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er4p vs. Shure SE310 vs. Yuin PK2 (Sony V6 & a pair of Sansa trash buds as the basline)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi. Been 6 years now how are you?

So my ipod finally died and I decided to replace it with something smaller and cheaper and put the money into a nice pair of portable cans. I picked up a Sansa Clip and dig it and am now on to the headphones.

I am trying out the er4p, Shure Se310 (both to be found around $180 at the moment) and Yuin PK2 ($75ish) and thought I would contribute to the site a bit as I go through the evaluation process.

Background:

My goto headphones have been a pair of Sony v6's for about 6 years (thanks to the reviews around here...thanks!). I like them a lot and I feel they are perhaps one the the best value buys I have ever made. I use them for everything...video editing, ipod (RIP), movies/music out of the powerbook, etc.

Back when I was researching the v6 buy I tried out some Grado's (didn't like at all) and Sennheiser (didn't like till they started getting pricey) and a pair of Koss Porta-Pro (boring).

I haven't minded lugging the v6's around in my pack (though the cord is a bit long in use while walking) but I think I am ready for something more portable.

I live in NYC and so isolation is an issue on the subway (Yuin might not cut it cause of this).

Philosophically I like simplicity (one of my attractions to the v6's and er4p's) and in practice I find I end up with analytical leaning audio gear more as a trade off to my wallet vs. quality. I have heard the holy grail of clear speakers on occasion...ones that felt warm and round and embracing but still clean. I don't have the cash/time to pursue this path and don't want to suffer knowing what is out there if I can have it so I am more of an ignorant audiophile in waiting.

I listen to a range of stuff. The mix I put on the Clip for testing the phones includes tracks from DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album, Dj Shadow, Radiohead, Catpower, Girl Talk, Sufjan Stevens, Pablo Casal (Bach cello), the Rachels, Feist, Air, Brian Eno (Music for Airports), Pulseprogramming, Bjork, Al Green, Aphex Twin (Ambient Works), the Roots, Slint, The Knife, Lady Sovereign, MIA, Blind Melon, Led Zeppelin (Cashmere), the Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins, Four Tet, Gillian Welch, & Andre 3000 (for a big bass track).

These are all wav and mp3 files...I know it could be better but that is how it is for now.

The Sure's got lost in the mail and the Yuin's were an afterthought and still coming so I cannot do the back to back comparison I was hoping for yet.

I have spent a couple days with the er4p's now including a long bus ride and and a subway trip.

ER4P's fit

My first impression was physical of course (yes I liked the box but I am not paying for that). I think I have found a good seal but they are not very comfy. I think I have smallish ear canals and I have been trading off between the regular tri-flange and the mini size ones that came with the kit. I found the foams uncomfortable but I liked the sound of the mushroom shaped ones pretty well. I would be interested in trying those olive foamies I read about.

More oddly than the inner fit is that they make the outer part of my right ear hurt like in the cartilage under the opening of the ear. The outer part of the er4p gently contacts me there and I tried turning them every which way and there is no avoiding it...but I don't think contact is the issue I think it is stress of some kind. The phones clearly stress out my ears. The smaller tips make a seal but it is a bit borderline compared to the solid suction seal of the regular size ones. Both are uncomfortable but the regular size ones more so.

I know my ears are unique so I don't want to dwell on the fit but that might be the killer in the end cause they do sound very interesting and so clear.

ER4P sound

Well I have long read about the sound of these guys...the clear highs and weak bass. They are certainly sharp...just crystal clear and I found myself following small details in the music much further than usual and feeling like I was looking at a image with the contrast turned way up...but good.

The most interesting thing to me was not just that they were clean as people write about but how different the listening experience of this inner ear can was...

I was curious what I would feel about the supposedly weak bass. It is there and very clean but what I found different about this bass was the lack of the physical cues of bass as a exterior force coming at me...this is a very internal experience all centered inside my head. In general having the music bottled up in my head was a very inward turning musical experience that felt (paired with the ear stress) a bit more like thinking than sinking into fun music. Still very revealing and interesting.

I wish I had better quality source files cause I think these cans would be like going in with a scalpel with a complex audio track. I also found myself realizing the effects of production quality a great deal more. The songs that stood out was the orchestral rock of Led Zepplin and Smashing Pumkins, the hip-hop/pop of Lady Sovereign, MIA and Girl Talk, the subtle ambiance of Aphex Twin, Blind Melon (?), and the soul of Al Green...mostly clearly well produced tracks. I was suprised though how dry some of my favorite stuff by Slint, Air, Radiohead, the Rachels, and Gillian Welch sounded.

Comparisions

At first I just had a pair of trash Sansa buds to compare against. Clearly the artificial flavors of the generic Sansa buds didn't compare the elegance of the er4p's sound but I have to admit the earbuds felt soothing to my stressed out ears and at the free price point had a couple things going for it.

I took a long bus ride from VA to NY and then the subway and got a chance of compare the isolation.

Clearly the earbud were useless in the subway and required jacking the sound way up to hear them. It made me feel sorry for the ipod bud listeners around me.

I found the isolation of the er4p's to be solid on the bus but not enough to totally cut out the world which is fine with me. It did reveal the interior quality of the listening experience again...I feel that the amount of quiet the isolation provided and underwater feeling had a distancing effect on me gave me more of my own little music world on the bus.

On the subway I found the isolation was enough to have me only turn up the music a bit to compensate. It was more of a lite listen experience though in this environment though...it was hard to chase the music details in such a loud environment.

Walking home was interesting though...I was curious if I would be able to hear cars...I could not and I feel like I was very isolated from the environmental sounds...which is probably not safe from a traffic or mugging perspective.

When I got home I got a chance to compare with my good ol v6's. My first impression was remembering again why I like the v6's so much. The v6's were a big stress relief to my ears and way more easy to listen to. The bass is punchier in the v6's but different cause of the closed can set up...it also made me realize how these cans render the bass sound has a material pop to it that I would describe as "neutral" or a sound that I understand to mean neutral but not as "true" as the er4p's. Despite warm mids, I don't think of the v6's as warm cans. The bass in the v6's is more loose and fun than warm. After hearing the clarity of the er4p's I realized that the v6's have a pretty clear mid/high representation that is just a touch shy of the er4p's...I am not sure that it is that the sound is missing though...I think it is a way the whole spectrum fits together differently that is making me hear things differently. The bass is so much more forward in the v6's that it is sort of mentally distracting from the clarity of the highs. I also found that this helped me find details in the bass/mid presentation of the v6's that I had to look harder for in the er4p's.

So far...

Despite the obviously remarkable elegance of design and starting clarity of the er4p I am not convinced they are keepers yet cause of comfort and cost/pleasure ratio. I like the isolation. The jury is still out.

I am back in love with my v6's though. I wish they were smaller so I could take them out easier...plugging its big plug into the little Clip is ridiculous looking. The Clip looks like a flag on a flagpole.

Waiting for the rest of the cans to arrive...
post #2 of 12
I'm waiting for your thoughts on the SE310
post #3 of 12
That's a great story/review, really. And I know what you mean about the ER4P experience. I owned them too, and let them go for a more bass-laden IEM, the Atrio M5, which are also in the same price ballpark. Nice phones, and much less fatiguing than the Etys.

At this point, don't discount the Yuins, because they are fine ear buds. I favor the sound of the less expensive PK3s, which have more bass and less focus on mids/highs than the PK2s. If you didn't like the Grados, though, you may not like the PK2s.

As an alternative, you may want to check out the Head-Direct RE0s, which are canalphones that some here rank up there among the top line IEMs, but are on sale for $159 at Head-Direct.com. Antonyfirst and some other Head-Fi'ers really like them, and they are not deep IEMs like the Etys. So they are less "intrusive" so to speak, yet deliver isolation. And don't require an amp.

On the less expensive side, the NuForce 7s are a nice new canalphone (I own them too) and are only $49, but sound much better. Finally, if you want great sound with iso and comfort, check out the Klipsch X10s, which are by far the most comfortable IEMs I have ever owned. Like they aren't even there with the gels Klipsch designed for them.

Anyway, some ideas for alternatives to the Shures and Yuins in a couple of price areas. The X10s are around $170$180, so a little more expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by not View Post
Hi. Been 6 years now how are you?

So my ipod finally died and I decided to replace it with something smaller and cheaper and put the money into a nice pair of portable cans. I picked up a Sansa Clip and dig it and am now on to the headphones.

I am trying out the er4p, Shure Se310 (both to be found around $180 at the moment) and Yuin PK2 ($75ish) and thought I would contribute to the site a bit as I go through the evaluation process.

Background:

My goto headphones have been a pair of Sony v6's for about 6 years (thanks to the reviews around here...thanks!). I like them a lot and I feel they are perhaps one the the best value buys I have ever made. I use them for everything...video editing, ipod (RIP), movies/music out of the powerbook, etc.

Back when I was researching the v6 buy I tried out some Grado's (didn't like at all) and Sennheiser (didn't like till they started getting pricey) and a pair of Koss Porta-Pro (boring).

I haven't minded lugging the v6's around in my pack (though the cord is a bit long in use while walking) but I think I am ready for something more portable.

I live in NYC and so isolation is an issue on the subway (Yuin might not cut it cause of this).

Philosophically I like simplicity (one of my attractions to the v6's and er4p's) and in practice I find I end up with analytical leaning audio gear more as a trade off to my wallet vs. quality. I have heard the holy grail of clear speakers on occasion...ones that felt warm and round and embracing but still clean. I don't have the cash/time to pursue this path and don't want to suffer knowing what is out there if I can have it so I am more of an ignorant audiophile in waiting.

I listen to a range of stuff. The mix I put on the Clip for testing the phones includes tracks from DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album, Dj Shadow, Radiohead, Catpower, Girl Talk, Sufjan Stevens, Pablo Casal (Bach cello), the Rachels, Feist, Air, Brian Eno (Music for Airports), Pulseprogramming, Bjork, Al Green, Aphex Twin (Ambient Works), the Roots, Slint, The Knife, Lady Sovereign, MIA, Blind Melon, Led Zeppelin (Cashmere), the Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins, Four Tet, Gillian Welch, & Andre 3000 (for a big bass track).

These are all wav and mp3 files...I know it could be better but that is how it is for now.

The Sure's got lost in the mail and the Yuin's were an afterthought and still coming so I cannot do the back to back comparison I was hoping for yet.

I have spent a couple days with the er4p's now including a long bus ride and and a subway trip.

ER4P's fit

My first impression was physical of course (yes I liked the box but I am not paying for that). I think I have found a good seal but they are not very comfy. I think I have smallish ear canals and I have been trading off between the regular tri-flange and the mini size ones that came with the kit. I found the foams uncomfortable but I liked the sound of the mushroom shaped ones pretty well. I would be interested in trying those olive foamies I read about.

More oddly than the inner fit is that they make the outer part of my right ear hurt like in the cartilage under the opening of the ear. The outer part of the er4p gently contacts me there and I tried turning them every which way and there is no avoiding it...but I don't think contact is the issue I think it is stress of some kind. The phones clearly stress out my ears. The smaller tips make a seal but it is a bit borderline compared to the solid suction seal of the regular size ones. Both are uncomfortable but the regular size ones more so.

I know my ears are unique so I don't want to dwell on the fit but that might be the killer in the end cause they do sound very interesting and so clear.

ER4P sound

Well I have long read about the sound of these guys...the clear highs and weak bass. They are certainly sharp...just crystal clear and I found myself following small details in the music much further than usual and feeling like I was looking at a image with the contrast turned way up...but good.

The most interesting thing to me was not just that they were clean as people write about but how different the listening experience of this inner ear can was...

I was curious what I would feel about the supposedly weak bass. It is there and very clean but what I found different about this bass was the lack of the physical cues of bass as a exterior force coming at me...this is a very internal experience all centered inside my head. In general having the music bottled up in my head was a very inward turning musical experience that felt (paired with the ear stress) a bit more like thinking than sinking into fun music. Still very revealing and interesting.

I wish I had better quality source files cause I think these cans would be like going in with a scalpel with a complex audio track. I also found myself realizing the effects of production quality a great deal more. The songs that stood out was the orchestral rock of Led Zepplin and Smashing Pumkins, the hip-hop/pop of Lady Sovereign, MIA and Girl Talk, the subtle ambiance of Aphex Twin, Blind Melon (?), and the soul of Al Green...mostly clearly well produced tracks. I was suprised though how dry some of my favorite stuff by Slint, Air, Radiohead, the Rachels, and Gillian Welch sounded.

Comparisions

At first I just had a pair of trash Sansa buds to compare against. Clearly the artificial flavors of the generic Sansa buds didn't compare the elegance of the er4p's sound but I have to admit the earbuds felt soothing to my stressed out ears and at the free price point had a couple things going for it.

I took a long bus ride from VA to NY and then the subway and got a chance of compare the isolation.

Clearly the earbud were useless in the subway and required jacking the sound way up to hear them. It made me feel sorry for the ipod bud listeners around me.

I found the isolation of the er4p's to be solid on the bus but not enough to totally cut out the world which is fine with me. It did reveal the interior quality of the listening experience again...I feel that the amount of quiet the isolation provided and underwater feeling had a distancing effect on me gave me more of my own little music world on the bus.

On the subway I found the isolation was enough to have me only turn up the music a bit to compensate. It was more of a lite listen experience though in this environment though...it was hard to chase the music details in such a loud environment.

Walking home was interesting though...I was curious if I would be able to hear cars...I could not and I feel like I was very isolated from the environmental sounds...which is probably not safe from a traffic or mugging perspective.

When I got home I got a chance to compare with my good ol v6's. My first impression was remembering again why I like the v6's so much. The v6's were a big stress relief to my ears and way more easy to listen to. The bass is punchier in the v6's but different cause of the closed can set up...it also made me realize how these cans render the bass sound has a material pop to it that I would describe as "neutral" or a sound that I understand to mean neutral but not as "true" as the er4p's. Despite warm mids, I don't think of the v6's as warm cans. The bass in the v6's is more loose and fun than warm. After hearing the clarity of the er4p's I realized that the v6's have a pretty clear mid/high representation that is just a touch shy of the er4p's...I am not sure that it is that the sound is missing though...I think it is a way the whole spectrum fits together differently that is making me hear things differently. The bass is so much more forward in the v6's that it is sort of mentally distracting from the clarity of the highs. I also found that this helped me find details in the bass/mid presentation of the v6's that I had to look harder for in the er4p's.

So far...

Despite the obviously remarkable elegance of design and starting clarity of the er4p I am not convinced they are keepers yet cause of comfort and cost/pleasure ratio. I like the isolation. The jury is still out.

I am back in love with my v6's though. I wish they were smaller so I could take them out easier...plugging its big plug into the little Clip is ridiculous looking. The Clip looks like a flag on a flagpole.

Waiting for the rest of the cans to arrive...
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

and now the Sure 310's...

Thanks for the encouragement yakuzaph.

So after an online ordering suck (don't order from Electronica Direct over the holidays)...I finally was able to cancel my order of the Shure SE310's that where lost at a warehouse somewhere. I am back in NYC and was able to head over to my friendly neighborhood B&H Superstore today. They have the white 310's on sale.

I popped them out of the box and into my ears and was met by a way more comfy and rich sound...way more bass but I will get to that in a second.

310's fit and ergonomics

So out of the box the 310's have a medium size pair of those olive foamies on them. I read about them and boy are they cozy. Not much more to say, they are just great. I found the mids and the small sizes were workable for me.

I also liked the grey rubber "soft flex sleeves", easier in and out of the ear with no pre-scrunching required. I found they didn't isolate quite as well and didn't bump up the bass as much as the foamies.

Sure also provided these huge white tri-flanges. They seem soft but were ridiculously big and awkward. I couldn't even get them in my ear and gave up on them.

Now the real fun started when I started to try these tips over on the er4p's but I will get back to that is a sec.

Now one awesome thing about these 310's is the cord. Very short and comes with an extension. The short length is perfect for something like my little Clip when it is clipped to my upper body or in a upper pocket...no excess but then you can add on the extension to put it in your pants pocket with just a bit of moving around slack left over. I am 6' 4" by the way, while you don't have a lot of extra cord length what is there is designed just right for use with a portable music player that your are wearing on your body.

The er4p's cord is much longer and I found myself wondering what to do with the excess (though it isn't anything as long as the Sony v6's). It is probably designed more for a home setup where you want a bit extra cord.

The er4p's also have this thinner cord on the top which is way more sensitive to touches than the thicker, lower part or any part of the 310's cord. Also annoying about the er4p's cord in comparison is that the thin part of the cord is actual two thin woven wires so they create a ripped texture which when run along something like a zipper lining of a jacket is a quite loud intrusion.

The shape of the exterior of the 310 has a rounded crook to it. I found it more awkward to place in my ear than the er4p's straight design.

The 310's instructions show 3 ways of suggested wear. I like the cord over the ear version but it seems to me that if you just toss the cords back you are putting a stressful bend in the cord right where it contacts the driver. Looking closely at the diagram shows the driver with a more vertical alignment in the ear which I found impossible to do without reversing the right/left buds. Wearing them reversed is a bit annoying to me...why have a right and left designation if I being told to just casually flip them...and didn't the producer chose to put the sound in the right or left ear on purpose? I didn't like this side switching notion on principle but also found them harder control so as to seat them in my ear when reversed as well.

I will say just one thing about looks. The 310 have a more discrete profile for sure, but are kind of techie-jewlery-yuk look to me that reminds me of a bluetooth cellphone headset. I like the geeky wires of the er4p's better.

I am not going to stress about cord noise too much nor will I be going running with these headphones...but never-the-less the Shures win the ergonomic design award for movement hands down with cord length. The ear arrangement and looks are both secondary to me.

310's sound

Now I gave the 310 a try totally based on the review over at Headroom. Who isn't interested in a great trade off of sound to value with solid bass in an ear canal headphone.

On first blush I was like holy sheeet, what was I wasting my time considering anything else. These things sounded like big round fun music.

I found the Shure tips gave me a degree of control over the bass impact. I started with the med black foamies and things were bumpin in my noggin if you know what I mean. The grey rubber tips chilled that out a bit.

This not to say the highs are not nice, they are very present...these are very present forward sounding ear phones. I found when comparing them to my Sony v6's that I am using as my baseline that they had a good deal in common. The v6's are a tad more controled and gave me cleaner highs but I didn't feel like I was hearing as rich of a overall presentation as I was getting in the 310's.

What I think I am hearing is not just a big bass but a very very rich kind of upper-bass/mid's. This is kind of strong vs the highs but overall a fun sound. Listening to the wall-of-sound grunge classic Cherub Rock by the Smashing Pumpkins was just luscious. Big bouncy bass tracks like DJ Danger Mouse and Andre 3000 sound great and everything from straight up pop like Feist and MIA to the NPR-country twang of Gillian Welch sounds totally listenable.

I can imagine being totally happy have these cans singing to me as I ride the subway around New York or even at home when I want something a bit..not more fun but just something with a bigger roundness than my v6's.

But then there is still the ER4P's...

Now I have to admit I was feeling a bit embarrassed after my long previous post about the er4p's...I was about ready to just to pack them up and send them on their way. In the 310's I had a comfy fun and full sounding all-purpose set of cans with enough clarity to live with on the commute. But still I had heard that the foamies fit the er4p's and wanted to try them out.

Another holy sheeet.

The foamies slip right off the 310's and right on to the er4p's just like that and suddenly there is bass. It was a miracle.

These foamies are not only a 100, no a 1000 times more comfy than any of the tips in the er4p kit but they give the sound a luscious bump down low. And the amazing thing is that the clarity in the highs is still there!

I have been switching back an forth tonight and this is what I am hearing. The 310's are totally listenable and an awesome pair of cans, but the er4ps are special.

The bass isn't quite a big in the er4p's as the in the 310's but in comparison I am finding that the 310's super rich center which I was calling the upper-bass/mids is not there in the er4p's and I like that. I wonder if I won't get tired of such a rich creamy center.

When I focus on the highs I am finding that there is just a whole other level of clarity available in the er4p's and that it is made more listenable with the addition of the foamies. Listening to Al Green's "There Ain't No Sunshine" in a back to back comparison was the most revealing. There is an additional sense of space revealed in the trebles and echos of his voice that is like suddenly being able to peer into the recording room with sonar.

I found that I am am thinking of the highs of the 310 like I referred to the v6's bass in my previous post...sort of a representation of clarity but not the same degree of "truth" of the er4p's. Not that that isn't good enough for my needs.

[Note re: the isolation of the foamies. My girlfriend just got home and has apparently been ringing the doorbell and calling and even was standing behind me saying my name for awhile and I totally didn't hear her. I was ignorantly bumpin away to Andre 3000. So the moral here is that the isolation is very good and if you are in a relationship less happy as mine I suggest you get yourself some foamies.]

Anyhoo. So I am a tad torn. On principle I don't know how I can pass up on the er4p's with the foamies, but I really enjoy the 310's as well...they are a tad more more comfy and I like the cord a lot.

I currently think of the 310 as a cup of awesome hot chocolate and the er4p's as a fine cup of very expensive oolong tea.

The Yuin PK2 is still in the mail. I am pretty sure they are going straight back cause of their lack of isolation, but as a curiosity I will give them a whirl and see how they stack up.

Oh and one more note - I ordered one of those $10 Fiio amps from Head-Direct and am interested to throw it into the mix. I imagine it will add too much bass to the 310's but I am curious about the effect on the er4p's.

To be continued...
post #5 of 12
Pick up the HF2 or HF5 and please compare... I've read some reviews on here and I'm still torn between getting a HF2 or ER4p.
post #6 of 12
Another Holy Sheet. What an excellent review/comparison! I can't wait to see how the PK2 stack up against the others.
Quote:
I currently think of the 310 as a cup of awesome hot chocolate and the er4p's as a fine cup of very expensive oolong tea.
This is an excellent analogy. I love it.

Quote:
Pick up the HF2 or HF5 and please compare... I've read some reviews on here and I'm still torn between getting a HF2 or ER4p.
I've read quite a lot comparisons between the ER6i, HF5(Hf2), and ER4p. If I wasn't misreading, the HF5 kinda stand between the Er6i and the ER4p. But they lean more toward the Er6i than the ER4p. I've heard they don't have quite the crazy amount of detail of the ER4p. If I had to choose, I would definitely go with the HF5.

P/S: Still waiting for my Shure SCL4 to come. Some head-fier's have claimed that they sound a lot like the Shure SE310 if not the same but different housings.
post #7 of 12
Wearing IEMs like ER-4 is never easy for first timers. It took me over three months to get used to it and after two years, it's second nature and I don't feel them in my ears anymore - yes your ear canals will tune in to IEM wearing and once this happen you will not look back.

ER-4 notoriously lacked visceral impact and slam on the bass dept even if they do have very rich and deep bass reponse. To this very end, most long time ER-4 users resort to amplification which transfomed the ER-4 into a hugely entertaining listening device. You are right about feeding better source to these babies, they will respond superbly with excellent source. I have plugged my ER-4S many times to a full blown CD rig and I was continously amazed how they scale up in almost every aspect. IMHO, ER-4 is not the best of choice to listen to without an amp.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakuzaph View Post
I'm waiting for your thoughts on the SE310
se310 is a decent pair of IEMs. I can't compare it to the er4p but comparing to other high-end IEMs, I'd say: the se310 got a lot of the detail you will hear from say W3 and se530, yet it lacks the feel of those, meaning it sound somewhat thin to me. it's got the shure mids and is very balanced across the frequency range(same slightly rolled-off highs). It produces more bass than most of the single driver IEMs due to the tuned bass port as shure claims which basically allows more air flow for the bass.

One concern about these phones is the durability. mine become almost dead after 8 month or so because the rubber part fell out.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Update

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

tstarn06 - I am curious about those Nuforce NE 7's as a value buy.

I don't know how much more time I have to put into this particular shopping session but it is a blast to have the chance to spend an extended time with a few decent headphones...with my own music. When I was at B&H a few days ago and tried out their listening wall and I just don't get much more than a general feel for the headphones in that situation...they aren't all amped sufficiently and they are only playing one kind of music...Madonna in this case.

I still don't like the grado sound...the bass is "slappy" to me. That wood pair are a bit better though. I liked the AKG's (I think they were the 701's) but not amped very well.

I never really understood why folks bothered owning many sets of cans but there really is a joy in just listening to everything in comparison. It really goes beyond improving the music and is more of connoisseurship of how the different headphone companies have composed a listening experience. I guess that is why I like reading people's reviews around here.

On the fatigue note...I have been listening to the er4p and 310 for extended sessions. I still find the er4p are more tiring both in the ear and in the sound. It seems that their clarity make them a more demanding set of cans.

I always thought fatigue as coming from pure crap speakers or a set up that just was bass dry, but with the er4p I find the clarity is so distinctive that if I wear them while do something else (like writing this review) I find it takes more work to put them mentally into the background...they are asking me to pay attention.

The Shures, oddly are a tad fatiguing in a opposite way. What I described as a rich creamy center before is a lot of fun when I give these guys a casual listen, but if I start to look deeper into the sound they become too rich and tiring.

I find that the 310's are harder to insert into my ear and are generally more difficult to handle. The made me realize that maybe I am inserting the er4p's deeper than necessary cause they are easy to handle and am experimenting with just putting them deep enough to get a seal. Hopefully this will make them more comfy for longer listening.

That durability issue of the 310's that Jerry mentions is a bit of a bugaboo, but I guess the 2 warranty is enough for me.

I got the Yuin's and the Fiio E3 amp today and looking forward to throw them into the mix.
post #10 of 12
x2 for EFN's comments. Just wait till you hear those Etys with a good amp - they are little monsters. I wasn't a huge fan of the E3/ER4P combination - I thought the FiiO essentially served as a bass boost that really narrowed the soundstage. It was not my cup of tea.

Look forward to reading your continuing thoughts!
post #11 of 12
I just received my ER-4P this afternoon and all I can say is OMG THEY SOUND OUTSTANDING! I can't see how anyone can complain about the bass, but I grew up with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and other bands that integrated the bass as part of the music, not the booming bloated sound everyone today seems to like.

I probably wouldn't have considered the ER-4P over the J2, but the shape of the J2 made my ears sore after extended listening. I won't have that problem now.

My homemade fomies are working just fine too!

Oh and the response is great to my D2's Jet Effect settings!!!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

The Yuin PK2's and then adding in the Fiio E3 to the lot of it...

Yuin PK2's

I like the Yuin PK2's quite a bit. They have a nice relaxed sound and a particular kind of clarity.

Materially they feel very solid for a little pair of earbuds. I also liked the packaging - they come in a little wooden box.

The clarity isn't the crystalline grace of the er4p's, it is more metallic or digital sounding but in a good way...I wonder if it isn't revealing something about the quality of my source material. Snare drums in particular sound great and very well rendered. I also enjoyed acoustic guitar cause the metal strings have a very realistic texture to them.

I found them average for more bass heavy hip-hop like Andre 3000 and deep ambient stuff like Aphex Twin. Rapping is more fun when the vocal tracks are clear and the PK2's clarity defiantly helps here....Lady Sovereign sure is sharp with these...but not as razor sharp as the er4p's.

In the end they are an experience more like the 310's than the er4p's. The PK2's have a more balance presentation than the 310's, no thick purring mids, and just generally are not quiet as good all around as the Shure's - but never-the-less have a very listenable sound and I would like to own a pair.

The PK2's take the addition of an amp decently (see below), and, like any earbud for me, are easy to wear.

Too bad they don't isolate, for $75 they would be a great pair of portable cans and feel like a decent value.

Fiio E3

So the Fiio E3 is a my first experience with a headphone amp.

I find the notion of adding an amp to a portable rig a bit contrary to my concept of "portable", but, for 10 bucks, I couldn't pass up on the chance to try one out.

I think these have been heavily written about around here so I will just say it is black and surprisingly small.

I popped in a AAA battery and gave it a go against the pile of cans I have right now. I used my Clip as the source and also tried in out of my Powerbook.

The E3 added a significant level of hiss to the er4p's which is a no-no with me. It raised the volume several notched vs the Clip alone. At first I didn't notice much of the supposed bass coloring...mostly I was annoyed that the hiss was covering up some of the quiet details that the er4p's can present.

I next tried the E3 with the Shure 310's. Again hiss and again a volume uptick, but here I got a much clearer bass effect. A bass-heavy Andre 3000 track had a great deal more WHOOMP and just a more inflated quality in general. I thought it was too much for the already rich headphones.

Going back to the er4p's I could now find the WHOOMP (which was more like a whoomp) more easily. It seems like there is more air around everything.

Next, I tried out the E3 with my old Sony v6's. Now I love these cans as it is but damn the E3 does something special to these guys.

The Sony's can be driven by the Clip fine but not as easily as the ear canal phones so the volume uptick has more impact with the v6's. There is no hiss in this set up at all and the sound is opened up significantly. It makes them sound more like a nice set of open cans.

It also and adds a softness to the bass which is very nice with the v'6 particular looseness down low. The bass is really particular on the v6's to me...I hear it as very loose and smooth as the song moves across time but when I focus on hearing the impact of the bass in a moment it sound very dense and controlled. I don't know if I have the right words for this but upon a close look the v6's bass is kind of neutral which the E3 totally opens up...to the point where the un-amped bass sounds a bit like a very graceful zombie - the dancing dead.

A pop song like Feist's "1234" sound fresh, and a grungy wall-of-sound like Smashing Pumpink's "Cherub Rock" just purrs. The E3 is made for headphones like the Sony v6's.

I also tried out the E3 with the Yuin PK2's. Their was little to no hiss and a decent volume uptick. I like the Yuins as is, they sound different than all the other phones I have here but when you add the air injection of E3 they start sounding a bit like a pair of Grados down low. Not to bad though and the clarity is still there. I don't begrudge the coloring here.

No matter which pair of headphones I keep I am welcoming this little amp as a new buddy for my v6's.

On that note, I am still between the er4p's and the 310's and neither will be paired with the E3 in the future.

The 310's still seem like a more rational buy but the er4p's seem like a great value for a very special listening experience.
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