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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. Dan DRC
    Actually I did not take that avatar pic, I got it from a Google search.
    waynes world likes this.
  2. TheAnalogman
    i'm so tempted! As a general rule, I like open back cans the best. However, I bought a pair of dt-770s for listening on a whim via macbook pro when others here are facebookin' or watching TV shows that I don't care for (about 95%). And while they do many things well, they certainly aren't amazing, imho. I need a push over the edge? DON'T I????? :innocent:
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  3. DW75
    I don't blame you at all. I owned the DT770 250 Ohm a long time ago, and I hated it. The bass was boomy and bloated, the mids were very recessed, and it had that nasty 8-9kHz treble spike that gave me a headache. The treble on that headphone literally hurt my ears. I used to own the DT880 as well. It also has a peak at the same mid treble frequency, but it is not harsh in its character at all like on the DT770. The DT880 is a very balanced headphone for its price. You will find the Nightowl to be a big upgrade from the DT770. There is no comparison between the two. The Nightowl just destroys it. It has better imaging, better soundstaging, cleaner treble, better dynamics, and more articulate bass response.
    trellus likes this.
  4. jazzmanjake
    Hi everybody,

    After extensive research (thanks for sharing!) I ordered my nightowl this week and I thought I'd share some of my insights as well:
    I am a big time music enthousiast and listen to many different genres. Here are some bands I like:

    Pearl Jam, Gogo Penguin, Radiohead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bill Evans, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Frank Sinatra, Muse, The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Guy.

    Some of the stuff that I already owned:

    PSB M4U2, AKG K702, lots of IEM's such as Tin Audio t2, KZ ZS6, Headroom MS16 (all hail audiobudget.com :ksc75smile:)

    As you all know this hobby of ours can get expensive. I have always tried to get a good bang for my buck as I also need money for concert tickets :wink:

    Although I used to mostly listen to my speaker system, I bought my first budget 'audiophile' grade headphone over a year ago: the AKG K702.
    At first I was exhilarated with the AKG's huge soundstage and the perceived level of detail. However, after some time I also started to dislike the dryness, brightness and analytical nature of it. Plus, the 2D soundstage was just too big! Haha I read a nice comment of someone who described it as follows: it's like the band is already on stage but the singer couldn't be bothered and just sings from the bar downstairs.
    I did a bass mod and further tried to tone the AKG's analytical nature down with a tube amplifier: the little dot 2 with Mullard tubes. This helped, but I just couldn't get enough joy out of these cans.

    So even at home I preferred my old PSB M4U2. The PSB in my opinion has a pretty decent soundstage, nice resolution and very good Bass. However the build quality is abysmal and I did miss the extra detail that the AKG K702 gives me. So I started looking for a (preferably closed) headphone that was somewehere in between the AKG and the PSB with some extra warmth.

    I looked at many different headphones such as the Sennheiser HD650, some HIFIMAN's and the Meze 99 classic. I almost went for the Meze until I stumbled upon some reviews of the Nightowl. This appeared to be exactly the sort of sound that I was looking for, and with the price drop it was in within range so I went for it and boy oh boy!

    It's not even burned in yet, but already I'm enjoying this headphone! First off, it's incredibly comfortable. Second the sound!

    It's full, velvet, 3D, spacious, musical, intimate, relaxed, plenty of detail, not fatiguing.

    I really appreciate the silk treble of these headphones. I have a MUIZU A50, it's a bright DAP and pairs very well with it. It tones the MUIZU down and everything becomes warm, velvety and musical.
    Pairing it with my tube amplifier can be overkill with some albums, it becomes muddy. But let me tell you with the right album: Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild for instance. It's heaven!
    I read that burning in this headphone can make the bass somewhat tighter and I hope it will. But already I am so so satisfied with this purchase. :hatched_chick:

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
    emeline, Bern2, trellus and 2 others like this.
  5. chimney189
    That comfort tho ^-^
  6. jazzmanjake
    Thanks, I was already looking for this.
    mbwilson111 likes this.
  7. jazzmanjake
    Man this is it! I am absolutely blown away by the sound of these headphones. I so want to cancel all my appointments for the rest of the weekend.
  8. Joong
    Oh no, another addicted person is added.
    jazzmanjake likes this.
  9. Dan DRC
    I am only up to about 20 hours or so on break in. I tried the microsuede pads seemed to be really song dependent on if I liked them or not. I think I will wait til full breakin to do more pad swapping. Still love these headphones
  10. Joong
    In the level of being capable of discerning NOs better than the other, it means your are already able to distinguish those subtleties among the phones so that changing to different pads might not be immediately discernible.
    Therefore stay with one chosen pads in sufficient period time to appreciate fully the difference.
  11. DW75
    It is great to see so many new people deciding to take a flight on the NightOwl. This headphone really gets people soaring. It is one of the best closed back headphones around at the current 400 US price. I am in the minority though with this headphone. I much prefer the sound with the ultrasuede pads, instead of the pleather pads.
  12. waveSounds
    I like the sound of both. Looking at the Elegia closely, but it would be to replace my Elear and not the Owl!
  13. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Yes the Owl is a really engaging signature. I wish that I hadn't sold mine, but I may reacquire it yet as I sold it to a friend who loves it, but he uses it only sometimes. Very comfortable headphone (don't like the short stock cable mind you).
    trellus and Joong like this.
  14. Colors
    Tried the NightOwl on my O2 and also N5ii and still find I like the tonality on my iPhone X + lightning dongle better. I’ll see how it sounds with my Magni 3 arriving next week.
  15. phthora
    I've seen a few previews/impressions listing the Elegia as neutral. If that's the case, then it's certainly no replacement for the Owl. Of course, people tend to call neutral whatever they happen to like...

    Have you heard of any comparisons between the Elegia and the NightOwl?
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