Dan Clark Audio Aeon II Open Review

So long MrSpeakers, say hello to the new Dan Clark Audio Aeon II open. With a refined, smooth sound and technicality to boot, they will easily please a lot of listeners.

Aesthetics and Build Quality:

The Aeon II come in a new colour in my opinion they look great, the finish on the cups is perfect with a similar leather headband strap and headband as the original. The grills are also very similar to the original, but the arms now allow the Aeon II to fold up into a more compact size, although being open back I’m not sure how handy it’ll be for this model. It’s certainly a good feature for their closed back sibling.

Build quality is excellent as always, the supplied cable is soft and the connectors are solid. The headband is flexible and it all feels very well put together. Nothing here feels cheap, Dan Clark Audio have thought carefully about the materials used, and it shows.

Aeon II

Comfort:

The Aeon II are lightweight with a suspension strap and deep earpads, this all leads to a super comfortable headphone that is a pleasure to wear for extended periods. The earpads are however made of leather, so you may find your ears getting a little hot during extended listening sessions.

Aeon II

Sound:

Bass: For an open back headphone the Aeon II really do deliver down low, with plenty of body and adequate punch. They have a slightly full bodied sound to them but with better extension over their predecessor, they are also very well controlled as is the case with most planar headphones. The body comes out when called for and lends a lovely tone to acoustic recording, yet throw on something heavier and they can easily keep up. There is good layering down low and nuances are easily picked out, these are not bass heavy but they are a slightly warm and full bodied headphone.

Midrange: The midrange now has better detail retrieval and spaciousness, there is more air around vocals, yet everything is delivered with a pleasant smoothness. The midrange is effortless and natural, instruments sound real and sibilance is very well controlled. For those who want a little more bite, the Aeon II might be a little too safe sounding, but for those who enjoy a relaxed listen these are great to kick back and listen with.

Treble: The treble has good extension and air, but it is quite safe with regards to quantity, they have enough bite to bring out good detail however they do not jump out at you. They do however hit the mark with their tonality, reproducing the top end with a fairly realistic tone that is sure to please a lot of people. Placement within the soundstage is very accurate in the treble region, and the transition from midrange to treble is smooth, if not a little subdued.

The soundstaging on the Aeon II is good, with plenty of width and good height, the positioning of instruments is what stands out the best though with excellent layering.

Aeon II

Conclusion:

The new Aeon II are a technically excellent headphone with a warm, refined and smooth sound and plenty of detail to boot. Great build quality and comfort add to the overall package, but those who want a more punchy and exciting sound may want to look elsewhere.

 

Sound: 4/5

Comfort: 5/5

Build Quality: 4/5

Value: 4/5

Best Full Size Headphones To Buy In 2017 – Expert Reviews

We’ve have some of the best full size hi-fi headphones from under £100 to over £1000 from 2017. The reviews are designed to help you choose from the massive selection of hi-fi and audiophile headphones available with open back and closed back designs.

Best Full Size Headphones 2017

Best Full Size Over-Ear Headphones 2017

We’ve have some of the best full size hi-fi headphones from under £100 to over £1000 from 2017. The reviews are designed to help you choose from the massive selection of hi-fi and audiophile headphones available with open back and closed back designs. From established brands like Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, to new creative brands like MrSpeakers and Audeze.

Scroll down for in depth reviews of our favourite full size open back and closed back headphones.

Shop: Visit our Full Size Headphones Store

Read More: Best On-Ear Headphones Buying Guide

Best Full Size Headphones Under £50

Edifier H840Edifier H840 - Best Full Size Headphones

The closed-back Edifier H840 has audio quality which belies its entry-level price. Low-cost headphones can emphasise the bass a little too much but the Edifier H840 has a good balance throughout the frequency range, with midrange and treble coming through with impressive clarity. Bass is there too, and prominent enough to give a bit of weight to those basslines without stealing the show.

Build quality is also impressive for headphones at this price; they are quite rugged, but light and comfortable as well.

They can be used either in the home or as a portable model, since the closed-back design offers good isolation from exterior sounds and the H840 can be powered sufficiently by a phone, or a portable music player.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

If you’re on a budget, there is no need to compromise on sound quality. For the asking price, the Edifier H840 represents amazing value.

Best Full Size Headphones Under £150

Sennheiser HD461G (Android) or HD461i (Apple)Sennheiser HD461 - Best Full Size Headphones

Sennheiser’s HD461 models come in two flavours, depending on whether you have an Apple handset (with a headphone socket!) or an Android handset. Designed primarily for portable use, the HD461 models can also be used with home equipment as they will still work in standard 3.5mm stereo sockets.

Also, the cables are available separately as spares, so if you change your phone from one type to the other, you only need to get the appropriate cable for full functionality with your new handset.

The design is light and comfortable with a sound akin to what Sennheiser generally prefers; a warm comfortable sound with enough sparkle at the treble end to keep things interesting and vibrant, but without any danger of listener fatigue. The HD461 design hsa a little bit of extra bass than usual however, so if you’re a bass fan then these are worth a try.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

For a bassy accompaniment at home or on the move, the HD461i (or HD461G) will give full functionality with your handset, whether Apple of Android. With spare cables available too, there is no need to change your headphones if you change your phone (iPhone 7 notwithstanding!).

SoundMAGIC HP151SoundMAGIC HP151 - Best Full Size Headphones

The new HP151 from SoundMAGIC is perfect for those who want to treat themselves to some excellent sound and build quality, but without breaking the bank. The HP151 comes with a sturdy carry case and an extension cable for more options if listening at home, but is otherwise suitable for portable use, being of a closed-back design. Be aware however that whilst the HP151 will work well with commercial genres, classical or similar may require more amplification than a phone/handset can provide on its own, as those music types generally have quieter recordings, with less dynamic compression applied during production.

The HP151 sound has a good amount of well controlled bass from its 53mm drivers, and midrange/treble are clear and present. It’s a comfortable sound, and it is not likely that listener fatigue will set in.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The HP151 is a fantastic all-rounder, with a bassy yet crisp sound. It has a spacious and wide presentation considering the closed back design, and it looks really good too!

READ MORE: SoundMAGIC HP151 Full Review

Best Full Size Headphones Under £350

Final Sonorous IIIFinal Sonorous III - Best Full Size Headphones

Final makes some excellent-sounding headphones with great build quality too. Their closed-back Sonorous range encompasses many models, but the Sonorous III is a point of interest as it gives some amazing sound quality for the price. With slightly boosted bass and treble, the Sonorous III gives a little added shine to your tracks without going overboard. The low impedance of this design makes it suitable for using with a portable device or phone, for enjoying your collection in the home, or out and about.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The Sonorous III is a favourite here for its relaxed, natural sound. However the Sonorous II is also noteworthy as a more neutral version, giving a more faithful rendition of your recordings and particularly suitable for classical and acoustic performances.

Best Full Size Headphones Under £800

Now we start to enter the price range of diminishing returns; for instance, headphones costing £800 will not sound twice as good as those costing £400, but if you are intent on raising your headphones game, these smaller improvements are still worthwhile to make your music collection come alive again.

Beyerdynamic Amiron HomeBeyerdynamic Amiron Home - Best Full Size Headphones

Beyerdynamic has impressed us for many years and continues to do so with new models such as the Amiron Home. With sterling build quality and sound quality alike, the open-back Amiron Home does everything well. All frequencies are very well balanced with each other, with treble a little gentler than quite a few of Beyerdynamic’s previous models.

So the sound is natural and smooth; ideal for relaxing at home (where else?), and quite suitable for any music genres that can be thrown at it.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The Beyerdynamic Amiron Home is a real treat to use, and is as comfortable to wear as it is to listen to.

READ MORE: Beyerdynamic Amiron Home Full Review

MrSpeakers AeonMrSpeakers Aeon - Best Full Size Headphones

A relatively new maker, MrSpeakers has certainly caused a stir with their line of planar-magnetic models recently. Not least with the Aeon, a lightweight design which hits heavy with some excellent sound quality. The design lends itself well to portable uses, although additional amplification may be required if using with a phone.

The sound is fairly well balanced with a little extra bass and lovely clear midrange and treble. The Aeon is well suited for all genres, but a real treat with anything likely to get you moving!

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

If your portable audio game needs updating, the MrSpeakers Aeon is one to look at, although the Aeon is equally enjoyable if you like to stay put.

READ MORE: MrSpeakers Aeon Full Review

Best Full Size Headphones Under £1000

Focal ElearFocal Elear - Best Full Size Headphones

Focal’s recent additions to their lineup show a slight move away from the generally brighter sound of their previous models, to a gentler more laid-back sound which nevertheless gives detail in spades. The Elear is an exquisitely comfortable model to wear also, and gives the impression of the venerable HD650 but with a little bit of extra treble presence.

The Elear is not a light model at 434g, so this may be worth bearing in mind but the sound is very pleasing indeed.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

French company Focal has produced a real hit with the Elear, and it is easy to understand how; they’re great fun!

READ MORE: Focal Elear Full Review

Pioneer SE-Monitor5Pioneer SE-Monitor5 - Best Full Size Headphones

Pioneer’s new SE-Monitor5 is where headphones start to get sumptuous and luxurious! Build quality is like an executive car, and the plush padding is much the same. The SE-Monitor5 may be a little heavy for some at 480g but they are made for relaxing at home and swallow up the sides of the head with their huge earcups.

The sound is as you would expect from Pioneer at this price, with well-controlled bass doing just what it needs to according to the music genre being enjoyed. Higher frequencies follow suit and remain faithful to the music, only to add a little bit of extra excitement and glamour to proceedings, whilst staying very relaxing.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The SE-Monitor5 is incredibly comfortable and bound to please anyone who gives them a listen.

READ MORE: Pioneer SE-Monitor5 Full Review

Best Full Size Headphones Over £1000!

If you have got bored of circling Switzerland in your yacht then you’re probably lost, but you may be wealthy enough to consider the following models for your floating games room! These higher priced models may seem as steep as a black route ski slope, but those who accept no compromise will find the following offerings very interesting.

Sennheiser HD800SSennheiser HD800S - Best Full Size Headphones

Sennheiser is no stranger to premium headphones, and has followed up on the excellent HD800, released a few years ago. Some felt that the HD800 is incredibly detailed but at the cost of a certain amount of musicality, so Sennheiser now has the HD800S which offers a little more in the way of ‘soul’. Bass is very responsive to what different music genres need without overdoing things, and midrange/treble give some excellent soundstage and imaging with a slightly gentler presentation when compared to the older HD800.

The HD800S is however just as comfortable as its older brother the HD800; these models can be worn for hours on end with no trouble.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The HD800S is a very popular model and with good reason; it’s as enjoyable as it is comfortable and has a fair amount of visual impact as well.

READ MORE: Sennheiser HD800S Full Review

Audeze LCD-4Audeze LCD-4 - Best Full Size Headphones

Audeze has plenty of models, but at the top of the range we have the planar-magnetic LCD-4. Top notch build quality is to be expected at this price, including unique drivers which feature NASA technology in their nano-scale diaphragms. These light, thin diaphragms can move very quickly with no inertia, making transient response times very fast, and bass precise with nice extension and very good control.

Made from 30 year old Macassar wood, the earcups are set off by bright silver grilles making the LCD-4 a treat to look at as well as to listen to. As well as the excellent bass, midrange and treble follow in good order with a smooth transition between, but with perhaps a slightly recessed midrange, putting bass and treble at the forefront of the presentation.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

For the last word in headphones, this may need to be your first stop!

Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI – Video Review

Our video review of the awesome Final Audio Design VI closed back headphones.

Also See: Read our in depth review of the Final Audio Design Pandora VI

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 Review – The Dark Horse From Tokyo

Exceptional quality for the price. The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 renders every detail clearly and leaves no sonic stone unturned

audio technica ath-msr7

Verdict

Exceptional quality for the price. The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 renders every detail clearly and leaves no sonic stone unturned, but steers just clear of being overbearing at the top end of the frequency range.

Pros

  • 3 cables for all scenarios, including one for smartphones
  • Solid but light construction
  • Carry pouch

Cons

  • There must be something..!

Border

The new Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 has escaped from Japan and has made it to our eager earholes in the UK; but can we expect a bigger version of the M50, or something else? The styling is reminiscent of the M50, but can we expect the recessed mid range that the M50 is known for?

Key Features

The ATH-MSR7 features ‘True Motion’ Hi-Res audio drivers with a diameter of 45mm; this according to Audio-Technica’s website improves response times and minimises distortion for a clearer and and more detailed sound, due to the inclusion of a super-light voice coil and precision diaphragm. Also ‘Dual layer air-control technology’ is described as a method for reducing vibrations within the housing; together with a triple-vent on each side, virtually all extraneous sound can be dealt with. Audio-Technica have been generous with extra cables in the box; there’s both a 3m and 1.2m cable and for those of us with friends, a cable featuring a mic and smartphone controls. For those without, we can always place the plush and well-made carry pouch over our heads.

audio technica ath-msr7

First Impressions

The headphones don’t inspire much in the way of excitement on first seeing them; they’re pretty standard and much like the M50 with a less broad headband and larger earcups. The build quality is superb however, exuding a feeling of solid reliability. I’m reminded of a Beyerdynamic DT250.

Sound Quality

Under the ATH-MSR7’s dour and business-like appearance beats the heart of a party animal; ready to draw you in for the time of your life! The sound of these cans really must be heard to be believed; for under £200 the ATH-MSR7 represents some amazing value for money. There’s no ‘effortless’ feeling of headphones at the high end of the market, but everything else is there. A very pleasing bass which knows its place but is very impactful and rich, leaves room for a stunningly clear midrange with bright treble extending high, but with a smoothness which does not stray near harshness.

Soundstage is good for a closed back headphone, but it’s the imaging and speed which really makes the ATH-MSR7 shine. It certainly seems that the mysterious techniques that Audio-Technica have implemented here have paid off. I can think of headphones this good which cost twice as much as the ATH-MSR7! Little harmonic details and hard-panned instruments vie for attention, and the ATH-MSR7 demands pretty much all of it!

Summary

All too often we’re forced to find new exciting ways to say something is very good, and this is another of those times. The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 just does everything well. Understated enough to be worn in public, vented enough to provide a great sound, but also with a good amount of isolation. The ATH-MSR7 is just heavy enough to give the impression of solid build quality, but light enough to be enjoyed in great comfort. And as above, the sound is immersive.

Score – 9.5/10

audio technica ath-msr7

Click Below to see our Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 Unboxing video

SoundMAGIC HP200 – Review

SoundMAGIC can seemingly do no wrong. After the release of the HP100’s, the open back HP200’s are just as impressive, if not more!

Summary

Verdict

SoundMAGIC continues to impress with their full size models. The HP200s have great balance between accuracy and musicality making them a safe choice for home listening. They measure up really well against the best headphones in this price range.

Pros

Great build quality and adjustability, comfortable pads, easily driven and the price is right.

Cons

Aesthetically unadventurous.

In-Depth Review

Introduction

The HP200 is SoundMAGICs first full size open backed headphone. It follows on from their very first full size, the excellent HP100 closed back, with very similar looks and build quality. Because open backed headphones allow sound to bounce around and even move away from the ear they give a more realistic sense of space. This means they do not isolate well but the sonic benefits can be spectacular.

Description

The HP200 is nearly entirely metal with some tough PE materials for the smaller mouldings. The large earpads and headband are extremely soft and comfortable, the unit itself beautifully ergonomic and relatively lightweight. The range of movement and adjustment is very well thought out with a higher than average amount of articulation, so they should work for anybody.

Included peripherals

The single-sided cable is replaceable with a simple locking connector on the left earcup. The cable is 120cm in length and terminates in a 3.5 mm threaded plug with a screw-on 6.35 mm adapter. Supplied with a very nice carry case that holds the 120cm cable, a 3m extension cable and an inflight adaptor, it all fits back into the case with ease.

Application

This airy sounding open back is really designed for Hifi listening at home but due to the foldable frame, carry case and low weight it could easily help save the sanity of a music loving business traveler confined to a basic hotel room for the evening.

Describe the sound

SoundMAGICs HP200 features angled 53mm Neodymium Drivers with a composite surface, are low impedance and quite easy to drive (although they will benefit from a dedicated headphone amplifier). The Sound is quick and bright but reaches down nice and low for thumpy bass when needed. The bass is a really interesting part of the sound – bass heavy instruments articulate extremely well, lower strings have real texture which helps the transparent presentation and dark background. The sound is very measured, no one thing is ruling the roost here, SoundMAGIC have not been tempted to make these overly warm but have also stopped them from sounding too analytical, they don’t fizz, the top end sparkles without being aggressive. Accurate but musical is normally the goal with open backs and thanks to well balanced EQ the HP200 achieve this impressively. Instrument separation is superb and these dynamic and exciting headphones are better than their price would suggest. They would definitely suit people who prefer focus on detail to warmth and clean articulation to big bass.

Comparisons

To go brighter look at the Grado 325is, to go darker have a look at the Sennheiser HD650. The Shure SRH940 is a similar sonic experience.

Product Information

Product Type – Open Back Hi-Fi Headphones

Price at the time of review – £219.00

Product LinkBuy SoundMAGIC HP200

Edition 10 Ultrasone Open Back is coming soon!

Ultrasone Germany announces the release of the Edition 10, their first open back special edition headphone and it is their most luxurious to date.

The Edition 10 feature Zebrano wood ear cup inlays, Ethiopian Sheepskin ear pads, Titanium Plated Drivers, Kevlar coated cabling and are limited to a run of 2010 individually numbered units.

The ear cups are a beautifully designed combination of form and function, this low resonance lightweight design is finished in galvanic Ruthenium plating and Zebrano coated with four layers of clear lacquer for protection. The inner cup and headband pad is adorned with reddish brown Ethiopian Sheepskin – the worlds softest leather.

The individually matched (tolerance +/-0.4) and specially tuned 40mm Titanium plated drivers have been designed specially for this open backed design. Cabling is silver-plated oxygen free (99.99%) pure copper with Kevlar casing and is designed to be balanced input ready so you do not have to change the entire cable for balanced configuration.

Edition series headphones have Ultrasone´s newest S-Logic™ Plus technology. Edition 10 headphones also contain MU-Metal shielding that reduces magnetic field emissions by up to 98% as compared to conventional headphones.

Finally each Edition 10 comes with a striking hand crafted Zebrano wood headphone stand and its own wooden storage box.

Ultrasone Edition 10 will be available from November 2010! RRP to be confirmed.


Edition 10 Technical Specifications

  • Open back
  • S-Logic Plus
  • Dynamic Type
  • Frequency range: 5 – 45000Hz
  • Impedance 32 Ohm
  • SPL 99db
  • MU Shielded buffer board ULE
  • 40mm Titanium Driver
  • Magnet NdFeB
  • Weight 282g (ex Cabling)
  • 3m Cable silverplated OFC 99.99% pure copper
  • 6.3mm gold plated jack

More information

For more information on the Ultrasone Headphone range please visit the HiFi Headphones store.