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Totally insane quality for a totally insane price.....The Etymotic mc5 mini review.

post #1 of 318
Thread Starter 

 

I'd been waiting a long time for these iem's to become available in the uk as I had a real burning desire to hear just how a dynamic ety would sound. So, as you can imagine, when these appeared on the iheadphones store, I snapped a pair up straight away.  Now, I have them and have been listening to them for a couple of days.  Now I want to share my thoughts on them.
 
These come in a really nice white pack, similar in shape to the Hf5 box, with a nice flip up front so you can see the phones.  When you open the box, they are also packed like the Hf5, with a new style case full of tips and filters (and of course the phones themselves)  The packaging is very very nice indeed, and is easy to take everthing out without cutting yourself to bits, so top marks there.
 
As for the Mc5's themselves, they feel very sturdy indeed with a slightly thicker barrel than the usual ety, but feel really sturdy and nice to hold.  The cable is fantastic, and certainly the best i've seen from etymotic.  (Miles better than the 4p, and light years ahead of the awful hf5 one, which I found far far worse than the 4p.  But, enough of that.  Let's get to the fit and sound.)
 
Included is the usual range of tips, White triple flange (Which looks more like the shure style instead of the grey), a pair of foam tips, the small baby blues, and finally, the gliders. Me, I use the triple flange.
 
So first off: the isolation is killer.  Really excellent!  You can hardly hear a thing with them in, which for me is perfect because I don't see the point of having IEM's that are poor at isolating, because it defeats the purpose of them. You may as well have a full size pair on, but there you go.  So, they perform great in that department, and with the thicker barrel, they also feel extremely comfortable and flush with the ear.  Obviously, this won't be the same for everyone, but for me they are lovely.  The cable is a touch microphonic, but it really is not that bad without the clip. With the clip, it pretty much stops it.
 
Ok Sound!
 
The first thing I noticed about these when I first hit play (Using mostly flac and V0 mp3s) was the bass. Very strong indeed, with a nice punch, and much more than any other etymotic phone.  While these will still not satisfy a basshead, they really do (dare I say) excel in this department.  I think that's because of the dynamic driver, but either way, the bass certainly surprises.
 
Mids are neither too recessed or forward, and lay about the same as you would expect from ety, once again.  The driver also gives them a more sturdy foundation than a b/a drive,r and this makes them sound very clear, but with a nice kick.
 
Ok... Onto another much talked about part of the freq when it comes to ety's -- the treble.
 
Now, I don't much care for rolled off highs.  I never have, and I'm glad to say these do not let me down. But, something is different.  And once again, this is all to do with the dynamic driver.  Highs are what I can only describe as 'Crunchy', with really powerful cymbal crashes and hi hats that seriously fizz into your head. But at the same time, they sound very natural indeed.  While the detail is ALL there, the Mc5 presents it in a very timbral way, which once again is real nice.  I'm tempted (REALLY tempted) to say these sound a tad warm, but I'll stay on the fence with that one at the moment. LOL.
 
Speaking of a timbral presentation, I feel that word sums up the Mc5 very well indeed, because the decay amongst other touches is quite beautiful, and very pleasing to the ear.
 
Now, here is the killer blow: At this price point (£59.99 here in the uk) either Etymotic have completely lost their marbles, or they have found a cheaper way to make these, because these scream quality in both in build and sound.  If they were to cost £200, they would still be fantastic value.  Obviously, these are in pretty much direct competition with the Re0, but they are built better.  They sound better. They are more efficient, and they isolate.  While I love my Re0's, the Ety's really put them in the shade. IMHO, they also outshine the Hje900, and could be the best dynamic ever.  They are not far off the best all round universal IEM either, which considering they are a one driver design, I think speaks for itself.  While the detail isn't quite er4s (although it ain't far off), the fact you do not need an amp for them, and the fact they do have a very strong timbral feel to them... I just don't think you can really go wrong at all.  If it all came down to price, these would wipe the floor with everything.  As it stands, they are not going to be for everybody, but I feel they deserve to be at the very top. And that, in my opinion, is where they belong.
 
I wouldn't say the Mc5 was a BETTER phone than the Er4s, because it's a totally different driver, and it presents the music in a different way.  But, they sure are very refined in their sound, and are the most musical and natural sounding Ety I have heard. They are truly exciting to listen to.
 
post #2 of 318

I'm really pleased to see that others are enjoying these as much as I am. They are a great value-for-money proposition.

post #3 of 318

It would be interesting to face these off against the HF5. I thought the HF5 also warmer and more balanced than 4s but obviously not as fast, etched or crispy. I'd opt for the HF5 for portables. I wonder how the lower distortion of a BA will balance against the harmonic character of a still clean ET Dynamic.

 

Found one. http://www.head-fi.org/products/etymotic-mc5/reviews


Edited by goodvibes - 9/1/10 at 7:33am
post #4 of 318

I think your review swayed me. I needed a good, solid IEM for not too much money for my brand new iPod Touch, which I hope to buy today after the announcement of the new Touches (I think). I already have the HF2, trying it out. And it is very very good. But if I can save some $$$, I might as well try out an MC phone. But instead of the MC5, I ordered the MC3 from Etymotic (the MC5 with a mic and controls for the iphone and Touch). Very excited. I can really enjoy this nice new combo. It will be interesting to compare the HF2 with the MC3. My guess is I will just return or sell the HF2. Thanks for that great review. It confirms what many others have said about the MC lineup.

 

I will do an HF2 comparison with the MC3 when the latter arrives.


Edited by panthers2012 - 9/1/10 at 9:08am
post #5 of 318

It really is a viable alternative to the RE0 with some definite advantages as you point out.  Don't be afraid to use the word 'warm' because they do have a touch of it, with the filters in of course.    I do think the bass and treble are a tad more subdued than your post could lead one to believe.  Then again it could just be ear differences.  But it was more on the Neutral side w/ a nice presentation on the whole.  All in all the MC3/5 could be the best overall packages available at their price points. 

post #6 of 318

A lot of people overlook the Etymotic products.  While they've never really tried to be popular, they do make excellent products.

 

I didn't realize they made a dynamic version.  Interesting.

 

From your description, I'm curious what you might think of the Denon C751 in comparison to the MC5. 

post #7 of 318

Yes, the MC5 has brought the Ety sound into the hands for everyday folk who can spend $80 on an excellent sounding phone.  I feel certain that the success of the RE0 had a hand in pushing the Ety folks to rethink their approach, try a more dynamic method and sound -- and I think it will pay off for them.  A 2 year warranty sealed the deal for me, without hearing them.

 

IMO, the MC5 responds to EQ (bass up, if desired) better than the RE0, and has more punch and impact in the bass than the RE0 bass, and is closer to "fun" sounding than the RE0.

 

Still keeping my Thinksound Rain when I want a really full, bassy, fun sound!

post #8 of 318

This review also swayed me to the MC3's - I've been looking to get an earphone with mic/music controls for my iPhone, and I've also always been curious about Etymotic isolation. While I'm not expecting something amazing, if they can achieve sound similar to the RE0s, but thicker and with more timbre and quantity in the bass, I'm keen. 

 

Can't wait for them to arrive!

post #9 of 318

Thanks for this review, it's excellent! I had been looking into getting a pair of IEMs at this price point and was originally going to get the RE0, but may try these for a bit "warmer" sound. I'll order soon and let you guys know what i think

post #10 of 318

Hi,

I'm a noob here and honestly, I don't understand most of the descriptions that are used in the review. All I get is that this is a great pair of earphone with excellent sound and build quality.

Anyway, I was looking for a pair of new earphone and was wondering if this is the perfect one for me.

I usually listen to the pop and ballad genre. Is this earphone good for that genre?

Or can someone recommend a better one in the same price range?

Thanks in advance.

post #11 of 318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimless View Post

Hi,

I'm a noob here and honestly, I don't understand most of the descriptions that are used in the review. All I get is that this is a great pair of earphone with excellent sound and build quality.

Anyway, I was looking for a pair of new earphone and was wondering if this is the perfect one for me.

I usually listen to the pop and ballad genre. Is this earphone good for that genre?

Or can someone recommend a better one in the same price range?

Thanks in advance.


Yup, they will work fine.

post #12 of 318

Thanks for the swift reply.

I was thinking of getting the ATH-CK7 since the MC5 is not available in Australia yet.

Would the MC5 be a lot better than the CK7?

post #13 of 318

I was just pondering investigating a pair of IEMs with a tad more bass than the RE-ZEROs myself, so I might have to see if one of the local electronics stores has demo models available.

post #14 of 318

Thanks for the review, very interesting and descriptive.

 

For the price these are no doubt interesting, specially for the isolation (probably the trade mark of Etymotic). I think the same as you: having IEM with poor isolation mostly defeats the purpose of IEMs, IMHO.

 

I've heard an Etymotic model only once, and only for a few minutes, a pair of Er4, but still I wonder how a pair of dynamic Etys will sound.

post #15 of 318

Moving from a pair of C751's I'm concerned if I snapped these up for the absolute bargain they are, I might be disappointed with the lack of warmth and bass. Any opinions?

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors ›  Totally insane quality for a totally insane price.....The Etymotic mc5 mini review.