Product review: AudioQuest Nighthawk

AudioQuest’s first foray into headphones could be an exciting new step for the cable manufacturer, as it pits itself against well established competitors…

Well known for their exciting product names, these new headphones don’t disappoint under the Nighthawk label. In fact – even the packaging is exciting. Receiving the box from the courier in store, the customers present were highly amused by my excitement as I tore open the cardboard box like a seven year old at Christmas. Inside the Nighthawks are dressed in a tight fitting leather outfit.

The contents of the leather carry case are just as exciting; two high quality AudioQuest cables tipped with silver and one finished with wood. It’s interesting to listen to both just to understand why AudioQuest go to the lengths they do in cable production. Having the backup cable if one fails is also a better solution than providing just one under the illusion it is hardwearing. Next is the silver quarter inch jack adapter which looks more prestigious than any other adapter I’ve seen. This is paired with its own special silver cleaning cloth.

Nighthawk by AudioQuest

Nighthawk by AudioQuest

To address the main function of the Nighthawks concisely is difficult because there is so much to praise. For starters, these headphones are so comfortable they melt into your subconscious, paired with the “bio-cellulose driver technology” that stops listener fatigue, you can spend hours at a time enjoying the fruits of the Nighthawks labour; be it using a games console, watching a movie on your laptop or listening to Spotify on the go.

The Nighthawks have a very individual sound, while versatile enough to scream or croon, there is never a raw tone that wasn’t intended by the artist. For example – the opening of Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling can be an incredibly grating experience on bad speakers. The Nighthawks effortlessly track the singers voices up and down with the space and grace to bring you to new planes of enjoyment. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder is another great example of the brilliance of these headphones, starting with pitch perfect highs and tight punchy bass notes between the trumpets you immediately feel like you’re sat in the recording studio hearing it all first hand. This deeply assured full sound can only be described as natural and complete. It gets my head nodding and impulsively singing along, much to anyone around me’s annoyance. They are not perhaps the most detailed sounding headphones, but its siren song is enough to make you want to listen endlessly. It is not often adults will beg for a turn on someone else’s new toy, especially in a work environment surrounded by similar products – something that speaks volumes for the Nighthawks.

As I finish this review I am listening to Weapon of Choice by B.R.M.C. through the AudioQuest Dragonfly/Jitterbug DAC and I am transported back to the live show. In the words of the Nighthawks’ designer Skylar Gray “it is an emotionally compelling experience”. AudioQuest have achieved excellence first time out and created something to crave and celebrate.

Author: Joe – Bath store