US-based Dan Clark Audio (formerly ‘Mr Speakers’) has updated its original planar magnetic Ether headphone to create the Ether 2. Neville Roberts puts the new model to the test in the December issue of Hi-Fi Choice magazine.
The first thing Roberts notes is the quality of construction. “Even though the Ether 2 is almost 90g lighter than its predecessor, the lower weight has not been achieved by switching from metal to plastic components. Instead, it sports all-metal earcups, headband and a carbon fibre driver baffle that means it weighs just 290g, making it one of the lightest full-size planar-magnetic headphone designs on the market.”
The next is comfort. To offer maximum comfort, the lightweight skeletal design is coupled with new ergonomic earpads and an improved webbed leather head strap. “Slipping the Ether 2 over my ears, I am instantly aware of how very light and comfortable it is. The headband is adjusted to suit my cranium with a leather strap that slides up or down the two-wire spring to hold the earcups firmly in place.”
And then there’s the sound. “Thanks in part to the lightness and comfort of the Ether 2, the headphone seems to dissolve away to allow me to simply enjoy the music.”
“Prokofiev’s Romeo And Juliet performed by the LSO and conducted by André Previn really grabs my attention. The sophisticated performance of Dance Of The Knights has a wide soundstage and the powerful marching rhythm and the trumpet blasts accompanying the strings playing the main theme are strident and nicely conveyed.”
“Pink Floyd’s Money provides a stern test for any headphone and the Ether 2 shows it’s equally at home with rock as it is classical. The cash registers in the opening section show off the top end of its frequency response particularly well and when the electric bass guitar takes over there’s plenty of clarity to individual notes and everything sounds entirely musical, while the track’s hallmark edgy vocals are spot on.”