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Audioquest NightHawk Review | ODD SOUND!

by Stuart Charles Black

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Greetings friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Audioquest NightHawk Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Amp/DAC requirements
  8. Who these headphones benefit?
  9. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  10. Consensus/Conclusion
  11. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Audioquest NightHawk


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I got a chance to demo the Audioquest Nighthawk at my local Audio Advice, but my overall consensus isn’t an overwhelmingly positive one. I don’t think the headphones are bad per se, but they definitely don’t measure up to their NightOwl sibling.

Let’s get into the specifics.

Build Quality

On a positive note, the build quality here is just as good as the NightOwl, and continues in the same vein. We’ve got plush protein leather padding, a hammock-style headband that is just fabulous, and that same liquid wood material that feels durable in the hand. I would feel pretty comfortable dropping these and could see them lasting a long time with proper care.


Comfort here is phenomenal. I didn’t have to adjust or take them off once, and the Hawk is the type of headphone that you could theoretically wear all day and all night with minimal adjustment. A numbah one!


The sound is where they fall short of the Owl. With the Owl, the bass knew its place, had thump, but wasn’t muddy or overblown at any point in time. The Hawk’s bass is heavier, but it has less clarity and more pure slam. This sounds good in theory, but it just doesn’t measure up.

There’s something odd going on in the mid-bass for sure, as it’s kind of muddy and gets in the way of the mid-range. If you’ll recall this graph from Tyll over at Innerfidelity, you can kind of see a couple of odd humps between 100 and 200 Hz. It’s very subtle, but after awhile listening, you can kind of pick up on the unnatural character the mid-bass gives off.

What’s odd is that the NightOwl’s actually have a similar signature and mid-bass bump, but to me, they don’t sound too needle-like or punchy. They sound more natural and articulate. Go figure.

The mid-range on the Hawk also seems kind of subdued, and dare I say strained. Ty’lls graph also reveals that, as it takes an almost nose dive below flat. Bleh.

To sum up, the NightHawk is plenty warm and pretty clean, but in a very unnatural way. Something about its signature just doesn’t feel right, and it fails to strike any of the right chords with me. I would classify the sound a bit brittle, with lots of boom but little clarity. Oh well.


  • Extremely comfortable. Keeps in the vein of the NightOwl.
  • Durable and good construction. I would be okay dropping these.
  • Hammock headband. Extremely convenient.


  • Mid-bass. The bass kind of jabs at you at times, and doesn’t feel articulate or natural.
  • Mid-range subdued.

Video Review

Coming soon!

Amp/DAC requirements

They aren’t going to need an amp, but do benefit from one as the sound reaches another level by providing greater clarity. I was using a NAIM V-1 DAC coupled with an Oppo Receiver, playing Chon’s “Homey.” I also used Spotify, and Youtube, with a variety of genres including Rock, Rap/Hip-Hop, Indie, Pop, etc.

Who these headphones benefit?

They will work with most genres. As mentioned above:

  • Indie
  • Classic Rock
  • Pop. They do sound good with pop but can get a little “essy” at times at high volumes.
  • Hip-Hop
  • Rock

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • The chord is very long, but a bit thin for my tastes. It’s made of fabric, and I could see it fraying over time. Not exactly ideal in my opinion.
  • The chord terminates in two 2.5mm plugs. I thought the construction of these was very solid. The tag end that plugs into your phone or other device terminates in the standard 3.5mm jack and comes with a 1/4″ adapter.


Unnatural sound, with some odd things going on with the mid-bass. Mid-range feels very much recessed, and overall they lack the clarity that the Owl provide in spades. Comfort and build are both excellent.

Final Word

I would take a gander at the NightOwl. It’s just a better headphone in all aspects, and still provides you that phenomenal comfort and build. Interested in learning more?


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Audioquest NightHawk review.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

What do you think about these? Are they worth the investment? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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Audioquest NightHawk




Sound Quality







  • Comfort
  • Build
  • Soundstage
  • Detail Retrieval


  • Mid-Bass issue

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