The high-end headphone world has experienced an identity crisis (admittedly slightly too strong a term) of sorts in recent times with two camps seemingly forming between the colder, analytical precision of “audiophile” tuning and the musical, rich sounds of the “new school” tuning. There are those who own and enjoy both types of headphones, but the different schools of tuning leads to a lot of conflicting opinions and definitive statements on forums about certain headphones being completely flawed in one way or another. So how does a market leading headphone manufacturer, famous for stalwart “reference” headphones like the HD650 and HD800 respond? By aiming to straddle both camps of course!
Back when I first ventured into the wonderful world of high quality audio, one of the brands I first fell in love with was Focal. Back then it was Focal speakers that caught my attention, but I remember them fondly still and was thrilled when I was contacted by one of Focal’s local representatives to review their Spirit One S headphones.
I’ve been writing reviews now for around 15 years and I think this might be the very first time that I’ve ever re-written a review – not just edited a draft, but completely re-written a review. The reason I’ve re-writing this one is that the Nighthawk headphones from Audioquest are completely and utterly unique and require the right explanation to do them justice. Hopefully I can fulfil that challenge.
My first take tried to skate over the technology elements of the Nighthawks because I’m all about how it sounds, but I realised that I can’t do justice to these headphones without a thorough explanation so please grab your favourite drink, a snack and a comfy chair and enjoy the read.