Open, then closed. That’s how Ether (US$1499), Mr Speakers’ first planar magnetic headphone to be built from the ground up, came to market. The improved Flow version (US$1799) arrived later.

For his sleeker, more affordable planar magnetic headphone, ÆON (later ÆON Flow), Clark has reversed the product versioning. First closed, then open.

A teardrop-shaped closed ÆON Flow (US$799) landed in January this year. In May, I got my first listen in at Munich High-End’s Hör Bar where I found their transparency and finesse above average for a sub-US$1K headphone. First impressions also told me that despite ÆON Flow’s closer proximity to street-life sizing, your average smartphone’s headphone socket might not cut it. Outboard amplification might still be mandatory.

This coming weekend at CanJam @ RMAF 2017, Clark will debut the ÆON Flow Open. The price remains the same: US$799.

From Mr Speakers’ succinct press release: “We’re pleased to announce ÆON Flow, Open, the latest headphone in our critically acclaimed and award-winning ÆON headphone line. Built on the same chasis as our ÆON Flow, Closed headphone, it preserves the clarity and dimensionality owners have enjoyed in our closed headphone but with an expanded soundstage and a warmer transition from the bass to midrange for a fun and engaging headphone suitable for any genre of music.”

That’s the news but what’s the story?

From what I heard in Munich, plus my general proclivity for open-backed headphones at home, my hat has already joined the ring for an ÆON Flow Open review sample, against which the Sennheiser HD800S and Audeze Sine DX will provide the triangulating backdrop. After all, home-derived assessments are considerably more reliable than those conducted at audio shows.

Not that CanJam @ RMAF 2017 attendees will find their time or entry fee wasted. Headphiles using an audio show as a product audition platform enjoy several key advantages over their loudspeaker-lovers brethren.

Firstly, headphone comparisons are cinch. At CanJam, Dan Clark will have Ether Flow and ÆON Flow ready to rock. Pit the open and closed backed versions of each or go open vs. open with one specific model. The choice is yours. You decide when and where to swap out one headphone for another.

Secondly, exhibitor music choices are optional. With Dan Clark and the majority of CanJam exhibitors playing from thumb-drive or SD-card accessible devices, listening to your own music has never been easier. And you can play anything you want because behind headphones no-one has to listen it but you.

Lastly, a loudspeaker system set up in the Marriott won’t sound quite the same back at home. Why? Your listening room is of a different size and sonic make-up to a hotel room. Headphone listeners don’t have this issue. They don’t have to listen past an unfamiliar room to audition gear at a show. With the transducers sat next to the ear, a pair of ÆON Flow taken home should sound the same as it did back at CanJam.

And if that’s you, be advised that ÆON Flow Open will begin shipping on or before October 15th.

Further information: Mr Speakers