I recently got a chance to spend some quality time with the AAW Nightingale! These IEMs have an innovative driver design, using ultra small planar magnetic drivers! And with a mature, suave look and a durable feel, I was curious to give them a listen. But how did they perform? Let’s take a closer look with this AAW Nightingale review.
Suave and Sweet – AAW Nightingale Review
In the Box
-AAW Nightingale earpieces
-48’’ Symphonym Tiburon Cable
-silicone, 2-flange, and foam eartips
-3.5 mm to 6.35 mm adapter
-wooden carrying case
-magnetic storage case
Look and Feel
The AAW Nightingale has a gorgeous, mature look. It’s driver housings are made of a strong metal and have a matte black finish. The outside shell features the Nightingale logo on what looks like a backlay of stainless steel, also sporting the words “planar magnetic”. Additionally, the Nightingale is open back, and has a metallic wire grill. As a result, it looks and feels expensive and suave.
Comfort and Fit
The driver housings of the AAW Nightingale are medium-large in size. However, they fit remarkably comfortably in my smallish ears. The tight, malleable earhook on the cable provided support. Meanwhile the angle of the nozzle and rounded shape of the housing secured them inside my ear canal. While these won’t be great for those with ultra small ears, they will work well for the majority of folks, including those with smallish ears like me.
The cable of the AAW Nightingale, like the cables of the others in the AAW lineup, is made by Null Audio. The Nightingale features the Null Audio Symphonym Tiburon cable. Made up of UPOCC copper, the Symphonym Tiburon was made to enhance music signal transmission. Additionally, it was made to reduce resistance. The cable has two individually insulated conductors per side. When combined in the middle, are all braided together.
The connectors of the Null Audio Symphonym Tiberon cable are feel extremely durable. They’re made of rhodium and have a carbon fibre decorative coating. The cable connects to the AAW Nightingale via two-pin connectors and it terminates to a 3.5 mm connector.
The AAW Nightingale features an innovative driver design. It consists of ultra small 15 mm planar magnetic drivers. These planar magnetic drivers are highly efficient and durable with an impedance of 250 ohms and a sensitivity of 105 dB SPL. It consists of a remarkably thin, nano grade diaphragm alongside a miniature magnet array. According to AAW, the voice coil delivers signal directly to the diaphragm which expands its flexibility and conductivity.
The low frequencies of the AAW Nightingale are even and realistic. While they don’t have particular emphasis, they reproduce low frequency rich instruments fully and with harmonic richness. Additionally, the lows feel punchy and precise. As a result, there is a feeling of tightness and energy from the lows which helps contribute to the groove of the song, despite their moderation in level.
For example, when I was listening to the song Normal by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, the lows of the naked kick drum at the top of the song felt realistic and natural. I could hear the overtones of the kick in the room. Additionally, despite the fact that the lows of the kick felt balanced and unemphasized in the mix, their quickness and tightness let move and groove with the bass guitar once it enters.
The middle frequencies of the AAW Nightingale have a full and even low mid and middle midrange response. I felt perhaps a little bit of emphasis around what sounded like 700Hz, which contributed to a feeling of fullness and weight to midrange rich instruments, but in some mixes seemed slightly boxy. Additionally, the Nightingale has an interesting high mid response. A light cut at the base of the high-mids creates separation between midrangey instruments like guitars, basses, dark organs, and cellos from those with high-mid information like vocals, violins, and horns. Then, a boost at the top of the high-mids provides a feeling of articulation and presence for those high-mid rich instruments.
For example, when I was listening to the song Shout Mountain Music by Old Crow Medicine Show, the upright bass felt full and rich, with a great sense of quick activity, providing specificity to its walking movement. The upright along with the banjo, darkly mixed mandolin, background vocals, and far-off midrangey handclaps had great separation from the lead vocal and the lead fiddle. As a result, the lead vocal, fiddle, and acoustic guitar attacks had specificity and articulation.
The high frequencies of the AAW Nightingale have emphasis in the lower treble and a little bit of emphasis at the base of the upper octave. As a result, combined with a cut in the upper treble, the Nightingale has a sense of articulation, audible air, and a nice, smooth lack of sibilance. Therefore, I absolutely love their representation of vocals, which have all the detail I want from an IEM, but none of the harshness that would otherwise might turn me off from them. However, I was also impressed by the highs because, while they emphasize attack and articulation, they are still able to express the harmonic complexity of cymbals, strings, bright synths, pianos and percussion.
For example, when I was listening to the song Sweet Spot by Kim Petras the vocals sounded clear and articulate in the highs, but also had a gorgeous sense of smoothness. However, Kim’s voice is also mixed brightly. As a result, it leaned toward its audible ariness around what sounded like 10 kHz. But because of the upper treble cut, it sounded clear and sweet without harshness! Likewise, the high-hat sample and brighter synths felt light and airy, contributing to the energetic and dancy vibe of the song, especially in the way the track as a whole hits the buss compression.
The soundstage of the AAW Nightingale had a remarkable feeling of depth to it. Its nuance came from both its quickness and accuracy, but also from its little bump in the middle midrange which brought out the complexities of room mics and reverbs. The Nightingale was able to portray far-off instruments and intimate instruments with equal ease, providing nuance to the ones sitting in between them.
Likewise, the AAW Nightingale’s soundstage did a exceptional job at portraying a sense of height. Even though the lows were not particularly emphasized, the lows and highs both had a subtle sense of extension. And because of their quickness and clarity, the vertical placement of each instrument had separation and dimensionality.
Lastly, the AAW Nightingale’s sense of width had nuance and specificity. While I didn’t feel an extreme expansion from it, it had a unique sense of control and stability, while maintaining the emotionally impactful wide embellishments of certain mixes.
For example, when I was listening to the song Fever by Ray Charles featuring Natalie Cole, the intimacy of the vocals contrasted exceptionally with the far off keys and organ. In between those two extremes, the electric guitar sat without leaving any holes. As a result, the changes of sparseness and complexity in the arrangement felt emotionally impactful and rich.
As for the sense of height, the deepness of the bass contrasted wonderfully from cymbals, finger snaps, hand drum, and lead vocal air was great! In between those extremes, all the keys, strings, and guitars had separation from each other and felt accurate in their placement.
Lastly, the feeling of width wasn’t overly expansive with the wide strings and guitars. However, there was a strong feeling of phantom center from the vocal and the bass. This anchoring gave the other panned instruments freedom to move and express themselves. It did this without losing the center character holding the mix together.
Overall, the AAW Nightingale is a unique IEM with a comfortable fit, and a classy look. Its sound signature marries a feeling of thickness, fullness, and detail, which works for a wide variety of genres. I do recommend using an external amplifier for them. While I was able to get enough level when driving them with just my phone, they sounded a little bit recessed. With more specific amplification, the earphones came to life in a different way!
The AAW Nightingale is available for the best price here:
AAW Nightingale at Audio46