ETA Mini C Review and Measurements (A new standard for closed headphones?)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    I can't think of any closed headphone (other than a tweaked Sony R10) that did not sound wonky. Usually the higher-end we go, with corresponding superior "technicalities", the wonkier in frequency response it sounds. There are some exceptions at the very high-end, for example with Dan Clark's Stealth, which are tuned toward the Harmon target (for better or worse - I know Dr. Olive's target is not popular here on SBAF), but what about something affordable that sounds tonally correct for a closed headphone?

    Walking around the major film studios in Hollywood, the closed headphone of choice seems to be the ATH-M50x reviewed here. But oh gawd, too much bass. The only closed alternative I can think of is the HD439 which wasn't bad with respect to frequency response, but the sound from it was downright low-fi.

    Well, the ETA Mini C is it. More than any other headphone I can think of at this time, the Mini C is the most deserving to have the moniker of "studio headphone". In fact, both my daughter and I have been using the Mini C when we are playing the drums. (And BTW, the Sony MDR7506 don't count either, they sound all sorts of messed up tonally)

    PXL_20220806_004119226.jpg
    ETA Mini Closed on left, Mini Semi-Open on right.

    ETA Mini C
    Frequency Response
    upload_2022-8-5_19-44-20.png
    Amazeballs bass extension. Is this an ortho? (It's not?)

    ETA Mini C
    CSDs
    upload_2022-8-5_19-48-53.png
    upload_2022-8-5_19-49-31.png

    ETA Mini C
    Distortion at 104db (1kHz)
    upload_2022-8-5_19-51-4.png
    Note: 200Hz spike is a measurement anomaly. Distortion below 1% THD even at 20Hz!
     
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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Great job ETA!
     
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  4. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    The 2k ridge on the first CSD is a bit concerning. Does it subjectively show up as forwardness? Is it just a bad seal on the rig?
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    FYI more subjective impressions here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ed-impressions-and-reviews.12359/#post-384355

    I really don't have much to say, mainly because it does everything that I want it to do for a closed headphone. It's hard to pick on stuff when there is so little wrong with something that is affordable. I will offer some notes:
    • Not spacious, doesn't have a headstage in front. This wasn't expected anyway and personally I've never cared about headstage. I figured I'd offer this because I know many people do care about headstage.*
    • Transients a bit slow and not super articulate, similar to HD6XX. Not necessarily a negative because this sound works well for studio monitor type use.*
    • Good imaging and localization from left to right with excellent continuity. No hole in the middle nor three blob effect.
    • Tonally correct, if anything slightly mid-centric, which works for me.
    • Efficient and works from most any headout. Strangely, it sounds very good, synergistically good, from the MOTU Ultralite.
    • On the other hand, punchy midbass and extended lows.
    • Isolation better than expected, especially when there is music playing. Let's in just enough ambient sound. I can't hear anyone in my family in another room bitch at me unless they yell or they need to walk up. Good for hearing protection while playing drums to favorite songs.
    * The semi-open, to be reviewed later, is significantly more open sounding with zippier transients.
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    I didn't hear anything with respect to any shrillness or honk. The Mini C is slightly mid-centric, with some emphasis on male vocals, but I think this has more to do with the small bump centered around 1kHz.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022 at 7:27 AM
  8. JellyRhino

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    @purr1n How good are they in terms of resolution? Let's say compared to the HD6XX...
     
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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  9. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    HD6xx scale exceptionally well up to TOTL amps. This has been well established here with many people at the Texas show still pulling out their HD580, HD600, HD650s with the TOTL amps lying around. The Mini C doesn't scale as much as the HD6xx Sennheisers. I'd say there's no point going past a Magni 3+ or iFi Zen Can. It fact, much like Grados, the Mini C sometimes sounds worse from dedicated headamps, especially when used with modest DACs. The Mini C works fine with the output from AIOs, laptops, Focusrites, Motus, etc. whereas the HD6xx tend to suck, sometimes really suck from most built-in headouts.

    The Mini Semi-Open do scale a bit more. The double magnet versions current in development even more.
     
  11. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    These seem to be one of the best measuring headphones ever made?
     
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  12. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Thanks for the measurements @purr1n! I was super curious to see how it would measure on your rig. While testing them I found that the slanted driver plus slight waveguide shape makes consistent measurement at the 2-8 KHz range super positionally dependent, did you find that to be the case as well? I've gotten graphs with 8+ dB variations up there.

    Would the 'slower' transients be visible in a burst response / decay graph?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Moved so that headphone sits slightly lower, lower-forward, and forward about 0.6 cm.

    upload_2022-8-6_13-59-40.png
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    upload_2022-8-6_14-6-45.png

    For comparison:
    upload_2022-8-6_14-9-45.png

    upload_2022-8-6_14-10-52.png
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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  16. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Hi Marv,

    Yes, all ETA headphones take HiFiMan/Focal style dual 3.5mm jacks for headphone cables :)
     
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  17. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Thanks for the extra graphs, super solid rig you got there impervious of aberrations @purr1n.
     
  18. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    I can hear a slightly elevated 2k and sound felt less smooth (ie slight graininess) to me than the other frequencies. It’s slight and not significant. You can also use different pads to tweak the sound. Also, 2k is a very sensitive frequency to human ears and everyone hears that frequency slightly differently.
     
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  19. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    This matches my experience using 2021 MBP. Based on my listening, headstage does improve to adequate with balanced drive and a larger pad.
     
  20. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    That is a really flat impedance! Are you sure these aren’t ortho?

    The FR reminds me a lot of Stax measurements I’ve seen
     

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