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Reviewed! Bose Tri port, Vs. Klipsch Image S4 Vs. Etymotic ER-4p Vs. Monster Beats by Dre Vs....

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I have recently had the opportunity to test all of these headphones and I thought I would take a few moments to share my thoughts on them.
About two years ago i tried the Bose headphones for the first time and they rocked my world, they were the first noise isolating in ear headphones id heard and before that i had been sporting the original ipod ear buds for and similar quality gear for years. I was in love and I even went as far as to get some molds of my ears made and fitted to achieve maximum comfort and sound quality.

About two months ago some one decided they needed my headphones more than i did and that was the end of my bose, on the bright side i went on a journey through four different pairs of phones and have strong opinions of all of them. I will rank them from least favorite to favorite.

I have spent between 1 and two weeks listening to each type of phones, i have gone through a wide range of music but the staples for the comparisons will be Victor Wootens A Show of Hands, The Beatles, Dr. Dres 2001, Radio Heads In Rainbows and a choice selection of Bach and Mozart.

 

5~ Etymotic ER-4p $179.99

I had such high hopes for these headphones. They were the first pair I got as a replacement and I was dissapointed from the first note. These headphones claim the be the most precise phones around, and they probably are but if your into bass of low end THESE ARE NOT FOR YOU. It was laughable how weak the bass response was, I really tried hard to love these phones but i just couldn't. The highs sound great and they performed best on the classical tracks, the sound is very bright. They also block the most outside noise of any phone tested, i found that they let a fair amount of sound out though so people around me could hear very well. The cord also felt kind of fragile and transfered a lot of noise to the ear. Not at all worth the money i paid for them, i tested these phones with out a headphone amp.

 

4~ Klipsch Image S4 $84.99

Again I had high hopes for these headphones, but over all i was pretty unsatisfied with them. The high end mid range sounds crystal clear and amazing but the bass response leaves a lot to be desired. They felt underpowered and no matter what i listened  to i felt that some thing special was missing, the music sounded empty and hollow. Another problem I had here was the fact that the provided tips refuse to stay in my ears. No matter what i did i couldnt get the phones to seal properly or stay in my ears, even when sitting down. This may be part of the reason for the poor low end, nonetheless I was pretty unhappy with the phones, the metal carrying case was also kind of a pain in the ass, it reminded me of the case that old school zebra gum came in and was easily dented. I will be the first to admit I am hard on my gear and i dont feel the case would have made it more than a month, the packaging also left something to be desired.

 

3~ Monster Beats by Dre $149.99

Finally a set of phones that I was decently happy with. These headphones have some really strong points, my favorite feature being the flat cable. If you can stand a fire engine red cord it was wonderful, hard to tangle and easy to fix. The highs and mids were very nice and these phones were a bit warmer than the previous two. I started to notice a personal trend with these phones, I like deep sounds with rich bass. My one complaint with these phones is that the low end wasnt all there. I was shocked because monster claims that Dre had a hand in designing these and i dont know why he would let such mediocre low end slide. The fit and finish of these phones was of the highest quality and the packaging was clever and a joy to open. They came with a selection of 5 different silicone tips and i was easily able to find one to fit my ears.

 

2~ Bose Tri Port $89.99

I am probably a bit biased but i still love these phones. The reviews I have read would put them at the bottom of this pack but that goes to show that you need to try things for yourself sometimes. These headphones sound great from lows to highs but sometimes the low end is over played and the highs get a little lost. The quality of these phones is very high as well, a pair of mine did actually break out of warranty and bose was nice enough to replace them for free with no questions asked. I think these are probably the best value for the price and I continue to recommend them to most of my friends. Another positive thing here is that these phones really dont bleed that much sound the the outside world, meaning that you are the only one to hear your music which is nice in quiet places. I dont really like the shape of them and the tend to stick out of the ears a little bit and they are not truly sound isolating meaning that you can hear a lot of outside noise.

 

1~Monster Turbine 159.99 (179.99 in best buy)

These are hands down my favorite of the phones i tested. With the exception of the Bose these were the only phones that made me smile ear to ear as soon as i put them in and i basically love everything about them. They boast a rich and full sound, the lows boom and the highs are precise and deep. They are comfy accross all genres of music and I have not heard a not of distortion yet. They have the same selection of tips as the Dre phones but sadly dont come with the flat cord. The quality is top notch as well, these headphones make it hard for me to stop listening to music once i get started. When compared directly to the Beats by Dre they match everything on the high end but have so so much more on the low side. I strongly recommend these to any one who is passionate about sound quality and prepared to spend a little bit of money to get it.


I hope that this information was helpful and Ill be glad to answer any questions to the best of my ability!

Another note is that i spent countless hours on line looking for information on all these phones but in the end it was much easier and much more fun to order a pair and try them out, best buy carries all of these phones but the Etymotic and they have a kick ass return policy as well.

post #2 of 53

Hmm.... i guess preferences are quite subjective. I believe in the exposure to mainstream music and earphones/headphones, most people will succumb to the power of bass to anything else. Your post is a fine prove, the er4's inferior to bose? If there was a good point of the triports, it will be the gimmick behind it. Zebra cable? funny looking canal silicons? and good build? these are all just gimmicks, believe me that bose has terrible build......so bad that even the imitations were claim to sound better than the original triport. And that zebra cable is crap, its most likely to spoil in 1 year. My friend had two pairs, and both gave away...... The fit wise.... i guess that silicon weird tip is the crappiest tip i have even seen.... just throw it away and put a ue silicon tip or anything... .02

post #3 of 53

I think you might have a more consumer-based preference to your sound (Immense bass quantity). I'm pretty sure the majority of head-fiers tend to prefer more neutral and analytical sound, but thanks for doing the comparison regardless, and just stick with what you enjoy listening to. 

post #4 of 53

Always nice to have somebody speak for the majority.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jjeremycai View Post   I'm pretty sure the majority of head-fiers tend to prefer more neutral and analytical sound
post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumflow View Post

Always nice to have somebody speak for the majority.
Quote:


 


Haha, sorry if I offended anyone who differs from my opinion, but that assumption is just what I gathered after lurking around here daily for awhile. I should have added, IMO. 


Edited by jjeremycai - 6/1/10 at 2:57pm
post #6 of 53

Ech, just get an ATH-ES7.  Shiny looks and punchy sound.

post #7 of 53
Thread Starter 

Im not claiming to be a hardcore audiophile by any means, and yes its probable that i do like more consumer orientated sound than many of the people that frequent this forum, my audio pallet obviously isnt in the same place as every ones. That being said I am a consumer, and while i was researching i wish i could have found some one who gave a dumbed down description of the stuff to help me out.

And I like the bose sound better than the Etymotic, the build quality of the later is obviously higher as it should be with such a huge price difference. In the end it doesnt bother me what you guys have to say, i spent a lot of time listening and researching and for my simple, consumer ears this is how it panned out, i wanted to share my experiences, which is what this place is for if im not mistaken.

post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by kippem View Post

Im not claiming to be a hardcore audiophile by any means, and yes its probable that i do like more consumer orientated sound than many of the people that frequent this forum, my audio pallet obviously isnt in the same place as every ones. That being said I am a consumer, and while i was researching i wish i could have found some one who gave a dumbed down description of the stuff to help me out.

And I like the bose sound better than the Etymotic, the build quality of the later is obviously higher as it should be with such a huge price difference. In the end it doesnt bother me what you guys have to say, i spent a lot of time listening and researching and for my simple, consumer ears this is how it panned out, i wanted to share my experiences, which is what this place is for if im not mistaken.

Exactly. Congrats on finding phones you like.
 

post #9 of 53
Finally a review of some interesting earphones by someone who just wants to listen to music! I understand some people like to analyse music and what not, sometimes I tend to aswell, but i take music with me to listen and enjoy. I want some headphones that makes music sound exciting and it's difficult to get enjoyable bass out of some upmarket iem's. This review has definitley helped give me a view from a similar perspective to mine and I hope there are more reviews on this site like this.
post #10 of 53


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kippem View Post
5~ Etymotic ER-4p $179.99

I had such high hopes for these headphones. They were the first pair I got as a replacement and I was dissapointed from the first note. These headphones claim the be the most precise phones around, and they probably are but if your into bass of low end THESE ARE NOT FOR YOU. It was laughable how weak the bass response was, I really tried hard to love these phones but i just couldn't. The highs sound great and they performed best on the classical tracks, the sound is very bright. They also block the most outside noise of any phone tested, i found that they let a fair amount of sound out though so people around me could hear very well. The cord also felt kind of fragile and transfered a lot of noise to the ear. Not at all worth the money i paid for them, i tested these phones with out a headphone amp.


I'm surprised to hear that people next to you can hear your music coming out of your 'phones while you were wearing them. I would only expect this kind of thing to happen to open back headphones. The Koss KSC-75 have a bit of sound leakage, so in a quiet enough environment, people would be able to hear my music. I've heard that Grado headphones (google search for a picture of grado headphones, those things are OPEN) are notorious for sound leak. Someone would tell you to turn down your music even if you were listening at a very low volume in a quiet environment, say, a library.

 

However, I've NEVER heard of an IEM (in-ear monitor) exhibiting sound leakage. Ever. Open-backed IEM's don't count; I'm not even sure if those would even be called IEM's.

 

From the information given in your post, I can only assume that you did not properly insert the ER-4P's into your ears. And it does take a learning curve, even if you're trying your best to do it right, after reading the proper instructions (reaching over your head with your opposite hand, pulling your ear up and out, etc., etc., etc.). After proper insertion of the ER-4P's (or S's), the cylindrical parts of the earpieces that the drivers are in would be completely inside your ear, leaving only the stress relief of the cable sticking out of your ears, making you look like you have only stress relief + wires coming out of your head. They go in deep, and I mean DEEP. When properly inserted, it would be difficult to make conversation with people, even if they're right next to you, in quiet environments, and you would be able to use a gasoline powered lawn mower and be able to listen at a safe volume (DISCLAIMER: I am not recommending anyone to FORCE anything into their ears. This is dangerous. If it won't go in, it won't go in. Get smaller flanges/tips/custom molds/whatever, just be smart and don't hurt yourself).

 

Only then will you be able to hear them reach frequencies far lower than you would expect from a normal pair of consumer headphones. I find that even the ER-4S, which supposedly has less bass (in terms of volume in dB) than the ER-4P, produces frequencies much lower than the Koss KSC-75's can. I use my ER-4S's for all of my music. Classical, Jazz, etc. Movies, too. Games? Ehh... I play FPS's, so I use my KSC-75's because for some reason directional hearing is easier with headphones that don't go inside of your ears. I don't want to go too off-topic here, though.

 

I remember reading that you already returned the ER-4P's, so it is what it is, then. Well, I'd say, if you're willing, then give the Etymotic's another chance. Sorry for the long post though. If you got this far, thanks for reading.

post #11 of 53

I agree with vYu223. You're not supposed to have any sound leakage with Etymotic, not with the Er4p. At near 40db of isolation, you won't even hear anything happening around you.

 

It has one of the flattest freq response, which means it's one of the closest earphone to being neutral. The bass on it is fast and tight, as in the reverb is short. It has no problem going down <50Hz, although in terms of sheer quantity it might not be enough for everyone's taste. One phrase sums it up: Those who love it swear by it. The cable is problematic though....

post #12 of 53
Thread Starter 

I was pretty surprised as well, im confident i had them in my ears correctly but i noticed the sound when my father had them in, its possible that he didnt have them in his ears correctly hes pretty old school and not quite used to having things that deep in the canal. The Etymotic put out some quality sound, it was precise and accurate but just not what i was really looking for.

And if you can hold a conversation with those tips in your ears you have way better hearing that i do because they cut out virtually all outside sound without even being on. Maybe a few years down the line ill give um a try again with a headphone amp or something.

Thanks for the feed back

post #13 of 53

Does this mean that you do not care to hear how it sounded in the recording studios because you like the package?

Quote:

Originally Posted by kippem View Post  i do like more consumer orientated sound..
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumflow View Post

Does this mean that you do not care to hear how it sounded in the recording studios because you like the package?

Quote:


 


This is very subjective, how it sounded in the recording studios will rarely sound exactly the same for each individual, since each person has different ear structures, and their brains also interpret sound differently. 

post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by kippem View Post

I have recently had the opportunity to test all of these headphones and I thought I would take a few moments to share my thoughts on them.
About two years ago i tried the Bose headphones for the first time and they rocked my world, they were the first noise isolating in ear headphones id heard and before that i had been sporting the original ipod ear buds for and similar quality gear for years. I was in love and I even went as far as to get some molds of my ears made and fitted to achieve maximum comfort and sound quality.

About two months ago some one decided they needed my headphones more than i did and that was the end of my bose, on the bright side i went on a journey through four different pairs of phones and have strong opinions of all of them. I will rank them from least favorite to favorite.

I have spent between 1 and two weeks listening to each type of phones, i have gone through a wide range of music but the staples for the comparisons will be Victor Wootens A Show of Hands, The Beatles, Dr. Dres 2001, Radio Heads In Rainbows and a choice selection of Bach and Mozart.

 

5~ Etymotic ER-4p $179.99

I had such high hopes for these headphones. They were the first pair I got as a replacement and I was dissapointed from the first note. These headphones claim the be the most precise phones around, and they probably are but if your into bass of low end THESE ARE NOT FOR YOU. It was laughable how weak the bass response was, I really tried hard to love these phones but i just couldn't. The highs sound great and they performed best on the classical tracks, the sound is very bright. They also block the most outside noise of any phone tested, i found that they let a fair amount of sound out though so people around me could hear very well. The cord also felt kind of fragile and transfered a lot of noise to the ear. Not at all worth the money i paid for them, i tested these phones with out a headphone amp.

 

4~ Klipsch Image S4 $84.99

Again I had high hopes for these headphones, but over all i was pretty unsatisfied with them. The high end mid range sounds crystal clear and amazing but the bass response leaves a lot to be desired. They felt underpowered and no matter what i listened  to i felt that some thing special was missing, the music sounded empty and hollow. Another problem I had here was the fact that the provided tips refuse to stay in my ears. No matter what i did i couldnt get the phones to seal properly or stay in my ears, even when sitting down. This may be part of the reason for the poor low end, nonetheless I was pretty unhappy with the phones, the metal carrying case was also kind of a pain in the ass, it reminded me of the case that old school zebra gum came in and was easily dented. I will be the first to admit I am hard on my gear and i dont feel the case would have made it more than a month, the packaging also left something to be desired.

 

3~ Monster Beats by Dre $149.99

Finally a set of phones that I was decently happy with. These headphones have some really strong points, my favorite feature being the flat cable. If you can stand a fire engine red cord it was wonderful, hard to tangle and easy to fix. The highs and mids were very nice and these phones were a bit warmer than the previous two. I started to notice a personal trend with these phones, I like deep sounds with rich bass. My one complaint with these phones is that the low end wasnt all there. I was shocked because monster claims that Dre had a hand in designing these and i dont know why he would let such mediocre low end slide. The fit and finish of these phones was of the highest quality and the packaging was clever and a joy to open. They came with a selection of 5 different silicone tips and i was easily able to find one to fit my ears.

 

2~ Bose Tri Port $89.99

I am probably a bit biased but i still love these phones. The reviews I have read would put them at the bottom of this pack but that goes to show that you need to try things for yourself sometimes. These headphones sound great from lows to highs but sometimes the low end is over played and the highs get a little lost. The quality of these phones is very high as well, a pair of mine did actually break out of warranty and bose was nice enough to replace them for free with no questions asked. I think these are probably the best value for the price and I continue to recommend them to most of my friends. Another positive thing here is that these phones really dont bleed that much sound the the outside world, meaning that you are the only one to hear your music which is nice in quiet places. I dont really like the shape of them and the tend to stick out of the ears a little bit and they are not truly sound isolating meaning that you can hear a lot of outside noise.

 

1~Monster Turbine 159.99 (179.99 in best buy)

These are hands down my favorite of the phones i tested. With the exception of the Bose these were the only phones that made me smile ear to ear as soon as i put them in and i basically love everything about them. They boast a rich and full sound, the lows boom and the highs are precise and deep. They are comfy accross all genres of music and I have not heard a not of distortion yet. They have the same selection of tips as the Dre phones but sadly dont come with the flat cord. The quality is top notch as well, these headphones make it hard for me to stop listening to music once i get started. When compared directly to the Beats by Dre they match everything on the high end but have so so much more on the low side. I strongly recommend these to any one who is passionate about sound quality and prepared to spend a little bit of money to get it.


I hope that this information was helpful and Ill be glad to answer any questions to the best of my ability!

Another note is that i spent countless hours on line looking for information on all these phones but in the end it was much easier and much more fun to order a pair and try them out, best buy carries all of these phones but the Etymotic and they have a kick ass return policy as well.


Wow, have you come to the wrong place!

 

BOSE = Buy Other Sound Equipment

Overpriced cheap plastic cans that sound simply horrible!

 

And until you hit the Monster Coppers, the Dr. Dre IEMs are also terrible too.

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