Dan Clark Audio E3 Review: Interview, Measurements, Impressions
Mar 24, 2024 at 6:03 PM Post #1,576 of 1,938
2000+ replies on the thread now...wish there were more DAC and amp 'amazing synergy' discoveries...not saying there aren't, it just feels a bit thin on that stuff up till now....maybe a fantastic mid-range priced tube hybrid spotlight would make me keep E3...I just have low access to testing upstream gear where I am....spent a fortune rolling the dice on gear combos...done with that now.
I did not find such synergy with any of my combinations. E3 did well upon initial listen only to end up sounding not as musical as my other cans and too bothersome in upper mid if listened for extended period. I can tell you however that E3 did not have good sub bass, slam, bass definition, transparency or soundstage and did not sound holographic with lower powered amps (low current).

I don’t have tube amps, so I can’t tell you whether tube amps would do better.
 
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Mar 24, 2024 at 6:42 PM Post #1,577 of 1,938
Related to portable solutions I think E3 sounds amazing with iDSD signature (sadly discontinued). The amp/DAC section are a bit warm but detailed and makes a nice combination. I haven't tried with the Diablo yet. The Gryphon also sounds great, but seems a bit power constrained. That said it still sounds fantastic.
Gryphon is underpowered on film score type music. Im finding the Woo WA11 much nicer.
 
Mar 24, 2024 at 7:53 PM Post #1,578 of 1,938
2000+ replies on the thread now...wish there were more DAC and amp 'amazing synergy' discoveries...not saying there aren't, it just feels a bit thin on that stuff up till now....maybe a fantastic mid-range priced tube hybrid spotlight would make me keep E3...I just have low access to testing upstream gear where I am....spent a fortune rolling the dice on gear combos...done with that now.
RME ADI-2/4, and then use the EQ and cross-feed to tweak to your favourite tuning. You can also get the cheaper DAC or Pro versions, of course.
 
Mar 25, 2024 at 1:54 PM Post #1,580 of 1,938
Just got my DCA E3 in from headphones.com, my first exposure to anything from DCA. Initial listening impressions with Bifrost 2/64 and Ragnarok 2 over XLR is WOW. I'm blown away. Lately I've been spending most of time with Susvara on the same rig and the E3 is definitely impressive.

Looking forward to spending more time and bouncing back and forth between the Susvara and HE-6.

I switched over to a Magni 3+ with a XLR->TRS adapter and while I got the volume, some of the weight seemed to be missing.
 
Mar 25, 2024 at 11:40 PM Post #1,581 of 1,938
Related to portable solutions I think E3 sounds amazing with iDSD signature (sadly discontinued). The amp/DAC section are a bit warm but detailed and makes a nice combination. I haven't tried with the Diablo yet. The Gryphon also sounds great, but seems a bit power constrained. That said it still sounds fantastic.
No sadness here - you can (and I did) pick up the iDSD Signature Finale from Adorama for $300 at the moment - https://www.adorama.com/ifimidsdf.h...0&utm_source=rflaid62905&utm_medium=affiliate

I do think they are a great pairing with the E3 as a "transportable" option.
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 4:19 AM Post #1,583 of 1,938
Someone wrote earlier in the thread that Aeon Noire's would have more bass than E3. This is simply not the case, not even close. E3 hits lower and harder with way more punch than Noire's. E3 is clearly more dynamic and open sounding out of the two. I own Noire's and currently have E3 at home for extended demo.

I'm driving these with Violectric V226 and FiiO K7. Both of the amps drive both headphones well but there's a clear difference in grip and power between K7 and V226. With K7, everything sounds smoother and slightly looser while V226 keeps everything in extremely tight control and shows better resolution but also slightly edgier sound. Low end sounds extremely powerful with the V226 + E3 combo, never heard anything alike with headphones before. K7 is definitely an easier to listen to experience. I'm actually driving the V226 with K7's DAC, using the line out from K7 to V226.
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 4:55 AM Post #1,584 of 1,938


I had planned to do an E3 vs. Liric comparison, but was then told about the new version. Probably the one thing that the E3 has going against it when it comes to portability is the low sensitivity, meaning you hit max volume on a lot of portable gear.
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 7:26 AM Post #1,585 of 1,938
Thanks Currawong :). A quickie for you : price aside, do you prefer the sound of the Stealth or the sound of the E3 ? :)
 
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Mar 26, 2024 at 8:11 AM Post #1,586 of 1,938
Is there any reason to get stealth, when e3 were released? According to the majority of reviews, they sound almost the same, but the price is twice less. And where did that price difference come from, if they use similar technologies
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 10:20 AM Post #1,587 of 1,938
I think that the differences are in the tuning choices, the bass texture (the drivers technicalities), the AMTS deployment and its effect on both sound signature fit-dependant variations and mid to high frequency uniquely exquisite clarity, the fit/clamp/seal/passive isolation differences, induced partly by pads depht differences.

The Stealth drivers are technically superior, I think, to the E3 drivers. E3 drivers are based on the flagship drivers but "downgraded" ? Built to a price target, according to Dan. I don't remember if they implemented new developments in the E3 drivers. Maybe someone knows.

But then on the other hand, AMTS progressed quite a bit with Corina, and Dan implemented the AMTS in a novel way with the E3.

I think the distortion in the bass is the biggest difference between the two, for me. And I kinda get the feeling the Stealth has quicker ballistics down low too. It really makes a difference in the perception of bass. I found the Stealth sound and E3 sound to be quite different... I loved both... The E3 fit/clamp/seal on my head was so much better that it won without question & I bought the E3. But you know, I still think the E3 has a bit too much bass, bass that blossom a bit too much, and bass that lingers a bit too much maybe ?... And I got these feelings right from the beginning, listening to the first song of the playlist, Massive Attack - Angel. But these big words I use are just vehicules to express what I heard, please don't think these audio nuances are deal breakers because it's all quite subtle... Also, the E3 kind of "rich", "bloomy", "driven", "loaded" bass could just be your thing... For context, me I try to get as close as possible to the bass I hear on my studio monitors, where it's quick, responsive, elastic. I need to design my kicks for example, so I need all the details I can get. If the bass is blurry, driven (even slightly), then it's complicated to make informed decisions.

DCA are sending me a set of longer screws and little plates to change the HPs clamp. ASAP, I'll get a Stealth in the studio to experiment.

I can't get the Stealth sound out of my head. It was I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. I can't even imagine how the Corina sounds... But whatever happens, my E3 is going nowhere ! It's a great entertainer !
 
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Mar 26, 2024 at 1:15 PM Post #1,588 of 1,938
DCA are sending me a set of longer screws and little plates to change the HPs clamp. ASAP, I'll get a Stealth in the studio to experiment.
For the E3 or for the Stealth?
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 2:07 PM Post #1,589 of 1,938
I think that the differences are in the tuning choices, the bass texture (the drivers technicalities), the AMTS deployment and its effect on both sound signature fit-dependant variations and mid to high frequency uniquely exquisite clarity, the fit/clamp/seal/passive isolation differences, induced partly by pads depht differences.

The Stealth drivers are technically superior, I think, to the E3 drivers. E3 drivers are based on the flagship drivers but "downgraded" ? Built to a price target, according to Dan. I don't remember if they implemented new developments in the E3 drivers. Maybe someone knows.

But then on the other hand, AMTS progressed quite a bit with Corina, and Dan implemented the AMTS in a novel way with the E3.

I think the distortion in the bass is the biggest difference between the two, for me. And I kinda get the feeling the Stealth has quicker ballistics down low too. It really makes a difference in the perception of bass. I found the Stealth sound and E3 sound to be quite different... I loved both... The E3 fit/clamp/seal on my head was so much better that it won without question & I bought the E3. But you know, I still think the E3 has a bit too much bass, bass that blossom a bit too much, and bass that lingers a bit too much maybe ?... And I got these feelings right from the beginning, listening to the first song of the playlist, Massive Attack - Angel. But these big words I use are just vehicules to express what I heard, please don't think these audio nuances are deal breakers because it's all quite subtle... Also, the E3 kind of "rich", "bloomy", "driven", "loaded" bass could just be your thing... For context, me I try to get as close as possible to the bass I hear on my studio monitors, where it's quick, responsive, elastic. I need to design my kicks for example, so I need all the details I can get. If the bass is blurry, driven (even slightly), then it's complicated to make informed decisions.

DCA are sending me a set of longer screws and little plates to change the HPs clamp. ASAP, I'll get a Stealth in the studio to experiment.

I can't get the Stealth sound out of my head. It was I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. I can't even imagine how the Corina sounds... But whatever happens, my E3 is going nowhere ! It's a great entertainer !

While I agree DCA E3 sound richer, warmer and bloomier than "drier sounding" Stealth, I'm not sure "technically" the driver inside E3 is inferior than Stealth's Driver.

Stealth use the 4th gen driver while E3 use the 5th gen. In E3's web page:
E3’s all-new 5th generation planar-magnetic driver delivers the smoothest, richest, and most detailed experience we could create to date. Its innovative diaphragms are made on an all-new tensioning system for a more uniform and consistent performance, lower distortion, and enhanced consistency.

Extensive R&D was spent optimizing E3’s planar driver. New diaphragm materials combined with highly optimized V-Planar knurling deliver a remarkably smooth frequency response with low distortion throughout the listening range for levels of detail heretofore found primarily in the top-of-the-line electrostatics, all with an exceptionally easy and fun tonal balance.
 
Mar 26, 2024 at 2:44 PM Post #1,590 of 1,938
@lauthoerer, for the Stealth (I'll try on the E3 too, but don't experience too much problem). I think the screws are the same for the Stealth, E3, Expanse, Aeon ?

@TheMiddleSky, it's counterintuitive I know, but here you have Dan Clark talking about the new E3 drivers :

"it's been cost reduced, so it doesn't have quite the level of performance, but it gets you 95% there, if not more"

watch at 6 minutes :

 
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