ETHER™ is MrSpeakers’ all-new open-backed headphone. We set
three goals when we started the ETHER project: sound excellent, be more
comfortable than our existing headphones, and have a timeless design.
So how does it sound? This product has been two years in the making,
and many long nights have gone into creating a very detailed yet natural
and organic sound. No question: ETHER’s our best work to date. We’re
not going to go audiophile and poetic here; no blathering about air and
soundstage, or whatever. Reviewers, enthusiasts and owners will do a
fairer job than we ever could. So we’ll just say we love the sound of
ETHER and we hope that if you get a chance to hear it you’ll agree ETHER
doesn’t totally suck.
On the comfort front, ETHER weighs in at 370 grams (13.1 oz) making
it the lightest full-size planar on the market. To cut weight without
sacrificing performance we invented an industry-first headband made of
NiTinol “memory metal.” NiTinol is super-light and ultra-cool because
it’s very flexible for a great fit with minimal clamp. We also
designed a new flat ear pad that reduces the size of the headphone,
provides a great seal, and since it’s made from our signature
lamb-leather, can be worn for long sessions without fatique.
We think it looks pretty nice, too.
So 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 love ETHER and if you try it we hope you’ll enjoy it too. On behalf of the team, we look forward to hearing your impressions.
MrSpeakers' ETHER headphone is an all-new design
that makes use of several technology and manufacturing innovations to
ETHER is built around MrSpeakers designed single-ended planar driver.
To optimize performance the planar has been processed using our
patent-pending V-Planar technology.
ETHER also uses a NiTinol "memory metal" headband to reduce weight
and improve comfort. NiTinol is Nickel-Titanium allow 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.
FIGURE 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
FIGURE 2: V-Planar Driver Motion
Increasing the driver compliance allows it to behave as a more idealized
planar surface and also improves it's acceleration. 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.
We are committed to avoiding too much "marketing speak," and so we are
deliberately going to avoid a lot of prose and to simply say we love the
sound of our drivers post V-Planar processing, they do sound more
natural and engaging to us.
Features and Specifications
ETHER Features and Specifications (preliminary and subject to change)
- 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)
- Weight: 370g (13.1oz)
- Frequency response: Yes*
- Efficiency: 96dB/mW
- Impedance: 23 ohms