Originally Posted by bobeau
I spent almost 2 years ER4P/S first then the HF2 more recently. And I've got a few hundred hours on the GR07.
I guess we all hear things differently, but the idea someone would find the Ety sound more natural is rather remarkable to me. Great reference monitors, no question. But 2 different things.
It's really a mixture of three very important aspects that I personally attribute to "naturalness," which I think is somewhat synonymous with "accurate" and these don't necessarily apply to other listeners:
1. Detail resolution. Not due to exaggerated treble, either. ER4S, with the right tips and insertion depth, actually has slightly less treble than GR07 but also smoother and much more resolving treble.
2. Soundstage. GR07 has a more enveloping quality, but that is only due to the warmer response that it has. Everything is slightly meld together, but also has its own space; thus, a greater sense of space and clarity. You don't have to struggle to see what sound is coming from where. ER4S also resolve height and depth better than GR07 to me. To me, these things make the SS of the ER4S seem more realistic.
3. Tonal accuracy. Much of this has to do with decay and frequency response. ER4S's bass is 2dB too lean, imo, while GR07mkII's bass is 5dB too chubby. That, to me, means the ER4S's bass is closer to accurate. In the 2kHz-4kHz range, I feel the ER4S is more accurate and has a bit more energy. This is evident in vocals. ER4S's treble is just so close to being spot on, if you get the right insertion. I toned down the 10kHz-12kHz by 2dB, but that's nitpicking. In terms of decay, GR07 may have sliiightly more decay. Imho, ER4S produces precisely the amount of decay that is originally in the recording. GR07 sprinkles that with a touch more decay. However, if we are comparing them without any EQ, it may feel as though the GR07 has much more extended decay. Just as there is optical illusion, there is also sonic illusion. What I mean by that is, the extra warmth and sub-bass energy is what leads people to feel the GR07 has more decay. You wouldn't know it, until you start to flatten the GR07's bass as I did through EQ.
For the past couple days I've been listening to the ER4S with a gentle bass tilt with the height of 2dB that goes from the 1kHz band to the 100Hz band. I figured this would compensate for the bone conduction that one would only hear through large speakers. Below the 100Hz band, I gave it a steeper tilt to compensate for the slight rolloff. This worked beautifully, and I'm very much enjoying the added bit of warmth, and it does feel more natural. When listening to bassy tracks, I can feel my throat shaking, and the ER4S never ever seems to exhibit any lack of control in the lower registers. I upped the 2dB to 3dB, and felt it was beginning to sound too much like the GR07; it started to sound less clear, as sounds were starting to add on a few necessary pounds, so to speak. I didn't want that, so I changed it back to 2dB. I spent something like 12-14 hours with these in my ears last night. I endured the discomfort of having to sleep facing the ceiling the entire time, just because I couldn't take them out of my ears. With the GR07, I can sleep comfortably in any position, which is something I miss about them. I was very happy with my GR07, but its warm sound was too warm for me. Unless EQ'd I always felt like the bass was on the verge, though not quite over, of intruding upon vocals. This is a no-no for someone whose music collection is 98% vocal.
In terms of accuracy, or naturalness, I would rank these as follows: EQ'd ER4S > stock ER4S >= EQ'd GR07 >> stock GR07.
Insertion depth and seal are critical to enjoying the ER4S. Without them, they would sound about as sibilant as the GR07, if not slightly more.
Edited by tigon_ridge - 12/8/12 at 2:16pm