The New AEON 2: It's The End Of MrSpeakers
May 28, 2020 at 8:23 PM Post #1,261 of 1,996

Ficcion2

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Currently testing my A2O after wearing Sundaras for a week straight and before that coming from a pair of 660s.

Very quick impression via my IFI Micro BL (with ipurifer3 and Mercury 3.0) is that this headphone is warmer, rounder and fuller.

I think partially that has to do with the bass having an upfront presence compared to the other two.

The X bass feature made the quite flat Sundaras sing and thump while on the A2O it doesn’t deliver same impact cause I’m guessing this headphone would plainly scale better with a nicer amp/DAC and no EQing.

Im not a basshead but flat, cold and analytical isn’t what after either and these seem removed from that!

Anyway that’s just my brief impression after listening to a few tracks that I memorize by heart.
 
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May 29, 2020 at 9:01 AM Post #1,263 of 1,996

Racheski

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Received my A2O yesterday and have spent a couple hours listening on Windows 10 PC > Topping D50s > Topping A50 & JDS Atom > SE 1/4 in A2O. Listening mostly to movie soundtracks, EDM, and pop.

This is my first pair of planar magnetic headphones. Compared to the Focal Elex these sound more far more detailed to my ears, which I am really enjoying. They are also much more comfortable and lighter, and I place a high premium on comfort for long listening sessions.

However, 2 issues I'm hoping the experts in this community can comment on:

1. The bass on the A2O is much tighter compared to the Elex, but the bass slam on the Elex is much heavier. If the slam on the A2O was like 20% more I think it would be a perfect level for my personal taste- is that something that can be done with EQing? Or maybe the A2C will have more slam because of the closed design?

2. I have my PC, DAC, Amp (on high gain) turned up to 100% and it is still not quite loud enough on both the Atom and D50s. The D50s does have a 2.5mm balanced out, but i don't have an adapter yet. A2O have an impedance of 13 ohms, so I don't get why I can't get them loud enough - maybe I don't understand the relationship between loudness, impedance and sensitivity correctly. Or do I have have to invest in a more powerful amp like the Drop THX 789?

Disclaimer: I am relatively new to the audiophile headphone game, hence all the questions.
 
May 29, 2020 at 11:28 AM Post #1,264 of 1,996

Asahi Templar

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Received my A2O yesterday and have spent a couple hours listening on Windows 10 PC > Topping D50s > Topping A50 & JDS Atom > SE 1/4 in A2O. Listening mostly to movie soundtracks, EDM, and pop.

This is my first pair of planar magnetic headphones. Compared to the Focal Elex these sound more far more detailed to my ears, which I am really enjoying. They are also much more comfortable and lighter, and I place a high premium on comfort for long listening sessions.

However, 2 issues I'm hoping the experts in this community can comment on:

1. The bass on the A2O is much tighter compared to the Elex, but the bass slam on the Elex is much heavier. If the slam on the A2O was like 20% more I think it would be a perfect level for my personal taste- is that something that can be done with EQing? Or maybe the A2C will have more slam because of the closed design?

2. I have my PC, DAC, Amp (on high gain) turned up to 100% and it is still not quite loud enough on both the Atom and D50s. The D50s does have a 2.5mm balanced out, but i don't have an adapter yet. A2O have an impedance of 13 ohms, so I don't get why I can't get them loud enough - maybe I don't understand the relationship between loudness, impedance and sensitivity correctly. Or do I have have to invest in a more powerful amp like the Drop THX 789?

Disclaimer: I am relatively new to the audiophile headphone game, hence all the questions.

You can EQ up the subbass of the Aeon which will help for sure but you will need a beefier amp. To me at least the Aeon drops off a bit in the subbass, boosting it a bit will help with that. The Elex is likely always going to have more of a sense of impact though as I think its bass dynamics are better at least based on what people say about it. Aeons more intended for a natural sort of sound than the super dynamic one Focal offers.

The Aeon is actually a deceptively difficult headphone to drive, because its a combination of low impedance and low sensitivity and its 13 ohms which is lower than many amps are intended to be used with. Some amplifiers will struggle to deliver the current it requires and others just cant handle a impedance load that low. For instance your Topping A50 lists 16ohms as the lowest impedance its intended to be used with. It doesnt list a power output for 16ohms either which is odd.

In theory it still should work but in practice some amps cut the power output a lot because they assume you are using IEMs if the load is that low and they lower the output to prevent the amp from blowing up the IEMs. I am surprised to hear the Atom having issues though as I assumed it would handle low impedance fine, maybe someone else who has one can chime in on how it works for them. I saw some comments on Audio Science review that it had issues with distorting with low impedance loads though due to the lme49600 it uses not delivering current effectively so maybe it does indeed struggle with them.

If the Aeon is not getting the current it needs it will hurt the bass quite a bit, my Creative G6 for instance cant handle them well. It gets "loud" but the high frequencies increase in volume more than the bass does which is the telltale sign of distortion or current issues.

One thing you can also try is EQing down the 200hz region, as the Aeon is very warm, that warmth can overwhelm the rest of the FR imo, might be giving you the impression is quieter than it is, though I suspect the amplifiers may be the issue.
 
May 29, 2020 at 12:35 PM Post #1,265 of 1,996

Racheski

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You can EQ up the subbass of the Aeon which will help for sure but you will need a beefier amp. To me at least the Aeon drops off a bit in the subbass, boosting it a bit will help with that. The Elex is likely always going to have more of a sense of impact though as I think its bass dynamics are better at least based on what people say about it. Aeons more intended for a natural sort of sound than the super dynamic one Focal offers.

The Aeon is actually a deceptively difficult headphone to drive, because its a combination of low impedance and low sensitivity and its 13 ohms which is lower than many amps are intended to be used with. Some amplifiers will struggle to deliver the current it requires and others just cant handle a impedance load that low. For instance your Topping A50 lists 16ohms as the lowest impedance its intended to be used with. It doesnt list a power output for 16ohms either which is odd.

In theory it still should work but in practice some amps cut the power output a lot because they assume you are using IEMs if the load is that low and they lower the output to prevent the amp from blowing up the IEMs. I am surprised to hear the Atom having issues though as I assumed it would handle low impedance fine, maybe someone else who has one can chime in on how it works for them. I saw some comments on Audio Science review that it had issues with distorting with low impedance loads though due to the lme49600 it uses not delivering current effectively so maybe it does indeed struggle with them.

If the Aeon is not getting the current it needs it will hurt the bass quite a bit, my Creative G6 for instance cant handle them well. It gets "loud" but the high frequencies increase in volume more than the bass does which is the telltale sign of distortion or current issues.

One thing you can also try is EQing down the 200hz region, as the Aeon is very warm, that warmth can overwhelm the rest of the FR imo, might be giving you the impression is quieter than it is, though I suspect the amplifiers may be the issue.

Thanks for the advice, super helpful.

Do you have some amps that you could recommend to pair with the A2O? The new Topping A90 looks like a great option. My issue with the THX amps are they either lack a pass-thru/pre-amp (SMSL SP200), or I don't like the form-factor for desktop use (Drop 789).
 
May 29, 2020 at 3:40 PM Post #1,266 of 1,996

tincanear

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Thanks for the advice, super helpful.

Do you have some amps that you could recommend to pair with the A2O? The new Topping A90 looks like a great option. My issue with the THX amps are they either lack a pass-thru/pre-amp (SMSL SP200), or I don't like the form-factor for desktop use (Drop 789).

Have you looked at Schiit Asgard 3?
 
May 29, 2020 at 8:18 PM Post #1,267 of 1,996

Asahi Templar

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Thanks for the advice, super helpful.

Do you have some amps that you could recommend to pair with the A2O? The new Topping A90 looks like a great option. My issue with the THX amps are they either lack a pass-thru/pre-amp (SMSL SP200), or I don't like the form-factor for desktop use (Drop 789).


I am very happy with my Asgard 3 it works great, I dont need to go past 12 o clock ever and even then its with old Iron Maiden tracks. Wonderful volume pot and it sounds great. If you want to save some money the Magni 3+ and Hersey also work with it great from what I have heard. If you are using it as a preamp too though I think the Asgard is well worth the extra money for the awesome volume pot alone.

The Topping A90 looks like a good amp but imo is a bit overpriced, I get that its super fancy low distortion tech but its not actually any better practically than one of the thx amps which are 200 dollars cheaper. If you like the looks of it better than the Drop THX then it might be worth it, it says its rated for 8 ohms and up so no issues with the Aeon.
 
May 29, 2020 at 9:02 PM Post #1,269 of 1,996

headwig

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The Topping A90 looks like a good amp but imo is a bit overpriced, I get that its super fancy low distortion tech but its not actually any better practically than one of the thx amps which are 200 dollars cheaper. If you like the looks of it better than the Drop THX then it might be worth it, it says its rated for 8 ohms and up so no issues with the Aeon.

The Topping A90 has more output power than the THX amps. That's the most significant difference on paper. Given that they share similar design goals and methods I'd expect them to sound similar. I'll be interested to see some actual listening reviews of the A90, not just reviews on that site where listening seems to be forbidden.
 
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May 30, 2020 at 3:19 AM Post #1,270 of 1,996

BabetakCZE

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I would also recommend Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2.
Great little amp. Compared to some cheaper amps like Magni 3+ its more detailed with better soundstage and with more depth to the sound + its wonderfully natural.
 
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May 30, 2020 at 3:35 AM Post #1,271 of 1,996

Racheski

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I would also recommend Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2.
Great little amp. Compared to some cheaper amps like Magni 3+ its more detailed with better soundstage and with more depth to the sound + its wonderfully natural.
It’s the same price as the A90, and it would be crazy not to buy the Topping at that price point.
 
May 30, 2020 at 3:41 AM Post #1,272 of 1,996

BabetakCZE

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It’s the same price as the A90, and it would be crazy not to buy the Topping at that price point.
Yeah but Gilmore Lite Mk2 may sound better.
Amps and DACs are not only about specs but about sound they can produce.
BTW, I think that Gilmore Lite Mk2 is one of the favourite amps of Dan.
 
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May 31, 2020 at 12:32 AM Post #1,273 of 1,996

Gorillaphant

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I am looking at a couple of different higher-end closed back options and the Aeon 2 Closed is one of them. I've seen some criticism that it's kind of flat sounding and lacks dynamics. Can anyone elaborate on that?

Other headphones I'm considering but am not really sure about: Ether C Flow 1.1, Ether CX, Fostex TH 900 MK2. Not sure if any of these would be a better pick for me, since I typically listen to Rap/Hip Hop/Rock/Pop
 
May 31, 2020 at 3:05 AM Post #1,274 of 1,996

Swisshead

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With the A2c you get the absolute best closed in this price range. It even plays in much higher price ranges. For me the absolute best closed up to 2000 USD!

He sounds absolutely outstanding, can't confirm the criticism. Very pleasant to hear. The best bass foundation I have ever heard on headphones. Extremely beautiful silky mid and high frequencies. Think you will be extremely happy with it. Absolutely test listening.

He needs break-in time. In the beginning he was a bit cloudy in the mids and highs too. But after 20-30 hours it's gone and then absolutely nothing. Simply perfect. What he also needs is performance. 100mW is definitely not enough. Under 500mW it shouldn't be under any circumstances to unfold its full potential. With me, it already sounds great on the iFi micro iDSD BL. With the iCan it can be increased even further. But it also has power in absolute abundance! This is good for it. Pure tube amplifiers are also not possible. They cannot cope with the low ohm.

For me this is the absolute masterpiece of Dan. In addition to that the by far most comfortable overhead I have or had. Nothing pinches or pinches, extremely light, you can listen to it for hours!

IMG_0806.jpeg
 
May 31, 2020 at 3:52 AM Post #1,275 of 1,996

Racheski

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Yeah but Gilmore Lite Mk2 may sound better.
Amps and DACs are not only about specs but about sound they can produce.
BTW, I think that Gilmore Lite Mk2 is one of the favourite amps of Dan.
Oh interesting to know that it's a DCA pick. Currently, I believe the measurements of DAC/AMPs are the most significant factor that determine how a device sounds so I'm leaning towards the Topping, but I do appreciate that there are different schools of thought on this.
 

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