AQ Nighthawk upgrade around $1000

All the headphones that I’ve owned are all budget to mid-fi cans. Now I wanna get something high end.

Current main headphones are the NH carbons and I love those things but I’ve been getting that upgradeitis bug recently so I’m hoping you guys can help me out.

My gear: Modi 3/Asgard 3

Music I listen to: Metal/Extreme metal, Rap/Hip Hop, Dubstep occasionally

Type of sound signature im seeking: Either something similar but more refined or something more fun and exciting than the NH like more powerful bass response, more treble air and detail, bigger sound stage and/or more accurate imaging is a bonus but is not a decision making factor.

Closed or open it doesn’t really matter to me

Headphones that look like they tick all the right boxes: ZMF Aeolus/Atticus, Fostex th610/denon d7200 (Will also consider getting lawton mods for these), klipsch hp-3 (kinda stretching the budget but would definitely consider it), same goes for the th900/909, Sony z7. Anything above $1300 is kinda stretching it but I can make it work if there is something that best suits me.

Mainly looking to get new but will also consider getting used.

Thanks in advance

This is hard because not many headphones have the presentation of the Hawks lol. I would most likely say the eikon or auteur if you wanted to go zmf, the th900mk2 if you wanted to go fostex, and the z1r if you wanted to go sony

For $1000?! Where?! looks around feverishly


I guess theres a method to aq’s madness lol. I think it may come down to the z1r and th900mk2. How is the sound sig of the z1r compared to the nh

The z1r isn’t going to have as much impact as the carbons, but still good timbre. Think of the z1r as a consumer warmer sound sig on steroids, and it’s fairly wide and pretty good imagining as well. Just like the Hawks, some love it some do not

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If you wanted to be somewhat portable you could also look at the Campfire Cascades or the DCA Aeon Flow 2. As a fellow Nighthawk owner / lover I’m also in a spot where I’m looking down the line to see what my next purchase should be and those two have been in my sights. My use case would be mainly working at my desk or moving around my house doing work so ideally I want something that isolates well and doesn’t leak much sound. I use the hawks at work right now but I have to keep them at a conservative volume for fear of bothering people. Maybe some owners of the two headphones I mentioned above can give their thoughts?

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I would have said cascades but imo they have a smaller stage than the Hawks so I didn’t mention them, otherwise they are pretty great

The aeon 2 is pretty awesome, but it might be a bit different of an upgrade vs the Hawks, they are much more traditional and neutral

Yeah soundstage seemed lower on his priority list. OP’s genres listed and the fact that the first thing they mentioned was bass response made me think of the Cascades.

Yeah besides soundstage the Cascades are a great option :+1:

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Those cascades look pretty cool. I don’t really care too much about the sound stage as long as it sounds good. And aren’t those unique in there own way? Isn’t it the goal of those headphones to have a similar presentation to their iems but in a full sized headphone form factor?

Not quite, it’s moreso just a very solid fun biodynamic headphone. It’s got average stage width so not super intimate or wide, but it’s one of the few actually closed biodynas, most like the denon, fostex, hawks are vented and don’t isolate as well and leak a bit. It’s really good for portable and sounds very fun, well done fun yet refined tuning. I kinda wish I still had mine lol

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I’m sold lol

There you go lol, you can find them for around 600 ish used, pretty sweet for that price

Glad I mentioned them. Haha! Now scoop some up and tell me what you think because I’m gonna keep saving up and I’m curious. :slight_smile:


Cascades are great. Love that biodynamic bass

Even though I just bought the NightHawks (still haven’t arrived) I’ve been eyeing the Cascades and Fostex Th900mk2 for future “upgrades.” I don’t really care for portability but what kind of differences do you get between the two?

The th900 mk2 will be a bit more neutral and also wider spatial recreation, and imo it’s more detailed and capable than the cascades, but harder to drive/more sensitive to amps and not as comfortable nor portable as the cascades. It’s a higher tier of headphone over the cascades but it also demands a bit more amp wise and isn’t as ergonomic as the cascades

Do the th900mk2 sound good on the asgard?

IMO they should, I haven’t tried them on the a3 but I have tried other biodyna on the a3 and it preformed pretty well

Do you think the Denon d7200 would be a better value or is the th900 the best of that bunch