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AudioQuest NightHawk Impressions and Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ghostchili, Jan 7, 2015.
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  1. Geezer Rock 001
    I received a nib pair of Nighthawk Carbons today. After reading about the 150 hour burn in, I was amazed by how good that they sounded right out of the box! They sounded just a little muffled a few times, but I am thinking once they get loosened up a bit, that will go away.

    What should my expectations be about how the sound changes over the 150 hour burn in period? My burn in routine is to plug them in to an old boom box tuned to a 24 hour FM stereo station and give them 23 on and 1 off every day.
  2. Beagle
    Union labor rules say they have to have a minimum of 2 hours off per each 24 hour period.
  3. groucho69
    And tea break of course.
    jaco61, Beagle and mbwilson111 like this.
  4. Geezer Rock 001
    Georgia is a right to work state, but I will change it to 22/2 and a sweet tea break, just to be safe.
    groucho69, jaco61 and mbwilson111 like this.
  5. Geezer Rock 001
    OK after 50 hours and 3 sweet tea breaks, what am I missing here??

    These things kick some serious butt! Why are there so many haters?
    I am guessing that it has to do with amp synergy and lack of brain burn in.

    I have tried one solid state and two hybrid amps with them. They like the Ember with a fairly bright tube best. I have also found that I cannot switch back and forth between headphones unless I give my head/ears about 10 minutes to make the transition.

    OK the sweet tea break is over Hawks. Back to the burn in stand.
    groucho69 likes this.
  6. phthora
    A friend of mine is real into speakers, so I had him listen to the LCD-X, thinking he would appreciate that headphone I loved so much. Well, he hated it, surprisingly, and couldn't quite articulate why. After getting over my disbelief and urge to call him an idiot, I told him he should play around with EQ until he got them to where he liked them. Half hour later I take a look at what he's come up with. A few bumps and dips here and there, but the real shock was that he created a hard roll-off at 120 hz that resulted in zero volume at 60hz and below. Cut that out completely. Then, he loved them. Turns out what he really liked and had gotten used to at home was a 2.1 system without the .1. From his experience and taste, all that sub-bass in the X has an unwelcome distraction. So, he tried to EQ the X into being that.

    So, anyway, why so many haters for the NightHawk? Because experience, taste, expectations, and idiosyncrasies matter in audio, and sometimes the results are pretty unpredictable. The Hawks definitely have an unusual sound signature, and for many people that is simply going to be too different from what they're used to. Maybe that's lack of brain burn-in or closed-mindedness or legitimate difference in preference, but even my favorite headphones have their haters, as all headphones do. At this point, good! Let's keep all that dwindling stock of NightHawks for the truly deserving!
    groucho69, Windseeker, jaco61 and 6 others like this.
  7. Geezer Rock 001
    Maybe Haters was too strong a word. They sound fun and exciting to me. And I am comparing them to an LCD 3 and a Sendy Aiva.

    With less than a week's ownership, I know that I am not an expert on the Audioquest venture into the high line headphone market. Two things make me wonder at this point.

    If the 150 hours of burn in is so critical to the final sound product, why didn't they burn them in to the 150 hour mark before they boxed and shipped them? Audio gd does that with many of their products.

    Is the 24 ohm rating part of the problem? From reading through this thread and some of the reviews, it appears that getting the amp/ Nighthawk synergy right is essential to getting the most out of them. I was surprised when my Hawks liked the hybrid Ember better than another hybrid and a solid state.
  8. billbishere
    They are great on my Cavelli Liquid Spark.
  9. waynes world
    Amen to that!
  10. mbwilson111
    Skylar Gray, the creator and no longer affiliated with AQ, said once that he was enjoying them straight out of his iPhone. He used to participate in this thread and his posts are still in here... well worth searching for.

    Just start at the beginning of the thread. There will be a few trolls along the way but it is interesting reading.
    groucho69 and Jazz1 like this.
  11. phthora
    The cost in the labor and additional equipment it would take to burn in headphones, say, 150 hours would have to get tacked on to the price the consumer pays for them. If nothing else, not burning them in in the factory makes them more affordable to produce and to purchase. Couple that with the fact that, to put it mildly, there is some disagreement about the effects of burn-in, that means that not everyone would be willing to pay for that part of the production process. There would be a perceived increase in value for some potential customers, no increase for others, and a decrease in perceived value for others. Plus, there isn't a really solid consensus on how burn-in should be done. People disagree about volume, duration, pink noise versus brown noise, and all kinds of details. The safest bet then is to leave the burn-in to the customers, to do it as they see fit.

    The 24 ohm nominal impedance won't create any problems, per se, you will just have to be careful about what amplifier you pair it with. For example, the Topping DX7s has an output impedance of 10 ohm on single-ended and 20 ohm on balanced. Pairing the Hawks with that amp would mean a very unideal damping factor that will skew the resulting frequency response of the headphones. But, that's it. That's worst case scenario. It certainly won't break them and, hell, you might even prefer the sound. If you want to play it safe, try to pair these with an amp with a low output impedance, around 1 ohm or lower, and you won't have to worry about it.

    That should be the Head-Fi motto... :thinking:
    Arcamera, groucho69 and mbwilson111 like this.
  12. Jazz1
    Mine was missing also. I contacted the Amazon seller and they shipped me a replacement ASAP. They said a lot of them were missing as skipped to them by AudioQuest. I wonder what that was about.
  13. mks100
    Received my 1/4" Adapter from AudioQuest today.
  14. Geezer Rock 001

    Did it come from Listen Up in Denver?
  15. mks100
    Nope. Called AudioQuest directly last Tuesday and it arrived today. I have had nothing but brilliant Customer Service from AudioQuest. Called and a human being answered immediately (was surprised to not have to go through a Menu), transfered me once I explained my issue and took my information without question to ship the Adapter. I purchased "raw" Slate Speaker Cable many years ago and they were able to walk me through the Bi-Wire directions over the phone. Had a defective DragonTail and experienced the same Customer Service. Patient, Courteous, Helpul and Responsive at every turn. Can't say enough great things about AudioQuest.
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