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Author Topic: Audioquest Nighthawks  (Read 1074 times)

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Offline raymonda

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Audioquest Nighthawks
« on: April 11, 2018, 02:52:52 PM »
I tried a pair out this week and was really impressed with the low end that these cans provided. My understanding is that they use a Fostex driver. Might have to pick me up a pair. Any thoughts out there?

Offline heathen

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2018, 03:07:57 PM »
I haven't tried them but I'm curious.  How was the balance between high and low end?  I have the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (heavy on the low end), and the Beyer DT880 600 ohm (heavy on the high end)...I'd love to find a nice balance between the two.
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Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2018, 08:52:31 PM »
They have been described by others as dark but I'd call them rich. The high seemed to have truth to timbre. I picked up a pair and can report more later. I have a pair of the AT so I can give you a comparison.

Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 06:25:02 PM »
I've been listening to them over the past 24 hours. For open cans they keep outside sounds down low. They are also easy to power. I'm liking what they bring and offer up a different perspective than my Hifiman. But if both are right, doesn't that mean that one is wrong? I'll report more later.

Offline rigpimp

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2018, 06:43:55 PM »
Ray have you used any of the open Sennheisers?  Can you compare these to any of them?

I have the HD 700's and have been pretty happy with them.  I had 580's that I got stupid cheap but I broke the headband on them.  I chose to skip right past the 650/600 argument and went to the 700.

I'd love to hear the Nighthawks in a side by side comp.
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Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 12:12:13 AM »
Yes, and although I've not heard the 700 as they generally have a not so good reputation and not widely carried. I've listen to the 600, 650 and the new 660s. They are fine but untimately they are missing articulation in the bass. 120 hz, and lower with these cans just don't do it for me.

My Hifiman 400 and 560 are preferred over those. Also these new Nighthawk won out in a shoot out against the Sennheisers, too. However, you should trust your own ears.

Hey, the Nighthawks have received mixed reviews, too. I'm glad I tried them. I'm liking them.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 04:22:20 PM by raymonda »

Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 04:41:24 PM »
So, now that I have had some time with the Nighthawks I have a better idea of whether they are keepers. Hey, I knew I would like them because I spent a few hours comparing them with several other headphones before picking them up. However, I had no idea how much I would like them. So, in short here is the skinny:

Construction: very good. Very little plastic. These will hold up over the long term.
Comfort: very good. The are light enough and fit your head comfortably. No issues here and are good for long listening sessions.
Sound: deep and well articulate bass. Favors the low end but not at a cost of timbre. They have truth to instruments with a fairly balanced but rich frequency response. Maybe, slightly rolled off up top, which could be boosted 1.5 or so db's starting at around 14000hz but satisfying none the less.
Engagement: these cans are a bit addicting and can be somewhat hard to take off.
Value: at $699 they run with others in that price range. At $399 they are a real bargain and well worth buying as a secondary pair of cans.
Other:for open cans they really do a decent job of keeping out external sound. They are much better in this area than other open eared cans. This was a nice added surprise.

In the end, I will be keeping my Nighthawks and they will most like be in my regular rotation with my Hifiman 560. The 560s have a wider soundstage and better high frequencies. The rest is about a tie with the exception of the low end, which due to the rich sound of the Nighthawaks gives them the nod. However, the 560's are no slouch in this area, too. They are both very addictive and hard to put down once you put them on.

Offline Jammin72

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 05:53:47 PM »
I own a pair and love them.  You can find them used for Under $300 if you watch Head-Fi.

A lot of folks claim about a lack of treble information but I would argue most headphones accentuate treble unnecessarily.  Treble is heard as detail which isn't necessarily accurate.

Incredibly comfortable.  Earcups shaped like ears and light on the head.  The comfort band is quite nice as well.

Skylar did a great job of attempting to eliminate reflections within the ear-cups to the point of making a new material to build them, the liquid wood.

They're very easy to listen to, have a ton of detail, image accurately even if not hugely, and have just enough extra oomph in the low end compared to my HD-580's and HD-650's to make them preferable for a lot of listening genre's.

Being 32ohm they're easily powered by most anything.

My one gripe about the headphones, other than going back and forth whether I like the "wood" or whether it looks like 1970's faux wood Buick dashboard, is that they're incredibly microphonic.  They pick up vibrations and rubs from the cord and earcups like no other over ear headphones that I own. It's odd because I feel like the suspension system does a good job in every other way on these cans.

They also come with one of the best cases ever for a pair of headphones.

I highly recommend trying them out but make sure to give your earbrain some time to adjust to the more subdued sound in the high end, the detail and information is there, I promise, it's just not edgy or forward.
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Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 07:46:03 PM »
Seems like we are on the same page with these. They are a great value!

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 10:05:37 AM »
Yes, and although I've not heard the 700 as they generally have a not so good reputation and not widely carried. I've listen to the 600, 650 and the new 660s.

Don't mean to detail, but curious on your thoughts about how the HD660s relate to HD600/650.

I picked up HD700 recently, which sounds very different than 600/650, with a higher sensitivity and a different fit.  Much greater mid/upper-mid clarity in the 700s, which is very attractive, but can get peaky depending on your ear resonance and for some is centered in their tinnitus range.  I'm convinced they (and any other headphone) will really only reach their true potential and optimal match with each individual listener once correctively EQ'd.. more on the technique applicable to all headphones in another thread I plan to start soon, based on David Griesinger's headphone personal-equalization technique which I've asked his permission to share here at TS.  That should greatly level the playing field  and expose the true ultimate potential of any of these phones. 

Currently if I'm playing one of my recordings for someone who hasn't heard them before, the 700's are the wow phones I put on their head, while I listen simultaneously through the 650's.

I've heard Hifiman and was very impressed with the solid low end, but it was only a quick listen at a friend's place and can't remember the model number.  They were pretty bulky and heavy on the head, but I very much liked their sound.  Like to hear these Audioquests based on your review.
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Offline raymonda

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 09:44:12 PM »
I did not have a long term opportunity to compare the 660s with the 650 s but during the period of time I did have I heard the same qualities from both. They are brothers and very close to each other with their sonic signature. The 660 's seemed just a tad more resolving, quicker and seemed to provide more space around the instruments. If the Sennhiesers had the bass that the Hifiman 560 and Nighthawks have I'd have a pair. However, I really do respect the Sennhiesers and feel the colorations are minimal and they are comfortable.

Offline 108Ω

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 03:09:05 AM »
Yes, and although I've not heard the 700 as they generally have a not so good reputation and not widely carried. I've listen to the 600, 650 and the new 660s. They are fine but untimately they are missing articulation in the bass.


Respectfully disagree
Sennheiser has clarity and balance
I still love my HD-414's effortlessness, but go to my 600s for accuracy.

There is nothing wrong with liking colored sound, which isn't a bad thing, but rather a personal preference.
Headphones are partially about the match to one's head and hearing.
It is a very individual and unique thing.

...and then the neurological aspects add their complexity:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653868/

There has been a great deal of study lately on human preference for difference.
Why is a slightly different version of a song so interesting?
Why do we enjoy slight temperature changes?
Could all that extrapolate to the preference to change up headphones from time to time?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 03:32:35 AM by 108Ω »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2018, 09:00:14 AM »
Yes.

Thanks your personal perspectives, headphonies! < intended as a term of endearment
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Offline Jammin72

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2018, 02:55:58 PM »
Have you tried Sonarworks' True-Fi yet?

https://www.sonarworks.com/truefi

They basically measure headphones and reverse their EQ signature in an attempt to make them more flat or more like a studio can.

It's an interesting experiment.  Taking a lot of time to find the color you like in a headphone and then wiping it out seems like an odd thing to do but I can see it being helpful while mixing.

Reports are the results are more impressive with lower priced headphones that really need some tweaking to sound good and balanced.


Yes, and although I've not heard the 700 as they generally have a not so good reputation and not widely carried. I've listen to the 600, 650 and the new 660s.

Don't mean to detail, but curious on your thoughts about how the HD660s relate to HD600/650.

I picked up HD700 recently, which sounds very different than 600/650, with a higher sensitivity and a different fit.  Much greater mid/upper-mid clarity in the 700s, which is very attractive, but can get peaky depending on your ear resonance and for some is centered in their tinnitus range.  I'm convinced they (and any other headphone) will really only reach their true potential and optimal match with each individual listener once correctively EQ'd.. more on the technique applicable to all headphones in another thread I plan to start soon, based on David Griesinger's headphone personal-equalization technique which I've asked his permission to share here at TS.  That should greatly level the playing field  and expose the true ultimate potential of any of these phones. 

Currently if I'm playing one of my recordings for someone who hasn't heard them before, the 700's are the wow phones I put on their head, while I listen simultaneously through the 650's.

I've heard Hifiman and was very impressed with the solid low end, but it was only a quick listen at a friend's place and can't remember the model number.  They were pretty bulky and heavy on the head, but I very much liked their sound.  Like to hear these Audioquests based on your review.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Audioquest Nighthawks
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 03:07:01 PM »
Have you tried Sonarworks' True-Fi yet?

https://www.sonarworks.com/truefi

They basically measure headphones and reverse their EQ signature in an attempt to make them more flat or more like a studio can.

It's an interesting experiment.  Taking a lot of time to find the color you like in a headphone and then wiping it out seems like an odd thing to do but I can see it being helpful while mixing.

Reports are the results are more impressive with lower priced headphones that really need some tweaking to sound good and balanced.

Problem is that 'phones are close-coupled to the ear, and everyone's ear and HRTF is different.  Correction is the answer, but to get it right (to really be useful for more than slightly improving low-end 'phones) it must be personalized to each individual.
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