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.
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