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ETHER

ETHER and new ETHER Flow Headphones

STATUS: Due to high demand, lead time for orders is approximately 3 weeks.

In addition to our award-winning ETHER and ETHER C headphones, we’d like to introduce ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow with TrueFlow technology.

We set three goals when we started the ETHER project: sound excellent, be more comfortable than our existing headphones, and have a timeless design.  Result?  The ground-breaking ETHER headphones.

Sound.  Many long nights went into creating a very detailed yet natural and organic sound.  ETHER headphones are not about having the best bass, mids, or highs, they’re about delivering a convincing experience. When you hear live music do you say “wow, what highs” or do you say “Wow, what beautiful vibrato?”

Technology.  At the heart of the ETHER headphones is our V-Planar(tm) driver and TrueFlow wave guide technologies.   V-Planar technology pleats the driver surface so as to reduce distortion, improve transient response, and extend the frequency range.

Our new ETHER Flow headphones feature TrueFlow technology which smooths the path for air moving into, through, and out of the magnet structure* for greatly reduced distortion and improved dynamics.

Comfort.  ETHER headphones are known for their light weight and comfortable clamp, and have a nearly ideal weight distribution, so they can be worn for hours without fatigue.  ETHER headphones won’t move around on your head with normal usage, but neither will they leave your jaw and ears aching due to clamping force.

Timeless Design.  ETHER is almost entirely metal for durability and sound quality yet its extremely light and comfortable.   The team worked overtime to cut weight without sacrificing performance.  One solution we found is  an industry-first: a NiTinol “memory metal” headband that is super-light and ultra-cool.  It delivers just the right level of clamp to keep the phones in place and sealed on most heads, yet it’s remarkably tough and reliable.   With it’s light weight, comfortable fit and supple lamb-leather ear pads ETHERs may be worn for long sessions without fatigue.

Why name the headphone ETHER? 19th century physics had no concept of hard vacuum filling to “fill” the vast reaches of space. ETHER was an imaginary substance that filled the voids between the stars. Since a lot of what makes ETHER fun is the sense of space and the deep quiet between the notes, and ETHER was a bit “magical,” it seemed like a nice name.

 

*We have applied for patents for shaping the wave within magnet trays and between bar magnets.  We would like to acknowledge some prior art:

  • A cool “ear-side” wave guide modification for the Fostex T50RP by ZGLISZCZ on head-fi.org published here
  • In the early days of planar headphones there was a design using a flat disk magnets with perforations

Awards for Ether

Innerfidelity_Wall_of_Fame
Headfonics-Best-of-2015
EAR-Best-of-2015
Headphone.Guru_2015WCA_WarrenChi_Web
Writer's Choise
Writer's_Choice

Innovations

TrueFlow Aerodynamic Processing

Many types of magnet motors have been used for planars, including large perforated single-pole magnet plates, bar magnets and magnets in trays. While perforated magnetic plates offered excellent airflow they were quite heavy and not terribly efficient for their weight. Bar magnets and magnets in trays are lighter and more efficient, but as audio waves flow around bar magnets they experiences diffraction, which creates distortion and masks some micro-details.

To address this distortion, we have created a smooth insert that can be placed between bar magnets or in the voids in magnets and trays to eliminate diffraction effects.

For magnet/tray motors such as ours, additional smoothing can be accomplished using ear-side wave guides to smooth the transition from the magnet tray, similar to the publicly shared by ZGLISZCZ and published here.

V-Planar Driver Processing

ETHER is built around MrSpeakers designed single-ended planar driver. To optimize performance the drver has been processed using our patent-pending V-Planar technology.

NiTinol Headband

ETHER also uses a NiTinol "memory metal" headband to reduce weight and improve comfort. NiTinol is Nickel-Titanium alloy that is heat-treated to a geometry we set that's ideally mated to our ear-ads to deliver a quality seal with minimal pressure.

V-Planar Driver Processing

Simply stated, a conventional planar driver is usually assumed to move as a flat surface.  In reality, this is not possible as the driver substrate is inelastic and  “locked” at the boundaries so the driver will move more as an arced surface then a flat plane, as conceptually illustrated in Figure 1.

standard-animation320FIGURE 1: Conventional Driver Motion

Over the years, different approaches have been developed to address nonlinear planar motion and the artifacts it can cause.  Fostex patented their RP technology, used on all their drivers used in our headphones, to reduce panel nonlinearities.  Another approach, known as knurling, was patented in 1997 by Bruce Thigpen, founder of Eminent-Technology and pioneer of numerous planar magnetic speaker technologies. We felt it would be possible to improve on the solutions available to date, so we collaborated with Bruce to develop V-Planar knurling technique (we filed for a patent with Bruce as a co-inventor). In simplified form, V-Planar technology addresses nonlinear driver motion by more deeply creasing the diaphragm to increase compliance.  Much as pleats allow an accordion to expand and contract without stretching the fabric, the creases in the driver "open" slightly during larger excursions as illustrated in Figure 2.  When the driver is processed, the resultant peaks and troughs are deep enough to maintain more of their physical structure even after the driver has been tensioned.

V-Planar-Animation320FIGURE 2: V-Planar Driver Motion

Increasing driver compliance allows it to behave as a more idealized planar surface.  With more of the driver surface in linear motion, V-Planar can not only push more air at low frequencies, but with greater acceleration also delivers better dynamics, high-end frequency response, and measurably lower distortion.

Features and Specifications

ETHER Features and Specifications (subject to change)

Features

  • Driver: 2.75” x 1.75” MrSpeakers’ designed single-ended planar magnetic (with V-Planar™ surface processing)
  • Precision machined Aluminum baffle, pivots and gimbals
  • Nitinol “Memory Metal” Head-band
  • Italian leather with microsuede headband
  • Lamb-leather ear pads
  • Matched drivers: +/- 1.5 dB between 30 and 5,000Hz (tentative)
  • Efficiency is 96dB/mW

Specifications

  • Weight: 370g (13.1oz)
  • Frequency response: Yes*
  • Efficiency: 96dB/mW
  • Impedance: 23 ohms
  • ETHER C Features and Specifications (subject to change)

    Features

    • Driver: 2.75” x 1.75” MrSpeakers’ designed single-ended planar magnetic (with V-Planar™ surface processing)
    • Precision machined Aluminum baffle, pivots and gimbals
    • Nitinol “Memory Metal” Head-band
    • Italian leather with microsuede headband
    • Lamb-leather ear pads
    • Matched drivers: +/- 1.5 dB between 30 and 5,000Hz (tentative)

    Specifications

    • Weight: 390g (13.8oz)
    • Frequency response: Yes*
    • Efficiency: 92dB/mW
    • Impedance: 23 ohms

Pricing

MrSpeakers' ETHER is $1,499.99 USD. ETHER includes: 1) Our standard 6' headphone cable with your choice of XLR, 1/4", 3.5mm, 2.5mm balanced and RSA/ALO termination. 2) A custom case for transportation

Pinout for Custom Cables

ETHER uses the same pinout as our Alpha Prime and Alpha Dog headphones. The plug is available to cable manufacturers at www.evalucon.com, and the part number is SN-8-4(P). For your convenience they are available for purchase on our accessories tab.

Left:
1 = L+
2 = L - (or ground for single ended cables)
3 = open
4 = open

Right:
1 = R+
2 = R - (or ground for single ended cables)
3 = open
4 = open

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