Picture Sunday – Lime Ears Aether R

Today we’re looking at the Aether R, the brand new reference custom IEM from Lime Ears.

 

Disclaimer: This post is part of our Picture Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here.

Lime Ears

Lime Ears is a Polish CIEM company that has been around for some years now. They started out working with professional sound engineers and musicians but have shifted their focus on the audiophile consumers a while ago with their triple driver and their flagship Aether.

Full history lesson can be read here: https://www.headfonia.com/review-lime-ears-model-x-onion/

Aether 

If you’ve been following Headfonia or if you’re into custom IEMs then you certainly have heard about the Lime Ears Aether. Lime’s flagship monitor dates back already to 2015 and it was one of the first units in my collection sporting a switch to activate specific drivers.

The Aether was/is loved by many and as such it’s no surprise that the Aether ended up in our recommended buy list. The Aether actually also won our best CIEM award back in 2015 but it long after still was a CIEM to take into account when shortlisting monitors. Aether was nice, Aether seduced, Aether rocked, Aether did it all. Aether was the kind of monitor that makes all types of music sound good, it was engaging, had great imaging and sounded musical. The bass switch basically gave you two different sounding sets of monitors and that’s a great added feature. The overall sound signature was a little on the warmer side of neutral with a slight focus on bass and key characteristics were detail, depth and layering. For a 5 driver, it was sublime.

You can find the full review of the original Aether here:

And now…now Lime is back with a new flagship, the Aether’s successor named…the Aether R!

Aether R

You can find out all about the new Aether R right here: https://limeears.com/aether/

New Aether R sports six balanced armature drivers with a four-way passive hybrid crossover. And of course Lime again has integrated the switch again which activates the subwoofer double driver. In fact the switch controls the lowest bass region below 100Hz to be more precise. The new Aether R uses the Lime Ears VariBore and TrueSub technologies.

Lime’s design goal was to create the feeling of a big, three-way far field monitor system with a regulated external subwoofer placed in a spacious, well acoustically treated room. They wanted the listener to experience everything the sound engineer had created in the recording, with a touch of top audiophile quality that would please users who avoid too technical sound but still look for real fidelity in their recordings.

The new Aether R replaces the original Aether, and as such it is no longer available. The New Aether R’s price starts at €1200. Depending on the level of customization this price will increase. You can configure your own set of the Aether R on the following page where you can also check out all the options: https://limeears.com/product/aether/

Design

Design-wise I opted for a clear shell mixed up with chips of the local charcoal, and I really like the end result. As a surprise Emil also printed on the Cheshire Cat smile on the left earpiece and the famous “We’re all mad here” quote on the other. The nice thing about it is that it doesn’t show too hard if you don’t know what you’re looking at. It’s like a stealth design, except at night as it’s done with “glow in the dark” material. Coolness! I hope it’s visible in the pictures, but this is one of the hardest CIEMs I ever had to photograph.

Sound

According to Lime Ears, the Aether R in “neutral” switch position maintains a neutral tonality with a very slight emphasis on subwoofer lows and crispy highs. With the subwoofer driver switched up it receives a powerful and accurate punch in the lowest region, while maintaining great clarity and dynamics of both mids and an increased sparkle in highs. Extreme sound source separation, natural width, incomparable depth.
We’ve been playing with the Aether R for a few weeks already now and it’s in the queue of reviews. I have a lot of interesting new customs in for review but the two I’ve been using most are the Vision Ears Elysium and the Aether R. The R I especially tend to use at home when I want to enjoy my music before going to bed.
Aether R’s fit is perfect, and as you know everything starts with a good fit. Sound-wise to me the R sounds spacious with good portions of air from bass to treble. That combined with the dynamic and energetic vibe make it a really natural monitor to listen to. The tuning is to the neutral side but with a high musicality factor. With the switch of you get a neutral, balanced an linear tuned sound. Flick it on and the sub bass comes in to play without changing anything else. Flicking the switch doesn’t dramatically change the sound signature it just makes the low end leaner, bigger, deeper and more impactful.
The clarity is impressive just like the, balance, stereo image, precision, timbre and detail. Voices sound natural and blend perfectly in the delivery. Nothing gets put to the front or the back, and it’s a pure joy to listen to. The Aether R extends well in all directions and the layering is really nice. The new R also is quite the step up from the original R if you ask me. It’s technically better, more coherent and the Aether R now absolutely plays with the very best monitors on the market again.
Emil and Piotr have really hit the spot with the new R and I’m convinced a lot of you will absolutely love the Aether R’s signature.
That’s it for now. The full review will be on Headfonia soon!
Picture Sunday – Lime Ears Aether R
4.6 (91.31%) 122 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

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