Cool and Confident: Mr. Speakers Ether Planar Magnetic Headphones Measurements


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response plots show a headphone that's quite flat between 60Hz and 1.7kHz. Below 60Hz, due to the transition to below pad resonance, the Ether has a roughly 2dB loss. This is very common among planar magnetic headphones and the Ether actually does a pretty good job of remaining flat in this area. The Harman response curve would want a bass rise beginning at 150Hz and increasing to a shelf at about +2dB to +4dB.

Above about 300Hz, the Harman curve would want a gentle increase up 2dB or so until it intersects with the faster rise seen in the Ether at about 2kHz. The raw emphasis peak at 3.5kHz is at about the right height, but descends a bit too quickly and falls off into a steep notch centered at about 8kHz. In listening and parametric EQ adjusting, I found the steeper than desired roll-off after 3.5kHz much more audible than the notch itself.

The subsequent peak at 10kHz seemed to me the worst sin of the Ether; the treble above that point seems about the right profile but it's all a few dB to elevated.

30Hz square wave is a bit sway back for a planar magnetic and may add more evidence to the slightly lean sound of the Ether. Very low distortion in the bass however resonates with my experience that, when EQed up, this bass area remains tight and punchy. Note that the 100dB traces fall well below the 90dB plots. This is clear evidence of good power handling by these headphones, possibly the result of the V-Planar knurling of the diaphragm allowing freedom of movement in large bass excursions of the diaphragm at low frequencies.

300Hz square wave is slightly downward leaning overall also indicating a lean leaning treble. Initial spike level seems about right to me, subsequent second peak is small relative to many other ToTL headphones, but undesirable and may diminish imaging. Later noise not desirable but, again, is a bit less than average, it seems to me.

Mid-range and treble distortion artifacts are very low again indicating good power handling across the audio spectrum. The impedance and phase response plots are also remarkably artifact-free, which echoes the essentially featureless distortion plots.

At 0.071Vrms to achieve 90dBspl at the ear, these are very efficient planar magnetic headphones. It may not be the sanest way to use the Ether, but they can be driven to a perfectly acceptable level by your smartphone. (He says as if sane is a decent descriptor for people who read all the way to the last line of one of my reviews.)

Mr. Speakers
3366 Kurtz Street
San Diego, CA 92110