My experience with MrSpeakers headphones has been very limited, yet their products have left quite an impression on me. When I was in Munich for High End 2016, I came across their Ether C (V1) and I was mighty impressed. It still is one of the best closed-back headphones to me. I was so baffled by it, that I hunted down my dealer of choice and demoed them again and again. However, I never felt the same sensation like in Munich.
As most of my listening time is done on the go or at the office, I also didn’t feel the urge to get another pair of cans next to my Sennheiser HD800S, even after all the rave about the Ether’s I didn’t cave in. When we were approached by MrSpeakers for their new Ether 2 though, I didn’t have to think twice.
MrSpeakers recommends a burn-in time of 50 hours for their headphones, and I can confirm that after that value they indeed start settling down. However, I would suggest to have them break in even longer. After about 100 hours I found they had reached their final performance. Bass became tighter, faster and better controlled, midrange a bit more linear and resolved while treble a notch more forward, compared to early listening sessions.
Ether 2 has a fast and dynamic bass, that can hit hard with excellent punch and rumble. It reaches down low with high resolution and wonderful layering. It has great control over the bass, which doesn’t come across as boomy or too forward for my taste. There is good body in the lows with nice weight and texture.
Midrange is neutral and linear to me. It has great transparency and layering in it. The texture of the mids is right about perfect, but instruments could sometimes use a little more body. Especially instruments of the upper registers seem a tad thin.
Vocals have good shape and weight, they come across as realistic and emotional. Instrumental timbre is fine and uncolored, just like it should be. The Ether 2 has a wonderful deep background, with a pitch black appearance. Instruments stand out of that clear and clean. The resolution of the MrSpeakers is very good, where fine details make their way through with ease.
I can clearly see the musicians in front of me when I close my eyes. The imaging of the Ether 2 is outstanding and the same goes for layering. The sound stage stretches wide and deep, where especially depth is superb. The sound reaches out of your head in good dimensions, however it doesn’t create the biggest stages out there.
Treble extends well and is clear and crisp. At times it comes across as dry and direct, which might not suit everyone’s taste. Highs aren’t harsh or too sharp, but they’re very precise and upper treble has a tendency to become forward. Lower treble has a delicate richness in it, that makes some piano hits a real pleasure.
What I like about the Ether 2, is its great balance. It doesn’t throw any particular frequency range in your face. It has great control over the scene and makes listening to music a lot of fun.
Find out how the Ether 2 performs with different gear, all on page four!