Introducing the HarmonicDyne Athena, a studio-grade headphone equipped with a powerful 50mm metal-ceramic composite dynamic driver. Priced at $179.00, this headphone offers exceptional sound quality and meticulous attention to detail.
One unique aspect of the Athena is its name. Among the lineup of HarmonicDyne headphones, it is the first to bear the name of a female goddess, symbolizing strength, grace, and artistic prowess.
With its studio-grade sound composition and meticulous engineering, the HarmonicDyne Athena is designed to meet the discerning needs of audio enthusiasts and professionals alike. Whether you are an audiophile, a music producer, or simply someone who appreciates high-quality sound reproduction, the Athena offers a captivating and immersive listening experience.
HarmonicDyne Athena: Video Review
|Φ50mm Dynamic Driver
|10-70KHz (Free Field)
|0.2%@1KHz 100dB SPL
|3.5mm Stereo Cable
|210 x 175 x 105 mm
HarmonicDyne has paid attention to even the smallest details in the design of the Athena. One notable feature is the magnetically shut enclosure, which opens two flaps on either side. This level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is impressive, especially considering that the Athena is an entry-level headphone priced below $200. It’s a testament to HarmonicDyne’s commitment to elevating the overall user experience through thoughtful design choices.
When unboxing the Athena, the cans themselves are immediately visible, but the upper portion of the packaging is occupied by the included accessories. These accessories include a manual, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter for compatibility with different audio sources, a stereo cable for wired connections, and a carry case to protect and transport the headphones conveniently.
Additionally, nestled in a pocket at the center of the packaging, you will find a unique souvenir coin. This coin serves as an indicator of the device’s serial number and adds a touch of exclusivity to each unit. Notably, the coin has a substantial weight to it and boasts an aged aesthetic, further enhancing the premium feel of the Athena.
The inclusion of these accessories and the thoughtful addition of the souvenir coin demonstrate HarmonicDyne’s commitment to providing a complete and enjoyable unboxing experience for users. These little touches contribute to the overall satisfaction and pride of ownership that comes with owning the Athena headphones.
The HarmonicDyne Athena is equipped with a distinctive 50mm dynamic driver that sets it apart from other headphones. Its unique feature is the semi-closed design, achieved through the M-shaped side venting system. This design allows for a controlled leakage of sound, providing a balance between the isolation of closed-back headphones and the openness of semi-open-back models. The result is a more immersive sound experience with a hint of airiness.
To further enhance its performance, the Athena incorporates an ultra-fine voice coil and a high-flux magnet enclosure. These components contribute to the overall accuracy and responsiveness of the driver, ensuring precise sound reproduction across the frequency spectrum.
In terms of comfort, the Athena introduces subtle improvements to its headband compared to the rest of the series. The headband features a wider contact area and softer cushioning, enhancing long-term wearing comfort. The extension mechanism of the headband is also notable, as it securely clasps into position without fragility, providing a solid indication when adjusted.
The Athena offers some flexibility in its folding mechanism. It can lay flat in one direction, but its range of motion is more limited when turning it towards the other direction. However, pivoting the cups downwards is not an issue, as only the top is obstructed by the fork’s frame.
The flat reflective face of the Athena maintains a neat and polished appearance, possibly secured through clips or screws inside. However, it is worth noting that frequent touching of the surface may result in dulling its sheen due to fingerprints.
One of the distinctive visual elements of the Athena is the presence of seven holes on each side of the cups. These holes create an aesthetically pleasing pattern, with the largest punched hole located at the top, revealing a glimpse of the inside when observed closely.
The pads of the Athena are crafted from suede with perforated leather lining the inner walls. Their circular shape allows for a comfortable fit, and they are also removable, making it easy to find suitable replacements in the aftermarket.
The HarmonicDyne Athena finds itself in the middle ground between open-back and closed-back headphones when it comes to isolation. The vents on the Athena are wide enough to have an impact on isolation, allowing some outside noise to filter through, albeit at a slightly reduced volume. This also means that there is minimal music leakage towards the outside, ensuring a more private listening experience.
The Athena features a wide and supple headband that contributes to its confident and comfortable fit. However, it is worth noting that the clamping force is relatively light compared to the weight of the device. As a result, the headphone relies more on the headband for stability, putting additional pressure on the top of the head rather than evenly distributing it around the ear cushions.
HarmonicDyne pays attention to comfort with the choice of materials for the ear cushions. The combination of suede and perforated leather creates a breathable surface that allows for airflow. The cushions are designed with sufficient room to avoid direct contact with the ears, promoting extended listening sessions without discomfort. However, it is important to mention that the internal space of the cushions is rectangular in shape, which may pose a slight concern for individuals with larger ears, as it reduces the available front and rear area within the pads.
HarmonicDyne Athena: Sound quality
The HarmonicDyne Athena defies expectations for closed-back mixing headphones by delivering an exceptional soundstage and spatial imaging. While closed-back headphones are often associated with accurate stereo articulation rather than expansive depth, the Athena breaks the mold and provides one of the best soundstages among reference headphones in its category.
Typically, one might anticipate a more linear sound signature from a mixing headphone, but the Athena offers a captivating and immersive sound field. This expanded soundstage allows for precise localization of sound elements, making it easier to discern the exact placement of instruments and effects. The Athena’s ability to create ample space and separation between layers results in a more revealing listening experience.
In addition to its impressive depth, the Athena also exhibits a remarkable width in its soundstage. The extra venting employed in its design contributes to this openness, expanding the perception of the soundstage in a more expansive manner. As a result, the headspace feels more expansive, and the imaging surrounds you, almost as if it’s enveloped in a dome. This unexpected and surprising experience sets the Athena apart from other reference headphones.
When using the Athena, you can expect instruments and effects to stack gracefully, with each element clearly defined in its specific position. The enhanced width and imaging capabilities of the Athena make it easier to identify the precise location of each sound element, allowing for a highly detailed and immersive listening experience.
The HarmonicDyne Athena, with its partly closed housing, delivers a satisfying bass response. It excels at reproducing thick and impactful timbres, particularly evident in drums and broader strokes. Even on tighter reverb, the bass remains controlled and doesn’t become overly boomy. This characteristic creates an addictive quality to the listening experience, although the punch of the bass may not be as strong as some might prefer.
Moving to the midrange, the Athena offers a rich and mellow presentation. This becomes evident when listening to female vocals with a wide dynamic range, as the treble notes smoothly transition into a deep and substantial depth without any sudden spikes. The midrange precision and evenness contribute to accurate instrument placement, allowing for a well-defined and cohesive soundstage. However, the softness in timbre may slightly veil the echo and create a sense of less spaciousness than anticipated.
Listening to concertos, the Athena excels at capturing the intricacies of individual notes, providing a satisfying listening experience. The violin’s fleeting ringing is enjoyable and the crashing of cymbals showcases a metallic timbre with a crisp bite, adding a touch of realism to the overall sound signature.
HarmonicDyne Athena: Conclusion
The HarmonicDyne Athena stands out as a studio-grade headphone that offers a unique blend of features and performance. With its 50mm metal-ceramic composite dynamic drivers, the Athena showcases its tuning competency and delivers a studio-grade sound experience.
The Athena’s semi-closed design, featuring an M-shaped side venting system, strikes a balance between isolation and openness, allowing for a controlled amount of sound leakage. The ultra-fine voice coil and high-flux magnet enclosure further enhance the performance of the drivers, ensuring tight and even playback.
Unlike traditional closed-back headphones, the Athena provides a wide and engrossing sound field, offering excellent separation and layering of instruments and effects.
While the Athena excels in many areas, it is important to note that its sound signature may not be suited for everyone. The emphasis on bass and the softness in timbre may compromise some transparency and immediate detail retrieval, but it contributes to a rich and enjoyable sound reproduction.
Overall, the HarmonicDyne Athena impresses with its unique features, exceptional soundstage, and attention to detail. It offers a captivating and immersive listening experience, making it a compelling option for those seeking a studio-grade headphone with excellent spatial imaging and a touch of uniqueness.