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Introducing NightOwl Carbon & NightHawk Carbon. Next Generation Headphones from AudioQuest

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  1. SkylarGray
    Hey, Head-Fi.
    It is my great honor to announce the next step in the evolution of our headphone line. Thanks to the success of the original NightHawk and the support of this fine community + audio lovers worldwide, we continue onward. Yes, it's still only 2 products, but this is only the beginning of many more new headphone goodies that will land in the coming months.
    Today we are sharing details of NightOwl Carbon and NightHawk Carbon. You can find out more by reading the press release below, checking out our website personal.audioquest.com, commenting on AudioQuest social media (fb, twitter, insta), or by discussing in any of the NightHawk and NightOwl threads here on Head-Fi.
    NightOwl Carbon
    Around-the-Ear Closed-Back Headphones
    $699 US MSRP
    Shipping November 2016
    NightHawk Carbon
    Around-the-Ear Semi-Open Headphones
    $699 US MSRP
    Shipping November 2016
    Again, my most heartfelt thanks to everyone here who contributes to making Head-Fi such an awesome place to hang out!
    Skylar Gray
    Director, Earspeaker Products
    AudioQuest Announces Next Generation of Around-the-Ear Headphones:
    NightHawk Carbon & NightOwl Carbon
    IRVINE, Calif.—Offering a unique combination of unsurpassed comfort, state-of-the-art design, and naturally beautiful sound, AudioQuest’s first headphone, NightHawk, has been lovingly featured in the pages of magazines and websites as far-reaching as Stereophile, Rolling Stone, CNET, Wired, Head-Fi, Digital Trends, The Verge, HomeTheaterReview, Sound & Vision, and many more. This is evidence of the intensifying convergence between the high-fidelity and high-technology worlds, and testament to NightHawk’s uncanny ability to captivate and inspire a diverse audience of thinkers, builders, engineers, and, of course, music lovers.
    While NightHawk’s many innovative design elements—Liquid Wood earcups, biomimetic sound-diffusing grilles, and high-performance solid-conductor cable, to name just a few—have impressed listeners worldwide, many have expressed interest in different paint finishes, more versatile cables, and closed-back designs.
    AudioQuest takes the first of many steps toward satisfying those interests with two new around-the-ear models: NightHawk Carbon and NightOwl Carbon.
    The closed-back NightOwl Carbon further advances the state of the headphone art, replacing NightHawk’s sound-diffusing grille with an intelligently designed aperiodic damping system for excellent isolation of external noise.
    Hidden beneath the central circular portion of NightOwl’s earcups, a vent runs along the perimeter of each dome and exits through a hidden airflow-resistive port. Thus, unlike other headphones that use a sealed enclosure, NightOwl is designed to effectively relieve the buildup of pressure, allowing the drivers to breathe freely, ensuring that any impulses quickly return to an innocuous resting state—with no ringing, oscillation, or resonance.
    Further, we’ve implemented several closely related acoustic, ergonomic, and cosmetic refinements, each of which seamlessly complements the whole, delivering improved performance while elevating the overall user experience. 
    Acoustic Refinements
    1. Modified internal parts: Tighter tolerances reduce air leakage for improved airflow and lower distortion
    2. Two sets of earpads: Protein Leather Pads seal tighter for better isolation and slightly enhanced treble clarity; Ultra-Suede Pads breathe freer for greater comfort and slightly reduced bass impact
    3. Improved plugs: High-purity Tellurium Copper (TeCu) base metal for smoother surface, higher plating quality, better mating contact, and, consequently, less noise
    Ergonomic Refinements
    1. Improved headpad: Genuine leather headpad with stitched detailing for enhanced comfort, more luxurious look and feel
    2. Improved cable: Shorter (4.25ft) length for easier use at the desktop or with mobile devices; flexible, non-braided jacket increases durability, eliminates kinking, minimizes microphonics; robustly engineered and rigorously tested strain relief further increases durability; discrete microphone and smartphone controls enable phone calls and playback functions (Play, Pause, Skip) without compromising sound quality
    Note: Cable can be terminated with balanced connections or customized to various specifications.
    Cosmetic Refinements
    1. Luxurious finish: Carbon Grey Metallic high-gloss paint meticulously applied via multistage process
    2. Improved inner presentation: Includes microfiber pouches for headphones and accessories for safer, simpler travel
    Meanwhile, NightHawk Carbon is a more sophisticated, more mature version of the original. It boasts the same exciting refinements found in NightOwl—improved performance, greater comfort, two pairs of earpads, a far more durable cable with discrete mic and smartphone controls, enhanced look and feel (detailed above)—all while retaining its predecessor’s remarkably low distortion and fatigue-free sound.
    Of course, all of the advanced design elements that made the original NightHawk such a success are carried over into the improved models: NightHawk Carbon and NightOwl Carbon share their predecessor’s pistonic drivers with biocellulose diaphragms, compliant rubber surrounds, and true voice-coil formers. The patented split-gap motor remains unsurpassed in its ability to reduce intermodulation distortion. The earcups are fabricated from the same revolutionary Liquid Wood material, affording acoustically optimized support beams and carefully applied damping. The patent-pending suspension system allows the earcups to move freely, accommodating heads of almost any shape or size, while effectively decoupling the earcups to counteract resonances.
    Thus, NightHawk’s exceedingly low distortion, unrivaled comfort, and naturally detailed sound have been enhanced in several meaningful ways. With the new semi-open NightHawk Carbon and closed-back NightOwl Carbon headphones, AudioQuest hopes you’ll listen longer, later, and with greater pleasure, enjoying even deeper immersion in your favorite music, movies, videos, and games.
    NightHawk Carbon ($699 US MSRP)
    1. Around-the-ear semi-open design
    2. 3D-printed biomimetic sound-diffusing grille
    NightOwl Carbon ($699 US MSRP)
    1. Around-the-ear closed-back design
    2. Aperiodic damping system for excellent isolation of external noise
    NightHawk Carbon & NightOwl Carbon Features
    1. Acoustically superior, sustainably engineered materials
    2. Patent-pending suspension system with freely articulating earcups counteracts intrusive resonances
    3. Pistonic driver with biocellulose diaphragm and compliant rubber surround
    4. Patented split-gap motor dramatically reduces intermodulation distortion
    5. AudioQuest cable with improved strain relief; non-microphonic, kink-free jacket; discrete mic and smartphone controls
    6. Carbon Grey Metallic high-gloss finish
    NightHawk Carbon & NightOwl Carbon Specifications
    1. Impedance: 25ohms
    2. Sensitivity: 99dbSPL/mW
    elnero, gelocks, leaky74 and 3 others like this.
  2. mochill
    Can't wait for more impression
  3. mochill
    Any sound improvement for NH Carbon versus the normal NH
  4. SkylarGray
    The sound signature is exactly the same. Based on some small refinements that we've made to a handful of the parts, we have noticed tighter manufacturing tolerances and consistency of the new NightHawk Carbon. All things being equal (A/B NightHawk Wood vs NightHawk Carbon with same earpads and cable and same amount of break-in), I don't expect anyone to hear a difference, but I may be surprised by forthcoming press and user reviews.
    But the new cable is an improvement, and the extra, alternative set of ultra-suede earpads makes it possible to tailor the new NightHawk Carbon to personal preference.
    Both the new cable and earpads will be available separately so existing NightHawk owners can get in on the fun.
  5. MattTCG
    Any thoughts on when the cable and pads will be available to your loyal followers? [​IMG]
  6. SkylarGray
    Some time this month (November).
  7. deafdoorknob
    congrats on the launch! could you share with us in greater detail regarding the voicing difference(s) between the nightowl and the nighthawk?

    much appreciated!
  8. gikigill
    The Nightowl should be interesting with the low distortion driver.
  9. nicdub
    I really like the approach you are taking with this headphone.  Small but meaningful improvements, with some of those being available to owners of the original NH, which allows them the opportunity to experience those improvements without having to buy a whole new headphone.  Plus, discounting the price of the original is just icing on the cake.  Nicely done.
  10. Loquah
    Exciting news, @SkylarGray! Thanks for continuing the innovation and excellence!!
    P.S. glad to hear that the modifications to the NH Carbon won't leave woody owners feeling like they've been left behind. Personally, I still love the look of the woodies.
  11. MattTCG
    I'm a little surprised at the heavy discount on the old model. Great deal for those wanting to try the night hawk.
    nicdub likes this.
  12. Badas
    Beautiful. I wish AudioQuest ever success. [​IMG]
  13. maxh22
    Do the new Nightowl's need to be burned in for 200hrs like the hawks?
  14. YtseJamer
  15. MattTCG
    Same driver materials and construction. So I think it's safe to say yes. 
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