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Thump goes the Ety's

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have read about Ety making thumping noises if the cable hit things (ie bouncing on the listener's shirt while in transit). I hear that it is worse with the ER4s than with the ER4p. But recently I read something in headwize that suggested the ER4p was noisy enough to be left at home (you can hear your own foot steps).

I am going to get some eventually. I swear. I am just waffeling between the 4s and 4p with adapter cable. Knowing how much difference a cable can make in hi-fi, I am a little leery about how close to the 4p+ adapter is to the 4s.

My question is, what is the difference in the noise introduced due to bumping the cable when it comes to a comparison between the 4s and 4p, and how loud is it?

Is it a good idea to get the 4s for portable use without an amp/with amp at home? If so, what are the better amps for the etys? I heard that the MG head is not a good choice. As for portability, is the 4s just not as loud with out a dedicated amp? If it sounds is not to potencial, will it at least sound as good as Grado sr60s?

Ok, so there is more than one question, but please answer any that you can.


post #2 of 20
The ER4P has a new rubberised cable that is supposed to reduce the microphoning problem, so this may be an advantage over the ER4S. I have the ER4P and don't really find it a problem, although I wouldn't wear them when moving about. A clip is provided with the Etys, so the cable can be clipped to keep it clear of clothing, and the cable can even be looped back over the ears if necessary.

I don't find it necessary to take any of those measures when just sitting and listening, and I don't think they'd be sufficient when on the move.

I think the most important difference between the ER4P and ER4S is that the ER4P has a higher sensitivity for use with portable devices (9 dB more output than the ER-4S with a 1mV input). This means it can be used without a pre-amp.

The frequency response has been slightly modified . "Due to customer requests" they increased the low frequency sensitivity of the ER-4P relative to the ER-4S. I haven't heard the ER4S, but this 'increased low frequency sensitivity' doesn't make the bass sound 'louder' than it should, it's still very detailed and transparent.
post #3 of 20
I think it's more than just the thump of the cable on your body which makes the Ety's unsuitable for walking around. You can also clearly hear your own breathing, footsteps and general body sounds as well.

When sat quietly at home, these sounds are greatly diminished. You can enjoy the music more as a result. Besides which, they really are an expensive item to be carrying around in that way. You really are better off getting a pair of Sony 888's or perhaps MX500's.

I own the ER4P's and have an adaptor cable to convert them to the 4S characteristics. Although there are subtle differences between the two, I find I like the sound of both equally. The 4S truly gives you a high fidelity output but this can only really be appreciated with the right recordings and the right playback equipment. The (very) slightly veiled highs on the 4P model make many recordings more listenable and enjoyable.

Don't let me put you off getting these remarkable headphones. I am blissfully happy with my pair - I certainly would recommend getting the 4P's because of the facility to turn them into the 4S with the addition of a simple cable. I also thing now is the time for people to be buying - keep the markets healthy and show these radical bastards that they will not change our way of life!

Hope this helps.
post #4 of 20
Just another quick thought.

The bass on the 4P is nice but perhaps slightly monotone in nature. The 4S adaptor cable allows the bass to go even deeper (seemingly) and offers a smoother and more detailed response.

I use the 4P/S with my Sony 900 MD recorder and D-915 CD Player. I only use the 4S adaptor when using the Airhead amp. However, both players will drive the 4P's to a healthy level when using the 4P's.

I hope this helps.
post #5 of 20
Cord noise is not the biggest problem even with 4S IMO, especially if you clip it on your back. If windy you will still get wind noise since the wind is hitting the Ety's directly.

The biggest deterrent is that when moving out and about, you are utterly and completely deaf, and most people don't feel safe/comfortable unless its in their home or something.

And yes IMO an Ety4S even out of my Panasonic portable still totally beats the MS-1 out of the Panasonic portable. An unamped Ety4S vs MS-1 and a JMT amp...the gap shortens a little and probably up to preference really since the Ety's will still be clear and transparent, but the MS-1 will have a great boost in dynamics and control with an amp.

Ety's are more for traveling portability than walking around especially busy cities. But I don't have a big problem with foot noises or breathing and such and for me it is 95% masked by even quiet music. It depends on the person as well. Wind noise is probably the only thing that can over-ride music for me, but it usually isn't windy for me. But I don't use it portably much because it isn't my habit to listen on the move with any phone.
post #6 of 20
S or P? Amp or no amp? This is Kent Brockman, with another episode of: My Two Cents.

I've had, over the last year, a pair of both S & P models, a Cosmic, and a Total Airhead.

The cable noises on both models are different. The S is more sensitive to impact, but the P is more sensitive to friction. I use the S strictly at home at my desk, so I have no issues with that. The P was used for (C): all the above. The only time I noticed any noise at all was when the cable was poorly routed about my person or when there was no sound issuing forth. I think the brain has its own noise cancellation to some degree or another, otherwise we would go insane from listening to our own (primary) body noises.

The P has a heavier bottom end, but the upper midrange, such as where vocal details reside, sound a bit recessed. For portable and other listening situations where complete listening concentration is a bad thing, the P model is better. That said, there's not one detail that has ever come across on the S model that fails to be heard on the S model. It is simply a matter of balance.

I used to use the P with a Total Aihead. Not any more. It did drive them better than the bare CDP (Panasonic SL-SX460), but I got tired of the way it exagerated the equalization curve. They sounded more balanced without the amp. The imbalance is not the fault of the amp.

The S model simply sounds weak with the '460. When I plug them into my dearly loved new/old Technics (Sl-XP700 15mW x 15mW), they sound good. But the amp brings out the true potential of both the CDP and the S. Without the amp, a lot of the subtle details get a little lost. This is especially noticable when there is a big dynamic range difference. With the amp, the louder sounds don't distort the quieter sounds. Lower intermodulation distorion, in other words. Keep that in mind next time somebody claims IM doesn't matter.

Anyway, I recently sold both my TA and ER-4P. They are both wonderful products, but I seldom listen to headphones away from my desk anymore. If a big finger came out of the clouds and direected me to keep them instead and sell the other ones, I would have very little to complain about.

In the mean time, my current listening hardware satisfies my first two requirements. 1) They sound near perfect to me. 2)They fit in my field jacket pocket. Why is the latter important? I have limited my audio hardware to that which will fit in said pocket. Otherwise, my audio hardware appetite would have another digit or two added to the price tag. So even though I don't headphone on the go anymore, I still have the ability to carry concealed audio.

I hope this is of some help.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great replies everyone.

Tim D...what is a MS-1? The only thing that I could figure out is that it is somehow related to Grado.

Rohorn...greay reply, so it seems like you are keeping your 4s and cosmic set up, so sad for me.

It seems like the etymotic phones are not favorites for the purpose of "walking around". It's funny. That is one of the reasons why I wanted them. I was thinking that I could get better isolation on the subway and not look like such a "stereo-boy" with my Grados.

The other thing is, of course, that I am looking for the superior sound that I keep hearing of that is associated with the name Etymotic.

I am starting to think that I am just going to plunge and get a Cosmic and ER4s. That way I won't wonder if the conversion cable is introducing undesierable into the sound. Rubbing noise from the 4p is probably as bad as thumping sounds from the 4s.

I am thinking that I am going to get an amp from JMT too so that I won't always have to lug around the Cosmic, but I am waiting to hear what amp JMT can make me specifically for the 4s.

any thoughts?

thanks all

post #8 of 20
souporhero, the MS-1 is a bit of a mystery. There've been several discussions, and most people believe it is either a SR-80, SR-125, or somewhere in-between. It's from the Allessandro line of Grado products.
post #9 of 20
MS-1's are Grados that are somewhere in the league of SR-80-SR-125.

If I had to walk around a lot in noisy areas while still being safe, than I would use Ety's. I'm in SoCal...there isn't that much of a walking or subway commuting situation. People probably walk and run on treadmills over here more than they ever do when commuting. And I probably wouldn't have used Ety's in some subways I've been to because of pickpockets.

Than again if you are blasting your ears with Grados in a subway situation...anything with isolation is a better scenario...unless your subway is blissfully quiet I don't see how you wouldn't be blasting your ears.

Also the conversion cable can possibly be better for sound if it uses higher quality resistors or wire than the default Ety cable.

I personally don't think the Cosmic is much of a walking around portable amp either...

Also for walking around a lot of people would probably feel better with something cheaper and more disposable.
post #10 of 20
Hmm, that's an interesting thought. However, in my opinion I don't think the conversion cable can really make the 4p's better sounding than the 4s's, because I remember reading someplace (in a posting by don) that the two headphones have the same wire except with different insulations. I would assume that adding any additional resistors/wires to the signal path can only decrease the quality of what is already there. But then, I really have no idea how true that assumption is, so you can probably just ignore me.

As for amp/no amp while traveling, I went ahead with the 4S's and personally don't really care about slightly decreased sound quality when I'm on the go. I would definitely recommend an amp of some sort when you are at home and having a more serious listening session. My only amp is just a DIY cmoy, so I don't have too much experience with amps, but it certainly does make the etys sound better. Without an amp, it sounds a bit thin and anemic. And while the etys isolate a lot, they really don't isolate to the point where you can't hear anything at all, like many people have said it does. When you're on an airplane or bus, you can still hear the engines clearly, just at a much much lower level than without. But even then, I am less inclined to be so fussy about perfect sound quality...due to the external noise and the fact that the environment around me is distracting me from the music. I just can't appreciate the increase in quality enough to justify lugging around a seperate amplifier.

Thus, my not-so-longwinded answer is that, to me, etys sound good enough (actually, very good) without an amp when I'm not sitting at home. Also, if I wanted to buy a nice amp, I wouldn't really consider it's portablility.
post #11 of 20
The 4P + 4S adapter has the same amount of resistors as just the 4S I believe. And you can probably spend extra time/effort to match them.

In otherwords, a 4S IS a 4P with added resistors! I also believe Don has said that they only recently swapped to better quality resistors in part due to Daniel Pumphrey's findings.
post #12 of 20
Oh okay. I wasn't aware that the 4s actually had more resistors in that little pod. I just thought they had higher values.

Hey, do you know when they started putting in the higher quality parts? I hope I didn't just miss the boat! btw, Tim, I got those impressions made yesterday
post #13 of 20
while the etys may not be the best for portable use (as others have pointed out), i have found the sony ex70 canalphones to be a great alternative. i doubt they have the isolation or the sound fidelity of the etys, but they have decent sound, no cord noise, and pretty good isolation for the subway, much better isolation than grados. with these you can also hear the bass over the subway noise.
post #14 of 20
Regarding the Ety cable conversions, isn't there a way to have added resistors built into a DIY amp...to get 4S sound out of a 4P? Maybe one could add a switch or something similar on the amp to switch between the two.
post #15 of 20
Actually I haven't ever opened up the pods so I don't know for sure, but I've asked Daniel about it before and he said that the adapter with 4P will sound just as good if not better because of better parts. I think Daniel is pretty obssessive as you can get when it comes to extracting the best performance from Ety's. Just look at Jaskin's cable. Course that looks like an entire cord replacement.

Anyhow I don't think its worthwhile to make too many assumptions about which sounds better...even Ety transducers sound different from one another...it has been said they are matched better between drivers than between pairs of drivers.

Just be content that they sound good to you! Otherwise you'll drive yourself nuts.

Besides if someone is so worried about the resistors in thier Ety's...they should probably worry about the resistors in their audio equipment...which if not over a grand probably doesn't use the highest quality parts.

Course I do wonder if Ety lovers tend to be perfectionists sometimes.

Ummmm course I'd hafta admit that if Don had a new Ety out which was only a slight improvement over what I have, I'd still be a sucker for it. I think Don has hinted about a new version...but til then be happy.
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