Massdrop x MrSpeakers Ether CX Closed Headphonessearch

Massdrop x MrSpeakers Ether CX Closed Headphones

Massdrop x MrSpeakers Ether CX Closed Headphones

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Stickied
When the timing is right…
Dan Clark’s operations are in San Diego.  (I imagine it’s gotta be hard to be productive in such a nice place, but Dan has always seemed driven.)  We checked in with Dan a couple of times throughout the years about working together and usually he is improving his headphones, developing new models, and keeping up his production. Earlier this year, he said that with enough time to plan he could increase production capability plus he had some ideas for our project.  We were a go!
Thrilled to have a couple of prototypes bouncing back and forth (between Dan, ourselves, and a couple of community members) we made some adjustments to the frequency response and subjectively validated the balance of spatial & tonal considerations.  Targets are a balanced, open-sounding tonality with a soundstage that has natural sonic size and weight.
Some concepts at work with MrSpeakers: DIY Spirit = Appreciating the people & process of improving headphones with modifications Kaizen = Discipline & Practice of Continuous Improvement Customer Care = Making improvements available to existing customers
Dan comes from the DIY audiophile community, where he originally worked on tuning Fostex T-50RP headphones. Eventually, he set a goal for himself and a new company:  offer commercial mods on Fostex T-50RP headphones and save up to launch a whole new headphone line made entirely by MrSpeakers within 3 years.
DIY spirit we give Dan credit for: making upgrades available for existing headphones.  When possible, Dan offers new tuning upgrades for purchase and self-installation.  When the mod requires more than swapping out easy tuning materials such as foam and felt, he has allowed people to send in their headphones for swapping of updated drivers or baffles at reasonable prices.  This speaks to Dan’s ethos of wanting people to have the best sound he can make.
The MrSpeakers line of Fostex T50RP modded headphones: Mad Dog
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Alpha Dog
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Alpha Primes
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Those are the steps Dan took so he could make the leap to his Ether line of headphones.   MrSpeakers did in fact release the first headphone from the ground up within three years:  the Ether Open with new V-Planar drivers.
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Flying V V-Planar Drivers utilize MrSpeakers’ proprietary version of the planar driver diaphragm knurling technique invented by Bruce Thigpen.  This is an accordion-type of folding method that adds surface area to allow for more linear excursion with the rapid tensioning of diaphragms during dynamic music.  The goals are natural sound with high dynamics and low distortion, even when stressed.
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Closed Back, Open Sound In general, with open-back headphones, pressure doesn’t build up as much in the earcups and reverberations or ringing is minimized. Sound is natural, open, and clear.  (Imagine speakers playing in your backyard vs. in your closet.)
However, sound leaks in & out of an open-back headphone.  With a closed-back headphone, more care needs to be taken in order to absorb reflections and pressure from a closed system but benefits through isolation from outside noise.  If you can pull it off, the ideal for many is the sound of an open-back headphone with the advantages of a closed-back design.
Business is now Open AND Closed No sooner than he successfully launched his Ether Open, I know that Dan started getting requests for a closed version. (I was one of those people.) Luckily he had the chops from all his T50RP modding days and the Ether C (Closed) was created…
Fast-forward another few years and our new Massdrop x MrSpeakers Ether CX contains continued improvement on the original (non-Flow) platform of the Ether C.  
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The Ether CX is still using the extremely clean V-Planar drivers along with some changes to damping and ear pad material/shape to get the sound we were searching for.
Product goals for our flagship closed-back headphone: · Isolating · Accurate · Open-sounding · Resolving · Fast · Clean · Sleek
Personally, I’m stoked about the clean sound these produce, how they feel in the hands/on the head, and I LOVE how they look.  Designing and tuning closed back headphones is not for the faint of heart- or people wary of driving towards constant improvement.  We’re so happy to be adding these to the exclusive Massdrop Made product line and to have our flagship closed back headphone at last…we hope you enjoy!
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OK, no worries. As they say, different strokes for different folks!
It's right there in his post: "as long as the amp can deliver enough current". Aeon needs about 33% more current than the Ether to get the same volume.
Stickied
Hi there!Thanks to Cee Tee for his perseverance, he stuck with us for a long time to make this happen, and I'm really excited for us to be doing our first drop!
We tried to make the ETHER CX a unique product, and there is a lot in that's new. For example, it uses the original ETHER C driver but with a new tuning system delivering a unique and smooth voicing with gently lifted bass, and a really smooth transition from bass to mids. The new hardware is also a bit lighter and with no moving, as per our AEON design, and it sports a new ear pad. I hope it's a lot of fun for those who opt in the drop.
If anyone has any questions for me, please chime in.
EDIT: To make the information easier for people to see, I'm copying two of my posts contrasting ETHER CX to ETHER C and to AEON Closed. The format of the two posts is a bit different in style as I was sort of answering two different questions, for the editorially minded. :-)
ETHER C The original ETHER C had a tip toward the higher frequencies and also had some pad bounce that made bass a little unpredictable. With ETHER CX we have a new pad that reduces pad bounce for smoother and more impactful bass. By bringing the highs better into balance the whole headphone has warmer tone, without lacking air or shimmer, and the bass really pops on good source material (listening to Robag Wruhme's Wolluwe track as I write this and a lot of toe tapping going on).
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EC = Black ETHER CX = Orange
ÆON Tone: ETHER CX has a more neutral voicing with a bump to the bass, while AEON has a bit more of a V to the response and is less linear and smooth sounding. ETHER CX has a bit more heft at the lowest frequencies, it just feels like there's more power at the sub-bass even though they measure similarly. AEON Closed presents a bit more upper bass energy due to the V-shape to the response. ETHER CX has a smoother blend to the midrange which delivers better phase coherence, while AEON has a bit of a peak in the 5K region, something we worked to eliminate in the ETHER CX, and a brighter than neutral top. Dynamics are very similar. Soundstage they are close, ETHER CX seems a trifle larger. Efficiency: ETHER CX is 2-3dB more efficient. Comfort: The AEON is lighter and is a bit more comfortable for more extended listening. Isolation: ETHER CX offers several dB more isolation. The following chart is showing both headphones with no damping,orange is ECX and purple is AEON Closed, measured on a GRAS 45 CA with DF compensation. The main takeaway is the smoother response of the ETHER CX, with a less pronounced "V" to the response for better midrange-high coherence, yet with a fun bump to the bottom end. The smoother top end lets the mids and bass stand out nicely, too. I like to think of it as "audiophile fun" voicing.
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ECX = Orange ÆON Closed = Purple
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You also forgot profit. It's reasonable to factor in that a manufacturer and/or distributor would need to be compensated accordingly (not even factoring in logistics, employees, etc).
jaydunndiddit
Yuppers. I didn't include profit because I thought that's a given. It's the first thing most people think, but they don't think of the time, cost and steps needed to translate the product from a mental state to a physical state, from concept to final product. But yeah, that too. Thanks for mentioning it! =P
Can we get another drop of this? Would love to be apart of this.
So if I bought a used Ether C 1.1 and the newer pads, I would essentially get the new CX?
buddhasbelly
Not entirely sure. Dan says there are changes to rear damping too. I don't think it would be as easy as changing the front side foam
Cant seem to find a list of amp recommendations and pairings. The only thing I have that will be able to drive this is the oppo ha-1. No idea how well they pair up though?
Shendelz
I’m pretty sure you will enjoy that pairing
If they dropped the price $100 they probably would have gotten a lot more sales. Sad
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Agreed. I think the launch of this product was not don’t well and rushed in some ways. With the Elex at least they had established reviewers within the community get their hands on them to provide some impressions. The issue here is that no one that I’ve heard of has tried the cx and even worse at rmaf there was some issue with the cx not arriving. That left any impressions from the general public out. At the hefty sum of $900, no one wants to just blindly throw their money to Massdrop without reviews out. Well some do but at lest with the elex the realized their initial price of $800 was a bit much and they revised it to $700. A smart move on their end
buddhasbelly
No argument with anything you say. More reviews would have been smart. Demand increases as price decreases - Econ 101.
I still think IF the reviews come back positive after units get in buyers hands, the pickup of these will increase in the next drop.
If the reviews are mixed or negative, then MD is probably stuck with a lot of parts inventory, and possibly some penalty for being below their minimum order quantity in their contract with MrSpeakers.
But all of that is just a guess.
Aw crud. I thought I had one more day to join this drop.
Hi @CEE_TEE, just curious about how the serialised numbers will be distributed? By order number or random selection?
Just a heads up to anyone looking to buy these, carbon fiber heats up VERY quickly and very hotly in sunlight so, y'know, probably keep these indoors.
JZStudios
Uhhh, have you seen them? I am going to keep them behind closed doors, in a room with no lights and no mirrors so even I don’t have to look at them... :-). I am in the drop, don’t get me wrong, but they look kinda ginormous
I’m in.
I'm torn between picking up one of these, edition xv2 which is 899.99 new at hifiman, the Andara, or lcd2c . I like the sound of the lcd2c as I had tried them out from a friend. Any suggestions?
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I'm just gonna say right off the bat that I don't think the edition x would be the best choice for you, assuming you want something like the 2c. The 2c was just different kind of headphone than the edition x. It's sound, particularly the bass, isn't going to have the same impact as the 2c, so that might put you off right away. The whole sound of the edition x in fact is much more neutral in comparison. Obviously it's more well rounded than the 2c because of this, but again if you want something punchy and engaging, with "better" treble, then there are better phones than the edition x for sure.
Doz23
I’ve got a brand new edition x V2 if you’re interested! 850 shipped. My favorite pair of headphones I own
I am on the fence between getting these or the Focal Elegia...... Has anyone tried the Elegia? If so what are your impressions?? They're both the same price point but can only get one 😪
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Oh, I agree with you. I just found it odd. If there's one hiccup, who else knows what else could be wrong. Hence, a grain of salt. I'm biased as I've gone to Tyll, Jude, SBAF for so long that I'm used to looking at their graphs and knowing up from down within context.
And honestly, I had a less than ideal time with the AFC as well. I couldn't wrap my head around the hype as they came off as bass light, very lean, and cold overall but had great resolution. Ultimately, I found them way too analytical for my taste and returned them. Dan says the CX has more heft as this was my direct question to him. However, he later states the CX still has less bass quantity than the C Flow--which isn't bass heavy to begin with so that has me raising an eyebrow. With the Elegia, I feel they lack any substantial sub bass impact and that makes them not have a lot of heft. Pretty much, I won't use them with Hip Hop. Just like the Elex, thankfully, the bass is of good quality although I always want more impact. I really think that's just part of Focals house sound as their speakers tend to lean the same way.
I have no issues with mine. Sorry yours was defective and you have a first bad experience with your elegia.
Honestly I would rather buy used hd800S for about the same price
I just can’t join this drop. I love massdrop for some of its value, but this drop just seams off to me. We are already on Esther 2 Flows and these don’t even include the original flow drivers. I’m out.
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4XX is garbage, non-existent bass
neoslover
Wrong. Either your pair is defective or your source/DAC/AMP is not a good match.
I don’t consider myself an audiophile but I am currently interested in a really nice personal set-up.
I have a pair of AKG 712 Pro’s (which to me, sound nice), a pair of Takstar Pro 82’s (because of Z-Reviews and also sound great for the cash) and an old pair of Beyer DT-250’s which I “acquired“ from university (don’t “acquire“ things kids).
I‘m in on this because the reviews for the original Ethers make them seem like a really good Closed Back. Also I find it hard to believe that the change in quality between these and the Flows justifies the price. In the real world, these are already ridiculously expensive. I’m just lucky enough I’m in a situation where I can save up for them.
If the the Ether Cs were (to some) a class leading headphone in 2015, are they ACTUALLY going to be crap when compared to the Flows (like some in this comments section would lead us to believe)?
To someone like me, probably not.
How does this compare to the Aeon Closed?
I think if they dropped it to say $799.99 it would move atleast 50 -70 more units.
DenonFanboy
Agreed
YA BUT HOW DO THEY COMPARE TO THE HD650?!?!?!?!?
....asking for a friend.
More stuff that looks very nice and I'd like it but don't have enough funds in my budget to afford it.
lastzero
Such is life around here.
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A comparisson between the new EU counterpart of the CX. Still trying to justify this masspdrop opportunity to my wallet though :)
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I've listened to the Aeon Closed and can wholeheartedly say the Elegia is superior. While very detailed, there is a heft/weight missing from the AFC. It's a cold, lean headphone that doesn't have the dynamics of the Elegia (or any Focal for that matter). That, and I am discovering how nice this new driver in the Elegia is. It responds so well to EQ and can really pull some power to deliver some incredible impact with well extended-lows. The mids are sublime and the highs have enough sparkle. Really, it's going to be hard to beat this headphone at this price point. I hope Focal takes the Be drivers from the Utopia and spins off a closed-back model based on them (to compete with HD 820, Sony Z1R, etc).
jaydunndiddit
Thanks!
Sorry to those who visited us at RMAF to hear the CX. We had a double failure, I left the unit on the measuring rig before leaving for the show, and then it got shipped for Saturday delivery and didn't show up.
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Thanks for the follow up!
Should also have added I for one am very excited to get these on my ears 🎧🎧🎧
If you were conflicted about these cans (as I am) and don't have a bottomless barrel of money at your disposal (like me), here's yet another dimension to think about: https://www.focal.com/headphones/elegia/ :(
rdodev
LCD2C closed is also $900. So many choices.
shimage
It's ridiculous. I got the Elegia and will wait until next year for my next purchase. This not sustainable for my wallet.
So unfortunate, such an interesting pair of headphones but with such a price it is a no-go for Europeans. I would have to pay 27% extra (~1140$), and that would be just too much to swallow.
Maybe one day!
Owned and sold Ether C and have had Aeon Closed since it came out. Aeon Closed is a more comfortable design especially if your ears are larger than average. I find Focal headphones tend to have earcups which are best for average or smaller size ears. The Ether CX and the Aeon Closed are both good choices. I found sellers offering small discount on new Aeon's. I paid $700 for mine. Either one you can't really go wrong - just don't skimp on the headphone amp/DAC you pair with. I pair with Hugo 2 which may be over kill for most, but my what a sweet pairing!
Guys, I clicked on "Join Drop" and I can see the item in my Drops list but the green "Join Drop" button still the same. No where does it say "Joined" or anything like that. Is it the same for you guys? How do I confirm that I am in the drop?
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That did it. Thanks!
Will2416
You’re welcome and congrats 🎊
It seems like every day the 'sold' counter goes down, not up.
Jodet
So much new stuff has (and still is) being released as well as announcements leading to and during RMAF. To say the least, a lot of very good and very expensive equipment has been launched in a very short amount of time. Either way, it's a good problem to have in this hobby IMO.
I listened to these bad boys at CanJam/RMAF earlier today.
They're pretty damn good. I listened to several phones in MrSpeakers' lineup and I don't personally care for their sound signature, but these were technically excellent, especially for closed-back phones. To be frank, I actually preferred their overall presentation to that of the Ether 2, although I will say that I didn't have the time to listen to the open-back Ether 2's in a quiet setting, and the Ether 2's were technically superior in terms of details and soundstage.
If I had a spare $900 around, I would strongly consider biting on these, but alas I'll continue enjoying my $200 HD 6XX for the time being (and enjoy them I most certainly do!)
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My Elegia are in transit and I should have them by the weekend. I'll be sure to post my thoughts and impressions here once I get some ear time with them. The Elex is currently my favorite headphone so they'll have to wow me pretty hard to not get sent back for some Clear's. I do have high hopes for them considering others impressions from RMAF.
I just auditioned the Elegia at TSAV today and bought a pair. The demo unit sounded surprisingly close to the Clears (my favorite headphone by far), much closer than anything else I've heard (Eikon, Z1R, HD820, T5p.2, Aeon, Ether C/C flow, LCD2C closed, etc). The unit I took home, though, seems to be broken. There is no bass in the left driver, and not enough bass in the right driver. Jude's measurements suggest these have noticeably more bass than the Clears, but I've seen some impressions reporting these have no bass at all. I wonder how much of this is sample variance. In any case, I'm hoping I can get my pair replaced without having to wait forever for warranty service ...
In other news, of the other headphones on that list I wrote above, I would take the LCD2C closed by a significant margin, assuming it's a fixed one. The first demo unit at TSAV was pretty terrible. That said, my Aeon closed doesn't sound anything like Dan's measurements. It is very mid-centric, lacking quite a bit in both treble and bass (although bass is extended well). I took out the foam in the ports, which fixed the bass, but the treble is still too polite for my tastes. Another casualty of sample variance?
Update: so, was able to exchange my pair of Elegias for another one that we verified was working correctly. Tonally, it is very close the Clears, I hear it like Jude's measurements. Mids are excellent, nothing to complain about. Bass is tight, well-extended, and has that Focal kick to it, but doesn't have the warmth and fullness you get from good planars (Audeze, MrSpeakers, etc). Treble, while good, is not as clean as the Clears or as smooth as LCD2Cs. I prefer the extra energy over the LCDs, but some don't. I wasn't at RMAF, so I can't compare to Ether CX, unfortunately. In the end, I guess it comes down to whether one prefers dynamic or planar presentation. I'm a sucker for Focal's hyper-dynamic sound, so ...
Got to hear these at RMAF today, and they are indeed really good. The C Flow 1.1 annihilates the CX audibly, but the CX made me go all side-eye at my LCD-2C, so do with that what you will.
SchiitMyPants
Have you by chance heard the non flow ether c?
mikeonline
Unfortunately no. Today was my first hands-on experience with Mr Speakers headphones, so it was really just the current lineup plus the Ether 2 and the CX.
why are people cancelling their orders? I was wondering because I am considering going in on the drop
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I highly agree im only interested in ether flow c.
Audio tech upgrades?
Whew. This drop is especially interesting due to the annoucement and release of the focal elegia. With both of these cans being at the same price point I am curious to see which one ends up on top.
Since I have the elex, I am partial to trying something with Mr. Speakers. Anyone else has thoughts on this?
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Senpai noticed me!(笑) But on a serious note, yes; @m.allamin7 and @jaydunndiddit, I was kinda comparing apples to oranges. Can't wait to compare the Ether CX and Stax L300 limited!
Shredder
Well, Stax L300 Limited and the L700 are from another level, a league of their own if I may say. I love the sound of the both of them, it’s so amazing and crisp and the resolution is unmatchable . The problem is the design, which I hate every single detail of it, from the head band and plastic cups including the cable. Besides, electrostatic headphones are quite expensive and need quite pricy energizers to power them. Plus, they tend to get affected by dust and humidity. The only design of electrostatic headphones that i liked is that of the Voce, by Mr.Speakers.😅