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IEM Recommendation - Etymotics ER4-P or other?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all!

I am looking at buying a new pair of IEM's, as I recently rediscovered my ER6i's amazing sound isolation. However, I think it's time for an upgrade!

As a source I am currently using a HTC Desire (Not ideal by any means, but does the job) and will soon have a brand new Sansa Clip+. The Etymotics ER4-P's have some really good reviews around here, and elsewhere on the internet. However at ~£170 on Amazon.co.uk, they are pretty pricey. Anyone know anywhere to get them delivered to the UK for a cheaper price than that? Or any alternatives in a similar level of sound quality?

I am a big fan of the accuracy that my ER6i's give me, and know that the ER4-P's excel in this area, so I am definitely leaning to just spending the £170. But I am open to suggestions!

Also, I can get the ER4-P and ER4-S for the same price - is it worth buying the ER4-P and convertor cable for P -> S? I will be using various sources, and amps on different occasions however my main use for these is in my portable rig so I am going to try to avoid carrying an amp with me (I have Gary's PA2V2...while I absolutely love it, it's a bit on the large side so not ideal to carry around)

Many thanks in advance guys! And my apologies if I have asked anything already in the forums - I did try a search, but could not find a comprehensive answer!

post #2 of 9

I will highely recommend the RE272 if neutral, balanced IEMs needed without using AMPs but it (AMPs) will help to increase the soundquality of these IEMs. The Etymotic HF5, ER4P are balanced sounding IEMs and they sound good out of any DAPs. Also P to S cable and AMPs, the Eytmotic ER4P/S will sound amazing but it need dedicated line out signal too.

Edited by ZARIM - 9/5/11 at 11:31am
post #3 of 9

The ER4P will be built far better than anything from Hifiman.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

After a bit of research, the RE272 seems very good, however isolation is key to me as these will mainly be used on public transport... thank you though :)

Any thoughts one Westone 4? I know it's expensive...but how does it compare to the ER4-P?

post #5 of 9

Hey Amar, did you get the Etys eventually? How did they work out for you?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey Mark,

I did eventually buy the Etymotic ER4-P's. I have to say, I am extremely happy and haven't looked back since.

Now, I'm by no means a true audiophile (although if someone wants to sponsor me, that could change quite quickly!). That being said, I do like my music to be what I consider balanced. That is to say, I don't like it when any aspect of the music is over emphasised. No excessive bass response for me, and no blood-curdling shrill treble either!

Now, when I first got the Etys I did have trouble enjoying them. For lack of a better way of putting it, my ears weren't designed to have something jammed into them, so it did take a bit of getting used to. It seemed to be a common problem, and after doing a bit of research I decided to apply a small amount of olive oil each time I went to insert them. This made them easier to insert, and I feel (although it could just be my ears adapting) that the sillicon sleeves became softer.

My PAV2 Amp broke down a long time, and I was too lazy to ask Gary for help with it. I have a feeling I dropped it one too many times anyway, so that's my fault (and probably something I could fix with a little bit of solder and some patience!).

So, as it stands I am using my etys with a Sansa Clip Zip. The clip zip has good reviews for being fairly powerful for it's size, and it seems to deliver well with my etys. 

You can 'feel' the bass response, but it doesn't overcloud the other frequencies. I found myself discovering parts of songs I couldn't hear before, small things such as an artists breathing.

I use these daily now, and wouldn't turn back!

One thing to note though, is that they are lethal if you're in a situation where you NEED to hear. Crossing the road? Don't think about it without taking BOTH earphones out. I found taking one out, the other still acts like enough of an ear plug to make it difficult to hear properly.

Running costs: I, unfortunately, am blessed with ears that generate excessive wax. It's not nice, I know, but it's something worth mentioning. The etys have small filters which are easy to replace, but hard to get hold of in the UK and require replacing every now and then (how often depends on you! I use ear drops to try and minimise the need). The only place i've found to deliver the filters to myself are here:


At £13:99 for 6, it's quite pricey. Working out to around £4:66 per pair, which is extortion for what they are. But I can't buy them anywhere else. I'm not sure if they ship to Ireland, but I guess they will. It's a cost worth noting though, as with lower end earphones once you've bought them there's no further cost. These have an upkeep..

(After writing all that, I read your list of devices. I wrote this with the intention of providing an opinion to someone who was considering them, but I see you already have a pair of ER4-PT's!!)

post #7 of 9

Hey Amar


Thanks a million for the comprehensive reply! Im delighted to hear that you went with them, i have a pair a little while now and i use them with my Fiio X3 which is great.


I did have issues with the earpieces, the flange inserts went too deep for me, they used to almost make me retch, but they gave the best bass sound once i got isolation sorted.

The comply were worse than useless, im not sure if they were too small or i was using them incorrectly but i could never get a seal with them and they sounded terrible.

The foamies were great but ive just broken one and will need to order more.


I havent changed the filters yet, i probably should do that this weekend and see what the effect is.


I have Grados and a beautiful pair of Denon ADH2000 but the Etys are my favourites. Maybe i need to order some better complys, they seem to be very popular. What tips do you use?

post #8 of 9

Hi Amar,


If you like what you're getting out of the ER4P, I highly urge you to try out the ER4S (or the ER4P + P-S adapter). The result is simply sublime. In this price range, nothing comes close to matching it for detail retrieval.


As for filters, have you considered ordering them directly from the Etymotic website? It's USD15 for a set of 6 + USD2 for international shipping, which is about £10 and change. I'm using the red filters (as opposed to the default green ones) on my P + adapter and I've never been happier with my music.

post #9 of 9

Thanks for this thread Amar, I'd been using ER4Ps with my ipod for years and loved them. I've since upraded the ipod to an A&K AK120 and JA AHA-120 amp and although I'm using full size headphones primarily I still wanted an in-ear type for when I'm listening "on the move". I thought I'd have to spend big to get something suitable, but the advice given here has made me think twice! I've just ordered an after market P-S cable for ~16 quid and am hopeful they'll do the trick! ;) 

Edited by scook94 - 12/1/13 at 2:42am
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