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Cleer DU High-Definition Dual Driver Headphone

Rating:
4.33333/5,
  1. smcc44
    Interesting and good value but Brainwavz earpads saved the day
    Written by smcc44
    Published Sep 7, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Well built, great value, a lot of potential
    Cons - out-of-the-box sound signature poor on vocals
    I am going to try to keep this review short and concentrate on my early struggles with this appealing headphone.
     
    So these Cleer DU headphones arrived from Amazon along with two sets of Brainwavz earpads - one leather and one velvet.
    The first thing I noticed was the graph included for my set by the manufacturer -
     
    graph_1.jpg
    I immediately spotted the distinct dip at about 3.5Khz. So I checked with another graph shown elsewhere on this site that other DU owners had provided.
    My 2.5k dip was way too low looking but never mind..
    So I tried the cans on and they were comfortable despite small ea rpads. Also I noticed that they have a problem making a seal due to the lack of adjustment of the cups for horizontal axis.
    So anywar I soldiered on.
    When I connected them up and pressed play the first thought I had was what a warm base they had.. then - yes, they are quite clear sounding.
    Then after a few tracks were listened to I realized the reality of that graph: the vocals were absolutely insufficient in level. Not loud enough at all to keep up with the rest of the sound. Really receded like 
    I never came across before.
    So my first thought was - Damn these gotta go back. They were not listenable if you were playing songs of any kind, not to mention other holes that would be encountered in the sound signature.I do a lot of acoustics, concert hall stuff, choir, classical and sometimes pop and rock...
    So when I reached for the Brainwavz pads (meet the Canary in the pictures) I thought it might be a long-shot in bringing back vocals but here goes...
    IMG_1318_p.jpg IMG_1319_p.jpg IMG_1324_p.jpg
     
     
    First, the Brainwavz pads are much bigger than the stock pads and about 1 cm deeper. The original pads have back plates(rings) for mounting onto 4 plastic protrusions. I was worried the Brainwavz
    would not deal with this well but it turns out they are so thick they swallowed up the the plastic lugs completely. They fit completely over the cups and also totally solve the aforementioned seal problem.
    Now for the tricky bit - that vocal sound trouble...
    Well these pads totally cured it - like a conspiracy. I still can't quire believe my ears. These headphones were totally transformed by the Brainwavz. Talk about a cure for all ills. Everything is now represented warm and balanced. Vocals are what they should be(male and female), the sound stage is I think slightly improved and frankly everything sounds responsive and clear.
    Bass is warmer than the Shrure SRH940 (also shown in the photo wearing red velvet Brainwavz pads).  The Shures are renowned for their molecular detail and imaging and are only a notch ahead of the Cleer DU, both of which are marginally ahead of thje Takstar Pro80 (shown at rear of image with Red pads). 
    The soundstage is also quite nice and reminds me of the AKAI MPC - not huge but not boxy.
    The only slight negative is I think a feature and not really a bug: the spike at 5-6Khz gives a vague porthole-type sound. Sometimes.. but these headphones are so warm its never a problem.
    When listening to Brass sections they are not the atom-splitting machinery of the Shure 940 but have I think nice texture. 
    We could go on forever about the different sound rendering here but overall they are quite musical and enjoyable.
    So I don't want to be too critical of Cleer here - after-all they delivered a lovely headphone for very cheap. But on the frequency response certificate it mentions that these headphones are tuned to be within acceptable margins. But I would argue that the 3.5 Khz dip in my case would have prompted my to send them back if the Canary yellow pads did not save the day.  So maybe Cleer should include a set of Brainwavz..?
    So all is well that ends well. These are recommended and should be a great pair of cans for future modifications, given that they have dual drivers (like the Pandora VI..?)
    Its really great that Cleer include a frequency printout for each headphone - just be wary of the odd spurious graph! 
      trellus likes this.
  2. moedawg140
    Review: Cleer DU High Definition Dual-Driver Headphone
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Jun 27, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Solid build, punchy, resolute and pristine sound, multiple cable options
    Cons - Earpads may feel warm with extended listening sessions
    Review: Cleer DU High Definition Dual-Driver Headphone
     ​
     ​
    IMG_5473.jpg
     ​
     
    Introduction
     
    It was a brisk day in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  I attended AXPONA, which is the Audio Expo North America.  The meet operates very much like T.H.E. Show Newport, located in Irvine, California - an expo show where they showcase not only 2-channel speaker setups, but have dedicated headphone and earphone audio rooms as well.  While I was in the “Ear Gear Expo”, which is a ballroom full of headphone and earphone electronics, a representative of Cleer, the VP of Marketing: Amber Bobin, walked around with the Cleer DU and the Cleer NC (discussed in its own review) in her hands.  I’ve never seen any Cleer products before and saw these two headphones and thought “okay, cool, I know they are headphones...but how are they?”  
     
    Cleer's VP of Marketing, Ms. Bobin
    IMG_5025.jpg
     
    I asked Ms. Bobin, “The headphones look nice, may I have a listen?”  
     
    Ms. Bobin replied, “Sure!”  
     
    I put the DU on first, and said “This sounds good...how much is this going for?”  
     
    Ms. Bobin replies “$129”.  I respond, “Wow, that’s a really good sound for a really good price!”
     
    My reaction to the NC headphone is in the upcoming NC review.
     
    I thank Ms. Bobin for the Cleer DU in exchange for my honest opinion.  Upon researching Cleer, I found out a few tidbits about the company that further solidifies my thoughts of the young organization.  If you’d like to find out more, follow me in our journey!

     
    Audio equipment used in the review
     
    Headphone
    Cleer DU High Definition Dual-Driver Headphone: $129.99
     
    Headphones compared
    Cleer BT Bluetooth Wireless Headphone: $199.99
    Cleer DJ Professional DJ Headphone: $399.99
    Cleer NC Noise Cancelling Headphone: $299.99
    Puro Sound Labs BT5200: $129.99
    Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 AEi: $349.95
     
    Sources
    iPhone 6 (Space Gray, 128GB):  $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
    Microsoft Surface Book: Starting at $1,499
    Questyle Audio QP1R Golden: $899 USD
     
    DAC/Amp
    iFi Audio micro iCAN SE: $299
     
    Software Applications Used
    Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting
    TIDAL HiFi – Lossless

     
    Thanks for the interest!  I have been a music aficionado since first listening to greats such as Anita Baker and Michael Jackson in their glory years.

    An avid wrestler, coach, teacher and mentor, I like to immerse music lovers in headphones, earphones and sources that do nothing but make the listeners smile.

    Ringing in my ears?  Oh, tinnitus?  I get that about 2 times a year, for about 10 seconds each time.  Other than that, I’m currently good to go with regards to my hearing.  Even if my hearing is perfect or not so perfect, what I hear may or may not match what you hear, for a multitude of reasons (genetic, physical, psychological, age, etcetera).

    My music preferences are anything that has a great beat to it, not too vulgar in nature and anything that can induce head-bobbing, toe-tapping and maybe even dancing if the mood is right.  I normally listen to (alphabetically): Alternative, Classical, Hip-Hop, Indie, Popular/Top Hits, Rock, and R&B/Soul.  I will even from time to time listen to Blues, Jazz, Modern Electronic, Retro/Classics, and World.

    Measurements - I measure headphone output dB with my decibel measurer app that anyone can download, replicate and have an instant reference with what I use to test.  Frequency spectrum measurements are seldom posted, as the manufacturer’s measurements are usually the best guidelines to go by.  Why?  They use them to tune their equipment, and it’s from their own specific parameters.  I completely agree with Ken Ball from ALO’s statement/post when it comes to frequency response measurements (verbatim):

    “…I thought it might be good to post some frequency response measurements first before we see a lot of variations posted by people. Without going into a long drawn out thesis / debate on measurements I just want to say that I have not seen any reviewers measurements that are accurate and it can be difficult to interpret a freq measurement. I don't use HRTF compensation curve on my measurements because I am familiar with the raw freq curve so when I see a curve I know what it sounds like and am comfortable with what I am seeing. So to state my measurement so I can be happy that this is the official freq I am posting it here now. I do not really want to get into any debates on what the freq means or read into it too much as a freq measurement is only a very small part of the over all picture of the product. I would MUCH rather listen to the IEM than read a freq.

    In addition, I dont want to sound like I dont welcome people to also have fun and measure, but just want to say that taking a accurate measurement is tricky, also tricky to read into the measurement. I spent over $15,000 on on measurement system and it took me almost a year with professional help to calibrate and set it up 100%. So in doing so it is expensive and can be difficult to set up and calibrate. I know my set up is accurate because I send my IEMs to independent labs to double check everything.”

    Measurements are valid to possibly get a glimpse or gist of what we are hearing, but measurements are not the end all be all.  Various manufacturers have told me privately that even though it may measure flat, it may not sound flat.  Also, measurement devices do not equal our brain and cannot measure with absolute 100 percent certainty with regards to what we hear and feel.  I listen with my ears, and write based on my interpretations of the music that is being presented to me.

    A wise man once told me: "Music is the only thing that doesn't have war, pestilence, garbage, crap - music is so general, it's such a beautiful canopy of peace."

     
    Company information and awards
     
    Continuing the introduction with regards to tidbits about the company, I found out that not only have they only headphones as part of their product line, but Cleer has only started as a full-fledged company in 2015.  Pretty cool as well that the DU won the 2016 CES Innovations Honoree Award.  I can certainly see why the DU would win the prodigious award - the dual driver system is well-implemented, more about this later.  The Cleer creed is all about:
     
    Passion For Sound
     
    “Music lovers have high expectations when it comes to sound, they are looking for quality audio products to unbox their favourite music. Cleer’s sound and acoustic team is responsible for the research and development of the best-in-class audio products to provide you with a truly authentic listening experience.”
     
    Design Craftsmanship
     
    “The Cleer’s product design aesthetics are sleek and contemporary.

    Cleer’s products are made of high-quality build materials which not only give premium look and feel but also contribute to the product performance. The ergonomics design coupled with lightweight materials to better fit your head with maximum comfort even hours of wearing.”
     
    Innovation in Technology (edited)
     
    “Cleer is committed for excellence in acoustics, our team creates and drives new technological ideas and innovations in the acoustic and sound field. We reproduce studio sound through our innovative sound technology.”
     
    As of this writing, Cleer, Inc. recently appointed Patrick Huang as its new global President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

    Before being appointed, Mr. Huang was an executive (GM for Sony Digital Imaging) for Sony Electronics, Inc. for 11 years.  He also worked as SVP of Operation and Supply Chain for I AM Plus Electronics.

    Suffice to say Mr. Huang has all of the credentials to take the Cleer company to the next level of their goals if Mr. Huang and company continues to produce fantastic products.
     

     
     
    Here's my review of the Cleer DU headphone in video form (view in YouTube on your browser to jump from mentioned section to mentioned section [table of contents]):
     
    [​IMG]

     
    Inside the box
     
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    Once you open up the box you'll receive:
     
    1. Cleer DU headphone
    2. Cleer carrying pouch
    3. Two audio cables with inline remote (One 1 button and One 3 button - both are 1.2m)
    4. Quick start guide
    5. User manual
    6. TIDAL 30 day complimentary trial (19.99 USD value)
    7. A Certificate of Acoustic Calibration with measurements
     ​
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    Build and aesthetics
     
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    The DU looks understatedly clean with curves to the headband yoke areas.  The DU’s housing is constructed with strong, high quality aluminum.  The part of the headband that touches your head is made out of leather.  The circumaural (over ear) design is oval in design and gives good clearance to my ears - truly a closed-back design.  The earpads are made out of leather and allow good depth of the ears as well.  Inside of the headband and earpads are an L and a R to easily distinguish which side of the headphone is which.  You can also easily distinguish which side is which without looking inside of the headphone by going with which side the yoke is curving/facing.  If the yoke is curving/facing the left, then it's the left side of the headphone.  If the yoke is curving/facing the right, then it's the right side of the headphone.  The DU also has detachable audio cables that work with Android, Apple, and other devices as well.  The earpads are also changeable/replaceable as well - taking off the earpads is as easy as a simple twist, and off each one goes.  Both of the cables are black, flat, have a nice rubberized feel, don't tangle easily, and have a nice and slim right angle for their audio jacks as well.  The cables are no frills and subtly elegant, that fit the devices I've connected the cables to with ease.  The DU contains a dual driver system that has a crossover as well.  One driver is for the mids and highs and the second driver is for the bass. Each DU earcup consists of:
     
    1. Earcup deco plate
    2. Magnesium alloy earcup
    3. High definition woofer speaker
    4. High definition tweeter and middle speaker
    5. Crossover circuit
    6. Speaker cover
    7. Earcup inner cover
     
    The DU is foldable and fits in any bag and most pouches to save space - quite lovely.

     
    Fit and comfort
     
    The headphone provides great contact with the top of the head as most of the top of my head has contact with the leather of the headband.  The 325 grams of the DU are distributed well as I am able to wear the DU for hours on end without issue.  The headband allows solid adjustability for most all sized heads, and clamp strength is not too tight and not loose as well.  The earpads are comfortable but I can see how some may feel the headphone may get a little warm with extended use, as the leather is plushy, but not very breathable.  Overall the fit and comfort is just about perfect for me.
     
    IMG_5481.jpg
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    IMG_5487.jpg    IMG_5495.jpg
     
     
    Disclaimer and hearing factors
     
    The DU sound impressions are mainly for anyone wanting a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the iPhone 6, QP1R and Surface Book.  Other sources may vary slightly or greatly as the DU sounds different enough with these three sources to warrant mentioning.  The DU will have a warmer and pronounced effect in the overall bass region when pairing with the iPhone 6.  The DU will have a supremely detailed with slight treble and bass with extended detail when paired with the QP1R.  The DU will have a more balanced and natural sounding approach to its presentation when paired with the Surface Book.  For reference, the DU is very easy to drive, as a smartphone such as the iPhone doesn't take full volume for the DU to emit levels that can damage hearing pretty quickly. 10 out of 16 volume is when it starts to sound very loud to my ears.
     
    We all hear differently, and our experiences with regards to how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly.  Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are:
     
    Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-unique-vibrations-of-your-skull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.
     
    Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusis: https://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.
     
    Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.
     
     
    Analyze this and that
     
    The test tracks that I use in my reviews are located in these albums (album alphabetical order)
     
    1989 (Deluxe Edition) by Taylor Swift (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    21 by Adele (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bad (2001 Special Edition) by Michael Jackson (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bangerz by Miley Cyrus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Beyoncé by Beyoncé (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Heart Blanche by Ceelo Green (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    Make Yourself by Incubus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    No. 5 Collaborations Project (EP) by Ed Sheeran (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    One by One by Foo Fighters (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Schubert Berliner Philharmoniker by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Thriller by Michael Jackson (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    X (Wembley Edition) by Ed Sheeran (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
     
    Several standalone tracks (track alphabetical order)
     
    Dock of the Bay by The Persuations A Cappella Dreams (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    M.O.R. by Blur – Blur 21, Blur (2012 Remaster – Special Edition) (MP3 320kbps 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D. 810, Death and the Maiden: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto by Oslo String Quartet – The Schubert Connection (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    Serenade (Spanish Dance), Op. 54, No. 2 by Jano Starker and David Popper – Wilson Audio Ultimate Reference (APE 44.1kHz/16bit)
    The Peppery Man by Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    These Bones by The Fairfield Four – I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
     
    If I am listening to a product that is not able to be listened with the highest resolution tracks that I have mentioned, I will listen to the TIDAL versions (FLAC).

     
    Sound impressions
     
    The DU sounds balanced and vibrant, but the slightly emphasized bass and treble lends it to a V sounding or W sounding signature. The dual driver system really does a commendable job of emphasizing the bass, midrange and treble of the music that you listen to. The sound signature gives me a slight remembrance of the Final Sonorous VI (Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI), which also uses a dual driver system, albeit not the exact same technological specifications of the FAD headphone.  The sound punches above its price because it sounds so...clear.   Clean would be another word to describe the presentation.  Not exactly a flat sound, as the bass, midrange and treble are accentuated, but do not sound very colored when you listen to each range by themselves.  The intelligibility of voices and instruments are quite apparent, as the detail is very good and seems that enunciation is at its utmost when listening to music.  The signature can further be described as analytical, especially in its price-point compared to other headphones in its class.  Even though it may be analytical, there is enough umph and bass to satisfy not quite bassheads, but definitely reference bass enthusiasts.  
     
    Further discussing the bass, there is a upper bass presence with no real hard sub bass presence, unless you play a bass heavy track that has been designed to get your head bobbing and feet tapping.  Bass is pretty taut, and not very diffuse in nature.  Reverberation and decay hit and then go, not too much lingering.  Some may actually see the DU as a bass heavy headphone, but to my ears, it has a great amount of bass without it bleeding into the midrange and treble.
     
    Oh, what a midrange there is!  It may seem recessed, or based on what equipment you usually listen to, may seem slightly bright, as the midrange is sturdy, with better than average transient response.  More of an midrange to upper midrange sound is emitted, and is rather slightly colored in sound than a full fledged warm or lush tone.
     
    The higher frequencies lend to a smoothness with a referenced tonality, but not strident in the least.  I would call the treble slightly sweet as well, as you can hear it, but it does roll off once it reaches an area that can be heard as steely, so it doesn’t sound the most extended.
     
    The dual drivers are angled towards your ear, and I believe that helps at least somewhat with an increased perceived depth of sound.  Soundstage is adequate since the clarity of the sound that emits from the earcups is rather pristine sounding.  Imaging and meso detail is good as well - intimate in nature.  The DU is not the widest sounding, but is a nice, pinpoint headphone, with satisfactory depth to the music is also wonderful.  The vocals are focused in relation to the beats and instruments, meaning they both don’t sound as one, both aspects of the music is able to show itself by themselves.  You are going to get a slightly warm, slightly airy and resolute presentation that doesn’t sound like it should for the price, as the DU is one of my two overall favorite sounding Cleer headphones.

     
    iFi Audio micro iCAN SE
    IMG_7151.jpg
     
    The micro iCAN SE is an amp that produces a defined and resolute sound signature, especially when coupled with the QP1R.  Detail is palpable, and the micro/macro detail of the DU truly shines.  The "3D HolographicSound" setting helps add in a little more forward, rich and transparent sound field perception.  iFi Audio explains: "3D HolographicSound recreates a holographic sound field like listening to a pair of speakers."

    Here's the 3D HolographicSound settings:
    - = Direct
    ●●● = 3D for flat sounding recordings.
    ● = 3D for recordings with excessive stereo effect.

    I only need to turn the volume dial a little (to around 8:30 o'clock) to obtain a comfortable listening level.  The micro iCAN SE also features a Bass Boost switch, called "XBass".  iFi Audio explains: "XBass was uniquely-designed to extend the bass response to suit different headphones."

    Here's the XBass settings:
    - = Direct
    ●●● = For bass shy headphones.
    ● = For average bass headphones.

    XBass is my favorite setting on the amp because I can immediately hear and feel a change in the bass response (increased volume of bass, texture and decay).  

    At the one dot setting, I personally feel the DU sounds the best to my ears with this setting.  More bass is apparent, but is bassy enough to my ears, as the one dot setting is best for average bass headphones.  The DU is in my opinion an adequately punchy headphone, and would benefit the best with using the one dot setting.  With that said...

    Using the three dot setting adds more volume of overall bass and on most tracks has bass that can be heard, felt (not supremely immensely, but definitely sufficiently), and there is more perception of prolonged reverberation and decay.  The three dot setting turns the DU into a basshead headphone (at least without source EQ applied), compared to a basshead headphone without the bass switch of the micro iCAN SE.  The result of the three dot setting is creamy-smooth, yet reverberating-feeling bass that melds naturally into the highly detailed midrange and higher frequencies, that is perceived as somewhat warmer as a result of the three dot bass switch.

     
    Headphone comparisons
     
    Before I start with the comparisons; I have listened to a lot of audio equipment, but I haven't listened to everything.  If you request a comparison and it's not listed in my profile and hasn't been reviewed, then there is a chance that either I haven't listened to it in a long while and don't want to compare by memory, or I don't have the requested product(s) with me to compare.  Consider being proactive by sending me a PM (private message), sending me the headphone(s) and/or sources, IEMs, etcetera, you would like for me to compare, and I'll add it to the review (or any review that I've written).  If you don't have the requested product(s) with you and I don't have the requested product(s) with me, chances are slim that I will be able to fulfill your request because I always like to A/B with audio equipment that's immediately on-hand.
     
    Cleer BT Bluetooth Wireless Headphone
    IMG_5440.jpg
     
    The overall sound of the DU is more clear and transparent than the BT.  From the lower to the higher frequencies, the DU really does take the cake, even when the BT is connected with a cable.  If you want a Bluetooth headphone that is lightweight, with a warm and punchy sound, the BT is an option - but if you don’t mind using a cable, the DU is a great choice.
     
    Cleer DJ Professional DJ Headphone
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    There is more of a bassy emphasis with the DJ, and when you switch the PASC (Psycho-Acoustic Spectral Compensation) on, you’ve got the equivalent of a built-in amp that amplifies the bass as well as the rest of the frequency spectrum you are listening to.  The DJ has got some snazzy side-logo multi-color LED lights that dance to the beat of the music, can be set to stay red, or can be turned off.   The DJ has a warmer sound than the DU, but soundstage isn’t very different from each other.  You’ll want to go with the DJ if you want a bassy (not basshead, but really close), and the DU if you want a balanced sound that has more extended treble in comparison to the DJ.
     
    Cleer NC Noise Cancelling Headphone
    IMG_5578.jpg
     
    The NC is heavier than the DU, but is packed with a lot of technological goodness.  ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) really attributes to the bassy, rich, textural sound of the NC especially when compared to the DU’s bass.  ANC off is more along the lines of the DU’s bass, but is still pretty bassy when listening.  The DU is more thin in sound than the NC, and clarity is more of different flavors, as the DU has more of a detailed and balanced presentation, and the NC has more body and weight to the sound.
     
    Puro Sound Labs BT5200
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    The BT5200 emits more bass, and more midrange heft compared to the DU.  Treble is more extended with the DU as well.  The BT5200 is has overall less resolution, but is an option if you want a warmer sound with Bluetooth capabilities.  The DU has more perceived detail and clarity than the BT5200.
     
    Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 AEi
    IMG_0814.jpg
     
    There is more detail in the upper midrange and highs out of the DU compared to the Momentum 2.0.  Spatial capabilities such as soundstage, and imaging favors the DU as well, but the Momentum 2.0 has a more lush balanced sound compared to the DU.

     
    Should you modify?

    It’s really up to you.  By now you should know that having this headphone as part of your collection (or only headphone) that it is an upper bass and midrange/lower highs specialist.  With that said, you may want to dial in modifications to help bring out the bass as well as taming down the treble in the process.  What can you do?

    EQ – use your source’s EQ settings to dial in a preferable frequency response to your ears.
    Bass Boost or equivalent – use your source’s Bass Boost or equivalent button or switch, as you can with a button press or flip of a switch have immediate results with increased bass with the expense of probably lower perceived treble.

    Earpad change – changing the earpads may change the frequency response to one that sounds better to your ears.

    Third-party elemental cables – copper, SPC, silver/gold or silver litz, etc. may help further refine the sound signature of the DU.

    I personally won’t be modifying as I am thoroughly enjoying the unique sound signature the DU produces.

     
    Cultivate a fresh sound
     
    What does this mean?  Too often we focus on only the music we are accustomed to.  I am usually this way as well.  Here’s an opportunity to listen to something you either may not normally listen to, or haven’t heard of.  As I publish reviews in the future, I will have new and older tracks from various genres that I’ve listened to in this section, and will be largely based on what songs really moved me in particular to the reviewed product I’ve listened to on it.  Even though the tracks will be linked to YouTube videos or audio-only versions, the tracks will either be listened solely from the iPhone 6 and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless, or from my Microsoft Surface Book and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless.  Instead of describing each track in immense detail, you can simply listen for yourself and bask in the beautiful music you may have just found for the first time right now!  What’s also great is that you can come back here just to listen to the tracks mentioned!  If you have any personal issues with any tracks posted, please PM me and I'll replace it with another track.  It's all about positivity in our musical journey.  With those kind words of encouragement, here we go…
     
    Alaska by Maggie Rogers
    [​IMG]
     
    Tamala by Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory
    [​IMG]
     
    Let Me Be Me by Nite-Funk - Let Me Be Me
    [​IMG]
     
    Holding Back by SG Lewis, Gallant
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Is the DU worth it?
     
    This is a pretty easy recommendation - a great price for a great sound.  Do you want a clear and crisp sound with punch in the lows and smooth extension in the highs?  The DU, for the price, is worth a listen.

     
    Final thoughts
     
    The Cleer DU is one of my favorite sounding headphones of the Cleer lineup, and in the price range.  In this ultra-competitive area of price range, the DU’s clarity, punch, and extension translates to a sound that is engaging and worth an audition and purchase if you come to cherish the sound.

     
    Specifications
     
    1. Weight: 325 grams
    2. Product Dimension (W x H x D): 15.5 x 20 x 8 cm
    3. Packaging Dimension (W x H x D): 21.8 x 25 x 11 cm
    1. Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
    2. Sensitivity: 102dB
    3. Impedance: 32 / 38 Ohm
    4. Speaker Diver: Custom dual driver, 40mm
    5. Magnet Type: Neodymium
    6. Distortion: <1%THD IEC3181mW at 1KHz
    7. Audio Connection: 3.5mm stereo jack socket
      trellus, Dany91, B9Scrambler and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. moedawg140
      Thanks for the comments, @ngoshawk,@nick n and @Sonic Defender, appreciate it!
       
      Thank you, @Sonic Defender, for the recommendation - I have most all Amber Rubarth's songs (Sessions From The 17th Ward and Scribbled Folk Symphonies).  I usually hear one of her songs when I'm in a mega-buck speaker demo room at T.H.E. Show Newport/AXPONA-type events.  I really like Rubarth's song Novacaine from Sessions From The 17th Ward.
      moedawg140, Aug 25, 2016
    3. Kingofthecrate
      I bought these for a decent price at one of those headphone shops in the airport. I put on the demo and tied them into my chord mojo through my note 4 playing flac files.. I am very impressed with these cans especially for the price.. the build is great and they are dynamic with a slight V to them.. a fun set of cans and very revealing to my ears.. 
      Kingofthecrate, Nov 24, 2016
    4. moedawg140
      Glad it's working out splendidly for you, and thanks for the post, @Kingofthecrate!
      moedawg140, Nov 24, 2016
  3. Hisoundfi
    Cleer the way for a competitively priced dual driver closed headphone. The Cleer DU dual driver headphone with detachable cables
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Jun 22, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great design and build quality, Comfortable fit for a closed headphone, Dual drivers improve separation of sounds, Detachable 3.5 mm cable
    Cons - Midbass heavy and lacking lower frequency resolution, Slightly heavy, Lots of competition at this price range
    20160528_224510.jpg
    At the time this review was written, the Cleer Audio DU dual driver headphones were for sale on Amazon.com. Here is a link for purchase:
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Cleer-DU-High-Definition-Driver-Headphone/dp/B010NN74XE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1464448476&sr=8-2&keywords=cleer
     
    Introduction
    The Chicago Axpona Audio Convention may have ended in April, but the experience has not yet ended for me. I was able to get my hands on some nice review samples which I will be covering in the upcoming weeks. One of them is the dual driver headphone I will be covering today, the Cleer Audio DU..
     
    During the convention, I didn’t take much notice to the Cleer Audio booth. For starters, they are rarely discussed on Head-Fi forums. Having not heard of them, I decided to save my visit for later on that weekend. I visited all of my predetermined “hot spots” based on the vendors list first, then stopped by their booth to chat about their headphones afterwards.
     
    The gentleman I spoke to was named Tom. I asked him to tell me a little bit about what he has displayed. The first headphone he showed me was the Cleer Audio DU, a dual driver headphone. When asking him where these can be purchased and why I don’t see them in any retail stores, his response was that they sell rather successfully in airports and on Amazon, therefore retail sales aren’t necessary.
     
    I don’t say this to sound arrogant, but when I speak to vendors I like share an honest initial impression on what they are offering. This isn’t done with the intention to make things awkward, but more to share an honest opinion of their product so they can get a general idea of how their lineup compares to the competition. Some people will take things I say personally, while others will take it as constructive criticism.
     
    When I sampled the Cleer Audio DU, most of what I had to say was positive. We discussed Cleer Audio’s status in the headphone industry, and what I did in terms of reviews on Head-Fi. Tom appreciated the feedback, and was kind enough to offer a sample in exchange for a unbiased review.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, while having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
     
    Review
    20160528_224105.jpg
    The DU comes in a White box with red and black accents and lettering. A side side shot of the headphones is on the front of the box, along with a brief description of the product.
     
    20160528_224125.jpg
    The back of the package has another picture and description.
     
    20160528_224223.jpg
    Opening the package reveals a certificate of acoustic calibration and serial number. This is a very nice touch that shows the attention to detail that went into their production. Also included is a thirty day free trial for Tidal music streaming. Register your product at Cleer Audio and you will receive a voucher for a free month of service. Add this to the already free first month, and you have two months of free FLAC streaming. Very nice! Also included is a owner’s manual.
     
    20160528_224408.jpg
    As far as accessories is concerned, the DU comes with a synthetic leather carrying case with a zippered top. Also included are two cables, one with a three button microphone and remote for Iphone (only center button works for Android), and a single button microphone and remote that works for both Android and Iphone. Both cables are constructed from a heavy duty flat cable and have a ninety degree gold plated 3.5 mm jack that is slim in profile and will work with most smartphones with cases installed on them. Both cables are approximately four feet long and geared for portable use.
     
    Specifications and Accessories
     
    Specifications:
    Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 102dB
    Impedance: 32 / 38 Ohm
    Speaker Diver: Custom dual driver, 40mm
    Magnet Type: Neodymium
    Distortion: <1%THD IEC3181mW at1KHz
    Audio Connection: 3.5mm stereo jack socket
     
    Accessories:
    1X Carrying pouch
    2X Audio cables with inline remote (1.2m)
     
    Build Quality
    The first thing I said when Tom handed me a pair of the DU was “Wow, these are built like a tank.” The DU is made of what appears to be mostly aluminum, with a few components being very durable plastic (which you wouldn’t even notice unless closely inspected).
     
    20160528_224544.jpg
    The top of the headband is a curved piece of flexible metal with a soft piece of padding where the headphone makes contact with the user’s head. The padding exterior is a synthetic protein material that feels very premium and comfortable. The headband ends at two solid metal components with left and right channel markers.
     
    20160528_224835.jpg
    The headband adjusts via two metal arms that slide in and out of the headband. The slides are durable metal and seems very sturdy. At the end of the slides, two metal hinges connect the slides to the arms that lead to the cups. Again, the arms of the DU are made of heavy duty aluminum.
     
    20160528_224615.jpg
    The cups of the DU are connected to the arms via a single oscillating hinge that allows the cups to swivel inwards. Guess what the outer rings of the cups are made of? If you guessed heavy duty aluminum, you are correct! The exterior plate is the only part of the cup exterior that consists of plastic. Had I not tapped on it to see what material it was made of, I would have said it was also metal. The outside of the cup displays the Cleer Audio C along with the words “high definition” in small print.
     
    20160528_224650.jpg
    The pads of the DU are detachable. They unscrew from the cups, revealing two angled drivers. The cups are made of the same padded synthetic protein membrane that is attached to the headband. I really like the material used. It sits comfortably, and never seemed to make my ears overheat (unless used on a hot day).
     
    Comfort
    20160528_224904.jpg
    Although a little bit heavier than the likes of the Audio Technica  ATH-M50 or Soundmagic HP150, the DU manages to be very comfortable thanks to it’s well thought out design and ergonomics. Weighing in at 320 grams, they aren’t light, but but the weight is distributed evenly, making them as comfortable as any closed pairs of headphones I’ve worn. DU’s headband is very flexible, so clamping force is a non issue. Unless you have a head the size of a beachball, you shouldn’t have a problem with this either.
     
    The synthetic protein pads are somewhat breathable and never seemed to cause my ears to overheat. Even during long listening sessions I didn’t need to adjust them very much. One thing to note about the DU pads, they don’t have a large circumference. Although they fit my ears almost perfectly, I can imagine some people with big ears having an issue with where the pads make contact with them.
     
    Sound Review
    I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V10 for portable and smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or iBasso DX80 DAP for high fidelity portable use. For desktops I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.
     
    Source Selection
    Coming in at 32 ohms, the DU is very easy to drive and universally works with a smartphone or DAP. Their forgiving signature makes them work with just about any source I used. They are pretty forgiving with poor recordings and low bitrate files. Although they will benefit from higher quality recordings, I don’t consider it to be a significant improvement that makes it worth your while to listen to FLAC and DSD exclusively.  
     
    The forward midbass and lower midrange of the DU is further emphasized by warmer and bassier sources. Use a neutral and more linear source for best results. The DU sounded great when testing them with my LG V10 and Iphone 4S. Adding a more linear portable amplifier like my VE Runabout or Topping NX-1 seemed to make the DU drivers have more definition and tighter dynamics. I made sure to volume match before reporting this. I will conduct my sound impressions using my Iphone 4S and VE runabout amplifier, as this seemed to yield the DU’s best sonic capabilities.
     
    Sound Signature
    20160528_231534.jpg
    The DU is a midbass and lower midrange forward tuning with good detail and top end sparkle. The forward lower frequencies make the DU a dynamic listening experience that works well with modern genres of music. While I don’t think these will appeal to those looking for a neutral and airy presentation, they are ideal for someone in the market for a entry level headphone that rivals the likes of the ATH-M50 or any closed cans in the $100-$200 price range.
     
    The DU retains a good amount of clarity despite a slight veil in the lower midrange. Thanks to their crossover and dual drivers, they separate the frequencies well while preventing the DU from the dreaded midbass bleed you would normally hear with this type of tuning. I really enjoyed the DU with band pop, rock, hip-hop and EDM. With acoustic and live performances, there was a thick note presentation and lower midrange resonance that prevents me from being able to say they work well with these genres.
     
    Bass
    Sub bass isn’t the star of the show but it’s adequate. You won’t feel like it’s lacking, as there’s just enough to keep listeners satisfied. During Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” I could hear the lowest of low notes, but not with the boosted presence of the mid bass frequencies.
     
    Midbass is the most prominent thing you will hear with these headphones. Although it’s forward and carries a slight resonance in its tone, it still manages to be somewhat controlled. It’s hard to explain because I haven’t experienced this type of sound outside of some hybrid in-ear monitors the likes of the Sidy DGS-100 or T-Peos Altone 200. If you’ve heard either of these earphones, the midbass response is somewhat similar in terms of how it impacts the rest of the sound. You get a forward midbass that puts extra emphasis in this range without losing the detail and clarity at upper frequencies. At loud volumes with the wrong source and genres of music, the DU midbass and lower midrange can get fatiguing.
     
    Midrange
    Lower midrange carries on from where the midbass leaves off, making things like male vocals a weighted and somewhat unnatural presentation. Although this might turn some people away, the tuning works fantastic for modern genres like hip-hop, pop and EDM. The weighted 50-200 Hz range make for a dynamic and engaging experience with these headphones.
     
    NOTE: Using an EQ adjustment to reduce the midbass and lower midrange makes the DU sound pretty incredible and addresses the veil, while making male vocals sound much more natural.
    20160528_130941.jpg
     
    Moving to upper midrange, things get a bit more relaxed and and natural sounding. There is an incredible amount of clarity and detail in this range. Listening closely, the upper frequencies of the DU seem to outperform the lower frequencies in terms of clarity and natural presentation. To my ears, the DU would benefit from adding resistance to the low pass, or a boost to the high pass. Even still, I don’t find this to be a deal breaker. The way these are tuned I can see many people enjoying the current tuning. Fortunately for me, a EQ adjustment like the one above helped me get the most out of my DU experience.
     
    Treble
    Treble carries a nice tone with plenty of sparkle and detail. You can hear pronunciations of the letters S and T without it being harsh or fatiguing. Cymbal crashes sound natural and not overdone. To my ears the upper midrange and treble tuning was the DU’s best aspect to their tuning.
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    DU’s midbass and lower midrange hinders its ability to create a large stage. The fact that it jumps out in front of their sub bass response, it prevents them from much in terms of soundstage depth.  Add this to a somewhat relaxed upper midrange and treble frequency range and we have a headphone whose strongsuit definitely isn’t soundstage. It isn’t horrible, just know it isn’t going to be the DU’s biggest strength. The slight lower midrange veil takes away from there being a sense of space. The upper frequency range helps with this however. I would say that the DU imaging is slightly above average when used with a neutral or more linear source.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Audio Technica ATH-M50 ($120-$150 USD on many sites)
    The M50 is a gateway drug in terms of high fidelity headphones. They are a reasonably priced pair of closed cans that provide a pretty neutral tuning with slight lower frequency emphasis. They remain a staple in my collection and are used as a reference pair of headphones, especially when comparing them to headphones similar to the the Cleer Audio DU.
     
    Comparing the two, the M50 is thinner in the midbass and lower midrange areas. Upper midrange and treble responses are very similar, with the M50 being just a touch more emphasized and extended in the treble region. Because of the more balanced tuning, the M50 has a better sense of soundstage and imaging. The M50 is geared more towards being a reference studio monitor, with the DU being tuned more for music enjoyment.
     
    Build quality on the DU trumps the M50. Their almost all metal makes the M50 feel cheap and flimsy in comparison. The DU has two detachable cables while the M50 has a fixed cable that is ten feet long and comes in either straight or coiled variations. Audio Technica now carries a M50X which has a detachable cable. Comfort is a draw.
     
    Torque Audio T402V ($399 on Torque Audio’s website)
    Torque Audio’s T402V headphone is an incredibly well built pair of earphones with magnetically removable pads that alter the headphone’s bass response. Although they are bass heavy in just about every setting, the leanest bass setting on their over the ear pads yields a sound that I thoroughly enjoy. I will do this comparison with the pads set this way.
     
    Comparing the two, they have similar sound signatures. The T402V is a little more extended at sub bass levels, offering a deeper soundstage. The mid bass of the DU is just a bit more forward, and treble slightly more relaxed. The T402V midrange seems lifeless in comparison to the DU’s dynamic and musical presentation. Still, overall the T402V seems to be slightly more refined and detailed.
     
    In terms of build quality I give them a draw. Both of them have phenomenal build quality and replaceable pads. Accessories goes to the T402V, thanks to their interchangeable over and on-ear pads, and neoprene carrying case. Comfort goes to the DU. They have less clamping force and are easier to wear for long listening sessions.
     
    At the end of the day, I consider the T402V to be a slightly better headphone. The question to ask is if it’s worth a $270 leap in price. In this hobby we pay a lot for minor improvements. This is a classic example of this. I can’t answer this because it depends on a buyer’s preference and budget.
     
    Conclusion
    20160528_225217.jpg
    The Cleer Audio DU is an incredibly well built headphone with a musical sound signature that makes the most of modern genres.  It is musical and dynamic, with slight veil at lower midrange frequencies, and has a respectable level of detail and clarity at upper frequencies. While I don’t think the DU’s tuning will make it a game changer, it’s good enough to be a very competitive product at its price range.
     
    In ranking these headphones, I think Cleer Audio’s DU headphone has five star build quality, four and a half star comfort, and three and a half star sound (four and a half star after an EQ adjustment). Averaging the three, the DU gets four stars. They are a great headphone for their asking price.
     
    If you are looking for a great all around headphone for home and the road for under one hundred fifty dollars, consider the DU from Cleer Audio. They are built for the long haul, and offer a musical tuning that will make listening to them a fun experience.
     
    20160528_224835.jpg
     
    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. 20fenix08
      Thanks for a very detailed review. The pictures are really appreciated. I question how long Cleer will be in business. I will definitely add to my wish list.
      20fenix08, Jul 7, 2016
    2. smcc44
      Just ordered mine from Amazon. I wonder if the Brainwavz pads will fit them or maybe they will be too big. I have always said that using dual drivers would be a good idea - to emulate 2/3 way speakers etc. As far as I know only the Pandora VI have done this so far. I am hoping these will be good candidates for modification.
      smcc44, Sep 4, 2016
      trellus likes this.