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Is it bad that I might want to quit headphones for Etymotic ER4?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I might just quit this whole headphone thing altogether and get Etymotic ER4's.... has anybody else gone down this path?

 

It's not that I prefer headphones or IEM's, I just borrowed a pair this weekend and I could honestly just retire with a pair of modded Grados and some ER4's, it was very sad to give them back.

 

You really can hear music the way it was made and not how anybody else wants it to sound.

 

They also have replaceable cables :)

 

 

post #2 of 16

Not bad at all. If you've found your preferred sound, stick with it! It's us fools who screw around with more than one or two pairs of headphones that get ourselves in trouble and waste a lot of time and money. smile.gif

post #3 of 16

I've have the ER4P and Allesandro MS-1i, and while I listen to the ER4P majority of the time, there are times I like to have the openness of the MS-1i.  It takes a minute or 2 to get my head adjusted to the different sound, but there are particular songs (most live material) that I love the MS-1i for.  You could go cheap and get the SR60 or 80 just so you can have a decent Grado around.

 

But if I didn't have the MS-1i, I could probably be more than satisfied with the purity of the ER4P.

post #4 of 16

I'm glad to hear that you've been able to listen to some ER4's, Chris, and that you indeed like them as you suspected you might. Was it the S or the P you borrowed?

 

I wish my old ER4P (I have the 'S' cable also) would have replaceable cables also, as they are too micro phonic for me to use while moving around (they're awesome when sitting still though). I understand the newer models are better in this regard though, and I do enjoy my Etymotics a whole lot when I travel. It's really neat that they block out the outside noise so much that you don't have to play at loud volumes either, particularly as they sonically 'fully bloom' at a low volume.

 

I'm seriously considering opening my old ones up to replace the cables and make a new mount for them, now that I don't travel quite as much.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post

I might just quit this whole headphone thing altogether and get Etymotic ER4's.... has anybody else gone down this path?

 

It's not that I prefer headphones or IEM's, I just borrowed a pair this weekend and I could honestly just retire with a pair of modded Grados and some ER4's, it was very sad to give them back.

 

You really can hear music the way it was made and not how anybody else wants it to sound.

 

They also have replaceable cables :)

 

 



 


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/6/11 at 1:14am
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Yeah the sound isn't as "big" as some of the Westones, UE's, and Shures I listen to, so I can understand how some of Etymotic's detractors feel the sound is antiquated and behind the times, but Etymotics have always been that way even 10 years ago, there was always something with a bigger, more engaging sound, it's just all about accuracy and representing music the way it was produced and therefore hearing more through accuracy. After you spend a lot of time with headphones and IEM's that you might not like, you tend to understand why things are the way they were. If there was a perfect headphone signature, everybody would just make one and brand it.

 

The accuracy of them made me reconsider some of my music taste since some of it is overly loud. I picked up folk and acoustic spanish guitar lately for reference purposes.

 

For instance, anybody who knows me knows I love Grados for their detail, fun treble signature, and warm midrange. Now if you remove some of the coloration of the treble you get clarity which I wasn't expecting out of an IEM... especially one that only cost what an Ety does, usually you have to spend a lot more to sound better than some of the good headphones!

 

I'm still always going to love Grados over 98 percent of other headphones but I always make it a point to understand why things are the way they are, thats why I like MOST headphones regardless of my personal tone preference.

 

I compared it vs the HD600, and I could honestly just throw out the HD600's for them (and a decent portable amp, why not) ... these are stock cabled Ety's I borrowed from a friend. It was the "S" version, it had removable cables.

 

I'm trying to be as factual as possible since I wince at some of the overly romanticized descriptions, but I seriously LOVED them and it all makes sense now haha.

 

By the way I used to own some Harmon Kardon IEM's which were supposed to have drivers modeled after the ER4 back in 2007 and I LOATHED them. Just goes to show you how a little enrichment goes a long way on Head-Fi lol.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post

The accuracy of them made me reconsider some of my music taste since some of it is overly loud. I picked up folk and acoustic spanish guitar lately for reference purposes.

 

 

Yep - this is what often happens (in my experience) as things clear up to the point where certain music is just too poorly recorded, while other stuff reaches new heights. I genuinely think you've hit gold in terms of musical experience, as having a pair of headphones (or whatever else in terms of new gear) that makes you go nuts for exploring music (i.e. rather than sit there and actively focus on particular sounds) is what it's all about.

 

If you haven't already, I'd definitely recommend you check out the borders between Bluegrass and (Outlaw) Country as there are some very strong recordings and great stuff there if you like the acoustics of Spanish guitar. Certainly, it doesn't have that tango'ish sound to the guitars, but they definitely have the attitude! To give a few examples (I can supply a ton more, but I'll leave that to PMs if you want more) I'd suggest you start with Devil Makes Three (and maybe in particular the re-printed self-titled first album, aka the red one), Hank Williams III (all albums, really, but Risin' Outlaw is a great start), and if you want something odd and funny with a strong acoustic bass - go for Wheels Fargo & The Nightingale (I've only heard the Mama Was A Bank Robber album and don't even know if they have more). 

 

Oh, and I checked the Etymotic website and they don't have any ER4 with options to re-cable there. Strange! Did your friend by any chance mod them to make cables exchangeable? Finally, I definitely feel that the S is the way to go and I barely ever listen to mine as the P model anymore. Today, I would have just picked up a pair of S to start with rather than have to use the 'magic P-to-S' cable.

 

Edit: spelling.


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/6/11 at 2:13am
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trasselkalle View Post

 

Yep - this is what often happens (in my experience) as things clear up to the point where certain music is just too poorly recorded, while other stuff reaches new heights. I genuinely think you've hit gold in terms of musical experience, as having a pair of headphones (or whatever else in terms of new gear) that makes you go nuts for exploring music (i.e. rather than sit there and actively focus on particular sounds) is what it's all about.

 

If you haven't already, I'd definitely recommend you check out the borders between Bluegrass and (Outlaw) Country as there are some very strong recordings and great stuff there if you like the acoustics of Spanish guitar. Certainly, it doesn't have that Tango sound to the guitars, but they definitely have the attitude! To give a few examples (I can supply a ton more, but I'll leave that to PMs if you want more) I'd suggest you start with Devil Makes Three (and maybe in particular the re-printed self-titled first album, aka the red one), Hank Williams III (all albums, really, but Risin' Outlaw is a great start), and if you want something odd and funny with a strong acoustic bass - go for Wheels Fargo & The Nightingale (I've only heard the Mama Was A Bank Robber album and don't even know if they have more). 

 

Oh, and I checked the Etymotic website and they don't have any ER4 with options to re-cable there. Strange! Did your friend by any chance mod them to make cables exchangeable? Finally, I definitely feel that the S is the way to go and I barely ever listen to mine as the P model anymore. Today, I would have just picked up a pair of S to start with rather than have to use the 'magic P-to-S' cable.



Yeah it's gotten to a point where I don't bother lending my Zune to anybody for a car trip just because all my music is a plethora of stuff I find just to please my headphones. I just liked Grados after intially dismissing them like Ety's and I figured they were accurate enough for decent music so I started with prog rock, then instrumental albums, then stuff like Diana Krall, I went through a baroque era, now I'm doing all this natural guitar stuff (with a kick of course).

 

Thanks for the music suggestions! Already gathering a huge list of music to play haha :)

 

Oddly enough my actual music preference is melodic death metal with classical roots so I figured I explore the other end of the spectrum.

 

As for modifying ER4P's, I don't know of anything about recabling the fixed cable design. If anything I'd give them Westone pin sockets and go from there. I know there is an adapter that lets the ER4's take a Westone cable though.

 

Haha if I had a dream setup it'd be ER4S w/ some Apuresound cables (using your own cables is boring), and a headroom micro portable paired with a Meier StageDAC when I'm at home. Then I'd just be DONE and could get to listening!

 

I love Grados though and I'll always have a pair in the stable, I'd have gotten rid of the HD580's already if they weren't a collectable.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post

Oddly enough my actual music preference is melodic death metal with classical roots so I figured I explore the other end of the spectrum.

 

As for modifying ER4P's, I don't know of anything about recabling the fixed cable design. If anything I'd give them Westone pin sockets and go from there. I know there is an adapter that lets the ER4's take a Westone cable though.

 

Incidentally, Hank III has several side projects too and his latest one is a Death Metal band (Assjack). They're not quite up there in my book, as more of a Meshuggah or 'pure anger/evil' type of Death Metal person. Given where you come from in musical preferences, maybe you'd like the progressive Denver-based Gothic Country scene with bands that mix Country and Folk with Goth Metal? Sons of Perdition (sort of Nick Cave sound, but with even more sadness) and Those Poor Bastards (massive!), for instance. Recordings aren't superb, but they are both pretty cool purely from a 'what the heck' perspective. You can't listen to just one or two songs though - it takes some work getting into.

 

Oh wow. Music is awesome (I'm flipping through all the stuff while writing about it). I can't stay away from commenting more, despite what I said in my previous post!

 

Thanks for the tip on the Westone pin sockets. I'll see what I do about this. I suppose I'd have an excuse to pick up some new ones if I messed a mod up ;)

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trasselkalle View Post

 

Incidentally, Hank III has several side projects too and his latest one is a Death Metal band (Assjack). They're not quite up there in my book, as more of a Meshuggah or 'pure anger/evil' type of Death Metal person. Given where you come from in musical preferences, maybe you'd like the progressive Denver-based Gothic Country scene with bands that mix Country and Folk with Goth Metal? Sons of Perdition (sort of Nick Cave sound, but with even more sadness) and Those Poor Bastards (massive!), for instance. Recordings aren't superb, but they are both pretty cool purely from a 'what the heck' perspective. You can't listen to just one or two songs though - it takes some work getting into.

 

Oh wow. Music is awesome (I'm flipping through all the stuff while writing about it). I can't stay away from commenting more, despite what I said in my previous post!

 

Thanks for the tip on the Westone pin sockets. I'll see what I do about this. I suppose I'd have an excuse to pick up some new ones if I messed a mod up ;)



Haha just take the safe route and sell them off as "vintage" and hope you get a decent amount of money for them.

 

OR

 

.. call Etymotic up, I know they reservice/recable broken vintage ER4P's long after warranty period. They're also some of the nicest people, they always send me free eartips when I call on the phone even though I want to pay for them! Maybe you can have them throw your armature into an ER4 body with detachable cables... but I'm playing with my imagination too much haha...

 

Fisher can also do a custom remold but thats another ordeal just to have removable/user replaceable cables...

 

The ER6 cable is probably one of the worst ones I've used too, works great when you're sitting down though :)

 

post #10 of 16

Lol - that's too simple! 

 

No you're right... those are indeed all much more reasonable alternatives. Why do I have to over-complicate things all the time?! *mumble, mumble*

 

Edit: You know what's actually easier than all this? To double check my ER4s and realize that "hey... these cables actually are replaceable"! Go figure... I really must be old.


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/6/11 at 2:59am
post #11 of 16

Ety ER-4Ps are REALLY good.  They do most things right and when paired with the right amp (or EQ?), you've easily hit the point of diminishing returns.  At times I even prefer them to my UE Reference Monitors.  The RMs have insane amounts of detail (yes, even more than the ER-4Ps) but a lot of the time I like the more 'accessible' sound of the Etys.  I think sometimes the vocals are even better on the Etys.  I guess my point here is that the Etys really are that good!  Try not to let the fact that there are more expensive IEMs out there (SE535s, W4s, etc.) lead you to believe that you're missing something.

 

As for the cable, that is a bit of a low in these for me.  I am annoyed by that "weight" at the Y-cord which houses the resistors, and the stiff cable that they used after it.  I just ordered these adapters that allow you to use Westone ES cable:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290534436159&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT  The good thing about them is they also have the resistors built in so you can either keep the 'P' designation or change over to the 'S' while you're doing this.  (The Westone cable won't have any resistors of course, and even the 'P' version needs them.)  This apparently will also let you do the over-the-ear method.  The only downside is the cost- including the ES cable, you're talking about $90.  But to me it's worth it because it pretty much makes the ER-4s the almost perfect IEM!


Edited by Mkubota1 - 8/6/11 at 3:25am
post #12 of 16

I feel like I'm thread-jacking here, but Chris mentioned the Westone cables also so I'll go ahead and ask anyways. Is the Westone cable less prone to micro phonics, or what is it that make ppl like that cable over the stock one?

 

(Back to the OP thread after this though!)

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

1. Over the ear method is now more ergonomic

2. The things is just built better. Durability probably is increased by quite a bit

3. Lesser microphonics

4. Aftermarket options come up other than Apuresound's Ety cables with those

5. Looks better

 

Don't worry about thread jacking, this is apparently just another ER4 discussion thread that reaffirms my liking of these. Just gotta make sure I'm not the only one who likes a 20 year old IEM!

 

The stock cable on the ER4P was I believe the newer one which is better against microphonics, but even a 20 dollar stock UE cable would do better in the above 5 ways

post #14 of 16

Thanks for that, Chris. That helped tremendously.

 

You are definitely not alone regarding the ER4. They perfectly demonstrate how the flow of time doesn't always lead to improvements, and that IEMs only serious issue is for ppl who can't get them to fit comfortably. For those of us blessed with ears that the stock foam and rubber tips work great, the ER4s are simply divine in the mids and highs and bring out the resolution that I wished even my K702 would have (which are obviously known for being high resolution cans). Possibly, one pinch of warmth and aggression in voices could be added (most likely through the right amp) and everything would be spot on. Finally, a bit more extension (similar to the 702 would be enough) in the bass and the things could just be glued stuck in my ears as I'd never want to take them out. 

 

 


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/6/11 at 4:22am
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

4 years of posting and 1000 posts later just to end up liking two headphones/IEM's I used to not like, my taste in music has basically expanded to all 4 corners of the universe, and settling that the two best headphones for me that I used to hate are ones that have been around for decades...

 

I'm grinning ear to ear right now.

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