I’m a big fan of Dan Clark Audio, with the Aeon 2 being one of my favorite headphones of all time. When the Stealth was announced, not only was I excited, but quite curious. This is Dan Clark’s most expensive headphone yet at $3,999, and my ears had trouble imagining what I might be getting into when I already adore some of their headphones that are far far less expensive. Well, we’re going to find out today, as I’ve got managed to get my hands on the Stealth despite them flying off the shelves.
What’s in the Box
- Stealth Headphone
- Carrying Case
- VIVO Cable (many different terminations available)
- Certificate of authenticity
Look and Feel
I’ve always loved the looks and fit of Dan Clark’s headphones. The Stealth’s unique, long oval shaped ear cups make them an immediate standout, with the futuristic cut outs and patterns that overlay them further elevating the style. These have a nice firm grip on the head and an automatically adjusting headband. The one-sided yolks make them especially flexible and malleable to any particular fit your head may require.
The Stealth is a closed back planar magnetic headphone that uses Dan Clark Audio’s proprietary “Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System,” in order to create a wider soundstage. This system its also mean to reduce high frequency standing waves “resulting in a stunning, relaxed, and natural sounding experience.” We’ll see how this claim holds up…
I’m going to put the Stealth in the growing class of closed backs that make no sense. The width on this thing is hard to comprehend knowing it isn’t an open back. The sound feels distinctly outside the head, resting more on the shoulders and sometimes even further out. The Stealth’s depth is equally impressive, with a very realistic, chamber-like room created on many tracks. The way these headphones spread sound is extremely satisfying, as even though it adds a large amount of stretch, it doesn’t thin anything out or detract impact. Intensity is retained, just made larger, more immersive, and extremely engaging.
These have a very balanced low end response that’s clearly looking to let the rest of the frequency response breath a lot. Because of its wide soundstage, low end elements have a reserved space to perform in, allowing a lot of weight and punch to be implemented without detracting from the rest of the mix or making kicks and bass sounds seem overly-prioritized. There’s not a lot of rumble or boom added to bass sounds, but a very natural, transparent translation that avoids muddling a single texture or timbre.
The Stealth have a clear mission with their mid range: to keep the sound extra present without highlighting anything too far beyond realism. The high mids have a relatively flat tuning, with some boosts happening in the 1-2kHz range. There’s some coloring going on in the mids, and these felt more saturated than the AEON Flow, for example. But, at large, there’s a lot of transparency and crispness to the Stealth, and it’s definitely a great headphone for bringing out new life from a track and adding a subtle but unique character to sound.
This is a pretty bright pair of headphones, but it’s got some room to spare. The low-highs seem to be providing most of the brightness, whereas the extra shiny 8kHz+ area is not quite as extended. I wouldn’t have minded an extra few decibels in that 8kHz range, but I’m probably in the minority with that opinion. Most will appreciate that the Stealth isn’t overly aggressive in its brightness, erring a bit more towards a flatter response as to not over-embellish or cause an unnatural feel. If you’re easily turned off by very crisp, snappy highs, these may not be the right fit for you.
I couldn’t be more impressed by the Stealth, and coming from a company I already admire, I’m glad to see my high expectations were met. If you’re ready to get a big ticket headphone, especially a closed back, Dan Clark Audio is undoubtably one of the first places you should look. The cleanliness, versatility, and vastness of the Stealth truly puts it in a category of its own.
You can purchase the Dan Clark Audio Stealth at Audio46