We’ve had the AEON Closed for a while now and I figured I would give some quick impressions on them. I’ve included my thoughts and test tracks.
They come with a nice black case that has a pouch in the inside for the cable. Very minimalistic which fits in with Dan Clark’s personality. I do wish the case had a handle on it like the Clear or AudioQuest case as it is fairly big to carry around in your hands. Other than that they come with either the 4-pin XLR “Dummer Cable” or the 3.5mm with the 1/4" adapter “Dummer Cable”, some tuning pads, a letter of authenticity and some instructions.
The build quality of the headphones is great. Super comfortable and lightweight. The headphones do have some clamping force but due to the lightweight carbon fibre build, the clamping is not noticeable. The headband is pretty slim and I forgot it was even on my head after a while. The pads are nice and soft but I did find that my ears would sometimes touch the tuning pads if I had the headphones moved around a certain way.
I will mention that the gloss-like finish on the headphones is very prone to fingerprints and smudging so there is some wiping required after a couple of listening sessions.
The AEON Flow Closed (AFC) is very different than most closed-back headphones that I have heard. One of the more natural sounding headphones that I’ve experienced but it’s bass response does leave something to be desired. I used the stock tuning pads that were already inside the earcups when they were shipped as I found they ventured into being too bright without the pads. The set-up I used was:
Macbook Pro --> Roon --> Tidal --> Dragonfly Black
Macbook Pro --> Roon --> Tidal --> Dragonfly Red
Mackbook Pro --> Roon --> Tidal --> SPL Director DAC --> SPL Phonitor X (w/o DAC addon)
I found the Dragonfly Black had a hard time driving the AEON Flow Closed properly. Even the Dragonfly Red I was pushing close to 75-85% for volume.
Treble: Fairly detailed. Without the tuning pad, it definitely came through with greater depth but it got to the point of being sibilant for me. I’m sure there are those who listen to the AFC without the tuning pads and love it but it definitely wasn’t for me. With the tuning pads though, I found it to be just about perfect. Comin’ Home (Live) by City and Colour (Live at the Orange Lounge) really dazzled with Dallas Green’s fingers moving up and down the guitar strings. Little Lion Man - Live (The Road to Red Rocks) by Mumford and Sons is another track that stood out with the quick acoustic guitar strumming at the beginning of the song. It just sounded right. _Elements (Orchestral Version)_by Lindsey Stirling was another outstanding track with my mind being able to see her running the bow across her violin throughout the whole thing.
Mids: Probably the stand-out of these headphones. Incredibly clear and detailed. Listening to live performances really shows just how good the mids are. Jay Malinowski’s raspy voice in Santa Monica is downright incredible while Jasmine Thompson’s piano cover of The Days absolutely shines. Switching over to Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up was a breathtaking experience. When it hit the 3:23 mark when the choir kicks in, it really allowed me to see why people like the AFC. The AFC mids are easily some of the best I’ve heard in a pair of closed-back headphones.
Bass: Definitely the weak-point of the headphones. If you enjoy boomy bass, these are definitely not the headphones for you. The bass is tight but it is certainly not punchy and it won’t make your head shake. They do have decent bass extension and I find they reach deeper than the Oppo PM-3 or HifiMAN HE400i. Matoma’s Old Thing Back didn’t quite have the rumble I was looking over. Matt Lange’s Testarossa (while sounding great) just didn’t elicit the same visceral response that the Campfire Audio Cascade did. I would say the bass is refined but will disappoint those looking for some more thump.
Soundstage and imaging: The AFC has a decent soundstage. I didn’t find it incredible but it certainly wasn’t bad. For a closed-back headphone, I would say its definitely in the above average category. I found the imaging and separation to actually be quite good. Listening to The Unforgiven by Metallica was pretty fantastic.
Passive Noise Isolation: Very good. Andrew tried yelling at me a couple of times while doing this write-up and I could not hear a thing. Due to their shape, if you wear glasses I could see some leakage happening but I had no issues. If you’ve used the AudioQuest NightOwl the noise isolation is on par if not a little better.
Test tracks used (with a brief description for each)
Santa Monica - Jay Malinowski Wonderful acoustic guitar and he has a unique raspy voice that really stands out with certain headphones
The Unforgiven - Metallica One of my favourite songs. As I said in a previous post, if the headphones make this song sound bad I don’t bother with them.
Testarossa - Matt Lange Electronic track with a lot going on. Offers a very unique listening experience.
Weapon - Matthew Good One of my favourite Matthew Good Band songs. The guitar work in this song is incredible and the vocals really shine.
Little Lion Man (Live) - Mumford and Sons Back when me and Andrew were younger and going to school, we used to frequent a pub in our neighbourhood. Every weekend the live band would play this song and it just kind of became a staple in my playlists.
Elements (Orchestral Version) - Linsdsey Sterling Pretty riveting piece of music, great for testing the highs, mids and lows
The Days - Jasmine Thompson Wonderful female vocals in this song along with some soothing piano. This doesn’t normally fall into my normal listening but I am a fan of Jasmine Thompson.
Swing Life Away - Rise Against
Comin’ Home (Live) - City and Colour Dallas Green is a very talented artist and his voice is downright incredible. Between the sliding of his fingers on the guitar strings, his vocal range, and the emotion in his voice, this song can easily send shivers down your spine. (The fact that he is also singing about wanting to return to Canada also helps!).
Mr Jones - The Counting Crows Song full of interesting dynamics. Very fun to listen to with good headphones.
Flower Dance - DJ Okawari DJ Okawari make some excellent electronic chill piano tracks. Flower Dance is one of my favourites.
Smoke - Brian Fallon Brian Fallon is the lead singer for the band The Gaslight Anthem and his solo work is great. He also provides some very raspy vocals.
Two Weeks - All That Remains This metal song from All that Remains has some incredible double kicks in it. The drums in this song are super energetic.
I must say that my opinion actually changed on the MrSpeakers AEON Flow Closed as I am sitting here with them on my head. Initially, my write-up was going to be more negative. We had both the Campfire Audio Cascade, the Aeon Flow Closed and the Audeze LCD-3 in for a while and I found I never reached for the AFC. I had initially put them on my head for a while and took them off and kept reaching for the Cascade or the LCD-3 instead. Simply because they were more fun. But after listening to them while I write this, my opinion on them is different. While I still find the Cascade to be the more fun of the two, I actually find myself leaning towards the AEON Flow Closed if I was looking for a closed-back office headphone. The detail and clarity of the Aeon Flow Closed is much better than the the Cascade. The reason that I will probably go with the Cascade for portable end-game over the AEON Flow Closed is the AFC is so much harder to drive.
Overall I think the AEON Flow Closed are one of the most detailed closed-backs I’ve heard. Music does sound natural through them and live music in particular really shines with the AFC. However, if you a fan of booming bass or you are an electronic music listener, I would definitely look at the Campfire Audio Cascade instead.