Dan Clark Audio Stealth


100+ Head-Fier
Easy listening, great imaging
Pros: -
- Comfort
- Sub bass
Cons: -
- High end
- Glued pads
- Unique connectors
Testing was done with V222 and V850.

Comfort is pretty spot on, and I'm being picky here. Clamping force is a bit too much for my taste, headphones apply some unnecessary pressure to my jawbone. Headphones can slide down on your head after a while, and you might have to lift them up from time to time. Despite these you can easily wear these for a longer gaming or listening sessions.
Highs are the least attractive point in these headphones to me. The good thing is that highs are far from being sibilant, and one can listen these without fear of violins causing teeth grinding. But this safe tuning also makes string instruments and female vocals sound a bit too laid back for those who want excitement.
I tend to think mids as part of the sound spectrum where the vocals are. So male vocals sound as they should, lifelike and detailed. Female vocals on the other hand can lack some soul, maybe because of the laid back high end. Some headphones have forward mids, some recessed, these in my opinion are dead center in that spectrum.
Sub bass is the best I have heard so far, bass extension goes deep. Mid bass could use some snap in it, it feels slightly blunted in the impact part. Bass detail is excellent, no distortion or bleeding in the mids.
I dont hear anything that I can't hear with other headphones, but then again I dont think I'm missing anything. Electric guitars could use some detail tough. So okay I guess, these don't strike me as a detail monsters.
Soundstage is wide for a closed back, I could not tell these are closed based on the size of the stage. To me the stage is natural, and excellent. Now imaging is something that these excell: With songs instrument separation is easy, even tough there is not much air between instruments. The imaging also can be seen in gaming, in COD I can easily hear enemy directions,Much better than Elites, slightly better than ADX5k, and the same as with CA-1a.

In the end:
Great headphones,excellent build and isolation. You probably need a powerful amp to get these going.
Also I swapped pads, not as easy as in the DCA video, glue is much harder to pull off. If you have compressed pads, I do recommend changing those to a new, it will reduce the darkness of the headphones and add a bit of clarity to high end.
I like to do a price to preformance, so here it is: sub 2800e 5/5, 2800-3200e 4.5/5 , 3200-4000 4/5, 4000-5000 3.5/5

Pad swap cleared the mids some, still the sparkle is missing, but the quality imporved enough for me to give these 4.5 stars from the original 4/5 rating.


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You have a grinder behind it.
Ah :D
:p thanks for the review !


100+ Head-Fier
DCA Stealth Review: The New Standard
Pros: Colorless sound in both neutral tonality and low distortion
Open soundstage for closed-backs
Fantastic ergonomics
Cons: Unusual headphone connector
Not for slam lovers


When Stealth was first announced and released last year, frankly speaking, I was not very interested not only because I was rather underwhelmed by the previous MrSpeakers/DCA products (Ethers/Aeons) I owned, but also because I did not fully understand benefits of Harman target-driven developments. Later I realized I overlooked technological progresses Dan and his team accomplished with the Stealth. Here is my understanding of major points. I also recommend watching this interview video for more details.

First, as per DCA, Stealth employs larger radiating space (1.2x bigger than Ether 2) and stronger magnets (roughly 2x). This is a welcome change to me as I always thought DCA products were dragged by weaker driver controls.

Second, Stealth uses a very unique front damping material -- programmable array of resonators as well as waveguides, which is called Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (AMTS). Knowing how powerful the Helmholtz resonator was to the HD800S to tame treble, Dan’s claims that AMTS can do many good things (diffusion control, frequency smoothing, etc) make much sense to me.

Finally, AMTS enables Stealth to conform to the Harman AE target very closely, which was verified by early analyses. I was simply curious what Harman-compliant products would sound like. I was once a hater because none of the popular “Harmanzing” equalization filter presets worked for me. But given that parametric equalization filters might be more subject to personal variance in highs (largely due to exogenous filtering frequency), I wanted to give a shot to inherently Harmanized product.

All the points above seemed to cohesively linked and piqued my interest strongly. Plus, my recent listening often got interrupted by noisy parties held in neighborhoods. I ended up snagging a well-used pair for myself nearly half a month ago. I have thoroughly used Stealth as a main reference/monitor for critical music listening since then.

So, you may wonder. Does its advanced technology result in sonic excellence? Is it worth 4k usd in msrp? Well, let’s find out.


My listening was primarily done with SMSL M500 Mk3 as a dac and SMSL HO200 as a headamp. I also tried out the combo of Gustard X18 dac and Topping LA90 2ch integrated amp. I found the former combo was slightly more synergistic with Stealth, which was interesting to me because I preferred the latter with Susvara by a healthy margin.

Having been enjoying my Stealth pair so far, it was immediately apparent that Stealth was different from any other planar magnetic headphones I’ve heard, including Susvara. I was easily convinced by the name “Stealth” as its sound seemed to appear from nowhere, fully untethered to the two drivers around my ears. I’ve witnessed this disappearing act several times among 2-channel loudspeakers such as Spatial Audio’s open baffle speakers in my house. But probably the first time in headphones. After more listening, I realized it might be attributable to multiple reasons I’d describe below.

The Stealth is utterly colorless in a couple of ways I hear. Its tonality is highly neutrally balanced in perception. Very low, almost zero, audible harmonics or resonances were induced by the headphones, too. I am inspired to say it has virtually no sound of its own.

Bass extension, heft, and texture are exemplary. The bottom end has clarity, definition, and articulation. Slightly shelved lower bass nicely compensate for loss of low-end physicality in the headphones listening (as opposed to loudspeakers/subwoofers). Moreover, Stealth resolves and reveals fine details of timbre, dynamics, and pitch in bass instruments, which is unexpected from my prior experience with Ethers or Aeons. I somehow feel like Stealth’s bass technicality benefits from its accurate tonality balance rather than drivers potential though. Moreover, this trait is cohesive and continuous over the entire bass region, even extends to mids without bass per se bleeding into midrange.

The Stealth sounds clean and pure. Maybe subtly clinical or analytical (which is indeed spot on to my liking). There is a good amount of liquidity. The Stealth’s freedom from coloration and grain, coupled with its clarity, allows natural tone colors and textures to be rendered with convincing realism. I enjoyed lots of piano music through the Stealth, from recitals, to jazz trios, to the instrument within larger orchestral contexts, and heard some consistent and unmistakable qualities that even summit-fi headphones don’t necessarily get right, and when they do, not to this degree.

The treble is the show’s highlight. With the aid of AMTS, it has taken another step forward in smoothness and absence of hardness, except I occasionally hear upper mids are tad shouty (not overly by any means). Even when a large wind band plays at full tilt, the Stealth’s top end does not exhibit glareness. Almost always I could hear a sense of ease, clarity, and lack of confusion. On small jazz groups, cymbals were reproduced with a delicacy and resolution in terms of fine inner details. Easily one of the best cymbal sounds I heard from headphones.

Soundstage is very open and accurate. Unbelievably so for closed-back headphones. The Stealth's headstage is not the widest or deepest I've experienced. But not wrap-around enveloping, either. Producing a fine spread, the soundstage is very stable and the images presented on it are precise, holographic, and solid all the time. Zero distracting diffusion, too.

There’s one more aspect of the Stealth to report in this review. The Stealth’s transient in attacks lean more towards rounder and softer sounding. While its total macrodynamics per se -- the difference between the quietest and loudest parts -- is much better to my ears than any DCA/MrSpeakers prior offerings (particularly with its high isolation capability/low noise floor), this transient character in leading edges, combined with a little subdued upper bass, could be associated to perceived notions of less slamming or more boring sound for some. Personally it was not a show stopper for my taste. But please be careful if you look after slamming sound over others.

  • Playing this album with the Stealth, there were quite a lot of magical moments I should listen to with breathless attention. For example, the last aphorism's (from the Five Aphorisms for Piano) lower-register was of impressive clarity with lower bass extension. Wonderfully finished by atonal crashes with the loud pedal depressed. In the last track (BWV 974's 2nd movement), on the Stealth, the image of Anna's piano was stable, uncolored, and convincingly placed in the headstage. The continually repeated phrase by her left hand was almost hypnotic.


  • Stealth immediately let me know how well balanced lows and highs were in this album. I couldn't hear any hint showing the hi-hat's highs or Patricia's voice were exaggerated. The highs might be a tiny bit mellower than things like Susvara. But I really like Stealth's slightly forwarding sound. Patricia's voice was projected forward in the soundstage -- almost what I deem the way it should sound.
  • On top of that, the piano had excellent presence and superbly natural sounding tonal balance. The bass line was pushed forward and had a good combination of weight and definition. It's truly a summit-fi experience.


  • The subtle ambience around and behind the re-synthesized Steinway piano were clearly resolved by the Stealth. The piano sound was reproduced without midrange coloration. Some of the highest notes did sound a little accentuated though. I could thoroughly enjoy Sergei's rendition and styles.


  • On the Stealth, I appreciated the nicely extended low frequencies in the orchestral bass drum -- in the second track ('Beckus the Dandipratt Op 5') particularly. The drum was reproduced with head-shaking weight. I was surprised that my audio's reproduction maintained top-notch clarity without any sacrifice.


  • The Stealth's low-frequency dynamics were highly engaging. I could immediately appreciate lots of high-quality heft. For example, in the 14th track ('Moby Dick'), Stealth communicated more of the visceral excitement from John's drum solo. The extra midbass relative to upper bass benefited this magic show. Yet no hint of loss in details, clarity, and texture. This track, surely along with other songs in the album, demonstrated how well Stealth was tuned in low frequency weight, bass definition, and their balance.


  • Stealth demonstrated how delicate its treble range could sound. In most of my previous listening, my attention usually had been drawn to Lewis's cymbal accent, sacrificing Oscar's piano slightly. Or less often the opposite. I liked either way though. With the Stealth, the cymbal was still moderately spicy, but in better balance with the piano. I feel like I could capture a better picture of the whole musical structure and developments. Really well-balanced degree of sibilance.


Compared to my HD650, Stealth is better in every possible way. This might not be surprising for the price difference. But I’d like to make clear that even summit-fi headphones have a hard time justifying themselves against HD650 in terms of midrange purity and timbral accuracy, which is one reason why I kept revisiting HD650 whenever I wanted to check with normal and standard sounding. Stealth outperforms HD650 in those areas, too. ABing both side by side, I found both 650 and Stealth were surprisingly similar in tonal balance for the whole midrange. However, HD650 is hindered by its excessive upper bass energy slightly bleeding into mids as well as veiled highs making sound timbre inaccurate by comparison. Please note that I didn’t realize these until I heard Stealth. Raw midrange resolution is far better with Stealth, too.

Susvara draws more meaningful comparisons regarding price and performance matches. After many back and forths, I still maintain that Susvara is more capable of various technicalities. But Stealth definitely holds its own well. To be specific, Susvara has a more slam coming from edgier transients. Bass is better textured. Soundstage is wider and more open with Susvara. Susvara also feels livelier and airier by comparison. On the other hand, Stealth is more neutral in tonal balance over the entire spectrum. This also forgives some patterns of excessive energines in certain frequencies (usually between upper midrange and presence regions) found in harsh recordings. Vocals are generally more articulate and less laid back with Stealth. Front to back imaging/staging localization is more accurate and convincing with Stealth.


My measurements were taken with the MiniDSP EARS at 95db SPL@300hz with the homebrew hybrid compensation target curve that mixed HPN, HEQ, and additional adjustments based on B&K Room Curve. I also attached B&K 5128 measurements taken by Jude for further references (particularly useful for distortion measurements due to the high quality isolation chamber where his measurements were taken).

In addition, I reported Stealth’s noise reduction strength and comparison to Sennheiser HD650 and Ollo S4R (v1.1). S4R is included to demonstrate the passive noise reduction level of studio mixing/recording headphones. Higher values mean stronger reductions/isolations.

Highlights below.
  • It turns out my own target curve with MiniDSP EARS (note: target curve is only meaningful where it is derived) is not much different from Harman AE target with IEC911 couplers. Deviation from my target on EARS was surprisingly similar to the deviation from the Harman's one on Gras 43AG. Overall, frequency response conformed highly well to my target as well.
  • Low bass shelf (+5db@20hz) was neither excessive nor as evident in my perception as the graph suggested. I confirmed this by canceling it with a de-shelving filter.
  • Slight recession between 200 and 300 hz did wonders to soundstage and image. This greatly improved clarity at the cost of small loss in perceived notion of bass slam.
  • Slightly nuanced upper mids around 3 khz was associated with improved presence and attacks of piano, vocal, and other major instruments.
  • Neither sibilance nor over-brightness in the brillance zone (6khz~) was heard/measured.
  • 5128 measurements revealed Stealth’s harmonic distortions were extremely low for non-electrostatic headphones.
  • Spectrogram was very clean and did not suggest any hint of undesirable resonance or weird quirk.
  • For audiophile headphones, Stealth exhibits good noise reduction ability contestable to studio mixing headphones. As per my results, Stealth is even better than Ollo S4R by 3-5 db over the entire spectrum except for upper mids.









I may be a touch jaded after experiencing various disappointments in high-end audio. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed in super expensive audio products, for one thing or another. But there are still moments to discover gems, which let me not quit this hobby. I’m glad that Stealth joins such an exclusive club of products.

Overall, I have to say that the Stealth is the most impressive pair of headphones I’ve heard, needless to say it’s also the best closed-back headphones Money can buy today. Dan’s new direction (over Ether 2/Voce) and all his endeavors in research and engineering have finally paid off. By demonstrating colorless/neutral sounding, open/accurate soundstages, and summit-fi level technicalities, Stealth really redefines to me what a normal and standard sound in reproduction should be.

PS. I did not include comparison to Expanse in this review because I only briefly auditioned once. I will follow up with more in-depth comparison if I can borrow Expanse for meaningful period of time.
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A fantastic review, my friend! It helps that I happen to agree with you on your analysis. The Stealth truly deserves to be considered amongst the best headphones money can buy and to be affirmed, as you rightly pointed out, as the best closed back headphone available today. Period. I too have listened to many high end headphones and have been impressed by some, but disappointed by at least as many.

From nearly the moment I put them on for the first time it was apparent to me that the approach to sound reproduction taken by DCA with the Stealth was exactly what I had been looking for in a TOTL headphone for quite some time. Thanks for taking the time to put out a high quality, comprehensive, and well-written review of these fantastic headphones.
@JAnonymous5150 Thanks so much for your kind words! Very glad you enjoyed my analysis.


Headphoneus Supremus
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100+ Head-Fier
Closed-back endgame
Pros: Comfortable.
Natural sound.
Perhaps the widest soundstage in a closed back system to date.
“Just right” out of the box.
This is it. Closed back endgame for me. A surprisingly big and luxurious step up from the great ÆON 2 Noire.

These headphones get out of the way, full stop. They are comfortable and precise. Where the Noire impressed me in terms of soundstage, the stealth manages to go a bit wider - but with the eerie feel of being in a very well treated room. There really is nothing but the music, folks. Yup, just like that.

If we try to compare this system to a car, we are in Grand Tourer territory - as in Bentley Continental GT W12. See, it’s not just the best of class comfort or the ludicrously pleasant performance. It’s the statement under the hood. in this case, the unobtanium magic that tames resonances and also adorns the inside of the cans. Because believe it or not, there simply is no reverb. Nothing. Open back performance in a closed system. And yet… it may simply not be for everybody.

Just like the Noire, the cable connectors, while not that common, are very easy to use and a welcome feature if you’re balanced end-to-end. Unlike the Noires, the thought of packing these 4k cans for a weekend trip terrifies me. So while I appreciate the design, they shall remain safely locked at home.

Adjusting them is a breeze. As in there’s just nothing to do. Put ‘em on and you’re done. The VIVO cable is a welcome upgrade from the DUNNER cable that comes with the Noire. Very light and, like the cans, gets out of the way. In contrast with the Noire, there are no running pads. And that’s simply because to my ears, there’s nothing to fine tune. The sound is Goldilocks Good. Just right. And in case it’s not obvious, they are flat out comfortable and unobtrusive cans. Feels like luxury.

You can get an idea of what I test stuff with by looking at my test playlist. If your style of music is not there, my experience may not be as informative to you. At the time of review, my hearing is about 20 Hz - 17KHz.

With my headphone set (Gungnir + Mjolnir 2), a KANN Cube, and out of a Rega Brio headphone amp for vinyl because I just had to try them (albeit with a DUNNER cable for the latter):
  • Detail: Precise. Attacks are fast. Very, very nice.
  • Soundstage: Of the Noire, I said “these may have the widest soundstage in closed planars I’ve ever heard”. Well… unless I’m wrong, these are a bit wider. Instrument placement is bliss.
  • Bass: Natural and full.
  • Voices: Human in the room. Seriously.
  • Highs: Just right. They sound precise and not fatiguing at all.
  • Instruments: Blissfully separated. If you like cool Jazz, bass just shines here in terms of how “real” it sounds. Rare feat.
  • Overall: They ought to be the most true-to-nature system in closed backs.
They may not be for everybody, though. Maybe their opinions on what natural is are uninspiring for some folks Who knows. Early reviewers were divisive and I can see why - these guys get so out of the way they are hard to praise for doing something other than exactly that: It’s you and your tunes. And maybe that’s all one can say about them.


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Nice review. Can’t wait to get a demo!


Headphoneus Supremus
A very dangerous listening session for my wallet (& My IEMs)...
Pros: Moderate power to drive
Lovely Bass, even lovelier mids, and smooth but sparkly treble
Grand Soundstage for a closed-back headphone
Compact folding design
High Passive Isolation
Excellent Comfort
Stealthy design (see what I did there? *wink*)
Cons: Some might want a bit more bass
Some might want a bit more treble
Some may find the price to be a bit too much

None of these are cons to me though... well maybe the price haha
But if you have the money... get it and make me jealous *sad noises*

I'll have to do a thorough review first before I could really put my finger on the cons and if deserves any.
NOTE: I just want to thank Charles over at Headfoneshop for letting me hog the Stealth for an hour. (I'll definitely come to visit you and try these again haha)

To my fellow Canucks and Toronto boiz do checkout Headfoneshop when you get the chance! He has a few stuff on sale and he's an authorized dealer for Dan Clark Audio.

Dan Clark Audio Stealth​

Initial Impressions​

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Recently, I decided to visit my local audiophile shop before going into my orthotics appointment nearby to listen to the Shure KSE1500 system once more since I miss how they sounded. To my surprise, Charles, the owner of the shop, showed me that he has the Stealth in for demo. So how can I not listen to them? Well, how was my experience you say? Keep reading to find out.

Build & Design​

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As Charles handed me the unit, I was expecting a heavy set, but as I took it, I was surprised to discover that it’s actually quite a light unit. The cup design borrows the design cues from the ÆON series with some added “aircraft” styling and is quite stunning to look at. The mixture of carbon fibre and aluminum materials was so appealing to my eyes that I just had to take out my phone right away to snap a couple of shots (I did wish I had my camera and lighting setup though). Another great thing about Stealth’s design is the folding gimbal from their ÆON series. This design feature enables the Stealth to fold compactly into a small case, which is crazy enough for a flagship planar headphone of its kind.


On the comfort side of things, I am delighted to say that these are insanely comfortable. The headband design is a bit reminiscent of their ÆON headbands but with some added hypercar style stitching and padding. To top it off, the headband now comes with a bit more width to cover a wider area of the crown to spread the weight of the headphones evenly. The ergonomic cups and along with their new vegan suede and “leather” earpads also help out a lot with the comfort and the great passive isolation of the Stealth. The Stealth might just be equivalent to the Meze Empyrean/s comfort level, making it great for my sensitive crown. I do have to mention that the self-adjustable suspension mechanism of the Stealth’s headbands makes it the more convenient headphone to use compared to the Empyrean’s manual adjusting headband. Of the two, I prefer the Stealth’s headband mechanism a bit more. I gotta compare these two a lot more the next time I get the chance to do so.


For the demo, I had the Stealth plugged into the Woo Audio WA11 Topaz which provided the Stealth with more than enough power to come alive. Though I’m sure the Stealth would scale up well with “better” desktop sources/amps, the WA11 Topaz and the Stealth proved to be quite a suitable combo. The WA11 Topaz was set on High Gain and the volume wheel at around 10-11 o’clock.

Bass: Stealth probably has the best-textured bass I’ve heard thus far from a closed-back headphone. It goes deep while keeping things controlled without any sort of bloat. It brings bass instruments some very delicate textures, and it’s such a fun listen. While bass heads might want more bass presence, this is more than sufficient for me.

Mids: The midrange is the highlight of the Stealth. Low mids are presented with enough weight and my goodness… the upper-midrange has the special sauce that brings it perfectly close to my preference. Female vocals are presented with high amounts of air without sounding overly forward. Wind instruments sound phenomenal with that additional air it produces. And while I highlighted the female vocals, male vocals are quite superb as well. Personally, I just listen to a lot more female vocal fronted music.

Treble: Treble is very well extended and it just sounds effortless. The Stealth has the ability to render the treble with such smoothness while keeping a detailed sound. It’s such an easy listen, and I can see myself listening to these for long periods of time. Sparkle is quite satisfying too. I ended up listening to quite a lot more Jazz tracks because of this. Cymbals and Hi-hats just sounded so beautiful on these headphones that I couldn’t stop focusing on them.

Staging/Imaging: Am I really listening to a closed-back headphone? The Stealth sounds sooo open! The stage just sounds enormous. I don’t know what kind of sorcery Dan Clark has done to achieve this, but my lord is it mind-blowing. Imaging technicalities are also superb. The instrument placement and separation on such a grand stage is brilliant. I really need to have another session with the Stealth and compare it to other closed and open-back cans at the shop.


Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed by the Stealth’s performance that I totally forgot about its price (5200CAD)... Ultimately, it’s still a very expensive item and it’s really hard to say if it’s worth every penny. But with the amount of enjoyment I received while listening to it for just an hour, it was completely worth it for me. Now, as hard as it is to say, I may really need to move some stuff in my collection to afford one...

I’m hoping to get a chance to properly review the Stealth at the comfort of my home and to take photos of it in my home studio as well. We’ll see if that would ever happen (laughs)

I hope you guys liked my “quick” initial impressions of the Stealth.

Until the next review!

I've owned AFCs, now A2N, and love them dearly...a massive improvement over the AFC. That said, the feature in the Stealth I keep fixating on oddly is the elastic suspension strap mechanism, which seems like such a QoL improvement! I hope this doesn't trickle down into the rest of the Aeon lineup, otherwise ill have to do yet another Aeon upgrade haha.
Yes, I'm sure Audeze will also follow suit with an "elastic suspension strap mechanism" soon enough.....
I can't imagine someone wanting more bass. These match my TH900 in bass which are already close to being bass cannons. Maybe the amp wasn't quite powerful enough? I drive mine with a Topping A90D which has a ton of power and I have to turn it up quite a bit.