MrSpeakers don’t make loudspeakers — that much is obvious to head-fi scenesters already hip to the company’s stellar reputation as a manufacturer of musically insightful planar-magnetic headphones. But it’s not so obvious to newcomers who would, quite rightly, query the logic of such an ass-backwards company name.
With this in mind, MrSpeakers has been rechristened Dan Clark Audio, naming the Californian headphone company after the man in charge. Clark designed the Ether and Aeon and electrostatic Voce from the ground up. Before that, he 3D-printed enclosures for Fostex drivers. Before that, he modded the more wallet-friendly Fostex T50RP.
Now comes a second iteration of the Aeon, once again available in open- and closed-back versions. The Aeon 2 (US$899) looks somewhat similar to its forerunner. It uses the same Nitinol headband – that can withstand extreme bending – and the same teardrop-shaped earcups; two qualities that combine for one of the most comfortable high-end headphones this side of the AudioQuest NightOwl/Hawk. For this listener, headphone comfort and the ability to wear them for hours at a time is as important as sound quality.
However, inside each of the Aeon 2’s earcups sits a radically reworked motor assembly that takes its cues from the more luxurious Ether 2 headphone: the magnets that previously sat between driver and ear have been moved to the baffle side of the driver.
But wait, there’s more.
Aeon 2’s most dramatic change is to its gimbal structure that collapses around the earpieces when not in use. This ingenious design change has allowed Clark to reduce the size of the associated carry case by 60% for significantly improved portability. I’d never take the original Aeon on a plane but I would the Aeon 2. It’s why, when contacted by
MrSpeakers Dan Clark Audio about a sample, I opted for the closed-back version in order to minimise external noise disturbances and take sound leakage to near zero.
According to Clark, the closed-back Aeon 2 registers as 92dB efficient and shows the source device 13 Ohms of input impedance. At home, I used the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge to tease out initial listening impressions. However, with portability also part of the new model’s equation, I wondered what hardware would be needed to properly drive the Aeon 2 when outside of the house. The LG V40 smartphone doesn’t quite have enough go-juice to solicit robust SPLs. Which USB dongle DACs would bring the power but also see us spend as little as possible? The following video fields that very question as well as making the visual introductions on the Aeon 2:
Camera: Jana Dagdagan | Editor: Jana Dagdagan
Further information: Dan Clark Audio