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If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you... - Page 81

post #1201 of 4677

ianmedium, calm down and watch your blood pressure. Based on the measurements provided by Tyll alone I'd certainly remain skeptical on whether the differences would be audible to most listeners, and I say this as someone with years of interest in audio engineering. Now, whether Tylls measurements were consistent in methodology, and the specimens measured are representative is antoher story. How could that not be a given? This is 101 stuff to me. I get that the audiophilism you subscribe to embraces flowery subjectivism rather than trying to quantify what and how something makes for a differing sonic impression. I get that you're provoked that someone would be willing make distinction between subjective impression and objective measurement rather than throw the later out the window right away. I suggest you find post by other users which have a more credulous stance than me, of which you'll find plenty on this forum.


Edited by markanini - 4/6/13 at 11:38am
post #1202 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlovestory View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when does frequency response graph have anything to do with clarity?

Who claimed it does?

post #1203 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by markanini View Post

Who claimed it does?

I digested your post as saying basically "ER-4 and HF-5 is similar FR chart-wise, thus subjectively any difference in clarity is perhaps due to placebo effect".

 

I prolly misunderstood your post though.

post #1204 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlovestory View Post

I digested your post as saying basically "ER-4 and HF-5 is similar FR chart-wise, thus subjectively any difference in clarity is perhaps due to placebo effect".

 

I prolly misunderstood your post though.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by markanini View Post

Placebo? Who knows! (Emphasis added)


Getting wound up over nothing fellow audio lovers.wink_face.gif


Edited by markanini - 4/6/13 at 11:58am
post #1205 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by markanini View Post

Getting wound up over nothing fellow audio lovers.wink_face.gif

That's what 4.01 AM does to me.

post #1206 of 4677
Thread Starter 

Frequency response is only a fairly small part of the equation. For a proper, complete objective assessment of a headphone's sound quality, we also need the CSD waterfall graphs, distortion graphs, impedance and phase graphs, among other things. Check out the following reviews + measurements of the HF5 and ER4S from a Japanese site. You will see that, according to those measurements, ER4S has a noticeably cleaner CSD graph with a quicker decay through the high bass/low mids, as well as quite a bit less roll off in the bass:

 

http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/hf5.html

http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/er-4s.html


Edited by Pianist - 4/6/13 at 12:21pm
post #1207 of 4677
Pianist those are great links. Never seen them before. Bass roll off and decay are definitely different.
post #1208 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

Frequency response is only a fairly small part of the equation. For a proper, complete objective assessment of a headphone's sound quality, we also need the CSD waterfall graphs, distortion graphs, impedance and phase graphs, among other things. Check out the following reviews + measurements of the HF5 and ER4S from a Japanese site. You will see that, according to those measurements, ER4S has a noticeably cleaner CSD graph with a quicker decay through the high bass/low mids, as well as quite a bit less roll off in the bass:

 

http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/hf5.html

http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/er-4s.html

 

The HF5 is less bass and less treble.  Graphs might show it as a small difference, and etymotic also shows it as only 1% less "accurate" than the er4p, however it is there.  That doesn't mean a large difference, but it's there.  I also find the HF5 had a sort of silky smoothness to it whereas the er4p is a bit more dry sounding in a small way.  Almost like looking at a glazed pot vs. one that has no glazing.  I don't know how to explain it exactly, but it just sounded almost silkier a bit, but not necessarily in a better way, just different.

 

They also have different impedances, power efficiency, etc.  While all small things they are "different".  Last but not least, theres no reason etymotic can't sell the hf5 for half the price even if it were actually only 1% less quality.  It's their product.

:-P

 

If I had to pick one single thing that sets them apart, it's fit.  I don't know if the HF5 is cheaper because they spent less time making the body work to fit easily, but I found the hF5 to be much more difficult to properly fit in my ears every time.  They are both finicky, but the HF5 was worse for me.  I'm not sure why.

post #1209 of 4677

I started to adjust to the less bass of ER4 but what made me give up on ER4 was it's inability to handle complex passages of music gracefully.  As a single BA driver it struggles, period.  Charts are for nerds.  Mean nothing to me.

 

While some companies may use marketing to promote "more drivers is better", as far as BA drivers are concerned....multi-drivers ARE better and represent the full spectrum far better than a single,  People focusing on bad crossovers (like they would ever know a good one from a bad one) is just rhetoric.  With today's technology it is a non-issue.

 

A person saying they prefer the sound of ER4 over UE900 or W4 is the equivalent of saying you prefer the drive of a Honda Civic over the 6 cylinder 280 HP Accord.

post #1210 of 4677
Spyro, are you saying there are more details in multi-armatures? Could you be more specific? If I could have a flat sound sig like the ER4S (with slightly more bass extension) and more detail I would do it for sure, but nothing out there is actually flat enough to my knowledge.
post #1211 of 4677
I actually do prefer the Civic. The Accord is soft, front heavy, and overweight, with slow numb steering and excessive body roll. Sure the V6 is nice, but it's a one-trick pony. The Civic is much more fun and rewarding to drive.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with single-driver earphones. Multi-driver earphones are fine too, but they do have downsides - not "bad crossovers" but they are more complex, more expensive, and larger. It doesn't matter how good an IEM sounds if you can't wear it comfortably, and so far, the Etys rule in comfort.
post #1212 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

I started to adjust to the less bass of ER4 but what made me give up on ER4 was it's inability to handle complex passages of music gracefully.  As a single BA driver it struggles, period.  Charts are for nerds.  Mean nothing to me.

 

While some companies may use marketing to promote "more drivers is better", as far as BA drivers are concerned....multi-drivers ARE better and represent the full spectrum far better than a single,  People focusing on bad crossovers (like they would ever know a good one from a bad one) is just rhetoric.  With today's technology it is a non-issue.

 

A person saying they prefer the sound of ER4 over UE900 or W4 is the equivalent of saying you prefer the drive of a Honda Civic over the 6 cylinder 280 HP Accord.

 

Ha.  This is funny.  :-P  I absolutely prefer the er4s over the w4.  I had them together and did plenty of comparison and just plain listening.  I never wanted to listen to the w4 much, I always want to listen to the er4s.

 

As for struggling, can you be more specific?  I hear the opposite.  Everything I throw at the er4s has more resolution of detail, quickness and distinctness.  The more complex the music, the more I notice the er4s is superior. :-P  Graphs aren't the whole picture, you are correct.  You need to judge the actual sound of an earphone.  But you haven't really given any reasoning, details or science behind your view.  The only area that I could see someone describe as struggling would be the bass, assuming they find it too little or too little "feel".

 

Your car example refers to smoothness of the engine and power.  What about control, braking speed, comfort, visibility, quietness of the cabin, etc. etc. etc.  You also compare in the same brand.  I would argue that, along the lines of your reasoning, you could probably find a 4-cylinder (fewer cylinders) BMW that outperforms the 6-cylinder Honda (different brand) in every area. :-P  Check this out:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/automobiles/bmw-528i-fewer-cylinders-not-that-youll-notice.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

I agree most people probably can't hear a crossover from multi drivers.  I couldn't tell where the 4r had any crossovers.  However, it still didn't sound as good to me.  Neither does it graph as accurately.  If you have any specifics on the differences I'm interest to hear them honestly.  I'm surprised that two of the best earphones i've ever heard (er4s/pfe112) have one driver.  One of the second best I've ever heard is probably the pfe232 which only has two drivers, vs. the 4r's four drivers.


Edited by luisdent - 4/6/13 at 5:52pm
post #1213 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

Spyro, are you saying there are more details in multi-armatures? Could you be more specific? If I could have a flat sound sig like the ER4S (with slightly more bass extension) and more detail I would do it for sure, but nothing out there is actually flat enough to my knowledge.

 

I do not want to get too technical (because I am not an engineer) but the the entire hertz frequency range is pretty expansive.  IMHO a single driver BA doesn't THOROUGHLY represent the whole range of the spectrum top to bottom with equal caliber.  This was the whole reasoning behind having more drivers tuned to only certain ranges but as a WHOLE it becomes a glorious full-sounding concert hall.  Everything is even and really tight!

 

While I haven't heard every IEM out there I have heard and owned many.  As a single driver I always thought GR10 was like an upgraded Ety but after hearing UE900, I think it is sensational.  Bright, detailed and expansive 3D type sound but still neutral like an Ety.

post #1214 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

I started to adjust to the less bass of ER4 but what made me give up on ER4 was it's inability to handle complex passages of music gracefully.  As a single BA driver it struggles, period.  Charts are for nerds.  Mean nothing to me.

While some companies may use marketing to promote "more drivers is better", as far as BA drivers are concerned....multi-drivers ARE better and represent the full spectrum far better than a single,  People focusing on bad crossovers (like they would ever know a good one from a bad one) is just rhetoric.  With today's technology it is a non-issue.

A person saying they prefer the sound of ER4 over UE900 or W4 is the equivalent of saying you prefer the drive of a Honda Civic over the 6 cylinder 280 HP Accord.

I could not disagree more!
I think your car analogy says it all! Your description of what you hear is more about pyrotechnics than actually musical interpretation and just goes to solidify the point I made earlier about a "Headfi" sound that so many think right. Fine if you like it but right it is not!
Edited by ianmedium - 4/6/13 at 6:40pm
post #1215 of 4677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

 

I do not want to get too technical (because I am not an engineer) but the the entire hertz frequency range is pretty expansive.  IMHO a single driver BA doesn't THOROUGHLY represent the whole range of the spectrum top to bottom with equal caliber.  This was the whole reasoning behind having more drivers tuned to only certain ranges but as a WHOLE it becomes a glorious full-sounding concert hall.  Everything is even and really tight!

 

While I haven't heard every IEM out there I have heard and owned many.  As a single driver I always thought GR10 was like an upgraded Ety but after hearing UE900, I think it is sensational.  Bright, detailed and expansive 3D type sound but still neutral like an Ety.

 

As gnalsagan was saying though, the ue900 is no where near the flat neutrality of the er4s.  So you can't compare them in that regard.  Saying that they cover the whole spectrum better than the er4s isn't a compatible statement, because they boost parts of the spectrum.

 

My opinion, based on hearing a butt load of IEMs is that what you say is in part true.

 

Most people do not prefer a truly flat response.  I do.  I think gnarlsagan probably does as well.  For us a one driver is capable, because not more is needed, at least not in terms of the law of diminishing returns for price, performance, etc.  For those 90% (a random guess) of people who want to hear and feel more bass, have details "stand out" more in the treble, etc., the single driver THEN becomes a challenge.  Because I agree that a single driver cannot easily ADD a lot of bass to an earphone without sacrificing some qualities on the whole.  So by adding another driver, it can more easily handle the much greater amount of bass.  I'm sure there might also be instances where things like tightness and smoothness are improved with more drivers, but the pfe232 is a perfect example of my reasoning.

 

Most people that own it have found it superior in every way to other earphones with three or four drivers that cost almost as much.  However, the pfe 232 only has TWO drivers.  Which perfectly illustrates my reasoning.  The pfe112 was capable of a neutral flat response with one driver with almost no fluctuations in the spectrum.  To get the pfe 232 to have more bass and more treble they needed one more driver.  Not three or four.  To be honest, for the price of the westone 4r and the quality it gives out, I'm really shocked it requires 4 drivers.  The only thing I could say about it that might lend it towards this necessity is that it handles eq very well.  But I don't want to eq my earphones, because I don't want more bass or treble. :)

 

So my reasoning is that there is a point in manipulating frequencies at which another driver becomes necessary to get more of one part of the spectrum without sacrificing other parts.  However, in a flat response, there is much less work the driver has to do if it isn't being demanded to perform super bass feats or other boosts.  The only way to really know this for sure would be to show me a four driver IEM that has a perfectly flat response.  I'll buy it immediately and compare it to the er4s.  Unfortunately, in my oodles of searching, nothing like that exists.  I assume this is because every time a manufacturer makes a flat IEM, they don't NEED more drivers.  I can see people feeling the er4s lacks bass (this is a big debate), so adding a bass driver might be an excellent move for them to appeal to more people.  Keep the drivers tuned to sound the same but increase the sub bass response.  However, it might already be possible without another driver.  The pfe112 has incredible sub bass.  Flat, but incredible.  So I assume they could probably tune the er4s that way if they wanted to.  But they probably don't want to and haven't wanted to for 20 years, because engineers and enthusiasts find it accurate and high quality as it is.

 

Also, for what's it worth... If I add 6db of bass with my c5 amp, I don't hear any struggling with the er4s handling it while retaining the other frequencies either.

 

Anyway, I'll stop now, as I'm starting a novel here.  I will end by saying that I don't believe an IEM NEEDS more drivers to sound better.  Can they sound better?  Maybe.  Probably even.  But I've yet to hear one. :)


Edited by luisdent - 4/6/13 at 6:22pm
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