches deep into sub-bass with good thunder and grunt. There’s great resolution and power in each bass-note. If you are a fan of Electronica, this might be a great choice for you. There’s punch, authority and impact. Bass is held tight, but still has good air for a nice flow.
The midrange has good resolution and transparency, although there is a slight warmth in the lower registers, it doesn’t come across as overly coloured. Mids are organic, natural and enjoy good body and accuracy. Instruments sound realistic and have good note size.
The Element M does come with a typical Sabre top end. It’s brighter tuned and might not be up everyone’s alley. This gives the Aeon 2 a certain bit of extra top-end glare. Higher pitched instruments have great energy and sparkle. However, they still stay away from sibilance.
The sound stage does create a wide and deep space. Instruments are well separated on a black background. Resolution is high and you get presented with a lot of micro details.
More on page three!