This week we have received the brand new Audioquest ‘semi-open’ headphones, Nighthawk.
Most commonly known for their history of cable manufacture, Audioquest have a reputation for creating innovative and well thought out products. Nighthawk is no exception. Audioquest’s UK Sales Manager Toby Allen explained to us ‘We realised that the headphones market has become somewhat saturated in recent years, so we decided that we would only make a pair of headphones if we were able to make some significant changes to what is currently being offered by other manufacturers’.
Having tried the Nighthawk, we can definitely confirm that these are not your typical set of ‘cans’. The first thing you notice with these (apart from their beautiful design) is the weight; they are incredibly light at just 346g. This was achieved by stripping back the headphones to just the essential parts.
It is rare to see a manufacturer put so much development into every single part of their product. Audioquest have spent a huge amount of time making sure every single part is produced to their own high quality. They really did seem to start with a blank page with this design. Nothing is your typical component from the drivers to the cables to the cups. It is all unique.
Comfort is another positive that you instantly notice. They use a unique suspended headband system. Nighthawk’s head pad automatically adjusts to the listener’s head—no clicking, snapping, cranking, or guessing involved—guaranteeing an easy, comfortable fit for any size.
The ear-cups on Nighthawk have been ergonomically designed around the general contour of the human ear—rounder at the rear, wide at the top, narrowing toward the bottom. This reduces stress on the head and ears and as well as helping to isolate the music against external noise. The enclosures are manufactured from liquid wood (made from 100% renewable raw materials: lignin, natural fibres, resins, and waxes) which gives much improved resonances compared to plastic or metallic headphones.
The ear cups feature a biometric grille which has been 3D printed to diffuse sound and take out the resonances that ultimately distort and damage music. The inside of the ear cups also have been developed to eliminate unwanted nodes and standing waves, this has been done by implementing an internal optimised rib design.
NightHawk’s 50mm dynamic driver has been designed to replicate that of a loudspeaker rather than a typical headphone driver. It features bio-cellulose diaphragm, voice-coil former, and compliant rubber surround. Bio-cellulose is rigid and self-damping, and therefore capable of far better control across the entire frequency spectrum than commonly used Mylar diaphragms.
Of course, it does not matter how well designed or comfortable they are if the sound does not compete. This is not the case with Nighthawk; they give excellent sound quality with great warmth and clarity. These are engaging headphones; the dynamics that they are able to produce give a real sense of space and make you feel as if you are surrounded by the music.
The bass is well controlled and has a punch, which for a semi-open back headphone is surprising. It adds to the warmth, and allows Nighthawk to be able to cope with whatever genre that is thrown at it, from jazz to rock to dance.
Nighthawk comes with two detachable cables, which have been specifically designed using Audioquest’s vast knowledge of cable manufacture. One cable is a modified version of Audioquest’s Castle Rock speaker cable and one is an extremely durable alternative. Also provided is a 3.5mm-to-1/4” plug adaptor designed with thick Direct-Silver plating over a high-purity red Copper base metal and it all comes in a luxurious leather carry case.
Nighthawks are available now for £499.
If you would like to try Nighthawk for yourself, please get in touch and arrange a demonstration.