Ok guys, I have yet another set of impressions from CES, this time for the Nighthawk. I've also posted this in the other (larger) thread for the Nighthawk.
I listened to the Nighthawk connected to an Oppo HA-1 amp/DAC combo, as well as to an HTC One smartphone.
I'm just going to say this right off the bat - I don't particularly care for the Nighthawk. It's not that it's bad, but to me it does not stand out among the competition at the price point it will be in (I believe $700).
Bass is only good, but not great. There's lots of it, but I don't feel it is particularly well-controlled, and to me it doesn't extend very deep (at least not as deep as some of the planars I have heard, including the Hifiman HE-400i and up or even my modded Fostex T50RP). The bass does not bleed into the mids.
Mids are good, but nothing home to write about. They're clear, and they are present, but I'm not sure if I could write anything else about them. Highs are also clear (very much so), but once again to me unremarkable (especially compared to something like the Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI, which is extremely detailed and realistic without being harsh). Highs are not harsh however, being relatively smooth. The Nighthawk can keep up in fast-paced and complicated music, but it's not the best I have heard in this department. The Nighthawk is relatively airy, but you won't mistake it for a open headphone. To me, the mids and highs are clear but seem a bit sterile, and just seem to lack that realism factor that I find with other great headphones (I don't know if it is because the mids and highs seem to lack a bit of weight, or what, but I just don't feel like I'm there in the performance as much as with other headphones).
There also seems to be some kind of subtle weird colorations going on in the mids and highs - for example, some brass instruments would occasionally sounded a bit off to me when I listened to the Nighthawk.
Soundstage is ok. I can definitely say that you won't get a holographic presentation with the Nighthawk - it's very clear that you're still listening to a headphone. The Nighthawk's soundstage is not particularly wide - maybe a bit bigger than the HD650, but still falls a bit short of my modded T50RP, and is definitely smaller than my HE-400i's. Imaging is decent, as there doesn't seem to be any "holes" in its soundstage, but to me it's not as precise as say, the Sennheiser HD650 and HD598. Very disappointing to me though was the lack of depth in the Nighthawk's soundstage. It pretty much has no depth at all. (I know that semi-open headphones can at least have some depth to their soundstage, like I have discovered with my modded T50RP).
I feel that overall, the Nighthawk has a slightly V-shaped sound signature. You have a lot of bass and you have those clear highs, but mids aren't particularly recessed. Maybe I'm just not a fan of this sound signature.
Comfort is good on this headphone. The suspension headband does its job well in distributing weight across your head. It's not particularly heavy overall among all headphones, but it's definitely not as much as a featherweight as Sennheisers are.
Overall, while the Nighthawk isn't bad in any area, I don't feel that it particularly stands out either. With other great headphones, I can name some particular aspect(s) that really captured my attention, but I can't do so with the Nighthawk. For example, using the headphones that I heard at CES, the Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI at $700 does particularly well with presenting an extremely detailed, clear, and realistic (especially with brass instruments) treble. The Sony MDR-Z7 at MSRP $700 (street price lower than that) sounds particularly airy for a closed headphone (I actually think somewhat airier than the Nighthawk, which seems to be semi-open), and strikes a nice balance between being detailed enough and being (somewhat) warm, alluring, and relaxing (non-fatiguing) in its sound signature. My Hifiman HE-400i at $500 has extremely good quality bass that digs deep and is well-controlled, and has some of the best mids that I have heard. But I can't find a single aspect of the Nighthawk that is particularly noteworthy to me.