Review - Myer Audio CKLVX D41

Review - Aune AR5000

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Aune AR5000

The AR5000 have been sent to me by Aune for me to try them out and share my opinions in this review. Aune have not made any requests and I will, as always, do my best to be as unbiased as I can.

You can find the official page for the AR5000 here: https://www.aune-store.com/en/aune-ar5000-open-ear-headphone_110208_1240/

Also available on Amazon US here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CLPC7Q2S

As with all links I publish, this is a non-affiliate link.


Intro…

I have reviewed a few Aune devices in the past and I have always found that they offer a lot of quality for the price they sit at. The brand has been making DAC and amps of good quality for quite some time and they also have a set of IEMs, the Aune Jasper, that I reviewed quite some time ago and also enjoyed. The AR5000 is their first set of headphones and, as with all first ventures, it is always a risk to release something that you are not really known for.

In this case, they have opted for a 50mm dynamic driver with an MLD diaphragm, in a very nicely designed and built open back set up, that is priced at under 300€. To be honest, I did not know much about the headphones, other than having seen photos, but I was certainly interested in trying them out based on my previous experiences with Aune products. 

The AR5000 are aimed at being easy to drive, with a published impedance of 28 Ohms and 108dB/Vrms (@1kHz). I think further proof of their aim to make them easy to drive is that, along with the headphones, they also sent me their dongle DAC, the Aune Yuki. The Yuki is a device that has a decent amount of power for a dongle device but is by no means the most powerful on the market and it is a long way behind a desktop setup.

I am not going to discuss the Yuki today, as that deserves a review of its own,  and I am going to focus on the AR5000, which I have used with the Yuki but have also used with a combination of other source devices. 

Before finally moving on to the review, I just want to mention that Aune also kindly sent along an additional balanced cable and an Aune branded headphone stand. So, with that said, let’s get on with my opinions on the AR5000.


Presentation…

The outer sleeve of the packaging shows a large image of the headphones (which I have to say do look great in photos) on a white background. Along with the make and model, we also get the basic specs listed on the back of the box.

Removing the sleeve reveals a black box, with AR5000 on the lid, which opens to reveal the user guide and the headphones sitting below in a silk covered foam cut out. There is also an accessories box that contains the 3.5mm unbalanced cable with a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.

In general there is not a lot in the box but there isn’t usually much in a headphone box, in comparison to IEMs that is, with sets that contain many accessories being the exception rather than the norm. The only thing I do with was included is some kind of storage/transport case as these are easy to drive and, although they are not really designed to be carried around (they don’t fold or anything similar), I could see people throwing these in a backpack or something to take with them to the office, school etc. However, I do understand that at 300€, there is a limited budget to be spent on these and, as always, I like to see as much of that as possible spent on the headphones themselves and not packaging or accessories.


Build and aesthetics…

My first impression when taking them out of the box was that they are much smaller than I expected. I mean, they are not exactly tiny, they are definitely a full sized set of over ear headphones, but for some reason I had expected them to be even bigger after seeing the photos.

My second impression was that they look great. These headphones do look very good in photos but they look just as good in person. Of course aesthetics are a totally personal thing but I think they look very good. They are built from a combination of metal and plastic yet the plastic is of good quality and matches the metal to the point of only knowing it is plastic when tapping on it. This makes them quite lightweight but not too light as to feel cheap.

The headband, which is metal, features a system that Aune call “Concentric Circle”. This uses a leather style suspension strap which is attached to a sliding system that clicks into place on the sides, which is in turn, attached to the metal headband. I find the system to work well and to be comfortable even for longer periods. 

The earpads are hybrid and perforated, which helps keep the ears cooler, although, as with all overear headphones, if you live where I do, the daily >40ºC (>105ºF) temperatures will still take their toll, at least they do on me 😊

The earpads are also angled, along with the drivers inside the cups being angles, this places the sound source towards the front. I believe that this is in an attempt to mimic the sound presentation of speakers and we will see how this works out in the sound section.

The outer side of the cups have a grille with oblong openings, that has a pinkish grille with circular opening behind it. This works well for the aesthetics of the headphones and, in general, they give of a more premium look that their price point would indicate.

As far as build quality, yes there is quite a bit of plastic but everything seems to be well assembled, as with all Aune products, a seems like it should have good durability, although only time will tell.

The included 3.5mm cable is a double twist that is covered in black fabric with metal hardware to match the headphones. I have to say that I like the included cable, in fact, as far as my tastes go, I prefer the included cable to the extra 4.4mm cable that they added in extra.

The extra balanced cable is by no means bad, it is actually quite a nice cable, with a quadruple braid and nice silver hardware. The only reason I prefer the stock cable over the additional cable is because I am more of a fan of fabric covered cables than I am of those covered in a clear finish which are slightly more rubbery. Of course, this is a personal thing and either of the cables is a good option.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

As I said a moment ago, I had no idea what to expect from these headphones, I didn’t even know the price, which is actually my preferred way of trying things out. If I don’t know what to expect, then I can’t have any preconceived opinions. When I reviewed the Aune Jasper (the IEMs), I went into that review in basically the same circumstances, with no idea what to expect, and they turned out to have a tuning that really suited my preferences.

In the case of the AR5000, luck would have it that they are again something that matches my personal preferences as far as tuning. I will also say that, while I didn’t know what to expect from these headphones, I have still been pleasantly surprised.

The angle of the pads and the drivers does in fact place the source of the music towards the front, which does lose some of the depth towards the rear but also widens the sensation of horizontal and forward depth. This means that in binaural tracks such as “La Luna”, we lose a bit of that rear placement of the back left guitar, however, for live presentations, such as “Free Fallin’”, there is more of a sensation of being in front of a stage rather than in the center of the stage. 

While I would still not say that these are as wide as something like the Arya v2, it is still a nice sensation of width and I have found a lot of liver performances, especially those that have been accompanied with video (live concerts etc.) to be very enjoyable. For example, I found watching Tiny Desk Concerts to be very enjoyable. Of course, the sound quality on YouTube is not the best but I usually enjoy the Tiny Desk stuff anyway and the AR5000 added to the enjoyment with that presentation angled from the front.

As far as the actual sound itself, as in tuning and performance in the usual ranges, let’s start off with the usual FR graph with the HD6XX as a comparison:

I use the HD6XX as a reference due to me not really having an overear reference like I do with my in ears, so I have always just leaned towards showing the HD6XX due to it being one of the mostly widely known headphones out of the ones I have.

Ok, so enough with all of that and let's get into the specifics, starting off with the subbass.

Chameleon” comes across as clean and controlled in the subbass, with a decent amount of presence but not to the skull rumbling levels that other sets will provide. As the subbass levels are not overly boosted, it makes it easier for the drivers to balance the extreme low end with the other frequencies. This results in a calm and collected subbass that won’t satisfy the needs of those looking for the extreme low end rumble but will make those looking for a more balanced sound quite happy.

Listening to “No Sanctuary Here”, by Marian Herzog featuring Chris Jones, here we get a much better idea of the balance in the low end. Subbass and midbass is present enough to balance the track without putting the focus on that low end. The AR5000 does a good job of keeping up with faster paced electric bass guitar also, such as that in “The Room”, although it may miss a little bit of midbass warmth for those who are more interested in classic rock such as “Whole Lotta Love”, where the bass guitar is appreciated but a little “cooler” than some other presentation with a bit more midbass focus.

This keeps the midbass from getting fatiguing for me, such as in “Crazy”, although I did find that on very busy tracks, such as “The Room” I just mentioned, it can make things a little less clear in the midrange.

Acoustic instruments, guitars and basses for example, sound decent in the midrange yet I do find that there is a bit of emphasis placed on the upper mids of these instruments, with the higher notes being noticeably cleaner than the lower notes on the same instrument, such as in “Billie Jean” by The Civil wars or “Seven Nation Army”  by Zella Day.

The upper midrange does a nice job of bringing vocals forwards, examples would be the two tracks I just mentioned, although it works better for some vocals more than others. Certain female vocals can be just a little too harsh in this range, such as Beth, whereas certain male vocals can just be a little too lost in the music, especially when it is a busier track, such Zack De La Rocha.

Vocals in simpler tracks, where they are the main focus, sound nice and clear, although some do feel like they could do with just a touch more warmth in the lower frequencies.

Upper ranges are not the most extended but are pleasant, without any nasty peaks or other artifacts that spoil the presentation of the music with unexpected harshness or sibilance. Some may find that they would like a little more air but I feel that Aune have played it safe in this regard and ended up with a treble that is not the most lively but is not going to be a negative for the majority of people.

Details are pretty good throughout the whole ranges although I do find that when a track gets busy, especially in the lower half of the frequency spectrum, then the AR5000 can seemingly struggle to keep up with all the details of a fast moving lower end. This is not really a complaint but it is something that I feel could be improved but the question is at what price?


Conclusion…

I feel that this first venture into the world of headphones by Aune has been a very sensible one. They have presented something that is not groundbreaking and is not going to be claimed as a “giant killer” (I hate that term!) but is a rather respectable set of headphones that come in at a very reasonable price. 

Yes, there are a few things here and there that could be improved but I think what we are getting at this price point is something well worth considering for those who are looking for a decent all rounder set of headphones.

It is going to be a little expensive for those who want the lowest price they can find, it is not really going to appeal to those who are immersed in the TOTL headphone world and I think that it may be a little too tame for those who are proclaimed bass heads. However, for those that are looking for a balanced set of easy to drive headphones at a reasonable price, then the AR500 should be on the radar.

Personally, I have been left with a good sensation but that is usually the case with Aune.


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