MrSpeakers Aeon Headphones Review


Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Closed-back, planar magnetic design
Made in San Diego, California
Beautifully balanced sound
Minus
Non-standard connectors on the earcups

THE VERDICT
The Aeon are a game changer for MrSpeakers. Their least expensive headphones might be their most accomplished design.

I meet a lot of audiophiles who flat out refuse to give headphones a chance. They go on about the headphones they bought in college when Michael Jackson released Thriller and won’t even try the new breed of ’phones. This one here, the MrSpeakers Aeon, might be the headphones that turn them around. The complete package—the sound, the shape, the smooth feel of the carbon fiber earcups, the luxuriously thick earpads, and best of all, the price—might win over even the most curmudgeonly of resistors.

The lightweight Nitinol “memory metal” and real leather headband help to keep the Aeon’s weight down, so these headphones are a pleasure to wear for hours at a time. The earpads’ excellent seal on my noggin was also noteworthy, so isolation from noise on the NYC subway was stellar. If you wear Aeons to bed, your partner will remain blissfully unaware of what you’re listening to.

The Aeon’s unusually low impedance—13 ohms—makes these headphones easier to drive with portable music players than most high-end ’phones. I can attest to their compatibility with my iPhone 6S; I never felt shortchanged by the sound. On-the-go audiophiles will also appreciate that the Aeons come with a rugged carry case. With it, you can stuff the Aeons into a backpack and never crush the headphones.

The late jazz guitarist Larry Coryell’s Traffic record features drummer Lenny White and bassist Victor Bailey, and the trio’s freewheeling dynamics will blow you away. White’s cymbals’ shimmer and sparkle sounded just right. I was lucky enough to be present at the recording session, and it was a real thrill to hear this music come back to life over the Aeons.

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To put the Aeons’ sound in perspective, I compared them with the $699 Audeze EL-8 closed-back headphones. The Audeze are also a planar magnetic design, and they’re also made in California. Continuing the theme, I used a $399 Schiit Jotunheim home headphone amp/DAC, also manufactured in the Golden State. The amp further pumped up my estimation of the Aeons’ sonics.

I hadn’t played the EL-8 for some time, so I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. First up, The Secret Sisters come on like a female Everly Brothers on their You Don’t Own Me Anymore album, which struck me as an honestsounding recording over the EL-8. When I switched over to the Aeons, the imaging grew more spacious and the vocals filled out. Both headphones sounded positively vivid, and they both had tremendous low bass impact and definition. As for comfort, the Aeons win; they’re lighter and fit my ears better.

I liked the sound of the Aeons straight out of the box, but MrSpeakers includes thin foam inserts you can place inside the earcups to slightly warm up the bass-to-midrange tonal balance and soften the highs a bit. I tried listening with and without the inserts and preferred the sound without them. If you listen to a lot of heavily compressed music, though, the inserts might work for you.

I’ve reviewed a number of more expensive MrSpeakers headphones in these pages, but the Aeons are my favorite. Since I don’t have the other models on hand for comparison, I can’t comment on the sound differences, but there’s just something about the Aeons’ sound, style, feel, and comfort that clicked with me. The Aeons truly are more than the sum of their parts.

This is a closed-back design, but an open-back Aeon is imminent and will be the same price as this one. MrSpeakers is hardly resting on their considerable laurels. Their longawaited electrostatic headphones will, they hope, be available by the time you read this.

COMPANY INFO
MrSpeakers

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