Dan Clark of MrSpeakers has started his audio career by modding Fostex headphones. Now after several years in the field he has made himself a name with his own headphones. The Ether 2 is the successor of the wildly popular Ether headphones.
Disclaimer: This post is part of our Picture Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here.
My history with MrSpeakers headphones goes back to the year 2016. I was at the High End Munich show and was browsing around when I came to the headphone bar. Tables of mere five to six meters in length with all sorts of headphones hooked up to an invisible amplifier. There were tablets with which one could select the music to play from. I had my eyes on the Ether C headphones, a pair of cans I have heard many things about, but never had the chance to listen to.
When I tapped on Carmina Burana’s O Fortuna I knew these were special headphones. The Ether C was the most open sounding closed back headphone I had heard to date, it still is for that matter. I was struck by the naturalness and openness of them. These headphones had a long lasting impression on me. I couldn’t get the signature out of my head, it haunted me. So when I came back to Vienna, I made an appointment at my dealer of trust to listen to them again. To my surprise, I didn’t feel the magic as before. My world was crushed. They still were insanely good, but I did never feel like I had to have them again…
Still, I had big respect for the man behind these headphones, and I followed the progress of the Ether closely. I watched them when the upgrade pads to V 1.1 came out. I didn’t look away when the Ether Flow and Ether Flow C were introduced. Now, after two and a half years, MrSpeakers has asked us to give their latest Ether family member a good old Headfonia treatment. I didn’t have to think about wheter or not I wanted to review them. With the Ether C from Munich 2016 still in my head, I had to know if the Ether 2 is anything like them.
I admire the Ether 2 for two things. First of all the sound. It is very balanced and neutral, with a wonderful organic signature. It wraps a wide and deep sound stage around your head with the finest of details. It’s fast, precise and clean. It has everything I like in a good headphone, and to top it all off, we come to the second thing I love about it: It is super lightweight. Planar headphones often have the issue of extreme weight. Take the likes of Audeze or Final as an example. I can’t weir neither for more than half an hour, while the Ether 2 stays on my head for as long as I want. The clamping force is perfect and the Hirose connectors are an absolute delight to work with.
All that sounds overly positive, and while the majority of my feelings towards the Ether 2 are exactly that, there is criticism too, which mainly focusses on the ear pads. Even in chilly Autumn days they can make me sweat and they seem pretty nasty glued to the headphones themselves, rendering them impossible to replace. But if that’s all there is on a negative side, then this headphone is an absolute winner. We will find out more when the full length feature will come out. That however will still take a bit… So much I can tell you though, it is a good one.
Correction: After pulling harder I managed to take off the earpads. They are not fully glue on, but have very strong adhesive tape on them. I’m still not a fan of the way this works, something easier should have been possible in my opinion.