Our community had their eyes on another collaboration with Dan Clark soon after the launch of the acclaimed Ether CX. With the Ether CX being a true flagship worthy closed back headphone for our product line, we were also very excited to add to the sister series with the Aeon Open X.
There’s always a chance...
Here is what Dan Clark had to say about some of the distinctions between the two products lines.
“ÆON Tone: ETHER CX has a more neutral voicing with a bump to the bass, while AEON has a bit more of a V to the response and is less linear and smooth sounding. ETHER CX has a bit more heft at the lowest frequencies, it just feels like there's more power at the sub-bass even though they measure similarly. AEON Closed presents a bit more upper bass energy due to the V-shape to the response. ETHER CX has a smoother blend to the midrange which delivers better phase coherence, while AEON has a bit of a peak in the 5K region, something we worked to eliminate in the ETHER CX, and a brighter than neutral top. Dynamics are very similar. Soundstage they are close, ETHER CX seems a trifle larger. Efficiency: ETHER CX is 2-3dB more efficient.”
The Aeon Flow Open is known to have a warmer tonal quality, a slight V shaped response, and a medium sized soundstage. We nudged the Aeon Open X to have similar qualities as the Ether CX, which has a rather neutral sound signature and wide soundstage for a closed back design. During the development process we explored the use of fenestration inside the earpads to open up the soundstage. This was done by initially using a soldering iron to melt holes into the interior of the earpad. We then used some electrical tape to cover portions of the openings allowing us to get a slightly wider soundstage. We fenestrated the surface of the ear pad that is most reflective towards the opening of the ear creating a wider and deeper soundstage.
We also played with the acoustic dampening paper that covers the driver openings, adding just enough material over the drivers to find a nice middle ground which lifted the treble from 3 kHz to 6 kHz. Whereas, the Aeon Flow is more intimate and forward in its presentation. The Aeon Open X still captures the essence of the Aeon Flow line with its more relaxed and smooth presentation.
In creating the Aeon Open X, we tried to maintain the consistency of the Aeon Flow Open, as well as some of the airy and spacious qualities of the Ether CX. The low end still retains that nice deep kick which should please fans of genres that call for low end punch and extension.
All in all, this is a wonderful sounding headphone that will please many.