MrSpeakers got their head start in the business by modifying Fostex T50RP headphones. Eventually, they had the funds required to develop their own headphones from the ground up and the result was the open-backed Ether. A year later, MrSpeakers improved the Ether by adding TrueFlow waveguides resulting in the Ether Flow that you see here. The TrueFlow waveguides were designed to reduce turbulence within the driver and help guide sound more smoothly to the listener’s ears. The idea behind this is similar to that of Audeze’s Fazor elements.
The drivers in the Ether Flow are also quite unique. Unlike other drivers which typically have flat diaphragms, the Ether Flow’s diaphragm is creased so that when it moves through large motions it does it in a manner similar to an accordion. According to the brand, there are numerous benefits: it improves bass response, dynamics, treble, and reduces distortion.
The Ether Flow is easily the most comfortable headphone in this shootout and that’s mostly down to its weight, or rather the lack of it. At just 400g, it is the lightest headphone by a fair margin. It has a clever design too. The suspension-style headband, in particular, is noteworthy because it is made of NiTinol. This is an alloy of nickel and titanium, and it is extremely light and flexible. It is also a memory metal that retains its shape so well, clamping force is extremely consistent. Also aiding with comfort are the soft lambskin leather headband and earpads. You can easily wear the Ether Flow for hours without any discomfort.
Accessories-wise, the Ether Flow comes with the bare necessities; a hard carrying case that’s easy to transport in and a choice of either 6.35mm or 4-pin XLR cables. At just 1.5 meters, the accompanying cable is on the short side though, even with my amplifier sitting right next to me on my desk. At least it is light and isn’t overly stiﬀ.
The Ether Flow might cost substantially less than its rivals, but since when was price ever an indication of audio performance? The first thing that struck me about the Ether Flow was its pleasing overall tonality and excellent imaging. Dan Clark has voiced his flagship planar magnetic headphones very tastefully.
As is with the case with most planar magnetic headphones, bass is hard hitting and fast, although there is a slight mid-bass bump that makes the Ether Flow sound just very slighted bloated and warmer than its rivals. Mids are slightly veiled, and, as I hear it, vocals sound slightly held back and lack that last bit of enunciation and air to make them truly outstanding. Treble is fairly smooth and has just the right amount of energy to give it sparkle without sounding harsh or tiring.
Though the Ether Flow has its shortcomings, they are apparent only because of it is in the company of these high-end headphones. The Ether Flow is by no means aﬀordable, but in comparison to some of the outrageous price tags of its rivals and its performance, I think that it is actually something of a bargain. In all honesty, the Ether Flow is one of the most aﬀordable tickets to the rarefied world of truly high-end headphone audio.