Mr Speakers Ether C is a World Class Sealed Headphone
I need to say this right at the top so it doesn't get missed: If you're an audio pro, you need to give these headphones a listen. It's incredibly rare to find a sealed headphone that is so on-target tonally and relatively open sounding. This will be the headphone I take to trade shows to tryout amps and upstream gear in a noisy environment. A truly awesome tool.
Now that I've spoiled the suspense I'll start from the beginning.
Mr. Speakers Ether C ($1499 and up with cable options)
The Mr. Speakers Ether C is a full-sized, sealed, planar magnetic headphone. Outer capsule housings are gloss finished finished, no bullshit carbon fiber parts. The ample and plush ear cushions are glove leather covered memory foam. Headband is constructed of two Nitinol arcs held in position with spacers near each end and terminated in the swivel assembly. The headband strap is leather and terminates at sliders that move up and down the Nitinol arcs between the spacers and swivel to effect continuous and secure head size adjustment. The new cloth covered cable is much better behaved than the previous "mind of its own", poly-somethingorother woven cover cable. Multiple cable and connector options are available at purchase.
The Ether C has the most bordinary hard-side carry case I've ever seen. (Previous record holder was the case for the original Sennheiser Momentum.) But it's utility and protection is top-notch, and people will be less likely to steal your prized music makers in this butt-ugly case.
Construction materials are exemplary. The only piece of plastic to be seen from outside is the headband adjustment sliders, which need to be a synthetic material in order to have the proper friction and clamping force. A total A+ for build quality.
Comfort and fit is superb. Headband slider adjustment is easy once you get used to exactly where the sliders are; ear capsule gimbals have appropriate range of motion and swivel freely allowing great ease in donning of doffing the headphones. Rectangular earpad openings (62mmT x 40mmW) slightly touch my average-sized ears, but the ear well is deep with plush side-walls and a soft foam bottom. Weight at around 400gr. is about 2/3 the weight of an Audeze LCD-3 and about the same as an HD 800 S. Fit is extraordinarily secure on my head; this is the only full-sized headphone I've worn that easily stays on your head and in place when rising from a pillow. Ergonomically, I find the Ether C a very, very good headphone. A+.
Style is in the eye of the beholder, but I love the look of these cans. Here, form follows function under the watchful eye of a stylist who quite obviously a deep lover of headphones. This is a headphone's headphone...what headphone would want to it matures. A+
Which brings me to Dan Clark. "Why", you say, "does talking about a headphone's headphone bring up Dan Clark?" Well, in my eyes, Dan Clark is a headphone enthusiast's headphone enthusiast. He started his professional career as a hobbyist modifying Fostex T50RP headphones; then sold his creations in flea market fashion; then tooled up production and went into business; then started manufacturing his own capsules; and now Mr. Speakers is making headphones and drivers from scratch and filing patent applications for novel headphone technologies of his own invention. Bloody amazing!
The Ether C evidences this extraordinary heritage by being not only a wonderfully tight and high-performance design, but also in being very judiciously tunable with the included tuning padssomething an enthusiast will find quite attractive and useful. I'll talk more on the next page about using these tuning pads, but for me they speak volumes about Dan, his adventure creating headphones, and how the Ether C so wonderfully reflects the desires and sensibilities of a headphone enthusiast. Dan Clark blending professional technical expertise with his "Doggie Treat" tuning approach to create a headphone's headphone: A+
I need to note there was a small change in these headphones being called the 1.1 Revision. If you remove the earpad on the Ether C you will find some filters fitted into a rectangular well in front of the driver. On the original Ether C there are two white rectangles of felt-like material in the well. On the 1.1 version there is a white rectangle and then a black open cell foam rectangle. You can tell which one you have without removing the earpad by shining a flashlight into the earpad well; if you see anything white behind the fabric of the earpad well bottom you have the original 1.0 version; if it looks dead black you have the 1.1 version.
If you have the old version, you can go here to purchase replacement tuning foam for $9.99. Once in hand, simply remove the earpad; remove one white rectangle; replace it with the black foam par; and re-attach the earpad. Full instructions in the video.
Let's get on with the Ether C sound quality.