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Terrible Etymotic HF5's

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

I ordered a pair of Etymotic HF5's about a year ago figuring I'd get much better and much cleaner audio out of them than my $9 paid of in ear Skull Candies.

I was wrong! The HF5's have absolutely no low end at all. Now I wouldn't expect the ridiculous bass the skull candies put out, but I'd expect nice, clean and defined lows. The highs are crisp. I also can't listen to them on my macbook pro because they get under(or over?)driven at about half volume. They have too much impedance. 

Do they need to be used every so often to sound good? I rarely ever use them because the sound is not practical for most music I listen to. I want to believe these are good and that they sound good, but they sure don't right now. Maybe they're broken? I have checked the filters, I put them in my ears right and I still can't get anything to sound right.

Source audio is all 320kbps or FLAC.

post #2 of 44

They just have a particular sound and need a tight seal.  I just bought a pair a month ago and hated how they sounded.  It's been in the box since.  If anyone is interested, let me know - not my sound at all.

post #3 of 44

How far are either of you putting them in your ears? Ety's don't work if you try to get a seal in your outer ear canal. Other than that I can say you're not the only one's to be underwhelmed but saying they have no bass at all is either a big exaggeration or you're doing something wrong, it's not likely to be the driver if the highs are fine.

post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 

I'm listening to these $9 in ears, I can hear a nice clear, clean bass drum hit. I listen on the Etymotics and I _cant_ hear it. I'm sealing them way in my ear until it basically hurts

post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenk09 View Post

I'm listening to these $9 in ears, I can hear a nice clear, clean bass drum hit. I listen on the Etymotics and I _cant_ hear it. I'm sealing them way in my ear until it basically hurts



If you're very accustomed to bass heavy IEMs, you'll be less sensitive to anything that offers lesser. It may take time for your ears to get accustomed to the MC5. You may just have invested in MC5s without knowing what to expect

post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackquelegs View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by allenk09 View Post

I'm listening to these $9 in ears, I can hear a nice clear, clean bass drum hit. I listen on the Etymotics and I _cant_ hear it. I'm sealing them way in my ear until it basically hurts



If you're very accustomed to bass heavy IEMs, you'll be less sensitive to anything that offers lesser. It may take time for your ears to get accustomed to the MC5. You may just have invested in MC5s without knowing what to expect


Yep, these are my first quality IEM's. I listen to a lot of EDM, heavy bass stuff and I can't stop using the headphones with huge bass response for that.

I just put the HF5's in with the foam inserts, they sound quite a bit better. 

post #7 of 44

If it's any consolation, my first ety's were the er6, I almost returned them thinking them faulty coming from my cx300's/sony's, after about 2 weeks of listening to them everyday i'd grown to like them, some people never grow to like them.

post #8 of 44

Unfortunately, Ety earphones are too accurate for some people.  I say "unfortunately" because so many cheap earphones are overly colored with false/fake bass, and when your brain gets used to that amount and type of bass, everything else sounds thin and bad.  That's not the fault of the accurate earphone.

 

I have the HF5 and use Shure "Olive" tips (black foam), not the Ety triple flange tips.  I don't have to shove them in too deep, just deep enough to create a seal which is easy and obvious with the foam tips.  THEN you will hear clean and accurate bass from the HF5.  It has plenty of extension, and a surprising amount of impact for a BA driver.

 

Get a good seal, and then give your brain a couple of listening sessions to adjust to accurate sound reproduction.

post #9 of 44

Give them a good week of use, you'll be surprised.  After the week go back to your cheaper ones and they'll probably sound muddy and bloated. :D

post #10 of 44

hf5's are fantastic and if anyone finds a 9 dollar ear bud to be better than either they have a faulty pair of the hf5 or they simply cant distinguish good from bad

post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhaynes View Post

Unfortunately, Ety earphones are too accurate for some people...

 

...so many cheap earphones are overly colored with false/fake bass, and when your brain gets used to that amount and type of bass, everything else sounds thin and bad.  


..."too accurate" is one way to describe Etys. Another would be "severely lack low end", or "overly emphasize the mids and top end".

 

Moving up from less expensive IEMs with overly hyped low end, everything else will not sound "thin and bad".

 

If you want good "accurate" low end that you can actually hear and get in to... try Westone 3 or the new Westone 4. Almost any higher end IEM will have better low end than any Ety. All Etys are well known for their "flat response", which, translated, means not enough energy in the low end.

post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhaynes View Post

Unfortunately, Ety earphones are too accurate for some people...

 

...so many cheap earphones are overly colored with false/fake bass, and when your brain gets used to that amount and type of bass, everything else sounds thin and bad.  


..."too accurate" is one way to describe Etys. Another would be "severely lack low end", or "overly emphasize the mids and top end".

 

Moving up from less expensive IEMs with overly hyped low end, everything else will not sound "thin and bad".

 

If you want good "accurate" low end that you can actually hear and get in to... try Westone 3 or the new Westone 4. Almost any higher end IEM will have better low end than any Ety. All Etys are well known for their "flat response", which, translated, means not enough energy in the low end.

As judged by comparison to the sound of a live symphony orchestra, my MC5s are right on the money in terms of balance of bass to the rest of the spectrum. (By comparison, my Grado SR80s have a modest but quite audible midbass hump. There's a perfectly respectable psychoacoustic argument that this is a desirable thing in cans, where you can't feel the bass.) You're perfectly entitled to prefer more bass- I do sometimes- but that doesn't mean that Etys are doing it "wrong". They aren't.

post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post


..."too accurate" is one way to describe Etys. Another would be "severely lack low end", or "overly emphasize the mids and top end".

 

Moving up from less expensive IEMs with overly hyped low end, everything else will not sound "thin and bad".

 

If you want good "accurate" low end that you can actually hear and get in to... try Westone 3 or the new Westone 4. Almost any higher end IEM will have better low end than any Ety. All Etys are well known for their "flat response", which, translated, means not enough energy in the low end.

 

Have to disagree with you.  Etymotic has spent years researching and building earphones that accurately recreate sounds as they are created and heard by the human ear, especially in the acoustic environment.   Electronically created music has absolutely no base (not "bass") sound to compare against -- you can add bass, mid and treble to make it sound however you like, and no one can say it has too much or too little of whatever frequency.  

 

However, a concert quality cello or double bass has a very defined tone and tonal quality (given variations between cellos/whatever instrument).  If your earphone can accurately reproduce in one ear what your other ear is hearing acoustically, then our earphone is approaching or achieving accuracy.

 

I've never heard the Westone 3 or 4, but a number of Head-Fi'ers review the W3 as being fairly colored and bass heavy and somewhat rolled off in the highs.  Meaning Westone is intentionally altering the original signal to add bass and reduce/limit highs.  That's what they hear in the W3.

 

Let me re-phrase my original statement: Etymotic earphones are MORE accurate that some people want.  If you want colored, exaggerated sound, then there are plenty of brands out there to choose from.  If you want accurate sound reproduction, there are enough brands available also -- but if they ARE accurate to the original source, they DON'T severely lack low end, or over-emphasize the high end.
 

post #14 of 44

Etymotic ER4 is the most accurate, natural and detailed IEM I've ever heard. When listening to real musical instruments and vocals, it gives me an intense sense of presence with the musicians. It is extremely realistic sounding.

 

The HF5 may be slightly less accurate, but not by much. I heard the HF2 and it sounds very close to ER4p in sound quality and tone.

post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhaynes View Post



Have to disagree with you.  Etymotic has spent years researching and building earphones that accurately recreate sounds as they are created and heard by the human ear, especially in the acoustic environment.   Electronically created music has absolutely no base (not "bass") sound to compare against -- you can add bass, mid and treble to make it sound however you like, and no one can say it has too much or too little of whatever frequency.

 

Let me re-phrase my original statement: Etymotic earphones are MORE accurate that some people want.  If you want colored, exaggerated sound, then there are plenty of brands out there to choose from.  If you want accurate sound reproduction, there are enough brands available also -- but if they ARE accurate to the original source, they DON'T severely lack low end, or over-emphasize the high end.
 


Etymotic are the least accurate IEMs I've ever used. Every type of music has a "base" sound... it's the sound that was heard in the studio or on the stage as the artist intended it to be when it was created, mixed & mastered. Etymotic's sound is the least like any recording of a studio mix or live stage performance I've ever personally experienced. When someone mixes in a killer low end and "warmth" in the studio, and the Etymotic is incapable of reproducing anything close to that without adding EQ... that is inaccurate sound... regardless of the claims and years of research of Etymotic. There's a reason why no other IEM sounds anything like Etymotic... because Etymotic's core idea of how an IEM should be built and ultimately sound to the human ear is flawed and unnatural... and their base design severely hypes the upper mids and high end... which is why some people falsely believe they're "more detailed" or "more accurate". They're not.  
 

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