Gramophone Dreams # 62: Dan Clark Audio Stealth & Warwick Acoustics Bravura Headphones

I am an artist by trade. Saw, brush and camera are some of the tools I use. The aesthetic quality of what I make is not determined by the skill of the tool, but by the dynamic relationships established between space, color, tones and shapes.

Of these elements, shape is the most important because it is the first thing the viewer notices and is the primary means of communicating emotions and artistic intent. Stylized shapes, such as popular art, can provoke a superficial reaction to the viewer. The tense, Euclid shape suggests that their authors have a higher heart. The Parthenon and Pantheon Temples are examples of this type of shaping.

But a mysterious, previously unknown form that resists classification — a form that makes viewers wonder why, how, or what is in hell ( this Is it really art? ) — You can accomplish something very important: they can quickly turn the viewer’s mind to that difficult-to-identify place where thoughts exist. Almost You are freed from conscious control.

Sleep and dream researchers call for a subtle spiritual connection between will-oriented thinking and the deeper realms of dreams. Hypnosis.. Hypnagogia is a vibrant, transient state of mind characterized by a sense of creative clarity. In my art production, Hypnagogia is the place where ideas are born and problems are solved, where mysteries and understandings match (footnote 1). It’s a place where everything makes sense, but I can’t explain it.

My job as a visual artist is to create an object that directs the viewer’s mind to that location, set the stage in front of it, and keep scanning the object indefinitely. About its hidden structure, artistic intent, and some measure of the shared artist-viewer’s understanding.

Rather than reading a book or studying an old master at a museum, Miles Davis’ fusion recording (especially) be quiet Each burst of acoustic energy (since 1969), the single momentary contribution of each instrument is expanding Energy shape— Kinetic Dream Incubator — Move the imaginary velvety black soundscape.

While writing the above words, I lay down on the bed every few sentences, closed my eyes, be quiet (MFSL LP 1-377) Dunclark’s new closed-back stealth planar magnetic headphones. It was easy to log in to this Miles recording. It started when I lowered the tone arm of the Linn Klimax record player. A few seconds later, when my head settled on my pillow, the first hint of hypnosis began. This is a great recording and great headphone beauty. You don’t have to force your noisy and awake brain to silence. Artists like Miles Davis and headphones like Dan Clark’s Stealth can do it for me.

Dunclark Audio Stealth Headphones
The first encounter with Dunclark’s stealth (footnote 2) was unforgettable and enjoyable. As I passed through the door of CanJam NYC 2022, my longtime friend Dan Clark Audio’s sales and operations manager, Sue Regan, rushed from behind the table and hugged me. I thought, Wow!That will be the highest point of my Can Jam Day. Stopping the little talk, Sue took my hand and took me to the table seat of Dan Clark / Head Amp. As I approached it, I saw Jean, an old cowboy friend playing the guitar, get up.


“How are you? Did you hear anything good?” Sit down and Jean will be Willie Nelson (composer, Owen Bradley) and Patsy Cline’s hit “Crazy” (16 / I noticed that I was listening to 44.1 FLAC, MCA / Tidal). She tapped the Play triangle on her iPad, and in less than a minute, her tears patted her cheek. She was laughing and crying before the song was over. This was the most realistic, natural and richly textured Divine Ms. Cline ever played digitally. “What a hell! This is like a jukebox!” After Patsy Cline hit two more times, I declared, “Dan! I forgot how realistic the Border Patrol DAC sounds.” When I said that, Sue frowned and sternly replied, “No, it’s herbs! It’s Dan Clark’s stealth headphones that made Patsy Cline sound so good.”

Before the end of CanJam’s Saturday, I dragged a few reviewers’ friends to Sue’s table with HeadAmp’s highly accomplished GS-X headphone amp / preamp ($ 1795) and the always-natural Border Patrol SEDAC (995). From $ 1850 to $ 1850).

Stealth design features: In a conversation, Dunclark says his black and red stealth looks stealth 20% larger than the diaphragm of his previous flagship Ether 2, a planar magnetic driver designed from scratch. I told me I was hiring. It is also significantly thinner than previous DC designs and is surrounded by more magnetic force. ”

But the big news for me is patent-pending innovation. Dunclark’s new Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (AMTS). The AMTS is a complex wafer-like partition located between the stealth driver’s diaphragm and its deeper than average ear cavity. According to Dunclark’s website, AMTS “integrates a waveguide, diffusion-controlled, 1/4 wavelength, Helmholtz resonator into one compact structure.” According to Dan, this acoustic tuning filter includes “an array of programmable duel-functional metamaterial waveguides that first direct sound from the diaphragm to the ear.” This moves the perceived sound stage down toward eye level. He believes that this lowered image position provides a more natural and therefore more immersive perspective.

These waveguides then become 1/4 wavelength Helmholtz resonators, and Dunclark engineers remove standing waves and resonances propagating through the sealed cavity between the listener’s ears and the stealth diaphragm. I can. According to Dan, “This allows you to adjust for problems between the 5kHz and ultrasonic range.” That’s probably what makes the stealth sound so smooth and secretly quiet.

Another innovation, I imagine, is responsible for the very relaxed expression of the low-level details of stealth. This is an in-house developed machine that allows Dunclark to pull stealth planar magnetic films more consistently and accurately. This highly consistent tension allows the producer to more accurately match the diaphragm pairs, which reduces distortion, focuses on transients, and enhances the descriptiveness of the soundstage. .. Stealth driver matching is specified within the enclosure within 0.25dB (weighted 20Hz to 10kHz).

A significant portion of the quiet features of stealth are undoubtedly the result of resonant controlled damping within its carbon-aluminum earcups. Despite the fact that open back headphones sound more open, my personal audition was Sony’s 1989 MDR-R10 closed back headphones, which I found most realistic, with the right voice and the right tempo. Suggests to provide sound. I still encountered it. I don’t know why the infamous R10 sounds more natural than other headphones, but Sony’s MDR-Z1 (reviewed on Gramophone Dreams # 16), ZMF’s Vérité Closedback (Gramophone Dreams # 35), Focal’s Stellia ( Gramophone Dreams # 41), and now Dan Clark’s Stealth, all make vocals (especially female vocals) sound very realistic, much like the MDR-R10.


If I had to guess why these closed-back headphones sounded so real, I think it’s because they reproduce the volume changes in a more controlled and linear way than the open-back I used. .. The most obvious feature of live sound is its perfect dynamic linearity. As with most audio systems, you will hear a familiar voice when the volume changes are compressed or when playback is inconsistent. To my ears, a well-designed closedback has a slight edge in playing vocals correctly.

Dunklark Stealth weighs 415 gm, has low impedance (23 ohms) and is less sensitive (86-87 dB / mW). I mainly drove them with a $ 3000 PassLabs HPA-1 headphone amp and a $ 6950 LinearTube Audio Z10e integrated headphone and speaker amp.


listening: I thought the best way to see the effect of the stealth AMTS filter might be to listen to a record that contains a lot of high frequency information. I turned to the record I used to align my toes with the speaker cartridge: René Clemencic’s etsesflûtes (LP, Harmonia Mundi HM384). While I was working on this report, I received news that Clemencic died on March 8th. My heart was celebrating the diverse musical joy he gave the world when he played these rare and classic compositions through flutes of different eras. The most memorable combination of LinnKlimax record player / LTAZ10e amplifier / stealth headphones was the complete lack of particles, brightness and glare. My Falcon LS3 / 5a Gold Badge Speaker shows glare in this recording. It also reveals all the microphone placement issues associated with flute recording. In contrast, the well-managed smoothness of stealth presentations was remarkable, compelling, but unusual. Similar to the Miles Davis album described above, the stealth sound was clear, fine-grained and very balanced, but a little further away, with sharply vibrating air, raw bites and normal high frequencies. It lacked directness. This recording.


Playing this disc on HiFiMan’s $ 6000 Susvara Openback Planer Magnetics brought the instrument closer to the microphone. A short moment of “flute glare” appeared, but also a subliminal sensation of wind from Rene Clementich’s lips and chest. Susvara communicated the physical presence more clearly in the upper octaves, so the higher overtones of the flute were more emphasized and vividly portrayed. In contrast, the stealth upper base and lower midrange were more tense, richer and more vibrant than those of Sasbara.

When playing Face B of etsesflûtes Through the closed-back $ 2,500 ZMF Vérité (my current closed-back reference), the sound from its dynamic beryllium-polyethylene naphthalate driver is faster, brighter and clearer than stealth. did. Stealth countered with more uniform octave to octave tone letters.


play Chimer (24/96 FLAC, Alpha Classics / Qobuz) Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC, 300 ohms, 99dB / mW sensitive ZMF procuring LTAZ10e brings Sandrine Piau’s fascinating soprano voice and Susan Manov’s piano accompaniment to life. Reproduced in a full, direct way, faster than stealth, with sharp transients; but stealth made my beloved Piau look clearer. beautifulA sensual and emotionally attractive way. In the process of my audition, Stealth showed an unparalleled feat on female vocals.

Footnote 1: Clune, Michael, “Night Shifts”. Harper’s, Vol.344, No.263, April 2022. pp.26–36.

Footnote 2: Dan Clark Audio, 3366 Kurtz St. San Diego, CA92110. Tel: (619) 501-6313. Email: Web:

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