Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed

What’s in a name? In the case of some hi-fi manufacturers it’s clear from the off precisely what their speciality is: Chord Company and Hi-Fi Racks perhaps being the most obvious examples. But when your chosen monicker is MrSpeakers and you only make headphones, perhaps it’s time for a re-think. Consequently, the San-Diego-based company has opted for the name of its founder – Dan Clark – to avoid confusion.

The Aeon 2 is a timely update to the Aeon Flow, which proved to be so impressive back in HFC 435, with a new plannar driver structure that flips the original design 180° in an effort to remove flow disturbance from the magnets between the diaphragm and the ear. Additional tinkering has been done to the damping to deal with the inherent planar magnetic issue of diaphragms revealing a series of closely packed high-Q resonances, while the voicing has been tweaked for good measure.

The Aeon 2 is available in either closed or open-backed guises (both costing £900) with the former providing a claimed “warmer, fuller tone” while the latter opts for a “leaner midrange” according to Dan Clark Audio.

The capsules themselves are well sized and should comfortably envelope even the largest ears, which is good news as – like the Aeon Flow – bass impact can vary according to the earpad’s seal. The clamping force on the head is modest, ensuring comfort for longer listening sessions and a 2m detachable cable with 3.5mm jack, 6.35mm adapter and a carry case all come bundled.

Sound quality
Partnering the Aeon 2 Closed with AudioQuest’s DragonFly Cobalt DAC/headphone amp and a MacBook Pro running Audrivana 3.4, makes for an enticing listen at close quarters. The most immediate characteristic is the pinpoint and detailed soundstaging, albeit imaging very much within the head with no impression of spanning out further. Listening to the Storm movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, the drums have a huge impact. Every tiny inflection in the violins is clean and distinct, while it’s easy to follow the interplay between the different players.

Changing tack and switching to Dave Brubeck’s Blue Rondo À La Turk, the struck metal percussion that is evident on some rival offerings is notably muted. However, the Aeon 2 Closed does an engaging job of replicating all of the subtle electronic sound effects that buzz around the soundstage in Pink Floyd’s On The Run along with a glorious bloom to the piano and bass on Claire Martin’s intimate He Never Mentioned Love. Here, every syllable is crystal clear and although the voice is set forward, there’s nothing to mar the confident nature of the performance.

The mono recording of The Beatles’ Please Mister Postman reveals the clarity and exuberance of the lyrics that see me get caught up with the rhythmic flow. Finally the closed-back headphone marvellously captures the thundering bass during Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, replicating the lower register instruments of the orchestra with apparent ease.

With its 2m cable and neat folding action for easy storage, it would appear that the Aeon 2 Closed is best suited to listening to music on the move and its comfortable earpads and lightweight design will certainly make your journey a congenial one. For those that like their lower frequencies, the impressive bass extension is a real boon although the treble could do with being a touch more extended. Having said that, the soundstage is spacious and insightful, meaning that at the price this deserves to be on your audition list. HFC    

Product: Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed
Type: Closed-back circumaural planar magnetic headphone

● Quoted sensitivity: 92dB/mW
● Detachable 2m cable with 3.5mm jack and 6.35mm adapter

Read the full review in  Issue 462

Electromod (UK distributor)