This article is based upon the Dan Clark Aeon 2 (Open Vs Closed) review made by Zeos at Z Reviews on his YouTube channel and is printed here in partnership with Z Reviews. The review was originally posted on July 24, 2020. Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity.
With identical price points and similar aesthetic, you may wonder if there’s a real difference between the Dan Clark Audio (formerly MrSpeakers) AEON 2 Closed- versus Open-Back headphones. Fortunately for you, our friend Zeos at Z Reviews has compared both of them.
While he did have a bit of a hard time choosing between which option he would go for, ultimately he did pick a winner. Notably, he said that while there are some stark differences between other brands Open- versus Closed-Back variants and he could see why you may want both of them, when it comes to AEON 2, “You don’t want to buy both of these. You only need one.”
Initially, when listening to the Closed-Back, Zeos finds that they have “more detail and more of the MrSpeakers’ ‘house sound,’” but when it comes to his everyday-use, Zeos states, “I think I'd listen to these Open-Back more. They're softer.” While listening to some Otis Taylor, he felt some changes in the way the Closed-Back AEON 2 sounded compared to before, stating:
“I can hear the fact that this Closed-Back is closed and I couldn't before. Now, take away that ‘wall’ around it — it was literally like a wall around it — and it's like, this Open-Back...it's just so much more laid-back.”
Sure enough, as he started playing a tune from the soundtrack of 28 Days Later, he started leaning towards his original opinion, finding that the “low-end in the Closed-Back version is superior...superior. Look, there’s base in the Open-Back no doubt, but this is gut-wrenching, like I have to make the ‘ohhh!’ sound when the low-end happens in the Closed-Back. And with the Open-Back — staying true to the more relaxed sound — the low end is there, it's just not as impactful.” Zeos admits that he does have a bias from having listening to various Dan Clark Audio headphones over the years, acknowledging:
“I'm fighting a bias that I have, because I've listened to MrSpeakers over the years...and [in my opinion] he does closed headphones better than open. I want to say that because I think the closed-back have a slightly better detail, but I'm hearing this hollowness sound now in the AEON 2 Closed, but I don't know if it’s tuning I picked to try to match the AEON 2 Closed to the Open.”
So, what was his conclusion as he burned the midnight oil choosing what variant that he would go for? Ultimately Zeos decided:
“I want to like the Open-Backs more — I want to! — because I've never liked an Open-Back more from MrSpeakers, it has always been Closed. Gun to my head decision...I’d pick the closed. Even with that weird hollow sound, you could tune that away, but you catch that low-end and you keep the detail.”