Stereocheck Reviews:
MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2
MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2
MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2: Lightweight and durable headphones

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2
8

It’s rare that a flagship headphone pops out of nowhere and wows with its technical competence and superb tuning. It is often an evolutionary process, building on previous efforts, in which triumphs and mistakes are seen as two sides of the same learning coin.

Perhaps more than anyone else, MrSpeakers has gone from the Mad Dog series in 2013 to the Ether series launched in 2015.

Since the launch of the Ether line, MrSpeaker has focused on maximizing the sound of the Ether with TrueFlow technology, as well as bringing this technology to the lower-cost AEON series.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

Everything changed with the launch of Ether 2 at the end of 2018. Ether 2 has been heavily updated. We are talking about a new driver, a new implementation of TrueFlow technology, a new design and even a new cable.

Positioning
The Ether 2 now replaces the original Ether and Ether Flow series as the company’s new flagship planar headphones. You can buy their old Ether line which has been updated to V1.1.
The Ether 2 is being developed as a completely new design, different from all the other planar headphones we’ve seen.

But the company is offering more than just a design change. Now there is a trend towards reducing the weight of headphones, many companies are working on this and MrSpeakers Ether 2 are no exception.
The company launches the Ether 2 at 250g, and it may not only be the lightest over-ear magnetic planar headphones, but also the lightest over-ear headphones on the market.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

Under the Hood
While V-Planar and TrueFlow are still an integral part of Ether 2 technology, the entire Ether 2 driver design approach is new. The previous Ether Flow driver design has TrueFlow built-in to improve its performance over the original Ether series.

Now with Ether 2, the driver is designed from the ground up to seamlessly integrate and work seamlessly with TrueFlow. Instead of two different but compatible components, you now have one integrated driver system.

The size of the new speaker remains the same (71 x 45 millimeters), but the main difference is the significant reduction in the weight of the aluminum chip, up to 70% compared to the original Ether speaker. For those who may have detected a little grit or bright triple response in the early Ether sound, the Ether 2 will play very differently.
The major step in reducing harshness combined with the new integrated speaker design means a big jump in dynamic range, resolution and a much more balanced and linear sound experience with zero harshness.

Build quality

Form factor

I called the VOCE’s design “bold and striking” and considering the Ether 2 borrows heavily from the same design, I’d have to say the same. Only this time, the MrSpeakers are called Vaders, with a matte black finish compared to the glossier anodized silver of its electrostatic sibling.

I have to say, I prefer the black finish. It’s more refined, but no less attractive, thanks to the spidery front grille and fits into the modern audiophile concept of an attractive headphone appearance.
The grilles are actually part of a 2-piece body made from durable yet lightweight aluminum material. The partitions are also equipped with front corner Hirose cable connectors, which are the traditional connection from the original Ether range.

Weight

This section alone is worth it. The specs say 290g, but that doesn’t quite prepare you for how light and compact the Ether 2 feels in the hand. Now, considering that these over-ear headphones are only 60g heavier than the much smaller Audeze SINE on-ear headphones, it’s safe to say that this is amazing. The old Ether Flow, for reference, weighs 385g and the 95g difference is immediately noticeable.

So how did they shave off those 100 grams? Several things come to mind regarding exterior design. The new aluminum alloy cup body design eliminates the extra front panel of the old Ether grille body. Not only does he now look much thinner on the cups, but he’s also losing weight. The front mount panel has also been switched to carbon fiber, which any racing mod will tell you is incredibly lightweight and durable.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

The second is the use of a semi-gimbal arch, which appeared in the AEON series and continued in the VOCE series. Logic usually requires that half be lighter than the whole. However, it is no less durable to handle than the original Ether’s full arch joint.

You’ll also notice that it’s a one-piece design with no connecting screws, which also saves some weight. The only downside to this rigid casting is that it lacks side articulation compared to its predecessor.

New Leather Strap
Retains the Nitinol headband design, which is a great lightweight headband design originally. However, the bezel design has changed slightly from the original Ether strap. The new strap is very porous with large through holes. I guess the goal is to create a more breathable design for your head, but the side effect of using less leather is less weight.

Connectors

MrSpeakers stuck with those convenient Hirose connectors that were a feature of almost every headphone they made. Continuity is a guarantee for me that everything works. They’re easy to install and lock, and I honestly haven’t had any issues with these jacks on my headphones.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2 connectors

The only difference I see is that the Ether 2 housing has a slightly more robust and well-designed socket than the original Flow versions. Note that the alloy cup body includes a Hirose female connector at the front, as opposed to the socket located in the center of the old Ether 2.

Stock cable

Ether 2 comes with a new “big” cable called VIVO, which is based on the standard VOCE cable.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2 cable

The old Ether Line DUM is 24 gauge OFHC cable (per conductor) and the new VIVO Line is silver plated copper OFHC wire. Judging by the dimensions, it is slightly larger than the DUM. Sure, it’s a little bulkier than the DUM, but it also seems a lot more flexible, so the insulation could very well be improved, not just the wires.
The woven fabric shell remains the same on both units, however the Y-split is greatly improved with an aluminum alloy body compared to the shrink rubber on the DUM. We asked for a 4-pin XLR, but you can get it in 6.35mm, 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.4mm, so you have plenty to choose from. You can also order the VIVO cable in 1.8m and 3m lengths, depending on your needs.

Comfort and wearability
I find the Ether 2 incredibly lightweight compared to Audeze LCD models and even the newer Hifiman HE series headphones. However, compared to the old Ether Flow and the similarly designed but slightly heavier VOCE, the fit on the head feels very different.

Ear pads MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

New Ear Pads
The VOCE ear pads are super soft NAPA lambskin leather with a deeper back wedge and wider opening. The Ether 2’s ear cup opening is shaped like an ear, but essentially a little smaller and not as deep.
Eventually, the back of my ears begin to feel pressure from the shaped pads, and the slightly stronger pad materials add more pressure to the neck and sides of my head. For the first hour they are fine. Initially it is a very comfortable experience. But after 2-3 hours they are certainly less comfortable than the original Ether and VOCE pads.

Case MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

Accessories and packaging
Everything about packaging and accessories for the Ether line comes together harmoniously, and Ether 2 is no exception. As before, MrSpeakers has opted for a mid-sized all-black retail box that’s slightly larger than the old Ether box but looks almost the same. The only noticeable graphical difference is that the word Ether has a “2” at the end.
The interior of the case lacks the tan tint found on older Ether cases, instead going for a standard black version branded AEON. Please note that the actual case dimensions have not changed since the original Ether was released. The finishing is just a little more expensive than with AEON cases. The outline of the light bulb is exactly the same.

Case MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2

Sound impressions

Summary

Ether 2 is not an evolution of the ethereal “O” sound, nor is it a tweak to the Ether Flow sound. No sir! This is a complete rethinking of what it means to present the signature Ether line, which I think was mentioned a little on the VOCE model, but is now even more pronounced on the Ether 2 model.

Tone

The tone is neutral to slightly warm, more intimate than expansive, but within this scene the background is truly dark, with excellent instrumental separation and above average display levels. Those who are concerned that the treble may not have enough weight or may sound a little heavy should relax. The top of the Ether 2 is smooth, rich and slightly dewy, although not as sparkly as previous versions. You’ll find the overall presentation intense and at times energetic and powerful, yet still forgiving and very smooth, especially with the female vocals.

Response

These are one hell of a linear planar headphone.
Response behavior is flawlessly controlled across the entire low and mid frequency range. If there’s anything discernible from the Ether 2’s curve, it’s a slight sub-bass shift and a very soft but linear roll-off into the mids. This contributes to the more aggressive and powerful low end of the Ether 2 compared to the softer warmth or mid-bass flourish of the original Ether.

Scene

The Ether 2 soundstage has more depth than height. It’s not the most interesting presentation, but it’s certainly more natural and open than the original Ether. I’m hesitant to say “great width” because contextually it doesn’t sound as open as the Susvara or even the HE1000, but at the same time you never feel overwhelmed.

Bass

One of the most linear sounding flat basses I’ve heard at this price point. There is a slight sub-bass shift, but you’re talking about a 1-2dB drop to a maximum of 1k and of course zero rollback.
Moreover, it has excellent layering and dynamic range. Heavy as molasses, not always slow, but low-frequency bass. When needed and with excellent recording quality, it will add solid fundamental bass. This is especially noticeable in the presence of sub-bass, where the original Ether lacked a bit of punch.

Middle

Ether 2 remains completely linear up to 1-2k before there is a “normal” drop to 3-4k and rises from the upper mids to the lower treble, but not by a huge amount. There is a slight shift in the instrumental presence of the lower and mid frequencies when the vocal positioning is neutral. I find the LCD-4 to have a slightly lower volume level thanks to its higher frequency response from 500Hz to 1k, but it also sounds a little thinner in its vocal timbre than the Ether 2. The Ether 2’s vocals are rich and rich in texture, especially with female

voices mid range. But I wouldn’t call it euphonic midrange. The instrumental and vocal timbre does not sound too spacious and not too romantic.

High

The high-frequency response of the Ether 2 is much more harmonious and sounds more realistic than the original Ether model. The lower treble up to 5-6k seems very evenly balanced to me with a slight dip around 7k and 8k and a peak around 5k. Nothing feels overly exaggerated.

Compared to the first Ether, Ether 2 may feel a little warmer, but no less detailed, and its presence may seem subtle. The accusation that the Ether may lack a little bit of frequency at the top in favor of shine, making it sound too low-pitched in the high-frequency sound, has definitely been put to rest with the Ether 2. However, you need to choose your settings carefully to maximize the shine and

subsequent the click in its higher pitched instrumental timbre. I would prefer neutral sources and solid state amplifiers so they don’t sound too soft. High
The Ether 2’s high frequency response is much more harmonious and sounds more realistic than the original Ether model. The lower treble up to 5-6k seems very evenly balanced to me with a slight dip around 7k and 8k and a peak around 5k. Nothing feels overly exaggerated.

Compared to the first Ether, Ether 2 may feel a little warmer, but no less detailed, and its presence may seem subtle. The accusation that the Ether may lack a bit of frequency at the top in favor of a sheen that makes it sound too low-pitched in the treble is definitely gone with the Ether 2. However, you do need to choose your settings and source carefully
. I would prefer neutral sources and dark amps so they don’t sound too soft.
Conclusion

Ether 2 is a big step up from the original Ether. Its low- and mid-frequency range is one of the most linear audio ranges I’ve heard in a planar headphone at this price point. In addition, they are quieter sounding with better dynamic range, sounding quite open, with excellent layering and accurate reproduction of details. This may not be too much for those who use high-frequency headphones, but for me the upper echelon is more cohesive, wetter, and with better body than the original.

MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2
MRSPEAKERS ETHER 2
8
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