MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open Planar Magnetic Headphones

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I'll admit feeling the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed look a bit alien to my eyes when first I saw it. Now that it's been on my desk for a few months I find it quite appealing. Not so much for it's looks—don't get me wrong, I quite like the look—but more because I've come to appreciate the comfort of them. No surprises when the Aeon Flow Open showed up...they were right at home on my head. Good thing too, they'll be spending a lot of time there.

MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open ($799)
Gotta say it right up front, Dan Clark, MrSpeaker's CEO, has really hit his stride with the Aeon line. It's only when you experience a lot of headphones that you come to learn how many details it takes to get it right. How easy are they to adjust? Do the pads line up well on the subtle curve of the head around the ear? Are the cables noisy? Do they exit forward of the shoulders? Are they durable? There's as much to get right ergonomically as there is to getting the sound right. Both Aeon Flows pretty well nail it in those departments. I do slightly prefer the grill detail of the Open over the carbon fiber of the Closed.

Materials are excellent and used quite effectively. Headband is leather and earpads are high-quality artificial leather. When I asked Dan about this material he said they found that the quality of stitching and ability to hold the pad shape was much better with this material than real leather.

The ear-capsule grill is black powder coated stainless steel with laser etched Aeon logos. Interestingly, the hexagons of the grill are not all the same. Dan said when they tried a regular hexagonal grid it looked odd within the shape of the surrounding trim. See what I mean? A million little details. (Sidenote: in Japan, because of a supermarket chain name conflict, the logo says Flow.)

The baffle plate and gimbal arms are cast aluminum; Nitinol headband arches deliver excellent caliper pressure and headband adjustment. The trim piece around the grill is plastic, but very nicely painted in a very fine metal flake navy blue. The serial number is laser etched inside the upper left gimbal arm; and cables, connectors, and hard-side, clamshell carry case are all brutally appropriate. This is a very well built headphone.

Ear pads are soft, very high grade of protein leather over ample memory foam. Pads are attached to the baffle plate with adhesive tape and should not be removed unless pads are being replaced. Although replacement pads are not currently on the MrSpeakers' site, they will be eventually. Aeon Flow Closed owners may notice the pads of the Open as slightly taller. This was a running change to both products and pads on both current production units are identical.

Comfort is very good, if not great. The unusual tear-drop shape is integral to its ergonomic performance. If you run the edge of your thumb down the side of your head just in front of your ear, you'll find there is a shallow groove running fairly straight down behind your cheek and jaw bone in front of the ear. The front of the ear pad is fairly linear and seals in this groove nicely. If you look down from the top of the pad, you'll see it's gently sculpted to follow the curve of the head behind the ear. Adding the internal foam tuning insert does take up a little space in the earcup. My ears just barely touch them; I found no discomfort, however.

The floating headband pad conforms very nicely to the top of your head providing a secure fit without any hot spots at the top of your head. Friction sliders adjust headband size and (if properly tightened) remain securely in place. The ear capsules tilt up and down on a single pivot at the rear; forward and back rotation is accomplished simply by the flexibility of the two Nitinol bands. A very elegant mechanical solution and not having a second swivel probably makes them more durable.

The driver for the Aeon Flow Open and Closed are identical. The magnet structure is single sided and resides between the ear and diaphragm; diaphragm is rectangular in shape. The Aeon does have the TrueFlow™ waveguide technology that fills the spaces in the magnet structure with a mechanical part that is claimed to make the passage of air through the magnets less turbulent in an effort to reduce distortion, extend frequency response, and improve dynamics.

Like it's sibling closed version and the preceding Ether products, the Aeon Flow Open incorporates MrSpeakers V-Planar driver technology, which uses a pleated or knurled diaphragm in an effort to cause the surface to move in a more "pistonic" manner. You can read more about these two technologies here.

Now to the good stuff...let's have a listen.

MrSpeakers Headphone Products
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