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Help With an IEM Decision, Please.........

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been searching and reading on the forum for about two weeks now, and I'm pretty sure that I'd be happy with any of the following:

A) Etymotic ER-P4 ($175-ish)
B) Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio ($70-ish)
C) Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro ($175-ish)

I'm just looking for a few user opinions to help me make the best possible decision for myself. Here's my situation:

- I want portible earphones, to use exclusively with an un-amped MP3 player
- I listen to 70% classical music, 25% '60's-'70's rock, and 5% other music
- I will be using these earphones almost exclusively in the gym, on stationary machines. No running.
- The noise and piped in music in my gym is so loud that my current open, on-the-ear headphones are drowned out, forcing me to play my music louder than is prudent.
- I've worn noise-reducing earplugs for years, on the job, so I'm pretty confident that I'm tolerant of IEM comfort
- I'm not a bass freak, but I do like to hear every individual instrument in an orchestra, if possible
- I LIKE the sound to be eminating from somewhere in my head, rather than from a definable sound stage
- I'm concerned about the ETY's possibly sticking out of my ear more than the other two choices, and so 'getting in the way' and/or dislodging during my exercises at the gym

If you can wrap your head around my requirements, and especially if you've owned two or three of my particular candidates, I'd appreciate your opinion regarding what would be my best choice. I don't mean to be rude, but I specifically am NOT looking for any other suggestions beyond these three choices, or else I risk never being able to make a decision.

Thank-you very much.................Frank
post #2 of 17
All of those will 'stick out' a bit, especially the UE's as they have an odd fit.

For gym, I wouldn't use the Ety as they have terrible microphonics.

I'd suggest the Super Fi 5, nice in your head music. I have owned all three, and whilst I like the Ety the best (amped of course), I prefer the SF5 without an amp. SF5 tend to be heaver on the bass however, that is why the Ety will then pop up being a great detailed earphone for classical, with great instrument seperation.

If you know you won't be moving too much, go the Etys, clip them to your singlet or something, and yay The Etys do stick out, but they stay in when you have a good fit, especially with the foamy eartips.
post #3 of 17
I use ER4P at the gym and the microphonics never bother me. I route the cable under my shirt which seems to fix that problem for the most part. I do a 45~60 minute anaerobic workout and they almost never need to be readjusted in my ears to regain proper seal...I use the stock black foamies(YMMV). Also, the ER4P does not need an external amp.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank-you, folks, for your advice.

I'm pretty sure that I can deal with the microphonics since I am used to routing my existing headphone cable under my shirt, clipping the flash player to the neck of my t-shirt, and permanently bundling the extra cable. I don't have much cable movement now, and don't expect much with any of the IEM's I'm considering.

I'd like to ask a follow-up question of FeedMeTrance, please. Are you saying that the UE Super.fi 5 Pros actually stick out of the ear MORE than the ETY ER-P4's? From my reading here, I had the impression that the ETY's stuck out more than just about any other IEM, and certainly more than any UE model. If the UE's stick out more than the ETY's, then that strongly pushes me toward the ETY's, since I'm pretty sure that I can deal with the microphonics, I have successfully worn ear plugs that look exactly like the ear plugging portion of the ETY's, and the ETY's are known for their flat frequency response and, hence, suitability for classical music.

Thanks for the help...............Frank
post #5 of 17
I have never heard the ER4 but I have a feeling they would suit your needs better than the SF5 Pro. You will probably lose some instruments in the SF5 Pro's recessed midrange. The SF5 Pro is known for its large soundstage (for IEMs) also. For rock, I feel that the SF5 Pro would do better, but I think that your classical tastes would mix better with the ER4.
post #6 of 17
I am pretty sure that the UE IEMs are some of the largest and stick out the most.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow, so intoflatlines also feels that the UE would stick out of the ear to the greatest extent. I am hampered by not knowing of any brick and mortar store close by that has examples of these earphones. Especially not one that would let you try them out in your own ears.

Any chance that anyone can point me to a photo of either the ETY's and UE's together in the same picture, or to either earphone actually installed into someone's ear? It seems to me from the photos at the manufacturer's websites that the shape of the UE allows it to turn 110 deg or so, as soon as it leaves the ear canal, while the ETY makes a more shallow turn (maybe 60 deg) after leaving the ear. I have visions of the ETY bumping or snagging things as I walk by.

Has anyone here actually worn BOTH the UE and ETY? If so, can you please comment on the relative size and exterior protrusion of each?

Again, thank-you to all those who have advised, and all who may yet do so.

post #8 of 17
I like this page for the pictures. They're all 'end-on' and dont show the lateral projection but it give a decent idea of size:
Earphone solutions comparison

The UE triple-fi are huge... the westone's probably sit the most flush (haven't worn them) and I can say that for their size, the SE530s are really comfortable and snug fitting.

edit: sorry, not etys for you on that page. I really have to try a pair of UM1s since I seem to be recommending them all over the place.
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by Frank_Zuccarini View Post
Has anyone here actually worn BOTH the UE and ETY? If so, can you please comment on the relative size and exterior protrusion of each?

Again, thank-you to all those who have advised, and all who may yet do so.

Yes, I find Etys far more discreet than UE's. UE's don't insert as far but the housing is much larger and the "L-shape" give a frankenstein appearance, especially with the wires coming over your ears.

Ety housing is not flush to your ear like Westone or some Shures but the housings and wires naturally hang down towards your sides. The fit is more secure as well.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Basho, that link was very helpful. Thank-you very much.

And boy, are you right! The UE's are HUGE!

Thank-you, Spyro, for your comments. That is precisely the information that I was looking for.

Well, thanks to all the help I've received here, I've made my decision. I'm going with the ETY ER-P4's. I have a high level of confidence that I'll be very happy with them.

Thank-you, one and all, for taking the time and effort to help me.

post #11 of 17
I love my se420's for $199. IMO, you can't beat them.
post #12 of 17
You have made a wise choice o wise one.

If in the future you really want to go stealth and like the ety sound, I recommend the much cheaper ER6. They don't have quite the refined detail that the ER4 offers but they are smaller and sit very close to the ear and don't stick out at all. Because they are small, the cable easily routes up and behind the ear which eliminates microphonics. I use the ER6 in bed with no discomfort whatsoever.
post #13 of 17
post #14 of 17
OP, spend a little more and buy the Sleek SA6s, a new phone with a modular approach, so you can modify it to fit your music. No EQ or amp required. And very small. Check out the thread before you buy the Etys.
post #15 of 17
the Ultimate ears won't stick out nearly as much if you do the FS mod.
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