MrSpeakers Ether C Flow Sealed Planar Magnetic Headphone
About a year and a half ago, Mr. Speakers made the bold move of transitioning from a company that modified and remanufactured Fostex T50RP headphones, to a full-fledged manufacturer making headphones from start to finish. Central to the development was a new planar magnetic driver designed with Bruce Thigpin of Eminent-Technology featuring a knurled diaphragm claimed to deliver pistonic movement over a larger surface area than traditional designs. Check out my Ether review for a detailed explanation. I found it an excellent headphone; competitive in its class; but a tad bright.
Shortly thereafter Mr. Speakers introduced the Ether C, a closed version of the headphone. The Ether C had added a bit more bass in its response, which gave it a warmer tone than its open sibling, and I found it to be the best sealed headphone I'd heard to date.
Then, earlier this year, Mr. Speakers introduced the Ether Flow adding TrueFlow baffles intended to reduce turbulence as sound waves passed through the magnetic structure of the driver. You can read my thoughts about the TrueFlow baffles and the sound quality of the headphones in my Ether Flow review. Suffice it to say the Ether Flow, combined with the near simultaneous introduction of the Focal Utopia and Elear, disrupted the state of flagship headphones...and InnerFidelity's Wall of Fame for full-sized open headphones.
In my mind, Mr. Speakers had become a world-class enthusiast headphone maker.
And it was with that mind-set, biasing that it might be, that I eagerly awaited the coming Ether C Flow. My feelings are mixed.
Mr. Speakers Ether C Flow ($1850)
The Ether C Flow is a full-sized, sealed planar magnetic headphone. From its carbon fiber capsule covers, to its Nitinol headband with machined aluminum swivels, to its ample glove-leather ear pads, this is an impeccably built headphone with tasty form-follows-function styling, and is a delight to wear. Externally, the only difference between the Ether C and Ether C Flow is the carbon fiber weave on the new model is finer. If you'd like to read a more detailed description of the headphone construction, build quality, and comfortwhich are all superbsee InnerFidelity's Ether C review.
Numerous DUM (Distinctly Un-Magical) cable/connector options are available at time of purchase; after-market cables are available from all the normal suspects. The cable is terminated at the headphone end with www.evalucon.com part number SN-8-4(P) connectors found in this .pdf. These connectors snap into place and provide a mechanically secure connection. These connectors are available affordably ($6.99 ea.) from MrSpeakers. Really nice.
Also included is a molded, hard-side, clam-shell carry case. It's extremely functional and extraordinarily fugly...which might be a good thing as it may prevent pilfering hands.
The biggest difference between the Ether C and Ether C Flow for the user is that the older model came with some tuning pads that allowed you to slightly modify the sound of the headphones. The Ether C Flow has permanently installed damping materials in front of the TrueFlow baffles.
Let's get to sound quality....