ETA Mini Closed Impressions and Reviews

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by spoony, Jun 9, 2022.

  1. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Product thread: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/eta-mini-closed-circumaural-headphone.12358/

    I was lucky enough to be an early tester for this, keeping in mind I don't have extensive experience with closed backs, here are some thoughts:
    • Fit and comfort is great on my small melon
    • Not super isolating but enough for a moderately noisy environment (office?)
    • Efficient, you get good dynamics out of modest gear which makes these a good portable option
    • Punchy, low distortion sound with great extension at the extremes
    • Stage is pretty layered and continuous, L-R continuity is actually better than most stuff I've heard which is something I value
    • Transparent to upstream stuff like amps, cables, source material, so yeah, you may want to try them out of your overpowered, over-engineered stack and hear a difference
    • Stock tuning pretty good, nothing sticks out which is already better than most closed backs, bit dark leaning but that's what I like, however, if something doesn't jive with you there's a good chance you will find what you want by trying alternative pads
    • Pad rolling is way cheaper than tube or cable rolling and has a much bigger impact on sound
    • Did I mention pad rolling?
    Not really sure what the stock option is pad-wise but ETA staff is pretty forthcoming with these types of inquiries if you have a special sound in mind.
     
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  2. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Mini Closed Review

    I heard Mini C (MC) as part of the East Coast loaner tour. I would like to thank ETA for sending out multiple loaners which made it easy to get my ears on it.

    I have not heard the Mini Open version, however I had my personal GenG changed to 32ohm drivers which are the same as in the MC. This allowed me to compare how the same driver in a different shell with different tuning goals sounds.

    I'm a fanboi of ETA and specifically Ev's tuning skills. I also really like the idea of headphones which are easily driven directly from a phone, laptop or iPad.

    The aesthetics of the shell on the MC are very nice and are an improvement over the Genesis shells. The headband is not the best and I had a hot spot on the top of my head after about 30 minutes. The headband is what limited the length of my listening sessions.

    ETA is awesome about creating headphones with user adjustable bits. This time it's pads which is a blessing and a curse. The obsessive nature of many audiophiles will lead to copious pad purchases from Amazon. The good news is these pads are not too expensive. As a side note, I would heartily recommend anyone interested to read the book "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz.

    I found that after swapping pads I preferred the 700N PU ones and stuck with those.

    All listening was done using my iPhone with the Apple lighting dongle and Roon & Apple Music.

    This headphone seems like Ev's response to the people who prefer a more neutral tuning and aren't into the downslope goodness of GenG or ESX900. This tuning is really tasteful and provides enough bass and slightly chilled out treble to allow listening without fatigue from inexpensive sources. The imaging and stereo cues were well done and are not all inside the skull. No 3-blob imaging either.

    These drivers are really quite capable and even off the iPhone dongle there was excellent separation of instruments and one can hear room reverb and ambient noise in live recordings.

    The closed design offered pretty good isolation from birdsongs when I was sitting on my deck listening as the sun set. My wife didn't complain while I was listening sitting next to her.

    At this price point these are versatile, high-value complete headphones. The only weakness for me is the headphone band. However, I'm positive the band can be adjusted for better comfort, but I didn't want to adjust the loaner pair.

    Additionally, ETA should be praised for listening to their customers who complained about having to use a separate Sennheiser band with the Genesis model.

    I have 4 pairs of ETA headphones currently and I would be happy to add Mini C as a different flavor to my collection.

    Once again, bravo to ETA!
     
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  3. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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  4. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    Impressions after a week (and plenty of burn-in). TLDR: great plug & play portable closed headphones. Will be my new main headphone for remote work. Previously used the Audio Technica ESW9 / Airpod Max for this purpose, and the Senn HD25 long before that.

    Pros
    - Fairly "flat" frequency response. Not the "U" sound that new headphones tend to have. Brighter than HD600 (and definitely brighter than HD650) but midrange sounds very similar, even when quickly switching between HD6xx and ETA. In comparison, when I switch between Verite and ETA, the midrange sounds quite different (e.g. honkiness) and brain needs a few seconds to adjust. I don't have a Beyer 880 at hand and it's been forever since I heard one but was reminded of the Beyer house sound, i.e. a brighter Sennheiser.
    - Sounds good straight out of a Macbook Pro. When plugged into Wavedream/Stellaris, didn't notice a massive difference. That's a good thing for the use case I have in mind.
    - Surprisingly strong separation and layering for a closed headphone of this size. First thing I noticed. Decent soundstage depth (but not very tall). Works surprisingly well for classical music despite its front-row presentation.
    - Strong on macrodetails, ok on microdetails. Easy to spot artefacts. Would probably make for a great monitoring headphone.
    - High portability factor: foldable, lightweight, rugged and replaceable cables (!). With all my (trans-)portable headphones in the past, cables were always the first thing that fell apart. Big plus.
    - Punchy bass, reaches fairly low. Fun with electronic music.
    - Good isolation / comfort trade-off. Not the most isolating but good enough for a semi-busy cafe or office setting.

    Neutral:
    - Comfort is good, but more noticeable than something like the Verite. Can feel the clamping after an hour or so, and can feel the pads on ears. Very lightweight though.
    - Design: Question of taste, but feels a bit like a mix between DIY and pro audio.
    - Presentation is fairly front row. Somewhere between Grado and Sennheiser.
    - Elevated (lower?) treble. I prefer something like the Verite/HD6xx in that regard. Utopia was also bright but its resolution capability made it less annoying.

    Cons:
    - Overall on the clinical side of things.
    - Resolution in the highs could be better. High hats e.g. sound a bit artificial.
    - Like the HD6xx, it can "feel" a bit slow, certainly compared to something like the Verite which is ultra fast.
    - Bass feels a tad too elevated sometimes. And more muddy / less precise than e.g. the Verite.

    Misc
    - Reminds me of the Beyerdynamic 250-80 in terms of design and sound (but it's been a decade since I heard one)
    - I would recommend adding some cheap cables with it
    - The "wider" pads make bass too bloomy. Preferred the "thinner" pads.
    - Something like the ZMF Verite is still one league above in terms of overall refinement, sense of space, microdetails, soundstage, speed, etc.. That's ok given the massive price difference.

    Pictures or it didn't happen.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  5. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    Once again I’ll start by expressing my thanks to Evan & Tommy (the “E” & “T” in ETA Headphones) for organizing a loner for one of their newest creations, the “Mini-C”. Unlike the Mini, this is an over ear headphone despite the “Mini” designation. However just like the OG Mini, this was designed from the ground up by the minds at ETA, and unsurprising to me, this is another incredible listen IMO.

    Currently my audio chain is comprised of various WAV, FLAC & MP3 files played from JRiver on my refurbed HP Elite Desk via USB to a Schiit Bifrost 2 into either my Pro iCAN (1st version) or ZMF Pendant (also 1st version). I’m going to try a shorter bullet point style review for brevity.

    Matching

    -The Mini C is a 32ohm headphone and I found that the ifi was a wonderful match on low gain.

    -Surprisingly I felt the Pendant was a decent match, adding a bit of that midrange magic without too much bloom or looseness.

    -I also got excellent results with my Fiio M6, the sound was more engaging than it had any right to be. Plenty of slam and detail despite the price.

    -I have no dongles on hand, but I imaging a synergistic pairing wouldn’t be hard to find.

    -In the end I preferred the solid state ifi and Fiio so I did the majority of my listening split between the two.

    Construction & Ergonomics

    -Comfort was good if not great.

    -The ear pads I used were the MDR suede pads, and I enjoyed them enough not to change them. They are a bit snug around the ear. They’re not uncomfortable, but my ears aren’t particularly large.

    -Headband is a foldable Sony (MDR 7506 I think) also feels snug on my small-ish head. Big noggins beware.

    -Solid feel overall. Not super refined, but not garage-shop chic either. I’d wager this would have good durability.

    Sound

    -The overall sound strikes me as neutral warm with excellent bass extension, linear mids and relaxed but detailed treble.

    -Mini C bass is tight with good low end rumble & extension. Less mid bass emphasis, but wholly satisfying for my tastes with good texture and detail. Bass gets out of the way when not in the recording but kicks hard when called for.

    -Compared to the Atrium, Mini C reaches lower & has a similar mid-bass energy, Mini C sounds tighter to my ears with similar resolution of details.

    -Compared to Aeolus, Mini C definitely is more linear excepting sub-bass where Mini reaches lower. Aeolus has a definite uptick in mid-bass energy, and is also looser/softer in presentation

    -Mids on the Mini C are nuanced and pretty linear. Not warm, not sterile, kinda Goldilocks for me. Voices, piano, strings all never left me dissatisfied but kept me wanting more.

    -Compared to Atrium, vocals sound more lush overall but not by a large margin. My preferences might lean toward the atrium, but not by a huge margin.

    -Compared to Aeolus, Mini C is more Linear, Aeolus a bit more peaky. Aeolus has a touch more elevation followed by a slight dip a bit further up infrequency. Not immediately noticeable except in direct comparison where Mini C just sounds more linear & right to me.

    -Treble is relaxed on Mini C, never piercing, never sibilant to my ears (not my strong suit due to hearing loss). Plenty of detail from what I could hear, percussion, cymbals etc. had plenty of bite, not brittle or edgy.

    -Compared to Atrium (full solid mesh), Mini C extends a bit further & has a touch more clarity, Atrium is a little smoother and less sparkly.

    -Compared to Aeolus, the ZMF sounds a bit more peaky (6-7khz?) but is still listenable, especially with the full bass supporting it. Mini C has better extension (I think) and sounds more airy

    -Mini C's Transients aren’t Utopia/Verite nor sluggish and plodding. Closer to beryllium, a touch faster than biodynamic I think.

    -As implied above, when compared to Atrium there is a similar speed, Mini C sounding a bit faster overall.

    -Compared to Aeolus, Mini C is noticeably snappier and faster

    -Stage on Mini C is intimate but very coherent with excellent imaging. Very good depth, decent width adequate height. Once I got lost in the music I didn’t care one whit about the headstage anyway.

    -Staging is one of the Atrium strong suits IMO, much wider and taller, with depth being of a similar nature to my ear.

    -Aeolus is wider & taller as well, but smaller overall than Atrium obviously. Somewhere in between. Mini C has more depth.

    -Mini C handles busy passages with aplomb.

    -Atrium is good with busy passages, but I found Mini C to edge it out for better clarity. Aeolus doesn't handle busy passages as well as either headphone.

    Endwords

    In the end ETA has created another winner IMO. It is one of the best all-arounders I’ve heard, sounding great with every type of music I threw at it. That includes Classical which might be counterintuitive considering the intimate presentation, but it worked for me. The performance and enjoyment belies the modest price ($400 usd w/o cable at the time of writing) and is definitely worth an audition if you’re in the market.

    Edit: I realize I didn't really include any negatives, or at least I didn't emphasize any. That's because I felt that any flaws are so minor that it boils down to a matter of preference more than a deficit of some sort. The Mini C is likely not for those with larger heads (though there could be other factors in shape, since I haven't done any studies lol). I think it's also safe to say they're not for "trebleheads" or "soundstage hounds" but the lack of major peaks or dips prevents me from highlighting anything as a major flaw. I've also included some comparisons for better context. I have no closed backs that come anywhere close to Mini C's performance, so I made due with Atrium & Aeolus since they are more of my daily drivers (unless I'm finally successful in selling my Aeolus lol).

    https://www.etaheadphones.com/product-page/mini-closed
     
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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2022
  6. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I goofed yesterday in posting this https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...or-closed-headphones.12546/page-2#post-391158 to the ETA C review+measurements thread. Rather than adding to my impressions there, I'm continuing in this more appropriate thread. I had written that bass was a bit light from an A&ultima SP1000M DAP. I'm now trying the Mini C with a Chord Hugo 2 I had elsewhere. Big difference. Bass is a lot more present without overwhelming the Mini C's honest mids and clean highs (to the extend my ancient ears can hear them). I found the Hugo 2 too tiring with other (otherwise very different) closed headphones, DCA Ether C Flow and ZMF Verité. The Mini C has a smaller headstage than either, but it wins with this DAC/amp by taming its overly forward character. The Hugo 2 is no longer trying to punch my eardrums but it still swings well and fast. Jazz double bass is neither shy nor bloomy, reeds are properly reedy, piano and guitar show convincing attacks and decays. To repeat myself, there's something so honest about these headphones. tightly controlled without being sterile, expressive without going over the top. I will still go for my ZMFs and big DACs and amps when I want to immerse myself in the music, but for plain speaking, ETA Mini C.
    Update: I just heard the first musical passage where I felt Mini C fell a bit short, a very busy, intense, free-jazzy few bars on cornet, piano, and bass that sounded muddled compared with my recent memory of the same passage on ZMF Atrium. Different DAC & amp, I know, but the Hugo 2 is no slouch in keeping things separate so I suspect that this can be attributed to the headphones. Each of the instruments sound great individually in less cluttered passages.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
  7. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    After some more listening Roon>Chord Hugo 2+2go>Mini C, two things happened: 1) some headphone break-in that increased slam, upper bass quantity, and quality, and 2) confirmed that I have finally a headphone in my collection that brings out the clarity and speed of the Hugo 2 while taming its otherwise aggressive upper mids and relentless presentation. While before I felt the Hugo 2+2go was a regretted expensive buy, the Mini C gave it new life. I've loved how it renders the tone and wild dynamics of the (in some tracks prepared) pianos in the for-free-jazz-and-atonal "To Pianos" (Eve Risser/Kaja Draksler), the much mellower an"d straight-ahead piano-led "Turning Point" (Gonzalo Rubalcaba/Trio d'Été), and the modern-classical guitar in "Kromos" (Ismo Eskelinen). String timbre (piano and guitar), attack and decay work especially well with this pairing.
     
  8. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Mini C pairings: I like Mini C with Hugo 2 a lot more than with 3F amorphous<May<HQPlayer. With 3F, bass sounded boomy, and highs almost painfully etched, which is completely different from their hard-hitting but smooth performance with Hugo 2. Mini C pairs better with EC Af<May<HQPlayer, although not as well as with Hugo 2. Switching between Mini C and Verité closed (I know, not a fair fight price-wise) Mini C holds its own on dynamics but it sounds a lot more enclosed, no real staging. Verité closed varies much less between 3F and AF than Mini C.
    Listening notes: Comparisons on first track (Grand Mesa) of Pride & Joy, John Cowherd Trio. Brian Blade's drum set, especially cymbals separates from piano and bass with Af>Verité closed, not much with Af>Mini C. Even more striking when Chris Potter's sax pops in front (with Verité closed) or not so much (with Mini C).
     
  9. CaptainCope

    CaptainCope Almost "Made"

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    Loaner Tour Impressions
    Had both Mini C and Mini S on desk for a few days and listened to them
    • Bifrost 2 -> Shortest Way
    • Bifrost 2 -> Jotunheim 2
    • iFi Diablo
    • Pixel 4a
    The Diablo and the Jot2 pairing complemented the laid back nature of these headphones and made them feel faster. The Jot2 emphasizes macro detail which sometimes over did it with these headphones. The SW51 added a little more space and to the sound.

    On the Mini C, I switched the larger pads and was able to get a better seal and that helped fill out the bass. Mini S more open sounding. Both presented quite a bit of punch with a similar feel to Auteur -- but the Mini C and Mini S reach lower.

    I really enjoyed my time with these headphones and I found them comfortable and enjoyable during a particularly stressful week. There was a moment where I had the Mini C with my Pixel and just sat on a bench on a busy city street and just listened. It isolated really well.

    I can imagine these going back and forth with me to the office really enjoyed them.
     
  10. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    First off, thanks for the opportunity to sample these on the loaner tour. I'm especially grateful for the latitude given on the timing as I had some things come up that limited the amount of time I spent with them. That being said, my brief impressions are largely positive, given the limited success of closed back headphones in general; most of them sound like shit, imho.

    The Mini-C is what I'd consider a monitor-like neutral headphone. There's not much romance, or euphony here. For some recordings, this is a welcome relief from the Harman target tubby flaccidness that seems to invade/encroach upon our shared concept of "neutral". But, with other recordings the Mini-C can tend towards the clinical and slightly overdamped. There's a lack of lower midrange spaciousness and ease that reminded me a lot of the Aurorus Australis. I could be wrong, so please correct me, but i feel this has much to do with the driver (that I *think* is shared if not derivative of, or between, these two headphones). there's a peak/dip right in the 2khz area that I seem to be particularly sensitive to throws of the tonal balance and seems to make transient response over accentuate attack. It's most noticable to me on things like piano hammer strikes and drum head snap. Those sounds don't seem to sustain convincingly in a way that "matches" the energy of the initial attack. It's sort of like an overmuted drum head; it's powerful and punchy, but it doesn't fill space with the short reverberation of the head and the longer reverberation/decay of the shell.

    Anyhow, I'm dissecting these a bit too much. But I can't say the Mini-C is what jives with me as a fun listen; involving? Yes, they allowed me to listen into the music, but they didn't quite get my toes tapping. On further rumination, the Mini-C reminds me a lot of the XRK LS3/5a clones we had on a loaner tour a while back. Good at exposing certain elements of recordings, but not the most effective at allowing the music to proceed without some minor translation. For the price, though, I've not heard a more even-keeled closed back headphone. ETA has my curiosity, but not quite yet do they have my attention.
     
  11. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Thanks for taking the time to listen and share your impressions!

    As far as I know, both the Aurorus Borealis and Australis use the excellent Peerless by Tymphany HPD50N driver which is also in several other headphones (Auribus, Hyland, and Kennerton have released with it). Mini C, S, and O2 use a different ETA-customized driver based on the same template Foster headphones use (Denon, Fostex, Emu, etc).

    We changed the diaphragm from biocellulose to a graphene composite, magnet from N42 to N52, and the voice coil is the same CCAW, but adjusted to 32 ohms, and in an anodized aluminum chassis instead of plastic. Then, the filter material and pattern on the rear of the driver is different for each model too. It's a unique recipe just for us :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2023
  12. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    Build and comfort are wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect from a startup but I was very impressed. Solid feeling while being small and light. I ended up wearing them all the time around the house as I did various chores. At no point did they feel heavy, uncomfortable or, any such thing. And they fold up nice and small if you need to pack them for an adventure.

    Sound-wise, they're interesting. They have their signature and in my experience it stayed as is regardless of source. I tried them on SW51 and WHAMMY (via Audirvana -> Unison -> Bifrost MB w/opamp mod) and, iphone. My WHAMMY is bit on the warm and "musical" side and it did change them a tad but not enough to matter much. The SW51 changed them just a tad as well but in a more negative way - they ended up sounding thin. They're so source agnostic that I ended up using them with my iPhone (Qobuz app) and an Apple dongle 95% of the time. Hooray for convenience.

    The main draw for me is a slight bump somewhere in the upper mid. Generally I get fatigued by bumps/peaks but for some reason this wasn't the case. This bump makes for a lot of detail relating to spacial cues and other background "stuff". I heard background details like voices/conversations that I've never heard before on songs I've listened to hundreds of times. It's very rare that I come across this. If you're a detail whore, you may want to look into this headphone. The upper registers of electric guitars can be amazing.

    I guess this attribute fits with the "studio" branding on the headband.

    Width is pretty good though not as wide as some other models. The soundstage is spread evenly and imaging is good.

    Bass is where it falls short for me. There's a bump in the midbass that is tastefully done (doesn't smear male vocals) but that's kind of where it ends. It seems like below the midbass it just goes off a cliff. I wish it weren't the case or I'd have already ordered a pair. This may not be an issue for some (the more and more I triangulate others' experiences with mine, the more I'm starting to think I'm a fledgeling basshead).

    In a lot of ways this headphone makes me think of the KSC-75 but in a grown up and sealed version.

    Thanks to ETA for the opportunity to hear this set.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
  13. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    I’d double or triple check seal, do you wear glasses? Mini C is seal sensitive.
     
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  14. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    No glasses and I've already sent it off to the next person. I'm generally sensitive to seal (because Diana V2 is) and never felt there was an issue with it. Nor did I have a moment of moving the cups around and going "hey what's that...it's bass". I don't know what to tell you. If the bass was there I'd sell my other closed backs and order the C right now.

    It's interesting reading others' reviews now. I make it a point to not read reviews before I audition something so I'm not swayed in any way. I wish I heard what they're hearing.
     
  15. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    Just to be clear: it's not that there's no bass whatsoever. It's just not enough - I'm comparing to HD600 not kilobuck planars.
     
  16. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    It’s just interesting, YMMV territory I guess!
     
  17. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    Interesting...these are honestly on the bassier side of what I'd normally enjoy. (Though I'm the furthest thing from a basshead...my headphone tastes tend towards the bright and detailed.)
     
  18. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    At first, I got the distinct impression something was missing at the top end, like I often get with less bright headphones (e.g., the LCD-2C), but unlike the Audeze, I quickly acclimated to the sound signature, and the fact they're not my usual insanely bright fare isn't bothering me. The bass is certainly punchy...electronic music is a *lot* of fun on these. Soundstage is nothing to write home about, but it's not distractingly intimate...they're not taking over from my HD800's on classical anytime soon, but I could see using them to listen to classical in the same room as my girlfriend. Speaking of which, isolation is excellent. Separation is great. Ended up using them most of the time straight from my phone...they really aren't picky about source. Unfortunately didn't have a compatible balanced cable, since my desktop setup really sounds its best balanced, but given how source-agnostic they seem to be, I doubt it'd have made a big difference.
     
  19. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ETA Mini-C Short Review (Follow up to Mini-S review)

    I’ve been trying out the loaner Mini-C (MiC) for a few days. Because I already posted my review on Mini-Semi Closed (MiS) a couple of weeks ago, I would like to go straight to how they resemble/differ in SQ. M500.3 dac/amp is mainly used again in evaluation.

    Unlike some prior reviews, TBH, I couldn’t find meaningful differences in most technicalities between MiC and MiS. To me, they essentially resolved pretty much the same information and just presented it differently. I bet ETA certainly tuned the two distinctly, especially in tonal balance.

    One of the major differences I found during evaluation was that MiC came with better cohesiveness. I wasn’t quite satisfied with MiS’s treble expression, as cited below:
    With MiC, these issues didn’t bother me much any longer. Midrange connected to treble smoothly and cohesively. Metallic percussion, electric guitar, and sax were all heard with much less ambiguities.

    On the contrary, I didn’t find as much body and clarity in the midrange (especially in vocals) with MiC as I did with MiS. MiC’s midrange level is lower than MiS, too.

    The difference I found in bass was quite subtle. I think MiC extended slightly better but MiS came with better bloom (piano) and meat/weight (guitar) though. But I might be misremembering.

    Overall, I found MiS and MiC traded blows. If I have to pick up only one pair between the two, I may lean more toward MiC as it’s better balanced with fewer issues to me. Isolation benefit will be a nice plus, too. Nonetheless I still prefer Mini OG to either MiS or MiC in SQ. I’m curious to see how well the newer O2 stacks up against all of them.

    PS. EARS Measurements below.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2023
  20. zottel

    zottel Friend

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    I’m not part of the loaner tour, but I got my own Mini C used some five or six weeks ago or so.

    I used them primarily on my Meier rig (Roon -> Zen Stream -> Daccord FF -> Jazz FF), but tried my Helm Bolt, too, as well as the headphone out of my iPad.

    My impressions:
    • Extremely good price/performance ratio.
    • Very good resolution, lots of detail, gets uncomfortably close to my Clear Mg that costs several times as much. Especially in terms of plankton, there’s still a quite noticeable gap between the two, though.
    • Missing top end sparkle compared to the Clear Mg, and a bit more bass. Otherwise, the FR is quite similar to that of the Clear Mg. Darker especially due to the missing top end.
    • All in all, the energy feels very evenly spread across the spectrum. This is a feeling more than an observation: The sound feels as if it was completely the same everywhere, nothing stands out, so much so that this fact itself stands out. Very noticeably even, so to speak.
    • The bass is on the verge of being too much for my taste, but I like it. With the right music, it’s really a treat. Try “Rap & fette Bässe” (“Rap and Fat Bass”) by Beginner on this headphone! Totally great. On some vocal jazz, it can be too much, “Deep Within the Corners of My Mind” by Melody Gardot being one example. I never had complaints with classical music, though, and jazz that’s not reduced to very few instruments worked very well, too.
    • With most music, the bass is well behaved and offers great detail, but sometimes, when there’s much energy in mid-bass, it can become boomy and bleed towards the mids, like in “Wish You Were Gay” by Billie Eilish.
    • If the source material is very sibilant, the Mini C shows that to a greater extent than the Clear Mg. Example: “A.ura und das Schneckenhaus” by Samsas Traum
    • The differences between sources are much smaller with the Mini C than with the Clear Mg. Bass becomes a bit woolly and boomy with my iPad’s headphone socket, treble a bit too sharp, less microdetail, but it’s very well usable, the differences to my main rig are small. Works very well from my Helm Bolt, too, with more refinement, but again, I asked myself if the extra device is really required.
    • Macrodetail isn’t great, large volume swings aren’t as pronounced by far as with the Clear Mg, much less slam, too. But I didn’t really miss that, the presentation isn’t boring at all.
    Comparing the whole package to the Clear Mg, what comes to my mind is that the Mini C is an extremely good “normal” headphone, while the Clear Mg is HiFi. I’ll have to explain that, because it sounds much worse than I mean it. The Clear Mg has a wow effect: All that sparkle and air up top, the extreme resolution etc.—coming from the Mini C, music somehow feels shiny, grabs my attention, produces a feeling of awe.

    That’s not the case with the Mini C. Its presentation is “only” very, very good. Like the work of a craftsman compared to that of an artist. Sometimes, I prefer craftsmanship with its down-to-earth matter-of-fact attitude.

    I feel as if the Mini C is an uber-perfect version of the headphones I had in the nineties. Nothing fancy, nothing shiny, but very good.

    I’ll keep my Mini C. It will do the jobs I need a closed-back headphone for, and it will perform very well.
     
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