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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. DW75
    I have never heard of anyone finding the treble to be harsh on the Nightowl. This is one of the least fatiguing headphones you can get in regards to the treble response. It was designed to have an extremely smooth upper frequency response. I have not heard the FiiO Q5. Perhaps it just does not pair well with the Nightowl. I have a Creative ZXR sound card which has all the opamps upgraded to the Burson Audio V6 Vivid opamps. I use this as my DAC. Connected to that, I have the Audio-GD C-2 (2017 Edition) headphone amp. This is an awesome sounding setup, and I have never heard any harshness or fatiguing elements in the treble on my Nightowl or Amiron Home.
  2. DW75
    I have to say, I don't agree about the scaling. I have tested my Nightowl on the headphone amp that is on my creative ZXR sound card, and compared it with my Audio-GD C-2 (2017 Edition) headphone amp. This sound card has all opamps upgraded to Burson Audio V6 Vivid opamps. There is no comparison here. On the Audio-GD with the Nightowl, the bass is tighter and faster, and has much better extension. There is much better separation between the instruments, and the soundstaging has a slightly holographic nature to its character. Everything has a really nice layering to it. Vocals are rendered perfectly. The treble response when using the Audio-GD Nightowl is far more articulate sounding. It is smoother, more detailed, and has better extension. I have quite good hearing though, and I have always been able to hear things that most people seem to miss.

    If anyone is looking for a quality headphone amp to power any headphone, they should take a look at the C-2 amp. This puppy is capable of driving any headphone you want. Just take a look at the massive power output. The amp has a completely neutral sound signature. It takes nothing away, and it does not add anything. It just presents the music as it should be. Just be reasonable with the volume while using it. It has enough driving power to easily damage a person's hearing.

    25 ohm: 9900MW
    40 ohm: 8000MW
    100 ohm: 3500MW
    300 ohm: 1200MW
    600 ohm: 600MW

    trellus and phthora like this.
  3. Devodonaldson
    Using the dragonfly red with the Nightowl and the boost pads, I also found the treble to be too much for my ears, so itsi definitely possible. I loved the original nighthaeN bwcaube of the sound signature and fell in love with the slifhlts more mid forward nightowl. I hate the boost pads with a passion though. The treble sounds highly artificial to my ears. Instruments sound off, etc. I bought hybrid pads within the firstonrh of owning my Nightowls
  4. khyaris
    I've read a few posts on this topic and I've seen people saying the same thing with the leather pads.
    Maybe I didn't say it with the right word, harsh might not be the best term.

    On certain songs, not all, some frequencies resonate too much for my ears and it can be unpleasant.

    I've tried the suede pads yesterday. I actually prefer them ! Thank you very much for your help !
    I'm not a basshead so I quite like a bass that is more precise and not as loud.
    With the suede pads I can increase the volume by a good margin without feeling unpleasant with high frequencies.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  5. kennyb123
    I hear much better sound driving my NO with my Hugo TT relative to driving them with my Pono. I intend to spring for a Mojo in the not too distant future in hopes of making up some of that ground.
  6. phthora
    After listening to the NightOwl for a couple hours on the Black Label today, then switching to the Audio-gd 28.38, I have to admit that you are right. I didn't remember there being such a large difference in sound quality, but after careful listening and some A/B'ing with the same DAC, what you've described above is pretty much what I hear as well. A tip of the hat to you!

    What I find most improved is the treble extension, the soundstage, and the separation (not imaging as I recalled). I find that the 28.38 makes the NO a bit closer to neutral, as it doesn't add warmth into the upper bass and low mids like the BL seems to do. Bass is also punchier and better controlled on the 28.38.

    With all that though, I still really enjoy the NO out of the Black Label and I don't think an endgame amp is necessary for the Owls to really kick ass.
    trellus likes this.
  7. DW75
    Audio-GD makes really nice stuff. The C-2 2017 Edition has been an awesome amp to me. The 29.38 you have is a great combo unit. It has the C-2 2017 Edition amp in it combined with the same DAC as the 11.38 limited edition (ES9038 Pro). In the future, I have been considering getting the 11.38, and just using the DAC section in it. That will give me a 29.38, but in two separate units.
  8. DW75
    Not sure if you saw as well, but they have just come out with the brand new D-27. It is a high end combo unit. There is the D-27.28 with the dual ES9028 Pro, and the D-27.38 with the dual ES9038 Pro. The amp in it is also completely upgraded. Just look at the power on this puppy, wow.

    16000MW / 25 ohm
    8000MW / 50 ohm
    4000MW / 100 ohm
    1300MW / 300 ohm
    650 MW / 600 ohm

    trellus and phthora like this.
  9. phthora
    Well, there is a little more to the 28.38 than that. The 11.38 has the same DAC chip, but the power supply train and implementation are much different. I would not expect the same level of performance out of both. The amp section between the the NFB-1AMP and the NFB-28.38 is essentially the same, however.
  10. DW75
    Of course, the power supply in the 28.28, 28.38, 29.28, and 29.38 is beefier than the one used in the R2R 11, the 11.28, and the 11.38. Just saying that the 11.38 would be a good option due to it actually utilizing that ES9038 Pro. It should give a similar sounding result to those combo 28.38 and 29.38 units when the C-2 paired with the 11.38 as just a DAC.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  11. phthora
    Fair enough. I doubt you can go wrong with any Audio-gd stuff. Personally, I'm looking into the R1 DAC paired with a transformer-coupled tube amp as my next big upgrade. I think that would sound very nice with the NightOwl.
  12. DW75
    I was checking out the R2R-2 DAC as well. I may end up just stepping up to that instead. Not decided at this point, as it will be quite a while until I upgrade from my Creative ZXR sound card to another DAC.
  13. phthora
    I'm noticing you're sticking to single-ended. Not a big believer in balanced? I've found balanced helps the NO out a bit in soundstage and imaging.
  14. DW75
    I have no interest in going balanced.
  15. Joong
    Balanced only makes sense when power is required to feed high impedance or power hungry phones.
    However all the other reasons for getting balanced is not soooooooooo obvious.
    Colors likes this.
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