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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. Devodonaldson
    I go back and forth between Owl and Hawk depending on genre, and my current mood. Both with Hy rid pads primarily, and microsuede pads occasionally. As a pair, they check all the boxes for me. Owls being more mid forward, I get more out of the instruments and female vocals. Bassier genres, the Hawk are my go-to. I love my Night birds!
    Bern2 and waveSounds like this.
  2. Joong
    I regret I sold my NOs that has more pronounced highs and more toward to those traditional tonal balance.
    Among my many phones, NHs and NOs are truly different characteristics, whereas the rest of them are similar in sonic nature.
    NOs has certainly new things in them that requires training to get those.
    I should wait until they were absorbed into fully to my body.
  3. infinitum4
    Just got my NO. This is so COMFORTABLE its beyond explanation. The cans just FLOATS on your head.
    Liking the sound out of the box already, I'm very curious to see how the sound will change after burning it in.

    Literally a STEAL at this price.
    waveSounds likes this.
  4. waveSounds
    @infinitum4 The whole design of the headphones makes them an everyday pleasure to use. The self-adjusting system is pure genius. I slightly prefer the bass with the pleather pads, but the comfort with the ultrasuedes is just too good so I leave them on most of the time unless I need to up the isolation.

    The effort that Skylar Gray put into the design process into these adds much value to me. He's a guy that cared about the small things, and innovating. If you've not does so yet, the "The Technology" section of AQ's website is a marvellous read (if you care about that kinda stuff).
    Colors and mbwilson111 like this.
  5. DW75
    It is awesome to see these new Nightowl owners joining the club. IMO, this headphone is hard to beat at 400 US. Hey infinitum4, give the Nightowl a good amount of time to burn in. This process takes around 140-150 hours. They will continue to develop and improve up to that point. I am sure you have already noticed the soundstage and imaging. It literally sounds like an open back headphone. Glad to see another happy owner here.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  6. infinitum4
    @waveSounds yeah I agree the self adjusting headband is just absolute genius. I feel little to no clamp force between my head. I did read up a bit on the technology behind this, as I was strongly considering many options at the time :)

    Yeah @DW75 , I own an open back HE400S, and the soundstage of the NO is literally like an open back. Compared to other closed backs I've tried this definitely stood out to me. Really curious how these would sound after burning it in!
  7. DW75
    I am in the minority with the Nightowl, as I prefer the sound with the ultrasuede pads. With the pleather pads, and even with using EQ, it is not possible to make snare drums sound correct. The ultrasuede pads remove some of the additional mid bass bloat, and make the headphone sound more balanced. The treble detail also increases with those pads. You should give both pads a try, and see which you like better. Comfort on this headphone is just amazing. I love using them, as they literally just float on your head. The weight is distributed just perfectly, and no area on the head or around the ears experiences even a hint of discomfort. Every time I use them, it makes me think of Princess Leia from the first Star Wars. :p Anyone who uses this headphone has a similar look. :dt880smile:
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    mbwilson111 and waveSounds like this.
  8. infinitum4
    I'll definitely give the Ultrasuede pads a try later! I'll just sink myself in to these cans now while coding away :smile:

    Can't emphasize it more, couldn't be more satisfied with these cans. Comfort is absurd. Non fatiguing sound, soundstage, imaging, separation all on point. FeelsGoodMan
  9. DW75
    Yes, they have the most non-fatiguing treble response that I have heard on a headphone. There is no way that anyone could call this headphone harsh or bright. The way it separates instruments, along with the width and depth of the soundstage is really impressive. If you put these on someone's head while blindfolded, they would assume it was a layed back sounding open back headphone with better than average bass extension.
  10. phthora
    The ultra-suede were a no-go for me. But, then, I tried them right out of the box. Maybe now that I've had some time to get used to the NO sound (and it does require a little mental adjustment) I would find them more appealing. I really prefer the comfort of leather though, and I'll take that comfort over a small sound improvement.
  11. infinitum4
    I also prefer the comfort of the leather too. However, surprisingly I liked the sound of NO out of the box (didnt need any adjustment from me). Perhaps I just haven't tried enough headphones out there I guess :p
  12. waveSounds
    @phthora Interesting, you find the comfort factor the other way around to me. To be honest, though, I find both perceived comfort and sound changes are marginal; I'm happy with both sets!
  13. phthora
    I know I'm in the minority here, but any kind of fabric covering makes me itchy. Ultra-suede, velour, alcantara, whatever the hell is on the SHP9500... all make my skin crawl. Sucks. Sometimes I put up with it anyway, and I certainly don't hold it against the headphones since it is definitely just me. But, I switch everything I can out to lambskin or the next closest thing.

    Overall, I find the NO comfortable, but I actually want a stronger clamp. (Another minority position!) However, it is the best version of the self-adjusting headband that I've ever used. Better than the X2 version, IMO.
  14. geordieman
    Just a quick thank you as I am now a proud owner of the Night Owl's. Found an open box for £300 so don't mind sending them back if need be...but so far I will not be sending them back. Only had an hour or so with them and I love them already :) I have an ecleptic taste in music from Steeleye span to Metalica and through in a bit jacqueline du pre. These cover it all. I'm driving these just with my Fiio X7 II AM3a amp.
    So far so good :)

    Ps I still like my Shure 1540's but the wife is now the proud owner of them :wink:
    mbwilson111 and waveSounds like this.
  15. mbwilson111
    I am sure she appreciates the Shure. I love my Shure 1540 AND my Nighthawks:) I don't think I could part with either but I do have a problem with parting with anything. I have at times been tempted by the Night Owl but I already have several good closed headphones.
    emeline and Bern2 like this.
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