Digital audio player shoot-out: Audio review

Exceptional sound quality with any genre

The $1,199 Aeon headphones feel and sound like premium headphones.
The $1,199 Aeon headphones feel and sound like premium headphones.PHOTO: MRSPEAKERS

The Aeon headphones from headphone cult favourite MrSpeakers are the company's latest in its line of planar magnetic headphones, which differ from the more common dynamic driver headphones that make up the majority of consumer products.

Planar magnetic headphones generate sound by passing an electrical current through larger magnets than those in dynamic drivers, hence making them bulkier and heavier. But the trade-off is worth it, as the Aeon headphones display exceptional sound quality that sounds amazing with any genre you can throw at it.

The $1,199 Aeon headphones are undoubtedly expensive, but for good reason. They feel and sound like premium headphones, with top-notch construction and sonic character that is hard to rival.

And in context, they are considered relatively cheap - other planars like the Audeze LCD-3 and HifiMan HE560 go for $2,899 and $1,299 respectively.

The soundstage on the Aeon headphones is amongst one of the widest I've experienced, which allows you to encase yourself in a three-dimensional field of music whenever you put them on.

Even though these are closed-back headphones, the stereo imaging on them is so precise that the separation between instruments is easily recognisable, Each earcup feels like its own separate sphere from which music and audio radiates from, giving songs a clear sense of depth and space.

On the live version of Hotel California - the go-to track for audiophiles seeking to test new headphones - each shake of the maracas, each beat of the conga drum and each note picked on the guitars are cleanly delineated in space, which really draws you into the performance.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $1,199

    EFFICIENCY: 95dB/mW

    IMPEDANCE: 13 ohms

    WEIGHT: 340g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 5/5

The Aeon's bass, while tight and balanced, is a bit lacking in body, which can be boosted by slotting in foam pads into the earcups.

It has an extremely clear and detailed mid-range, which elevates most male and female vocals with body and presence that stand out from the rest of the instrumental mix. The Aeon also has very articulate trebles, able to pick up every detail of cymbals clashing without peaking too harshly.

But what I liked about the overall sound quality of the Aeon headphones is how it is neutral without being too analytical.

So even though the headphones do not add or exaggerate any highs or lows, they still have their own character that's not boring.

They are also extremely well-constructed, with a comfortable leather headband and teardrop- shaped earcups made of sturdy plastic that hug the ears just right.

The generous, plush leather earcups are a delight, being not just extremely comfortable for long stretches of use but also very good at passive isolation, sealing music within them and in the ears.

For many, these could be the end-game headphone of choice, given its high cost and superb sound quality.

Lester Hio

•Verdict: The Aeon headphones are top-notch planar magnetic headphones, featuring a wide soundstage, impeccable detail and well-rounded sound quality.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'Exceptional sound quality with any genre'. Print Edition | Subscribe