For anyone wondering about the Drop + DCA Aeon X, I figured I’d post the results here:
- These are generally pleasant tunings for both - but the Closed is better in my opinion.
- The Aeon X Open has better and smoother treble, while the Aeon X Closed has better/cleaner bass and lower mids.
- The Aeon X Open is considerably warmer/thicker - but once again the treble is very agreeable
- Driver resonance frequency (Fs) is around 400 - 500hz on both (very high)
- Both have significant driver damping, which is expected for this form factor - it’s how you get the tuning the way you want it, but that comes at the cost of the intangibles.
- Both are very tight and quick sounding for the initial leading edge with good instrument separation, but also walk the line as far as blunting the trailing ends of tones. The Aeon X Open is on the wrong side of that for me, but the Aeon X Closed is on the right side of it and sounds sufficiently resolving. I do not recommend using the foam tuning inserts as they blunt the trailing ends of tones even further.
- Both have some of the softest macrodynamics or contrast I’ve ever heard, for better or worse - kind of like a ‘pillow filter’ to the whole thing. If you’re wondering about what all this macro contrast stuff is, these headphones are the perfect examples of the ‘softer’ side. The Open is particularly interesting in this case because it sounds very dynamically constrained, even though it’s significantly boosted in the upper bass and lower mids, yet again pointing to this quality not being presently available in frequency response (although I remain open-minded on that front if someone can identify some consistency there).
- Staging isn’t particularly noteworthy on both, not as good as on the Aeon 2 Noire
In general, I think the only reason to get the Aeon X Open over the HiFiMAN Sundara (2020) would be if you want something warmer and thicker sounding, and perhaps for form factor reasons. The Aeon X Closed however is solid, and it’s going to go on my recommended list for closed-back headphones under $500 - especially for those who want that planar instrument separation and incisiveness, and don’t mind a softer presentation.