MR. SPEAKERS ETHER FLOW IMPRESSIONS
I was fortunate to get my hands on a pair of the Ether flows. My buddy Don (humzebra on head-fi ) lent them to me . I would have done a full review of it but the project that I was occupied with at the time did not allow me enough time. Also it was unfortunate that the HE-6 was sitting right next to it to keep it in check during the week I had it on loan. Otherwise the following would have been a little more positive.
Firstly when I heard the Flow at a meet I distinctly remember it lacking sub bass extension but being very nimble and nuanced with decent balance. Having a pair at home shows and proves how little stock one should put on meet impressions. Or at least how much I should put in my own.
Bass: The bass was solid and very much planar like, and while I wanted it didn’t reach super deep its extension was adequate and didn’t leave me wanting more extension. It also had enough heft and presence to enjoy some of my EDM and Ambient hip hop instrumentals. Don’t be misled, it wasn’t ideal but it was doable. The original Ether turned me off so much here I couldn’t under stand the hype behind them. The Flows stepped it up a bit for better foundation. It had a slight wooliness to it and lacked the dynamics that standard drivers produce which I am a sucker for. I have to look at this headphone as it is though and give in to some of the weaknesses that all planars ( well most) give into so for its category of driver it faired well.
Midrange: Shouty was a word that wouldn’t be pervasive throughout all of my listening but definitely peaked out from the corner on several songs. The lower midrange could have, for my subjective tastes, been tuned a little warmer but didn’t feel cold enough for me to complain. I get this take on neutrality but I have a different perspective and the middle or lower mids were not as warm and inviting as my good ol’ modded 650. The upper midrange was present though and made for a surly introduction into its marked treble presence.
Treble: The treble is not extremely bright but it is pronounced. Enough for me to keep my hand on the knob or mellow it out with EQ. Treble lovers can be satisfied with this phone without fear of it going over board, yet my tastes will differ. I prefer a little less. Also the texture of the treble wasn’t smooth or natural to my ears. Detail? yeah its all there and the headphone has decent dynamics for a planar when it comes to making hi-hats and symbols nuanced. But the graininess which I will mention again is most easily heard here.
Transparency: I think the Ether Flow is a transparent set of cans. It has good clarity and resolution… Just don’t expect it to compete with the HE-6 and the HD800 in this area. It can hold its own vs a lot of cans I have heard priced somewhere near abouts but the inner clarity of this can is good, not stellar. It also sounds a little grainy to my ears as mentioned before and not super clean.
Dynamics: For a planar not bad at all. I got some toe tapping out of these for sure. Still this is an impressions post…unedited and raw… I really do not like planars in this category. Only three planars have done it for me here…HE-6, Odin, and I thought I heard the Abyss do decently here at a meet but thats about it. Sorry
Soundstage: Nothing to really talk about. It sounded more layered and separated than I remember of the original Ether but still not enough for me to call it an area it excels at. Again the HE-6 kinda nudged it over just by a little here an the HEX v2 (different blog) whooped it. Don’t think its congested though. As with most aspects of this headphone I found it to do good just not stellar.
Build and Ergonomics: I felt like I was holding a premature baby in the palm of my hands. These things look and feel so fragile and well designed that I was always conscious of my handling of them. The cups are nice. The ergonomics are PERFECT. YUP I used a superlative….PUURRRFECT. All at the same time I felt like they were built to last. The Ether C flows though…. ahhh I would want to buy that just to hold it and possess it as my own. Those cups are gorgeous and the finish is superb. Those sentiments disappeared when I listened to the C flows but thats another story. Sooo…. If this were a full review I would give the headphone a strong B+ but confess it to be a little overpriced for the sound I hear. That sound is pretty good. I think Dan made a good headphone but the HE-6 next to it was the reason for me being so impartial to its performance. It is more transparent, cleaner, clearer, with more liquidity and refinement. I just don’t want to buy a speaker amp to do the 6 justice and without one the treble is way too much for me.