@Torq the Ether2s are a M’F to photograph lol… I have about 55 shots that I can now hopefully get down to at least 3 good shots… I’m hoping for 5 out of 55 lol…ugh… ok enough delays time to start reviewing the 55 shots…delete…delete…kind of nice…but …delete…lol
Yes, yes they are!
Black … on black … on black … with black highlights …
Here I’ve imported an image in to this text box for a quick review for you, let me know if I should highlight any of the blacks:
So…what do you think
You could hang that in the Met in NY and everyone would call it a masterpiece.
Or give my 2 year old some paint and a canvas…and sell those for thousands of dollars…with names like childhood innocence…childs messy room…child interpretation of interpretation… lol
Mr. Speakers Ether2 a review from a certain point of view
Another review brought to you in thanks to the Headphone.com Community Preview Program. I can’t say enough good things about this forum. Great group of people. Also thank you to Headphone.com for allowing it to be a thing, especially the generous Community Preview Program.
So, in case you haven’t read one of my reviews before, I am a Dad, Husband, hobby collector, gamer, and generally, enjoy learning about new things all the time. I am not one to go deep into the technicalities of things and more in the general use of a thing, I also skew positive in general and try to find the best in things…now if something is bad, well I’ll be truthful and say so, and honestly, I wouldn’t waste my time reviewing it.
The Ether2 was a lucky opportunity to try as it really wasn’t overly on my radar, but I got to check it out a bit ago (I got to hold it) and was amazed at how light it was…I thought it wasn’t real. So, when the chance to do a more in-depth listen and review of it I jumped on it. Now, shall we see how it faired…
The Facts sheet (specifications)
The first thing you will be amazed at is the weight…these things are feather light in comparison to almost every other headphone I’ve tried. They come in at a whopping 290gr!!! I’m not saying it is spacemagic…. but SPACE MAGIC!
Impedance is an equally light 16ohms
Driver size is 71x45mm Planar Magnetic
All metal design with a carbon fiber driver baffle help in keeping the weight off
TrueFlow technology is the basis for their design on this set, feel free to visit the Mr.Speakers Ether2 product page for a more detailed description of it.
My Tackle of listening gear
RME ADI-2DAC, SPL Phonitor XE, this was my primary chain and I didn’t really deviate from these two sources as my listening equipment.
I did a comparison to the LCD-X which can be found in its own section below.
Music sources are Spotify Premium, Qobuz Studio (for lossless streaming), and FLAC files stored locally on my Mac. I can be pretty diverse with my music tastes and don’t follow a specific genre, essentially if I like the way it sounds that is all that matters to me. I do tend to get into a specific style over a period of time though…lately it has been more chill electronic music. If you have interest in hearing what I generally listen to, feel free to check out a station I try to keep updated on Spotify for the headphone.com forum:
Build of a thing
These are the lightest headphones planar magnetic…period. It is crazy how light they are. The build is metal and wire, with minimal if any plastic. The wires and leather headband work surprisingly well, and adjusts very easily and almost naturally by putting the headphones on. You will have to adjust once on, but it isn’t a hard thing to do.
I would say this is minimalist design, and it works, they look good and feel sturdy, even though they are so light. I can’t find any major fault with them.
The cable that comes with them is also quite nice and I really like the connectors. They are solid and just feel nice plugging in and removing. The actual cable is a nice cable covered in what appears to be paracord. Solidly built and once again can’t find fault here.
What is in the BOX!
Pretty basic stuff, but it comes with a nice carry case, outside of that just the headphones and the cable. The case is nice and solid and I wouldn’t mind throwing it in my backpack if I wanted to go portable with these.
I can sum this up really quick…they disappear on your head! One of the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn. Light, and the ear pads or supple and comfortable.
I found these to be a relaxing and enjoyable listening experience. I found myself getting lost to tracks, and not trying to pull them apart. The detail is there if you pay attention to it and the dynamics are excellent with good detail retrieval. But even having good detail, and imaging, the soundstage wasn’t the widest, but not in your head, more medium stage.
They are a smooth and easy listen, I enjoy sitting back with these and a dram or two of good whiskey (currently on a bourbon, or rye kick).
I think the dynamics are excellent, listening to something like Slenderbodies “King (acoustic)” and the guitar and vocals can highlight some cool dynamics, along with something like the latest from Rodrigo y Gabriela “Terracentric” just wow…
Imaging, Detail Retrieval, and Soundstage
Yosi Horikawa “Kingdom of Frogs (Daisuke Tanabe Remix)” Vapor Remixed 1, just give it a listen. Imaging is pretty good on these and feels much closer to my head, and less out in the world. The details are there but I don’t think these are detail monsters, but it is hard to say that, because I hear the details but something about them feels, less in my face…maybe this is why they are such a relaxing headphone…hmm…
Soundstage/imaging is tough with these, I think it is more left and right while less center. As in, for me, the sound is coming from left and right of me, not so much from center stage, even when it is a solo cello or piano. Examples would be Lang Lang “Greensleeves”, and “Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 : I.Prelude” performed by Yo-Yo Ma. Turning on crossfeed on my SPL Phonitor XE, and all of a sudden, in both songs the performer is center stage. So, take that for what it is, I personally don’t take huge offense at it but when noticed it can be off-putting, until a few seconds later and you’re just enjoying the music and forgot about it, having a big grin on your face.
Relax, imbibe some good stuff, close your eyes and get lost to your music. These are exemplary at performing this feat. Present, warm, intoxicating, dynamic, smooth…I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I found these to be truly an enjoyable headphone.
I had the fortune to also have the Audeze LCD-X at the same time for a review and found this to be a fun comparison of what could only be described as a battle of technical precision vs. a smooth operator. I have kept some of my notes here raw for you to get a peek into how I A/B tested them.
I used my SPL Phonitor XE here quite extensively and it made it super easy to test, with the balanced input on the front and back for headphones and a toggle switch up front to quickly swap between the two.
I would set the volume and then go through the tracks listed below, pausing/stopping then toggling to the other headphone (practice safe toggling folks and pause/stop your tracks before hitting that switch).
Highs accurate but not as sparkly
Mids there but bland
Bass feels very accurate, not as lush, or involving
Highs seem more present
Mids a bit more lively
Bass has more oomph
Everything has more “presence” more lively, enjoyable. More ethereal, almost has an echo, which can come off some sounds, claps, snares, high hats, etc.
Rodrigo y Gabriela “Terracentric”
Yo-Yo Ma “Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 : I. Prelude”
Busty and the Bass “The Real”
Betty Who “Human Touch”
Robin Schulz “Headlights” Feat. Ilsey
Ayla Nereo “Drive by Fires”
Many more were used during the listening of the Ether2, but these were some of the main A/B testing tracks I used.
LCD-X feels very clinical compared to the Ether2.
LCD-X makes you sit up and pay attention to the music, as in all the details.
Ether2 lets you sink into a nice leather recliner with a dram of good whiskey/bourbon and close your eyes and melt.
I think that these two are like comparing a technical marvel vs a piece of art. If that makes sense. The LCD-X moves out of the way of the music and just presents it with all of its intricacies. While the Ether2 wraps you in the music, and “shows” you the intricacies while you sip on warm milk and honey lol.
I wouldn’t say one is a winner over the other due to targeting different audiences and having different targeted outcomes. The LCD-X is probably one of the best all-around headphones you can get. I think it performs easily with others in its price bracket and even beats them, depending on the listener and their preferences. While the Ether2 is a good chunk of money more expensive, and it shows in its performance, and overall how well it performs while weighing as much as a feather…just bananas.
It is also more “ethereal" and has a presence and weight to the notes that drag you down into its embrace. It is funny how its diminutive weight is transposed into a weight in the music you hear, just a joy to listen to. But…yes there is a but… the LCD-X performs overall with more genres of music, better than the Ether2.
Some tracks such as Gooey by Glass Animals just sounded off with the Ether2, while on the LCD-X it sounded “right” and enjoyable. But then I put on some D’Angelo “Devil’s Pie”, Dido “Hurricanes”, Busty and the Bass “The Real”, and all is right, I’m back wrapped in my favorite chair sipping on some lovely Rye, nodding my head along to the music, enraptured by their singing and the music.
Wrap it up already!
With the Ether2, if you are in this hobby to just relax and enjoy some music, then I can easily recommend this headphone You can forgo the technical headphones and get these and be happy. If you are a person who likes to pick tracks apart, it is possible with these, but I think you would be missing the point and would be better served with something like the LCD-X, or HD800, Focal Clears, etc.
I truly enjoyed these headphones, and think they serve a purpose that is true to the hobby, enjoying the source material. They are smooth, relaxed, and just put a smile to my face with each new track that comes on. Details and clarity are there but with this ethereal presence, that just lets you fall back and listen. Where with some other headphones, I will find myself leaning forward, and listening. An important distinction to make, next time you are listening pay attention to it and see if you are leaning forward, or relaxed and sunk into your chair.
I think it is important in this hobby to remember to sit back, sink in, and just get lost. The Ether2 brought that feeling back to me during my time with it. I had a very long past couple of weeks and it was a nice respite to put these on my head and get lost for a bit. I appreciate my headphones on hand just a bit more now…
Well @taronlissimore, @Torq, @Resolve… I completed it lol…this review was tough…these are great headphones, and I really appreciate what they do…I just couldn’t get into a reviewing mindset…I think this was one of my least well written reviews. This ties back heavily into what I think can happen when outside factors color reviews. I have had a very busy past couple weeks/month or two and just could never find the time to dedicate to any of my hobbies… it was like the movie Groundhogs day…but the first few days where it was not fun Work, hang with fam (this was priority with limited time), then sleep…I hope I at least did these some of the justice they deserve to some degree in my review… I feel like it is a jumbled mess, I couldn’t pull it together properly in my head.
Let me know what you think of the photos… I think they came out ok… I actually like the “soundstage” image even though you can’t quite see the details in the headphone.
Brain no worky… sorry for the typed verbal diarrhea lol mind dumping I think I need to hit my reset button…now if only I could find the darn thing!
Were there any EQ or output settings configured on the RME?
I once tried to review (impressions really, not a full review) one of Zack’s headphones, the Vibro Mk2 I believe. I thought it was kind of lack luster in some areas, and then I realized I had the EQ for my K7XX applied the whole time. That makes quite a difference…
Don’t second guess yourself. I see nothing “wrong” in your review.
One thing I’ve found, over hundreds of write-ups, is that the more of them you do, the more things start to seem repetitive or trite, and it makes it progressively harder to write something one feels personally good about. Either objective or subjectively.
And doing several, in quick succession, exacerbates those feelings.
It’s a major factor in my more recent slow-down in posting reviews or impressions. Everything I write feels contrived, even if when I solicit specific feedback that’s not the response I get.
More and more I just want to listen to the music and not say anything about it, or the gear I am using, to anyone. I’ll finish my Ether 2 review, which is very much on the same plane as yours, before I get to that point, but it gets harder with every one I write …
Photos look great, love the sound descriptions as well. I’m intrigued about your “leaning forward vs leaning back” comparison. I’m now self-conscious about my listening posture hahaha. I think in general I’m a lean forward to listen kind of guy - probably doing terrible things to my back in the process. But I think you’re right in that there’s a relationship between the way music is approached and its ultimate enjoyment on various equipment. At the end of the day, just wanting to chill out, causes me to reach for a different headphone than when I’m in “work mode” for example. Also, we’ll have to connect on some bourbon next time I’m south of the border haha.
I think @Torq nailed it on the head In the next comment down from yours, and I interpreted my own stress levels and perceived lack of time just exacerbated the issue
I keep eq on flat when listening to new headphones, but I’ll double check now…wouldn’t that be an MF…I still really like these headphones! Really a joy to unwind with
Yes…yes they are…I think you will tease out better pictures.
I have a couple other pictures that came out ok but I didn’t like the overall makeup of the pictures.
I also, have been enjoying just listening to my gear, and the music. It has been a haven…that and playing some violent video games lol…just beat Katana Zero over the weekend, now working on Cuphead…both on switch, both have awesome soundtracks and visuals…Cuphead especially has some great music and visuals very Steamboat Willy! Both being played instead of sleeping lol, lost track of time while playing them…
@Resolve I’m always down for good whiskey of course once approved by the wife lol
I only ask to confirm a few suspicions. I heard them at RMAF, and thought the mid presence was lacking.
With that said, I have heard running changes have been made since then, plus some kind of filter add-ons as well. Basically, I don’t know what I should think about these now.
I liked your review, by the way. It was well written and concise.
I think I’m just being a lil bit of a ninny and I over thought the dang thing, then got hyper critical of my writing…which is rare for me to do…I think in part due to the fact that I liked the Ether2…and wasn’t explaining it properly…now I feel like a lil batch of cookies lol…need to go shoot something…chop some wood…drink some lagavulin 16yo…pick some heavy things up and put them down again… ha
The mids , weren’t stand out for me, but the overall presentation of source was nice and enjoyable.
Great review. I listen to both of these headphones and enjoy both of them immensely.
It’s tough to beat the featherweight comfort of the Ether 2.
Dude… Paralysis by analysis is the entire reason I don’t write full reviews. I think being hyper critical is normal. It also takes a bit of courage (liquid or otherwise) put your opinions out there for everybody to see, for us introverts anyway. I think that’s why I prefer to write short and sweet impressions, summaries, stuff like that.
More than three paragraphs and it feels like I’ve written a bloody novel. Hah
Edit: It doesn’t help that I’m usually far too blunt when decrying things I don’t like, or that I like using very colorful “metaphors” when doing so. Others either find it funny, or very irksome.
It is definitely interesting once you pick up on it. I think of it in terms of conversations, I lean forward when I find things interesting or intriguing, or I’m trying to determine something. I lean back and enjoy conversation with old friends, or even new friends having a couple cocktails and telling stories, jokes, reminiscing etc… part of why I love this hobby it brings me music that tells stories or pulls memories from the “Ether” that have strong emotions for me or that I can relate to, that transport me to times and places, or remind me of people I’ve met. Depending on the gear chain, I’ll notice myself sitting forward, or leaning back. Funny enough I tend to close my eyes when both leaning into or back…
@rrwwss52 that feather light factor is a big deal, especially when swapping between LCD headphones lol
@ProfFalkin yeah, I’m a big believer in pulling the bandaid and moving on, it is rare as of late for me to be sensitive to a review I’ve written… I tend to just start writing and like a good book, or game, music etc will get lost to it, I’ll throw on random music and start writing about what I’m hearing and just keep going. Then I’ll go back compile the writing and review it with the headphones on and confirm what my ramble writing notes said, and edit them into a what I hope is a coherent review lol… I tend to average about 7-10 pages of writing that I try and get paired down to 5 or so, give or take.
ADHD probably doesn’t help lol
Great, may excellent review as always @DarthPool.
Thank you, these headphones were awesome for getting away for a bit the past couple of weeks.