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Ety ER4S - Some thoughts...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, I've been listening to my new ety's alot lately. Both through my home system and through my new portable system. For a point of reference, here's how both systems stack up:

Home - Denon DCM370->Monster Digital Coax->MSB Link DAC III->Audioquest Coral IC's->Rotel RA-972 Integrated amp

Portable - Panasonic CT780->Straightwire mini link->Total Airhead

So first my impression of these headphones for home listening. First, I was concerned with the people who had commented on their difficulties getting a good seal. Honestly, it wasn't that hard. I had it in less than a minute and it takes no time at all to put 'em in now. So after I got my first good seal (I was excited), I proceded to plug them into my integrated amp. I was amazed the minute I hit play. Everything was so neutral and accurate, and of course I couldn't hear a thing. I was used to a warm sound, colored even, with the HD600's, and always thought that is what made things musical. However, with good recordings, accurate is definitely musical in my opinion. Next thing I did was run them through the TA out of the Denon's headphone jack (at unity gain it's like a line out I believe), and I wasn't impressed. I started getting worried. Was this how the portable was going to sound? It was overly bright, and just sounded kind of bad. So I stopped listening to that and went back to the Rotel

The treble is so open and present without being bright or fatiguing. It just flows out with ease. I can hear every little detail, even some stuff that I hadn't heard before with my HD600's or speakers. Overall, I'd rate the treble on these better than that of the HD600's, but I'm not going to say defnitely because I need a good amp for the 600's (which I'm getting next week, so I'll comment on that later).

The midrange is more of the same, neutral, accurate, extremely balanced with everything else. The first word that pops into my head when I'm listening to these is neutral. Nothing seems to overpower anything else, yet the seperation is very good, and they never seem to get all muddled together during complex passages. So the midrange can be warm if that's the way it is intended (The Original London Cast's recording of Les Miserables - I Dreamed a Dream... I often judge equipment by how it sounds on this track), and can by dry, flat and lifeless if it's not recorded well. Fortunately, most of what I listened to has been the former.

The bass...hmmmm, I'm not sure yet. It's definitely there, and it seems balanced. I don't really think it's lacking, but it's not as strong as what I'm used to. I guess that makes sense because the HD600's are known to have strong bass. It certainly is tight and accurate though. And it will go deep, but it's typical headphone stuff, you hear it, you don't feel it. It is enjoyable though.

Overall, as headphones for listening at home, these are top notch. I really wasn't sure how I'd like these, and I was pleasantly surprised. As far as comfort goes, I've listened to these for hours without any discomfort, so it doesn't really bother me. However, it was weird at first to have my ears plugged, but to have music coming in After I got used to it I could just concentrate on the music. I can see how these would be bothersome if you can't stand things in your ears. Isolation also helps when you want to block out everything and just relax.

Ok, now my portable system...

Like I said earlier, I was really worried after listening directly out of the Denon. But I didn't need to worry I got my cd player yesterday (Panasonic CT780). Just a little bit about the cd player. This is panasonic's new top of the line player. It's very thing, has extremely long battery life, and seems like it's built pretty well. My roommate has a 570, and it is built better and seems more durable, but mine has better battery life, sounds better out of the line out in my opinion, but does have a weaker sounding headphone jack. Since I won't be using the headphone jack, it's no problem for me. Something to think about if you're buying one without an amp though.

So anyway, my cd player is connected to a total airhead. I really like this combo Obviously it doesn't sound as good as my home system, but I never thought I'd get this kind of sound out of a portable system. Everything that was said about my home system's sound with the ety's can be applied here, but to a lesser extent.

They are still very balanced and neutral, but I'm not hearing as many details, and I blame that on the source. I didn't expect to get a source that has the same level of performance as my denon+dac anyway I want to say that it sounds a little warmer out of my home system, most likely due to my Rotel (it sounds ALOT like the Creek OBH-11 in my opinion). But through the total airhead it's not bright. It's light, airy, balanced, and just sounds really good for a $160 headphone amp running off batteries through a portable My only gripe would be that it sounds a little restricted. For lack of better terms, a home setup seems to have more "bandwidth", the sound just flows so much better and easier.

I know what all of you are thinking... "Does he use crossfeed?!?!" Well, the answer is an emphatic NO! I hate crossfeed, at least at this level of amplifier. The max is certainly a whole different ballgame. But out of the total airhead, it definitely cuts off some of the top end, muddles things together, and it's definitely warmer, but not in a good way. I enjoy the ety's just like they are, no processing necessary.

I'm actually listening to my portable right now with the ety's, and I've gotta say, it's a very enjoyable setup. Anyone in the market for a decent portable system should definitely look into getting some ety's. Anyone in the market for a decent set of home headphones for around $250 should also look into the ety's They'll probably split time with my HD600's at home in the future. I've had Grado SR-125's, Music Series Pro's, RS-1's, Sony E-888's, my current HD600's, and now the ety er4s's. My favorite is still the HD600, but don't count out the er4s. It's an amazing value at only $270, it definitely can compete with things much more expensive.

Hope this was informative for some people who may be looking at buying these!
post #2 of 20
thanks for the splendid review. I agree wholeheartedly about your description of the Etys 4S. Love them.

post #3 of 20
I also love my Ety's. I'm using the ER4P with the adaptor cable when used with my Airhead.

I actually still like the sound of the ER4P fed straight from the portable - the adaptor cable and additional amplification do sound better generally but it's all about musicality - the ER4 series gives you that - regardless of the letter.

Equipment used is the following:-

Sony D-915 CD Walkman
Sony MD-R900 MD Walkman
Panasonic SL-CT570 CD Walkman (from time to time)
Pioneer PD-8700

Musical tastes do vary from Vivaldi, Mary Black, Rush, Pink Floyd, Queen, Patricia Barker, Dido, Genesis, Bach, and so forth.

The Etymotics are the bargain of the century!:
post #4 of 20
Try an Altoids Tin DBSE amp. Not only do they look good, but they sound good too. Especially if you aren't concerned about crossfeed it should definitely be a consideration.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hmmmmm...I've thought about it Tim, just gotta find someone to make me one
post #6 of 20
Flumpus: ***coughJMTcough***

Nice review, too.....you make me drool......
post #7 of 20
Also, flumpus - do u mind tellin me why you prefered the 780 to the 570? It would be very helpful...thanx in advance.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

The 780 vs. 570 huh Well, aside from battery life (780 wins), and looks (780 wins), the 780 sounds a tiny bit better IMO. The 570 was a tad bit bright. It wasn't really a big difference, but enough to make me go ahead and buy the 780 right here in town rather than look for a 570 somewhere. I almost bought a 470, but the store was out and it was gonna be a hassle. So I just kinda splurged and got the 780. I'm really happy with it.

I would say that the 780 being smaller is a plus, but it's not really. Both fit in the airbag fine, so it didn't really matter.

Oh, by the way, everything I said above was about the line out ONLY. As far as the headphone jack goes, the 570 sounds better. The 780's jack just sounds a little weak in comparison. So if you're gonna be listening out of that, I'd prefer the 570. Hope this helps.
post #9 of 20
Thanx a lot! From what I understood - the 570 was bright, and the 780 and 470 were comparable? (Out of line-outs, of course).
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yep, 570 was brighter, but only barely. Didn't actually listen to the 470, but from what I've heard, it is warmer than the 570.

Let me put it this way... the 780 is good enough that I don't really have the desire to listen to any more portable cdp's at this moment
post #11 of 20
Thanx a heap.....warm 470, bright 570, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "flatter" 780....hmm...doesn't matter, tho. I only care about this stuff if I CAN'T get lini's 570A. Man....I'd kill for that.....I think it could be called the best portable cd player ever made.....except for the Optimus 3400 and the Sony D777 - both of which are dreams, not reality, at least for me.

Never mind.

Enjoy your Etys

(i'm gonna go to sleep before I ramble any more!)
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, flat... that's a perfect way to describe it
post #13 of 20
I've just got some 4P's from Sage But I must say I don't find inserting them too easy! They are a lot more awkward than the EX70's I also have. They seem to need to go deeper into the ear canal. (In fact I tried putting the EX70 seals over the Ety's white seals which sorta works for a bit). If you don't get a good seal they sound terrible but if you do get a good seal I found them somewhat uncomfortable although not .
I don't find I can good as good seal with the foamies (although they are more comfortable). I wonder if the seal is limited by the plastic tube in the center of the foamie being a poor seal over the black tube (earphone)?
ps I made myself an adapter cable from a a RatShack three way adapter. One branch has 23 ohm resistors (X) and the second 75 (S).
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm... I just followed the instructions (pull up on your ear, and slide 'em in), and get a great seal every time, and doesn't take long at all. don't even have to wet 'em.

The foamies just confuse me. I only tried those once, and couldn't even get 'em in my ear so gave up And yes, I know you gotta roll 'em around to squish 'em up...

I really like how you can take off the tips and clean 'em too. That was one thing I was worried about... buying new ones when these got dirty. Etymotic just thought of everything!
post #15 of 20
Ahhhhh.... instructions! Never ocurred to me that these headphones would come with instructions but I've found them hidden in the box. I will no doubt get some strange looks on the plane tomorrow as I perform the necessary contortions. And, hopefully, do not pull my ears off.
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