Mr. Speakers Ether Flow Impressions and Discussion
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Is it possible when ordering the Ether C Flow to choose to have a shorter DUM cable?
I prefer 1.5 M to the 2 M long one.
By the way this is when ordering from authorised UK distributor not from Dan itself.
 
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Is it possible when ordering the Ether C Flow to choose to have a shorter DUM cable?
I prefer 1.5 M to the 2 M long one.
By the way this is when ordering from authorised UK distributor not from Dan itself.
 
There are options for a longer cable, 10 ft., on the website but not for shorter. I'll try to check in with Dan about this and get back to you. 
 
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A question regarding cable termination.
My initial driving amp will be a Cavalli Liquid Carbon v2 with balanced out.
Please excuse my ignorance on the subject but is it best to get 4 pin XLR termination and then use an adapter for 1/4 inch input to other devices?
 
or
 
Order 1/4 inch termination and get 1/4 to 4 pin XLR adapter?
 
I am new to high end headphones and not sure if there are technical/sound differences I need to be aware of.
 
Many thanks in advance 

 
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  A question regarding cable termination.
My initial driving amp will be a Cavalli Liquid Carbon v2 with balanced out.
Please excuse my ignorance on the subject but is it best to get 4 pin XLR termination and then use an adapter for 1/4 inch input to other devices?
 
or
 
Order 1/4 inch termination and get 1/4 to 4 pin XLR adapter?
 
I am new to high end headphones and not sure if there are technical/sound differences I need to be aware of.
 
Many thanks in advance 
 
I always prefer to get the cable as 4 pin balanced and then use an adapter when needed. I do most of my listening balanced. 
 
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  A question regarding cable termination.
My initial driving amp will be a Cavalli Liquid Carbon v2 with balanced out.
Please excuse my ignorance on the subject but is it best to get 4 pin XLR termination and then use an adapter for 1/4 inch input to other devices?
 
or
 
Order 1/4 inch termination and get 1/4 to 4 pin XLR adapter?
 
I am new to high end headphones and not sure if there are technical/sound differences I need to be aware of.
 
Many thanks in advance 
 
You would want to terminate the headphone cable with a 4-pin XLR and then use a 1/4" adapter. The other way around doesn't work -- you don't want to plug a single-ended (i.e. 1/4") headphone into an amplifier's balanced (i.e. 4-pin XLR) output, as it can potentially damage the amp.
 
In single-ended drive, there is a left signal, a right signal, and a common ground that is shared between the left and right channels. The left and right signals are actively driven by the amplifier, and the common ground is passive.
 
In balanced drive, you have a left+ signal, a left- signal, a right+ signal, and a right- signal. The "minus" signals are inverted versions of the "plus" signals. All four of these signals are actively driven by the amplifier.
 
Plugging a balanced headphone into an amplifier's single-ended output with an adapter will work fine -- the passive common ground of the amp's single-ended output will connect to the left- and right- wires in the headphone, and only the left+ and right+ wires will be driven.
 
Plugging a single-ended headphone into an amp's balanced output via an adapter will not work -- the left- and right- signals of the amp's balanced output would both be connected to the common ground wire in the headphone, thereby short-circuiting those signals together. Not good for the amplifier!
 
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You would want to terminate the headphone cable with a 4-pin XLR and then use a 1/4" adapter. The other way around doesn't work -- you don't want to plug a single-ended (i.e. 1/4") headphone into an amplifier's balanced (i.e. 4-pin XLR) output, as it can potentially damage the amp.
 
In single-ended drive, there is a left signal, a right signal, and a common ground that is shared between the left and right channels. The left and right signals are actively driven by the amplifier, and the common ground is passive.
 
In balanced drive, you have a left+ signal, a left- signal, a right+ signal, and a right- signal. The "minus" signals are inverted versions of the "plus" signals. All four of these signals are actively driven by the amplifier.
 
Plugging a balanced headphone into an amplifier's single-ended output with an adapter will work fine -- the passive common ground of the amp's single-ended output will connect to the left- and right- wires in the headphone, and only the left+ and right+ wires will be driven.
 
Plugging a single-ended headphone into an amp's balanced output via an adapter will not work -- the left- and right- signals of the amp's balanced output would both be connected to the common ground wire in the headphone, thereby short-circuiting those signals together. Not good for the amplifier!

Many thanks. Very informative! 
 
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I always prefer to get the cable as 4 pin balanced and then use an adapter when needed. I do most of my listening balanced. 

Many thanks. I will also take this approach. 

 
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http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/etherial-mr-speakers-ether-flow#mfT8UOhcquI1v9YA.97
 
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Is it possible when ordering the Ether C Flow to choose to have a shorter DUM cable?
I prefer 1.5 M to the 2 M long one.
By the way this is when ordering from authorised UK distributor not from Dan itself.

Or short and reterminate it yourself! Then you also have the opportunity to make some adapters from the extra 0.5 meter. Thats what I did; ordered a 10 feet cable with 6.3mm jack. Then it cut in three pieces (one long and two very short). Now the cable to the headphone is 4 pin xlr and two short adapter cables xlr to 6.3 and 3.5 mm. Half hour work. Very easy to do it yourself if you know how to use a soldering iron and multi-meter. MrSpeakers seems to use mostly Neurtrik plugs (why use anything else?) so very easy to order the same plugs.

Scanspeakman
 
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Quote:
Let us see some photos of your work.
​Here you are. Not that interesting to see I guess. I forgot to take any pictures during the modification. Modification is very easy since MrSpeakers fortunately connects the lft- and right- to the common ground of the 6.3 mm jack instead of at the y-split. The cable is basically ready to go for balanced operation; just needs to be reterminated.
 
 Just read Rob's webpage (https://robrobinette.com/BalancedCable.htm) for the correct pin out of the 4 pin xlr. So now I can use my Ether with my iPhone (3.5 mm trs jack) or with my Liquid Carbon (4 pin xlr balanced). Perfect solution. Too bad MrSpeakers doesn't offer this option with adapter cables themselves. I guess some people might be interested.
 
Scanspeakman      
 
 


 
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Beautifully done, i will keep that in mind.Thank you.What 3.5 mm jack did you actually used?

Switchcraft. Neutrik/REAN was out of stock at my regular webshop (not that many webshop ship to the Caribbean at reasonable prices if at all...) so bought this one. Still need to replace it with original REAN connector.

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  This is not so much a formal review, but simply my response to listening to the Ether Flow (open) for the past several days. I expect to edit and add to the content over the next few days as I have time to fully process what I heard. 
 
Ether Flow-
 
Admittedly I’ve been a longtime supporter of Dan Clark of Mr. Speakers fame. I suppose I’m drawn to companies that produce a hi-end headphone experience for guys on a budget-like myself. Also, I like Dan’s house sound as it fits very well with my personal preferences when it comes to sound signature.
 
Dan sends me things from time to time and asks for some direct feedback. Sometimes he tells me about the changes/product he is sending and sometimes not.  Dan recently informed me that he had made a breakthrough of sorts with regard to Ether and offered to send me his latest offering, but didn’t go into any detail about the specifics of the changes. Needless to say, I always enjoy getting a care package from Dan Clark.
 
While I have a fondness for both Ether and Ether C, the original Ether is more suited to my taste. I like open headphones and don’t require the isolation benefits of a closed set of cans. Accordingly, I asked Dan to send me the open version of the Ether with these new changes. On first listen, the new Ether was complexing and confounding to me. I’ve been with Ether since the beginning and while I have appreciated the “tweaks” that Dan has brought to the table for this headphone since it’s inception, this was something altogether different. While it did still resemble the original Ether sound, there was a sense of near instant decay that was way different than any Ether that I’d heard before…different than any planar I’d heard before for that matter. It took me a few test tracks to really get my mind around it. The speed was both dizzying and captivating. It reminded me of something else I’d heard before but I couldn’t quite place my mental finger on it. Now, a few more test tracks. Staging, instrument separation, air…all improved. Bass is super tight punchy and more extended; each area an improvement on the original. Tone is beautiful and very natural sounding. Again, this sounds somewhat like Ether but not quite.
 
Finally the lightbulb went off and it hit me right between the eyes..erm, ears.  What I was hearing sounded like Ether with electrostat qualities. The speed is just nothing like I’ve heard from a planar. Maybe the he1000 is in the ballpark. I’ve heard a few reviewers mention that the he1000 had electro stat like tendencies. That is what I was now hearing from this new Ether…a beautiful electrostatic like decay in a planar magnetic headphone.  And man,  I was loving what I was hearing!  
 
From a personal standpoint, this headphone was somewhat like going to an exotic custom car company and asking for a model to be made just for me. Ether Flow (as I learned it would be called), fit me like no other…planar bass, stat-like decay and beautiful tonality. I have to be honest, my big Cheshire grin seemed to grow wider and wider the more that I listened.  I knew then that I was listening to something special.  You might say that if Ether and the sr007 had a love child, Ether Flow would be the product of that union.  In light of the sports car reference, I’ll take the opportunity here to point out that this headphone comes with improved pads featuring fine Italian leather…nice!
 
Instruments are presented with startling realism at times. I began playing an instrument almost 30 years ago , often with other musicians and getting instrument tone correct is a real deal breaker for me.  Instruments have to sound natural. Also I’m a real stickler about tone in the mids, especially voices. This is another area where Ether Flow shifts into another gear. The subtle detail in a singer’s voice comes through so effortlessly (effortlessly is a key word here as it lead to the name of the product I believe). Live performances showcase Ether Flow’s ability to resolve all the subtle detail and often left me spellbound. I think that maybe the best complement that I can give to Ether Flow is that after  the first twenty four hours I could easily name a half dozen of my favorite albums where listening to them with Ether Flow was the most I have ever enjoyed them.
 
I found two other characteristics to Ether Flow that were reminiscent of stats. First is the overall cohesion of the signature. Treble mids and bass all blend together in a way that I can only describe as “liquid.” This greatly increases the engagement factor for me. There simply is no discernable transition to distract from the presentation of the music. Secondly, dynamics of Ether Flow gets an upgrade. This is an appreciable bonus for those who are low to medium level listeners. Meaning that you don’t need to crank up the volume to get good dynamics with this headphone.
 
Listening to Rickie Lee Jones: I Don’t Want to Grow Up really highlighted Ether Flow’s ability to image and stage the music expertly. There are background vocals on this track intricately layered into the recording. Those vocals sometimes get lost when I’ve listened with other less capable headphones. Ether Flow delivers the background vocals on this track with wonderful resolution and transparency. I had several moments with Ether Flow where I turned my head to see if the sound I was hearing was in the room with me, only to realize that the Flow has resolved the music so well that it delivered something in the song that I wasn’t used to hearing. Effortlessly=Flow.
 
ETHER Flow compared to hd800/hd800 S: 
 
The hd800 and S variant are very good headphones, so let me cut right to the chase. Ether Flow came out on top of both 800 and 800S both technically and musically. I tested the 800 specifically with and without EQ against Ether Flow. Although EQ does help the hd800 quite a bit it still falls clearly short.  I invited a friend to hear the Ether Flow. He is a huge hd800 fan and has owned the hd800 for many years. After hearing the Ether Flow he marked, “well, I guess it’s time to sell the hd800.”
 
ETHER Flow compared to hd650:
 
This one is more difficult. I think that people will be of two minds on this one. I was hoping that the hd800 and later the hd800 S would be my successor to the hd650. Neither of them was able to achieve what I was looking for, although I did end up of keeping the hd800.  The hd650 remains a great bargain and will remain in my collection as my “warm blanket” headphone.  That being said, Ether Flow now becomes my personal successor to the hd650. Not that it sounds like an improved hd650 but that it’s now my everyday headphone that I want to listen to first and foremost.
 
Criticism:
 
I’m still not a big fan of the flexibility of the DUM cable, although the sonics with it are top notch. I’d like to see something softer and more flexible.  I teased Dan a bit about Ether Flow being heavier. It’s a measly 20 grams extra according to my kitchen scale. I didn’t even realize it was heavier until I weighed it. As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I have a healthy respect for companies that deliver top notch products at reasonable prices. The Flow delivers on the value proposition and does it with authority.  A headphone this good coming in at $1799 serves notice to the rest of the market, particularly products costing $2000, $3000 and even $4000. To the makers of those products, consider yourselves notified the game has changed!
 
Conclusion:
 
Make no mistake about it; this is a stunning offering from Dan Clark and the team from Mr. Speakers. The improvements are not subtle and certainly take this already impressive headphone to a whole new level of both performance and enjoyment. Ether Flow is indulgently addictive. I just keep listening to track after track way past my bedtime.  And I have a strong suspicion that soon, you will soon be doing the same.  
I try to be sensitive about “hype” and FOTM. And at the same time feel that it’s important to convey passion and excitement when you come across something truly special. Ether Flow is just that kind of experience. If you don’t own an Ether and are wondering if you should get a standard Ether or Flow, get the Flow. It’s more than worth the modest difference in price. If you currently own an Ether and are wondering if you should upgrade to Flow, absolutely.
 
Equipment used for testing:
 
Amps: Schiit Mjolnir 2 NOS tubes, Questyle cma800r stack (dual mono), Headamp GS-1
Source: Schiit Gungnir MB

Wow! Thats some write up .
 
I listened to the Ether Flow Open at CanJam London and echo your thoughts. I listened to various HiFiMan, Audeze and a few Fostex but for me they did not come close.
 
I just kept coming back to the Open Flow's. Similar to your comments above, I listened to very familiar tracks via Tidal and could not stop grinning!
 
Thankfully for me I'm coming late to the HeadFi market so my order is duly placed! 

 
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