Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › ER-4P vs. JH-13 Pro and ES3X
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

ER-4P vs. JH-13 Pro and ES3X

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I posted this question in the "JH-13 Appreciation Thread", but it in a few hours it got buried in several pages of bickering about a completely different topic, so I'm reposting here.

Can anyone compare the JH-13 or ES3X with the ER-4P? The only comparison I have seen is Rdr. Seraphim's comparison with the ES3X.

I've owned the Etymotic ER-4P for almost a decade, but for various reasons (see last paragraph) haven't used them much in years. I've always wanted a custom-fit monitor, but I've never felt it was a justified expenditure until recently. I'll explain what I like about the ER-4P as a frame of reference, and then I'm hoping some folks who have heard both the ER-4P/S and either the JH-13 or ES3X can compare them.

I listen mostly to classical, and mostly through speakers. For me, classical of all genres is the most difficult to "get right". The ER-4P I find to be extremely good. I dug my pair out recently and gave it a whirl with a Vierne organ symphony (Ben van Oosten on MD&G), and it all came back to me. That symphony can sound "mushy" through a less-than-perfect audio system or with any background noise interfering. But with the isolation and detail of the ER4P, I could hear all the nuances of the instrument through the reverberation of the church. The movement of the stops, the subtle shading of the registers, and so forth. For music like this, being able to resolve all of that information makes the difference between truly listening to it and not listening to it at all, if you know what I mean. I am one of those folks who thinks that the ER4P is very bass-deficient. For me, bass is the Achilles Heel of the Etys. But I would much much rather headphone/speakers to lack bass then to have too much of it or for it to be at all muddy or loose. With the ER4P I feel like I'm getting a nearly transparent window into the recording, except that it's blocking out the bass. I'm not an equipment nut and haven't heard too many other headphones, but the ones I have heard are unsatisfying compared to the ER4P. Sennheiser HD600: horribly veiled. Beyerdynamic DT880: better but still quite veiled. Grado SR225: one of the most colored transducers I've ever heard. AKG K501 (own): nothing special. Sony MDR-SA5000 (own): the most Ety-like of the lot and with better bass, but somehow colored.

So that brings me to my question. Will the JH-13 or ES3X have the transparency (resolving power, lack of coloration, harmonic correctness, "nothing added") that I like about the ER-4P? For me, words like "warm", "fun", "forgiving", and "laid-back" are usually (but not always) bad words. But there have also been raves that would lead me to believe that the JH-13 and the ES3X put the Etys quite in the shade in every single aspect of sound reproduction.

Someone may ask why I'm considering the purchase at all if I'm so happy with the Etys. In short, three reasons, in decreasing order of priority: (1) microphonics, (2) comfort, (3) bass.
post #2 of 28
Thank you for not acknowledging or not thanking me for the link I provided you with on the JH13 thread to Rdr. Seraphim's excellent & useful post (now mentioned in your post), where he compares the ER-4P to the ES3X, and which now has led you to mention and include the ES3X -- and not just the JH13 -- on the thread title and in your opening post.

So, don't mention it. It's always a pleasure to help friendly and respectful fellow head-fiers.

Oh, yes, many thanks too for your Franz Schubert post on the JH13 thread (http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/j...ml#post5913095). I certainly appreciated that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemere View Post
I posted this question in the "JH-13 Appreciation Thread", but it in a few hours it got buried in several pages of bickering about a completely different topic, so I'm reposting here.

Can anyone compare the JH-13 or ES3X with the ER-4P? The only comparison I have seen is Rdr. Seraphim's comparison with the ES3X.

I've owned the Etymotic ER-4P for almost a decade, but for various reasons (see last paragraph) haven't used them much in years. I've always wanted a custom-fit monitor, but I've never felt it was a justified expenditure until recently. I'll explain what I like about the ER-4P as a frame of reference, and then I'm hoping some folks who have heard both the ER-4P/S and either the JH-13 or ES3X can compare them.

I listen mostly to classical, and mostly through speakers. For me, classical of all genres is the most difficult to "get right". The ER-4P I find to be extremely good. I dug my pair out recently and gave it a whirl with a Vierne organ symphony (Ben van Oosten on MD&G), and it all came back to me. That symphony can sound "mushy" through a less-than-perfect audio system or with any background noise interfering. But with the isolation and detail of the ER4P, I could hear all the nuances of the instrument through the reverberation of the church. The movement of the stops, the subtle shading of the registers, and so forth. For music like this, being able to resolve all of that information makes the difference between truly listening to it and not listening to it at all, if you know what I mean. I am one of those folks who thinks that the ER4P is very bass-deficient. For me, bass is the Achilles Heel of the Etys. But I would much much rather headphone/speakers to lack bass then to have too much of it or for it to be at all muddy or loose. With the ER4P I feel like I'm getting a nearly transparent window into the recording, except that it's blocking out the bass. I'm not an equipment nut and haven't heard too many other headphones, but the ones I have heard are unsatisfying compared to the ER4P. Sennheiser HD600: horribly veiled. Beyerdynamic DT880: better but still quite veiled. Grado SR225: one of the most colored transducers I've ever heard. AKG K501 (own): nothing special. Sony MDR-SA5000 (own): the most Ety-like of the lot and with better bass, but somehow colored.

So that brings me to my question. Will the JH-13 or ES3X have the transparency (resolving power, lack of coloration, harmonic correctness, "nothing added") that I like about the ER-4P? For me, words like "warm", "fun", "forgiving", and "laid-back" are usually (but not always) bad words. But there have also been raves that would lead me to believe that the JH-13 and the ES3X put the Etys quite in the shade in every single aspect of sound reproduction.

Someone may ask why I'm considering the purchase at all if I'm so happy with the Etys. In short, three reasons, in decreasing order of priority: (1) microphonics, (2) comfort, (3) bass.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure what's troubling you, but yes, thank you very much for pointing me earlier to Rdr. Seraphim's very useful post. Now, if there are others who can relate to what I like about the ER-4P and have heard either the ES3X or UE-13, I would love to hear further comparisons. I've always been interested in both the ES3X and UE-13, but didn't feel it was appropriate to ask specifically about the ES3X in the aforementioned UE-13 thread. Since this is a brand new thread, I'm opening it up.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemere View Post
So that brings me to my question. Will the JH-13 or ES3X have the transparency (resolving power, lack of coloration, harmonic correctness, "nothing added") that I like about the ER-4P?

Someone may ask why I'm considering the purchase at all if I'm so happy with the Etys. In short, three reasons, in decreasing order of priority: (1) microphonics, (2) comfort, (3) bass.
Can't speak for the es3x, but you will definitely get what you are looking for with the JH-13s, although to varying degrees depending on your source.

If you read one of my recent posts in the JH-13 thread, I noted that out of the Pico dac/amp I feel like I'm lacking nothing and have all of the qualities that you state you are looking for (and more). I haven't heard any other higher end sources though.
post #5 of 28
I am in the same boat...

I am a big fan of the Ety sound, but almost the same reasons are giving me the upgradeitis.

I have a Westone UM3X that is in the right direction, but I think it went a little too far - I have a hard time listening to them at high volumes, the mid-bass is just too much for me. They aren't very "transparent" I guess you could say.
post #6 of 28
I've not heard the ES3X, but I had and loved my Ety ER4P/S for years. I sold them last year when I bought UE11s, and continually missed them. If you appreciate the Ety sound (I do), I'm pretty confident in saying that the JH13s will not disappoint you in any way. They offer better detail without being bright and without losing cohesion, better tone and imaging, and better extension while maintaining balance. They sound amazing out of an iphone/ipod, but scale quite well, be it with a portable amp or amp/dac or with home gear. As a bedroom rig, I'm currently using a Denon DCP100 to a pico, and am continually impressed. I own/owned some pretty remarkable headphones. Due to the JH13s sq, coupled with their versatility, I'm beginning to think these may be the best purchase I've ever made. I never think about my Ety's anymore, and will probably be selling all but one or two of my other headphones.
post #7 of 28
I still occasionally use my ER4's. They are really pretty good. It's amazing that they continue to garner so much attention, and it's mostly well deserved. I think Etymotic should do a custom, but that is clearly not their market strategy.

Like boomana, you will do well with either the JH13 or ES3X. Either the HeadAmp or RSA would be good choices for portable use. I started this whole headphone thing thinking I wanted something portable and ended up using my ES3X as my reference. I think a lot of folks with JH are doing the same. They deserve the best amplification, so when and if you want to, moving up the ladder is well worth it. (I'm currently using the DNA Sonett by Donald North.)

The unanimous praise for the JH is similar to what the ES3X garnered on its initial release. Had the JH been around when I was looking, I "might" have ended up with those.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdr. Seraphim View Post
I still occasionally use my ER4's. They are really pretty good. It's amazing that they continue to garner so much attention, and it's mostly well deserved. I think Etymotic should do a custom, but that is clearly not their market strategy.
You could always reshell your ER4s
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdr. Seraphim View Post
Had the JH been around when I was looking, I "might" have ended up with those.
Don't say that in public. Please edit your post and delete that last sentence NOW! :-)
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post
Don't say that in public. Please edit your post and delete that last sentence NOW! :-)
Finger to lips... shhhhh!
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
I've not heard the ES3X, but I had and loved my Ety ER4P/S for years. I sold them last year when I bought UE11s, and continually missed them. If you appreciate the Ety sound (I do), I'm pretty confident in saying that the JH13s will not disappoint you in any way. They offer better detail without being bright and without losing cohesion, better tone and imaging, and better extension while maintaining balance. They sound amazing out of an iphone/ipod, but scale quite well, be it with a portable amp or amp/dac or with home gear. As a bedroom rig, I'm currently using a Denon DCP100 to a pico, and am continually impressed. I own/owned some pretty remarkable headphones. Due to the JH13s sq, coupled with their versatility, I'm beginning to think these may be the best purchase I've ever made. I never think about my Ety's anymore, and will probably be selling all but one or two of my other headphones.
I'll echo boomana's post. I've also had the ER-4P, and while I appreciated its detail, speed and ability to reproduce high frequencies quite elegantly, its dip in the bass regions ultimatelly led me to get rid of them.

However the JH-13 is better at everything the ER-4P does, many fold in some cases .
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the replies. It sounds very encouraging that the sound quality of these customs will not let me down.

My other concerns with the ER-4P are microphonics and comfort. I read a lot about the sound quality of customs (JH-13, ER3X, etc.) but not too much about comfort and very little about microphonics. My ER-4P (old-style cable) has terrible microphonics. The comfort is okay, but sometimes the angled driver jutting out of the ear causes problems (pressing against the earlobe, lying the head to the side of the pillow, etc.). This is probably a personal thing, I'd love to hear what other people have found.
post #13 of 28
Nothing is better for comfort in terms of iem's then customs. Some claim the vinyl material makes the es3x a bit more comfortable but to be honest I cannot even feel the jh-13's when they are in they sort of melt away in your ears. No matter what customs will be the most comfortable thing you have had.
post #14 of 28
No issue with microphonics on the JH cables
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyb213 View Post
Nothing is better for comfort in terms of iem's then universals. Some claim the silicone material makes the es3x a bit more comfortable but to be honest I cannot even feel the jh-13's when they are in they sort of melt away in your ears. No matter what customs will be the most comfortable thing you have had.
The Sensaphonics use soft silicone. The ES3X has a heat-sensitive vinyl tip.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › ER-4P vs. JH-13 Pro and ES3X