Discussion in 'Product Announcements' started by E_Schaaf, Jun 8, 2022.
I presume no vendor will have this at the show in Chicago this coming weekend, correct?
Yes! I'll bring multiple pairs for the Austin meet and some secret sauce stuff if it all works out before I fly there
Please remember to pack "secret sauce" when you ship
Question: I got 2 pads - are both of them considered stock or the one without mesh is the "stock"? I don't think my ears fit inside the non-mesh pads
Also, fantastic work on the world's finest packaging and presentation
The more oblong earpads without the hairscreen are 'MDR' pads and considered the stock config (meaning, the most balanced FR). They are solid sheepskin. So far, nobody has had comfort or size issues with these.
The flatter, squishier earpads with the hairscreen are 'ATH' pads and give a slightly warmer, more sloping tone. They are also solid sheepskin.
A tip for fit with the ATH pads - If you or others are thinking 'the hole is too small, how can my ears fit?' Well... You want your pinna to go THROUGH the hole, the baffle waveguide and beveled edge of the pad cavity give some extra space for the ear when used this way. Otherwise it'll feel on-ear and you'll get weak bass and bad seal.
The cavity of an earpad doesn't have to be bigger than the total width and height of your ear for it to fit fully over, consider that any portion of your ear is actually quite a thin amount of XY space as we go down the depth of the ear towards the skull. The only part that needs to fit through the hole is the actual area where the base of your pinna meets the skull. If they feel on ear at first, do a gentle little circular motion until the ears poke through the opening entirely without applying too much force.
I've removed the hairscreen for demonstration below -
Bad fit (feels on-ear, bad seal, weak bass):
Good fit (no part of the earpad is touching my ear, seal is maintained, comfort improved, better bass):
Hope this helps!
To be clear, rotating and asserting a little pressure while rotating on the pad while wearing them will not damage the driver correct? I got this letter in the package with huge, bold, underlined warning about fragile driver and I am now nervous about touching headphones while wearing them
You should have no issues adjusting fitment for comfort as suggested.
That disclaimer/warning is more in the case of forceful smushing of the cups against your face (like lying down on top of them, rapidly firmly pressing them against your head 'to see what happens', putting them face down on a table and leaning on top of them, stuff like that). The driver is not terribly fragile in general, I would say that the note indicates an overabundance of caution on my part. So far there's only been one confirmed driver failure, and it was due to a deliberate action 'to see what happens' on part of the owner when massive pressure was applied on purpose, and I've applied some failsafe mechanisms since then to prevent similar issues from happening again. That said, it is good to be mindful.
Another note regarding earpads, alternatively I can make suggestions for other types with larger cavities as well. Before spending any cash on earpads 'just to see', I would be happy to try them out on my end and share impressions so you don't waste time and money. Or if you insist on seeing for yourself, I understand the curiosity and more power to you.
That said, rest assured I have tried basically every earpad under the sun, including wacky stuff like HD700 earpads, silicone aviation headset earpads, pads for Beats headphones, anything you can think of (these are all different boxes) -
Roger that! Also, I got my ears to fit inside the ATH pads.
hmmm, my ATH pads do not look like those. The ATH pads I got have same/larger opening than the stock non-mesh pads - I am not permitted to upload any photo so you have to take my word for it
Anyway, not going to worry about the pads for now. I am going to let it burn in for a week first.
Perhaps they were 700N earpads? I must've had a brain fart when boxing up, the 700N are often in my personal rotation, though I don't consider them stock. I do like the 700N pads for comfort and they have a unique effect on the tone and soundstage, but I felt they weren't as well suited for general purpose use so decided to swap them out in favor of the ATH as the standard complement to the MDR.
I'll be happy to send you a set of the ATH pads. Apologies for the confusion!
ETA Mini C – Wow
I gave the Mini C a whirl after being impressed by the mini. The ETA mini is a great sounding headphone in its own right, very good sounding really, but since they are on ear I knew that long term I would not be able to get along with them. The Mini C solves my main issue with the Mini by using a larger cup volume and over ear pads! Thanks to ETA for listening to their customers and continually improving/diversifying your products.
I think the Mini C is an incredible headphone. good/pleasurable/full/extended/great/comforting/dynamic/warm/romantic/good! Best way I could describe it would be that you took the Focal Clear and HD650 and produced a hybrid of the two.
A bit more.
The mini C is a surprising headphone because of its size. The cup volume behind the pads is fairly small, then the pads jut out to a ‘not-quite-full-size pad that simply contains your ear and puts the driver as close as possible without actually touching. The comfort level is high with the adjustable headband and soft pads. The cups themselves are of high density and seem to make up most of the weight of the set, but on head, its not all that noticeable since full weight is distributed by the headband well. By hand measurements, these feel a good bit heavier than the Senn HD6X0, but I did not measure them to be sure. The finish quality still reminds you that they are 3DP construction, but a clear jump over earlier models in refinement. The Sony headband while functional, is not the most elegant. I look forward to seeing the ETA design vision in its final form whenever that may be.
Why I like them.
I like them a lot because they sound good/pleasurable/full/extended/great/comforting/fun/dynamic/warm/romantic/good! (this is repeated because it is what I kept thinking while listening with them). While reflecting on my experience with the loaner…All of the time I listened to the Mini C was done for pleasure. I started off trying to decide how I thought they sounded, were they more detailed, were they more dynamic, what were the strengths and weaknesses but quickly couldn’t do it. I could not force myself to be critical of the Mini C because they were just a joy to listen with. The drivers are clearly more capable than what Senn. is using in the HD650/580 and gives you all the impact and extension you could want from a headphone. The Mini C sounds great off of a phone, or Vali 2, or 3F, but is so efficient you may not need to go much beyond your basic Schiit stack to be completely happy.
The Mini-C is very efficient and does not allow for a lot of volume play on my AVC, particularly on the Quicksilver HPA which forced me to use the volume knob on the QS to fine tune the listening levels. The other downside of the efficiency is that it picked up a higher level of hum from the QS than I normally would have liked, but with the music playing its not noticeable (well not entirely). No such issues on the 3F…dead silent background and more volume freedom on the AVC.
The standout feature for most ETA headphones has been their ability to produce low end resolution and tactility. The bass notes come up from the background and give you the sensation of a subwoofer being in the room with you, but without the body sensation. The brain (my brain) is translating this great extension into the lows and producing the rumble effect that is typical with this type of ear stimulation. The impact is not as high as the ESX909, but the detail is better and more refined. Vocals on the Mini-C are almost as seductive as on the 650, but maybe the same, upper frequencies shine through without any sibilance or shoutiness. Reproduction of the full frequency range is surprisingly normal if that makes sense.
I could not tell you one thing currently that I would want to change about them. Them being closed back means they are versatile in many environments, and because of the tuning/venting they do not necessarily sound like closed back headphones. Maybe an over ear open back, a Mini C-O(pen) would be an interesting new model?! I would like to see a in house designed or more modern looking headband. I wish they played better with my QS, but that is not their fault…its some powerline noise and tube noise that I have not really had to deal with on the 300-ohm Senns. I am running out of reasons not to own a pair honestly!
ETA Mini-C is good/pleasurable/full/extended/great/comforting/fun/dynamic/warm/romantic/good!
System-M1 Mac Mini>apple lossless>1656Modded Bifrost MB>QS/3F/Vali2/iphone>Mini-C/HD580/650
Typical daily headphones are the HD580/HD650
Music preferences: lots of ambient and film scores, Beach Boys autogenerated play lists, alternative
Can someone please recommend a nice budget to mid range cable for this HP? (EU preferred)
Forza Audio Works in Poland. The Claire is their mid range cable. Your choice of copper or a silver & copper hybrid.
3-week impressions of Mini C
Despite that I have multiple pairs of electrostatic and planar headphones, a pair of excellent dynamic headphones always remains attractive. Why? While ES headphones excel at resolution, speed, headstage, and imaging, they mostly are weak at dynamics, bass, and natural timbre and sonic texture. Planars, while often good at bass and large headstage, tend to fall short at liveliness and texture. When I read that ETA was bringing out the reasonably priced, light-weighted Mini Closed with some innovative design features---angled driver placement and asymmetrical 3-D printed cup, among others, I quickly ordered one.
My chain: Apple music via iPad—UpTone ISO Regen—Eitr—DAC in Cary 306 SACD player—MCTH/SW51+/THX789.
Overall Sonic Impressions
Even from the first moment of my listening, Mini C sounded very open and lacking space close-in or other restrictions of typical closed back headphones. I also immediately noticed natural tonality, timbre and texture I had expected with good dynamic headphones. People often describe Sony R10 as a music instrument worn on the head. With Mini C, I got a similar perception. The natural sounds of wood instruments came through with so much realism, clarity and palpability.
As other posts noted, Mini C has a forward but non-intrusive presentation. A great deal of oral movements can be heard from singers (try Sway by Diana Krall; Liberty by Anette Askvik) or breathing from cellists. However, there is nothing like the piercing spikes from HD800 or the physically unpleasant bright sounds (e.g., whistles, triangles, flutes) from Stax 009. With so much forward clarity, somehow Mini C manages to be non-fatiguing. Trebles seem on the mellow side. Despite being forward, Mini C can play multiple layers of sounds with focused clarity, unlike HD650 with which too many elements are rendered as blurred background sounds, analogical to pictures taken with a lens always set at a large aperture. With this capability of portraying multiple sound elements, Mini C does well with orchestra music although I had more mesmerizing moments with its playing of songs.
In the first 1 to 2 days, Mini C sounded laid back or even slow to me, which got me concerned. However, that impression has dissipated soon. I suppose I have gone through a brain burn in process---initially the forward clarity and excellent resolution provided so much information to my brain which gave me a sense of slowness. I had similar perceptions when I switched to a Mullard tube on an amp—images got nearer and larger but the pace got slower much like watching a slow-motion movie segment. Notes from Mini C has a good amount of sustain/decay which might also be a contributing factor. Now I do not sense any slowness even when I am listening to complex classical music pieces.
Comparison with Some Other Headphones
--Verum. I like Verum for its natural tonality to the extent that I have two pairs just in case one might fail. However, I always wish that resolution and imaging precision could be better with Verum. Mini C is indeed better in these regards though the less forward presentation of Verum may be preferred by many.
--LCD-4. LCD-4 has overall darker, sweeter, wetter tonality. While I have a feeling that the drivers are capable of more dynamics, LCD-4 appears reserved and overdamped. While the bass from LCD-4 is more impactful, the overall presentation of Mini C is more dynamic with better clarity and immediacy.
--HD650. In terms of clarity, extension of treble and bass, and imaging, Mini C is clearly better. I like listening to cello recordings via HD650, but Mini C is better in cello playback than any headphone I have listened to—a combination of great palpable dynamics, bass extension, details, and overall tonality.
--RS1i. RS1i has the charm of a unique coloration and immediate, fast, succinct presentation, but trebles are fatiguing while the headstage is distorted (I often heard sound sources coming from above my forehead). Mini C is less colored, more resolving, non-fatiguing, with decent 3-D headstage.
--TH900. Being closed back, TH900 has a headstage with noticeable warped borders. Mini C has no such blunt distortion. Mini C also has far more natural tonality and timbre.
--Utopia. Mini C is more laid-back with more natural tonality and timbre.
--R10. Mini C is better in presentation of bass and vocals. It has mellower trembles and more forward mids or lower highs. R10 has more elevated, sharper trembles, better transients, and better presentation of ambient cues of recording spaces. It could be that the forwardness of Mini C’s presentation limits its representation of headstage depth and height. In terms of overall tonality, Mini C seems more balanced while R10 has some youthful sweetness.
--Lambda normal bias. LNB’s headstage is bigger with better placement of individual sound sources. Mini C is far better in natural tonality, timbre and texture, and the non-fatiguing factor.
In short, Mini C is a real deal. It currently ranks the 2nd best dynamic headphones that I have experienced only better by the legendary R10 (cautionary note: I will soon audition a loaner Atrium). There are many gimmicky replicas of R10 that simply do not get the soul of it. Given the level of performance ETA has achieved with Mini C, I am moderately hopeful that a future flagship closed-back dynamic headphone from ETA may be up there with R10 performance-wise but likely with a more balanced presentation. After all, Mini C is already exceeding in bass and vocals, let alone price and practicality.
A sidenote: Mini C could bring sonic enjoyment to many buyers. While I understand ETA’s decision of not including a stock cable at this point, having a cable is still a sensible option. For instance, when I was searching Amazon to buy a cable for Mini C, I forgot that only some cables (like those for Hifiman headphones) with 3.5mm connectors would be compatible while others (like those for Sony and Beyerdynamic headphones) not. I ended up with a well-reviewed but wrong cable. While the 2nd cable I bought from Amazon with ETA’s recommendation works well sonically, it is on the stiff side. Such is a likely hassle of letting each buyer find a matching cable.
A lot of folks want bigger earpads for the sake of comfort - totally understandable. Here's a set I like that has very similar tonality to the previous stock sheepskin earpad. These ones are PU leather (albeit of nicer quality than many other PU pads I have tried) and have fairly firm internal foam. They are undoubtedly superior in comfort compared to the stock pad, and sound a bit more spacious with otherwise similar tone, although they do sound slightly more diffused and gently softened. I'll start shipping these in addition to the stock pad.
edit - the 'black lint' version has too much frontal airflow for the Mini Closed and will roll the bass and make the mids super honky - DON'T get those, get the pleather ones. The 'lint' variant works nicely on the MIni S (semi-open) however...
I'll be working with geekria to see if they'd consider a sheepskin variant.
I'm looking forward to TX meet feedback - looks like we already sold a pair!
(edited for clarity 7/23 10:33pm)
i have been asleep at the wheel with your ETA efforts, yet now have woken up and realized what a great value and super option the Mini C is for those longing for a quality closed headphone and super affordable price.
placing my order now. Hope everyone is having a blast at the Texass show!
ETA Mini Closed weight with this set of pads:
on my lab scale, without cable.
after listening to Mini C on Vali 2+ with various tubes, as well as Oor (lowest gain)
a prediction for future pairing awesome sauce:
ETA mini C + Nitsch Piety amp
the clarity of SS should bring the Mini C alive in terms of transient energy, and the slight tube feel open up the space.
this is crystal ball extrapolation shit at time of posting. Hoping to be proven true in future eons.
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