Review: Dan Clark Audio – Aeon 2

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2

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.

Sound:

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.

DC Audio Aeon 2

DC Audio Aeon 2

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.

DC Audio Aeon 2

DC Audio Aeon 2

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!

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    11 Comments

    • Reply November 19, 2019

      audio power

      I do not doubt that the sound reproduction must be excptionnel. However the design is really not attractive!

      • Reply March 15, 2020

        Mike

        I think the opposite. The design and physical build is fine, but the sound is far from exceptional. The sound is not good at all, I would say it is just slightly better than “terrible”. And I’ve tried almost every single amplifier.

    • Reply November 19, 2019

      rocko

      A review of the new model by someone who has never heard the old model and does no comparisons. Thanks for nothing.

    • Reply November 20, 2019

      Sp12er

      This is suppossed to be a portable Fullsize but there’s only 1/4 portable source tested…
      I know reviewers doesn’t want to review a product based on a limited capacity of their other gears… But still…
      Alright.

      • Reply November 20, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Sp12er,
        thanks for your comment.
        Well, there are two portables in there. The Hugo2 and the PAW 6000. And as per the review, the Aeon 2 sure does get loud enough with those, but they are not the best source for them in my opinion. The Aeon 2 is best with desktop gear.
        Hope that helps.

    • Reply December 18, 2019

      Spie

      @Linus, if this ain’t one of the better portable headphones out there currently (due to requiring more power to bring out full potential), what are in your opinion some of the better headphones you’d recommend to use with a portable player (ex: I use SP1000M) to take to work for example in a bag?
      (I wouldn’t be using them for a walk around the neighbourhood for example)

      • Reply December 18, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Spie,
        thanks for your comment.
        I really liked the Audioquest Nightowl back when I auditioned it. It’s easy to drive and it sounds good. Also it’s very comfy.
        Other than that, the Meze 99 Classics is superb too.
        Yeah, these would be my recommendations.
        Hope that helps!

    • Reply March 15, 2020

      Mike

      I bought and returned the Aeon 2 Closed, can’t recommend it all. There are better alternatives at equal or lower price points.

      • Reply July 19, 2020

        Gabriel Richmond

        I know this is months later, but in that case, what would you recommend? I own the Aeon 2s and adore them, and would absolutely love to buy more headphones that compare well or outpace the Aeon 2s. I’m a college student without a personal listening space per se, so closed-back was a must for me going into this purchase, but once I get out and into a place of my own, I would really love to try more headphones of every sort. What would your recommendations be?

    • Reply June 24, 2020

      Mark

      Hi, on the last page, you show a BLACK Aeon 2.

      I have never seen that color before. I find the red model the most hideous headphone I have ever seen, so I am hugely interested in that black version. Can you share some information about it? Thanks!

      • Reply July 19, 2020

        Matty Graham

        It looks like it’s a black+white photo Mark, they’re only available in red.

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