MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed Headphone Loaner Program

Discussion in 'Sponsor Announcements and Deals' started by Todd, Apr 10, 2018.
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  1. Todd Contributor
    Hi All,

    We have a MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed headphone for a new loaner program. You will get to use it in your system for 1 week. Please read the loaner program rules (under the picture) before you email me to sign up so you get all of your info to me the first time.

    mrspeakeraeon.jpg

    Loaner Program Rules:



    Send your name and address as well as a telephone number and your Head-Fi user name to me at todd@ttvjaudio.com. Do NOT PM me as you will not be included in the program without an email.

    You will get the loaner for 1 week to use in your home with your system. After your one week is up, you must send it to the next loaner participant. Email me (todd@ttvjaudio.com) the tracking info so I can pass it on to the recipient.

    You MUST write a review and post it in this loaner thread. It must be posted in the same thread as this announcement for the loaner program. Please post the review here first and feel free to post it somewhere else if you like!

    Once you have received the loaner, email me to let me know you have it and I will send the address for the next person.

    Our loaner programs are USA only. We are restricted from shipping/selling outside the USA on most products.
     
    TTVJ Stay updated on TTVJ at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    http://www.ttvjaudio.com/
    Alcophone likes this.
  2. Mshenay Contributor
    Awesome thank you! Been wanting to hear these in my system for quite some time now
     
  3. Motocrossman24
    Emailed
     
  4. Monsterzero
    Aeon Flow Closed(AFC) have arrived....Wont give away any spoilers,but ummm,yeah...these will be getting a lot of time on my skull the next week.
     
  5. Monsterzero
    My week with the AFC has come to an end.I want to thank Todd for doing these loaner tours and for including me in the ÆON Flow Closed tour.Here are my thoughts....

    Comfort and Build

    I found the AFC to be very comfortable,so much so that I often forgot that I was wearing headphones.The pads are soft and supple,though being essentially glued into place is a bit odd.
    The leather strap sits across the head without putting too much pressure on one spot,while the body is light and well built,it is a fingerprint magnet however.If youre a fan of a nice tidy looking headphone,you will be wiping these down after every use.
    My only real issue is a lack of being able to lock into place how far down the ÆON slides down your ears.If you want a tight fit(for whatever reason)you cant get it.
    The cable is a bit stiff and unwieldy and it tended to get twisted up,but its not a deal breaker for me.

    Sound

    I first heard the ÆON Flow at CanJam 2017 and recall thinking then that they sounded good.Real good.But then time went by and I kinda forgot what it was that I liked about them during that first listen.When these arrived a week ago and I placed them on my head,plugged them in and began listening I was instantly reminded just what it was that made me interested in these...Tone!

    -The tone on The ÆON is,to my ears,nearly perfect!I didnt hear any artificial sound with these.Instruments sounded....right.As a former drummer i heard drums sounding as I remembered.Cymbals crashed and decayed with near perfect sonic reproduction.
    Nothing in the sound stood out and distracted me from another aspect.If I were to choose a single word to describe these it would be "neutral".If I were to choose 4 words to describe the ÆON they would be "Neutral and tonally correct"
    Music came effortlessly to my ears with a very good deal of air and separation in a completely non fatiguing manner.
    -I found the soundstage to be surprisingly wide for a closed back,reaching considerable farther out than open backs,like the HD6xx and closed backs like the HD250 and ZMF Atticus.In addition there was a decent amount of three dimensionality to the AFC as well. Imaging was good too.
    -I found the highs to be sparkly/detailed without any sibilance.
    -Guitars sounded,again,right.However I did find myself wanting more than just a touch of added texture to the mids.Its not a glassy smooth,soulless presentation,but added texture would be ideal for me.For acoustic/folk/Americana though I thought the AFC was just about perfect.
    -I found vocals to be front and center,tonally correct without demanding too much attention...Everything sounds right,until we get to.....


    Bass
    Many modern audiophiles demand as neutral of a presentation as possible,bass thump and visceral rumble be damned.Unfortunately im not an audiophile and I do enjoy some thump and rumble to my music,and the ÆON didnt offer much of either.
    When reviewing headphones I use certain albums to test out specific aspects of the sound signature,so for sub bass I once again relied on Ajja & Cosmosis "Alien Jams" 16/44.1 FLAC to see how the ÆON fared.Parts of songs that I knew had rumble simply were not conveyed through the AFC.The sound was reproduced,but not the tactile sensation,which is a bummer.

    For metal and rock,which are my primary musical tastes,the thump was almost non existent,and a lack of texture left heavier albums sounding slightly anemic and lacking punch and bite,which is a deal breaker for me.

    Not surprisingly Mr.Speakers has announced a new filter system which supposedly addresses some of the bass issues with the AFC,but unfortunately for me I did not get a chance to hear them.If these filters do add some rumble and thump to the bass and perhaps more texture to guitars,without sacrificing the tone,speed and transparency these could quite possibly be a damn near perfect headphone for me....especially for the relatively speaking,low price.

    For my review of the AFC used a Audio GD R2R-11 as an amp/DAC.I didnt hear much,if any difference in SQ between low and high gain on the R2R-11,but I was forced to pop that high gain into action to get ample volume.I found the advertised 13ohm and 95db sensitivity AFC to be a bit more demanding of an amp than what I thought they would be.

    Again I'd like to thank Todd for allowing me to participate in this and other tours. I thoroughly enjoyed my week with the ÆON. It is a beuatiful sounding headphone,with tone to die for.If they can wring more bass out of these with the new filters then I might be forced to add them to my stable of headphones,much to my wife's chagrin. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  6. sergioalb64
    Hello, fellow Head-Fi’ers. My name is Sergio, and my week with the AEON Flow Closed is just about over. Many thanks to Todd for offering various loaner programs such as this one; this has been a pleasure to be a part of.

    On to my review and thoughts on the MrSpeakers AEON Flow Closed (AFC). I used them with the Audio GD NFB-28 DAC/Amp combo unit via the provided 4-pin XLR balanced cable, used for gaming and for a variety of music styles (I will specify more particular thoughts / comparisons as I go on). My preference in headphones is for closed-back planar magnetic sets; as such, I will reference various other similar sets throughout the review.

    BUILD
    The AFC are very well built; sturdy, but very flexible. The earcups and especially the headband are very well made, the latter being very light yet strong and durable. These headphones feel like they could stand some rough use (although hopefully it doesn’t come to that).

    The cables are MrSpeakers’ stock cables; nice form and just the right thickness. They may not be as ‘flowy’ as other cables, but this is not a deal breaker or something to really be concerned about.

    This is a fully closed-back set of planar magnetic headphones. Isolation from outside noise is very good, with no ‘sound leakage’, intentional or not.

    COMFORT
    All things considered, this was my favorite aspect of the AFC; the stock comfort level. As soon as I put them on, even for the first time, it felt just perfect. Hardly any fiddling was needed on the headband or the earcups. The headphones are very light, they stay on properly throughout use, and neither the headband nor the earcups caused any noticeable discomfort.

    Compared to the Audeze LCD-XC and the ZMF Ori, the AFC is much lighter and easier to wear for much longer. Even compared to the AFC’s ‘big brother’, the MrSpeakers ETHER C Flow (my current overall favorite set of headphones), the stock pads of the AFC were an absolute treat. I believe the earpads are made of memory foam covered in soft protein leather, but really, regardless of the actual materials, I couldn’t be more impressed with the stock pads. While the stock pads of the ETHER C Flow have square openings and, to me, would feel hot and uncomfortable within half an hour of listening, the AEON pads are downright perfect. I did not pad roll with the AFC; unless you prefer velour / suede pads, I don’t see why anyone would.

    SOUND
    Clean, Neutral, Easy. These are the words that first come to mind when describing the sound signature of the AFC. Allow me to go into more detail for each, particularly ‘Easy’, because I’m sure it may sound off-putting or confusing.

    CLEAN: Like any good planar, the AFC offers very clean sound; no perceivable distortion (provided your source and music files are not below standard quality). As for detail / imaging, the AFC doesn’t offer the most (to me, out of the sets I have tried, that would be the ETHER C Flow), but it is no slouch at all, either (more on this in the ‘Easy’ sub-category below).

    NEUTRAL: At first, I thought I would break down the AFC’s sound signature into the standard Bass, Mids, and Treble sub-categories of most headphone reviews. But throughout my listening experience, I realized that Neutral is the AFC’s game, and it doesn’t get more neutral than this. Everyone has different tastes for audio. ‘Neutral’ is not a bad thing at all; it only means that no specific spectrum of the sound feels either emphasized nor toned down. For comparison, the LCD-XC’s low-end definitely takes a back seat to the mids and lower highs, and the opposite is true with the ZMF Ori, which focuses on a much warmer signature and more bass presence. The ETHER Flow C is almost just as neutral as the AFC, but with more overall punch and a bit more bass, and perhaps more importantly, richer bass.

    EASY: This is a bit hard to explain. I didn’t want to use similar words that come to mind because they may be considered to have a negative connotation, so I will only list them for reference: Laid-back, Relaxed, Chill. By ‘Easy’ and the reference terms, I mean a sound signature that isn’t out to get you. More so than being neutral, the AFC’s signature is somewhat held back, but I don’t believe this is a negative; in fact, I believe it is done quite on purpose. For comparison, the Sony MDR-Z1R are the most chill / laid-back headphones I have tried; the sound is there, and at higher volumes the sound is still there, but it never really feels like it is physically affecting you. The AFC’s easy-goingness is not as emphasized as on the Sony set; I would say the AFC is about 60% as ‘laid back’ as the Sony’s. I haven’t heard many ‘Easy’ headphones, but from these, the Sony’s, and the HIFIMAN HE-4XX (to a certain extent), here are the pros and cons that I can discern:

    - Pros of Easy: You can listen for much longer without the experience becoming tiring, regardless of preferred volume. It’s like coming home after a long workday to relax to your favorite meal / drink, instead of having to strain your brain further by a more demanding activity. In a way, this signature offers a way to relax while still enjoying your audio, and if you already use audio mostly to relax, it will become even more relaxing.
    - Cons of Easy: I just couldn’t shake the feeling that some of the micro-detail is lost due to the ‘laid-back’ nature of the AFC’s signature. Same goes for the impact / punchiness of the sound. Neither of those is lacking per se, but they do feel intentionally toned down slightly. If, like me, you like your music with some kick to it, it is hard to find it in the AFC (but, again, I believe this is intentional, and may or may not be to your liking / preference).

    SOUNDSTAGE
    Other than the comfort, this aspect of the AFC also stood out to me. The soundstage of this set felt quite unique to me. It is neither very wide nor too narrow; the side-to-side presentation and balance feels spot on. However, the sound feels slightly pushed forward. It doesn’t sound lacking in any way; it sounds unique, and quite intriguing; it made me try various genres to see how the soundstage would feel with each, and I was quite happy with the results. This ‘fun’ soundstage gives the AFC a good balance to its more ‘relaxed’ sound signature, making for a very unique listening experience, in my opinion.

    I liked the AEON Flow Closed. They are extremely comfortable, they offer a very neutral signature, they have a certain degree of uniquely ‘fun’ factor thanks to their slightly pushed-forward soundstage, and they have an easy / relaxed sound signature that not many headphones offer. I don’t believe any of those descriptions is either a positive or a negative, just like V-shaped or Wide Soundstage are also just descriptions that you may or may not like. If you are considering this set of headphones, it will come down to your preferences in those areas, and what you prioritize.

    SIDEBAR: In terms of comparing the AFC to the ETHER Flow C, I’m rather surprised at how different they are! It’s not your typical ‘this is good, but this is better’ sets that increase in overall quality as the price goes up; I think these offer very different experiences.

    I will be shipping the AFC to the next listener very soon. Thank you again, Todd; much appreciated!
     
  7. Mshenay Contributor
    Awesome Impressions guys! By the way @Todd did you post a finalized list of tour participants?
     
  8. Motocrossman24
    Just got the afc in the mail today to try out(came Saturday but was out of town) can’t wait to sit down with them later tonight and give them a try.
     
  9. heliosphann
    Mr. Speakers Ether Flow C vs Aeon Flow C


    Preface:

    Thanks for @Todd The Vinyl Junkie for organizing and providing this loaner pair of Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Closed headphones for this tour. I have no affiliation with Mr. Speakers and my opinion’s are unbiased and my own.


    Build Quality/Comfort/Presentation:

    I’m not going to go into much detail about the packaging/accessories included with the Aeon’s and Ether’s. They’re both very similar and that information is easily accessible elsewhere. The one difference that the Aeon’s do have over the Ether’s is they come with one set of foam tuning pads. I used the insertable foam pads for quit a bit of my listening with the AFC’s. When installed inside the earcups, it adds a small amount of warmth and bumps up the mid bass/upper bass slightly. It does however cut the treble somewhat, which could be good or bad depending on what your listening preference. The other thing I’ll touch on is comfort. Both headphones are constructed similarly with a few minor differences. Both utilize the brilliant lightweight and flexible NiTinol headband/suspension system. The Ether’s cups have a horizontal hinge mechanism that lets them adjust a small amount. Most obvious is the Aeon's "teardrop" cup design compared to the more traditional circular cups of the Ether. Both Aeon’s and Ether’s are incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I’d give the Aeon’s a slight nod in comfort, mainly due to their lighter weight, but honestly for me the differences was minute.


    Sound and Technicalities:

    Highs: The treble on both the Aeon and Ether have good extension, with the Aeon’s extending a little higher. I didn’t notice any any significant peaks or specific sibliance issues with either headphones. The Aeon’s do seem to have slightly more air and a tad more clarity than the Ether’s. Unlike the smooth and refined sounding Ether’s, the Aeon’s did have a slight harshness and some shoutiness. However, the foam inserts seem to smooth out those issues without impacting the profile much.

    Mids: The midrange is very similar and quite excellent on both headphones. The biggest differences is the heftier lower mid warmth of the Ether Flow C’s and the slightly more up front mids of the Aeon’s. Depending on the track, I liked some vocals (male or female) more on the Aeon’s than on the Ether’s. I believe the less expansive presentation of the Aeon’s gives them this benefit on certain recordings.

    Lows: The Aeon’s bass is more tuned towards neutral compared to the Ether’s, which is boosted. Both headphones have the familiar planar quickness/texture with excellent extension. The Ether’s hit harder with more slam and authority than the Aeon’s. The Ether’s mid bass is also more punchy than the Aeon’s, which feel slightly too laid back at times. Both headphones have excellent sub-bass, but Ether’s are more pronounced when reaching into the lower frequencies.

    Soundstage/Imaging: This is the area where the Aeon’s are clearly out-classed by the Ether’s. The Aeon’s soundstage feels more closed in and one dimensional compared to the Ether’s. Now, this isn’t saying that the Aeon’s soundstage isn’t bad. In fact it’s quite good, but the Ether’s is just absolutely exceptional. In fact it’s one of, if not the best I’ve ever heard from a pair of closed back headphones. Imaging and instrument separation are good on the Aeon, but are easily eclipsed by the Ether. The Ether’s imaging is impressive for a closed back and while also feeling quite natural. Instrument separation is also outstanding, with fantastic layering and definition.


    Final Thoughts:

    The Ether Flow C and Aeon Flow C are impressive achievements by Mr. Speakers. Both are world class quality closed headphones and you really can’t go wrong with owning either. As for which one is right for you, that depends on a few things. Obviously the $1000 price difference will be a big deciding factor. The Ether’s are no question the better headphone in my opinion, but are they worth over twice the price? Welcome to the world of diminishing returns. I will say that the Ether Flow C’s can be had far more reasonable in the used market. At only $200-300 more than what new Aeon’s go for, the decision becomes much easier. Finally some people might prefer the more neutral tuned Aeon’s over the Ether’s. I personally enjoy the richer, fuller sounding Ether’s, but would be perfectly happy with the Aeon’s if that’s all I could afford. Both of these headphones are winners in my eyes (and ears).
     
    greenkiwi likes this.
  10. saxophone
    Disclaimers​
    1. I am not as knowledegable as many others on the forum. As such, I am closer to a consumer than I am an audiophile or even an audio enthusiast.
    2. I have purposefully kept myself out of the loop when it comes to headphone reviews. I have not even read the rest of the thread.

    About Me​
    ___________
    My favorite artists are (in no specific order): Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, Radiohead, Kanye West, The Beatles and Rush. So, you can see that I mostly like rock (or genres closely aligned there). That being said, I do listen to a variety of other genres whenever I feel open to it.

    My favorite headphone is currently the LCD 3, although I really do like my HD 800. My favorite closed headphone is my Shure SRH 1540.

    What I look for in a closed headphone is portability, isolation, low power consumption and a sound profile applicable to a variety of applications. These are the major categories that I used when writing this review.

    ___________

    Portability
    I am not going to include any pictures here, because the spoiler tag was not working and I don't want to lag your browser. That being said, I believe this is one of the most portable headphones I have had in my possession. It comes with a very convenient travel case that is quite protective. Since this was not actually my pair of headphones, I did not feel comfortable conducting any tests on the case. It just feels strong to the touch. When you open the pouch, there is a pocket to place your cable.

    The headphone is also quite light and the cable(s) provided were sturdy, but not heavy.

    The problem with the portability of this headphone comes mostly from the sound profile (which I will mention later).

    __________

    Isolation​

    This is a rather quick thing to check. I conducted three tests: A) the train test; B) the library test; C) the friend test.

    A) The train test: This is a quite self-explanatory test. I ride trains on occasion. It is nice to have a pair of headphones for when you do not want to be bombarded by the sounds of drunk people being asses in the afternoon. The Aeon Flow did really well in this regard. I was able to listen to relatively anything I wanted to without much disturbance. The train, itself, was not too noticeable either.

    B) The library test: For this test, I usually go to a quiet room and blast music. I then pass a note to people sitting nearby who don't have headphones on. Do they hear my music? Am I disturbing them? As it turns out, this pair did quite well. I listened to some Rage Against the Machine and no one nearby said they could hear a thing.

    C) The friend test: For this test, I sit near a friend and listen to something embarrassing. This test is purely for fun, but its great to see if people have reactions. As it turns out, these are quite good at keeping noise within the ear, so this test did not work out too well.


    __________

    Power Consumption
    I do not have access to any electronics that would help me figure out how accurately Mr. Speakers has labeled their Aeon's specifications. That being said, I do own a few amps (portable and for desktop use). For closed headphones, I would prefer not having to use an amp (even a portable one) for it to sound great. The main reason is that if headphones only sound good with an amplifier, then I have to lug one of those around too. Sadly (for me), these headphones work best with a dedicated amplifier. Without one, their sound profile sounds so bland, basic, boring and just ugly. As I mentioned earlier, I listened to Rage Against the Machine with these. Without an amp, the experience was underwhelming. Rage? More like Disturbance. It really did not sound angry; it did not drive me or pump me up like it normally does.

    That being said, with an amplifier, especially a desktop amplifier, it sounded fantastic. For example, my Burson Soloist seemed to pair with it well, but so did my Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon.

    __________

    Sound Profile​

    For this section, I am going to talk specifically with how it sounded through my Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon. I am doing so because I spent the majority of my time listening to it using this amplifier. I did not notice a difference between the Carbon and the Soloist, but some of you are a bit more adept with your hearing than I am.

    Female Vocals
    I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston: This song rocks on the Aeon Flow! My goodness! It almost felt like this headphone was tuned specifically for this song. Whitney's voice is so crystal clear and the accompanying instrumentation supports the song and her vocal performance incredibly well.

    Ball and Chain by Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin): This is the live version from the Monterey Pop Festival. There is a lot going on here. Janis doesn't have a typical woman's singing voice, but her harshness can be overwhelming with some headphones. This did not happen with the Aeon Flow. That being said, it did not bring me to the edge of tears (good ones) like the HD 800 did.

    Male Vocals

    Killing In the Name by Rage Against the Machine: This song is driven through the instrumentation, but the vocals are what truly stands out to most. Unfortunately, the vocals on this track do not shine on the Aeon Flow. This song on the Focal Elear is insane, though!


    Seven Bridges Road (Live) by The Eagles: I never heard the baritone sound so great. For some reason, the rest of the vocals sounded muffled in comparison.

    Guitar

    Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd (PULSE version): This was the most controlled this incredible solo ever sounded.​


    Bass Guitar

    Killing In the Name by Rage Against the Machine: The bass riffs hit hard from the beginning without being overbearing. This was performed well.


    Saxophone

    Us and Them by Pink Floyd: This saxophone performance by Dick Perry is incredible - one of my favorites. When I was listening to it, I was shocked to see how stable the sound was. It did not shear much when reaching the higher end of the solo. That being said, it felt as if Dick was right next to David Gilmour or something. It felt very closed.

    Jungleland by Bruce Springsteen: For some reason, the first part of Clarence Clemons' solo was overshadowed by the combination of the percussion and piano. While I understand the intention was to have a wall of sound, the solo is supposed to reign supreme here. There are other moments where the upper treble of the piano pokes through. It's very distracting.​


    Drums

    YYZ by Rush: Neil Peart is one incredible drummer. I love his work. When I listened to this song through the Aeon Flow, I was not too impressed though. I did like the detail I could hear, but the energy felt lackluster.


    Unfortunately, there was so much to listen to and a week was not enough time! That being said, I am truly thankful to Todd for allowing me the opportunity to listen to these headphones.
     
    greenkiwi likes this.
  11. Mshenay Contributor
    Loving these reviews! But does any one have a participant list? Trying to plan my next few weeks as far as reviews go
     
  12. Pars Contributor
    MrSpeakers Aeon Flow

    Thanks as well to Todd for providing the loaners as this was one phone I really wanted to hear, and preferably with my own equipment. As a bit of background on myself: even though I am an older user, my hearing remains pretty good (good enough to detect a 0.5dB channel imbalance in a TKD pot at 90% or more rotation (loud). They replaced it). I have a background in music (timpani/percussion, classically trained), performing both in symphony orchestras as well as playing with 3 or 4 rock bands.

    For this review, I used a mix of classical and rock music as this (particularly rock) is what I mostly listen to. I compared these to a pair of Fostex T50RPs that my brother modded for me and I have been using for the past 3-4 years. I knew these had some coloration in them, so I wanted to see how they compared to something said to be rather neutral. Balanced wiring was used on both headphones. Associated equipment used was a Rotel RCD991 CD with modded output stage and PCM63Ks. For amps I used a Gilmore DynaFET (SE) and a Gilmore Super Symmetry Dynalo (balanced).

    Right off the bat I will say I am not used to doing reviews, and won’t bore you with audiophile terminology, etc.

    Build quality, fit and finish:
    I agree with other user’s assessments of these. They are nicely made, and are comfortable to wear. Isolation was very good (though my son was running a recording session upstairs in our house and there was some very slight low end bleed during one listening session.) During long sessions, the pads could get a bit hot, but nothing bad.

    The listening...

    Classical:

    Mahler Symphony #2, Abbado/Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1977 – DG).

    [​IMG]

    This recording is from what I consider to be the golden age of the awesome CSO brass section at its peak, and is my favorite performance of this work that I have heard.

    IV: Urlicht
    Aeon: very neutral, sweet highs, mids seem spot on. Bass a bit recessed (low double bass).
    T50RP: Bass or midbass slightly bloated, but more present. Mids very good. Highs as good as Aeon.

    V:
    Aeon: Brighter, slight tizz in highs (could be recording). Lows less prominent, less weight to sound.
    T50RP: A bit of bass/mid bass bloat. Both mids and highs good.

    Verdict: On this recording, I enjoyed the T50RPs more.

    Shostakovich Symphonies 1 & 7, Bernstein/Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    [​IMG]

    This is one astounding performance, and a very good recording, done live in Medinah Temple. My twin brother, who was an excellent trumpet player (Northbrook Symphony), felt that this recording came the closest to capturing the sound of the CSO.

    Symphony 1, mvt. 4:

    Aeon: bass still a bit too recessed, but overall sound very good.
    T50RP: too much bass bloat (bass drum in particular), but otherwise good sound.

    Verdict: I preferred the Aeon slightly.

    Rock / Pop

    Chris Isaak – Heart Shaped World

    [​IMG]
    I was trying to find something more acoustic and simpler (less processed) in nature, so tried this.

    Track: Wicked Game
    Aeon: very nicely controlled, bass probably too much so.
    T50RP: low vocal range a bit over.

    Track: Blue Spanish Sky

    Aeon: nicely done, though in theme (bass)
    T50RP: lower guitar range over blown.

    Verdict: I found the T50s a bit more engaging, but overall would have to give this one to the Aeon.

    Catherine Wheel – Ferment

    [​IMG]
    Track: I Want To Touch You
    Aeon: too analytical, bass deficient, not fun. Highs a bit over (recording can tend that way, as many shoe gaze bands seemed to have that problem in the early ‘90s). I seem to lose the flavor of the guitar pedals and tone on these.
    T50RP: Darker, better bass. Highs slightly less clear. Guitar tones seem spot on (as close as I can tell).

    Track: Balloon
    Aeon: same as before
    T50RP: more engaging

    Verdict: T50RP was much more engaging and fun to me.

    Summary

    I really wanted and expected to be blown away by the Aeon with all of the positive reviews, and particularly Tyll’s on InnerFidelity, who I’ve always felt had similar tastes in sound as I do. I was actually rather disappointed with these, but really respect MrSpeakers though this is really the only product of his that I have listened to. I suspect these were more tailored to jazz and smoother genres that what I normally listen to, but I don’t know that for sure. If the bass response were improved greatly, I would certainly consider these, but based on listening to this pair, I wouldn’t consider them for my own use. They do have many admirable qualities, and are very nicely made (love the cable connectors… anyone know what they are?).

    I also should have listened to some Radiohead on these (particularly since I saw them this weekend).

    p.s.: I just received the pair of Massdrop Hifiman HE4XXs that my wife ordered for me. A quick listen to these (Catherine Wheel) and I like them. I know, open vs. closed, but just throwing that out there.
     
    Jones Bob likes this.
  13. buffalomatt
    A big, huge thank you to Todd from TTVJ for letting me join in on this loaner tour, I can’t thank you enough! I have been wanting to hear this one for a very long time and there are practically no headphones dealers in Atlanta for me to have tried these… maybe a good business opportunity!

    All listening was done with the following:

    LG V30 > USB Audio Player - The volume needed to be almost all the way up and was a decent pairing. I don’t think that the V30 quite has the power to really extract the best of the AFC, but still sounded pretty good. After coming back from my desktop setup, I realized that I was missing some depth and impact, but still not bad.

    Fiio X3 ii - On high gain, these had no issues driving the AFC and sounded fantastic. This makes me believe that the AFC would make a fantastic portable headphone to pair with a quality DAP, especially with how good DAP have become.

    Roon > Schiit Modi > Massdrop CTH - A significant step up in audio quality compared to the V30 and still quite a bit better than the X3.

    Build - As a product designer I am in love with the build of the AFC. MrSpeakers clearly took a step back and really took the time to consider what parts were necessary to make a headphone and came up with a truly elegant solution. The nitinol headband, the teardrop shape, the interchangeable closed back/open back grill for mass production efficiencies and on and on. Really, a smart and beautiful design. Comparing the build of the AFC to the HD650 and Focal Elex:

    The HD650’s are light and comfortable, but next to the AFC they feel clunky and super cheap.

    The Focal Elex is a beautifully made headphone. The build quality is top notch and they are super comfortable. The AFC is also nicely built but in a different way. One feels like an excellent example of quality mass production and the other is the pinnacle of DIY. If I had to pick a form factor, I’d pick the AFC any day.

    Cable - I feel like the world would be a better place is manufacturers could all agree on a single connector, no more having to buy a different cable for every headphone... That being said, the Hirose might be my new favorite connector. The DUM cable is nice, but not as nice as say the Focal Elex cable. It has a bit of a DIY feel to it, just like the AFC, but its the highest quality DIY.

    Tuning inserts - I didn’t use these much, mainly because once I put them in, I could feel them touch the tips of my ears and it was annoying. They did increase the bass and bring down some of the treble just a tad, but I did feel like it lost an equal amount of clarity.

    Comfort - The nitinol and leather headband to a great job of adjusting to fit my head and to distribute the weight evenly. The earpads get a little hot, but that happens with all leather and protein leather pads I have, so I can’t really complain. I found the teardrop ear cup shape to be very comfortable and provided a great seal. YMMV.

    Isolation - I didn't really try too hard to test this part, but I was happy with the level of isolation I got. I was listening to these at the table with my wife and she tried to talking to me, but I couldn't really hear here (she wasn’t too happy with that). Then I was listening in my office and didn’t hear her walk in and she scared the crap out me. So I’d say they isolate quite well. Also there is very little sound leakage.

    Sound - Neutral and Accurate. Easy going and Detailed

    Tone and timbre are very accurate and is quite neutral. When listening to the drums, it sounds like a real set of drums. When listening to the Weekend, the timbre of his voice sounded more realistic and accurate than on any of my other headphones. You could hear a certain raspiness to his voice that isn’t there on my my HD 650.

    The treble is smooth and very detailed without being harsh or bright. I am fairly sensitive to bright headphones, so I was worried after reading that these are neutral that I’d find issues with sibilance. Not the case at all, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get so much detail without it piercing my eardrums.

    My only nitpick to the sound is that the bass lacks some impact, but it is smooth and accurate. There may be times where I want more slam, but 90% of the time, I feel like the bass would be just right.

    Soundstage - The soundstage on these is surprisingly great for a closed back. It is lacking a bit of the openness that I normally associate with soundstage, but reason for that is obvious. The soundstage is so good that I kept forgetting that these were closed back and my wife crept on me twice. I think the fact that I forgot these were closed back when I am used to open back says a lot.

    Summary - To me, the AFC are perfectly forgettable. I mean that as a huge compliment. The bass isn’t overly impactful, but has great depth and texture. The treble doesn’t spike or have any harshness, but is still very clear and detailed. The sound is just pleasantly natural, neutral, detailed and accurate. The fit is very comfortable and I easily forgot that I was wearing them. They aren't the lightest headphones, but they aren't distractingly heavy. I can put them on and just enjoy my music in comfort.

    I’ll admit, I am at the point in my headphone journey where I am getting a little tired of searching. Every time I hear a new headphone, I am finding things to nitpick. Whether its build quality or comfort or issues with sibilance, there is always something that sticks out and annoys me. The AFC was the first pair of cans in along time that I was able to just put them on and get lost in the music. I am very impressed that MrSpeakers was able to check off so many boxes in a $800 headphone. I will definitely be adding these to my wish list!
     
  14. ksorota
    Any updates on this tour?

    Very interested in getting some head time with these phones!

    Best-
     
  15. Mshenay Contributor
    Todd has asked me to ship them back once I finished . So do reach out to him if you haven't already
     
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