Review: Dan Clark Audio – Aeon 2

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2
Chord Electronics – Hugo2

The Hugo2 is one of the very finest portable DAC/amps. It fires tons of information into the Aeon 2 and has absolutely no issue getting this headphone to blasting volumes.

You get a well controlled and punchy low end, that’s more on the neutral side of things. There is good extension into the lowest registers. Sub bass has good rumble and drive. Bass has decent speed and is tightly bound.

DC Audio Aeon 2

DC Audio Aeon 2

Midrange is on the lighter side, where notes don’t seem as weighty as with the Element M for example. Mids are well resolved with good resolution. Instruments seem realistic, but miss some meat on their bones for my taste. There is good upper midrange energy, that gives certain E-Guitar solos are very thrilling sound. With this pairing I find vocals to transport good emotions, but they are a bit too light and thin for my liking.

The Hugo2 is sometimes criticized for a too bright top end, and with the Aeon 2 that’s also the case for me. Lower treble a bit hard and harsh at times. Cymbal crashes and hi-hat hits can sound rather forward and even piercing.

On a technical level this pairing is doing really good. There’s high resolution, good layering and the stage is well spread. The background is very black, instruments are separated cleanly and imaging is nice. But what good is it, if the signature is not delivering?

Schiit Audio – Ragnarok 2

With its 24W into 32 Ohms the Ragnarok 2 definitely has no problem driving the Aeon 2. The Ragnarok 2 gives the Aeon a smoother and more organic presentation. You get a good dose of body and weight throughout the entire signature.

Bass has nice control and deep extension. Body is good with high density. Lows have a nice punchy sound, that delivers on impact and grunt alike. The Aeon has a nice organic and natural low end, with physicality and flesh.

Mids are organic, smooth and full. Instruments sound life-like and convincing. They are not as well separated as with other sources, but they do sound the nicest to me still. The midrange has a nice and rich tonality, with very good timbral accuracy. There is some noise going on in the background, so you don’t get a pitch black one here.

Treble is inoffensive and very enjoyable. It’s not very forward or energetic, but at the same time also guarantees a fatigue-free listen. Treble is a bit lighter in body though. It shimmers bright, but with low amplitude.

On a technical level there are definitely better options. The sound stage is a bit narrower with mediocre measures in width and depth. As mentioned before, the instrumental separation could be better. The same goes for layering, air and extension into highs.

DC Audio Aeon 2

DC Audio Aeon 2

Lotoo – PAW 6000

Lotoo has only just launched the PAW 6000 and I’ve had my hands on mine for six weeks or so. Thus far it has been leaving a good impression on me.

With the PAW 6000 you get a tighter bass, that reaches deep into sub-bass. There is good body and weight in the lows, but it’s missing a bit of meat to sound truly organic to me. Bass is on the calmer side and misses some speed. Mid and upper bass puts some warmth into the lower midrange.

Mids overall are smoother and more organic. There is good richness and density in the notes. Instruments have a natural sound, that manages to attract my attention. Instruments are well separated, but could enjoy some extra sharpness for a cleaner cut.

Where the Lotoo fails compared to desktop sources is sheer technical performance. You don’t get an expanded sound stage as with the Element M for example. You get a narrower stage, where depth is better than width to me.

Highs are well extended and definitely not harsh or hard-edged. You get a softer treble response, where brighter instruments sound inoffensive and relaxed. Still, treble has great levels of richness and is far from sounding dry, bright or sibilant.

DC Audio Aeon 2

DC Audio Aeon 2

Conclusion:

I have been a big fan of the Ether C since I first heard it. For a closed back headphone it had such an open signature that it was hard to forget. The Aeon 2 does share a similar experience, given you have the right source paired with it. To me, it does really enjoy a high quality desktop DAC/AMP that unleashes its full potential.

The Aeon 2 has a nice slightly warm sound, that makes a lot of tunes very enjoyable. It puts realism first and gives a very strong impression of naturalness. It does sound good with portable players, but certainly enjoys higher quality desktop gear and scales very well with them. On top it comes with a very clever folding mechanism that transforms them into a very small and compact package. It’s a portable package through and through.

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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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