MrSpeakers Ether Mods

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Maxx134, Jan 13, 2016.

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Does stock Ether sound "open" enough?

  1. Yes

    9 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Not really

    5 vote(s)
    27.8%
  3. Nope

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  1. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Hahaha: https://mrspeakers.com/shop/3-accessories/ether-and-ether-c-1-1-upgrade-foam/

    I had an Ether on loan recently from an anonymous donor and found that you could really improve the sound by adding a bit of front damping foam (with hole cutout in middle so as to not make sound too dead). The stock black foam, on top and bottom side of driver, could be replaced on the Alpha Dog to improve the sound, but I didn't try replacing it on the Ether. I see some other areas of opportunity to reduce reflections off hard plastic. In other words, plenty of opportunity to make these sound really darn good tonally via front damping mods.

    The stock pads make the soundstage sound like garbage. Very close to the left/right with a 3-blob effect otherwise. I did not try other pads when I had the Ether. My concern is finding thicker, angled pads to improve this without throwing off the frequency response too much.

    Plenty of potential here, to the point you might be able to make it competitive with or better than similar planars in this price bracket. Or you could save the money, get an HD650, and a nice tube amp and get better sound. :p
     
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  2. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    @Hands, you are so predictable. Another HD 650 plug, eh.;) Anyway, I was curious about the other statement regarding other planars in the price range, which implies that you think that the Ethers lag behind planar competitors at that price point (which, of course, is a perfectly fine opinion). At the Ethers price point (give or take), the other planars that come to mind are the HifMan HEX and the Audeze LC-X/LCD-3. If we drop down a few hundred we can throw in the HE 560 and the LCD-2, and a bit lower we get to Oppo PM-2. Just curious whether you think the $1,500-ish planars (HEX, LCD-x/3) are all superior to the Ether? What about the lower priced ones mentioned above.

    I have had limited exposure to the Ether. I have liked it OK and found nothing glaringly wrong, but simply thought it was overpriced at $1,500-ish for what you are getting. Not that plenty of other stuff isn't also overpriced as well. But the Ether looks great and is comfortable IMO and that counts for something as well.
     
  3. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    That is too much of a loaded question to answer..
    Lol

    Also ,
    I like to point out that when I say horrid,

    It is in reference to the improvements I have heard with the pad change from stock. ..

    When I first aquired the Ether, it was not horrid untill now that I know how much better it can get.

    Yet my time in improving it will end soon, due to other projects.
    (Translation: I'm wasting my time with it)
     
  4. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    Update on the foam:

    Here is a pic of the foams I will test:
    [​IMG]
    New 1.1 foam on far right =thickest..
    In center is same material a bit thinner..
    On left is a thin different stiffer foam material.
    :)

    I also will test this foam on top/ bottom pieces..

    Regardless of the outcome,
    To me, the foam only increase clarity of depth.

    To me the Ether will always be a forward closer presentation due to the rear damping.

    In contrast, Hifiman took opposite approach to their soundstage,
    with too little rear damping in the HEX (and to a lesser extent the HEK)

    *Edit* :
    In my opinion,
    Neither of these approaches constitutes a neutral balanced approach to the soundstage, like a Code-X .

    Edit2:
    This opinion does not apply to EtherC as I never had one to know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  5. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    Time for last additions to the mods...
    This will complete the Ether mods for me.

    This mod will be using same type and density foam, at 2/3 the thickness.
    It will basically give you 2/3 the effect of the 1.1 foam,
    With noticably less loss of trebles.

    Then we will cut a diamond shaped hole in center, (mentioned earlier by member "Hands")
    With sides at 45 degrees in comparison to the rectangle opening...
    [​IMG]

    This will bring back the treble bite and transients that are smothered by the 1.1 foam...

    That's it!
    All modding complete!

    Here is the link to source the new foam material I found on ebay for about $5 :
    http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=261515186997&alt=web

    [​IMG]

    This will be my final installment of the Ether mod.
    This last part should bring it up to the status that it should have been from the start.

    Although I am done here,
    I am still not satisfied,
    Yet I cannot do no more,
    as my own personal tastes require less rear damping for more natural decay and better depth localization.
    And the rear cannot be accessed ..
    So since that is impossible,
    I am done.

    I really love the construction/fit/finish, and looks of this unit.
    Plus the metalic red reminds me of the fostex TH900 rich color.
    It is probably the best fitting planar, as well having the best connectors.

    With all mods in place, it is probably one of the best planars.
    Yet, I recently have aquired a Code-X,
    Which is still the best planar to me.
    So that's why I am done.
    Anyone Feel free to add future mods.

    So to sum up:
    1-top & bottom felt
    2- Audeze non-leather pads
    3- new thinner foam with cut open in center.

    Done.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  6. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    Great work @Maxx134. I enjoyed the Ether you brought to the NY meet and look forward to hearing the final version of your mod. So, in a straight-up showdown, which do you prefer between your Ether mod and your PM-2 mod, only taking into account SQ and not other factors such as portability.
     
  7. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    So LCD Vegan pads were found to best the best match? How do you handle the fitment to the cups?
     
  8. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    I use the PM2 exclusively for portable usage in winter.
    Although I have balanced cable I have not compared.

    The Ether you heard at meet was all mods plus the 1.1 foam,
    So it was thicker and comparable in tonality to the LCD3 next to it, but the LCD3 had greater dynamic range in the bass dept.
     
  9. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    The fitment was a bit loose but stays on.
    The Non-leather pads gave most sense of soundstaging,
    Without any loss of bass or detailing,
    as all other pads were "closed in", in comparison. .

    There still is the hifiman "focus" pads to try.
     
  10. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I assume all this modding was n the open ether, or does it apply to the ether c too?
     
  11. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    Although the closed Ether was not tried and should be differently damped in the rear,
    All the sonic changes will apply.

    1-The top bottom felt layers are more spacious and better than stock foam
    2- the Audeze pad gave more open & less closed sound.
    3- the felt with hole gives less but similar 1.1foam improvements of clarity,
    while retaining more treble air.

    So up to you to try.
    Either way, only positive results can be obtained from stock.

    Some may prefer the thicker darker overall tone of the 1.1foam,
    And some may not like any foam.
    But I have a friend who did not like the 1. 1 foam, and was not caring for my slimmer foam.
    Yet after listening further, he turned around and says that it is the best he ever heard the Ether and made his planned listening session extend for hours.

    For approximately only $5,
    Its a no Brainerd to try the slimmer foam and cut a center hole.
    :)
     
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  12. Middy

    Middy Acquaintance

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    Just fitted the Microsuede Audeze Pads.
    $115 converted from UK GBP £... 8^/
    I have had trouble with Dan's ear pads, I am not a line backer or a taxi with its doors open.... Head and ears. But they cause me discomfort after a short while.
    Comfort wise A1,a little warm after 30 mins.
    I'd love to try the leather but not for another $115..

    Use something thin and round at the end to tease the Audeze pads on, like an ice lolly stick or the round back of Tweezers nothing sharp..

    The sound has opened up and a little more treble top end..louder..
    Mids a little more even sounding.
    A tad off the bass still there strong.
    Not good at audiophile terminology. But you get the idea.

    Iam waiting for my Hong Kong delivery of the inner Senn foam to try out.
    I think Max is right about the 1.1, brings the bass forward, a suprise at first but you loose out on treble.

    I had the felt come as well, so I will try the side felt mods. I did want to try the top bottom felt mods but a little reticent removing the foam safely to return it to stock.
    One looks flat the other angled down.
    A flat scalpel blade / exacto knife..????

    I'll try the felt side mods when I get back Monday. . Hopefully the foam will arrive then.

    Sorry for the chunky post, just want to pay back a little on SBAF..

    Good luck
    Dave
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  13. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    The reason it is angled down is because there's a cavity under it which made it sink !

    That black foam needs to be level...
    Secondly, that corner that angled down, does not have its adhesive secure, so can be pulled up from that end.
    The material is just like any other material with adhesive on one side.

    It can be slowly pulled and reused.
    You take a small tiny screwdriver and lift up that or any corner,
    Then you slow pull up.
    It won't break if your carefully,
    And even if it did a tiny bit it doesn't matter.

    I did three Ethers easily and quickly without any issues.
    It really not a big deal at all.

    I strongly recommend the top and bottom be replaced as you will notice a huge difference in a much more spacious soundfield.

    Once you do the mods,
    You cannot go back to stock without feeling closed in.

    As for the Audeze non-leather pads,
    Mr Speakers did test them and posted the frequency response to me privately.

    It had the most linear response in the trebles (7-10k flat, where stock has a dip),

    And mids were a bit lower (2-3db down from 200hz-5khz),

    but bass was similar level 100hz down,
    untill about 15hz was a drop of about 3db compared to stock,
    yet then it was level rest of way down.


    I was told not to share the freq respns graphs, so cannot post.
    But the idea here is that the Audeze pads are an excellent choice, and have more treble air.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  14. Middy

    Middy Acquaintance

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    "The sound has opened up and a little more treble top end..louder..
    Mids a little more even sounding.
    A tad off the bass still there strong.
    Not good at audiophile terminology. But you get the idea."


    "It had the most linear response in the trebles (7-10k flat, where stock has a dip),

    And mids were a bit lower (2-3db down from 200hz-5khz),

    but bass was similar level 100hz down,
    until about 15hz was a drop of about 3db compared to stock, "


    At least i know my 43 year old ears aren't completely tone deaf and shot......
    After a youth spend in heavy metal clubs chasing drunk big girls in leather jackets.....:headbang::eek: happy days....


    Thanks again Maxx, I will apply the felt Mods, I just like looking after my gear....;)
    Super comfort Vegan Audeze and i found the clamping pressure great with no adjustment on the slider straps..

    I will do another post when the foam arrives (SENN foam).
    I wanted to get the fine details so people don't keep asking the same questions and make the Mod easier to follow...


    Q. As the bottom foam is angled down! Keep it the same for the felt or make it flat like the top foam.. ( x4 1mm felt) ?

    Q. Did you keep the plastic support ring inside the Audeze Pads when you fitted yours?

    Good luck with the family and new Code-X's

    Dave
     
  15. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    1- When you remove you will realize that it should be level flat,
    And that the angle you see was because it had nothing behind it so it caved in.
    But it was meant to be a flat level surface, as you can see from pics in beginning, and elsewhere.

    2- No I take them off, and throw them at wall like a Frisbee. .
    I can only use them for hifiman cans.
    :p
     
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  16. Middy

    Middy Acquaintance

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    I suppose I am doing things backwards as that's how thing have come in the post.
    I am doing things slowly to try and hear the changes. I did top bottom last night on the left, now both in place today.

    Sounds a touch more open and wider sounding. The Microsuede Audz do the heavy lifting, but the top bottom felt makes it feel more coherent with frequencies less mixed and more blended smooth. A drop in bass but not smothered at all, more placed than jumping out.
    Crap non audiophile lingo but I hope people get the idea.
    I'll do the side Mods tommorow if I have time.
    Still waiting for the thinner Senn foam..

    Btw I bought a cheaper 1mm Felt one sheet.
    It's a pain to remove the backing. I had to scrape with a scalpel until I could lift some up. I did two templates from the Stock foam internal an external. Stick 4 over sized pieces together and draw the shape. Fine felt tip works well byro doesn't. ..

    A new scalpel worked well, my scissors not so good..

    So far so good, any details you want just ask.

    Oh keep the stock foam on a piece of tin/ aluminium foil or clean plastic..

    Keep smiling
    Dave :)
     
  17. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    That is ok I guess.
    The main thing is to have enough layers so that it is level/flush with surrounding area, as the original black foam is.
     
  18. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    That is no longer necessary once you get the foam.
    :)
     
  19. Middy

    Middy Acquaintance

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    Ah... Np just waiting for Ebay delivery of the foam.. Thanks for the update..

    I wonder how Dan's new Electrostatic head phone sounds....Socal can jam...
     
  20. Middy

    Middy Acquaintance

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    Now I am in bed away from the wife....
    I though the top bottom felt was nice but a bit seemed missing from the treble. Now the side pieces are in place...
    Best way to describe it. Gold silver and bronze. Pre mod - gold treble silver mids bronze bass all on the podium higher than the last....
    Now its just 3 people at a bus stop getting along on the same level but more focused..

    Audeze microsuede pad + 4 sided felt Mods
    Really good sound. I wonder why Dan untuned the Ether on the side pieces?

    Just talking crap now too tired...

    Thanks MAXXEY A1 so far, Bass has a nice thump back now.
    Hope that foam gets here soon..

    NN
     

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