Captial AudioFest Part 3: A New Aeon 2 and Name for MrSpeakers

What’s in a name? A lot if you look around the high-end audio world.

Just look to MrSpeakers who recently switched-up to Dan Clark Audio. Many of you may have received a recent email explaining the name change by the well-known company, as well as the recent announcement of the Aeon 2 headphone in both closed-back and open variations. If you haven’t seen the announcement, head over to danclarkaudio.com and take a look.

For me, this announcement was extremely timely, as I had passed by the Linear Tube Audio headphone booth and seen what looked like a pair of red Aeon closed-back headphones. ‘That’s weird,’ I thought, ‘I don’t remember the Aeons being offered in red. Maybe it’s a special edition or a one-off?’ I made a mental note to send a note to Clark asking about it, but didn’t think much of it otherwise.

I’m glad I got the email when I did however, as the release brief explained the red headphone I’d seen couldn’t have been any further form an ordinary color change. According to the email, the Aeon 2 utilizes driver technology taken from the Ether 2, and adds some nifty new features, like a folding yolk and smaller case for greater portability, as well as a cable that shares DNA with the Ether 2’s excellent VIVO cable. It also comes in an eye-catching red that reminds me of the original Ether headphones, and I must say, I find it quite a good-looking headphone.

It was the Aeon 2’s sound however that really grabbed my attention. Plugged into an LTA MZ2, which I spent a lot of time using with my Aeon Closed recently, the midrange was a little more relaxed, and also much more invisible. The Aeon Closed could at times be ruthlessly accurate in the midrange, but there was no tendency for that here, and I found the Aeon 2’s mids had an even more compelling tuning, ever so slightly laid back but totally involving because of it. The bass level was higher than on the original Aeon as well, and had just the right amount of kick to it. The treble seemed similar, but had more perceived sound staging, trading the brilliantly clean treble of the Aeon for an ever so slightly more relaxed sound that also seemed quite a bit more resolving to my ears.

Comfort was pretty similar to the original Aeons – the ergonomic ear-shaped cup and suspension-strap headband still works brilliantly, and the folding mechanism seems very sturdy and is integrated into the Aeon 2 yolks in quite a clever way. I found the new cable quite a bit less kink prone than the original Aeon 2 cable, which is a plus for mobile use. By contrast, however, to my Aeon Closed headphones, the Aeon 2 seemed a bit harder to drive. I can just barely run the Aeon Closed at listenable levels in the 70-80dB range off my phone. I tend to listen pretty quietly, but the Aeon 2 really fell about a notch or two short of what I would consider a good listening level off my mobile. Of course, these aren’t really meant to be powered straight off an iPhone, but they also seemed to need to be quite a bit higher on the volume knob off the LTA MZ2 than I recall my Aeon Closed needing to be. Take this with a grain of salt of course – shows are noisy, and even with the decent isolation of the closed backs, it was still a noisy listening experience.

As usual, show impressions are unreliable, but you can be sure I’ll be getting my hands on these as soon as I can for a review. I’ve always liked Clark’s headphones, and if the Aeon 2 sound anywhere near as good at home as at the show, they’ll be a top contender in the under $1,000 USD price-point. Speaking of price, the price of the Aeon 2 is listed as $899 USD, which is a tad higher than the previous generation of Aeon.

Up next: Another planar magnetic contender enters the fray.

COMPANY INFO
Capitol AudioFest

COMMENTS
MattTCG's picture

I've had these in house for the past week. I'm finding these to sound really impressive. Trickle down from ETHER 2 is working well indeed for these headphones. I've finally found a closed audiophile level headphone that is both comfortable and offers great build quality. Love these!

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