AudioQuest NightHawk Over-Ear Headphones
Marking AudioQuest’s entrance into the exciting world of headphones, NightHawk is our full-bore assault on both the state of the headphone art and on the limits to which quality, innovation, and sustainability can be achieved at an affordable cost—the platform upon which all future AudioQuest headphones will be built.
Sophisticated, Loudspeaker-inspired Design for Remarkable Resolution
Compared to the drive-units commonly used in most headphones, NightHawk’s 50mm dynamic driver much more closely resembles the high-quality drive-units found in today’s most sophisticated loudspeakers—not simply in appearance, but, more importantly, in terms of function and performance. It employs a carefully constructed bio-cellulose diaphragm, voice-coil former, and compliant rubber surround, resulting in quality that is as easily seen as it is heard.
Designed for exceedingly low distortion and high excursion with true pistonic motion, NightHawk’s driver contributes significantly to the headphones’ well-controlled bass, rich midrange, and naturally extended highs. Its combination of effortless clarity and outstanding representation of space produces meaningful, emotionally compelling listening experiences. More than merely capable of providing short-term pleasure, NightHawk is designed to deliver satisfaction that endures.
Comfortable, Fatigue-Free Listening
NightHawk’s headpad attaches to its outer headband via small, swiveling pins located on either side of the headband’s base, just above the suspension’s yoke. An inner elastic band is concealed by a soft, modestly cushioned pad, which yields and rises when met by resistance or pressure. In this simple way, NightHawk’s headpad automatically adjusts to the listener’s head—no clicking, snapping, cranking, or guessing involved—guaranteeing an easy, comfortable fit, time and time again. Just place NightHawk over your head and let it do its thing. There’s nothing else to do, but enjoy.
An Immersive, Semi-Open Headphone
The open-back design of NightHawk’s speaker enclosures—its earcups—enables an expanded, three-dimensional soundstage with natural dynamics and smooth, coherent performance that extends into the lowest and highest octaves.
As with any open-back headphone, the open area had to be protected by a grille to prevent damage to the headphone’s precision-made internal parts. Traditionally, this has almost always been accomplished with perforated metal/plastic, wire cloth, or some other effectively two-dimensional material. While more or less successful at protecting the headphone’s internal parts, these materials also tend to compromise the headphone’s performance, reflecting sound back toward the driver, creating standing waves and resonant colorations.
But what if this grille could be three-dimensional and promote a random scattering of sound—diffusion—to successfully prevent those destructive standing waves?
All-Natural Liquid Wood
NightHawk’s earcups are made from a revolutionary material called “Liquid Wood”—actual wood that has been combined with reclaimed plant fiber, heated, liquefied, and processed in such a way that it can be injection molded. While injection molding is commonly accomplished with environmentally hazardous plastics or synthetic polymers, Liquid Wood is a natural material—as sustainable as it is physically beautiful. Moreover, compared to ordinary plastic or wood, Liquid Wood has far superior acoustic properties and provides a seemingly endless array of geometric possibilities. In NightHawk, we’ve used Liquid Wood to shape our earcups to more closely resemble the human ear, thereby providing a more complete and comfortable fit, reducing stress on the listener’s head and ears.
To the very extent that it is possible and practical, we avoid the use of plastics in designing and manufacturing our headphones. Whereas the production and disposal of plastic is known to present environmental hazards, the production of Liquid Wood (as used in our earcups), biocellulose (as used in our drivers), and 3D-printed grilles (as used in NightHawk and NightHawk Carbon), has minimal impact on the ecosystem. The same holds true for Protein Leather—a bio-derived synthetic fabric that we’ve used to encase our soft, comfortable earpads. Developed by combining a specialty resin with protein powder derived from eggshells, Protein Leather is durable, pliable, and has a softness and surface asperity approximating that of human skin, making it particularly well suited to its application in NightHawk Carbon.