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ER4S ear plugs

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've just invested in a pair of ER4S ear (canal?) phones, and have been playing around with the two types of ear plugs supplied. Performance is supposed to be identical with both types. The default ones are the white silicone plugs, and I get the impression that moldable plugs are included as an alternative for if the silicones aren't comfortable. In fact with most reviews I've seen, the reviewer hasn't even bothered to try the moldable alternatives.

However... having found the silicones uncomfortable, I thought I'd give the moldables a try. For me the comfort level was an immediate improvement. However I was also suprised to find that the sound isolation was qualitatively better, and more importantly the sound quality improved considerably. The sound stage opened up, there was greater clarity, lower frequencies were clearer with bass notes having better definition, and the phones seemed to go louder with the same source (using a direct feed from a portable CD player).

The question is, has anyone else noticed this difference, or is it a quirk of my ears? On an associated front, has anyone had experience of the Ety's with custom moulded earpieces? I can think of a number of possible differences in the earpieces that may be significant (there is a shorter path between the transducer outlet and the end of the ear plug with the mouldables; the channel into the ear also has a larger bore. The silicones feel as if they pressurize the air within the ear cavity when inserted. This doesn't occur with the moldables). Opinions?
post #2 of 7
do you think the difference in sound might have been coming from a bad fit with the rubber eartips?
post #3 of 7
amaynard, I agree with you. I find the foam tips to be not only more comfortable, but provide better sound. I just wish they weren't quite so abrasive - after an hour or so I start to feel like my ears have been cleaned out with sandpaper.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Possibly a bad fit with the rubber tips. The seal's OK, but do you reach a point where the tips are inserted too far... ?

Forgot to mention first time round that the problem of cable microphony is less with the foam tips.
post #5 of 7

Re: ER4S ear plugs

My experience with the rubber vs foam plugs on the Etys has been just the opposite. As long as I insert the rubber tips in properly and get a good seal, the sound is unmatched by anything I have heard from a decent source. With the foam tips, no matter how I insert them, the sound seems "vailed" to me, especially noticable in the highs. The extended and transparent highs I get with the rubber tips, sound like someone put a curtain up over them. I have learned that with the Etys, everything is in the seal and this depends totally on the shape of your ear canal. You seem to get the best fit with the foam tips, so it is great Etymotic gives you the option. In my case, if the rubber tips were not available, and I had to use the foam tips, I would have returned the etys almost immediately.

I have also found that the Etys are also very sensitive to what source you are using. My Etys sound great with my RioVolt and Total airhead, but sound somewhat thin from my Archos jukebox and Total Airhead combination...




Quote:
Originally posted by amaynard
I've just invested in a pair of ER4S ear (canal?) phones, and have been playing around with the two types of ear plugs supplied. Performance is supposed to be identical with both types. The default ones are the white silicone plugs, and I get the impression that moldable plugs are included as an alternative for if the silicones aren't comfortable. In fact with most reviews I've seen, the reviewer hasn't even bothered to try the moldable alternatives.

However... having found the silicones uncomfortable, I thought I'd give the moldables a try. For me the comfort level was an immediate improvement. However I was also suprised to find that the sound isolation was qualitatively better, and more importantly the sound quality improved considerably. The sound stage opened up, there was greater clarity, lower frequencies were clearer with bass notes having better definition, and the phones seemed to go louder with the same source (using a direct feed from a portable CD player).

The question is, has anyone else noticed this difference, or is it a quirk of my ears? On an associated front, has anyone had experience of the Ety's with custom moulded earpieces? I can think of a number of possible differences in the earpieces that may be significant (there is a shorter path between the transducer outlet and the end of the ear plug with the mouldables; the channel into the ear also has a larger bore. The silicones feel as if they pressurize the air within the ear cavity when inserted. This doesn't occur with the moldables). Opinions?
post #6 of 7
yeah if you don't get a good seal with the whities, they sound exactly like you described. wear the foamies for a month or so to get used to having something jammed in your ear, and then try switching to the whities.
I'd suggest that you use the lick, stick method. Also try twisting the earplug while pushing it in. For me, there is a certain threshold point after which i get great sound, but up until which the sound is quiet and lacks any soundstage.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
The rubber tips are growing on me - there's clearly more to inserting them than is immediately apparent. I'd now agree that the sound is clearer than with the foam tips, but the soundstage is more restricted - similar to the difference between closed and open phones.

What has been really interesting me is the effect of outer ear air pressure after inserting the rubber tips. As you insert these, the pressure in the outer ear is increased relative to the inner ear. When I initially push them in, the sound is initially thin and distant - exactly the effect you get before your ears pop in a decending airplane (before the outer and inner ear pressure equalizes). Likewize, if I pull the earpieces out slightly without breaking the seal, thus reducing the outer ear air pressure with respect to the inner ear, a similar effect is heared. What I assume is happening is that the response of the ear rum is being affected by the pressure difference.

Being paranoid, I wonder whether after listening for a few minutes the air pressures equalize, or whether I am simply getting used to a sub-standard sound that my brain is fooling me into thinking is pretty good. The problem is, A/B comparisons with the foam tips are not that straght forward!
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