After Dan Clark Audio unveiled the closed back Stealth (review here) just over a year ago, it was inevitable a new open back variant was on Dan’s mind. Skip forward to this week, DCA just announced the new EXPANSE open headphone that will sit as a flagship piece alongside the electrostatic VOCE and Stealth.
Keeping true to his standout feature sets, Dan’s latest creation boasts both a light wear on the head alongside large planar magnetic diaphragms and (most uniquely) the use of meta materials in the acoustic design to provide sound crafting and damping affects. More info in the press release:
“Expand Your Soundstage”
Introducing Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE, our new flagship open-back headphone. EXPANSE sets a new standard in open-back headphone musicality, soundstage, detail retrieval, and comfort.
Featuring Dan Clark Audio’s all-new 4th generation planar-magnetic driver and our breakthrough Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System, EXPANSE delivers a stunningly smooth presentation to bring new depth and breadth to all your favorite music.
Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (AMTS)
Headphones are subject to standing waves in the higher frequencies, which can make instruments like strings, cymbals, even vocals sound unrealistic and fatiguing.
AMTS is Dan Clark Audio’s patent-pending inline device located between the transducer and ear. AMTS integrates waveguides, diffusion control, quarter-wave, and Helmholtz resonators into one compact structure to eliminates standing waves, dramatically improving system performance.
Diffusion elements reduce standing wave formation while resonators act as both precision and broadband filters to smooth and shape the frequency response from the midrange through the highest frequencies.
With AMTS the upshot is high frequencies are rendered with a refreshingly smooth, accurate, and detailed delivery across all genres. OK, bad recordings are still bad, we’re not magicians!
EXPANSE Features Our Most Advanced Driver
EXPANSE’s 4th generation planar-magnetic driver delivers the smoothest, richest, and most detailed experience we could create. EXPANSE’s driver is 20% larger than the ETHER 2 driver and uses our patented v-Planar technology to reduce THD to a less than a stunning 0.03% while improving low frequency extension.
But we didn’t stop there! Diaphragm tension is set on our proprietary system that creates a more uniform and consistent tension across the entire driver surface to minimize distortion and improve driver matching to better than 0.25dB weighted across the spectrum for incredible imaging and balance.
EXPANSE Redefines “Detail”
EXPANSE’s planar driver delivers incredibly low distortion throughout the listening range with levels of detail heretofore found primarily in the top-of-the-line electrostatics. Unlike many headphones where “detail” is created through exaggerated high-frequency energy, EXPANSE’s AMTS delivers industry-leading resolution without fatiguing highs users may be used to.
Together, our 4th-generation motor and AMTS deliver a sonic performance best described as “effortless.” From a delicately plucked string to the most intense dynamics of an orchestra, or the weight and attack of a kick drum to the overtones a decay of a crash cymbal, EXPANSE delivers an amazing balance of delicacy, nuance, and punch that will have you reaching for all your favorite recordings, and maybe staying up a bit too late.
And last but not least there’s the soundstage; EXPANSE is all enveloping and can compete with any open headphone in depth, width, and imaging.
EXPANSE’s effortless sense of space and instrument placement allowing the headphone “disappear,” so you can simply relax into your musical experience. Let the headphones, equipment, and yes, your daily stresses melt away, leaving your music to be enjoyed the way it was meant to be heard
EXPANSE Mechanical Design Innovations
“We set out to make EXPANSE a real design statement,” said Dan Clark, Founder and CEO. “EXPANSE design takes its cues from our STEALTH headphone but adds an exciting and unique grill based on mathematical functions derived from the principals of generative design, for a truly unique and stylish look.”
The top grade black leather headband features fine blue stitching to create a quilted head-strap that’s not only gorgeous but is also functional and comfortable. The elegant embroidered EXPANSE logo adds a dash of color to EXPANSE’s all-black aesthetic.
Gone are the mechanical sliders for fit adjustment; Dan Clark Audio has designed a stable yet comfortable “self-adjusting suspension system” that seats the headphone just right, with no muss or fuss.
At just 418g EXPANSE is also one of the lightest super-premium headphones on the market. Taken together, our new vegan suede and “leather” ear pads, self-adjusting suspension, and lightweight chassis make EXPANSE so comfy you can just ignore it and “vanish into your music.”
And for portability or storage we incorporated AEON 2’s elegant folding gimbal structure into EXPANSE, allowing it to conveniently pack into a compact custom case that’s small and easy to stow.
EXPANSE Key Features and Benefits
• Patent-pending Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (AMTS) delivers unprecedented high-frequency detail and clarity for the ultimate in smoothness, tone, and detail retrieval
• 4th generation v-Planar driver with our largest planar diaphragm to date, delivering exceptional dynamics with vanishingly low distortion for a natural and “easy” listen
• Improved driver tensioning system creates a driver with incredible consistency across units for superb imaging and balance
• FEA and CFD optimized motor structure increases driver motor-force uniformity and smooths acoustic flow
• All-new auto-adjusting suspended strap design makes EXPANSE hassle-free to wear
• Pre-formed ergonomic strap design spreads weight evenly across the head for incredibly comfortable extended listening
• Strap quilting improves comfort and reduces heat buildup
• Composite synthetic suede and protein-leather pads offer a sung fit with minimal clamp, with a pleasant touch on the skin
• Stylish grill reduces weight and creates a visually stunning design aesthetic
• Folding gimbals allow EXPANSE to be packed in a compact case for safe and easy transport
• Uncompromising industrial design uses aluminum and titanium to maximize strength while minimizing weight
• EXPANSE is designed and built by hand in San Diego, California, and is backed by quality and support you can count on
The Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE is currently available to order direct from the company’s website and retails for $3999.
More info: DCA EXPANSE