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Etymotic ER-4P vs. HF5 - Opinions?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Howdy Head-fiers. I've been away for a while and find myself coming back to seek some advice. My ER-4Ps were recently lost and I need to replace them. I've spent quite a few years enjoying their sound and isolation with a variety of sources, both amped and unamped. I arrived in the Ety camp after a long search for what I considered the best IEM out there. So, I'm probably just going to buy another pair of ER-4Ps, but I can't resist the lure of possibly saving some cash and going with the HF5. I've read a few threads here and have found most people seem to be very happy with them. One poster commented that they were 95% of the ER-4P without the microphonics problems. So I'm wondering if, after using the 4P for so long, I'd be just as happy with the HF5? Are there any people out there who have jumped from one to the other in this direction? My source will most frequently be an unamped Sansa Clip playing FLAC files. Opinions? Thoughts?
post #2 of 17
I cannot do a a direct comparison, but let me tell you that the whole "without the mcirophonics" is BS. It may have reduced microphonics, but they are still there in spades.

-Nkk
post #3 of 17
i too am curious about this question, the threads ive read so far seem somewhat inconclusive, bump
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkk View Post
I cannot do a a direct comparison, but let me tell you that the whole "without the mcirophonics" is BS. It may have reduced microphonics, but they are still there in spades.
Thanks for the feedback, although since you haven't directly compared the microphonics of the HF5 with the ER-4P I'll take your comment with a grain of salt.
post #5 of 17
HF5 and ER4P supposedly use the same drivers, but, as time entails, the cable has gotten better on the HF5. To be honest, the ER4P cables were not good at all. Although they use the same drivers, ER4P drivers are specifically matched through Etymotics so they will, in a sense, sound "better" or more "balanced."
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dpippel View Post
Thanks for the feedback, although since you haven't directly compared the microphonics of the HF5 with the ER-4P I'll take your comment with a grain of salt.
Please do. As I said, it may be reduced, I would not know. However, the reviewer that said the hf5 was without microphonics was wrong.

-Nkk
post #7 of 17
No the HF2/HF5 cable is not without microphony but it is greatly reduced. I have always used my phones behind the ear style to reduce microphny but can't do that with the HF2 due to the position of the microphone pod but the microphony is so reduced that this does not bother me. Out of an unamped dap on-the-go I am very hard pushed to tell the difference between the HF2 and an ER4-P. The HF2 might possibly have slightly more presence in the bass region and be slightly less sparkly in the top but to me the differences are very small and are clearly outweight by the lower price and better ergonomics/looks. In a silent environment run out of my main home rig the ER4-P scales far better than the HF2 and the difference becomes more pronounced.
post #8 of 17
agree with NC8000. Microphonics are still there. Just something you have to deal with or go to another manufacturer. On theother hand, either IEM does sound wonderful, altho the ER4_P is better than the HF2 when amped
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nc8000 View Post
In a silent environment run out of my main home rig the ER4-P scales far better than the HF2 and the difference becomes more pronounced.
Is this your super ApureSound ER4P? How much of the improvement over the HF2 could be attributed to the recable? Do you think the HF2/5's scalability could be improved with a P->S adapter?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gossling View Post
Is this your super ApureSound ER4P? How much of the improvement over the HF2 could be attributed to the recable? Do you think the HF2/5's scalability could be improved with a P->S adapter?
No that was compared to a stock cable.

I have no idea what a p2s cable would do for an amped HF2, the only p2s cable I have is my monster balanced one and it makes no discernable difference on my balanced ER4P when driven from my RPX-100 but then Alex did not expect it would as that amp was already delivering all the phones needed even in P mode.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the opinions everyone, and I appreciate the comments on the microphonics. Since I've been an ER-4P listener for years now microphonics are not my primary concern. I'm very familiar with the 4P and its shortcomings.

What I'm really interested in are more first-hand opinions on how the SOUND of these two IEMs compare. Has anyone out there besides nc8000 actually had both and/or done a side-by-side evaluation?
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Anyone else want to weigh in?
post #13 of 17
nc8000 is correct.

I had HF5's for a week and sent them back and now have ER4P (again!). ER4P is slightly crisper treble. Efficiency is about the same but ER4P is better when you throw more power at them. A bit "fuller" sound. They start competing with the 3 driver IEM's with ease. I actually prefer the ER4P cable.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Spyro. The thought of getting very, very close to the 4P for under a hundred bucks was tempting, as was the idea of listening to something "new". But in the end I'll probably just go back to the 4P. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?
post #15 of 17
I've posted my experiences in a few other threads - search my history if you care. The sum of it is:

- Unamped from my weak source (iPod Touch 2G) I like the sound of the hf2 (=hf5 + mic) better than the ER-4P, which to my amp-accustomed ears has enough of that "needs an amp" sound to bother me under the same conditions.

- Amped or from a stronger source, I get a slightly clearer sound with the ER-4P than from the hf2. But the difference really is slight. (If I tried to tell which was which from sound alone, I'd probably have to listen to both, not just one or the other.)

- I find the hf2 noticeably more efficient, which makes a useful difference in my volume-capped Euro iPod when playing certain kinds of material when I've neglected to adjust playback gain before hand.

- The hf2 has far lower cable microphonics than my ER-4P, which is from the generation that has twisted earpiece cables and a molded solid green junction. I don't know anything about the cords on the current generation ER-4P, though.

For me the takeaway is this:

* For unamped / portable use, I prefer the hf2. Sounds better unamped from my source, a bit more efficient, less microphonic, and doesn't have the extra mass and bulk of the ER-4's module where the wires join.

* For best sound quality, an amp and an ER-4S are what do it for me.

* If you aren't going to own both, the ER-4P is a great almost-best-of-both-worlds compromise. Sounds quite good unamped. Sounds better amped (or well-driven). Sounds fantastic properly amped and with the 4P->4S adaptor.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Etymotic ER-4P vs. HF5 - Opinions?