Drop + MrSpeakers Ether CX Closed Headphones
Drop + MrSpeakers Ether CX Closed Headphones
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Product Description
A collaboration with MrSpeakers, a boutique shop in San Diego, California, the Ether CX closed-back headphones have a lot going for them. For one thing, they sound more like a pair of open-back headphones—clean, open, realistic, relaxed—while retaining the low sound leakage and high isolation you’d expect from closed cans Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.6
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would recommend to a friend
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marmul
2
Dec 11, 2019
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The headphones are very, very nice.
I love these things, very very nice headphones. I have been throught the usual $300 - $400 range of open and closed headphones, these are way better, open, responsive, comfortable. Why four stars then Marc? The cable and Drop support, I just don't get it. There are kinks in the cable that I can't seem to get out of the cable, it does not lay flat on my desk and always seems to be in my way. They sound really good though so I will deal with it. The other reason is the headphones arrived with a 4pin XLR to 3.5mm adapter, this is how I connect to my MacBook and my amp so it was required. Only one channel works using the adapter due to a defect. These headphones are expensive, I expected some quality control. I opened a ticket with Drop and waited 2 days for a response, that is too long to wait in my opinion. The response was send back for exchange, refund or accept a 20$ refund to source my own part. I found this unusual as I asked for only a replacement adapter. I was able to source a new adapter (after 3 tries) through Amazon for $46.00. If I bought these used I would expect this level of support. Moving forward, no matter the savings I will think twice about buying from Drop.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Dec 11, 2019
Rodmunch
85
Dec 12, 2019
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Talk to Dan Clark Audio directly. They were very quick to respond to me and were very helpful.
Dec 12, 2019
audiophilemb
54
Dec 10, 2019
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Would be glad to sell my pair at a $100 discount!
That includes ALL the original cables and inserts with maybe 25 hours on them. Just bought TOO many sets and need the moola!
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Would recommend to a friend.
Dec 10, 2019
derek.lob
14
Dec 9, 2019
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the carbon fiber is very high quality, and it sounds great too
i missed the $250 off flash sale but got the black friday deal $200 discount. i received mine last week and listened regularly for the last week in evenings. the carbon fiber cups are extremely well made and beautiful. I thought it looks even more impressive than focal utopia i saw in local stores. i run the ether cx through smsl m300 + sp200 balance out. the sound was quite impressive even without burn-in. i got my hd800s about 3 weeks ago and was listening to hd800s for the last 3 weeks regularly before I received my ether cx. the soundstage of hd800s is a lot wider but i prefer the tonality of the ether cx. the ether cx sounds very detailed and quite clean/sterile to me. some reviews said the ether cx needs quite a lot of current to give a lively performance. it's quite ok in my setup and i felt it's easier to drive than hd800s. the closed back design gives it very good sound insulation but the bass is still not going very strong right now. hope it improves over the next few weeks after burn-in. many already pointed out that, unlike the original ether c, aeon or ether 2 design, there's no swivel on the cup (same shortcoming for the esp/95x!). the nitinol head band can flex a lot so it's no too difficult to get a proper wearing position (on the other hand, esp/95x is open back and is less demanding to get a good seal). and i must said i miss the carrying case in the non-drop ver too.
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Dec 9, 2019
bananerosabroso
1
Dec 8, 2019
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I've logged about 80 hours on these and a lot of what's been said about these is 100% accurate. The sound is very clean, very accurate. Soundstage is pretty good, imaging is pretty good. Bass is there, but lacking in strength/impact. What not many people mention is that there is a slight honk in the midrange... I hear it at about 1k. Perhaps it's just something that I hear when comparing to other heaphones (fostex tr-x00 and hifiman ananda). Overall it doesn't bother me unless, like I said, I do direct comparisons to other headphones. The negatives are that I've found them to be slightly fatiguing, and at $900 I find them to be too expensive. At the black friday/cyber week price of $600 these become great. I paid the $900 for them, but they are not my go to... That honor goes to the hifiman ananda (which I got for $700). Not because of open vs. closed soundstage, but because of the midrange bump that makes them somewhat fatiguing to me. It's not a bad headphone, by any means... I liked the sound signature so much so that I purchased an incoming pair of Aeon 2 closed backs. For home listening closed backs, you wouldn't go wrong with these. But they aren't the most "fun" setup out there. EDIT: I've been listening to the Aeon 2 Closed for a couple of hours... They are more V shaped than the Ether CXs. I think they are a better buy for the money, but you may have other needs in terms of features. But for me, Aeon 2 closed is where it's at for that price.
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Dec 8, 2019
MaverickAH
183
Dec 9, 2019
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I have a little under half the time on mine that you have on yours. I'm not ready yet to make any official assessments but I hear what you hear. I wouldn't describe it as a honk though. I think that the issue is a little higher up maybe in the 4-6KHz range. I prefer to call an upper mid - treble emphasis. I really don't want to lock myself into anything right now as they are still burning in & I have heard some improvement in the short time I've had them. What I will say is that I feel that the thinking behind these is that Drop & Dan Clark said, "As people who believe in modding, we're going to give you as much raw as possible so that you can tailor the sound the way you want with the supplied filters." I haven't touched the filters yet. I do have some more to say even at this early stage but I will save it for when I write my formal review.
Dec 9, 2019
MFillmore
100
Dec 4, 2019
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It's good but it's not best value for money
Listen. I'm not gonna lie. It's a pretty good headphone. The FR tuning was clearly handled by someone who knew what they were doing. It's very balanced, not particularly V-sounding. The thing has planar bass not as good as the LCD-2C but still pretty respectable (again the CX is not a bassy headphone but the bass it does have is pretty good). It's closed (a solid advantage all things considered). But at 900 dollars...why would you get this. The black friday 700 dollar price is much more competitive, but the 900 was just not. For 700 you could get the Elex, which is arguably much better sounding though it is not closed. The focal headphones also have pretty solid bass that has a very fast subwoofer like presentation. So perhaps not to the level of a planar, but very good nonetheless. And you would not be getting an inferior experience in any sense. I would even argue that the more expensive focal clear might even be a better option than the CX as well if you caught it on sale. Or better yet. Just get a 6XX, a good amp like the ZDT Jr. plus the JAN GE tubes that people are talking about, and enjoy an arguably comparable level of quality that would perhaps even cost less at the end of the day. I just can't understand why this is 900 dollars considering the rest off Drop's product lineup. TLDR just get the elex or get the 6XX and save a few bucks. If this goes on sale again for 700, evaluate your priorities and this might be the move.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Dec 4, 2019
ludachris
279
Dec 4, 2019
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I agree. At $700 it should of came with headphone case and two sets of cables instead of one cable with extension 3.5mm adapter. I always liked the closed back ether look and planar tech. Save the $900 for mr speakers aeon 2.
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Dec 4, 2019
kybdi
5
Nov 27, 2019
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Amazing at what they do with SOME Flaws
First off I'd like to say that these are very natural sounding mid-forward headphones. The EXCEL at vocal reproduction and work wonderfully for mixing or cutting vocal heavy tracks or video where vocals are prominent. They are very sensitive so I would recommend having a source that won't add some hiss before you buy these. If you have the money to spend on these, you ought to have the money to spend on a good source. These are not very musical headphones all-around. After using these for a good two months or so I've come to love them for everything that isn't music (with the exception of very mid focused stuff) I would have to compare these to Focal Clears in terms of technical merit and detail. There is no better of the two, but I will say that they both fall flat and rise to great heights in different areas. The focal clears are better all-around at reproduction, but have a pretty well known "metallic" sound to them, by contrast the CX has a much more mid-focused sound with far more attention to realism. Both are about as revealing and detailed and both have roughly the same sound-stage to my ears (that is to say not very much) Now the CXs fall flat on 2 accounts.
  1. The hitose connectors are bad and produce a lot of extra sound when moving. These are cheap connectors that should never have been used on a set of headphones like this. At first I thought the wire that came with the ether CX was just poorly made. After spending about 100$ on an upgrade cable the issue with the sound of rubbing connectors was still coming through, don't get me wrong the original wire that comes with these is full of kinks, VERY bad at remaining loose and often got in the way. I in no way regret buying a new wire, but I wish it would have solved ALL of my issues with these. If you don't move too often then this is a non-issue, but it still confounds me that such horrible connectors are being used on equipment this expensive.
  2. The pads and the tuning system are a nice thing to have, but ultimately, if you want to tweak the sound just use EQ. There is no real reason to use the tuning foams if you're using equipment with a built in EQ or if you're driving from a digital source just add one in your music program. The pads for these are leather that heats up around your head and can get uncomfortable. These are light and comfy in all respects, except for the pads. Do yourself a favor and grab Brainwavz Gaming Micro Suede pads (the ones with the built in cooling gel) and you will have an extremely light weight and comfortable set of cans.
All in all, I've spent an extra 140$ to make these headphones with I use on a daily basis for vocal monitoring and casually listening to podcasts and the like. I have other headphones I use for musical entertainment. If a mid-forward, fix-er-up, amazingly comfortable pair of headphones is what you're looking for then these should be considered. Otherwise I would recommend looking elsewhere.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
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Nov 27, 2019
mohfuu
28
Nov 21, 2019
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Good materials used in a poorly conceived way
I'm conflicted about these headphones. On one hand they're the best headphones I've heard. On the other hand, there are a multitude of design decisions made in these headphones that ultimately make me kind of scratch my head. The Good. From most enjoyable qualities to less impacting qualities. Accurate sound, the sound that these headphones introduce to your ears are pristine, crystal clear, I feel like no frequencies in these headphones stick out, I never get tired of listening to them. The bass is pretty weak, again, if you're a gamer, anemic bass isn't all bad. You generally don't need any help hearing the in-game sources that typically produce low frequencies because they get in the way of your awareness, what you want to hear is footsteps, the clickety clack of guns being reloaded and gunshots not grenades or atomic bombs. Otherwise if I had to categorize the music I enjoy listening to on these headphones, I'd say just about any natural sounding music, songs with excessive bass will become unbearably tame - these headphones could do bass better and that's about the extent of my sonic qualms here. I mean the bass is.. well I can't think of an adjective that describes "barely acceptable" but the point is - I can still enjoy a lot of techno or metal and what-have-you.. the bass isn't really bad but a lot of bass heavy songs aren't as outrageous on these headphones as I know them to be and that isn't necessarily a bad thing, 90% of actually good songs still sound amazing, 10% of the bass heavy minority of songs that are a worthwhile audio experience suffer a bad fate in these headphones, I might be able to listen to Meshuggah or Tool on these headphones, but I can't really enjoy it, Primus still manages to feels very flicky and impactful but part of me always wonders how much better could it be (or if at all would be?) with more present bass, but then I imagine scenarios where that bass just gets in the way, like, I'm not overly concerned with bass if I'm listening to Phineas Newborn Jr. or Lubomyr Melnyk, or reloading guns and footsteps.. regardless of how I feel about bass here I can't deny that these headphones have produced some of the most enjoyable sounds I've experienced on a headphone and these also happen to be my currently most expensive headphones. Accurate soundstage, if you're a gamer you might often find yourself correctly locating audio cues that your friends (that you always assumed were competent) might not pin-point as accurately as you do with these bad boys on your braincage, but there are headphones out there that perform that job at a similar level to the CX's which "image" just about perfectly too, though finding them in a closed back design of an overall similar quality-level can prove difficult. Doesn't Bleed, it doesn't bleed sound out of the headphone when you wear it but the moment you open the seal around your ear it bleeds out just like an open back headphone perhaps even with more heft, which really showcases how well it contains all that sound within its closed-back design. Quality Materials and aesthetics, I don't have to tell you that this is made with nitinol and carbon fiber because people can't seem to stop talking about it, sure it's impressive and equally handsome, the headset looks like it's ready to set a record at the Nürburgring and it feels like it would survive any eventual collisions. The Bad. - From most severe to least. Hirose connectors, the metallic connectors that plug into the cans produce an annoying sound when you move around (walking) or even when stationary if you tilt your head or look to your side which is very noticeable at low volumes or during lulls in a musical composition or some other kind of media. I've come to genuinely loathe these connectors, they're like an ex that won't stop calling me, or like sitting down on a stone cold toilet seat in the morning - it has become one of the seemingly unavoidable unpleasantries of my life. This is my crux, these hirose connectors are beyond saving. They generate these noises because of little collisions between the little moving parts of the connector, and the amount of "play" between these moving parts and even the female connector and the headset itself. Nothing short of gluing the male into the female, and gluing the female onto the actual cans will likely stop this noise. Is there a functional benefit to these connectors I'm not seeing here? This seems like an unnecessary compromise, the cost is an occasionally clicking connector but what is the payoff? Even being able to detatch the cable isn't worth this price. Height adjustment clamps, the clamps that adjust the height of the headband will sometimes hop or "skip" along the nitinol bands as if the clamps suddenly lose traction and regain traction, you can imagine yourself dragging your finger across a squeaky clean surface, if that surface is a guitar string connected to a cup and your ear is in that cup, you'll year a little *pop* as the guitar string transmits that energy of your finger doing a little "skip" across that string when it suddenly loses and regains traction. This occurs when I turn my head to either left or right, due to twisting at the cups because of how the trapezius displaces the area around the cup against my ear as the muscle flexes and extends - respective to which side I turn my head. I could go into further details about the likely construction-related causes and possible solutions, but the point I'm trying to get across is that an unwelcome sound occurs. I could see z-axial swivel joint circumventing the issue. This skip-pop sound happens infrequently compared to the hirose connector. Still, there are a multitude of cheap solutions that could have circumvented this. Even notched levels on the nitinol band that the clamps could rest on would stop this from happening, not to mention keeping compulsive users from continuously readjusting the clamp height. Insufficient Pads, the earpads are thin, my ears feel cramped in these otherwise large cans, the earpads have also become noticeably compressed at the bottom area over the course of the eight months of semi-daily use (as of writing this, not bad really, even when the headphone is resting it gets clamped on, so it's pretty much compressed 24/7 from the time it leaves the factory). I don't like the pads one bit, their only redeeming quality is that they can be removed easier than they can be put on. Did I mention they feel clammy, because they do. Uncomfortable, I've established that the pads on these headphones are of inadequate thickness, the clamping force (which is slightly tight but not really "bad") coupled with the already thin earpads, leaves very little ear-space inside the "listening chamber" it feels like my ear is pressed into my head, and my ear is otherwise in contact with the pleather on every facet of my ear. The lack of a secondary axial swivel joint somewhere to add a bit of free articulation means that pressure on the already lacking earpads will be distributed more unevenly. The leather strap is not to my liking, the texture is acceptable when my noggin is freshly shaved, but once my hair grows to a normal length, say an inch or so the grippy nature of the suede along with the rigid and thick nature of my hair.. well this combination seems to dig my stiff hairs into my scalp causing irritation, otherwise grippy and neat when I'm clean shaved though I would like to chamfer the edges of the leather strap, I think a padded and less grippy strap would be better for hairy situations. Like the pads, it gets a little point for being removable, but that isn't an admirable quality in any component. Stiff and coarse cables, the cables due to their rigidity exacerbate (or at least increase the likeliness of occurrence) the unwanted sound the hirose connectors occasionally make (as the cables are stiff, they act with more leverage as the weight of cable causes the connector to rattle) and I can't help but to imagine that the hirose connectors would be less prone to shifting around and slapping around between the male and female, and the female and the cups if it were being acted upon by a more pliable cable with less leverage and weight. A less coarse outer-layer insulation would also result in less vibration from general motion that transmits to the cup structure resulting in noise, I could see a more pliable and lighter cable would also help. Break-in, I don't really feel this is a big issue, I initially noticed artifacts in the form of pops and crackles as the diaphragm shook itself into shape which stopped almost entirely by day 2 but I read the manual beforehand which did briefly mention break-in period and thus I was mentally primed for that break-in period so it didn't really annoy me. The break-in is just a brief transient phase whereas the hirose connectors and lack of Z-axis swivel well.. those are here to stay. Replacing the pads and the cable will at the very least cost you additional time, money or in most cases both. Final Words. So to conclude, I would like to reiterate my first statement, I am conflicted. They sound great. They also make sounds that don't sound so great, so your options are: Sit motionless in a corner. Don't shrug. Don't move your head around. Try not to move the cable around too much (you're gonna have to breathe at some point) Cease being irritated by trifles. or Just crank up the volume to drown out all the little noises. You can get new pads and a headstrap if they bother you, amazing, but should I have to? I haven't done it yet, I don't know if pads will negatively impact the sound, seal or comfort of the product (I'm not an audio engineer, or any other kind) but I guess the great thing is that I can always switch back to the setup that I'm already discontent with, the downside: additional costs but possible salvation. I am reluctant to buy anything else from MrSpeakers but I know they have suede angled earpads. And my reluctance really stems from these headphones, these are my first MrSpeakers headphones and.. they are absurd. This headphone seems like it's trying to deliver greatness and to an extent does, but is also trying to cuts corners in weirdly select and absurd areas and showcases bad decisions, the worst among them would be the hirose connector, the second would be the pads. It looks, sounds and feels like a premium headphone yet it has all these issues that affect the fundamental function of a headphone: producing sound - this headphone produces all sorts of creaking and clattering when it's not producing some of the best sounds I've heard. So when it's clearly so capable, why is it so marred by finicky and entirely resolvable problems? Why does it have a carbon-fiber backplate but a centimeter thick pleather earpad? Why does it have a very advanced planar magnetic driver, but it can't swivel on two axes - making things swivel is not some art long-lost to the ages (although it's been around for a long enough time to be forgotten to history or maybe even pre-history) it's fixable. quite easily fixable. This can't be incompetence this has to be straight up absurdity, right? How can a headphone sound this great, have this great a build quality and simultaneously have such simple issues that seem directly related to its construction? I can't imagine a more absurd juxtaposition, Is this creation meant to troll and enrage? This is the most expensive headphone I've purchased so-far and it met my expectations and then some, but my frustrations with it is growing - it's like a frustration-machine, I love it one day and I hate it the next. I am growing increasingly convinced (along frustrations) that it is not worth 900 dollars, if cash is leaking out of your pockets, well the question of value is entirely subjective and it may very well be worth it to you. I find it analogous to a soured relationship between friends in that this headphone actually makes me resentful at times, and resentment has a way of cycling around until something gets kicked to the curb. Most of these flaws shouldn't exist at all, let alone in a 900 dollar headphone.
Nov 21, 2019
ualcap
2
Nov 13, 2019
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These are excellent headphones.
Not going to write a book on these, I will say they are well worth the money. Do the recommended burn in you will be amazed at the difference.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Nov 13, 2019
jnak00
9
Oct 26, 2019
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These are fantastic!
I bought these about a month ago. Out of the plain cardboard box, they looked and felt awesome. The build is excellent and the carbon fibre is stunning. Running them out of my Schiit Asgard 3, they first sounded a bit lean. I expected this based on impressions I had read elsewhere. A little EQ helped - these cans are very responsive to EQ. But I figured I would let them burn in. I have never seen headphones change this much from burn-in. Now, after around 150 hours, these sound stunning. The leanness is gone. It's a little cliche, but now when I put them on, I check my Loki EQ to see if I left the bass turned up, and find that nope, the EQ is all flat. They are not bass cannons like the TH-X00, but they can dig deep and hit hard if the music calls for it. I've often seen bass being described as "textured" but I didn't really know what that meant until I heard proper bass on these cans. The bass actually feels like it has texture to the sound - once you hear it, it's addicting. They are extremely smooth through the mids, and the treble is energetic without being fatiguing. I do find they want to be pushed hard - they don't sound as good at low volumes. Soundstage is pretty intimate and instrument separation is excellent. After about a month, I put my HD-6XXs back on for the first time to compare. I was surprised at what I found. They are in many ways more similar than different. Both have smooth, engaging mids. The overall tonality is fairly similar. The Senns have some bass bloat which is noticeable when swapping between the two. There's no texture compared to the EX. The Senns are also a bit recessed in the lower treble. The biggest differences to my ears is that the EX's bass reaches lower, but has a bit less overall quantity and much greater overall quality, and the EX treble is clearer. The HD-6XXs obviously sounds more open. As for comfort, I never found the HD-6XXs uncomfortable until I compared them to the EX. The stiff pads on the 6XXs are really noticeable compared to the EX. The pads on the EX are very soft and comfortable, although they can get warm. The headband design is very nice - once you find the right fit, it works great. I know comparing $900 closed headphones to $220 open ones is kinda odd, but the HD-6XX is all I have on hand right now. And lots of people own or have heard the HD-6XX so I think it's a great reference. Are the EX's 4x better than the 6XX? No, but I think they are better. They eliminate the HD-6XX's tendency to be woolly in the bass and lift the veil off the treble. If you need an excellent closed back that sounds and looks great, and you can afford it, they are an excellent choice. The only thing I don't really like the cable. It's kind of stiff and stays kinked, and the XLR to SE adapter is heavy and clunky.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Oct 26, 2019
k777
1
Oct 14, 2019
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I really like them. They sound great.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Oct 14, 2019
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