After over 4 years on head-fi, I finally bought a pair of Etymotic IEMs - the ER4 P/S. I've auditioned the ER4p, HF2 and ER6i before and they all impressed me a lot, but for some reason I never actually bought a pair to spend my time with it and to analyze it properly. I guess this was because the Etys became overshadowed by a large number of IEMs by other manufacturers in the past few years and by the hype surrounding many of them. So every time I thought I might pick up a pair of Etys, I always ended up being caught in an all new FOTM IEM and bought that instead, only to sell it later because it didn't satisfy me in one way or another or because an even more drooling-inducing IEM came out which forced me to sell whatever I had to fund that one.
So anyways, after these 4 years of switching headphones like clothes and constantly getting caught in a whirlpool of never ending hype. I finally got tired of it and even became a bit depressed. I tried almost all top tier universal IEMs and non of them truly satisfied me. Yes, they all had certain strengths that I appreciated, but most also had fatal flaws to my ears which I just couldn't accept and ignore.
Enter the ER4: The first few minutes that I listened to it when I received it, I actually didn't think it was all that great. A bit flat and boring sounding with too much emphasis on the mids and not enough treble. However, the more I listened, the more I began to realize that it just reproduces sound honestly with very little coloration. I was not used to that. Most headphones I had before and also the Fischer Audio DBA-02 that I also just got a day before the Etys arrived sounded colored in one way or another. The ER4, on the other hand, sounded calm, controlled and seemingly without anything in its sound that really caught my attention. As I listened, I suddenly started to understand what they are all about - I started getting the sensation of some serious accuracy in the midrange and bass. Now, after a couple of days, I absolutely love my ER4 - the timbre in the midrange and bass is the most accurate I've ever heard in any IEM and the highs that sometimes seem a little too laid back and lacking compared to mids and highs are actually wonderfully detailed. At the beginning I also felt that ER4 was too dry, but this no longer bothers me now and I realized that this is simply a part of the presentation and allows the sound to be more articulate and clean without any extra smoothness that is not there in the recording and/or source. I also feel that the bass is the most detialed, deepest and tightest I've ever heard in a headphone and is perfectly balanced with the mids and the treble. Call me crazy, but I love listening to trance music through the ER4 without any EQ added.
I now like my ER4 so much that I decided to create this thread in order to share my love for this IEM with other Ety users on the forum who still own and love theirs. I feel that nowadays, the ER4 is perhaps one of the most underrated, if not the most underrated IEM on the market. The main complaints are usually that it lacks bass and/or sounds too clean. Personally, I completely disagree with both of these views. I don't think ER4 lacks bass at all and I also don't think that sound can be too clean. In my opinion, the cleaner and more accurate the sound is the better, because it brings you closer to hearing music the way it was recorded. I may be terribly wrong, but I am sure some people will agree and if you do agree with what I wrote above regarding the ER4 and/or want to share your own positive experience with them, this thread is for you!
I haven't heard a high end custom like JH13, but in my humble opinion, the ER4 blows away pretty much every IEM I've heard, including Westone ES3X in timbre accuracy and overall sound quality. I am starting to doubt the need for multi driver IEMs.