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If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you... - Page 191

post #2851 of 4606

I wear mine over the ear as well, also never had the need to use eq. I find that once I get a true seal, for me it can be a painful experience.....But once I do then its worth it. I also use the Quickstep with classic 7g, Bass is no issue goes quite low using green filters, I think SEAL is the key here.

post #2852 of 4606
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post
 

I'm back to green filters.  Baaaaaah!!!! :-P

 

I still think I prefer the reds, but I want to give the greens one more try (that's all I "can" give them, as I have one pair of reds left).  I've been finding on certain songs the red filters accentuate a very small area of the treble that makes some drum cymbals stand out in a sort of annoying way.  I think it could be that the parts of the treble the red filters lower leave the upper treble to be relatively higher.  I'm not sure yet.  I'm playing with EQ and comparing earphones.  I can EQ the pfe112 to be flat and not hear that .  I haven't been able to EQ it out of the ER4S without ruining the treble yet.  I'm sure I just don't have the proper frequency.  I'm thinking the greens might make the entire treble area more relatively flat as to reduce this effect.  Not sure.  It only affects certain songs, but I know these songs do not normally sound like this (studio monitor comparison, other earphones EQ'd flat, etc.), and if I listen to this specific frequency in other songs, even though it doesn't sound bad, I can hear how it might be technically raised.

 

Anyhow, I'll also say that I don't bother with ANY treble EQ on either green or red filters so far.  Although, I might start to fix this issue I mentioned, maybe not.  I probably could tweak it to be "perfect", but I find both just don't really need it overall.  So far the greens are better in this regard.  But time will tell if the overall green-iness leads me back to the reds. :)

 

On another note, and this isn't a knock on the ER4S at all, but more of an observation...  Listening to the pfe112 I can EQ the heck out of them, make them flat, boost the treble, doesn't matter.  In every case they seem easier to listen to.  I'm not saying better necessarily.  Just easier.  The ER4S, even at their best, sound more congested in their presentation.  I'm thinking this is because the pfe112 sounds a little further out of your head in front of you and a bit wider, thus making everything a little more "open" and less analytical.  Just a theory.  The pfe112 require a lot more EQ to be flat, but I find I can get them to sound almost identical to the ER4S with about 6 or 7 bands of parametric EQ.

 

This goes against a few of my personal goals in an earphone though (so does the ER4S though).  If anyone cares, these have been my main goals:

 

- Sound as flat and reference as possible

- Be portable (as opposed to headphones)

- Be consistent on any device as easily as possible (ideally with no EQ for simplicity)

- Be comfortable and all around easy to use (walking, sleeping, etc.)

 

Of these goals, the pfe112 and ER4S have been my final two earphones of choice.  The ER4S is the closest possible earphone to achieving goal 1 and 3.  The PFE112 is a close second and meets goal 2 and 4 better.  I say better portability, because the cord is shorter and they are instantly insertable and removable with no adjustment whatsoever and they are louder at a given source volume.

 

So, I've been playing with EQ, and I prefer EQ on both earphones no matter what.  However, the ER4S is a very very simple EQ, while the pfe112, although not difficult, requires more complexity.  You can see this by my screenshots.  Theses EQ settings make the two earphones sound almost identical, minus the aforementioned soundstage differences.  One note though, before I went crazy OCD on EQing the pfe112 to be perfect, I was using a 3 band EQ settings I made that is 80% the way there.  It resulted in very good flatness comparable to the ER4S without that last bit of depth and openness the ER4S has.  The extra bands I've added account for that.  So with a simple 3 band EQ the pfe sounds very similar to the ER4S but a little more "full" or "warm" overall.  Very nice indeed.  But I love those micro details you can get with a little extra effort.

 

ER4S

 

PFE112

 

I would use a better EQ on the mac if I could find one (although this one sounds great, it doesn't use parametric curves for smooth transitions).  I use the parametric EQ on my fuze though, and really, I've matched the results very well between the two EQ systems.

 

Anyhow, I meant to post about changing filters and this turned into quite a long rant on these two earphones.  Ha.  I suppose my point in all of this is that both are really excellent earphones.  Both sound REALLY good with no EQ.  It's say the ER4S sounds better with no EQ and even with EQ is much easier to implement on any system, as it is a simple sub bass boost.  The pfe112 is more comfortable and can sound very comparable to the ER4S, but requires more complex EQ.  Although, I must stress that the difference between stock sound and fully applied EQ on both earphones is actually pretty small compared to the difference between ANY other earphone and these two.  The pfe is a little more warm and opens up and evens out with EQ.  The ER4S is extremely flat and reference but lacks the bass punch and depth without EQ.

 

As I already mentioned before, PFE is great, but not quite as hi-fi as the Etys to my ears. PFE lacks the resolution of the ER4 and even the lower end HF series. In direct comparison with the Etys, PFE sounds like there's a slight blanket over the music, particularly in the mids and highs. Bass sounds great on the PFE, but again, I feel that ER4 has more resolution down there as well. The treble has a hint of harshness and sounds a bit thin on the PFE. ER4 doesn't have such issues with the highs.

 

In regards to soundstage and dynamics, PFE is more dynamic and has a wider soundstage. ER4 has better, cleaner separation and more apparent depth to the sound. It's hard for me to say whether ER4 is really lacking some dynamics or if it's the PFE that exaggerates dynamics a bit (is that even possible to have too much dynamics?) I don't really feel that ER4 lacks dynamics. I never feel that it has amazing dynamics, but I never hear it as compressed either. Hmmm...

 

EDIT: Ahh... totally forgot. PFE has angled drivers if I am not mistaken. This makes the soundstage unusually wide for a single BA config. It probably also makes the sound seem more dynamic than it really is. With the Etys, on the other hand, the driver is not angled, so there's no extra soundstage width nor extra sense of dynamics added to the sound. I would argue that ER4 thus probably more accurately represents the original sound, while PFE adds a little bit of special effects in the form of the extra wide soundstage and more apparent dynamics that can make the sound seem more natural and alive or whatever, but also decreases the accuracy. 


Edited by Pianist - 10/7/13 at 8:48am
post #2853 of 4606
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

 
I'm back to green filters.  Baaaaaah!!!! :-P

I still think I prefer the reds, but I want to give the greens one more try (that's all I "can" give them, as I have one pair of reds left).  I've been finding on certain songs the red filters accentuate a very small area of the treble that makes some drum cymbals stand out in a sort of annoying way.  I think it could be that the parts of the treble the red filters lower leave the upper treble to be relatively higher.  I'm not sure yet.  I'm playing with EQ and comparing earphones.  I can EQ the pfe112 to be flat and not hear that .  I haven't been able to EQ it out of the ER4S without ruining the treble yet.  I'm sure I just don't have the proper frequency.  I'm thinking the greens might make the entire treble area more relatively flat as to reduce this effect.  Not sure.  It only affects certain songs, but I know these songs do not normally sound like this (studio monitor comparison, other earphones EQ'd flat, etc.), and if I listen to this specific frequency in other songs, even though it doesn't sound bad, I can hear how it might be technically raised.

Anyhow, I'll also say that I don't bother with ANY treble EQ on either green or red filters so far.  Although, I might start to fix this issue I mentioned, maybe not.  I probably could tweak it to be "perfect", but I find both just don't really need it overall.  So far the greens are better in this regard.  But time will tell if the overall green-iness leads me back to the reds. smily_headphones1.gif

On another note, and this isn't a knock on the ER4S at all, but more of an observation...  Listening to the pfe112 I can EQ the heck out of them, make them flat, boost the treble, doesn't matter.  In every case they seem easier to listen to.  I'm not saying better necessarily.  Just easier.  The ER4S, even at their best, sound more congested in their presentation.  I'm thinking this is because the pfe112 sounds a little further out of your head in front of you and a bit wider, thus making everything a little more "open" and less analytical.  Just a theory.  The pfe112 require a lot more EQ to be flat, but I find I can get them to sound almost identical to the ER4S with about 6 or 7 bands of parametric EQ.

This goes against a few of my personal goals in an earphone though (so does the ER4S though).  If anyone cares, these have been my main goals:

- Sound as flat and reference as possible
- Be portable (as opposed to headphones)
- Be consistent on any device as easily as possible (ideally with no EQ for simplicity)
- Be comfortable and all around easy to use (walking, sleeping, etc.)

Of these goals, the pfe112 and ER4S have been my final two earphones of choice.  The ER4S is the closest possible earphone to achieving goal 1 and 3.  The PFE112 is a close second and meets goal 2 and 4 better.  I say better portability, because the cord is shorter and they are instantly insertable and removable with no adjustment whatsoever and they are louder at a given source volume.

So, I've been playing with EQ, and I prefer EQ on both earphones no matter what.  However, the ER4S is a very very simple EQ, while the pfe112, although not difficult, requires more complexity.  You can see this by my screenshots.  Theses EQ settings make the two earphones sound almost identical, minus the aforementioned soundstage differences.  One note though, before I went crazy OCD on EQing the pfe112 to be perfect, I was using a 3 band EQ settings I made that is 80% the way there.  It resulted in very good flatness comparable to the ER4S without that last bit of depth and openness the ER4S has.  The extra bands I've added account for that.  So with a simple 3 band EQ the pfe sounds very similar to the ER4S but a little more "full" or "warm" overall.  Very nice indeed.  But I love those micro details you can get with a little extra effort.

ER4S



PFE112



I would use a better EQ on the mac if I could find one (although this one sounds great, it doesn't use parametric curves for smooth transitions).  I use the parametric EQ on my fuze though, and really, I've matched the results very well between the two EQ systems.

Anyhow, I meant to post about changing filters and this turned into quite a long rant on these two earphones.  Ha.  I suppose my point in all of this is that both are really excellent earphones.  Both sound REALLY good with no EQ.  It's say the ER4S sounds better with no EQ and even with EQ is much easier to implement on any system, as it is a simple sub bass boost.  The pfe112 is more comfortable and can sound very comparable to the ER4S, but requires more complex EQ.  Although, I must stress that the difference between stock sound and fully applied EQ on both earphones is actually pretty small compared to the difference between ANY other earphone and these two.  The pfe is a little more warm and opens up and evens out with EQ.  The ER4S is extremely flat and reference but lacks the bass punch and depth without EQ.

As I already mentioned before, PFE is great, but not quite as hi-fi as the Etys to my ears. PFE lacks the resolution of the ER4 and even the lower end HF series. In direct comparison with the Etys, PFE sounds like there's a slight blanket over the music, particularly in the mids and highs. Bass sounds great on the PFE, but again, I feel that ER4 has more resolution down there as well. The treble has a hint of harshness and sounds a bit thin on the PFE. ER4 doesn't have such issues with the highs.

In regards to soundstage and dynamics, PFE is more dynamic and has a wider soundstage. ER4 has better, cleaner separation and more apparent depth to the sound. It's hard for me to say whether ER4 is really lacking some dynamics or if it's the PFE that exaggerates dynamics a bit (is that even possible to have too much dynamics?) I don't really feel that ER4 lacks dynamics. I never feel that it has amazing dynamics, but I never hear it as compressed either. Hmmm...

EDIT: Ahh... totally forgot. PFE has angled drivers if I am not mistaken. This makes the soundstage unusually wide for a single BA config. It probably also makes the sound seem more dynamic than it really is. With the Etys, on the other hand, the driver is not angled, so there's no extra soundstage width nor extra sense of dynamics added to the sound. I would argue that ER4 thus probably more accurately represents the original sound, while PFE adds a little bit of special effects in the form of the extra wide soundstage and more apparent dynamics that can make the sound seem more natural and alive or whatever, but also decreases the accuracy. 

I made a mistake earlier. I was looking at my old pfe eq settings. My perfected eq for the pfe is only 5 bands. With this eq I find the pfe matches the er4s in resolution and clarity at least 98%. But is better with the other aspects you mentioned and comes across to my ears as more balanced than the stock er4s in any configuration, where the er4s sounds brighter and thinner. With eq the er4s reeeally shines though as well.

Without eq, yes, the pfe sounds similar to how you described them. I find them to have better low end though stock. But the treble has a more muffled overall sound, but with a slight rasp in the high highs. Again, this is minor compared to the difference between other earphones. However, I eq both. If eq wasn't an option ever I'd pick the er4s for sure. With eq though these are the two most flexible earphones I've heard. They both reproduce so much of the frequency spectrum to begin with and in a fairly balanced way, that eq has everything it needs to work with to flatten things out completely. Both have relatively easy eq settings as well. Something like the 4r is eq'able pretty well, but requires a lot more work. And if you don't have an ear for that sort of thing... Good luck.

Anyway, did you still have your pfe? I'll post my eq for that later. I'm also working on a 100% OCD eq for the er 4s. :-P despite how incredibly flat they are stock, they still get flatter. :-)
post #2854 of 4606
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post


I made a mistake earlier. I was looking at my old pfe eq settings. My perfected eq for the pfe is only 5 bands. With this eq I find the pfe matches the er4s in resolution and clarity at least 98%. But is better with the other aspects you mentioned and comes across to my ears as more balanced than the stock er4s in any configuration, where the er4s sounds brighter and thinner. With eq the er4s reeeally shines though as well.

Without eq, yes, the pfe sounds similar to how you described them. I find them to have better low end though stock. But the treble has a more muffled overall sound, but with a slight rasp in the high highs. Again, this is minor compared to the difference between other earphones. However, I eq both. If eq wasn't an option ever I'd pick the er4s for sure. With eq though these are the two most flexible earphones I've heard. They both reproduce so much of the frequency spectrum to begin with and in a fairly balanced way, that eq has everything it needs to work with to flatten things out completely. Both have relatively easy eq settings as well. Something like the 4r is eq'able pretty well, but requires a lot more work. And if you don't have an ear for that sort of thing... Good luck.

Anyway, did you still have your pfe? I'll post my eq for that later. I'm also working on a 100% OCD eq for the er 4s. :-P despite how incredibly flat they are stock, they still get flatter. :-)

 

I still have the PFE and still love them. Maybe you are right that with EQ they can come close to ER4S in frequency response, but EQ can only improve frequency response. The other aspects of sound quality, such as resolution, definition, clarity, dynamics, etc, can't be improved through EQ. While PFE may be close to ER4 in resolution, I think that it definitely lacks that ultra sharp definition and precision that the Etys have. PFE is simply less refined, less immediate, less controlled than the ER4. I think PFE is also a bit too thin/distant sounding in the highs and, to a lesser extent, in the mids, while Etys have the proper amount of body/presence. No EQ can change that. A decent low impedance amp helps to bridge the gap significantly though, but even a well amped PFE is still not as precise and full/present sounding as the ER4 IMO.


Edited by Pianist - 10/7/13 at 10:32am
post #2855 of 4606

^ Agree 

post #2856 of 4606

Part of Pianist's impressions are likely due to the higher distortion on the pfe, which is at ~2% at 1k. That should be clearly audible imo. 

post #2857 of 4606
Yeah, was going to add that EQ can improve resolution, definition, clarity, as well as imaging and soundstage. However decay, ringing/resonance and distortion also play factors and explain why two iems with similar FR can sound very different.

Regarding my soundstage comment: I find soundstage is firstly a part of the recording, secondly a part of the FR and lastly all in our heads.
post #2858 of 4606
Ok to address all of this...

First, I think you might be surprised how close I can get the pfe to sound like the er4s. The er4s does win in Pune resolution. No contest there. But only by a very small margin.

As for distortion, I don't know. It is definitely not "easily audible" like some say. In fact I would bet 90% of people couldn't hear it in a double blind test. The problem is twofold, because without eqing them, I think some people would mistake frequency imbalance as distortion, because the pfe do sound almost grittier and less resolute without good eq. However, with good eq they sound more defining and smooth and spacious. The er4s are better, but I am just saying don't underestimate the pfe with eq.

Also, soundstage is definitely not just in our heads or eq. While eq affects it, I can match the er4s and pfe112 eq very closely, and the pfe is always easier to listen to while sounding wider and a tad more far away from you. Anyhow, do you pfe owners have a rock boxed sansa player? I'll post my eq soon. If you do. The impressive thing is that the er4s sounds almost perfect with zero eq. That in itself makes it the master earphone of them all. None to little eq needed, extremely resolving, smooth, super isolating. Customizable with tips and filters to cater the sound. All of which require no apps or hardware...

That's awesome.

Pfe is my second best. :-)
post #2859 of 4606

I really would like to try the PFE's again since my preferred sound sig has changed greatly since I last had them.

 

Also, after a trip to Orlando this weekend, will have most funds for some ER4's. Car payments have put a....damper on them.

 

 

 

*rimshot*

post #2860 of 4606
@luisdent, people wil perceive soundstage differently from person to person, regardles of recording and FR- that's why I said its also all in our heads. Soundstage seems to be one of the most subjective attributes of a given iem.

I haven't heard the PFE but I'm not surprised you can get it to sound similar. I think EQ is a wonderful tool for fixing the deficiencies in FR. However, a good example of two iems that measure very similarly but sound quite different is the $99 vs $999 challenge (UERM and modded TF10).
post #2861 of 4606
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

@luisdent, people wil perceive soundstage differently from person to person, regardles of recording and FR- that's why I said its also all in our heads. Soundstage seems to be one of the most subjective attributes of a given iem.

I haven't heard the PFE but I'm not surprised you can get it to sound similar. I think EQ is a wonderful tool for fixing the deficiencies in FR. However, a good example of two iems that measure very similarly but sound quite different is the $99 vs $999 challenge (UERM and modded TF10).

Given their wildly different fit my bet is they measure similarly only on rin's dummy head and not on any actual ears wink.gif
post #2862 of 4606
I tried trips, doubles and singles. Quite easy to get a deep fit. Sound is not even close. The modded TF10 sounds weird in the midrange plain and simple.

Only FR measures similarly. Distortion and CSD have not been compared as far as I know.
post #2863 of 4606
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosshorn View Post
 

I really would like to try the PFE's again since my preferred sound sig has changed greatly since I last had them.

 

Also, after a trip to Orlando this weekend, will have most funds for some ER4's. Car payments have put a....damper on them.

 

 

 

*rimshot*

 

For what it's worth, I bought the pfe112 and the etymotic hf5 as two of my first "high quality" earphones.  I thought the pfe112 was amazing, but had way too much bass missing.  I thought they were thin, lacked punch, made pianos sound unrealistically thin, etc. etc.  The hf5 was just a fit nightmare, and shared the same lack of bass.

 

After trying a bunch of IEMs, I actually re-bought the pfe112 and a backup pair of pfe012 (same earphones without the case and grey filters).  That's how much I like them. haha.  Then I bought the ER4S.  Now, after a million (exaggerated) hours of listening to earphones, I started to find the pfe a little too unbalanced in the treble.  They still sound really good and certain tracks faired better than others, but they lacked the "open/3d" sound of the ER4S or hd600.  But I always preferred the bass comparing them all stock.  I came full circle.  I find anything with noticeably more bass than the pfe is too much.  A little more low bass, sure.  But not much.  Especially if you eq the treble to be flat.  Then they're really amazing bass, as the treble doesn't overshadow the bass.  I contemplated selling the pfe112, but after going back and forth hundreds of times on whether I wanted to use EQ or not (I don't), I found that I really didn't "want" to listen to either earphone without EQ.  I always knew how much better they could sound with EQ.

 

With that said, I started applying EQ on my desktop and portable players.  The ER4S turned out to be much more simple to EQ, but I didn't find it too hard to match the pfe112 to the er4s with the help of some graphs.  Without graphs I might have been able to, but the graphs helped point me in the right direction for some of the harder to pinpoint frequencies.  Now that I've been using EQ regularly, I find the ER4S is still superior, but the small margin of superiority with EQ applied always leaves me debating if I should use the pfe112 for the comfort and soundstage improvements.

 

As for soundstage, I'm not really sure what you mean.  I look at soundstage as a constant like the frequency response.  It doesn't change between people.  One person might prefer more bass or less soundstage for instance,  but that doesn't mean the response is actually any different physically.  There is a definite difference in the presentation of the sound between the two regardless of EQ being the same.  The soundstage I'm referring to might be more easy to describe as presentation perhaps.  I'm not referring to the depth of the sound due to the good frequency response or resolution. You could have two identical ER4S earphones and make one have the same physically properties of the pfe112 (in an imaginary world) and one ER4S would sound like it was identical quality but further from your head and wider a tad.  I would describe this by comparing a high def tv situation.

 

If you are watching your 4x3 HD tv from 6 feet away and then move back to 10 feet away, the width is less in your apparent vision and it looks further away.  However, now take the same exact model of tv with identical quality and make it 10 feet away but 16x9 widescreen.  If you compare the 4x3 at 6 feet to the 16x9 at 10 feet, they are going to look physically different to everyone.  Now if you adjust the quality of the tvs by making them higher resolution with perfectly calibrated settings, they will appear to have more depth and "soundstage" in the image (or the sound in this metaphor).  So you end up with almost two types of soundstage.  Or as I like to call it, soundstage which is within the presentation.  Now obviously the calibration might give the impression of different soundstage, but it will always be limited to the maximum "real" physical soundstage or presentation.  In other words, the ER4S can never get wider than it is physically capable of being, etc.

 

So, lastly, to go back to my original point.  I find the ER4S superior in quality and almost every sonic property.  However, the pfe112 is close with EQ and more comfortable with a slightly different presentation. :-)  They are really good earphones to complement each other in my opinion.  Not by being different in sound really, but by both being similar enough while offering other difference to the listening experience.

post #2864 of 4606
Thread Starter 

The PFE, the Ety HF series and the ER4 are all incredibly capable headphones and are all steals for their prices IMO. I do think that PFE and the HF series are better values than the ER4, as they can be bought for less than half the price of the latter and yet offer at least 80-90% of its sound quality. All three handily beat most headphones I've heard, including quite a few much more expensive models. At the end of the day, I prefer the three over any multi driver IEM that I have ever heard. They also give more expensive, reference class full sized cans a run for their money.  I think my ER4S beats my HD650 in sound quality and even beats my HE-500 in some ways. The HF series are the most resolving and accurate headphones I've encountered in their price range ( $100-150). The PFE is not as accurate as the Ety HF series IMO, but it is close and beats the Etys in some aspects like dynamics and bass performance. Another amazing IEM in that price range is the Hifiman RE-400, which runs toe to toe with the PFE in sound quality, edging it out slightly overall to my ears. I feel that neither is quite as accurate as the HF series, although RE-400 has an amazingly natural timbre and sounds more properly full bodied to me than the other two. I find that ER4S beats all of them by a decent margin in overall sound quality with a kind of precision and accuracy that is a cut above the rest. ER4P is also technically better than the others overall IMO, but I don't like its sound signature much - it has a has strange combination of forward mids plus recessed highs that I don't appreciate.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

As for distortion, I don't know. It is definitely not "easily audible" like some say. In fact I would bet 90% of people couldn't hear it in a double blind test.

 

I totally agree with this. Plus, even if it is audible, you won't be able to hear it for long at the volume levels at which it becomes audible. I mean PFE only hits about 2% of distortion in the high mids/lower treble region at 100 dB SPL. I don't think very many people, especially audiophiles who care about their hearing ever listen at that volume through headphones, especially through IEMs like PFE that have excellent isolation and shouldn't cause one to feel the need to turn it up to drown out background noise even in loud environments. Even 90 dB is really loud for headphone listening and should be avoided due high risk of hearing damage IMO. Also, PFE with black and green fliters actually has a noticeably lower distortion than it does with the grey filters if you look at the graphs on Innerfidelity, and the distortion with the black and green filters remains around 1% even at 100 dB.


Edited by Pianist - 10/8/13 at 2:39pm
post #2865 of 4606
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post
 

The PFE, the Ety HF series and the ER4 are all incredibly capable headphones and are all steals for their prices IMO. I do think that PFE and the HF series are better values than the ER4, as they can be bought for less than half the price of the latter and yet offer at least 80-90% of its sound quality. All three handily beat most headphones I've heard, including quite a few much more expensive models. At the end of the day, I prefer the three over any multi driver IEM that I have ever heard. They also give more expensive, reference class full sized cans a run for their money.  I think my ER4S beats my HD650 in sound quality and even beats my HE-500 in some ways. The HF series are the most resolving and accurate headphones I've encountered in their price range ( $100-150). The PFE is not as accurate as the Ety HF series IMO, but it is close and beats the Etys in some aspects like dynamics and bass performance. Another amazing IEM in that price range is the Hifiman RE-400, which runs toe to toe with the PFE in sound quality, edging it out slightly overall to my ears. I feel that neither is quite as accurate as the HF series, although RE-400 has an amazingly natural timbre and sounds more properly full bodied to me than the other two. I find that ER4S beats all of them by a decent margin in overall sound quality with a kind of precision and accuracy that is a cut above the rest. ER4P is also technically better than the others overall IMO, but I don't like its sound signature much - it has a has strange combination of forward mids plus recessed highs that I don't appreciate.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

As for distortion, I don't know. It is definitely not "easily audible" like some say. In fact I would bet 90% of people couldn't hear it in a double blind test.

 

I totally agree with this. Plus, even if it is audible, you won't be able to hear it for long at the volume levels at which it becomes audible. I mean PFE only hits about 2% of distortion in the high mids/lower treble region at 100 dB SPL. I don't think very many people, especially audiophiles who care about their hearing ever listen at that volume through headphones, especially through IEMs like PFE that have excellent isolation and shouldn't cause one to feel the need to turn it up to drown out background noise even in loud environments. Even 90 dB is really loud for headphone listening and should be avoided due high risk of hearing damage IMO. Also, PFE with black and green fliters actually has a noticeably lower distortion than it does with the grey filters if you look at the graphs on Innerfidelity, and the distortion with the black and green filters remains around 1% even at 100 dB.

 

I agre with all of that.  I wouldn't use the other pfe filters though personally. They stray from neutral too far for me.  And while everything you said is completely true, I've only been referring to the differences primarily with EQ applied.  With EQ applied the difference become much less.  For instance, even though the pfe112 is my second favorite IEM, I don't think I'd ever choose it over the etymotics, because the treble imbalance would now drive me crazy.  I would just always think about it.  Not that it's bad, and it is better than every other IEM i've heard.  But The etys just don't have that problem.  Also, I would say the pfe112 are 80-90% of the er4s without EQ and 95-98% of the er4s with EQ.  But the er4s always has the upper hand in blow your mind micro details and depth by a small margin.  Plus the isolation, etc. etc.

 

Overall, I find them a very very impressive second best... with EQ.  Without they are still second best and very awesome (I haven't heard everything out there though), but not as "really close" to the er4s at that point.  I guess part of me wishes someone would make an ER4s with just a touch more sub bass in the form factor of the pfe112.  I can always dream right?  Or make a tip for the ER4s that somehow works as good easily and comfortably as the pfe tips/form factor.  That would be amazing.  I know there are people that have no problem with the ety tips.  In fact, I'm one of them for the most part.  But that doesn't mean they're ideal or for everyone.  I'd much prefer a standard pfe type tip/fit.  The f111 was pretty much the best attempt at making this dream come true, but they failed in that the sound wasn't consistent with the tips and fit.  So, in reality they weren't as good unless you got a very very specific fit, which defeats the purpose of an easy eartip fit.

 

Oh well.  I hope someday someone will achieve this.  For now I'll use both earphones. :-)

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