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AudioQuest NightOwl - A closed-back NightHawk

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by xero1, Aug 14, 2016.
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  1. Shahram
    I'm running roon on my PC. My DAC is a Benchmark DAC1 and Schiit Vali 2. I switch between the headphone outs on the Benchmark and Vali 2, but honestly don't often hear much of a difference.
  2. Devodonaldson
    Switch to the microsuede pads. The pleather pads do increase the treble
  3. Shahram
    I have been reading conflicting comments on the pleather vs. microsuede pads. After these headphones break in I'm going to do some pad switching and share my comments.
  4. Shahram
    I was totally expecting this as well...I guess time will tell here.
  5. Devodonaldson
    Out of those two, I like the MS more, because they keep the natural treble of the headphone. Negative side is they lose some of the low end oomph That's why certain individuals, such as myself made sure to purchase hybrid pads while they were still available, so we could have a tuning closer to the original vision of Skyler like with the original wood Nighthawk. The Owl is more forward with a greater treble presence than the hawk, but the hybrid pads make it just good. Best pads for ether headphone
    mbwilson111 and CaptainFantastic like this.
  6. Shahram
    Very interesting. How hard is it to get a hold of some hybrid pads?
  7. fljoe
    Just call Audioquest directly .. they will take your order for the hybrid pads and ship them.
  8. Shahram
    Excellent - thanks for the heads up!
  9. Devodonaldson
    Honestly, nearly impossible, now.....correction, thanks for above post.
  10. CaptainFantastic
    Are you sure they still have them in stock? When was the last time you ordered? In Europe Audioquest said these are gone forever.
  11. fljoe
    QUOTE="CaptainFantastic, post: 15108375, member: 502161"]Are you sure they still have them in stock? When was the last time you ordered? In Europe Audioquest said these are gone forever.[/QUOTE]
    I ordered them in March 2019 from Audioquest USA.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  12. Mhog55
    I finally have these dialed in! I've been going back and forth between the pleather and suede pads for close to 5 hours now. I definitely prefer the suede. The pleather kinda suck. They kill the capabilities of these cans imo. I feel that the suede pads somehow make the headphones more dynamic and energetic, and also provide more space and breathing room. Color me impressed.
    The problem for me was between 125 Hz, and 1 KHz. Listening to hard rock, this region sounded slightly distorted to me. Male vocals sounded forceful and harsh. Guitars also sounded harsh and distorted. There was a hollow, screeching character that was driving me bonkers. So I kept fiddling around with the EQ, and I finally nailed it. Or maybe I finally hit my 150 hour mark haha. Who knows. I'm just happy that I'm fully content and pleased with them now. Here's my EQ settings for anyone who may be interested.
    31.5 / +2
    63 / - 1
    125 / - 2
    250 / - 3
    500 / - 3
    1000 / - 3
    2000 / 0
    4000 / - 1
    8000 / - 2
    16,000 / +2
    adeeb and SteveOliver like this.
  13. Shahram
    Man does a couple weeks make a difference with these headphones once they are broken in some more. The owls have smoothed out considerably. When I switch to the the HE400i i notice considerably more clarity and air in the treble. While I'm not usually a treble fan, the Owls are adding a thin blanket over certain aspects of airy live recordings. Cymbals and the air of the kick drum especially. I do feel this can bring vocals more into focus, but for an instrumental recording by a band like Mogwai I am missing the air in the recording. This in fact does make the HE400i brighter overall and more fatiguing. And besides having a narrower soundstage and overall stereo separation (not really fair for a closed back vs open headphone) that's really the only area where the Owl is deficient in my opinion. The HE400i to me is the more neutral sounding headphone for sure, but lacks the sub-bass punch of the Owl.

    Since these headphones complement each other I'm definitely going to keep both for now.
  14. Shahram
    I forgot to mention snare drum hits also sound a bit muffled on the owls compared the HE400i. It makes the owls sound less realistic I think.
  15. Mhog55
    Now that sounds a lot more like the Owls. I struggled with these same things. Finally, just recently, I feel like I have them dialed in, and they're staying put. My recommendation - Use the suede pads, and dial down the EQ between 125 Hz and 1 KHz. That blanket effect is now not nearly as bad. Kicks and snares sound more like they should, and vocals no longer have that dry, hollow effect. I think I posted my exact EQ not long ago. Worth a shot, and easy enough to switch back. I wouldn't keep these cans without EQ... Nope
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