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Good sounding headphone, but not for me
The reviews have been enthusiastic about these headphones, and I agree that they are very good. Considered on their own they would even be extremely good, and most people would be very happy with them. My comaprison is with my Sennheiser HD800S headphones and my recently acquired Quad ERA-1s. When placed against those two, and with my listening preferences the Aeons fall short, and I am returning them.
On the physical side, the Aeons are beautifully made, but for me the shaped earpads are too snug a fit around the ears for me to be comfortable with them for any length of time. As far as sound goes, I like having a wider sound stage. Clearly very few headphones can match the HD800Ss in that regard and I wasn't expecting that from the Aeons. The reviews suggested that there was some width to them, but I personally found them too narrow for my taste. I had no complaints about the overall sound signature, but neither did I find anything special in it either. This lack of wow factor was driven home by the comparison with the Quads which are outstanding. Super fast with transients, powerful warm driving but not boomy bass and a satisfactorily wide sound stage. In comparison the Aeon's bass is thin. Someone else can comment on the Quad's accuracy but for me they are just wonderful to listen to and create a new level of enjoyment in listening to tunes that are my favorites and ones that with other headphones I would have skipped over. I know there is a substantial difference in price and if your sound preferences are different to mine, you may well be delighted with the Aeons, but for me they just don't bring anything special to the listening experience.
Would not recommend to a friend.
Not to rude or anything but would you mind letting us know what drew you to these headphones in the first place? Based on reviews they seem very different from the 2 pairs you listed. Just curious anyway stay safe in these crazy times we live in.
Happy to respond. I like ZeosPantera and was impressed by his enthusiastic review of the Aeons. I didn’t have the Quads at that time, so was comparing to the HD800S, Sivga P-II, AKG 361 and AKG K7XX. The HD800S are truly wonderful and for many tunes are a total blast. But because the soundstage is so wide, the intimacy of other tracks is lost, they are so open backed that any local noise gets through and to my old ears the accuracy means that they lack some warmth. I run the HD800S from a tube amp which does add back a little warmth. The Aeon reviews suggested that they had a moderate soundstage, more warmth and better sound isolation. I tried them as a potential adjunct to the HD800S not as a replacement. Shortly after I ordered the Aeons, APOS (a great company to deal with by the way) emailed me about the Quads. I’m a British ex pat who has been a fan of Quad since I was in my teens and who still has his Quad 303/33 amp/preamp/tuner rig, so I was keen to try them. As the saying goes “this changed everything”. Reviews of the Quads include ones that say “these are the best headphones I have ever heard” a sentiment that in a very limited way I would agree with. I would rephrase it to be “the best sounding to my ears and preferences for the widest range of the music that I like to listen to”. There are NO best headphones, they all play different tracks differently. The Quads have super bass and sub base which makes low strings, cello and bass have their rightful place in the orchestra, but for tracks that have heavy bass emphasis they are awful. Their transient response is terrific, and the sharp edge of a hard struck piano note and the snapping of fingers have definition that I don’t hear on my other headphones. On some tracks this makes it too edgy and uncomfortable. However, overall they do meet, for me at least, the definition of “best for the widest variety of tracks”. So many tracks have that wow factor when listening on the Quads. To be clear, my tastes are classical, vocals, jazz and some blues and 60s/70s pop. Not heavy metal or most avant-garde music. If I hadn’t had the Quads to compare, I would probably still have returned the Aeons as they were a little uncomfortable and just didn’t provide that something extra that would justify adding them to my collection. I am trying to get to the point where I spend more time listening to the music and less listening to the headphones, and I believe that the Quads will allow me to do that.
Hope that goes some way towards answering your question.
Best wishes and stay safe.
O ok understood. I also watch zeos and he did seem to like these. As far as your description. I will agree with you on 800s I heard for a few hours and was very impressed. I also listen to rhythm jazz, alternative, lots of orchestras mostly from movie soundtracks. I guess I asked the question because of the change in price point. But now I see you have cans at all price points and are just collector as I am lol. You have me intrigued with the quads though. Will have to do some research. Maybe they will be next in line.
price/performance would you say this or ERA-1?
I’m probably not the person to ask as I am not particularly price sensitive. Since I can afford the ERA-1s and enjoy them so much more than the Aeons, why would I want to save a bit of money but not get the enjoyment that I was buying the headphones for in the first place. I’ve never quite understood the attraction of headphones, or particularly IEMs, that are “really good for such a cheap price” but are actually not that good compared to something costing more. If you can only afford a cheap headphone/IEM I understand, but I am old and see a limit to the time available to me so why would I want to give up hours listening to something that I know doesn’t sound as good as I am able to appreciate. I have been a skier for years and have always bought good but not superlative skis. The logic here being that even good skis are better at what they do than my skiing skills. I have come to realize that the same is true of audio gear. My aged ears and brain are not capable of the discrimination that those whose reviews I read are capable of. I listen to discussions of minute differences between one headphone’s mid range presentation and another’s and know that I wouldn’t be able to remember the sound of one well enough to compare it in that detail to the other. Hence while I could afford a $3,000 pair of headphones, I know that they would be “better than me”, so I happily settle for something that gives me continuing enjoyment which at the moment is the ERA-1s, and in the IEM department the IMR Acoustics Opus Mias which are amazing with a wonderful soundstage and great bass.
well at my current rate it would take me almost a year to save up for ERA-1's so don't have the luxury of getting what I like the most usually but next headphones I am getting I plan to be my endgame so thanks for the info :)