I recently had the opportunity to review the Aeon 2 Open. I was impressed by the performance for the price and found the sound signature to be altogether scrumptious. So, I was interested to see how it compared to the closed back version. Much has already been written about both models. And you can find our team’s reviews about both, the Open and Closed on our site. So, this article is for folks who are already familiar with at least one of these headphones, but need a comparison before pulling the trigger. Which headphone performs the best, and which is right for your listening style? Let’s take a look in this Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Open vs Aeon 2 Closed Review.
Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Open vs AEON 2 Closed Review
Almost the same design here. The earpads are the same thickness and sit with an equal level of firmness on the head.
Both models share the same low impedance, but in both cases I found that it needed quite a bit more juice to drive when compared to a dynamic driver with the same impedance. For the purposes of this review, I hooked these cans up to my old favorite, the iFi Micro Black Label.
Dan Clark Audio claims that the primary difference between the two models lies in the lower-midrange. The open-back model is a bit leaner in the low-mids. So, I expected the Aeon 2 Closed to be a little meatier and more lush. We’ll see if I was right, below. Nah, I can’t keep surprises. I was wrong. But if you’d like to read more information about the design on these two models, check out our separate Aeon 2 Closed and Aeon 2 Open reviews.
You’ll hear a thicker, more present bass when listening to the Aeon 2 Open. It’s just got more meat on the bone than the Aeon 2 Closed, which feels tighter and more moderate in its low end presentation. And especially when listening to sub frequencies, you’ll feel a more visceral bass on the Aeon 2 Open, while the Aeon 2 Closed sits on the surface.
Based on the description on Dan Clark’s website, I expected the low mids to feel richer on the Aeon 2 Closed. However, though the midrange on the closed-back may be more comprehensive, I didn’t feel like I was losing any body when listening to the Aeon 2 Open. It’s added warmth lent plenty of flesh to the mix.
In terms of detail, the difference lies in the amount of tonality revealed. Listening to cellos in this range, the Aeon 2 Open conveyed more substance and timbre, giving it a more majestic flavor than the less expressive Aeon 2 Closed.
Listening to vocals in this range, it’s unsurprising that the Aeon 2 open presents an airier performance and displays more nuance than the flatter sounding Aeon 2 Closed. Playing a few pop tracks on the Aeon 2 Closed, percussion hit a little harder in the highs. Perhaps this is because instruments felt more compressed, adding to the firmness of the sound.
No surprises here. Although the Aeon 2 Closed delivers a very spacious soundstage for a closed-back headphone, the Aeon 2 Open has so much dimension and precision in terms of instrument placement, that it makes the Aeon 2 Closed feel rather flat in comparison. And again, this difference in dimension is also apparent when listening to instruments’ tonal qualities as well. Listening to the Aeon 2 Open, there’s just a 3D-ness to the instruments that makes the presentation feel so much more absolute than the relatively flat Aeon 2 Closed.
PROS and CONS
Aeon 2 Open
Pros: Fantastic soundstage for the price, sweet balance, rich tonality.
Cons: Nosy Nellies will know that you listen to Celine Dion.
Aeon 2 Closed
Pros: Spacious soundstage for a closed-back headphone. Comprehensive midrange won’t leave you with FOMO.
Cons: Not as nuanced and natural in its presentation of instruments and vocals as the Aeon 2 Open; Soundstage lacking the color of the Aeon 2 Open.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to listen to headphones in the privacy of your home with no nagging domestic partners hollering in the background, then the choice is a no-brainer. The Aeon 2 Open outperforms the closed-back version in almost every respect. More realistic, lively and engaging with a much more colorful soundstage, the Aeon 2 Open just feels a lot more fun to listen to than the less emotive Aeon 2 Closed. That being said, the Aeon 2 Closed offers an impressive soundstage for a closed-back headphone. And if you value an all-encompassing midrange, you’ll probably love the balance. But if someone gave me 900 bucks to buy a headphone, I’d probably go for the Aeon 2 Open over every other planar headphone on the market.
You can find both of these headphones for the best price here:
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