AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon Semi-Open Audiophile Headphones
The Audioquest NightHawk Carbon is a more sophisticated, more mature version of the award-winning NightHawk. NightHawk Carbon boasts several acoustic, ergonomic, and cosmetic refinements, adds a second pair of earpads, and includes a more versatile, durable cable—all while retaining its predecessor’s exceedingly low distortion, unsurpassed comfort, and naturally beautiful sound.
Compared to the drive-units commonly used in most headphones, NightHawk Carbon’s 50mm dynamic driver much more closely resembles the high-quality drive-units found in today’s most sophisticated loudspeakers—not simply in appearance, but, more importantly, in terms of function and performance. It employs a carefully constructed bio-cellulose diaphragm, voice-coil former, and compliant rubber surround, resulting in quality that is as easily seen as it is heard.
Designed for exceedingly low distortion and high excursion with true pistonic motion, NightHawk Carbon’s driver contributes significantly to the headphones’ well-controlled bass, rich midrange, and naturally extended highs. Its combination of effortless clarity and outstanding representation of space produces meaningful, emotionally compelling listening experiences. More than merely capable of providing short-term pleasure, NightHawk Carbon is designed to deliver satisfaction that endures.
NightHawk Carbon’s headpad attaches to its outer headband via small, swiveling pins located on either side of the headband’s base, just above the suspension’s yoke. An inner elastic band is concealed by a soft, modestly cushioned pad, which yields and rises when met by resistance or pressure. In this simple way, the headpad automatically adjusts to the listener’s head—no clicking, snapping, cranking, or guessing involved—guaranteeing an easy, comfortable fit, time and time again. Just place NightHawk Carbon over your head and let it do its thing. There’s nothing else to do, but enjoy.
The open-back design of NightHawk Carbon’s speaker enclosures—its earcups—enables an expanded, three-dimensional soundstage with natural dynamics and smooth, coherent performance that extends into the lowest and highest octaves.
As with any open-back headphone, the open area had to be protected by a grille to prevent damage to the headphone’s precision-made internal parts. Traditionally, this has almost always been accomplished with perforated metal/plastic, wire cloth, or some other effectively two-dimensional material. While more or less successful at protecting the headphone’s internal parts, these materials also tend to compromise the headphone’s performance, reflecting sound back toward the driver, creating standing waves and resonant colorations.
But what if this grille could be three-dimensional and promote a random scattering of sound—diffusion—to successfully prevent those destructive standing waves?
NightHawk Carbon’s earcups are made from a revolutionary material called “Liquid Wood”—actual wood that has been combined with reclaimed plant fiber, heated, liquefied, and processed in such a way that it can be injection molded. While injection molding is commonly accomplished with environmentally hazardous plastics or synthetic polymers, Liquid Wood is a natural material—as sustainable as it is physically beautiful. Moreover, compared to ordinary plastic or wood, Liquid Wood has far superior acoustic properties and provides a seemingly endless array of geometric possibilities. In our headphones, we’ve used Liquid Wood to shape our earcups to more closely resemble the human ear, thereby providing a more complete and comfortable fit, reducing stress on the listener’s head and ears.
To the very extent that it is possible and practical, we avoid the use of plastics in designing and manufacturing our headphones. Whereas the production and disposal of plastic is known to present environmental hazards, the production of Liquid Wood (as used in our earcups), biocellulose (as used in our drivers), and 3D-printed grilles (as used in NightHawk and NightHawk Carbon), has minimal impact on the ecosystem. The same holds true for Protein Leather—a bio-derived synthetic fabric that we’ve used to encase our soft, comfortable earpads. Developed by combining a specialty resin with protein powder derived from eggshells, Protein Leather is durable, pliable, and has a softness and surface asperity approximating that of human skin, making it particularly well suited to its application in NightHawk Carbon.
Audioquest NightHawk Specifications
|Weight||346g (12.2 oz.)|
|1.2T Split-Gap Motor|
|Conductors||Long Grain Copper|
|Jacket||Flexible, Non-Braided, Kink-Free, Non-Microphonic|
|Terminations||3.5mm TRRS to Dual 2.5mm Mono|
|Direct-Silver Plated Tellurium Copper (TeCu)
Discrete Microphone and Smartphone Controls
|Adapter (included)||3.5mm to 1/4", Direct-Silver Plated High-Purity|