Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek
I have owned both, and while I did not find the ER4Bs to be particularly harsh, the extra treble was noticeable and distracting and I eventually had them converted back to 4Ss.
Piccolo has superbly summarized exactly my own experience.
I think 4B vs. 4S is not a matter of harshness, but of emphasis. For me, the 4B overemphasized a certain portion of the music, at the expense of the whole. For someone else - though I suspect a minority - this could be a very enjoyable signature.
What I had hoped for, btw, when I bought the 4B, was a sort of SA5000 type of treble extension, coupled with the 4S' all-around excellence in other areas. That's not what it turned out to be at all. Instead it was, as Piccolo sort of put it, a 4S with a - to me - distracting treble emphasis.