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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. waveSounds
    Afraid not! Closed cans are far better suited for me which is why it'd be the Elear leaving were it to come about, but the Owl is too unique (and awesome) to be missing from my roster.
  2. Joong
    Elegia above vs. Nightowl below
    They are quite different class.
    elegia-3_orig.jpg night-owl.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  3. Brahmsian
    Anybody else think NightOwl can go toe to toe with Elegia and Elear? I tried NightOwl about a year ago, at Best Buy (admittedly not the best place for a good listen). Had a negative impression, mostly because of how tiny everything sounded. I think my big open planar headphones have spoiled me in this regard.
  4. phthora
    I've got some big open planars myself (check my profile) and I think the NO sounds remarkably open for a closed-back. More so than the LCD-2F, not that that is much of a bar. Give them another shot.
    Brahmsian likes this.
  5. DW75
    What was the Nightowl connected to at Best Buy ? I have seen so many people claim that the Nightowl does not need to be connected to good gear to sound like it should. I don't agree with this at all. It is a quality headphone, and as such, it requires good equipment to excel. If I connect it to a phone, or another mediocre dac/amp combo, it is lacking. I have a Creative ZXR sound card that I use as my DAC, and it has the opamps upgraded to the V6 Vivid opamps. As my headphone amp, I have the Audio-GD C-2 (2017 Edition) headphone amp. On this setup, it sounds awesome.
  6. DW75
    I have not heard the Elegia or Elear.
  7. Joong
    My phones were all planar once, and after I got Fidelio X2 I began to change some of them to dynamic phones.
    Especially with NH/NO there are no reason / attraction that hold me on Planar side so that I sold all planars.
  8. Brahmsian
    If I recall correctly, it was to the store clerk's iPhone. The store's player was broken, which I find to be common to the BestBuys around here.
  9. phthora
    Oh... I miss my X2s...

    It was the NightOwl and the E-MU Teak that convinced me to invest in good non-planars. Just ordered the Auteur and Atticus in fact, the latter of which may be the only thing that can dethrone the Owls. We shall see.
  10. DW75
    I would give the Nightowl another try. If you get a new one, just make sure you allow it time to mature. It takes about 150 hours for the Nightowl to reach its final sound.
  11. Joong
    It is good time to get one, because many are ignorant of its real value.
    jazzmanjake and Jearly410 like this.
  12. jazzmanjake
    I can easily see why people wouldn't be impressed with the NO. It's really like Skylar and many others have said, you have to give it some time before you start to appreciate (love!) it.
    Many other headphones indeed give you that perceived extra level of detail with that raised treble. Which sounds impressive at first, but quickly becomes tiresome.
    Apparently there are also people out there who just don't hear a difference. I let my girlfriend A/B the NO with her Bose QC35 and she says she can't hear any difference at all. :open_mouth:
    To each his own I guess. She likes surfing.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
    HonkyTonk and trellus like this.
  13. BuddhaBruce
    Does this leak sound? How would the NO be in an office setting??

    Has anyone compared with the zmf Ori?
  14. waveSounds
    Haven't heard the Elegia but it is certainly in the playing field of the Elear. To use a bad analogy, imagine a 4k TV with it's sharpness setting on about 50%, this is the Owl. Turn it up to 75% and you have the Elear. Both portray the same image at the same resolution, but things are crisper with the sharpness turned up. Crisper doesn't mean better, though.
  15. HonkyTonk
    Hello fellow NightBirders!

    I rarely post, but I wanted to share a strange experience I had recently. (I apologize in advance for the long post.)

    A little backstory: I’ve had the original wood NightHawks for a few years now & still love them.

    About a year ago, I was in need of closed-back headphones to prevent my NightTime (sorry, lame joke) listening from disturbing the family, so I found a good deal on some NightOwls & purchased a pair, despite not getting to hear them first. I figured since I loved the Hawks, the Owls would be very similar.

    Anyway, I received the Owls & burned them in for 150 hours, but was disappointed after my first listening session, not because they sounded bad, just unengaging. I kept using them though, periodically switching pads & trying many different configurations —sources, amps/no amp, cables, etc.; I’m sure you all understand — but never managed to love their sound & decided to sell them.

    In the meantime, I noticed that little black specks of suede were coming off of my NightHawk headband every time I moved it, so I ordered a replacement thru AudioQuest. While waiting for the new one to arrive, I decided to give the Owls one more chance.

    First, I put the original Hawk hybrid pads on the Owls & felt like they improved the sound a bit, but not enough to make me want to keep them. Later, I looked thru my packaging/accessories & saw the thin cable that originally came with the Hawks, which I had completely forgotten about.

    I never really liked the cable, but figured I might as well try it out. I honestly didn’t expect to hear a difference, but let me tell you, the change in sound was jaw-dropping!

    Immediately, I noticed a vast improvement in separation; it felt like additional channels had been added — I was perceiving sounds beside & behind my ears, & voices above my head! I could now pinpoint different aspects of a song, even hiss, & easily switch my focus at any given moment! I listened in amazement to a variety of songs/genres, & before I realized how much time had passed, I had made it thru an entire album. “Euphoric” is the only word I can think of to describe the experience.

    The next day, I was a little skeptical, so I put on the Owls & the sound was exactly the way I remembered it. I am still in shock!

    TL;DR: I finally understand what a lot of you have been raving about. I don’t know what the deal is with my Owl cable, but I’m glad I found the other one. Needless to say, I’m holding onto the Owls.

    If you made it to the end of all this rambling, I thank you.

    P.S. I was not inebriated :D
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
    trellus, jazzmanjake and Joong like this.
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