First, some recognition: @Ice-man was very kind and lent me his new Ether Flow (open). Thanks a bunch! It's super awesome when friends do stuff like this so soon after a product's launch on their own dime. I know he likes these and ideally probably didn't want to lend them out so soon. I'll apologize in advance if I'm harsh on these, but I'm not going to go easy on an $1800, second iteration headphone. Ether Flow (Open) Subjective Impressions This is the sort of headphone you don't have to listen to for very long to get a good sense of its traits. I'm also pretty familiar with the original model at this point. - Staging! The Flows actually have some! Things no longer sound incredibly hard panned to the left/right with a little, disconnected, center blob stuck in there. They still have some of that planar left/right staging, but these really aren't bad at all. Operates on a similar level as the modded HD650, which is fine by me. Finally some width, depth, layering, and air. - Somewhat cleaner, clearer, and faster than original Ethers in an overall sense. Not as dirty and rough overall. - Lacks dynamics in both a macro and micro sense. While you can tell the bass is at a decent level (very similar to original Ether) and has decent extension, it sounds soft, dull, somewhat blurry, and lacks articulation. Little in the way of slam you can get from a dynamic. Bass has a lot to contribute towards a sense of macro-dynamics, so the Flow suffers here. Micro-dynamics seem compressed. Nothing really pops on the Ether Flows. Not much in the way of a three-dimensional sense of resolving ability. - Bright. Brighter than original Ethers. Smoother, yes, but brighter. Treble emphasis has shifted higher up in the spectrum, so they sound less etched but brighter. It reminds me of the HD800's elevated treble, just without near the amount of etch. This also makes them sound leaner than they really are, not unlike the HD800. More full-bodied than HD800 for sure, just similar concept in how brightness affects overall tone in weird ways. Some hear HD800 as lean rather than bright. Ether Flow can do the same thing. Not particularly painful unless you crank volume, but either way, it bothers me more as I listen rather than immediately hurt my ears. - Has this sort of pervasive, hissy haze to the entire sound. Really gets in the way of things. This is pretty bad on the Jotun, as is brightness, but noticeably less bad on the Super 7. Super 7 makes the Ether Open sound more liquid and full, but still bright. - Midrange as a whole is actually pretty decent. In some ways, cleaner and tighter than an HD650, but not as smooth or well integrated with everything else. - Decent low-level detail abilities, but, again, nothing really pops the way I'd like. Sort of a blunted sound. Subjective Conclusions and Thoughts If you're set on the Ether Flow, I would not recommend pairing these with a forward, bright, or "overly neutral" sounding amp. They work best from a more lush, powerful, tube amp that can add some body and take off the edge. I don't like these from the Jotun. They are noticeably better from my modded Super 7 but still have glaring issues. I think the Flow additions DO improve some things, no doubt. However, the Ether Flow strikes me as a rushed product, about on the level of refinement I'd expect from a prototype or proof of concept. Fine tuning seems to have been an afterthought on the Ether Flow and largely left behind in order to get the product released faster. If you are set on these, have some toilet paper ready for additional front damping or just wait for the inevitable v1.1+ tuning. MrSpeakers and Head-Fi did a great job selecting the right people to hype this headphone right away. The level of blindingly intense hype on the Head-Fi thread worked exactly as intended to reel people in without them having to think about it. I will continue to reiterate that Dan needs to move away from using yes-men and self-proclaimed brand fans when beta testing his products and soliciting tuning feedback. Then again, I'm sure sales are just fine as-is, thus giving MrSpeakers as a business little reason to listen to me. I get it. Overall, one step forward in the Ether line due to staging and some additional cleanliness, two steps back for an even worse tuning and a brighter sound. This is going to be a divisive headphone. I know some people that I really respect like it a lot, and some don't. I won't hold it against anyone if they like the Ether Flow, but I just can't say I hear the magic. Please reference Tyll's review at Innerfidelity and the Head-Fi circle jerk hype train introduction thread for further opinions and information. Measurements You can reference some of my original Ether (open) model impressions and measurements here and here. Frequency response results show similar-ish bass results compared to what I measured with the original models. Despite the mid-bass hump, not unlike the HD650, these still sound weaker and less full in the bass than the HD650. Lower distortion could be, and likely is somewhat, a factor, but I think there's more to it than that. The sudden but tiny spike around 1KHz could be some sort of resonance issue. Not sure. We'll see if CSDs give us reason to worry. From the midrange, upper response just keeps on climbing and climbing with a large peak at 10KHz that is about 3dB higher than the mid-bass emphasis point. Overall, this is a wonky response. Channel matching is pretty good. (Blue = Left, Red = Right) THD results are fine and push my modest mic to its limits. Nothing to worry about here, just like the original Ether open. CSDs look much cleaner than the original Ether open. I think the Flow tweaks and new choice of front damping are put to good use here. This is the sort of improvement I can get behind. Elevated treble like this usually lingers a bit on my rig, which in the Ether Flow's case isn't necessarily horrible but not great either. My main concern is the ridge around 1KHz corresponding with that spike in the frequency response. Maybe it's just the "ortho wall," or maybe it's something else. I have a hunch this contributes to that hissy pervasiveness that I heard. Hissy pervasiveness is probably a combination of rising treble response coupled with that 1KHz ringing. For those of you that prefer the FR/THD results straight out of ARTA or want to have a direct, easy comparison with measurements I've published in this form: Will experiment with some additional front damping and post my thoughts and results later. I think there might still be some hope for these as I hear them.