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Fixup's Ety-Enhanced Cables MiniReview

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to try out Fixup's Ety enhanced cable. I picked the 50 ohm one as well as an adapter to boost up to 4S.

Shipping was speedy, and the items packed nicely in some padded wrapping.

Fit and finish-

The cable looks like the typical cording you find on most cheap portable phones. The right angle connector was pretty normal as opposed to ER4's fancier looking connector, and the cording was thinner. Obviously for sake of portability and microphonics I found it acceptable since I didn't expect to hook up Clou's to Ety's. It seemed more like off the shelf ER6 type cording. There is no resistor pod or shirt clip attachment, instead the resistors are right near the earpieces. The earpieces themselves probably need more fit and finish, as they look like some sort of hand-moulded epoxy. It is basically the resistor circuit with gold plated connectors covered in some type of epoxy for durability (they were just bare PCB before). The cable is extremely lightweight and doesn't have the resistor pod to drag either. There is less slack after the Y attachment but that is adjustable. As opposed to the ones in his picture I had the cables coming straight down and front so basically going down right after the driver units. I also found this to be a better configuration and a killer of microphonics. The width was pretty similar to default Ety earpiece connectors, but perhaps more bulky. I believe with a slimmer less wide earpiece connector with low-profile color schemes, they would look much nicer to me.

Installation-

I found that installation of the new cord was a snap, but the removal of your original cords may or may not be. The reason Etymotic stopped selling cords is because some users ended up breaking something or other. Again the cord is not meant for end-user replacement or constant use. There is also variability between the connection with the Ety cords I'd wager, so it may be easy or difficult. *Ideally* you should be able to remove them with just a firm grip and tug using force parallel to the conductors, and ideally it should be a no-brainer task. One side was quite more difficult for me to remove than the other, but with some care and tools (jeweler flathead screwdrivers) I did it without harm.

Performance-

Microphonic noise is just annhilated with Fixup's cord...I was quite thrilled. Even without a shirt clip or any draping over the ears, the cable simply has much less microphonic noise to the 4S cable did. Tapping the cord below the Y junction had very little effect. I was testing without music as well. I even stuck my face in front of a fan to test wind noise, and at the highest setting, I could easily tell wind noise was also greatly reduced. I could jump up and down on my tip toes and slight occlusion noise aside, there was just no shirt cord scraping noise that was highly noticable even without music playing. ER4S stock cable had loud microphonic noise without music playing, and somewhat noticable microphonic noise with music. Fixup's cable in comparison had slightly noticable noise without music playing, but was extremely unobtrusive with music playing.

As far as sound, I found the 50 ohm setting an absolutely perfect mating with my Panasonic portable of 9mw. I am sure that it might be lacking for 3mw portables, but I wouldn't likely buy those anyways. As far as sound quality, I was very impressed as the 50 ohm setting was a somewhat subtle difference from 4S to me. The amount of increased dynamics with the 50 ohm setting compared to 4S was very large, and I would be harder pressed to convince myself to need an amp for traveling and convenience.

Given the difficulty to swap cables and give definitive comparisons, I can only say that the microphonic noise difference was a huge difference, and that I didn't consider the newer cable + adapter to degrade sound over the original cable which in itself probably didn't have as good resistors. Right now I believe however that the 50 ohm + 4S adapter is at least as good sounding as my older stock 4S cable.

Conclusion-

You lose some fit and finish as the cable no longer looks as fancy, but seeing as microphonics are just on a much lower level and the stiffer stock fancy cabling really doesn't work well as well for portable cording anyways, I really don't care. You risk looking slightly weirder especially if the earpieces are pastel colors...but most Etymaniacs already look weird with Ety's. I happened to mark over the earpiece connectors with a black sharpie for a lower profile as pastel colors didn't do it for me.

I can't guarantee an absolute ease of installation(installation is easy and simple, but removal of original cords may or may not be). But if microphonics are getting on your nerves, I think Fixup's cable definitely does the job and is worth a try especially considering the price. Also there is quite a price gap as well as more customizability issues with Fixup's cord swaps as opposed to factory replacement. If Fixup gets around to making them look even nicer I would be pretty hard pressed to find a reason not to use em.

With a few more revisions it is probably possible to make a non-microphonic, lower-profile earpieces, with slim earpiece connectors that allows you to lay the side of your head on a pillow.

http://www.fixup.net/tips/ety/ety.htm

I will post pics of the new attached cables later.
post #2 of 18
Thanks for that great info, Tim. I've bought a couple of the conversion cables from him and they work great. Can't wait to see your pics!

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 


On some further consideration...if you were to make the ends any shorter, you probably wouldn't have much to hold onto for insertion and removals...doh! Also considering that Fixup's cables contains the resistors in those earpieces instead of at the Y connection, I guess it might be difficult to shorten it.

Still the ear-pieces connectors definitely don't look machine molded, so they have more of a DIY hand molded look. Not really a big deal when you really take into consideration the scale and size of what we are talking about anyways. However even though the ear-piece connectors themselves aren't perfectly molded, the gold-plated conductors that go into the drivers themselves are smooth, well-made and had absolutely zero alignment issues. I definitely didn't feel there was any size mismatch with these custom cables in regards to the conductors and almost felt they were more sturdy. Ety conductors are pointy and notched, while the custom conductors were smooth and round.

I still think the default earpieces should be better colors than pastels(I colored mine black), but other than that, I think its something to try for the price. You should see beforehand wheter or not it is easy for you to remove your original cords (without breaking them of course) before you decide as well.

After using these custom cables for a good while, I will revisit the ER4S cable for comparison again as well as to compare sound and microphonics, as well as to make sure the older cord fits back in perfectly after using the custom cord.
post #4 of 18
very cool, tim! If only I could wear ety's for more than fifteen seconds...

I'll have to try them again, see if I can last longer.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to update about these now that I've used them quite a bit more portably with my panasonic PCDP.

Again I love the lack of microphonics...I am totally over the fact that the cord and connectors aren't as polished especially when they sound so terrific straight from the headphone jack IMO. As for the 47 ohm value, I believe this is a pretty good value for "decent" portable headphone jacks ala Panasonic. I do not have anything super weak on hand to test.

I've swapped back to my original 4S cable a few times to compare but had difficulty finding reason to keep it in that configuration besides a better look. The large decrease of microphonics however makes me assume it is lower than 4P cord, but that is only an assumption. It is definitely so low that it seems only slight occlusion noise is all that remains and becomes much more a factor than the cord ever will. Also the cord design is again much more different since it brings the resistors up to the top leaving a lack of a resistor/shirtclip pod to weigh down the cord. I guess if you just sit there for home use and never move much there wouldn't be no reason to try them, otherwise give them a try (and have extreme care with installation/removal).
post #6 of 18
Thanks for the update, Tim. I'm seriously consdering giving the 50 ohm cable a try just to limit the micophonics.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Rick, I've been corresponding with Fix-up and am probably going to have a chance to check out a further updated version if possible later(perhaps even more ergonomics and polish)! I'm very excited about that as well.

However his pricing and return policy is very reasonable no doubt. The biggest issue is careful removal of your old cord. From what people have said about ER-6's being on a much lower order of microphonics I believe it is because the cording is drastically different from either 4P and 4S models. Getting ER-4 sound with ER-6 type microphonics sounds quite nice indeed.

I have to stress that there still is microphonics, but the nature of the cord minimizes the event both in occurance and volume a lot. For example if I sit there and thumb my finger across the top cord constantly, of course there will be microphonics, but in normal use and walking around I find it quite refreshing that it just doesn't happen in normal and even active use. Not super-active as far as running around and doing jumping jacks, but far more active than before where you almost need to be quite comatose or stationary in comparison. For example I can tap my feet now all I want and shift here and there with little consequence. The new cord just dangles lightly and freely which is a big difference from a more heavier stiffer cord. I have no problem walking around either or moving my hands about, etc.

I will fill people in on any further development as far as his after-market cording goes.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 


Fixup gave me the oppurtunity to check out his latest work in his Ety-enhanced cables, and his last iteration is really terrific IMO. The first cables which I never tried are the plain PCB board ones that just look a little funny IMO. The second iteration were his own custom-molded connectors which were better looking, but still needed a little more fit and finish and also stuck out almost as much as the original Ety connectors. The latest Fixup cables however seem to go back to the first one with a 90 degree connector, however it is definitely more polished as there is a nice heat-shrink coating around it giving it a nice slim, sleek, and more rugged profile. There are colored bands to indicate L/R, but you can remove them if you wanted to. Overall the size is probably actually slightly larger than the original Ety connectors, however they point straight down instead of outwards so it still maintains a very low profile. Again the resistors are at the connectors instead of in a resistor pod.

The microphonics are again at a neglible level, and a huge improvement over stock. Also wind noise again is probably lower than anything before with the new heatshrink and slim profile. I just got them and am extremely happy but I will report on anything new later. Again it is the 50 ohm cable which IMO sounds quite good from my portable with no huge loss of treble. As you can see in the pic, the cable itself is thicker than the cable before, but not as thick or stiff as stock. They were taken from Aiwa earbuds, so they are OFC cording. The connector however isn't gold-plated for those that care(It wouldn't be difficult however to get a connector that is gold-plated, but they would have to come from more expensive phones I assume and raise the price).

Finally given the slim profile you don't have something sticking out far to hold onto so it might take a little adjustment and more care to remove them from your ears...the connector and earpieces definitely feels sturdy, but since Ety cords are still the tightest connectors with the notched connectors while Fixup's are round and smooth, it is still probably a good idea to try to hold onto the driver unit self as well when removing them from your ears.

Pros: Very affordable, now slim and sleek and IMO lower profile, and vastly improved microphonics and wind noise reduction. 50 ohm setting is a nice inbetween settings between 4S and 4P. Shirt clip no longer needed and microphonics are still at a much lower level regardless. Fit and finish is much improved over Fixup's prior Ety-enhanced cables IMO.

Cons: mini-plug not gold-plated, slightly more attention needed with removal, and requires careful removal of stock cord.

Summary: If you are a veteran Ety user and has delt with enough filter changes or had to swap foamy tips, etc, I don't think the removal and swapping of cords is going to be a big deal. But the reduction in microphonics is extremely nice IMO, and I happen to like the black low profile look. If you are looking to kill most microphonics, these are great. They still look DIY, but IMO they are the best looking yet over the original bare PCB board, and the molded earpieces. You also get a slightly longer earpiece, however it is less wide as you can hopefully see in the pic.

I might try to get better pics, however my digi-cam is pretty old, and its kind of hard for me to get really good pics of tiny mostly-black ear-pieces.

Oh wow, here is a better close-up pic I just made.


Just a note on scale...you probably couldn't get the Ety's to look this large if you put em up to your eye...in which case it'd probably be blurry.
post #9 of 18
There is the "new" enhanced cable just added to the site. It looks much nicer, but no specs that I can see, just some subjective comments.
post #10 of 18
OT:
Tim D: Do you like the replacment cord so much so ya willing to let go of the original 4P cord?
Ill be interested.
post #11 of 18

ER4P and ER4S Cable confusion

I love my new ER4P's, but can't stand the microphonics. So, I would like to upgrade using some of fixup.net's products, but have some confusion.

From the vendor:
ER4P has 27 ohm resistor
ER4S has a 100 ohm resistor

With the fixup.net cables & adaptors:
ER4P + adaptor cable = 27ohm + 2x75ohm series = 177ohm?
ER4P + replacement cable = 50ohm (replaces original 27ohm)
ER4P + replacement + adaptor = 50 (cord) + 2x75 = 200ohm?

First of all:
Are the above assumptions correct? If so, then ER4P + adaptor (177ohm) is not the same as ER4S (100ohm) ?

Second of all:
I would like to buy the replacement cable for my new ER4P so I have a 50ohm ER4P for portable applications with my Panasonic PCDP. Then, I would like to be able to add an adaptor cable to get to 100ohm so it equals an ER4S (which would mean adding 50ohm additional in series). As far as I understand it, fixup.net does not offer this setup?

Any help to clear up my confusion would be much appreciated.

-Bruce
post #12 of 18

Partial Answer

After taking a closer look at the fixup.net web site, it seems I misinterpreted the "2 75ohm resistors in series" to mean 2 per line. It actually means 2X75 ohm resistors with 1 per line.

That means:

ER4P + Adaptor cable = 27ohm + 75ohm = 102ohm

However, it still means:
ER4P + Replacement + Adaptor = 75ohm + 50ohm = 125ohm

So, will fixup.net supply either:

25ohm replacement cable (so you get an er4p or use adaptor cable to get er4s)?

OR

50ohm adaptor cable (so you get a slightly higher resistance er4p with replacement cable or er4s with the adaptor + replacement)?

Any feedback would be appreciated.
Thanks,
-Bruce
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Fixup will should be able to set you up with whatever configuration you chose, wheter it is a 4P resistance cable plus an adapter to bring it to 4S...or wheter it is a 50 ohm cable with 50 ohm adapter...or wheter it is just a 4S cord.

Actually I haven't been around on Head-fi much, but I did realize the latest incarnation of Fixup's cord. It has a radioshack mini-plug and the connectors fit and finish is quite impeccable and he has gone A LONG way from the earlier models. It has an incredible small stealth look, rugged feel, and the golden pin connectors are now notched and look just like the Ety ones. The L/R coordination is extremely clever as it is color coded from looking at the top...however when they are in your ears they will both be stealthy low profile black. The microphonics like the other cords are still at negliable levels. Sorry no pics yet, but I think Fixup has some. If you are heavy duty portable user however, it still might be better for you to opt for the right angle connector version with resistors in earpieces.

I need more time as far as judging sound quality...but I am quite impressed with his 100 ohm cable which in terms of dynamics and bass...I have a hard time almost believing it is 100 ohm like the stock 4S cable when being played from my Panasonic portable.

Anyways you have a lot of options in terms of configuring what resistance you want, and I can definitely say that the connector pieces themselves do not give up anything to the stock Ety connectors anymore in terms of fit and finish. In fact given the stealth profile, size, ruggedness, and clever L/R color coding, I now definitely prefer it.
post #14 of 18
hi tim,
i have the er6 and use them every day portably. they are great, but i think the cord can be improved on. for me it is too short, and seems somewhat cheap-i'm curious what a better cord would do to the sound; perhaps clear up some grain and add punch to the bass?

do you know a way to upgrade the er6 cord? will it have to be the same resistance as the original? i realise it is hard-wired on, but i have some akg240m that i re-soldered the cord back on and they work fine. can you give any advice on this to me?

Thanks
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I don't have experience with the ER-6 and do not know anything about the cord assembly or connection. The ER-4 cord is *somewhat* modular with the gold pins, but even than it does hold some risks and needs careful removal, given the size and tightness etc.

If it is hardwired on, I don't think it is going to be worth the trouble...looking at Fixup's cord I know that it requires a good deal of effort and expertise alone just for ER4 cords which are attachable and removable by small connectors. As far as the endpieces go, we are talking about something quite tiny in size and I don't imagine the ER-6 would be much easier. And splicing the cord isn't something that I would care to do at all.
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