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Dan Clark Audio Stealth Aim to Dethrone the Meze Empyrean

$3,995 for a pair of headphones? The Dan Clark Audio Stealth are the next generation planar design from Mr. Clark and we’re kinda impressed.

Dan Clark Audio Stealth Headphones

Has there ever been a better time to be a headphone listener? We don’t think so. Putting aside the very high cost of some of the best headphones from HiFiMan, Audeze, Meze Audio, and Sennhesier — the level of performance being offered today is commendable indeed. Loudspeakers have certainly evolved over the past 20 years, but headphones have undergone a true revolution in both driver technology and sound quality. The Dan Clark Audio Stealth have been unveiled and it’s clear that Dan has not been resting on his laurels during the pandemic.

Dan “Mr. Speakers” Clark has been one of the foundational pieces of the headphone revolution for almost a decade and those of us who jumped onboard the train with his modified Fostex designs figured out rather early that he was capable of some serious magic with headphones if given the R&D budget.

The Head-Fi world has definitely migrated back and forth between his planar magnetic headphones and those from Audeze, HiFiMan, and Meze Audio — but I think his brand new Stealth closed-back planar magnetic headphones may have set a new bar.

They are definitely priced to compete with the Meze Audio Empyrean and Audeze CRBN at $3,995.00 and while some may choke on their drinks reading that price for a pair of headphones, one can easily spend $20,000 on a pair of loudspeakers that may not be as good.

From the official press release:

Four years in the making, our flagship Stealth sets a new standard in headphone performance and ergonomics. Featuring our all-new 4th generation planar magnetic driver and breakthrough Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System, Stealth delivers a stunningly smooth presentation to bring new life and enjoyment to all your favorite music.

And we didn’t stop at improving the sound; we also redesigned our headband to deliver a big step up in both ergonomics and comfort!Dan Clark

Dan Clark Stealth Headphones Headband

Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (AMTS)

All headphones are subject to standing waves in the higher frequencies, and these can make treble sound harsh, fatiguing, or synthetic. 

AMTS is DCA’s patent-pending solution to this perennial problem. AMTS is an inline device placed between the transducer and ear. It integrates waveguides, diffusion control, quarter-wave, and Helmholtz resonators into one compact structure.

Diffusion elements system reduce some standing wave formation while resonators act as both precision and broad filters to smooth and shape the frequency response, reducing the amplitude of response peaks and troughs from the midrange through the highest frequencies.

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The upshot is AMTS greatly reduces standing waves so 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!

Stealth’s all-new 4th generation planar-magnetic driver claims to deliver the smoothest, richest, and most detailed experience one could create. Stealth’s driver is 20% larger than the E2 driver and uses the company’s patented v-Planar technology to reduce THD and improve low frequency extension.

Diaphragm tension is set on an all-new system for a more uniform and consistent tension, lower distortion, and better driver matching, while FEA and CFD optimized motor structures increase driver force uniformity and smooth acoustic paths to reduce distortion.

Dan Clark Stealth Headphones

Stealth Redefines “Detail”

Stealth’s all-new planer 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, Stealth’s AMTS delivers industry-leading resolution free from the fatiguing emphasis on the top register users may be used to.

Together, a 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, Stealth is said to deliver an amazing balance of delicacy, nuance, and slam that will have you reaching for all your favorite recordings, and maybe staying up a bit too late.

And then there’s the soundstage; Stealth is all enveloping and can compete with even the finest open headphones in depth, width, and imaging.

It’s that effortless sense of space and instrument placement that lets Stealth “disappear” so you can simply relax into your musical experience. Everything, the headphones, the equipment, and yes, your daily stresses, just fall away.

Stealth Mechanical Design Innovations

“We set out to make Stealth a real design statement,” said Dan Clark, Founder and CEO. “Made of stylish matte-black leather, carbon fiber, and machined aluminum, Stealth design takes its cues from Stealth aircraft and is finished to levels you’d expect in the finest of luxury cars.”

Dan Clark Audio Stealth Headphones on Stand

The top grade black leather headband features fine red stitching to create a quilted head-strap that’s not only gorgeous but is also functional and comfortable. The elegant embroidered Stealth logo adds a dash of color to Stealth’s all-black aesthetic.

Gone are the mechanical sliders for fit adjustment, in lieu of a stable yet comfortable “self-adjusting suspension system” that seats the headphone just right, with no muss or fuss.

Dan Clark Audio makes some of the lightest headphones in the world and Stealth is no exception; at just 418g it’s one of the lightest super-premium headphones on the market.

New vegan suede and “leather” ear pads, self-adjusting suspension, and lightweight chassis make Stealth so comfy that the company claims you can just ignore it and “vanish into your music.”

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If it’s Not Comfortable, Game Over

Dan has often said if the headphone is not physically comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions then the design is flawed. That’s why comfort is a top priority, and that’s why Dan Clark Audio has produced some of the lightest and most comfortable headphones in the industry, from the ultralight 280g Ether 2 to the groundbreaking ergonomics of the Aeon series. 

The ergonomic and stylish outline of Stealth’s ear cups is a natural extension of Aeon 2 ergonomics, albeit they are larger. For storage or travel we incorporated Aeon 2’s elegant folding gimbal structure into Stealth, neatly folding it into a compact custom-molded case that’s small and easy to stow.

Stealth 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 
  • All-new 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
  • FEA and CFD optimized motor structure increases driver motor-force uniformity and smoothes acoustic flow 
  • All-new auto-adjusting suspended strap design makes Stealth 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
  • Carbon / aluminum bonded cup design yields maximum stiffness with minimum weight
  • Folding gimbals allow Stealth to be packed in a compact case for safe and easy transport 
  • Stealth is designed and built by hand in San Diego, California, and is backed by quality and support you can count on 

Price & Availability

Dan Clark Audio Stealth are available for pre-order now for $3999 at audio46.com.

Learn more about the Dan Clark Audio Stealth by watching the video below or visit danclarkaudio.com/dcastealth.html

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