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The Return of the ER-4S

post #1 of 175
Thread Starter 
I just bought another pair of ER-4S last week, having previously owned them about 5-6 years ago. One thing that struck me was the cable: is it just me, or has the cable gotten thinner?

Anyway, I auditioned them with the three-flanged plugs (not my favorite, by the way), driven by the "Fitz-Maxxed Bada PH-12 ULTRA". Wow! Midrange, especially with vocals, was wonderfully open and expressive, rivaling--perhaps bettering--the K501. Just exceptional with acoustic venues.

On a period recording: "1492, Music from the Age of Discovery", the spatial/room cues were unbelievable; plucked strings sounded completely unfettered/unrestrained and the soundstage seemed to easily fill the listening room I was in (read: went way outside my head and sounded free-floating in big 3-D space). Vocals were breathtaking: open, deep and expresive. On other recordings, like "Sinatra, the Reprise Years", the space was more constrained. The DT880/2003 sounded somewhat muddy by comparison.

Tonight, I want to a/b the ER-4S with the D5000. My gut feeling now is that I'll sell the D5000. : )
post #2 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post
I just bought another pair of ER-4S last week, having previously owned them about 5-6 years ago. One thing that struck me was the cable: is it just me, or has the cable gotten thinner?

Anyway, I auditioned them with the three-flanged plugs (not my favorite, by the way), driven by the "Fitz-Maxxed Bada PH-12 ULTRA". Wow! Midrange, especially with vocals, was wonderfully open and expressive, rivaling--perhaps bettering--the K501. Just exceptional with acoustic venues.

On a period recording: "1492, Music from the Age of Discovery", the spatial/room cues were unbelievable; plucked strings sounded completely unfettered/unrestrained and the soundstage seemed to easily fill the listening room I was in (read: went way outside my head and sounded free-floating in big 3-D space). Vocals were breathtaking: open, deep and expresive. On other recordings, like "Sinatra, the Reprise Years", the space was more constrained. The DT880/2003 sounded somewhat muddy by comparison.

Tonight, I want to a/b the ER-4S with the D5000. My gut feeling now is that I'll sell the D5000. : )
I am following this
post #3 of 175
Me too, as I'll be an ER4P/S owner soon.
post #4 of 175
amazing how this old chap continues to impress huh

I'm thinkin about it too..... would you say the soundstage is on par with IE-8?
post #5 of 175
Feed it well and will challenge any phone on the market provided that you like it's soundsig.
post #6 of 175
it remains to this day one of my favourite phones for electronic music, losing out only to the equally as accurate but not sibilant CK10 from audio technica. isolation: superb. instrument placement? the same. speed? wonderful. Bass? could be better, but with good fit, quite nice indeed. Inherent sound from the housing? none.

ER4S is a great phone, but its comfort and looks along with a uniquely awkward cable get me down quite a bit.
post #7 of 175
ER4...18 years and still going strong.

...makes me want to break mine out tonight.

post #8 of 175
Phones I've owned the longest - 3x any other.
As they say, "the poor-mans Stax."
post #9 of 175
Hi Pat,

Looking forward to your experienced review. Glad to see you still having fun and enjoying this hobby and music.

Once one gets used to the different perspective of the ER-4S soundstage, they become keepers for many trained ears on this site.

As with many IEM's, I think they are hyper critical of the source and amp. More so than a more forgiving full size headphone such as the Senn 650.
post #10 of 175
Thread Starter 
Formal comparisons will have to wait, I'm afraid. The ER-4S I bought came with only a pair of triple flange tips and a pair of small foamies. I need medium foamies to get a decent seal. With the triple flanges and the small foam tips I know the bass is not what it can/should be. Anyway, since I lost my job and need to cut financial corners, the D5000 will probably have to go anyway, but not without first going a round or two with the ER-4S. : )
post #11 of 175
I do agree that the ER4S is a great, great monitor. And, if not for the fact that they've been around forever, would have this forum a-buzzin' about all the normal aspects of sound quality folks here get worked up about.

And to think, a single driver per side. Multiple drivers?!?!? I don't need no stinkin' multiple drivers. Who needs three, four or even (gulp) six drivers per side?

But...if my cash flow wasn't so, how shall I say it?...f&$#, I'd love to give the six driver IEMs a whirl.

But in the meantime, I think the 4S is a quality IEM that's stood the test of time. I love the fact Etymotic has decided to stay the course with these, as opposed to coming up with the latest and greatest each and every year.

They're a CLASSIC.

Love mine!
post #12 of 175
Tips are critical for the ER4s. I tried them all (except for the new gliders) and until I started using the Complys, I never really liked/loved the 4s. The short Complys finally made them into v. comfortable IEM's.
post #13 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by nc8000 View Post
Feed it well and will challenge any phone on the market provided that you like it's soundsig.
This is good advice. ER4's are a fine IEM but with improper amplification, when the music passages get busy, it has a difficult time reproducing all the dynamics and bass takes a back seat and this is where an unamped multi-driver has an advantage IMHO. But if I could only have one IEM in the under $200 range it would be ER4P.
post #14 of 175
i still believe these are the best-sounding IEMs i've ever heard...have not listened to the top-tier customs that are quite common these days...but the er4s are fantastic. i'd still have mine if i carried around a portable amp, because these are one of the few IEMs that require one.
post #15 of 175
Finally got the perfect LOD today to use my p. amp again and was rewarded with stunning sound. The 4s are a true reference standard regardless of type. The Xin amp was made for these.
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