Disclaimer: The MrSpeakers Ether C Flow V1.1 Upgrade Kit was despatched to us a pattern in trade for our trustworthy opinion. We thank MrSpeakers for this chance.
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The worth of entry to flagship headphones of late is more and more ‘taxing’ on the pockets. I keep in mind when the Audeze LCD-2 first got here out at $999 about eight years in the past and other people gulped. Now it’s hitting $Four-6000 for the likes of the Utopia and Susvara.
Fortunately, the sound high quality on most of those summit-fi headphones are fairly darn good and getting higher on a regular basis. Nevertheless, to get higher you need to promote your previous headphone and purchase a brand new one. That may be an costly and dangerous train.
Which is why I like MrSpeaker’s strategy to enhancing the standard of their present headphones with out breaking the financial institution. Dan and his workforce have persistently completed the “mod” factor because the Mad Canine and achieved it cheaply.
Nearly each headphone they’ve launched aside from VOCE has had some sub-$50 mod package that modifications the signature. Headphones such because the Ether, Ether C, and the 2 AEON stream headphones all have a bit foam pad package that helps you form the sound to your choice.
Roll-on 2018 and right here we’re once more with a brand new versatile tuning mod package and this time for the Ether Flow collection. It prices simply $29.99 to get the upgrades which is peanuts for flagship headphone sound upgrades lately. The one we have now right here applies to the Ether C Flow or the closed again version however you will get a equally priced model for the Ether FLow version of their web site.
Contained in the bag, you get quite a few issues and none of it requires any experience to put in or software. You merely have to comply with the directions information and a gentle hand with an excellent degree of lighting. Included are three units of differing materials pads in black and white for every ear cup, 2 decals for putting on the bottom of the cup behind the pads. For the Closed Flow, you additionally get a further set of baffle vent tuning stickers.
Primarily the mod youngsters deliver the Ether line-up into line with MrSpeakers modding philosophy very similar to the AEON headphones. All new Ether headphones now come as V1.1 as normal. This enables present house owners to improve their Ether’s with out having to promote their previous one and purchase a brand new one.
There’s yet one more further buy required although which is their new Vivo headphone cable which retails for $299. I’m advised present Ether house owners can get this cable at a $200 low cost. (On completion of your order, e mail information at MrSpeakers.com and supply a replica of your unique headphone buy receipt OR your headphone order quantity from mrspeakers.com AND your new VIVO cable order quantity.)
MrSpeakers have pitched the mod package as providing a bigger soundstage, a greater degree of decision in addition to a smoother bass to midrange transition on the C Flow.
Now in case you have been inspecting a whole lot of measurements on the market on the C Flow you’ll discover that the majority of them decide up on a largish dip round 100-200Hz earlier than it steadily elevated into the midrange. The tuning package is designed to clean out that dip a bit extra so the low-end and midrange sounds transition is rather less “disconnected”.
There are a set of images that will help you get a fast understanding of the way to set up them. It shouldn’t take longer than about 5 minutes per aspect and it is rather straightforward to do.
My solely recommendation is to be sure to have a very good degree of lighting to keep away from mud and hair slipping into the drivers through the set up and to make sure the stickers are all aligned correctly.
Listed here are a couple of of my very own in-process set up pics simply so you realize precisely the way it ought to take a look at key levels which I feel helps alongside the official aspect.
I might advise stating with the baffle vent stickers, then shifting to the paper damping labels after.
Placing on the baffle vent stickers is a bit tough to get good so I counsel utilizing perhaps a set of tweezers to align it over the maintain earlier than urgent firmly on the label to make it stick.
Notice the paper decals are channel agnostic which means doesn’t matter which aspect you set them however do ensure you do get the highest and backside proper as they don’t seem to be symmetrical in design.
Inserting them is sort of easy. Simply use the screw heads as a information and lay is softly on the backside and let it drop slowly all the best way to the highest. It ought to naturally align itself and never flop at an angle. Gently press alongside the strains of the label to ensure it evenly utilized after.
After that it’s a easy case of placing the pads again on by following the information slowly. Ensure that to recollect to align the angle wedge to the rear and the internal cup opening vertical when placing the pads again on.
Utilizing the pads is lifeless easy. Simply shove them contained in the cup and ensure they’re evenly positioned to cowl the opening and voila, you’re good to go.
Setup – PC-Foobar – FLAC 16BIT/44.1k – Chord Qutest DAC – Xi Audio Formulation S Strong State Amp – single-ended output to Ether C Flow V1.1
The ultimate sound signature will finally rely upon the kind of acoustic pads you employ. The supplies appear to be just like these used on the AEON collection although I’m positive they don’t seem to be actual duplicates.
The white pads are softest of the three pads provided with the black pads manufactured from a barely coarser and stiffer acoustic materials and barely thinner than the white pads. The ultimate set of pads are a thicker foam-like materials.
The acoustics stickers on the drivers themselves act as a damping layer that isn’t as heavy obligation as the unique foam layers. They may let in much more element and a cleaner sound however you’ll lose a bit of heat within the course of with out the pads to additional modify the ultimate sound.
New Inventory Ether V1.1 Sound
The V1.1 Low-end has been toned down somewhat, the dip to the lower-mids has additionally been smoothed out over the unique Ether C Flow. The flatter mid-bass amount permits for a larger lower-midrange presence and improved instrumental readability. This new Ether C V1.1 presentation is far more coherent than earlier than and while I wouldn’t name it a impartial low-end it does sound extra balanced than earlier than.
In case you are used to the older Ether C earlier than the brand new sound can also be going to sound the marginally cleaner sound of the 2 with extra mids presence and a very good vocal efficiency. Treble notes even have a bit extra physique and presence however on the similar time doesn’t sound that peaky. It’s vigorous however nonetheless retains a really refined sound.
I did discover that the brand new silver plated OFHC copper VIVO cable to additionally outperform the DUM cable when utilizing the Ether C Flow post-mod. I’ve to additionally comment that this can be a a lot thicker cable however nonetheless equally as tender and straightforward to deal with because the earlier DUM cable. Thanks additionally, Dan, for killing off the heat-shrink electrical tape wrap and bringing in a customized black aluminum metallic Y-splitter. A lot better!
The most important tonal distinction between the 2 cables appears to give attention to the harmonic stability, notably within the higher mids and decrease treble the place the VIVO sounded extra refined and pure to my ear whereas the older DUM cable had a barely more durable edge to vocals and percussion timbre.
The second massive distinction was within the dynamic vary efficiency. Not solely in the way it improved the low-end definition and snap but in addition delivering a barely blacker background and extra spacing round vocals consequently. Micro-details are a lot simpler to select up in consequence.
The white pads usher in a bit extra mid-bass presence and heat than with out pads in addition to extra lower-midrange instrumental physique and influence. The tone is rather less reference like and never as cool within the timbre because the inventory with none pads.
The white pads retain the inventory open sound for me within the mids but in addition add a bit of extra even harmonic lilt and maintain to vocal shows in order that they sound a toucher richer and thicker which could be very a lot to my liking. Treble additionally will get a bit extra physique however isn’t as energetic because the inventory sound with out pads. I feel it’s a wholesome compromise and my favourite tuning out of all of the pads.
Black stiff pads
The stiffer black pads improve the higher mids and decrease treble a bit greater than the White pads and convey again in some extra sub-bass weight. There is a bit more mid-bass heat and a few subsequent energy and PRaT returns over the inventory signature. The vocals will not be a ahead sounding because the white pads and one thing I might anticipate from the improved low-end and treble presence.
Utilizing the black stiff pads the soundstage has a bit extra depth and general this can be a slight return to the extra musical sound of the unique Ether C Flow however at the price of pushing the mids again a bit of once more.
Black Foam Pads
For me, the froth pads pull down on the higher mids and decrease treble a bit greater than the inventory no pad sound although not fairly as a lot as the opposite pads. The percussion timbre is a extra muted sounding, maybe smoother to some however to others it has rather less presence and chew.
Instrumental and vocal timbre additionally sound clean with the froth pads however not fairly as clear because the inventory sound. They do have a bit extra higher mids and treble presence than the white pads which appears to put extra concentrate on the decrease mids as much as 1-2k.
Stick to no pads in any respect if you would like the utmost higher mids and treble presence however if you would like one thing a bit softer then the froth pads are a pleasant various.
I’ve all the time felt the C Flow was type of musical antidote to the flatter extra linear sound of the unique Ether open version (non-flow). You get much more low-end presence and energy however on the slight value of midrange readability and openness.
By taking out the unique damping materials and placing in what appears to be a lighter extra porous paper label on every driver the Ether C Flow turns into much more open sounding and in addition far more coherent as a result of it takes the sting out of that 400Hz dip that some didn’t like. I think it ranges the low-end to get that sound as a result of the brand new model has a decreased degree of low-end amount although it nonetheless retains a bit extra musicality than the Ether Open version.
Some might discover this new sound to even be a contact brighter, barely colder even with the improved readability within the mids. For that, you can begin working the tuning pads to form the ultimate sound. White pads improve the mids properly for me with a hotter sound and fewer treble forwardness.
Foams will take makes timbre a bit of softer than inventory however brighter than the white pads and the black stiff pads sit in-between each however with further sub-bass energy. I recommend retaining the unique damping materials in case you really feel the extra linear bass response is a contact too mild. You possibly can all the time put them again in for the previous sound if you want.
General, for $30 the tuning package is a no brainer for present Ether C Flow house owners on the market. Until you’re completely wedded to the unique inventory sound you’ll benefit from the extra open and balanced sound it could actually ship. Welcome to a model new TOTL headphone for simply $30 guys!
- Mannequin ETHER C Flow 1.1
- Driver Sort Planar Magnetic
- Driver Measurement 71x45mm
- Impedance 23 ohms
- Weight 430 gr
- Ear Pad Materials NAPA Lamb Leather-based
- Delivery Dimensions 11x9x6 inches
- Delivery Weight three lb