ETHER 2: Impressions and Discussion
Nov 11, 2021 at 11:40 PM Post #2,957 of 3,212
Hi Guys,

Had my E2 for a little under a year now, mainly for listing to audibles due to how comfortable they are. I'm surprise the lack of love this headphone gets. While I don't use it much for music listening, I have zero complain when I do (perforated pads only, OG pad generates crinkling for me).
 
Nov 13, 2021 at 2:57 PM Post #2,958 of 3,212
Hi Guys,

Had my E2 for a little under a year now, mainly for listing to audibles due to how comfortable they are. I'm surprise the lack of love this headphone gets. While I don't use it much for music listening, I have zero complain when I do (perforated pads only, OG pad generates crinkling for me).
Your post got me thinking about mine. It's been about a month or so since I've used them. Pulled them out Thursday night and had a nice listening session. Have you ever noticed they take about 15 minutes or so to sound their best? I think it might be the pads take a little while to make a perfect seal. I'm using the perforated pads by the way
 
Nov 13, 2021 at 5:55 PM Post #2,959 of 3,212
Your post got me thinking about mine. It's been about a month or so since I've used them. Pulled them out Thursday night and had a nice listening session. Have you ever noticed they take about 15 minutes or so to sound their best? I think it might be the pads take a little while to make a perfect seal. I'm using the perforated pads by the way
I don't. Honestly I barely use the headphone for music, mainly audibles. When I do use them for music, they're properly warmed up. While I normally don't think "wow this headphone make this sound really stand out," I don't find any flaws with them either. They are one of the few pairs of headphones I can wear all day.

I'll give it a listen next time to see if I notice the headphone require any warmup.
 
Nov 13, 2021 at 9:52 PM Post #2,960 of 3,212
I enjoy them both. I previously owned HEKv2 and EFO 1.1

To my ears, the HEK is brighter and more detailed, but both seem pretty linear in terms of frequency response — I don’t hear significant dips or humps from either, except that the last octave seems a little rolled off from E2.

And that results in the Ether 2 sound being better for night time listening, when I don’t want anything too demanding.

I really enjoy the headstage from both.

The bottom line is that I don’t hear them as very different, and enjoy them both very much.
I like the bass in particular the impact out of the E2 better.
 
Nov 14, 2021 at 1:30 AM Post #2,961 of 3,212
I found a great deal on an Ether 2 earlier in the year on the classifieds and pulled the trigger because I was a big fan of the Aeon RT closed I picked up from Drop. It was really interesting going from the tuning of the RT to the Ether 2. The Ether 2 can sound sort of weird upon first listen, but man it is such an addicting headphone. I feel like it doesn't get as much love lately because of all the new stuff that has come out. Maybe it's just because I like a warmer rich sound but I still find myself preferring the Ether 2s. I recently upgraded my DAC to the SMSL m400 which is pretty fantastic. Very musical and detailed, but it has some nice tech like MQA in there for us Tidal people. And my last upgrade was replacing the capacitors in my Monolith Liquid Platinum. That made a HUGE difference. If you have that amp check out the forums about that mod. Anyway, just chiming in on this long chain about Ether 2. Maybe this will be helpful for someone looking at them used like I was. They have a sort of strange first impression on the mid-range, but after a while you realize how detailed, smooth and dimensional they are. And the weight and comfort is great - they just fade into you.
 
Nov 14, 2021 at 1:42 AM Post #2,962 of 3,212
Oh, and I should add that before upgrading my DAC and changing out the caps on the Liquid Platinum sometimes I felt the Ether 2 was a bit weak in the low end and aggressive in the treble. That entirely changed once I got my pipeline in order. When I was trying to tame the high end I made my own DCA style inserts like the RT comes with. I was inspired by the Stealth's honeycomb meta-material filter, so I searched on amazon and found some honeycomb-style cloth made for aquariums. I know this is too DIY for a lot of people, but if you like playing around with things like that I highly recommend this. It really smooths out any harsh highs your headphones have without overly dampening the sound. Try it out in some of your headphones that have cringy peaks. Ether 2 just needs symbiotic dac/amp to really shine.

(This is what I ordered)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08JHY1NP6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 9:05 AM Post #2,963 of 3,212
I've been listening to the Ether 2 out of a Burson Conductor 3XR (both vivid and classic opamps) and the sound is just a masterpiece. It's a slightly darker tuning but it's executed so well. Clean, beautiful sound. The bass impact is really fun and just fantastic. The highs are natural and mid range is pleasing to listen to. Very nice offering from DCA .. I wonder now how the Stealth compare to the E2.
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 1:28 PM Post #2,964 of 3,212
I've been listening to the Ether 2 out of a Burson Conductor 3XR (both vivid and classic opamps) and the sound is just a masterpiece. It's a slightly darker tuning but it's executed so well. Clean, beautiful sound. The bass impact is really fun and just fantastic. The highs are natural and mid range is pleasing to listen to. Very nice offering from DCA .. I wonder now how the Stealth compare to the E2.
It is very different than the Stealth. After owning the Ether 2 and loving it, when I tried the Stealth I couldn’t get into it. Granted I was demoing it at the Source rather than my home for extended listening times. The Ether 2 has a much warmer and fuller tuning. However, I’m sure the Stealth would take well to EQ. Or maybe if you paired it with a super warm tube amp that’d be the ticket. I have a VC on order because I’ve read it has a similar Ether magic in closed back form.
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 1:32 PM Post #2,965 of 3,212
It is very different than the Stealth. After owning the Ether 2 and loving it, when I tried the Stealth I couldn’t get into it. Granted I was demoing it at the Source rather than my home for extended listening times. The Ether 2 has a much warmer and fuller tuning. However, I’m sure the Stealth would take well to EQ. Or maybe if you paired it with a super warm tube amp that’d be the ticket. I have a VC on order because I’ve read it has a similar Ether magic in closed back form.
That's very interesting, thanks for sharing. I agree that the Ether 2 has a somewhat "meaty" presentation .. a bit dark in some spots but has a very rich, full bodied kind of sound. Still generally neutral though.. I wouldn't call them very colored or deviating towards the "fun" category. Just a really nice extension in all areas. Would you say the Stealth sounds more "airy / hollow-ish like some of the Hifiman offerings (HEK, Arya etc)?
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 1:51 PM Post #2,966 of 3,212
That's very interesting, thanks for sharing. I agree that the Ether 2 has a somewhat "meaty" presentation .. a bit dark in some spots but has a very rich, full bodied kind of sound. Still generally neutral though.. I wouldn't call them very colored or deviating towards the "fun" category. Just a really nice extension in all areas. Would you say the Stealth sounds more "airy / hollow-ish like some of the Hifiman offerings (HEK, Arya etc)?
The Stealth had a sound I had a hard time comparing to anything else honestly. The upper mid range / lower treble areas seemed highlighted. The bass wasn’t impactful and full enough for me, but it was fast and felt natural with jazz and real instruments. Stealth was neutral, but without the richness the Ether has. Not sure if anyone compared it to Hififman. Didn’t seem similar in my mind, but I don’t own much hifiman. The build quality is fantastic on it. I think if you EQ you could find some greatness. I used to EQ the Aeon Closed RT from Drop and that can be a totally different headphone. I’d recommend testing the Stealth somewhere if you can. It is a polarizing depending on your preferences. Definitely an amazing and technically proficient headphone though.
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 4:06 PM Post #2,967 of 3,212
... sounds more "airy / hollow-ish like some of the Hifiman offerings (HEK, Arya etc)?
Agree with your characterization of HEK, but would say less applicable to HEKse vs HEKv2.

I know, pretty much OT, but I do like HEKse very much. Of course E2 gets the vast majority of my bed-time listening, due to both E2's signature and comfort.

HEKse, Utopia, Blackwood Auteur & Hedd fight it out for the remaining head-time -- E2 probably average 1.5 hrs/day, and about the same split among the others.
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 8:04 PM Post #2,968 of 3,212
Agree with your characterization of HEK, but would say less applicable to HEKse vs HEKv2.

I know, pretty much OT, but I do like HEKse very much. Of course E2 gets the vast majority of my bed-time listening, due to both E2's signature and comfort.

HEKse, Utopia, Blackwood Auteur & Hedd fight it out for the remaining head-time -- E2 probably average 1.5 hrs/day, and about the same split among the others.
It’s really funny man, I still listen allot to the Ether Flow 1.1 you sold me. It’s one of my favorite headphones of all time. I’ll admittedly even say that I prefer it to the Ether 2 most of the time. It’s just so balanced and perfectly tuned to my ears. Not as aggressive sounding in some ways but not as dark either and just overall a sublime combination of clarity, sparkle, detail, and warmth.. for me it just 100% nails my preferred frequency response curve. I guess I’m very fortunate that I’m able to keep both because I don’t intend on letting either headphone go.. my stable is also constantly fighting for my head time lol. Between owning an HD800S, Arya, Clear, Ether 2, Ether Flow 1.1, and MDR-Z1R, it’s just a total tossup and down to my mood lol. I plan to add a Susvara in some coming months as well.. that should be an interesting time :)
 
Dec 7, 2021 at 9:23 PM Post #2,969 of 3,212
It’s really funny man, I still listen allot to the Ether Flow 1.1 you sold me. It’s one of my favorite headphones of all time. I’ll admittedly even say that I prefer it to the Ether 2 most of the time. It’s just so balanced and perfectly tuned to my ears. Not as aggressive sounding in some ways but not as dark either and just overall a sublime combination of clarity, sparkle, detail, and warmth.. for me it just 100% nails my preferred frequency response curve. I guess I’m very fortunate that I’m able to keep both because I don’t intend on letting either headphone go.. my stable is also constantly fighting for my head time lol. Between owning an HD800S, Arya, Clear, Ether 2, Ether Flow 1.1, and MDR-Z1R, it’s just a total tossup and down to my mood lol. I plan to add a Susvara in some coming months as well.. that should be an interesting time :)
Totally agree, couldn't have put why I like the 1.1 better, myself. I thought the original Ether Flow 'Open' was a classic in terms of price and performance. The 1.1 is even better. It seems to have been slightly overlooked; partly because of the popularity of the 1.1 closed (which still gets lots of love) and also the close subsequent release of the Ether 2 . I've owned the Ether 2 for a couple of years now and really appreciate its fine resolution, and its well balanced and civilized sound. However having done a lot of A/Bing with the 1.1 lately I think I prefer the 1.1. overall. The price you pay for the Ether 2's extra fine resolution is a smaller, maybe more correct, mid hall soundstage and a tiny bit of restraint compared to the 1.1.
 
Dec 8, 2021 at 11:59 AM Post #2,970 of 3,212
@XGeneX88 @zappazappazappa -- I liked EFO 1.1 quite a bit, but their signature seemed really close to my HEKv2, especially with the e-stat pads. In the end, I couldn't justify keeping both, and the EFO were a much easier sale than the HEK. Of course I then picked up an HEKse and ended up selling the v2 anyway. Definitely more distance between HEKse and E2 vs between HEKv2 and EFO, so I'm pretty happy with the outcome as I like having different flavors. As I said above, Ether 2 fill a significant niche for me.

@XGeneX88 -- glad you're still enjoying your purchase :)
 

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