Guest from sunny California: MrSpeakers Ether Flow
American engineer Dan Clark is known not only to avid audiophiles: Platinum Audio dynamic heads, widespread in the 90s of the last century, and many planar-magnetic headphones — for example, some Fostex models — came out from under his “pen.” For almost 20 years, Clark developed electronic Hi-End equipment, but at one point I realized that he wanted to start everything from scratch. This is how a new company appeared, which quickly gained credibility among famous manufacturers.
The engineer called his brainchild MrSpeakers and decided to completely change the concept of creating planar-magnetic headphones. First, it was decided that all models would be developed and produced only in California, USA. Secondly, Clark began the creation of planars literally from scratch - pedantry and the desire to work through every detail played a role. Thus, the Ether model was born, using special emitters called V-Planar: they have special stampings in the shape of the letter V in cross section. This allows you to increase the detail, accuracy and expand the frequency range.
You can find the same isodynamic emitter in Ether Flow headphones, but the main difference of this model is TrueFlow technology. Behind a seemingly simple marketing name, a really important feature is hidden - the absence of sharp edges and other obstacles in the way of air. Therefore, the flow of magnets by the air flow is smooth, whereas in most other headphones the movement of air turns out to be chaotic.
Ether Flow Characteristics
|Type of sound emitter||Isodynamic|
|Frequency range||10 - 20 000 Hz|
Contents of delivery
The stylish black box, on which the name of the headphone stands, conceals a hard case with a soft surface inside. Here, the headphones with a complete cable fit easily, and the cover will protect against most physical injuries that can occur in everyday life.
In addition to the cable and headphones, put a certificate of conformity with the serial number of the model. This is a very common practice among premium-class headphone manufacturers: first, the authenticity of the specimen is confirmed (forging a certificate is not so easy); secondly, the buyer is given to understand that he has become a member of a certain “closed club”. Someone will say that all this is “Ponte”, but how many people, so many opinions.
The complete cable has a 4-pin connector and is fixed very securely. As befits a Hi-End device, the manufacturer offers the customer to choose one of the cables that they prefer: balanced XLR, unbalanced 1/4 ″, unbalanced 3.5 mm and balanced 2.5 mm. Cable length 1.2 meters - for the home or a small studio is more than enough. Yes, on the street such headphones are hardly advisable to use.
This, in fact, the complete set of headphones ends. No cloths for wiping fingerprints, spray to care for leather ear cushions and other things. It seems that among manufacturers there is an unspoken rule: the more expensive the headphones, the more minimalist the approach to the set.
No one is already surprised that when developing headphones of this class most of the cost is used materials. There is a definite sense in this - Ether Flow looks very solid. So, the soft ear cushions of the headphones are made of genuine Italian leather, and an alloy of titanium and nickel (nitinol) is used as the material for the headband, which can memorize the shape.
The substrate is also presented with natural leather with a mikrozamshey, and the details and each cog made to order. In general, premiums for 140,000 rubles are clearly enough. Even ear pads are located at a special angle to account for the features of the anatomical structure of the auricle.
Many people avoid open headphones, because they are afraid of the extra sounds around, which can be heard due to the design features. In Ether Flow, MrSpeakers tried to do everything to leave the owner of the headphones alone with the music: the model is not only well damped, but also provides improved sound insulation due to the angle of inclination and fit of the ear cushions. It was not possible to achieve complete sound insulation for obvious reasons, but it seems that with such an acoustic arrangement it is simply impossible to do something better.
The manufacturer has paid a lot of attention to ergonomics. It seems that the headphones can be put on only in one position and nothing else: when the whole structure is on the head, there is no desire to move it aside. As if everything was measured at the factory so that the headphones fit perfectly on any head. Yes, and the weight of the Ether Flow is small compared to other planar-magnetic headphones. If you work continuously on the same recording studio for 5-6 hours, your ears will not get tired, and you will get used to the weight in just 15-20 minutes of listening.
Connecting such headphones to a smartphone or tablet is a real crime. Ideally, get a DAC for headphones like BURSON AUDIO CONDUCTOR V2 + or ADL BY FURUTECH STRATOS, but Ether Flow will do fine with the same Astell & Kern SP1000, at worst, as they say - FIIO X3 III. To experience the most pleasant sensations, it is better to reproduce exclusively high-resolution recordings in Lossless-formats. We didn’t engage in warming, let’s leave it to the “pumped” audiophiles.
V-Planar drivers feel very good - planar emitters sound much bass and more dynamic. TrueFlow technology makes a huge contribution, which optimizes the passage of sound waves to detail the sound and reduce the level of distortion (in the graphs below you can see it). The emphasis on bass, as was said earlier, is noticeable immediately, but the mid frequencies are not forgotten here either - we can safely say that the sound resolution is close to the best electrostatic models. In general, the sound feed is very clean and tidy, this can be seen only at the high level single points.
No one will argue with the fact that you have to listen to these headphones yourself, in this case you should not count on the objectivity of the opinions of others, since the device is clearly not in any wallet. Nevertheless, the majority of those who managed to “touch the beautiful” agree that the Ether Flow gives an honest, not embellished sound. And, perhaps, it is this fact, and not the price, that makes these headphones specific and audiophile.
The model is clearly intended for studio or home use, and in the latter case, the fireplace must be lit before the listener, which warms up on a cold autumn day. The genre compatibility of the headphones is good, in particular they are revealed with jazz, live performances and hip-hop (with the latter due to the emphasis on bass). Not very impressive is the reproduction of electronic music and hard rock - apparently, the Ether model is better suited for this purpose.
Planars to listen to
MrSpeakers once again pleased us with interesting magnetic-planar headphones, which can be safely put on a par with devices of famous brands. The positive aspects of Ether Flow are unequivocally attributed to ergonomics (well, very comfortable headphones), high build quality, the use of noble materials (good without fanaticism, otherwise the price tag would be 2-3 times higher) and, of course, a balanced sound that is neutral and the absence of any "touch-up".
The only thing that these headphones lack a little - sensitivity, also Ether Flowpainfully relate to the source of the sound, if the latter does not reach the desired level. And in order for the headphones to open properly, a similar device will have to be acquired. However, in the studio conditions such good is usually a lot.
Scold the manufacturer for the price in this case definitely does not make any sense. Yes, from the price tag above 100,000 rubles for headphones, many hairs on the head stand on end, but Ether Flow will justify the investment. The main thing is to listen to them before you buy, because audiophile sound is not close to everyone’s heart.