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AudioQuest NightHawk

Over-the-ear headphones

Item # 703NHTHAWK

When I found out AudioQuest's first set of headphones, the NightHawk, had arrived here at our photo studio, I...

When I found out AudioQuest's first set of headphones, the NightHawk, had arrived here at our photo studio, I...

Discontinued item
3 questions - 3 answers

Item # 703NHTHAWK

About the AudioQuest NightHawk

AudioQuest's debut headphones take flight

When I found out AudioQuest's first set of headphones, the NightHawk, had arrived here at our photo studio, I impatiently paced outside the door. Many of us here at Crutchfield are big fans of AudioQuest's high-performance audio cables. (We use them all the time to hook up systems in our various listening rooms.) Plus, I'd heard a lot about the NightHawk headphones' innovative design and advanced acoustics. Mercifully, the photographers let me in for a glance.

AudioQuest's debut headphones take flight

Nighthawk headphones with leather case

AudioQuest's highly anticipated NightHawk headphones use a semi-open back design and advanced drivers to give you the kind of sound imaging you get from loudspeakers.

When I found out AudioQuest's first set of headphones, the NightHawk, had arrived here at our photo studio, I impatiently paced outside the door. Many of us here at Crutchfield are big fans of AudioQuest's high-performance audio cables. (We use them all the time to hook up systems in our various listening rooms.) Plus, I'd heard a lot about the NightHawk headphones' innovative design and advanced acoustics. Mercifully, the photographers let me in for a glance.

Under the lights, the sleek, smooth earcups glistened with a hint of amber. They're made of liquefied wood and plant fibers, molded and solidified into the best shape for comfort and sound quality. The earcups look gorgeous, feel solid, and have the same acoustic properties as real wood.

From our review A debut headphone that aims high

"AudioQuest hit it out of the park with the NightHawk. From their extreme comfort to their smooth sound, these headphones reward long, close listening sessions."

— David Brown, A/V Editor

We really dug the wide-open, detailed sound

My fellow writer Dave Bar is a longtime headphone enthusiast, so I thought he should get the first listen. He told me he found them "powerful and precise, with a nice spread of instruments." AudioQuest uses large 50mm high-excursion drivers and a split-gap motor design to optimize imaging, emulating the soundstaging of free-standing loudspeakers. Dave confirmed that the semi-open back design created a surprisingly wide "virtual soundstage" inside his head. Even without a proper break-in period, they had a dialed in sound with substantial bass.

Luxurious feel and effortless comfort

After their "glamour" shots and Dave's trial run, I finally got some time with the NightHawk headphones myself. They sounded spacious even when plugged directly into my computer, but they're even more engaging when paired with a headphone amp or DAC, like the AudioQuest DragonFly®. These are large heaphones for serious music listening. The earcups, metal construction, and leather headband lend them a sturdy, robust feel.

On my head, these heavy-duty 'phones felt like featherweights. AudioQuest uses a patent-pending suspension system that evenly distributes their weight and positions the extra-plush leather earpads at just the right place. During long listening sessions, you don't find yourself constantly fussing around and readjusting the headphones. It's one and done. 

side of headphones

The sturdy, outward facing grilles have a complex open mesh design produced by 3-D printing.

Complex grille created by state-of-the-art 3D printing

AudioQuest's outward-facing, open mesh grille controls the flow of air for clean, pure sound. Patterned after the structure of butterfly wings, the complex crisscrossing of metal keeps airflow balanced, cutting down on music-killing resonance. Since it would be nearly impossible to manufacture the detailed part through traditional means, AudioQuest produces it through 3D printing — the first headphone we know of that uses this method of construction.

Cables that are up to AudioQuest's standards

Audioquest would never throw in a flimsy, run-of-the-mill cord for their first headphones. The two 8-foot detachable cables use some of AudioQuest's most advanced designs and materials, for excellent sound quality without any mechanical noise. They're terminated by a 3.5mm minijack, and a 1/4" adapter is included.

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Product highlights:

  • over-the-ear headphones
  • semi-open design combines a wide soundstage with powerful bass response
  • 50mm high-excursion drivers built to emulate the sound of free-standing loudspeakers
  • patent-pending suspension system evenly distributes the headphones weight on your head for effortless comfort
  • durable "liquid wood" earcups sculpted into acoustically optimized shape
  • 3D printed open-mesh grilles control airflow for purest sound
  • high-performance, soft nylon-braided detachable cable with 45-degree 3.5mm miniplug
    • length: 96 inches
    • solid Perfect Surface Copper (PSC) conductors allow for optimal signal transfer with minimal distortion
  • second, thinner 96-inch braided cable with 3.5mm miniplug
  • 1/4" adapter with thick Direct-Silver plating
  • foam-padded leather carrying case
  • cleaning cloth
  • sensitivity: 100 dB
  • impedance: 25 ohms
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # Nighthawk

What's in the box:

  • Over-ear headphones
  • 8' Thick fabric-covered audio cable (angled 3.5mm plug)
  • 8.5' Thin audio cable (angled 3.5mm plug)
  • 3.5mm-to-1/4" Plug adapter
  • Padded storage case
  • 5.5" Square black cleaning cloth
  • 5.5" Square Silver cleaning cloth
  • Instructions
  • Limited Warranty Statement
  • Why Two Headphone Cables? card

Customer reviews

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AudioQuest NightHawk reviews

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More details on the AudioQuest NightHawk

Mark G.

Features & specs

General
Fit Style Over-the-ear
Earcup Type Semi-open
Earcup Width x Height 3.592" x 4.251"
Noise-canceling No
Bluetooth No
Bluetooth Version ---
Single-earbud Operation ---
Mic For Taking Calls No
Voice Assistant Access
Amazon Alexa No
Google Assistant No
Siri No
Connectors
3.5mm No
1/4" Yes
Lightning No
4.4mm balanced No
XLR4 balanced No
2.5mm No
Other None
Specs
Frequency Response Not Given
Sensitivity 100 dB
Impedance 25 Ohms
Weight 13.3 ounces
Cord Length 96" + 102"
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The AudioQuest Nighthawk state-of-the-art over-ear headphones are designed with technology found in many of today's loudspeakers, but never used in headphones. These technologies have been applied to headphone listening, resulting in an immersive and emotional listening experience. Nighthawk headphones come with two cables, a 1/4" adapter, two cleaning cloths, and a luxuriously-padded zippered storage case.

Ergonomically Designed Ear Cups: The ear cups are shaped to follow the general contour of the human ear--rounder at the rear, wide at the top, narrowing toward the bottom. This design provides greater comfort and less stress on the listener's head and ears. It also isolates some external sounds. The ear cups have a patent-pending suspension system, similar to a microphone shock mount, with four elastomer bands per side. The headphones' head pad self-adjusts when you put them on, providing ultimate comfort for long listening sessions.

Liquid Wood Enclosures: The Nighthawk's ear cup enclosures are made all-natural Liquid Wood. Liquid Wood is made of 100% renewable raw materials, including lignin, natural fibers, resins, and waxes, combined and treated so that it can be injection-molded. The enclosures have support beams that give them structural integrity, much like the internal bracing in a loudspeaker cabinet. Liquid Wood has far superior acoustic properties than plastic or other materials used in headphones, which gives the Nighthawk a distinctive clear and warm sound.

Drive Units: The Nighthawk utilizes 50mm dynamic drivers that resemble the high quality drive units found in the most sophisticated loudspeakers. The diaphragms are constructed of rigid bio-cellulose with a urethane rubber surround, which results in well-controlled bass, rich midrange, and natural highs, with low distortion.

Semi-open Design: The semi-open design of the Nighthawk provides an expanded 3-dimensional soundstage. The open area is protected by a specially-designed 3D Diamond Cubic Lattice grille that diffuses standing waves that reflect sound back toward the driver to create distortion.

Two Cables: The Nighthawk comes with two high-quality audio cables. Using technologies found in AudioQuest's loudspeaker cables, the larger 8' high-end Nighthawk cable uses solid conductors to avoid strand-interaction distortion found in stranded cables for cleaner, clearer sound. The cable has AudioQuest's Solid Perfect-Surface Copper + (PSC+) conductors to reduce harshness and increase clarity. The Nighthawk cable's Foamed Polyethylene dielectic absorbs less distortion-causing energy than other cables. The high-end cable's plugs feature a thick Direct-Silver plating over extreme-purity copper for improved conductivity, lower distortion, and better performance. The provided 3.5mm-to-1/4" plug adapter also features the same thick Direct-Silver plating over its extreme-purity copper base metal. In addition to the high-end cable, an 8.5' thinner "everyday" cable is included. This cable features gold-plated connectors and is more resistant to the rigors of on-the-go listening.

Break-in Period: Like other mechanical devices such as loudspeakers and phono cartridges, the Nighthawk headphones require a "break-in" period in order to reach optimum performance. A suggested break-in period is approximately 150 hours listening to music at safe volumes. A similar "burn-in" period for the Nighthawk cable is also recommended. This can be accomplished by leaving your components powered on, and the headphones plugged in, even when there is no music playing. This allows the molecules in the dielectric to gradually be arranged from a random order into a more uniform order. This process can take approximately 2 weeks.

Specifications:

  • Maximum Power Handling: 1.5 W
  • Impedance: 24Ω
  • Sensitivity: 100dB SPL/mW
  • Dimensions: Ear Cups: Width 3.592", Height 4.251", Depth 2.375"
  • Weight: 13.3 ounces

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Customer Q&A

3 questions already asked

Q
Can these headphones take a balanced input?
[ Jeff  Oct 13, 2015 ]
1 answer
A
Yep, any 4-pin/dual 3-pin to dual 2.5mm mono cables should work (Oppo PM1/2, HD 700. new HiFiMan series, etc.).
[ Kevin  Oct 14, 2015 ]
Q
Are these good for listening to vinyl?
[ Greg  Sep 20, 2015 ]
1 answer
A
I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: Absolutely! The AudioQuest NightHawk headphones are great for any type of music listening that you want to do. They will work well plugged directly into a standard headphone output, or you can really make them come to life when you use a nice headphone amp with them. If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat.
[ Krissy  Sep 28, 2015 ]  Staff
Q
How much burn-in time is needed?
[ Big Ed  Aug 30, 2015 ]
1 answer
A
I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: Yes. NightHawk, like all mechanical devices-loudspeakers, phono cartridges, automobiles, etc.-will require some amount of "break-in" before reaching optimal performance. Results will vary from user to user, but, as a general rule, we suggest 150 hours of playback. Break-in can be achieved without listening by connecting NightHawk to a system and playing a wide-band audio signal (such as the white- or pink-noise tracks commonly found on test discs) or music that features excellent dynamic range and tonal variation (such as large-scale classical). However, we recommend you achieve break-in through listening to music, at safe volumes, as you normally would If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat.
[ Krissy  Sep 02, 2015 ]  Staff

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