Originally Posted by kmhaynes
ADD: I downloaded the "low-level-grunge" wave file, and on the longer passage I think I hear what you are talking about, but the rumbling I hear increases with volume, leading me to believe that I am hearing computer noise. I would have to convert it to MP3 and put it on my Cowon J3 to hear it apart from my computer. I'll let you know what that tells me.
Also, about inserting the stock Ety gray 3-flange tips -- I just use a bit of spit (clean fingers, lick my finger tips, spread a little on the ear tip -- I'd not put any other type of lubricant that is going to build up either on the tips (under the flanges) or in my ears.
The original file was a vinyl transcription I did. The noise that the ER4S seems to be overly emphasising is both the analogue tape hiss and low level surface noise on the vinyl. On many vinyl transcriptions I have done where the record manufacturing is as good as it gets, there is no problem listening with the ER4S. And on a really good vinyl recording such as the latest Reference Recordings (great pressing and ultra low noise source), everything is pretty much perfect. There is of course a rumble component in the extracts but it is inaudible on the ER4S as it is around -80dBFS - so given the frequency you'd have to be listening at over 100dB for it to intrude on the ER4S unless you have massively EQed the lowest bass region. On the CD equivalents, you still hear what the ER4S does to the tape hiss, but obviously not the vinyl surface noise. What happens is when the volume is turned up, the music content begins to mask these defects, but at that volume level, the peak program material is then too loud for safe and comfortable listening. So the ER4S has this annoying habit of emphasising defects in original analogue-sourced recordings that no other headphone or IEM I have ever heard does.
As I say, Dolby Headphone makes the problem worse because Dolby Headphone does not really know what it should do with tape hiss and vinyl surface noise - it usually ends up "going nowhere" whereas the music is pushed many feet in front of you. But as I say, I have never heard this with any other headphone or earphone - so either the ER4S is just incredibly revealing and faithful or it has a character flaw so to speak in that particular frequency spectrums are overly emphasised. But I was even hearing this effect a few days ago when listening to a fully digital 24/96 download from Chandos - the tinniest intrusions such as page turns and general fidgeting on the part of orchestra members isn't at the low non-intrusive levels it is at a live performance or when listening to other headphones and good speaker systems - it is brought into an artificially high stark relief which to me says it isn't really accurate.
What concerns me just as much is the mis-matching of my two drivers - the problem is much worse on my left hand driver than the right hand one (tested using the same ear as mentioned). Infact, if both drivers were the same as the right hand one, I am not sure I would even have detected the problem as it is really hard to detect at all on the right hand driver and impossible if the right hand driver is used with the glider or tri-flange tip. I have no way to scientifically measure the difference, but I suspect my left driver is a good few dB more responsive around 4 - 6 Khz, which is principally where these issues are most audible.
Edited by ADD - 12/11/12 at 1:13pm