A collaboration with MrSpeakers, a boutique shop in San Diego, California, the Ether CX closed-back headphones have a lot going for them. For one thing, they sound more like a pair of open-back headphones—clean, open, realistic, relaxed—while retaining the low sound leakage and high isolation you’d expect from closed cans. As for looks, they’re like something off an Italian supercar lineup, with the sleek lines and sizable, high-gloss carbon fiber cups of the original Ether C. The NiTinol memory metal headband is lighter and more durable with fewer moving parts, while the new and improved ear pads combine memory foam, Japanese protein leather, more consistent stitching, and a flat design. Featuring the same V-Planar driver used in the Ether C, the CX has been retuned for enhanced tonal balance, a smoother bass-to-midrange transition, and a lower 5–6 kHz peak in the upper mids.
Note: This drop is limited to 270 units. Shipping is free to US members with subsidized international shipping. Please note payment will be collected at the end of September to begin production.
The Ether CX is built around MrSpeakers’ single-ended planar driver with patented V-Planar technology. A conventional planar driver is assumed to move as a flat surface. In reality, this isn’t possible, as the driver is inelastic and “locked” at the boundaries, so the driver moves more as a bowed surface than a flat plane. V-Planar technology addresses this issue by deeply creasing the diaphragm, allowing it to “accordion” when going through the larger motions required by bass notes. Much as pleats allow an accordion to expand and contract without stretching the fabric, the creases in the driver "open" slightly during larger excursions. Along with pushing more air at low frequencies, V-Planar delivers better dynamics, high-end frequency response, and measurably lower distortion. In the Ether CX, the distortion is less than 0.5 percent in the low bass and less than 0.1 percent from 60 Hz to 9 kHz.
MrSpeakers was founded by Dan Clark, an electrical engineer who has been working in and around the high-end audio market for more than 20 years. He believes that a great-sounding headphone is one that allows you to simply slide into the music without inserting itself into the listening experience. To that end, the headphone should also deliver exceptional comfort, because—as Dan says—an uncomfortable headphone “gets in the way of musical enjoyment the same way a terrible seat at a concert venue detracts from a live performance.” With the Ether C and Ether CX, MrSpeakers wanted to eliminate the closed-in, “cuppy” sound that reminds the listener they’re using closed-back cans. The sense of space and openness are there, as is plenty of isolation for air travel, buses, and trains. With a history as a community modder, Dan strives for continuous improvement and makes upgrades available whenever possible.
All orders will be shipped by Massdrop.
Estimated ship date is Feb 25, 2019 PT.
After the drop ends, payment will be collected and the group’s order will be submitted to the vendor up front, making all sales final. Check the discussion page for updates on your order.