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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CEE_TEE
3213
Collaborations
Sep 24, 2018
Stickied
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When the timing is right…
Dan Clark’s operations are in San Diego.  (I imagine it’s gotta be hard to be productive in such a nice place, but Dan has always seemed driven.)  We checked in with Dan a couple of times throughout the years about working together and usually he is improving his headphones, developing new models, and keeping up his production. Earlier this year, he said that with enough time to plan he could increase production capability plus he had some ideas for our project.  We were a go!
Thrilled to have a couple of prototypes bouncing back and forth (between Dan, ourselves, and a couple of community members) we made some adjustments to the frequency response and subjectively validated the balance of spatial & tonal considerations.  Targets are a balanced, open-sounding tonality with a soundstage that has natural sonic size and weight.
Some concepts at work with MrSpeakers: DIY Spirit = Appreciating the people & process of improving headphones with modifications Kaizen = Discipline & Practice of Continuous Improvement Customer Care = Making improvements available to existing customers
Dan comes from the DIY audiophile community, where he originally worked on tuning Fostex T-50RP headphones. Eventually, he set a goal for himself and a new company:  offer commercial mods on Fostex T-50RP headphones and save up to launch a whole new headphone line made entirely by MrSpeakers within 3 years.
DIY spirit we give Dan credit for: making upgrades available for existing headphones.  When possible, Dan offers new tuning upgrades for purchase and self-installation.  When the mod requires more than swapping out easy tuning materials such as foam and felt, he has allowed people to send in their headphones for swapping of updated drivers or baffles at reasonable prices.  This speaks to Dan’s ethos of wanting people to have the best sound he can make.
The MrSpeakers line of Fostex T50RP modded headphones: Mad Dog
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Alpha Dog
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Alpha Primes
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Those are the steps Dan took so he could make the leap to his Ether line of headphones.   MrSpeakers did in fact release the first headphone from the ground up within three years:  the Ether Open with new V-Planar drivers.
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Flying V V-Planar Drivers utilize MrSpeakers’ proprietary version of the planar driver diaphragm knurling technique invented by Bruce Thigpen.  This is an accordion-type of folding method that adds surface area to allow for more linear excursion with the rapid tensioning of diaphragms during dynamic music.  The goals are natural sound with high dynamics and low distortion, even when stressed.
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Closed Back, Open Sound In general, with open-back headphones, pressure doesn’t build up as much in the earcups and reverberations or ringing is minimized. Sound is natural, open, and clear.  (Imagine speakers playing in your backyard vs. in your closet.)
However, sound leaks in & out of an open-back headphone.  With a closed-back headphone, more care needs to be taken in order to absorb reflections and pressure from a closed system but benefits through isolation from outside noise.  If you can pull it off, the ideal for many is the sound of an open-back headphone with the advantages of a closed-back design.
Business is now Open AND Closed No sooner than he successfully launched his Ether Open, I know that Dan started getting requests for a closed version. (I was one of those people.) Luckily he had the chops from all his T50RP modding days and the Ether C (Closed) was created…
Fast-forward another few years and our new Massdrop x MrSpeakers Ether CX contains continued improvement on the original (non-Flow) platform of the Ether C.  
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The Ether CX is still using the extremely clean V-Planar drivers along with some changes to damping and ear pad material/shape to get the sound we were searching for.
Product goals for our flagship closed-back headphone: · Isolating · Accurate · Open-sounding · Resolving · Fast · Clean · Sleek
Personally, I’m stoked about the clean sound these produce, how they feel in the hands/on the head, and I LOVE how they look.  Designing and tuning closed back headphones is not for the faint of heart- or people wary of driving towards constant improvement.  We’re so happy to be adding these to the exclusive Massdrop Made product line and to have our flagship closed back headphone at last…we hope you enjoy!
Sep 24, 2018
LinkSTM
1
Aug 13, 2019
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They sound pretty good on an LG G8, though LG puts a decent DAC/amp in their products. Not claiming the dragonfly, or whatever else, wouldn't be a better portable solution, but I'm not left wanting for more. For reference, volume goes up to 75 and I'm usually listening at between 60 and 65, so not a ton of headroom but it gets the job done. Max volume is very loud, but not deafening. Just got these and I'm in the process of moving. All my electronics are boxed up on some moving company's truck. Glad my phone can drive them, they sound great.
Aug 13, 2019
phoenixsong
745
Aug 13, 2019
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Yeahhh LG ftw XD
Aug 13, 2019
MrSpeakers
218
Dan Clark, Designer/CEO
Sep 25, 2018
Stickied
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Hi there!Thanks to Cee Tee for his perseverance, he stuck with us for a long time to make this happen, and I'm really excited for us to be doing our first drop!
We tried to make the ETHER CX a unique product, and there is a lot in that's new. For example, it uses the original ETHER C driver but with a new tuning system delivering a unique and smooth voicing with gently lifted bass, and a really smooth transition from bass to mids. The new hardware is also a bit lighter and with no moving, as per our AEON design, and it sports a new ear pad. I hope it's a lot of fun for those who opt in the drop.
If anyone has any questions for me, please chime in.
EDIT: To make the information easier for people to see, I'm copying two of my posts contrasting ETHER CX to ETHER C and to AEON Closed. The format of the two posts is a bit different in style as I was sort of answering two different questions, for the editorially minded. :-)
ETHER C The original ETHER C had a tip toward the higher frequencies and also had some pad bounce that made bass a little unpredictable. With ETHER CX we have a new pad that reduces pad bounce for smoother and more impactful bass. By bringing the highs better into balance the whole headphone has warmer tone, without lacking air or shimmer, and the bass really pops on good source material (listening to Robag Wruhme's Wolluwe track as I write this and a lot of toe tapping going on).
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EC = Black ETHER CX = Orange
ÆON Tone: ETHER CX has a more neutral voicing with a bump to the bass, while AEON has a bit more of a V to the response and is less linear and smooth sounding. ETHER CX has a bit more heft at the lowest frequencies, it just feels like there's more power at the sub-bass even though they measure similarly. AEON Closed presents a bit more upper bass energy due to the V-shape to the response. ETHER CX has a smoother blend to the midrange which delivers better phase coherence, while AEON has a bit of a peak in the 5K region, something we worked to eliminate in the ETHER CX, and a brighter than neutral top. Dynamics are very similar. Soundstage they are close, ETHER CX seems a trifle larger. Efficiency: ETHER CX is 2-3dB more efficient. Comfort: The AEON is lighter and is a bit more comfortable for more extended listening. Isolation: ETHER CX offers several dB more isolation. The following chart is showing both headphones with no damping,orange is ECX and purple is AEON Closed, measured on a GRAS 45 CA with DF compensation. The main takeaway is the smoother response of the ETHER CX, with a less pronounced "V" to the response for better midrange-high coherence, yet with a fun bump to the bottom end. The smoother top end lets the mids and bass stand out nicely, too. I like to think of it as "audiophile fun" voicing.
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ECX = Orange ÆON Closed = Purple
Sep 25, 2018
MrSpeakers
218
Dan Clark, Designer/CEO
May 23, 2019
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Correct, it's a balanced cable with an adaptor for 1/4" and 3.5mm included.
May 23, 2019
LuckyLuke575
223
Jul 5, 2019
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I've been reading the comments, and I'm wondering what is the minimum amp output that's needed to make this headphone run at its full potential? E.g. 200 mW, 500mW, 1000 mW etc. The impedance is low, but people are saying that isn't indicative if the kind of amp one needs to have.
Jul 5, 2019
T.Fernandez
98
Collabs
Feb 22, 2019
Stickied
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HOW TO GET THE BEST SOUND FROM YOUR ETHER CX Your headphone will sound great out of the box, but with a little bit of care we can help you get the best possible experience. Burn In MrSpeakers headphones “burn-in” over the course of 100-200 hours. Our drivers have been processed using our patented V-Planar technique which creases the driver to improve bass response and reduce distortion. This unique process requires the driver diaphragm and conductive traces to reach a steady-state through some use. You can burn-in with regular listening and enjoy the changes as the driver stabilizes. Tuning Your new Massdrop MrSpeakers ETHER CX headphone comes with a tuning kit allowing you to tune the sound to your preferred listening volume and tonal balance. Due to the physiology of human hearing- the louder music plays, the more sensitive your ear is to low frequencies. This means tone of your headphone will change with volume and a headphone that sounds full and balanced at 75dB may sound thinner at 60dB. There are four included tuning materials listed in the order of increasing damping (damping softens the highs): 1) 2mm Black Foam (pre-installed) 2) Black Felt (slightly more damping for a bit more warmth) 3) 1-Notch White Felt (good for low volume or to increase bass) 4) 2-Notch White Felt (delivers the warmest tone, most bass) Tuning materials may be used alone, in combination, or not at all. “Pro-tips” from MrSpeakers: 1) White felts “burn in” as the fabric settles down,1-2 days of normal use will “open up” the sound of the felts. For this reason, don’t judge tunings instantly. Live with a tuning for a while and see how it settles. 2) Don’t be afraid to combine materials, white felts can be paired with black felt or foam just fine, for example. The only pairing that won’t work well is layering both of the one and two notch white felts at the same time.
Feb 22, 2019
Skylancer727
4
Aug 18, 2019
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Does anybody know if this has a warranty? The part the wire connects to on my right earcup fell out and ripped a wire inside the earcup.
Aug 18, 2019
jkhmonkey
22
Aug 21, 2019
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In the description page it says under Included "Manufacturer’s 2-year warranty". Not sure if "manufacturer" in this case would be Drop or Mr Speakers though; when they sent me the wrong cables with the headphones I reached out to Drop to get it addressed so maybe try them first?
Aug 21, 2019
nadams
0
Aug 11, 2019
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I have the fostex TH-X00s, is this a good upgrade?
Aug 11, 2019
Forsty
1
Aug 11, 2019
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How are these compared to the Ether C Flow 1.1 on MrSpeakers website? I don't see what the difference is!
Aug 11, 2019
Senpai-sama
80
Aug 11, 2019
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I have had these for about a month or so now. I can honestly say these are serious contenders for the best closed backs under $2000 in my opinion. I ordered the Focal Elegia and I returned them within a week. They definitely had a nice and open sound, however, there was too little bass to the point where I had to pick and choose what music to listen to on those headphones. I do not feel like I should have to be selective of the music I listen to because the headphone does not do a particular genre well, especially at the $900 price point. I decided to get these instead and have been extremely happy with them. For those worried about bass extension, while it is not LCD2C levels of bass there is still plenty of bass (especially with the 2 notch felt) and you can easily enjoy the headphones on any genre (you might tell that bass is important to me). The mids are luscious and the highs are detailed without ever approaching fatiguing. The comfort is a solid 9.5/10, I found my LCD2Cs to be slightly more comfortable despite the weight due to their pads. I would say if you're on the fence and you need a closed back pair of high end headphones, there are few other options at this price point where you can get this quality. My set up: SMSL SU8 -> Monoprice Liquid Platinum/Monoprice THX 788 -> Focal Elex/Ether CX/ LCD2Cs/6XX
Aug 11, 2019
NoelSibs
20
Aug 7, 2019
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Has anyone received their Ether CX without tuning pads? I only have black foams in mine and none of the white notched tuing pads others have mentioned here and reviewers seem to be talking about.
Aug 7, 2019
jsmiller58
545
Aug 16, 2019
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If you reach out to MrSpeakers on their website they will probably sell you a complete set of tuning pads
Aug 16, 2019
NoelSibs
20
Aug 18, 2019
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Thanks! I reached out to the friendly Drop Customer Service people. They’ve arranged for me to have my tuning pads delivered. Thanks! I just wanted to make sure... for a little while, before I got a reply, I thought that maybe they weren’t included because they weren’t listed on the Drop web page of the Ether CX as part of the package contents! Thank you!
Aug 18, 2019
chav22
1
Aug 1, 2019
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Cups are rotated so that more pressure is on one side of the pads than the other. Usually cups have swiveling pads so this is not a problem, but not these. Since the pads are so soft, worried they might cause one side to be more flat just from storage. Any ideas?
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Aug 1, 2019
gtb75
132
Aug 5, 2019
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Aug 5, 2019
Necklampy
0
Aug 1, 2019
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Do they sound significally better than El8 closed post 2016/ titanium?
Aug 1, 2019
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