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I just received my new Ether CXs.... for as expensive as these are, the packaging is pretty unnoteworthy... a cardboard box with a cloth bag holding the headphones and a separator holding the cables. I'm thinking- whatever, the cans is what matters... Then I pull them out of the cloth bag, and I see that my headband is warped. One side is perfectly fine, but the other... it appears that during manufacture someone wasn't being careful and whilst mounting the band to the right speaker, not only managed to bend and flatten the headband, but since now there was practically no clearance, the lacquer is chipped off where there was contact...
Here's the perfectly normal left side:
I probably should have taken a pre-correction picture (I really wanted to get these sound tested), but here's the right side after I bent it back to a usable (still warped) position:
Here's the damage done... most visible to the 10 o'clock of the porting hole
That being said, the sound is very good. I can't compare to the Ether Flows or Aeon's as I don't own either of those... but I do have a pair of Elex's, HD6XX's, HE560s, HE4XXs, , etc... and these are quickly becoming one of my favorite pairs- not only do they sound fantastic, but the comfort is superb... I'll know more after I listen to them for awhile... really- it's just a shame that the assembly failed for me... Especially when you pay $900. Oh, and the more I listen to them, the better they are getting... they may need 100-200 hours of burn in, but even 2-3 hours are making a huge difference.
This is a bit crappy (especially for $900). Are you going to make a complaint or are you happy enough with what you have?
Mine have just passed customs in the U.K. but I’m not going to see them for a while as I’m not in the country until June.
I'm very happy with the sound, and that hasn't been affected to the best of my knowledge by the damage incurred. As for whether I return... I waited 6 months for these, I am really enjoying the sound, and want to see first if my situation is a one off or if others are also facing this... (hence my post publically and not contacting massdrop support yet).
Edit: I made a comment about a cosmetic issue on my Ether CX, but Massdrop is making it right. Thanks, Massdrop!
Glad to hear that you are digging the sound, I am flagging this and we'll take a look at it.
I've been informed that this is not normal and you should go ahead and contact Massdrop Customer Support for a replacement. Please go to your profile > Transactions > Find the transaction and then click on Contact Support from the transaction to create a ticket for this issue. We want you to have the sound AND the looks (of course)!
Send them back and have them send you a pair that is perfect. No way I'd keep them at this price if they aren't 100%.
These early quality issues are concerning - and I'm an existing MrSpeakers customer. I am glad to hear the initial sound impressions are favorable, but I will definitely be doing a careful inspection of mine when they show up.
EDIT - mine just showed up today and appear to be perfect. No bends in the driver frame and both carbon fiber cups are polished equally and don't have any scratches. They are breaking in on my 789 now and I haven't done any listening to them beyond making sure both drivers work. I might do a bit of listening at the 10 hour mark tonight, but I know they will take some time for the drivers to settle in - so no extended or critical listening until at least the 100 hour mark.
@CEE_TEE - thanks for your advice. Sadly, this was an exact purchase count order, so there are no replacement units.
That being said- these are really opening nicely. I’m finding in the slightly noisy environment of my office (whirring fans and key typing) the isolation makes these sound better than anything I have, including the Focal Elex’s, they just have such great bass and warm yet precise sound)... I need to try them in a quiet place (home) to compare evenly to my open back cadre of cans.
We should have a few more in a few weeks, grizzlybus. Thanks for the reports of great sound. If you don't mind burning in again, check back with customer service in 3-4 weeks to see if we got another partial shipment.
Hint on the felt pieces- you can speed up the process of settling in Dan says by blowing air through them (away from the headphone of course). I suppose this opens air movement faster than natural vibrations through the material.
That is hilarious! Compressed air notwithstanding, do you guys actually believe that foam and felt is going to "break in" and "open up" by sound waves travelling through it? Hahahahahaaaaa I'm sorry, but I've been an audiophile too long and my nonsense detector goes off quite easily. Perhaps I should also get some African boboa wood harvested from the deep murky depths of an ancient bog that have been painstakingly hand-carved into cable elevators by bearded millennial artisans who wear only vegan friendly hemp clothing - and then carefully elevate the interconnects on these things as well so the cables "burn in" faster.
Sarcasm aside, I DO believe that drivers break-in (they are mechanical) and the suspensions that allow the driver material to vibrate can actually loosen up. You would have to show me foam and felt under an electron microscope that shows its physical property changes due to sound exposure before I will believe that one!
My cans are playing right now and have been for the last few days as I get enough hours on the drivers to make an honest assessment of how these perform as closed cans at this price point. I'll be sure to share my findings. They are sure pretty and comfortable!
Yeah I found that a bit hard to stomach.
Interested to see what you think
I was reading about the tuning options a few weeks ago in the Ether Flow thread on Head-Fi and just remembered Dan's comments about white felt break in - see below:
"The white felt actually "burns in" as particulates left over from manufacturing blow out of the air path, at least that is our theory. You can instantly "burn in" the white felt by placing it against your mouth and blowing hard through it, moving it once or twice to clear most of the area. Normal use takes 1-2 days. For this reason I suggest living with the tuning parts for a day or two before swapping back and forth. The clarity from the white felt can be quite good, but it will definitely be a warmer, less bright tone. Personally I really like that on a lot of studio recordings."
That explanation makes sense to me - so would airflow "lining up" the fibers (like combing your hair). That being said, I am pretty much a black felt guy with my EFO1. 1 and I think the black foam is my preference with the Ether CX. I know Dan likes the two notch white felt on the ECX, but it seems to be too much damping for my taste with my gear - but that's why he includes different options.
Other comments - the bass is great at 100+ hours on them. I was just listening to some old EDM (Scooter - Trance Atlantic) and was blown away by how much bass the ECX had. Other than that my earlier comments elsewhere about very good neutrality, resolution, smoothness, and soundstage still apply. Very comfortable and easy to listen to for long sessions.
Oh yeah, I agree that the box (and packaging) is pretty disappointing. I can't think of any other headphone I've owned with such basic packaging - well maybe the VE Monk 😂. Granted my 789 amp box wasn't much better, and the box will likely just sit in a basement after most people receive them, but still.
My bass has gotten better as the transducers loosened up. I'm running double-notch white felt and black foam. Amp is a Schiit Asgard 2 (Class A) and DAC is either an AudioQuest DragonFly Red or Pro-Ject Pre-Box S2 Digital. I have a Monoprice Monolith THX AAA amp on the way to try with it as well. I love the comfort of these cans, just need a bit more bass to be in nirvana, so I am going to go ahead and resort to some EQ.
Burn in hours definitely makes a difference with the V-Planar drivers. I would describe the bass output the CX has as "appropriate". I don't think they will ever be the bass cannons that my X00s are, but that gets old after a while anyway (hence the CX). As for the Monoprice THX amp/DAC it should be a decent pairing if it sounds anything like the Massdrop THX amp I have. That being said, if the Monoprice Cavalli Liquid Platinum is in your budget then it's a clear step up from the MD THX - assuming you have balanced headphones (and, ideally, a balanced source). The Liquid Platinum has a wider sound stage, more precise imaging, better dynamics, etc. Obviously a different price point, and it sounds like there have been some QC issues (mine has been fine), but it really is a fantastic amp that sounds great with lots of headphones.
Had exactly the same issue with the band being deformed!