Review: Lime Ears Aether – The Special One

Disclaimer: I was sent the Lime Ears Aether free of charge for this review. This is the first time we work together with Lime Ears

 

Lime Ears Poland

Earlier this year, in February if my memory serves me well, Emil from Lime Ears got in touch with me to check if I was interested in reviewing a new upcoming Custom IEM. Lime Ears is a smaller company located in Poland and up to now they are mostly known for their 3 driver, the LE3SW. Don’t mistake Lime Ears for CustomArt, that’s a completely different CIEM company.

Lime Ears maybe isn’t as known as their colleagues and the reason for that is that Lime Ears focused especially on musicians and sound engineers in Poland during the first 2 to 3 years. They in fact started making CIEMs around the same time. By word of mouth they quickly gained a good reputation and once Lime Ears felt their “pro” mission was complete, they started focusing on us, the so called audiophiles.

The Lime Ears Aether review is part of the 5-driver review series. So far we have looked at the Rhines Stage 5, the Cosmic Ears CE5, the Vision Ears VE5 and the last 5-driver will be the Jomo5.

The Aether

Aether is a five driver monitor with a four-way crossover and a three variable-diameter bore design. Its name comes from the fifth element (quintessence) that fills the entire universe and enables transfer of energy and information across them. “Aether as model completes our offer as being the first multi-driver flagship and at this moment presents quintessence of Lime Ears sound without technical limitations that previous models encountered”.

The logo of Aether (the triangle – see pics) was derived from early Slavic alphabet and it simply pictures the letters “AE”. It took Lime Ears nearly two years to develop their new Top Of The Line monitor, even if it is based on their LE3SW. Emil explains (Italic = quote from Emil):

Thought behind LE3SW was to make the most natural sounding in-ear monitor possible, in its vibe similar to contemporary hi-fi or studio equipment made even back in ’70s and ’80s. Balanced, full, pleasant, musical and very faithful in a monitor kind of way. But with three drivers I encountered technical limits that made it impossible for them to sound similar to two-way near-field monitors.  What I finally wanted to experience were big, three-way far-field monitors placed in a big, well treated room with a pinch of audiophile-sounding fun that would please listeners avoiding too technical sound but still looking for real fidelity in their recordings”

 “So I needed to set a separate subwoofer driver and since I’m fan of acoustical rather than electrical tuning I wanted it to be acoustically low-passed. Prototyping the low-pass filter took several months and after many attempts I managed to make use of XHD (Extreme High Definition) 3D printing technology to get it right. Another thing the new model needed was a wider soundstage and better source separation, like you were sitting really in front of pretty big audio system. I needed some more sparkle in the mids and increased coherence among the drivers, so a faster dual low-mid driver was implemented as well and the crossover that couples it with high-mid driver was redesigned”.

 “The highs were made a little bit more airy to maintain balance with powerful lows. But they still incorporate something that seems to be the part of Lime Ears sound philosophy: in my opinion BA drivers are likely to superimpose their own characteristics on highs, making them bright but sometimes pretty harsh and unpleasant. Aether incorporates relatively high-output tweeter that has been damped relatively strongly. The outcome is high-frequency region with reduced resonances that would cause “ringing” responsible for harsh sound. The highs were aimed to be crispy clear but soft and elegant (like these produced by silk-dome tweeters in opposition to harsher titanium or ribbon tweeters)”.

 Something else we have seen before is the switch on the faceplate (see VE6 Xcontrol). In the Aether this switch activates the sub bass in its lowest regions below 80-90 Hz. There are several reasons for implementing a bass switch like this:

 – Depending on listening level to make use of the Fletcher-Munson law (for lower listening levels the bass can be boosted to make it better audible), 

 – Depending on the level and quality of bass in the recording (if the bass is great it can be made very powerful, on the other hand if the material is not to well mixed and lows are becoming boomy and out of control, they might be trimmed down)

 – Depending on external noise levels (If you’re listening in a noisy environment like an airplane, subway or similar where low-end noise masks the lows, you might want to switch them up).

 Breakdown

Just like I do with all my other custom monitor reviews, I will be going over the next topics:

Build quality & Comfort

Personalization

Cables

Price & Accessories

Customer Service

Sound

Driveability & Sources

Comparisons

Conclusion

Part 1 starts right after the click HERE or below, on Page 2

Review: Lime Ears Aether – The Special One
4.8 (95%) 24 votes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

21 Comments

  • Reply October 29, 2015

    Raphaël G.

    Great review, Lieven. As I understood on facebook… happy Birthday.
    Did you plan to review the 64 Audio A10/12 ?
    Thanks !

    • Reply October 30, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Not right now but I’ll see what I can do. And Thank you!

      • Reply February 10, 2016

        Coll. IEm

        I wish in 2016 you review Spiral Ear SE5 Ultimate.
        one of the most overrated Ciem I ever heard ,many positive review but sound fall short to compete with very good ciem .

    • Reply December 19, 2015

      Tay Victor

      I currently have the U12 and has just demoed the Aether. I must say, these 2 IEM complement each other well. The U12 have slightly richer mids and the soundstage is slightly wider. The separation on the U12 is also slightly more. However the Aether have a much neutral and reference sound with similar characteristics and is also more dynamic than the U12. I must say I’m really impressed with the Aether and will consider getting it as one of my CIEM.

      • Reply February 9, 2016

        Coll. IEm

        thanks,what’s your fav. ciem and dap ?

        • Reply February 9, 2016

          Victor Tay

          Currently, I’m using my U12 with my Onkyo DP-X1 using DHC Symbiotide SE full SPC 2.5mm balanced cable. My Shozy Alien Gold Edition is arriving soon. I will see how my U12 pairs with it. Anyway i have yet to get the Aether as I’m out of budget to get any TOTL ciem currently.

          • Reply February 9, 2016

            Coll. IEm

            I have many ciem ,but my fav. right now are roxanne and Heir 10 pair with hm901. I have K10 before but sold it after I get heir 10 .
            I don’t I need dac/amp with this hm901 dap it sound extremely musical .
            Have you heard any ciem or iem that impress you ?

  • Reply November 3, 2015

    Joshua Chew

    Aether vs the K10s! hehe.

    • Reply November 3, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I don’t have the K10 but I do know someone who thinks it’s better than his K10

      • Reply November 3, 2015

        Joshua Chew

        I know, that is what I have been hearing from others too. I have the K10 and was wondering how they sound against it; and if i should buy one.

      • Reply November 3, 2015

        simplicyk

        I know that some people have sold their K10s and bought Aether!

  • Reply November 25, 2015

    yuntingz

    Really interesting review. Would you say that the Aether’s
    vocal presentation is fairly intimate or is it more distant? Also, is the
    Aether’s sound more on the smooth side or dynamic/lively? Thanks.

    • Reply November 25, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Vocals are more intimate and not distant at all. It’s right in between smooth and dynamic. This is one of the monitors in my collection that I enjoy most, I absolutely recommend it

      • Reply November 25, 2015

        yuntingz

        Thanks, are there any other earphones it has a similar sound to as a reference?

  • Reply December 29, 2015

    Coll. IEm

    One of the best review I read in headfonia .
    I want to see review of :
    1- Hier 10A and 2- SE5way please.

  • Reply May 3, 2016

    Brian L. Clark

    Have you heard the Rhapsodio Solar’s and able to compare the two?

Leave a Reply