“When we decided to build NightHawk, we knew it had to be something special—it had to have a real reason to exist because no one needs another ordinary headphone.”
-Skylar Gray, NightHawk Designer/Engineer
AudioQuest’s first headphones needed a special name—a name that conveyed power and freedom, inspired ideas of physical and emotional transportation, complemented the overall look and feel of the product, and still left room for growth. After much deliberation, "NightHawk" was chosen to lead what will be a complete family of headphones that match outstanding performance with extraordinary value.
-Nighthawk artwork by Justin Maller
Innovative Materials: Beautiful, Sustainable Liquid Wood
NightHawk's earcups are made from a revolutionary new material known as “Liquid Wood”—actual wood that has been combined with reclaimed plant fiber, heated, liquefied, and processed in such a way that it can be injection molded. Compared to ordinary plastic or wood, however, Liquid Wood has far superior acoustic properties and provides a seemingly endless array of geometric possibilities. In NightHawk, we use Liquid Wood to shape our earcups to more closely resemble the human ear, thereby providing a more complete and comfortable fit, reducing stress on the listener’s head and ears. And, unlike typical plastic, Liquid Wood is environmentally friendly—more than merely beautiful to behold, it is also sustainable.
Ergonomics: Removing the Barriers between Listener and Music
Sensitive ergonomics in a headphone design remove unnecessary boundaries between the listener and his or her emotional involvement with the music. NightHawk's flexible headband efficiently distributes the headphone's weight, providing a feel that is both comfortable and comforting—you'll want to wear NightHawk. Its simple yet intelligent, patent-pending suspension system allows the earcups to articulate freely, accommodating heads of nearly any shape or size, while effectively decoupling the earcups to counteract intrusive resonances. NightHawk's earpads are made of soft, durable protein leather—again shaped to resemble the human ear—with greater thickness toward the rear of the pad, thus providing additional comfort while setting NightHawk's drivers at an angle optimized for precise, stable imaging. Listen for hours—in comfort, immersed in music, moved by NightHawk.
The NightHawk Cable
NightHawk benefits from AudioQuest’s 30+ years of experience in the high-performance cable business, including a headphone cable purposefully designed to minimize distortion, promote intense user satisfaction, and provide a deep emotional connection to the music. It uses many of the same ingredients found in our speaker cables and interconnects, including high-purity Solid Perfect-Surface Copper+ conductors, Foamed-Polyethylene insulation, and silver-plated terminations. The cable’s exceptionally soft nylon braid minimizes mechanical noise and complements NightHawk’s quiet, confident beauty, while its 3.5mm plug has a 45° scooped shape designed to provide a satisfying feel as you make and unmake connections. In addition, we include a custom 3.5mm-to-1/4” headphone adaptor that, like our finest cable connectors, features thick Direct-Silver plating over the highest quality base metal, resulting in a part that isn’t merely functional, but also meets the standards set by NightHawk itself. Every bit of NightHawk was designed to exude quality, performance, innovation, and beauty.
Most of today’s headphones use diaphragms made from Mylar—an inexpensive, lightweight, and technologically mature plastic material. Unfortunately, Mylar is inherently flimsy and brittle, typically distorting as the audio signal reaches high frequencies of 6-10kHz and invariably causing listener fatigue. NightHawk takes a radically different approach. Inspired by the advanced drive-units used in today’s high-performance loudspeakers, NightHawk’s 50mm high-excursion drivers have biocellulose pistonic diaphragms and compliant rubber surrounds. The biocellulose material is rigid and self-damping, making it far more accurate and musically pleasing than Mylar.
NightHawk’s patented split-gap motor design dramatically reduces intermodulation distortion to provide a clean, well-defined broadband response and a large, naturally detailed representation of space with truly remarkable resolution in the time domain.
Balanced Equitangential Airflow
Air turbulence is one of the major contributors to non-linear, distortion-inducing behaviour in headphone drivers. NightHawk uses symmetrically distributed, equation-driven curvatures to intelligently guide airflow through its internal driver structure, thus reducing the harmful, unpredictable effects of turbulent air pockets and voice coil rocking. Your music sounds clean, clear, large, and alive.
Diamond Cubic Diffusion & 3D-Printing Technology
NightHawk is a semi-open headphone with a biomimetic grille inspired by the underlying structure of butterfly wings—a fascinating diamond cubic latticework that diffuses light to create iridescence. Visually beautiful, technologically complex, and built to a much larger scale in NightHawk, the grille’s intricate latticework diffuses sound and defeats the resonances that ultimately distort and damage our music. Far too complex to mold or machine, NightHawk’s grille can only be created through 3D printing via an advanced form of additive manufacturing known as “Selective Laser Sintering.” NightHawk, the first completely original production headphone to use a 3D-printed part, represents beauty, intelligence, and responsible innovation.
A Loudspeaker-Inspired Headphone Experience
Many of NightHawk's design elements are successfully implemented in today’s most innovative loudspeakers, but have rarely been used in headphones. Much like the internal bracing of a beautiful loudspeaker cabinet, NightHawk’s sophisticated earcup enclosure incorporates support beams that enhance structural integrity and minimize unwanted resonances and vibrations. An elastomeric coating is carefully applied to the enclosure’s internal surfaces to further reduce harmful vibrations, while a damping material comprising a purposeful blend of wool and polyester enables an extraordinarily smooth, natural frequency response for a deeply immersive and emotionally compelling listening experience. With NightHawk, vibration-induced distortion is intelligently minimized, allowing music to breathe freely.