MrSpeakers is now Dan Clark Audio. But the funky, triangular-ish Aeon design remains the same. Still, significant changes in sound signature have been made since the Aeon Flow. What kind of sound profile can you expect with the Aeon 2 Open? Let’s find out in this Dan Clark Aeon 2 Open Review.
Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Open Review
IN the BOX
- Aeon 2 Headphones
- Detachable Cable (3.5mm / 1/4 inch) or XLR
- Tuning Material
- User Guide
Like the previous model, the Aeon Flow, the earpads have a thick and plush feel. At the same time, the fit is on the firmer side. So, though it’s comfortable to wear, it feels very secure on the head. I found the headband adjustments a little stiff, but at least they stay firmly in place. Those with smaller heads like mine may find that the earpads extend to the jawline. And if you’re the sensitive type, this may start to feel obtrusive if you’re wearing these cans for long periods of time. But overall, the fit didn’t cause me any problems, even during extended listening sessions.
Although the Aeon 2 looks exactly like the Aeon Flow, Dan Clark’s team actually based the Aeon 2’s design on the motor tech of the Ether 2. They updated the planar driver structure to improve precision, and have also refined the driver damping to enhance resolution and smoothen the frequency response. Dan Clark’s website claims that the Aeon 2 open-back has a “leaner lower-midrange” than the closed-back version. Being a sucker for low-mids, it’s not what I like to hear, but let’s see how it all plays out below.
One major change to the Aeon’s design is the ability to fold into a cute little bundle. In fact, the Aeon 2 may turn out to be the most portable high-performance planar magnetic on the market. At the same time, you can expect the same detachable cable with a 3.5mm (1/4 in adapter). And XLR termination is also available. And the impedance remains low, at 13 Ohms. Still, it requires quite a bit more power than a dynamic driver with the same specs. For the purposes of this review, I used the iFi Micro Black Label.
You can expect generous enough bass presence to lend pop tracks the statiating oomph they deserve. And I actually felt the bass presence in my chest. That being said, the bass avoids leaning fat or overblown. In fact, funk tracks reveal a nice tightness in the low end. And listening to a couple of rock tunes, the Aeon 2 delivers a mildly warm and rich feel. But again, it stops short of going overboard. So, don’t expect a tremendously thick or hedonistically lush sound. In fact, I think Dan Clark hit the sweet spot here.
Based on the description on Dan Clark’s website, I expected to be disappointed by a lack of low mid presence. But there’s decent meat in this range. In fact, the mids are tastefully balanced. That is, the upper mids never sit too forward, and vocals fall naturally within the mix. (At the same time, male vocals, especially, convey a very intimate feel. Listen to a couple of Tom Petty tracks). Indeed, there’s nothing contrived here. Separation is also top notch for a planar headphone at this price point. Acoustic guitar strums had plenty of definition while retaining their substance in the low-mids. Listening to classical strings in this range, cellos revealed texture without feeling too dry. And the lively and rich color in tone is undeniable. The result is a detailed, yet fluid and almost voluptuous performance.
The ever so slight weightiness of the sound signature lends itself well to vocals in this range. Again, luxurious and velvety, while maintaining a solid level of transparency, Rihanna sounds as divine as a fancy mac-and-cheese dish. But moving back to pop, I still got some nice sparkly crispness from percussion instruments. So, there was no unnatural roll-off to the peaks in this range.
Although the soundstage may not be as thoroughly engaging and colorful as there Ether models, the Aeons 2 is definitely no slouch. You’ll hear ample dimension, with soaring highs and a very precise sense of depth. And all in all, the Aeon 2 certainly presents a very spacious and holographic soundscape worthy of its price tag. And then some.
PROS and CONS
Pros: Tastefully balanced with a more emotive and lively sound signature than the Aeon Flow; Fantastic value for money.
Cons: Maybe they could make the headband easier to adjust? I don’t know. I might be in a forgiving mood today, but I’m hard-pressed to find the Aeon 2’s con at this price point. (That being said, this is the kind of sound signature that speaks to me, so I may be biased).
Those who have listened to the Aeon Flow and found that the sound signature to be a little anemic should give the former MrSpeakers a second chance. Elegantly balanced and multidimensional, with a classy level of warmth and color, as well a lot more charisma than its predecessor, there’s no question that the Aeon 2 is a tough competitor at this price point. In fact, I think this red baby deserves the MajorHiFi Gold Award.
You can find the Aeon 2 Open for the best price here:
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