I just picked up a second hand WyWires Platinum cable for my Ether2s. These are great light weight headphones.
yeah, I am really digging on them, I’m only a couple songs in and only one 3finger pour of Angels Envy Rye down…they disappear on your head! They also sound quite good so far, almost ethereal…
They are more “fun” than the LCD-X so far in my listening, but I haven’t done a proper a/b of them. They are also just a smooth sounding headphone. These are the type of headphone that you sit back and just relax, imbibe, and melt into your chair while getting lost to some music.
Chronologically, there’s the original Ether, and then there’s the Ether that had the drivers/motors updated to incorporate “Trueflow”, which are the “Ether Flow” models. There are some variants of both of those, as well, I think.
And then there is this headphone, the “Ether 2”.
It uses drivers designed from day one to include “Trueflow”, but they’re a distinct headphone from the earlier Ether products and an all-new product.
The search continued for a Better HD650 today.
I spent a fair bit of time (a couple of hours) with the Ether 2 at TSAV today, and some time with the ZMF Aeolus, Audeze LCD 3, Audeze LCD MX4, and Sony MDR-Z7M2.
From first listen, I was about ready to just snap up the Ether 2s and walk out with them. Great first impressions, lovely bass and no obvious annoyances. They’re light as hell as well. I brought my DAC with me and only used their Phonitor X since I knew what the combo sounded like.
What stopped me primarily from buying them today was some fatiguing tonal crunchiness in the treble region. A great example is the snare hits on Daft Punk - Doin’ it Right . Every hit of the snare bothered me with a bright, swooshy crunch (exaggerated description). It also exhibited a bit of sibilance from a few other tracks, but I failed to note which ones. The LCD 3 actually had the same issue with Doin’ it Right for me.
It is important to note that I did use it through a solid state amp the entire time. I found it pleasing enough overall that I plan to go back and try it with some tubes. Maybe a Liquid Platinum with Amperex tubes or something along those lines.
The LCD MX4 was better than I expected but not worth the asking price (even at the <$2000 B-Stock price). The Aeolus was tonally quite good but lost some of the detail and felt a bit hollow and blanketed compared to the others. The LCD 3 was okay but I think I liked the Ether 2 better and they’re not substantially different. I didn’t let myself hear the ZMF Verite because I didn’t want to love something out of budget.
One worry I had was the earpad hole size. The official measurements I found somewhere showed them to be appreciably smaller than the HD650 interior, but that was only barely the case. My ears touched a little on the top and bottom (they also touch the HD650s), but it was particularly bothersome and the upcoming pads are supposed to be slightly bigger, which should be perfect.
Unless I can find a good way to tame that little bit of extra brightness, it would be hard for me to spend the money on the Ether 2s despite liking them quite a bit.
In my experience with HD-600s versus a bunch of other products, the HD’s plastic drivers do indeed reduce brightness a bit. With a resolving system and A/B comparisons, they have a slightly rounded and soft character. Moving up in price will clean up and reveal more of the high end (which was always there but previously hidden). When I explored beyond the 600s it took my ears a month or two to adapt.
As others have noted, dynamics drivers sound like their construction material: HD-600 family = plastic, Focal = metal, etc.
Interesting I’m listening to this track right now with the Ether2/LCD-X through my RME ADI-2DAC and Phonitor XE (so awesome just toggling a switch and being able to A/B…well I pause the track first then toggle…always practice safe toggling ). I must say I have a hard time picking up on the “swooshy crunch”… but there is something off about the snare…on both headphones…but the snares sound almost identical on both headphones…maybe a little more “echo” off the snares with the Ether2s…
rrwwss52, Did you find the WyWires Platinum a nice step up compared to the new cable that ships with the Ether 2?
I have a WyWires Platinum cable that would need to be re-terminated if I snag the Ether 2.
I liked it better. More detailed than the stock cable. Picked it up used, so the price was very right. I have the 1.8m Vivo single ended which came with the Ether2 and bought a DUM 4 pin XLR direct frm Mr. Speakers. Your dealer should offer you a choice of cables…some price minor variance based on length IIRC.
If you are using the Platinum WyWires for Audeze, consider an adapter.
Thanks for the reply! I was NOT a true wire believer until I was gifted my WyWires platinum cable. I made an immediate difference, even with my very humble AQ Nighthawks, in detail as well as clarity.
I may be getting my first ‘real’ TOTL hp in the next week or 2 with the E2. I’ll likely send it to Alex at WyWires and have him add the Mr. Speakers connectors.
The Ether 2 has some new pads being introduced. You might want to check with Mr. Speakers direct to see if the sets being shipped now have these new pads. I just bought mine a couple of months ago at a demo Dan was at in Torrance at the Source AV. His Voce are nice too, but I didn’t want to change my amps to accommodate those. The Ether 2 are sweet, very light, and comfortable. My only beef was with the wire headband, and the thin leather strip below it (rubbed the top of my head wrong). I contacted Mr. Speakers direct and they sent me a heavier leather strap, and my wife crocheted me a cover made from yarn to isolate those wires comprising the top strap. Wonderful now.
Buying w/o listening or trying these on is a bit of a leap of faith just having heard the original Ether. From posts I have read from Dan, the E2 will still have the original pads. I will likely order the suede version as most folks think they solve some of the fit issues.
I will have E2’s coming soon!
@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…