But weight loss isn't the only gain. As soon as a MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed is placed on the skull, one appreciates its very comfortable fit; unless one brings unusually large ears to this meet. Despite its soft quite thick leather pads, the Aeon's narrow housing means that bigger pink bits no longer fit as easily inside the cavity as they would with bigger variants like AKG's 702 or Sennheiser's HD800. But sonic isolation from the surrounding world is unexpectedly high. That's likely a function of how well the leather pads seal without requiring undue pressure. The lowered weight of the Aeon Flow Closed is due to its bill of materials. Forget heavy metal or wood. Instead the ear cups seal with carbon fibre covers. The headband is dyed real leather and avoids uncomfortable pressure on the sensitive crown of the head. The twinned bridge is Nitinol, a very flexible alloy of nickel and ultra-light Titanium often called memory metal because no matter how one bends it, it always springs back into its original shape.

Yet the most brilliant construction would count for naught without a quality driver. Since their launch, MrSpeakers have been focused on thin-foil planarmagnetics developed to the next level. As usual, actual soundwaves must clear the magnets before hitting the ear. To avoid turbulence and reflections, Dan Clark devised a miniature waveguide for sonic passage through the magnet array. Dubbed 'TrueFlow Motor Optimization', it's also what led to the 'Flow' suffix in the model name.

Even the classic stretched membrane has been revised. In collaboration with Eminent Technology's Bruce Thigpen, efforts were made to counteract the usual behaviour of uneven excursions which are large in the centre and minimal at the edges. Enter the V-Planar Driver Processing which builds corrugations into the membrane. Even at greater excursions during higher SPL particularly in the bass, now the driver's edge portions can undergo more travel to create more pistonic motion with a correspondingly more linear response. These solutions are claimed to be key for his very transparent sound which Dan feels isn't shortchanged at any frequency. Just so, past MrSpeakers models led customers to wish for a somewhat fuller response without otherwise sacrificing the established house sound. It's the raison d'être for the foam pads which can be placed between ear and membrane to shift the tonal balance down without otherwise changing the tuning or sound quality. We'll get to whether and how that works.

Dan explained that their spec sheet deliberately omits an amplitude plot which, despite its figures not being very meaningful, is still exploited by many makers as an indicator of sound quality. What MrSpeakers do specify is 92dB/mW sensitivity and a low 13Ω impedance. Whether the latter makes amp choices critical I'd have to suss out as well. Having influenced modern film music more than others is Islandic composer Johann Johannson. Aside from soundtracks for Sicaro and The Arrival!, he also produces standalone music. One of those best-known albums is And in the endless pause there came the sound of bees. The Aeon Flow Closed rendered the plain but melancholy piano melody kicking off "Theme" without romanticizing it. Compared to Sennheiser's €1'600 HD800S, specific hammer falls arguably registered as slightly brighter. This gave the upper mid/lower treble band more precision. Despite such a minor emphasis, the piano's overtones felt perfectly dosed and transients never too sharp.