Dan Clark Audio Stealth Review, Interview, Measurements
Sep 7, 2021 at 9:39 AM Post #1,021 of 3,384

gearocdguy

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Surprised at the comfort rating, as the Ether 2 is supposed to be one of the most comfortable sets out there. Sound used to be all I cared about but comfort is becoming of equal importance. But the discomfort I feel with headphones is never on the top of my head; it's around my ears (particularly the left one for some reason). Weak clamping force is a plus for me as long as they don't slide back and forth too easily.
Every DCA headphone I have owned, including the Ether 2, has been ultra-comfortable.

What's different on the Stealth is (1) the mechanism that attaches the comfort strap to the headphones is an elastic band vs. a sliding mechanism and (2) The comfort strap is a large quilted solid piece of high-end leather vs. thinner more flexiable.

For my large melon-head, the new confront strap mechanism is less comfortable (at the moment) because most of the weight of the headphone is carried by the clamping force, so the force of the elastic band just pulls the comfort strap tight to the top of my head.

I assume if you have a normal person-sized head the force of the elastic band would be offset by the weight of the headphone. So, I think most people will find the Stealth as comfortable as other DCA headphones.

I am hoping the leather strap will break in overtime and it will not be an issue.

If I could replace the elastic bank with a sliding mechanism, I would do it in a second. But, the nitinol bands are different on the Stealth, the distance between the two is not constant, so I don't think that would work.

The elastic band mechanism does eliminate all the constant fiddling you have to do with the sliding mechanism which is less of an issue with the Ethers but does get annoying the Aeon 2s and the folding mechanism.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 9:49 AM Post #1,022 of 3,384

gearocdguy

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A well designed headphone is comfortable for most heads. That seems to be the consensus around the Empyrean, for example. That headphone can definitely be characterized as comfortable, imo. But there will always be exceptions.
I think the folding mechanism creates some engineering challenges and trade-offs that don't exist on other headphones. Specifically, the comfort strap needs a mechanism to get out of the way. The solution for the Aeon 2s was the sliding mechanism which wasn't perfect but works well for me. The Stealth uses an elastic band mechanism which solved the issues with the sliding mechanism but is also not perfect.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 12:48 PM Post #1,023 of 3,384

qboogie

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Honestly, it was a very brief time that I had with the two headphones. I only had an hour at the audio shop to listen to everything I wanted to hear. The Elite had a more even distribution of weight and body to the sound. This is evident in the low-end to the midrange which seemed to have a more natural timbre by comparison. Elite isn't necessarily what you'd want if you're looking for a "fun" sound with stand out bass. The Elite seems to be tuned for those prioritizing a detailed and linear presentation. I'd actually describe the Stealth the same way. I'd point to the OG Empy for a "fun" sound with it's truly elevated bass. Both the Elite and Stealth were exceptional at separating instruments. I'd give the edge to the Stealth in this category since it's helped by it's slightly wider soundstage to my perception. All-in-all I'd say the differences are actually marginal and tuning seem more similar than different. But to recap, I'd say Elite has the more natural timbre and even low to high sound distribution. Stealth has better soundstage, imaging, blackness of background, comfort (imo), and upper-mid to treble detail retrieval.
Saying Stealth has better comfort than the Elite is really noteworthy. I owned the original Empyrean and wearing it on my head was similar to how my molars feel biting into perfectly executed gnocchi
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 1:10 PM Post #1,024 of 3,384

DarginMahkum

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@mrspeakers, is the AMTS tuner on Stealth replaceable? I mean, would you in the feature have, for example, a new filter design with more air frequency energy and make it available for purchase, or is it a fixed system?
 
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Sep 7, 2021 at 1:28 PM Post #1,025 of 3,384

EricDH

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@mrspeakers, is the AMTS tuner on Stealth replaceable? I mean, would you in the feature have, for example, a new filter design with more air frequency energy and make it available for purchase, or is it a fixed system?

First, I am not Dan Clark, so whatever I say may be complete nonsense (most of the time it is). But in the video Dan stated that it would be possible (he didn't say he considered doing it, only that it is possible) to design AMTS tuners for headphones of other brands, in order to obtain a different sound. If it is possible for these, it certainly must be possible for his own designs. Again, many things are possible, not all of them happen.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 1:30 PM Post #1,026 of 3,384

Brahmsian

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I think the folding mechanism creates some engineering challenges and trade-offs that don't exist on other headphones. Specifically, the comfort strap needs a mechanism to get out of the way. The solution for the Aeon 2s was the sliding mechanism which wasn't perfect but works well for me. The Stealth uses an elastic band mechanism which solved the issues with the sliding mechanism but is also not perfect.
That Stealth has a folding mechanism was a bit of a head scratcher. Do people usually carry or travel with $4,000 headphones? I rather they had focused on making them even more comfortable.
 
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Sep 7, 2021 at 1:42 PM Post #1,027 of 3,384

DarginMahkum

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First, I am not Dan Clark, so whatever I say may be complete nonsense (most of the time it is). But in the video Dan stated that it would be possible (he didn't say he considered doing it, only that it is possible) to design AMTS tuners for headphones of other brands, in order to obtain a different sound. If it is possible for these, it certainly must be possible for his own designs. Again, many things are possible, not all of them happen.
That is exactly where I am coming from. But is fixed on Stealth, at least for the customer, or can a customer replace it without damaging the warranty...
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 1:44 PM Post #1,028 of 3,384

FYFL

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It would probably cost more to develop brand new SOTA headband over already proven system used on Aeon variants. Designs are full of compromises. If it ain’t broken, why fix it. Personally, I like Aeon type suspension system. But I do understand that there’s no such a thing as a universal “perfect” fit.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 1:56 PM Post #1,029 of 3,384
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@mrspeakers, is the AMTS tuner on Stealth replaceable? I mean, would you in the feature have, for example, a new filter design with more air frequency energy and make it available for purchase, or is it a fixed system?
It's not meant to be user replaceable and its fixed.
 
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Sep 7, 2021 at 2:15 PM Post #1,030 of 3,384

Sound Eq

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I did an A/B directly vs LCD-4 a few pages back.

mids on stealth feel more natural, given a weight to low edge of each note where I found LCD4 to be overly emphasized and rasp-edged at nearly every part of audible spectrum eg. male and female voices sound particularly “digitized” or “pixelated” as compared to Stealth.
can u please try this on both lcd4 and stealth and share your opinion. lets see how the stealth with ok recordings and a different genre that I like

 
Sep 7, 2021 at 2:30 PM Post #1,032 of 3,384

elira

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I'm mainly interested in how the ZMF Verite Closed compares to the Stealth. Can anyone give any opinions on that?
I sold my Verite Closed a couple of months back, so this is from memory. The VC sound more natural but the sound is kind of soft, it feels far, you can hear all the details but to me they were too soft and not very engaging. Stealth in contrast have way more layering, and sound varies a lot depending on how the track was mixed. VC are kind of consistent, everything sounds kind of the same, while on the Stealth there's a wide range of presentations you can get depending on the track. Some things on the Stealth sound kind of dull or harsh but others sound amazing with a lot of impact, sound stage and layering.

I personally prefer the Stealth, because they are more engaging to me, but some tracks sound weird. If you like the way Verite Closed present the sound then those might be better for you, but I suggest auditioning the Stealth to see if you like how they present the music you listen to.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 2:39 PM Post #1,034 of 3,384

Nostoi

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I sold my Verite Closed a couple of months back, so this is from memory. The VC sound more natural but the sound is kind of soft, it feels far, you can hear all the details but to me they were too soft and not very engaging. Stealth in contrast have way more layering, and sound varies a lot depending on how the track was mixed. VC are kind of consistent, everything sounds kind of the same, while on the Stealth there's a wide range of presentations you can get depending on the track. Some things on the Stealth sound kind of dull or harsh but others sound amazing with a lot of impact, sound stage and layering.

I personally prefer the Stealth, because they are more engaging to me, but some tracks sound weird. If you like the way Verite Closed present the sound then those might be better for you, but I suggest auditioning the Stealth to see if you like how they present the music you listen to.
I would agree with that account on the VC -they're coloured headphones and if you like that colouring, then you'll like the way they present music as a whole. Soft insofar as they're not aggressive and forward, yes, but in the same measure, natural and non-fatiguing with excellent mids. They're headphones for night music - late night jazz, smoky rooms, acoustic instruments, etc.

I'll be very interested in how the Stealth stack up against the Rognir, because your account here seems to parallel the tuning/presentation of the Rognir - dynamic, energetic, with excellent layering, detail retrieval, and sound stage. Also not for everyone, though, because they don't have the warm bloom one finds in the VC, which a lot of people - including myself - like.

IME: VC and Rognir compliment each other well, and it might be the same for Stealth and VC as a mutually edifying pairing.
 
Sep 7, 2021 at 2:52 PM Post #1,035 of 3,384

Ciggavelli

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I also sold my VCs because they were soft sounding :beyersmile:
 

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