Regarding the Ether, I think it's an upgrade if you're looking for as reference of a sound as you can get. The HE-560, to me, is on the bright side of neutral (which I like about it). The LCD-2 or PM-1/2 are both on the warm side of neutral. The Ether is smack dab on the line. It's comfy, looks good, sounds great, etc. But do I *want* a super neutral headphone? I don't know... I'd love to try it on my home setup to see.
Regarding the Dharma, it's a bit of a tougher question. The trebles are an obvious upgrade. The bass... is less obvious. Frankly, I've had 3 planars in a row now and I much prefer planar bass to dynamic bass. To me, the bass of the Dharma is its biggest weak spot; on certain songs the bass just doesn't keep up with the treble.
That said, the Dharma I heard was still very much a pre-production model. It had some major issues with the build and fit, but they wanted to have something to demo so they brought it anyways. I'm sure they'll get that stuff fixed and I'm optimistic that they'll try to nail down the tuning a bit better. Before I decide whether I'm going to upgrade the HE-560, I'd really need to hear the final revision, probably with an extended demo so I can let brain burn-in correct for the non-planar bass. They did express interest in a potential loaner program when I mentioned it, so it's not such a far-fetched idea.
Hope this helps...
It does! It seems that the price of the HE560 still makes it a very a formidable headphone when comparing. I like the bang-for-buck sorts of buys and the 560 seems to be that headphone. Although I've yet to see what the Dharma phones are going to be in price.
The Dharma's bass being a dynamic driver does seem off-putting when coupling with with something like an Estat, it would seem the sound to be too far apart/disconnected? I think if they tightened the bass down to control and impact they'd have something in their hands. Ti or Alu on the dynamic driver with maybe a smaller diameter might be the trick. *hint Dharma folks
@Stillhart I see you have the HD650 as well, would you say the Dharma bass would be the same in terms of control/sound as an HD650 on a powerful amp is or an HD650 under driven with sloppy bass or perhaps in between?