AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon over-ear closed-back Headphone - Official Thread


This is the official thread to discuss the NightOwl Carbon from AudioQuest.


  • Driver: 50mm Dynamic - Biocellulose Diaphragm - 1.2T Split-Gap Motor
  • Power Handling: 1.5W
  • Sensitivity: 99dBSPL / MW
  • Impedance: 25 Ohms
  • Weight: 346g (12.2 Oz.)

These headphones are at a fantastic price point. Are they a no-brainer purchase now?

Considering their original pricing, I would be interested in opinions/shootout comparing them to:
(1) MrSpeakers Aeon Closed
(2) Campfire Audio Cascade

Also, what types of music genres do the NO Carbon’s excel, and which ones do they not?

As you can tell, I’m a bit on the fence about a future purchase decision.


They are a pretty dark, laid-back headphone. They handle EDM, synthwave, trance, acid jazz, metal pretty well. They aren’t the most detailed when it comes to treble response though. A common criticism when it comes to the NightOwl is that they sound muffled. If you’ve heard Sennheiser’s HD 6++ lineup you will be familiar with the veiled mids.

The Aeon Closed has a much more natural sound while still maintaining some pretty good low end. The NightOwls and the Aeon Closed are pretty similar in comfort but I haven’t spent enough time with the Aeon Closed to do a true comparison between the two. I have a pair on the way and should be here at the end of the week or Monday though so I will do a better comparison then! Same with the Cascades. The general consensus on the Cascades though is that they do clamp pretty tight so the NightOwls probably win out in comfort.

At $399 I would say that they are fairly priced. At their previous price point, they were definitely too much. They do have a very different tuning from other headphones though so they aren’t for everyone, no matter what price point they are at haha.


Thanks for the impressions and feedback @taronlissimore



I love the darker, warm tones of the NO. I also use these with a Loki Mini and can dial in almost any correction. Comfort is outstanding. I traded these for a decent IEM that I wasn’t using. I also considered the Aeon but these were available at the time. If that warm SQ is appealing, these will not disappoint.


what amp and dac do you use with your NO? I’m using my NO with dragonfly black as dac and o2 amp. i don’t know if this is the right combo or not. im very new at this.
do you EQ it?


I personally prefer the Red over the Black when it comes to the NightOwl as I find the Red has a bright colouring to it and tames the darkness of the NightOwl a little bit. I do listen to the the NightOwl’s with all sorts of DAC/AMPs though. The iFi Nano iDSD Black Label I find to be my favourite as I enjoy the Analog control and I find it doesn’t colour the sound as much as either Dragonflies.


I have NightHawk Carbons, but concur. They do best with brightness and amp clarity.


okay, going to put you on the spot a bit…taking into account the basics…construction…isolation…sound reproduction…comfort level…the ability to loose yourself in their music…how do the NO’s compare to the Shure 1540’s or the DT 1770’s?? All of these are in the price market for me and I already have a good amp in the iFi Black Label. From your experiences, what would be your preference? Btw…thanks lol