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TMoney

Mr Speakers Ether/Ether-C

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I have the Ether/Ether C on loan and I did some listening last night vs. my HD800S.

TLDR Version

The Ether is legit. I like it better than any Audeze I've heard. It won't be supplanting the 800S in my collection, but this is a legit good headphone. Frequency balance issues and price are its biggest weaknesses. Bass and comfort are its biggest strengths.

 

Long Version
For reference, my chain: iPad -> Wyrd -> Yggy -> XP-10 -> DSHA-4.

Pros:

  • Ether bass is fantastic. Waaaaay better than HD800S bass. Going back and forth you can really hear the distortion on the 800S. The Ether feels like it is clear an octave lower than the 800S. The bass quality and amount feels just about perfect with the Ether. The Audeze cans I've heard hit a little harder, but the Ether is totally fine.
    • Going back to the 800S makes you sad how mediocre the bass is. It isn't bad, but the Ether shows how much better and clearer bass can sound. The 800S really falls apart in the bottom octave.
  • Comfort is surprisingly good. While the headband felt kind of finicky at first, the comfort once these are on my head is very good. I like the 800S fit and feel better, but the Ether is well above average when it comes to comfort.
  • Soundstage is better than what I've heard from Audeze.
  • Distortion is low, and you can totally hear it. These are very clear sounding headphones and they handle power pretty well.

Cons:

  • The Ether really should be $995, not $1499. If these were under a grand, I'd think about buying a pair.
  • Cable length is too short. I guess its the DUM balanced cable that came with the loaners. Not all of us listen at our desks. The 800S cable is 3 meters and the DUM cable really should be that long as well.
  • The Ether sounds thin to me. The 800S treble and mids are better balanced to my ears. The Ether doesn't sound bright, but the balance throughout the range just isn't there the way it is with the 800S. This is the biggest fault of the Ether, IMO, and its what will keep me from buying one.
    • If Dan an co can fix the treble and mids balance in whatever they come up with to succeed the Ether then they might have a real winner.
    • Also, Sennheiser, give me a damn TOTL planar magnetic already!
  • The 800S soundstage is much better. The Ether doesn't stage poorly, but it isn't in the same league as the 800S. Going from the 800S to the Ether I missed the staging right away.
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Just the Ether so far. I'll be playing around with the Ether C this weekend.

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When I had the Ether Open here, I thought it was a really good headphones but I just enjoyed my HD800 better out of my ECP DSHA-0.  I agree with your price point however that it should be closer to $1200 than $1500.00.

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I was most impressed by the attack and speed of the Ether C, with great imaging, micro-detail, soundstage, and extension at both ends.  But while the bass extension was deeper it didn't have the bass kick and impact of the open model.  The open model didn't seem as balanced or crisp to me, and the whole thing left me wishing I could have the best of both in one headphone.  The Ether C need the bass impact and punch of the open version, without changing anything else about the C.  I preferred them over most of the Audeze models, except for the bass.  With my owning the LCD-2.2 HE-500, HE560, HE-6 and HE-1000 I didn't see any room in my collection for the Ether(C).

Edited by HeadphoneAddict

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I agree, Purk. If these were $995, they'd be a huge hit.

I also agree, Larry. The "C" seemed to be better tonally balanced but the open Ether was clearly superior on bass and sound-staging.

I have to say I was impressed. The Ether Open is very close to a headphone I would actually buy.

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A friend of mine have it so I will probably need to give it another listen again.  How do you guy liking the HE-1000?  I have those and they are better than the Ether open but the craftsmanship is rather disappointing.  My biggest problem with the HE-1000 is somewhat diffused and small headstage.

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I would loan you the Ether anytime Purk. The 1.1 upgrade really made a nice difference and you should give it another listen for sure. With the Questyle mono block setup, they sound pretty amazing. 

I go back and forth between Ether and hd800. I don't think that I'd want to give up either one. 

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New "Ether-Flow" announced over on HF. http://www.head-fi.org/t/814156/mrspeakers-ether-flow-and-ether-c-flow-inspired-by-electrostatic-headphones#post_12721407

It'll be at the Bay Area HF meet this weekend so I'm looking forward to hearing it. Should be fun to compare it to the new Focal duo and my own HD800S.

The open version of the Ether was pretty close to a headphone I'd consider buying. An improved version could be compelling.

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Matt (mattyice) brought the Flow over yesterday and I am mightily impressed by the sound.  On my ECP Dac + Headamp GS-1 (dynalo +) module, I prefer them over both the hifiman HEK and Senn HD-800.  I found them to be very fast, cohesive, dynamics, and immensely enjoyable with a good soundstage (something that the HEK wasn't good at).  I am usually not easily impressed by newer headphones, but I have to say this one got my serious attention.  I actually wish I can own one right now.  Still, I think that the gap between the three phones maybe closer on my home balanced setup consisting of the yggy + susy dynahi / ECP audio DSHA-0.  On the GS-1, the Ether Flow was simply a better sounding headphones to my ears by noticeably margin.  I usually find the HD800 to scale better than most headphones hence the comment on my home balanced setup.

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Thanks for sharing, Purk. I'll be doing a similar comparison on my DSHA-4 assuming I can steal a set away from the Mr. Speakers table.

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Have the money ready...it is very musical headphones.  The best part is that I don't feel that soundstage restriction that often plague most ortho phones.

Edited by purk

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Good to hear. Dan's a nice guy, and I'm glad its not $4K. Count me interested. 

Edited by robm321

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Yes, I have to agree.  The Flow is a great headphones in my book based on a short auditioned session.  It is definitely considerably earlier to drive than both the HD800 and HE1000.

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Heard the Flow yesterday at the SF HF Meet. Got to test it on my own rig and I loved it.

My impressions:

  • The real deal, a fabulous headphone.
  • Ether Flow is a stupid name for a headphone.
  • I loved the way it sounded on my rig. Deep, tight bass and great balance overall. This is now the “go to” planar if the Ether wasn’t already.
  • I would need to have a regular Ether side by side to discuss improvements in the new model, but I felt Flow was better balanced high-to-low and sounded a bit more open than its predecessor.
  • This will easily make Tyll’s “wall of fame.”
  • At $1,800 it is clearly positioned to rival the HD800S. I probably still take the 800S (if I had to pick one) as it plays more to my tastes, but loving seeing the Ether get better and better and make that decision harder and harder.
  • There is no way the Audeze LCD-4 can cost $4k when Ether Flow sounded just about as good, is much more comfortable to wear, and costs less than half as much.
  • If Ether Flow was $1,200 I would buy one today, $1,800 feels like a bit of a stretch.
Edited by TMoney
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Glad to have your impression as well.  I wasn't sure how it will fare against the HD800/s on the top end rig given that the Senn usually can scale higher than most headphones.

Plus Doug is now voiced his amp exclusively for the HD800 (could be wrong here), so I can see why you will enjoy the HD800 better out of your DSHA-4.

Edited by purk

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On 5/6/2016 at 9:21 PM, TMoney said:

Frequency balance issues and price are its biggest weaknesses. Bass and comfort are its biggest strengths.

 

Pros:

  • Ether bass is fantastic. Waaaaay better than HD800S bass. Going back and forth you can really hear the distortion on the 800S. The Ether feels like it is clear an octave lower than the 800S. The bass quality and amount feels just about perfect with the Ether. The Audeze cans I've heard hit a little harder, but the Ether is totally fine.
    • Going back to the 800S makes you sad how mediocre the bass is. It isn't bad, but the Ether shows how much better and clearer bass can sound. The 800S really falls apart in the bottom octave.

Cons:

  • The Ether really should be $995, not $1499. If these were under a grand, I'd think about buying a pair.
  • The Ether sounds thin to me. The 800S treble and mids are better balanced to my ears. The Ether doesn't sound bright, but the balance throughout the range just isn't there the way it is with the 800S. This is the biggest fault of the Ether, IMO, and its what will keep me from buying one.

 

2 hours ago, TMoney said:

Heard the Flow yesterday at the SF HF Meet. Got to test it on my own rig and I loved it.

My impressions:

  • I loved the way it sounded on my rig. Deep, tight bass and great balance overall. This is now the “go to” planar if the Ether wasn’t already.
  • I would need to have a regular Ether side by side to discuss improvements in the new model, but I felt Flow was better balanced high-to-low and sounded a bit more open than its predecessor.
  • This will easily make Tyll’s “wall of fame.”
  • At $1,800 it is clearly positioned to rival the HD800S. I probably still take the 800S (if I had to pick one) as it plays more to my tastes, but loving seeing the Ether get better and better and make that decision harder and harder.
  • There is no way the Audeze LCD-4 can cost $4k when Ether Flow sounded just about as good, is much more comfortable to wear, and costs less than half as much.
  • If Ether Flow was $1,200 I would buy one today, $1,800 feels like a bit of a stretch.

A few month back you reported the Ether to sound thin with fantastic bass, but not as balanced as the HD800S - and you felt it should cost 995USD.

Now, you've heard the Ether "TrueBlow" and report great balance overall and still feel the need for a direct comparison Ether to Ether "TrueBlow", and fell 1200USD is the right price.

did you just change your mind along the way?

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I had the Ether at home and heard the Ether Flow at a meet. While I used my rig in both occasions I'd like to A-B with both in a quiet environment.

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1 hour ago, TMoney said:

I had the Ether at home and heard the Ether Flow at a meet. While I used my rig in both occasions I'd like to A-B with both in a quiet environment.

Fair enough -  but it does give the impression that the Ether and Ether TrueBlow doesn't sound significantly different though

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Again, I am going off memory so it is very hard to tell anything more than a generalization. We all know how fickle audio memory can be. The most definitive thing I can say is that I was very impressed with the Flow yesterday. I hope at some point to have the Flow and the Regular together to do a proper comparison.

I would encourage anyone in the market for a high-end headphone to give the Flow a listen and come to their own conclusions.

7 hours ago, purk said:

Glad to have your impression as well.  I wasn't sure how it will fare against the HD800/s on the top end rig given that the Senn usually can scale higher than most headphones.

Plus Doug is now voiced his amp exclusively for the HD800 (could be wrong here), so I can see why you will enjoy the HD800 better out of your DSHA-4.

Doug would have to chime in here, but I'm not sure there was anything specifically done to my amp to make it better suited for the HD800 in particular other than having 300 ohm output impedance as default.

Edited by TMoney

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I'm probably wrong here but Doug was using the HD800 classic primarily with his amp during the Canlanta meet.

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My amps are "voiced" to be neutral :) They work well with the HD800's because the HD800's are really good headphones which is why I usually use them for demonstration purposes. But they work well with all sorts of different headphones. 

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Thanks Doug.  I can't wait to hear your amps again. :)

I wonder how other headphones will sound out of the Copenhagen and DSHA-2.

Edited by purk

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The Ether Flow that I shared with Purk last week, is an exceptionally good headphone. Some might even consider it a game changer at it's price/performance level. What you have is a planar magnetic with near stat level speed and decay. The whole purpose of the Flow was to increase the "speed" of the driver. Well, it ended up with some additional benefits as well. Based on my own preferences, Ether Flow is better than hd800 and hd800S even with good EQ applied to both 800 variants. Ether Flow matches the technical prowess of the 800/800s and offers a richer presentation with less restrictive amping requirements.

I'm all in on the Flow and have it on order. Just waiting for a tracking number. :D

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