AudioQuest NightHawk Impressions and Discussion Thread
Feb 25, 2021 at 7:19 AM Post #9,826 of 9,887

Jose Hidalgo

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The problem with EQ is that I have zero idea what I’m doing. I contacted Oratory and the Fiio app only had a graphic EQ which doesn’t translate to his numbers so he suggested I use a different tool but that’s not really an option on the Fiio app or with the iPhone as it doesn’t allow system-level EQ, just app based.
If you only have a graphic EQ, then take a look at this : https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/AudioQuest NightHawk

The Fixed Band EQ will interest you. :wink:

EDIT : be advised that you need to apply a global preamp of -5 dB. If you Fiio doesn't allow for it, then you need to take it into account manually.
For example for the 125 Hz band, the preset says -5.8 dB, so you'd need to do -5.8 - 5 = - 10 dB.
So in the end all your EQ values will be negative. This is normal and prevents clipping.
 
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Mar 4, 2021 at 1:30 PM Post #9,827 of 9,887

vodkadebugger

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I have NHCs driven by a Zen Can with XBass and an EQ curve that gives them even more bass and hotter upper regions (1-6kHz).

I do love my Nighthawks oh so very much but I'm thinking about upgrading, so my question to all out here - is the TH900 a valid step-up?
 
Mar 4, 2021 at 5:31 PM Post #9,828 of 9,887

xRaptorxPunisher

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I have NHCs driven by a Zen Can with XBass and an EQ curve that gives them even more bass and hotter upper regions (1-6kHz).

I do love my Nighthawks oh so very much but I'm thinking about upgrading, so my question to all out here - is the TH900 a valid step-up?
It's a different sound. The TH900 does have more potent, impactful bass. The Nighthawk is a soft sound where as the TH900 is more solid, visceral but it's also very aggressive, and has a weird timbre, metallic type of sound. Resolution between the TH900 and Nighthawks is about the same. At this level you're really side grading and looking for a different experience. Maybe go for a headphone with more upper mids? to contrast the Nighthawks? HD600 or HD650, Focal Clear, Hifiman Sundara, Arya, Ananda?
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 5:21 PM Post #9,829 of 9,887

vodkadebugger

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It's a different sound. The TH900 does have more potent, impactful bass. The Nighthawk is a soft sound where as the TH900 is more solid, visceral but it's also very aggressive, and has a weird timbre, metallic type of sound. Resolution between the TH900 and Nighthawks is about the same. At this level you're really side grading and looking for a different experience. Maybe go for a headphone with more upper mids? to contrast the Nighthawks? HD600 or HD650, Focal Clear, Hifiman Sundara, Arya, Ananda?
Thank you for your input!

I already have HD600 (and 560S), I really dislike the 650, tho - their sound just didn't do it for me. Sennheiser really are incapable of producing the bass I want - the 600 has been collecting dust for months now. It's definitely a smidge more detailed and has better separation than the NHCs tho

Round HifiMen just don't work on my head, couldn't wear them for more than 30 seconds - haven't tried Aryas and Anandas but I wasn't too impressed with the HE1000 (V2 I think). I think I liked the Audeze LCD-2 closed backs' bass but it introduced distortion much earlier/at a lower volume than the Nighthawks (biodynamics are a hell to upgrade from for a basshead it seems).

I was thinking about Clears but I'm afraid if they'll not be able to push the bass levels I want.

I was really thinking about TH900s because after much research it seems like those are the EDM endgame. I guess I'm just looking for the best biodynamic headphone. I don't care for "balanced" sound. I just want even more bass that is also faster (think consecutive kick drum 16ths that planars are actually pretty good at playing) and very preferably better separation.
 
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Mar 5, 2021 at 8:59 PM Post #9,830 of 9,887

Jose Hidalgo

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Well, if you like the way that planars play fast kick drums, then you should aim for a planar.
(FYI I have 2 Nighthawks, 1 HD600, 1 Sundara and 1 99 Classics, so I get your point)

Since your ears/head don't like round planars, maybe you could aim for some Aeon RT (or Flow)? You'd have a nice planar that goes all the way down to 20 Hz without EQ, and with their V-shaped diaphragm to allow for uniform excursion. Plus you could of course EQ them to your liking. As a side bonus they're relatively light. You'd have to check their distortion, I don't know about that point. The hawks have such low distortion that one becomes very demanding afterwards.
 
Mar 6, 2021 at 3:14 AM Post #9,831 of 9,887

vodkadebugger

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Well, if you like the way that planars play fast kick drums, then you should aim for a planar.
(FYI I have 2 Nighthawks, 1 HD600, 1 Sundara and 1 99 Classics, so I get your point)

Since your ears/head don't like round planars, maybe you could aim for some Aeon RT (or Flow)? You'd have a nice planar that goes all the way down to 20 Hz without EQ, and with their V-shaped diaphragm to allow for uniform excursion. Plus you could of course EQ them to your liking. As a side bonus they're relatively light. You'd have to check their distortion, I don't know about that point. The hawks have such low distortion that one becomes very demanding afterwards.
I am completely fine with Audeze tho (ear shaped holes in pads) I will check the Aeons.

Seems like I've struck unlucky gold with the Hawks - I love them to death, but wish they were just that tiny bit better. I got them for under 300€ too, new. Best audio bargain in my life

To reference how addicted I am for bass this is my EQ that had Zen Can's XBass on top:
1615019165109.png
 
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Mar 6, 2021 at 2:30 PM Post #9,832 of 9,887

Jose Hidalgo

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Seems like I've struck unlucky gold with the Hawks - I love them to death, but wish they were just that tiny bit better. I got them for under 300€ too, new. Best audio bargain in my life
I got my NH Carbon for 249 € incl. shipping, brand new.
And my NH Wood for 191 € (204 € with shipping), practically new (only 6-8 hours !), with complete box and even the pretty cardboard that you can see in my avatar.
Yes, check the Aeons : cheaper than Audezes, lighter too. Maybe not easy to find in Europe ? Here's a review, speaks well of the bass : https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2021/02/dan-clark-aeon-flow-rt-hardest-of-them-all.html
 
Mar 6, 2021 at 8:22 PM Post #9,833 of 9,887

vodkadebugger

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I got my NH Carbon for 249 € incl. shipping, brand new.
And my NH Wood for 191 € (204 € with shipping), practically new (only 6-8 hours !), with complete box and even the pretty cardboard that you can see in my avatar.
Yes, check the Aeons : cheaper than Audezes, lighter too. Maybe not easy to find in Europe ? Here's a review, speaks well of the bass : https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2021/02/dan-clark-aeon-flow-rt-hardest-of-them-all.html
Those are Flows, I can only get 2's. That aside I've been sniffing around and have almost set my sights solely one Campfire Cascades. They seem to be an interesting yet valid choice for...my tastes
 
Mar 13, 2021 at 11:43 AM Post #9,834 of 9,887

xRaptorxPunisher

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Thank you for your input!

I already have HD600 (and 560S), I really dislike the 650, tho - their sound just didn't do it for me. Sennheiser really are incapable of producing the bass I want - the 600 has been collecting dust for months now. It's definitely a smidge more detailed and has better separation than the NHCs tho

Round HifiMen just don't work on my head, couldn't wear them for more than 30 seconds - haven't tried Aryas and Anandas but I wasn't too impressed with the HE1000 (V2 I think). I think I liked the Audeze LCD-2 closed backs' bass but it introduced distortion much earlier/at a lower volume than the Nighthawks (biodynamics are a hell to upgrade from for a basshead it seems).

I was thinking about Clears but I'm afraid if they'll not be able to push the bass levels I want.

I was really thinking about TH900s because after much research it seems like those are the EDM endgame. I guess I'm just looking for the best biodynamic headphone. I don't care for "balanced" sound. I just want even more bass that is also faster (think consecutive kick drum 16ths that planars are actually pretty good at playing) and very preferably better separation.
The HD600 series are fully open so if you want low bass they won't be the best option. The HD560S has more dampening so has deeper subbass. The Clear has similar subbass extension to the HD560S but cleaner, it's an overall more dynamic sounding headphone, a bit aggressive. Best is subjective. The Nighthawk have good bass clarity but their hump is much different to the TH900 it has a more broad hump that bleeds well into the mids so no matter what, you'll always have this sense of warmth, or echo effect. Nighthawk do best for pop, some rap, R&B that benefit form a little extra something down low. TH900 are great for this too but you may find yourself getting fatigued quicker. Consider the EMU-Teak, they have some potent bass, not quite TH900 potent but pretty good.

Planars whether people like it or not, have much more muted dynamic impact, this comes across more obvious in music that has a lot of bass or general upbeat and poppy music. The pistonic motion of dynamic drivers just handles this better. 99% of Planars also have completely sealed front volume so you don't get hardly any mid bass impact so songs that have decay and heft in the bass will not sound their best on planar magnetic headphones. Most Hifiman headphones are the exception here but as measurements suggest, they have more rolled off low bass or heft and sustain in the low bass compared to say Audeze headphones but have more mid bass presence but again being planar, they still don't have the same sense of impact as dynamic drivers. Even the HD600 have more dynamic impact than any planar.

As I mentioned, bear in mind if you do go Nighthawk, no matter what they'll always be a heavy colouration and lack of distinction but if you don't mind this and see it as some funky quirk, you're most likely going to have a good time as they are pretty fun. 9/10 though I would prob push someone to go for a typical biocellulose tuning like the Teak, old Denon series, THX00, TH900, TH600 etc.
 
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Mar 13, 2021 at 5:22 PM Post #9,836 of 9,887

vodkadebugger

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Just found AudioQuest Nighthawks for 75$, is it worth to buy it ? i see many people either love it or hate it (btw i can't really resell it, if i buy)
75$ for headphones that originally went for almost 10 times that price? If you've never heard biodynamics before you'll have your best introduction to sub-bass yet. Absolute steal for 75$

The HD600 series are fully open so if you want low bass they won't be the best option. The HD560S has more dampening so has deeper subbass. The Clear has similar subbass extension to the HD560S but cleaner, it's an overall more dynamic sounding headphone, a bit aggressive. Best is subjective. The Nighthawk have good bass clarity but their hump is much different to the TH900 it has a more broad hump that bleeds well into the mids so no matter what, you'll always have this sense of warmth, or echo effect. Nighthawk do best for pop, some rap, R&B that benefit form a little extra something down low. TH900 are great for this too but you may find yourself getting fatigued quicker. Consider the EMU-Teak, they have some potent bass, not quite TH900 potent but pretty good.

Planars whether people like it or not, have much more muted dynamic impact, this comes across more obvious in music that has a lot of bass or general upbeat and poppy music. The pistonic motion of dynamic drivers just handles this better. 99% of Planars also have completely sealed front volume so you don't get hardly any mid bass impact so songs that have decay and heft in the bass will not sound their best on planar magnetic headphones. Most Hifiman headphones are the exception here but as measurements suggest, they have more rolled off low bass or heft and sustain in the low bass compared to say Audeze headphones but have more mid bass presence but again being planar, they still don't have the same sense of impact as dynamic drivers. Even the HD600 have more dynamic impact than any planar.

As I mentioned, bear in mind if you do go Nighthawk, no matter what they'll always be a heavy colouration and lack of distinction but if you don't mind this and see it as some funky quirk, you're most likely going to have a good time as they are pretty fun. 9/10 though I would prob push someone to go for a typical biocellulose tuning like the Teak, old Denon series, THX00, TH900, TH600 etc.
I think you misunderstood me - I've been running Nighthawk Carbons since December! I absolutely love them (with EQ, although now not as aggressive a bassboost as before) and I was thinking of what was the next step from those.
 
Mar 13, 2021 at 5:51 PM Post #9,837 of 9,887

Jose Hidalgo

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Just found AudioQuest Nighthawks for 75$, is it worth to buy it ? i see many people either love it or hate it (btw i can't really resell it, if i buy)
Depends on their condition. At 75$ I'd be seriously worried about that.
Nighthawks in good condition are currently being sold used on eBay for $200-$300 or even higher. That's how good they are. So $75 looks quite suspicious to me. I hope they don't have damaged drivers or anything.
But if you're sure about your deal, then by all means, go for them while you can. If you don't like them, you'll always be able to sell them for twice or thrice that price.
 
Mar 14, 2021 at 10:38 AM Post #9,838 of 9,887

xRaptorxPunisher

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Just found AudioQuest Nighthawks for 75$, is it worth to buy it ? i see many people either love it or hate it (btw i can't really resell it, if i buy)
75 is like a night at the pub, if they work okay and you can try them before hand then yeah they're worth the experiment.
 
Mar 18, 2021 at 1:08 PM Post #9,839 of 9,887

Dynamo5561

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I have NHCs driven by a Zen Can with XBass and an EQ curve that gives them even more bass and hotter upper regions (1-6kHz).

I do love my Nighthawks oh so very much but I'm thinking about upgrading, so my question to all out here - is the TH900 a valid step-up?
I have the TH900 SB and also had the Nighthawks last week but sent them back (also burned-in for quite some time). They are not really comparable, the Nighthawks are very dark and missing some frequencies, which is really weired. The TH900 on the other hand are warm sounding, have better bass impact and much more detail retrieval. They both have a bass emphasis, but that's pretty much all they have in common.
 
Mar 19, 2021 at 1:38 PM Post #9,840 of 9,887

Jose Hidalgo

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I have the TH900 SB and also had the Nighthawks last week but sent them back (also burned-in for quite some time). They are not really comparable, the Nighthawks are very dark and missing some frequencies, which is really weired. The TH900 on the other hand are warm sounding, have better bass impact and much more detail retrieval. They both have a bass emphasis, but that's pretty much all they have in common.
That's probably because you didn't EQ them.
The Nighthawks have recessed mids and treble on purpose. It's a choice that we may like or dislike. But once EQed, nothing is missing. Then we can talk about "detail retrieval" if you like.

Here's the Nighthawk FR (20-12 KHz to discard measurement errors) before and after EQ (with no volume matching yet, so please don't mind the vertical values and don't try to compare curves based on that).
Please also note that the 0 dB green straight line is NOT a flat response here, but a HARMAN response linearized, like the one you can see on the top part of Oratory's graphs. So the green curve corresponds to an EQ preset that's close to the "Harman line".

2021.03.19 - 18.24.09.png


The Nighthawks only have a slight 9 KHz dip after EQ (- 5 dB), but that doesn't really affect anything.

Besides, for example the 99 Classics are way worse ! Look at this HUGE 4 Khz dip (-15 dB - actually it's -17 but I moved the curve up to make it fit). The dip remains even after EQ ! 😱 And I talked to Oratory, that can't be corrected any further or you'd get ringing artifacts.

2021.03.19 - 18.28.30.png


The Nighthawks have clearly a better FR once EQed : more sub-bass down to 20 Hz, and a more regular FR with less bumps and dips. :)
 
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