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Lime Ears Aether R Review – Omniscient

Pros –

Excellent customer service and support, Well-balanced presentation, Outstanding bass extension and dynamics, Highly clean and resolving treble, Versatile switchable bass-boost

Cons –

Slightly raspy and truncated midrange may polarise, Bulkier uni shells

Verdict –

The Aether R will appeal most to those wanting great musical enjoyment and technical performance without sacrificing overall balance or long-term listen-ability.


Introduction –

Lime Ears are a Polish audio manufacturer who have been making high-end IEMs for the last decade. They appeal to both professionals and passionate enthusiasts with their delicately tuned and technically proficient earphones. What’s especially interesting about the company is that Emil, the CEO, designs his in-ears from the perspective of an acoustical engineer with a career in speakers. This means he takes a different approach than most in-ear designers and the unique results show. After reviewing the 4-driver Model X, it was clear that the marketing wasn’t all talk. This was a very well realised earphone that impressed from both a tonality and technical point of view. As such, when Lime Ears reached out for a review of their flagship Aether R, I was excited to try their flagship design. It must be noted that though sitting higher in the product tier than the Model X, the Aether R is an older model so it is not presented as an immediate upgrade. However, it is the most sophisticated, with a 6-BA design alongside Lime Ear’s Varibore and Truesub technologies.

The Aether R is available from Lime Ears for €1200, you can read more into the Aether R’s design philosophy and customise one to your liking here.

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Emil and Pawel from Lime Ears very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Aether R for the purpose of review. I would also like to thank the team for their support and accommodation of my request with this custom design. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

Specifications –

  • Drivers: 6x BA, 4-way passive hybrid crossover (2x sub, 2x lows, 1x mids, 1x highs)
  • Switchable dual sub-woofer drivers (bass-boost)
  • Available universal and custom

The Pitch –

True Sub

The Aether R uses an extreme high-definition 3D printed filter to enhance low-end extension and overall cleanliness of the sound. This appears to be a low-pass filter not dissimilar to what we’ve seen implemented on the Shure SE846 and, more recently, the Fiio FA9 and Craft Ears Six. By increasing the acoustic impedance in front of a BA driver, Lime Ears are able to filter out higher frequencies and provide a deep, dynamic bass from traditional BA woofer drivers whilst retaining the speed and control they are known for.

Varibore

Each bore features a varying diameter to enhance the frequency range covered by the connected drivers. In this instance, we observe a 1mm bore for the low-end and 2mm bores of the mids and highs. In theory, this enables a tighter low end and lower resonances of high-frequencies enabling greater extension and resolution.

Far-Field Tuning

Emil has designed the Aether R to emulate a far-field monitor – in essence, a neutral speaker system with sub-woofer influenced by the acoustics of a well-treated room. This should translate to a slightly fuller but also more holistic representation of music over what is conserved perfectly flat or neutral.

Fletcher-Munson Law (FML)

Similar to the Model X, the Aether R implements a bass-boost switch that increases the versatility of the sound. In particular, Lime Ears are addressing the FML, whereby, listeners perceive bass as being softer at lower volumes and louder at higher volumes relative to the rest of the sound. As such, low-volume listeners may prefer a slightly fuller sound with bass boost on while higher volume listeners may prefer the neutral setting. Of course, this also appeals to different sound preferences.

Customisation –

Lime Ears offer an online tool with visualiser on their website. There are a plethora of options, surely one of the more flexible I’ve seen. The usual options are available, the style and colour of the housing and material/colour of the faceplate, you can also go with separate designs for each side and the canal portion. Decorations are available at a reasonable price with premium offerings up to €60 per side. A good touch is the option to select cable colour and name inscription on the case that adds another level of personalisation. Being a hand-crafted custom product, buyers are also able to message Lime Ears directly to request a custom design in addition to custom universal shells as showcased by my unit here. Otherwise, the standard universal Aether R will feature smoke shells with ruthenium-plated brass nozzles.

Unboxing –

DSC09249_result Lime Ears instantly let you know that this is a flagship product. My Aether R came within a large Lime Ears gift box with padded interior. Inside was the Aether R box wrapped in tissue paper for a rewarding unboxing experience. The Aether R is also well equipped with a wide range of accessories. The buyer receives a large yet very robust metal case in addition to a plethora of ear tips. The metal case is very opulent, with velvet interior, desiccant pod and a solid, threaded lid. There are 4 pairs of Spinfits, 2 pairs of Symbio foam-stuffed silicone eartips in addition to a pair of Comply foams to ensure the buyer is able to achieve a good seal. A more portable cotton pouch is also provided in addition to a cleaning tool and papers with instructions and warranty information.

Design –

Though I personally enjoy the clean design stock designs of Lime Ear’s universals, their design staff have done a sensational job on my custom unit here. I specifically requested a textured metallic design and the finished product is something I’m proud to show off. It’s a layered aesthetic that looks both rustic and premium, certainly one of a kind. The gunmetal nozzles and silver logos complement the colour scheme while the finish is what you’d expect from a veteran CIEM company, sublime. While there is a visible join where the faceplate meets the housing, the clear coat is very smooth and free of blemishes or bubbles which accentuates the underlying colour and texture. This is a hand-painted product so don’t expect the same level of perfection as a 3D printed earphone, however, the small flaws do bring some character here without disrupting the comfort or aesthetics. DSC09235

On the faceplate, the user can observe the bass-boost switch. It’s relatively unobtrusive and not easy to switch accidentally. As it lies close to the surface, I can’t imagine the switch becoming damaged easily either. It’s easy to toggle during wear and does not require a tool as some earphones do. The Aether R utilises a 0.78mm removable cable. It’s a standard OFC plastic cable that’s smooth and very supple but also a bit thin and tangle prone compared to more robust units. Nonetheless, microphonics are not an issue and the cable is unobtrusive during daily, even active use. The memory wire ear guides retain position well and contribute to a comfortable and stable fit. Of note, the 2-pin connectors were very tight out of the box which I personally prefer as there is less chance of losing a driver.

Fit & Isolation –

The Aether R is not a compact earphone but is well-shaped for an ergonomic experience as one would expect for a company familiar with customs. The shells also aren’t too wide which provides a lower profile fit than a lot of higher driver count monitors, especially with short stem ear tips such as JVC Spiral Dots. They aren’t too aggressively sculpted, so though they may not provide the most locked-in sensation that some faux-custom monitors do, they also won’t form hotspots for most listeners. I found them very comfortable to wear for hours on end with no discomfort over time when angled slightly forward which prevents the housings from putting pressure on my outer ear. DSC09247 (1)_result

The seal was very strong with the Azla Sedna fit ear tips that worked well with the Aether R’s longer nozzles and provided my favourite fit and sound of those I had on hand. These are a fully-sealed monitor so naturally you get great passive noise isolation and reduced wind noise during outdoor use. I found them easily isolating enough for commute and daily use and would be sufficient for air travel with foam or custom tips also. They were stable fitting and easy to live with, of course, the custom variant is also available for those with small or uniquely shaped ears.

Sound – Lime Ears Aether R Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasised due to my measurement setup, less so with deep fit. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalised to my best abilities to reduce coupler resonance. Still, due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.

Tonality –

So long as the signature has a natural voicing, I don’t personally think there is a clear right or wrong with signatures, especially as preferences are subjective. Manufacturers are able to tailor the sound through a series of trade-offs and the level of refinement lies in the overall coherence of the signature. In this regard, I think Emil has done an admirable job and has hit his goal very well – that being a fairly flat signature with enhanced bass and clean, crisp highs. In turn, the Aether R comes across as more W-shaped, so not the outright flattest sounding earphone but surely an engaging, dynamic and clean one while remaining balanced overall. Its low-end has a moderate mid-bass bias instigating warmth and enhanced volume. Meanwhile, the midrange carries over some warmth but introduces strong clarity and definition to counterbalance. The top-end is smoothly articulated with a very clean transient response. This isn’t the easiest sound to encapsulate with any traditional descriptors, likely the reason for the rather varying impressions on the net. I feel most justice is done to the Aether R through sectional breakdown.

Tip Choice

The Aether R does benefit a fair amount with tip rolling, especially when it comes to the bass and midrange. I surprisingly did not prefer the Final E-tips nor the JVC Spiral Dots here, both sounded nicely controlled but a bit compressed and mid focused, a bit too smooth in the highs. The included Spinfits were a better match, delivering a harder hitting bass in addition to a slightly more laid-back midrange that sat in better balance with the surrounding frequencies. However, the Sedna fits provided the best experience for me, being a bit more controlled and resolving than the Spinfits but upholding a similarly engaging bass and treble. I also most preferred the fit as well so the following impressions will be with the Sedna fit ear tips installed.

Bass –

We’ve surely observed quite a shift in approach when it comes to bass on the in-ear form factor. Most modern listeners seem dissatisfied with the quantity provided by the traditional diffuse field neutral tuning. The warmer tuning of original Aether and its successor then appear ahead of the curve in this regard, sporting a really nice deep-bass presence, a modest mid-bass bump and great extension that grant its notes an enticing composition and drive. Indeed, the R provides strong resolving power even of sub-bass content and, accordingly, delivers great solidity and a very well-defined rumble and slam. The modest mid-bass bump produces a fuller and meatier note with enhanced weight. It must be emphasised that this isn’t a bass-heavy earphone but a richly voiced one, so there is some warmth to be observed but never anything overbearing or otherwise intrusive to the listening experience.

As an aside, though extended and well-weighted, the bass never approaches the pressurisation of a dynamic driver nor is the timbre reminiscent of one. In either switch configuration, notes are quickly attacking and decaying, slightly rounded yet highly ordered and controlled. The result is a very tight and high-definition low-end with an aggressive texture that offsets the added fullness and warmth, retaining separation and cleanliness. I am a huge fan of the Aether R’s dynamics here too, there’s great range and depth on display but a clean deep-bass focus that means bass is impressively articulate and never susceptible to drone. This isn’t a perfectly linear or natural portrayal, but a slightly more aggressive, energetic and engaging one that makes for a great showcase of the Aether R’s strong technical abilities.

Bass Boost

Lime Ears Aether R (Blue - Bass Boost On)

Enabling the bass-boost and we once again observe the mostly linear and tasteful style of enhancement showcased by the Model X. As others have noted, this is a milder boost, apparent but not transformative to the style of sound. As the boost is quite even across the entire bass spectrum and reduces in amplitude entering the midrange, the timbre isn’t too affected. Rather, notes come across as larger and slightly fuller, in turn, vocals appear slightly richer with bolstered body and the stage becomes more focused on room and depth. However, due to the linearity, the bass boost retains good cleanliness, avoiding tubbiness or bloat as the mid-bass doesn’t occupy greater presence by proportion.

Mids –

By all intents, the midrange tuning is well-metered in and of itself, however, it is coloured by the surrounding frequencies. Mids are conveyed with enhanced contrast and a vibrancy alongside a moderate warmth, density and smoother articulation to balance. Resultantly, this isn’t the most linear sound and the timbre is skewed to some degree in turn. However, the presentation is naturally voiced in summation, with an inviting tone and high vocal definition whilst avoiding strain and brightness. There’s a reasonable dip in the lower-midrange to enhance bass/midrange separation and prevent veil or chestiness, even with the bass boost enabled. This is followed by a gradual climb to 3KHz prominence producing a slightly forward vocal and, in culmination with the lower-midrange, very high-definition image. Subsequent dips at 4 and 6kHz ensure the presentation remains smooth, wet and refined in its voicing, never strained or bright. Accordingly, this also doesn’t come across as a vocal focused monitor.

Though vocals occupy a forward stage position, they are not enlarged and don’t overshadow other elements by extension. Notes are presented with good coherence and organisation as well, especially given the amount of clarity on offer. I would attribute this most to its dense upper-midrange that counterbalances its slightly diminished vocal body well. This remains an articulate performer, however, as though sharpness and sibilance are mitigated by a 6kHz dip, pleasant openness is redeemed by the monitor’s modest 5kHz peak. The net result is a presentation that is refined, wet and energetic, albeit a touch raspy and truncated due to the uneven transition from upper-midrange to lower-treble. The addition of the bass boost enhances versatility to some degree, providing listeners choice between this cleaner and clearer presentation and a slightly fuller, less-raspy and more coherent voicing. Either way, the midrange is well-considered and thought-out in the context of its bass and treble; not perfectly accurate, but tuned for musical enjoyment while maintaining a natural voicing.

Highs –

Though also not the most linear I’ve heard, the Aether R’s top-end comes across to me as meticulously controlled and a strong technical performer. There’s a modest 5kHz peak that introduces engaging foreground detail presence alongside a 6-8kHz trough to combat stridence, brightness and sharpness. As a result, the foreground is not too forward, and any semblance of glare or metallic timbre is mitigated all the while retaining ample presence well-balanced with the rest of the sound. Cymbals and percussion possess a slightly smoother note attack though I would hesitate to call this presentation explicitly smooth or laid-back. There remains adequate crispness, crunch and attack to permit a detail dense presentation and uphold good contrast to the airy and open background. You also get the exceptionally clean transient response Lime Ears are renowned for, much like Model X which contributes to this impression. DSC09248_result

As there isn’t perfect linearity on display, instrument body comes across as a touch thin, but notes are presented with outstanding texture with a highly natural shimmer and decay devoid of any truncation. There’s enhanced headroom and openness as well, instigated by a small bump around 9kHz alongside strong extension, albeit sparkle isn’t too enhanced so you don’t get the glittery, high-energy sound that some flagships provide. In turn, the Aether R provides a mature representation that is open but not focused solely on this facet, introducing excellent cleanliness and layering with even foreground and background presence. It is undoubtedly, a highly resolving sound as, though the background is dark and clean on account of the middle-treble trough, background details pop with the 9k peak. The Aether R not only impresses with its highly textured foreground but also its effortless discernment of fine background detail and composition when the track gets busy.

Soundstage –

As many have stated, the Aether R is an open sounding earphone but that is not to say that it is the most overtly expansive. Rather, the Aether R makes good use of its space, no notes are too large and there is good organisation and separation. Width is strong, extending decently beyond the head quite frequently while depth is more intimate due to the clear, forward vocal presentation. However, as bass is quite full, you do perceive a bit more depth and room than would otherwise be apparent making for a nice, immersive and multi-dimensional listen. This is aided by the Aether R’s excellent imaging, with very sharp directional cues due to that clean transient response and small lower-treble bump. Localisation is pinpoint accurate and layers are well-defined due to the balanced and well contrasted presentation. The Aether R has strong separation throughout, especially within the treble which aids the imaging performance and perception of fine details. I would still say the Aether R lies on the coherent over holographic side, being more stable and organised with a sharper sense of direction.

Driveability –

Lime Ears don’t quote the sensitivity or impedance of the Aether R on their website, but it is a fairly standard earphone to drive, albeit less sensitive than the standard high-end BA monitor. Nonetheless, it achieves ear splitting volumes even from compact portable sources while avoiding being overly source or hiss sensitive. My impressions follow.

Output Impedance Sensitivity

The Aether R isn’t overly sensitive to output impedance but there are noticeable changes. Switching between the Shanling M2X (1-ohm) and Hiby R6 (10-ohms) revealed a slightly warmer and lusher presentation on the Hiby. The top-end attack was slightly blunted as well, but the overall balance was quite similar. The main difference was when turning on the bass boost, I noticed a more prominent bass boost on the Hiby as opposed to the M2X, likely since the impedance becomes lower in this configuration. Still, the difference in balanced mode isn’t nearly as large as on some multi-driver IEMs. This suggests that this is a slightly higher impedance design meaning that the Aether R’s signature will remain quite even on slightly higher impedance sources around 2-3 ohms from my subjective testing.

Driving Power

Despite its efficiency, the Aether R does scale nicely with higher powered sources. It isn’t too sensitive to hiss, being dead silent on the M2X and DD TC35B despite these sources showcasing some noise on high-sensitivity in-ears. Switching from the portable sources to my THX 789 desktop rig and the Aether R’s low-end immediately had more extension and kick. The midrange was similar as was the high-end, albeit a touch more linear. The soundstage was also wider on the desktop setup. Even the DD adaptor provided ample volume and cleanliness in addition to a balanced sound. Still, to extract maximum performance from the bass, a slightly more robust source is recommended.

Suggested Pair Ups

Due to its midrange tuning in particular, the Aether R sings best from more neutral sources. It is reasonably accommodating of output impedance and hiss too, however, the bass boost works best on a linear, low-impedance source. I found the THX 789 and iBasso DX200 to best serve the Aether R with their more neutrally toned sounds that flatter the delicate colouration of the in-ears themselves. I found the warmer Hiby and Shanling to introduce a bit too much warmth in the midrange, though obviously I am nit-picking at this point. The Aether R does require a bit more power so for those listening on the go, I would recommend springing for a midrange DAP or slightly higher-end BT receiver such as the Fiio BTR5 over the lower models with less output power. A wired adapter like the Cozoy Takt-C will also suffice albeit listeners will notice more resolution and extension from a quality desktop source.

Comparisons – DSC09250_result

Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020 ($1099): The Andro is the obvious competitor, slightly undercutting the Aether R and and bringing a few appealing technologies as well. It is similarly balanced overall but is fuller in its voicing and more energetic in the treble. The bass is warmer and fuller while the Aether R, though warm itself, is cleaner and slightly bolder in its note presentation. This is mostly due to its offering a better extended, harder-hitting sub-bass that makes it more dynamic. In bass boost, it achieves a slightly higher level of fullness with the off setting being more linear and defined, the Andro sitting a touch towards the bass-boost on Aether in terms of fullness and quantity. The midrange is also fuller on the Andro and slightly more laid-back. The Aether R is more vocal forward and has more neutral body. It has slightly larger yet denser vocals while the Ando has a sharper articulation with its more forward upper-midrange and lower-treble.

This makes it sound almost as clear and well-defined but at the cost of being sharper, especially on poorly mastered tracks. Both are naturally voiced, the Andro has more body and a richer voicing, the Aether R having a slight leg up on coherence and a more accurate articulation. Treble also varies to some degree, the Andro being crisper in the foreground and sparklier in the higher-octaves, the Aether R being cleaner and less aggressive. The Andro has thinner instrumentation and its transient response isn’t as clean but it is also more energetic. The Aether R comes across as more composed with a warmer leaning treble tone and more accurate timbre, while itself being open and sparkly over neutral. The Andro take the advantage with soundstage being more expansive and holographic with its more energetic treble. Meanwhile, the Aether R offers slightly more accurate imaging and a more stable presentation with its plated bass and slightly more coherent midrange tuning.

Avara EST-6 ($1100): The EST-6 stands out to me with its very linear and balanced tuning, with an especially coherent midrange. The Aether R offers a more engaging sound by comparison. It has a bigger, warmer and more extended bass, not too much more quantity with bass boost off but quite a bit more with it on. The EST-6 has a touch of mid-bass emphasis, but otherwise, is very flat. Both are quick decaying, the EST-6 is a bit cleaner and offers slightly higher note definition in turn while the Aether R is appreciably deeper-reaching and more dynamic. The midrange tells a similar story, the EST-6 offering a more linear tuning, in turn, a more natural voicing, body and tone. The Aether R is more vivid and revealing, it has slightly higher definition due to slightly higher bass/midrange contrast but its tone is a touch warmer due to its larger bass and denser upper-midrange.

Both have slightly smoother articulation that takes out any sharpness or stridence out of their sound. The EST-6 has a slightly crisp lower-treble and it has slightly more fine detail retrieval overall. However, the Aether R is brighter and more aggressively detailed earphone overall, with greater middle-treble presence especially making it more open. The EST-6 is more laid-back but has a small bump in the upper-treble for sparkle too. The Aether R offers a slightly wider soundstage while the EST-6 is more rounded. The EST-6 has more accurate imaging and a more coherent presentation while the Aether R offers better separation and dynamics.

Meze Rai Penta ($1100): The Rai Penta offers a mellower and more balanced sound from a hybrid driver setup. In turn, it has slightly better bass extension and slower decay. The tuning is more linear with a touch of mid-bass emphasis but not to the extent that it is warm or too full. The Aether R is more agile and defined while the Rai Penta offers greater dynamics and a thicker, more naturally textured note. Vocals are a touch more forward on the Rai Penta and they are more powerful with more natural body and increased size. They are similarly warm and both are naturally voiced. The Rai Penta has much smoother articulation that makes it sound a little more coherent while the Aether R offers higher vocal definition and clarity alongside a bit more openness up top. The treble is crisper and more pristine on the Aether R.

The Rai Penta has a very smooth lower-treble which means it has less detail presence. Both have a bump in the middle-treble, the Aether R is a slightly brighter earphone with more air and headroom. The Aether R also provides a more focused foreground due to its more present lower-treble and it offers a bit more extension and energy above. This contributes to a more detailed image altogether without being too aggressive. Meanwhile, the Rai Penta appeals to those sensitive to brightness, offering a smooth sound while retaining a good level of headroom but without any sharpness or glare. The Rai Penta offers a slightly wider soundstage and a slightly more layered presentation. The Aether R offers sharper imaging and better separation.

Custom Art Fibae 7 (1100 EUR): The Fibae 7 is reasonably similar in its approach but has a cleaner top-end and more forward vocal range. The Fibae 7 has bass emphasis between the bass boost on and off Aether R. It has mid-bass emphasis too but a little more sub-bass granting it a thicker note presentation. The Fibae 7 extends a bit further while the Aether R offers a more agile bass presentation with greater note definition. Meanwhile, the Fibae 7 has a more dynamic presentation with more sub-bass texture. The Fibae 7 has a more forward midrange, vocals especially, when compared to the Aether R and this is mostly with regards to the upper-midrange. It shares a slightly warm midrange tone and similar vocal body, that being fairly neutral if not slightly thin to permit higher definition and separation from the bass. The Aether R, however, is smoother and denser which provides slightly better balance to my ear.

The Fibae 7 is a bit more intense and a touch shoutier that is its most polarising quality. However, it is also more open sounding with higher vocal definition, making it more revealing whilst remaining natural in tone and voicing. The Fibae 7 also has a cleaner treble. Its lower-treble is more linear and more neutral in quantity. In turn, its instrumentation has a more accurate timbre and body with greater texture. The background is darker and cleaner as well, making it more layered in its presentation. The Aether R is inverted. It is a bit crisper in the lower-treble but also thinner, however, it offers more headroom, sparkle and air in the higher octaves. The Aether R also has a slightly cleaner transient response. The Fibae 7 has a wider soundstage while the Aether R is a bit deeper. The Aether R offers sharper imaging while the Fibae 7 is a bit more stable and coherent due to its more even-metered treble.

Campfire Audio Ara ($1299): The Aether R’s pricing puts it more in line than the Ara than the Andromeda. The Ara is a leaner earphone, it has similar bass extension but a much flatter presentation through the mid-bass especially. The Ara is tipped more towards the sub-bass instead, granting it a bold albeit more laid-back bass presentation. The Ara has quicker decay and is more defined with its more neutral tone and note size. The Aether R is fuller and warmer both bass boost off and on, not quite as tight and hard-hitting in the sub-bass but with greater impact and punch in the mid-bass. The midrange is more forward on the Ara in turn. It is more neutrally toned once again and its vocals are larger, taking more precedence over instruments. The Ara is also a touch full-bodied with more lower-midrange presence. The Aether R on the contrary is slightly warmer and denser, with a smoother articulation.

It isn’t as sharp but also isn’t quite as defined and layered, the Ara excelling in this regard. The Ara is a more aggressive and revealing tuning counterbalanced by increased body while the Aether R is a warmer and smoother sound, both being naturally voiced in summation. The treble is more aggressive on the Ara, making it the brighter earphone. It has a sharper lower-treble and a similarly clean transient response. It has thinner instrumentation with dual lower and middle-treble peaks whereas the Aether R has a notably cleaner and more organic presentation with a bit more texture and balance with the rest of the sound. Both extend similarly, the Ara having notably more sparkle and energy at the very top. The Ara has a wider soundstage while the Aether R has more depth. The Ara has sharper imaging, while the Aether R is a bit more coherent and stable in its presentation.

Verdict – DSC09251_result

Given the hot reception of the original Aether, I was shocked to find little noise on its successor. As one may expect from a flagship monitor, the Aether R doesn’t have any glaring flaws even under close scrutiny and, in the same vein, it also offers strong performance in many key metrics. Of course, it isn’t perfect, and the midrange timbre will likely polarise most. Consider your personal preferences here as the voicing remains more natural than something like the CFA Solaris V1 which similarly implemented an upper-midrange dip. Some listeners may not be so critical of this but if you are, there are a wealth of options that do this brilliantly. The Aether R is otherwise, very inviting and easy to like, especially with its adjustable bass quantity. In either configuration, bass is wonderfully enjoyable, not overdone in terms of quantity, but very deep-reaching and dynamic. The midrange is vivid and energetic but not the least bit dry or flat. Similarly, the top-end carries the super clean transient response signature to Lime Ears alongside strong resolution, that make it clear this is a TOTL monitor in every manifestation. The Aether R will appeal most to those wanting great musical enjoyment and technical performance without sacrificing overall balance or long-term listen-ability.

 The Aether R is available from Lime Ears (International) for 1200 EUR at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Lime Ears and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.

Track List –

Arcade Fire – Funeral 

Childish Gambino – Kauai EP

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

Dirty Loops – Next To You

John Legend – Get Lifted

H.E.R – I Used To Know Her

Kehlani – While We Wait

Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

Missy Higgins – The Sound of White

Nature TV – Emotion Sickness EP

Nirvana – Nevermind

Radiohead – Pablo honey

The Cranberries – No Need To Argue

Tori Kelly – Solitude

Weezer – Weezer

Vaundy – strobo

ZICO – THINKING Part.2

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