AXPONA 2015 Show Highlight: Mr. Speakers Ether Planar Magnetic Headphone

During CanJam SoCal a month ago I was so excited to see member displays they got my full attention for the show, and I missed out on all the goodness happening with the vendors. One product introduction that was very hard to miss was Mr. Speaker's lates creation, the Ether ($1499), an open acoustic planar magnetic headphone.

Unlike his previous headphones that were all based on the Fostex T50 RP driver, the Ether is all new from the ground up. The in-house designed diaphragm not only has long traces but is purposely "knurled" to form a series of creases called "V-Planar" technology that Dan Clark claims allows the driver to move with more piston-like action. The magnet structure is single-sided, which helps reduce weight—the Ether clocks in at just 370 grams...quite light for a full-size planar magnetic headphone.

Other features include NiTinol (memory metal) headband arch to reduce weight and provide just the right amount of clamping force; leather headband and ear pads; and precision machined aluminum parts for sturdy and light headband and swivel performance.

I sat for about 20 minutes enjoying these headphones on a variety of amps and systems in Dan's booth. I found the cans both musically engaging, and resolving enough to clearly hear the differences in the front end of each system. It's going to be tough to wait until the expected ship date sometime before the end of June.

...tap...tap...tap...tap...

Dan gives us a tour of the Ether in the video, product page here.

Click here if you can't see the video.

COMMENTS
Seth195208's picture
Three Toes of Fury's picture

that patent is chock full o cool info!

Seth195208's picture

The corrugation aspect of Igor's Levitsky's patent seems pretty similar to Bruce Thigpen's "Knurled" aspect.

Seth195208's picture

It appears that Thigpen's corrugation runs through the entire diaphragm, while Levitsky's is corrugated just on the perimeter. It would seem that corrugating the entire diaphragm for use with a single ended motor would place a portion of the traces pretty far away from the magnets, relative to a flat diaphragm. That would raise distortion and lower efficiency. Tyll's tests will be interesting.

thune's picture

Looking at the Levitsky/Bohlender-Graebener patent, there appears to be nothing in the Claims about the corrugated diaphram. So it looks like just a prior-art disclosure of the technique or a vestige of an aborted independent claim. (Much of the corrugation description does seem to make it an application of the original thigpen "knurling/deformation" patent US6104825.)

It'd be fun to see the V-planar patent application, to know what Clark and Thigpen are actually claiming as invention.

Seth195208's picture

it was just a matter of time. Anyone not familiar with his work should check out the Eminent technology website. His rotary woofer goes flat to 1 hz!

mrspeakers's picture

That's exactly correct. In fact, we derived our work from Bruce's prior art with his help and he's a co-filer on our patent application.

The difference is in how aggressive the knurling is, and also several geometries we've explored that weren't previously addressed. Of course the USPTO has to review this to see if they feel it's a valid claim and suitably differentiated from the prior art, so for now it's patent pending.

Seth195208's picture
Tyll Hertsens's picture
Interesting comments, love to see the patents. Thanks guys.
Beagle's picture

And at $1500, it's half the price of the HE1000. Looks way nicer too

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