ETA Mini S Review (Follow-Up to Mini C)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Aug 9, 2022.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    This is the Mini S, the semi-open version of the Mini C reviewed just earlier. Since these headphones are related, it would not be a bad idea to read a bit about the Mini C.
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...s-a-new-standard-for-closed-headphones.12546/

    ETA Mini S
    Frequency Response
    upload_2022-8-9_9-41-47.png

    It's a different flavor of neutralish compared to the C. Instead of a slight midrange emphasis, the Mini S has low bass emphasis. Subjectively, the bass emphasis is there but not as high as the measurement above would suggest. The bass doesn't intrude into the high bass or lower mids. There's no excess thickness often heard on bassier headphones. There's a very tiny BBC dip going on in the upper mids which I find desirable, especially with natural mic'd recordings in reverberant venues. Note that this BBC dip is the opposite of the Harmon target when it comes to the upper mids.

    The Mini S is a semi-open design that often comes with associated usually "better" sonic qualities: snappier transient response, more spacious headstage, improved responsiveness to small signals, etc. The Mini S does scales a bit better the the Mini C with more expensive gear, but like the C, it doesn't need an "amp" or "DAC". It sounds good great from the Android dongle and great from the iFi GO Blu. (Audioslave and STP are sure sounding pretty good and energetic instead of softpoo).

    This one to me is a home run, that is if you can get away with semi-open design. If you need a closed design and better isolation, the Mini C may be a better choice. I'm going to try to sneak in some isolation measurements later if I have time.

    I didn't realize this before, but these headphones can transform like Transformers toys.
    PXL_20220809_145216362.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    ETA Mini S
    CSDs
    upload_2022-8-9_10-4-50.png
    upload_2022-8-9_10-4-3.png

    There's a decent ridge at 2kHz in the CSD with associated narrow bump in the FR. TBH, I don't hear this. I wonder if there is some of the "Grado effect" (which also have 2 kHz bump, but stronger) where this could be desirable because the pinna is being bypassed. The drivers are almost on my ear, not quite sitting like on Grados, but very close.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    ETA Mini S
    Distortion
    upload_2022-8-9_10-8-51.png

    Not much needs to be said, considering this is a dynamic. D3 spike is a measurement artifact.
     
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  4. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Okay, this is ludicrously good. I get why there was confusion as to whether these were planars or not.

    How's the upper mid CSD resonance compare to how some of the better supraaural Grados present things, and as far as headstage imaging goes, how's it fare against the like of say Focal Clear in terms of being able to delineate individual elements on the headstage? Also, no hypersharpened microdynamics or slightly truncated decays like on the Klipsch HP-3?
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Localization is better on Focals. Both have smallish headstages, the Mini C (and Grados) even more so because they are pressed against the ears. I actually feel C may have better localization.

    MIcrodynamic distribution is even from loud to softest sounds unlike how the Klipsch HP-3 sort of compresses things upward. Transients are rounded on Mini S. Toss up on decay characteristics with HP-3. HP-3 maybe wins with more plankton but suffers with early truncation (part of the microdynamic compression upward and then suddenly plopping down to nothing). Mini C maybe a bit less plankton, but does better with what it has. I know you know exactly what I mean and few others will get it. :D
     
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  6. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Lmao I sadly no longer own my Klipsches but they're off to a good home at the ass end of the world (edit: fact checked myself it's not quite easternmost but it's barely north of Antarctica— need to work on my geography). That said, had em for a bit over four years so they're a good touchstone and I know exactly what you mean!

    Resolution isn't everything :p

    Edit2: @nishan99 not posting again cuz I've not gotten ears on these (... Yet, haha) but I don't necessarily think distortion correlates to bass "tactility" and it's one of those less measurable things to do with dynamics v planars. The AQ Nighthawk was a bloopy mess but it had pretty good texture (disclaimer, only extended demo settings etc etc) while also having amazingly low distortion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  7. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    How leaky are they? Would it be rude to blast some music (~85dB) next to someone maybe 3-4 feet away?

    Also they measure like an ortho! So I'm worried about bass tactility, are they tactile enough?
     
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  8. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Don't worry about tactility, it's one of their strong suits, both C and S.
     
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  9. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    I throw them in like this into my backpack without much concern for their safety, however, cases made for the 7506 and M40x, M50x will probably fit these as well.
     
  10. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    Geez..ETA is going to put all the $4k+ headphone brands out of business. I would not be surprised if mini S matches/exceeds Clear and possibly Utopia just looking at the graphs. Send the double magnet version my way when ready :punk:
     
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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  11. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Thank you for the support as always. It's very humbling even being in the same conversation as something like Utopia and Clear. we're just happy to see people enjoying our headphones as much as we do! Gives us all the energy we need to continue what we do :)

    I'm glad there's already hype being generated with our prototype double magnet drivers! However, they're still in the development stage and we don't want to reveal much until things are finalized for production. so no ETA yet (ha!)

    I know there's a decent amount of folks that still haven't heard the C and S, so we are planning on starting a loaner tour soon. Please give us a bit more time to catch up on orders from the Austin meet haha

    In the meantime, feel free to ask us any questions regarding either model, we'll do our best to answer.
     
  12. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    Could we arrange an EU loaner somehow? I tried reviving the loaner thread a while ago with a phono pre but that was a bit too niche. This should be far more interesting
     
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  13. Ox Cart

    Ox Cart Facebook Friend

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    How does the bass respond to a broken seal like with glasses?
     
  14. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    Significant negative impact on bass and overall sound quality. Wear glasses over the cans.
     
  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    This is only particularly important with Mini Closed, semi-open is much less sensitive though it still matters a little bit.

    The more pneumatic pressure in the back, the more seal needed on the front for a good balance and vice versa. The driver is tuned to behave differently in each case, the Mini S vs C isn't just a swap of cups.

    Hope you get to hear em soon so you can do your own comparisons too :)

    Edit - I'll do a post about the physical differences between the two with pics soon
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
  16. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    Oh you are right. I failed to read the thread title properly.
     
  17. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Minor prod for isolation measurements of the Mini S and Mini C versus some other contemporaries? I haven't gotten ears on one in a while but the ATH-M50 series definitely seems like a good touchstone for this, or maybe the Meze 99C (really poor headband design notwithstanding: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...cal-transmission-of-noise-via-headbands.9257/)

    (I somehow think that because a perfect seal might just make for a great medium for transmission of energy a mostly sealed semi-open design could actually go a long ways towards reducing perception of external sounds)
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  18. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    I've never taken an isolation measurement before - I rigged up my speakers to play some pink noise, capture with FPC, then put the headphones on top of the FPC with the noise still coming through the speakers for a difference reading. I'm not sure if this is directly applicable to real-world scenarios where ambient noise isn't as directional nor as loud as the speakers may be in this setup. I'd assume these readings are a 'worst case scenario'.

    Regardless, here are some graphs for isolation with Mini C and Mini S:

    Mini C (don't mind the red/white curves below, that's the generated noise thru the speakers):

    upload_2022-8-15_22-30-34.png

    Mini S:

    upload_2022-8-15_22-31-47.png

    My guess is that any time it peaks past 0db is just an artifact. This is a quick and dirty reading and there were other noises in the apartment at the time as well. If someone has some wisdom about how to do this in a better way, I'll take fresh graphs.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    These look great for closed cans! Wow!
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    LOL, wanted to post this for about a week now.

    Mini S Impedance and Electrical Phase
    YEL = free air
    GRN = on head
    upload_2022-8-26_16-34-7.png

    Thoughts:
    • The Mini S impedance bump changes a lot when on the head compared to free air.
    • This means it's reliant on a good seal. I tend to like reactive drivers like this, although there is nothing against drivers which are well-damped regardless.
    • Incredibly low resonant frequency. Explains to an extent how we are getting such low frequency extension.
     
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