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Etymotic HF5 Impressions/mini review

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

First of all, I’m relatively new to the head-fi scene so I’m probably not a good judge or the best person to be doing a review (So don’t be too harsh on me :P). What I will do instead is a general impression and WHAT I FEEL (EMPHASIS ON THE “I”!!) about these IEMs after spending around an hour with them.


Build quality is pretty good. It feels solid and the body feels like its made of some good quality plastics (I like the matte finish feel :D ) A good thing to note for me is that the rubber tips have holes that are much smaller than the body. (Not sure how to describe it well..hehe) This results in a very tight fit for the tip on the body and the tips won’t fall off so easily (a very common occurrence and annoying problem for me with my previous IEMs). The cable is thin and appears to be quite tangle prone. One thing I do not like though is the headphone plug. It may just be my model but the contacts are not tat good. They produce a lot of static when I twist it a bit in my ipod. This doesn’t happen with other headphones ive tried and the only other time this happens is with my old Sennheiser 280 pros but those have very worn out gold contact tips.


Isolation is also amazing on these IEMs! Etymotic wasn’t exaggerating when they claim to provide amazing if not the best isolation around. I had these on as well as my friend tested them. On normal talking volumes, I cant hear a thing! On my way back walking home, I couldn’t even hear the cars passing by. Only thing I could hear were ambulance sirens as they flew past. They do have some microphonics though (I think that’s the term, the thing where u can hear sound when the cable rubs over your clothes) Overall, I still think these have the best isolation I’ve ever experienced! Even more compared to my HD280s which are supposed to have pretty good isolation as well.


Comfort, these things are not comfortable at all! First reaction when putting them in, “OW”. They do hurt quite abit after awhile. Especially if u don’t wear the cables over your ears. Gravity pulling down on the cables and all make them hurt even more. Unless I wear the calbes over my ears, I need to take them off after half an hour.


Soundwise, in a nutshell is that they’re more treble inclined and don’t have a lot of bass. The songs I used as reference are the following three. Not much but Im just randomly listening to what I have on my ipod right now.


Brahms – Symphony no.1

Mozart - Piano Sonata in D for two pianos

The Darkness – I believe in a thing called love


First thing that comes to mind when listening to Brahms is that its really clear. They produce the sounds pretty accurately (obviously nothing compared to live but these are IEMs) They don’t have too much bass which for me is good for classical pieces such as this. Unlike my sennheisers or my av40 speakers, the timpanis are not overly pronounced in the intros but the strings are emphasized more. For the piano sonata, I actually enjoyed them quite a bit. For piano pieces such as these I feel that the music is more intimate (like I’m sitting right beside them and the artist is playing the piece for me). As for the darkness song, first thing that comes to mind is that there is not a lot of bass. The intro riff is considerably thin and somehow lacks the full and heavy rock sound signature to a Gibson Les Paul. Listening to rock on these IEMs just don’t make me feel like headbanging. They still sound good but just not as good as What I would have expected. I have heard the same song on a Grado SR60i and although those have a treble emphasis as well, they sound A LOT better imo. Not sure why though, it just makes me say “yeah, that’s what they should sound like!”


So in conclusion, these IEMS have pretty detailed sounds, high trebles and not a lot of bass but provide amazing isolation. Anyway, that’s all for my impressions. Letting them burn in overnight and hope they will warm up abit. For now, its time for bed as I have class in the morning :O


Edited by justie - 3/21/11 at 6:38am
post #2 of 8

Hi, what are the etymotics hf6? i own a hf5, i know there are hf2 nd hf3 in the market, is hf6 the latest model from etymotics? Tried googling it, but no results. Do provide a picture or link~



post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm such an idiot XD it was a typo. HF5s :P


post #4 of 8

Your take on the HF5 is very much in line with what most people hear with them.  Also, getting used to the deep insertion with the white or grey stock tips takes a bit of time.  There are other tip/sleeve options out there.  I like the Shure "Olive" (black foam, model EABKF1-10) tips, and the Comply T100 tips are very similar.  Neither require a deep insertion and are very comfortable as the foam fills the exact shape of your ear canal.

post #5 of 8

Try using equalizer. It can give you even more treble. Actually, too much treble so I turn it down a little lol. I'm the guy that crave for treble and this device has it more than plenty.


As for the bass, bring the low end up a bit in equalizer and it will give you some hefty bass, just enough to balance it nicely. Presets won't do... gotta use equalizer.                    

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thnx for the tips guys :) yeah, im planning on trying them out with my E7 bass boost turned up, see how it goes. I'll try continue using the tri flange for abit to see if i can get used to them before getting new tips :)



post #7 of 8

I don't know if I'm just crazy or if I just don't know comfortable tips for IEMs (highly probable), however the stock white? (smaller tri-flange) tips I find quite comfortable! Enough so that on the morning ride to work on the bus, while at work and then on the way home, I have no issues. The isolation isn't as good as the gray tips, but those are a bit too large for my liking for all day wearing. If there were a set of tri-flanged tips that were between the 2 stock sizes, I think that would be the perfect balance of isolation and comfortable all day wearing.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Im using the largest tri lfange size because the grey ones dont seal enough for me XD i might try the foam tips tomorrow as well as the mushroom shaped ones


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