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Why not a Dual BA from Etymotic? - Page 4

post #46 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

What I find most interesting about this thread is not the actual discussion --which is indeed interesting-- but that everyone will openly speak of the ER4 (and discuss both positive and negative aspects of it), yet when it comes to openly criticizing other manufacturers or specific IEMs, these are not always openly mentioned or discussed.

I share your point. Also, I find it amazing that we are talking about a 20+ years IEM, the first one no less, like it is an IEM just being release last month... and how many IEM we have forgotten from last year alone?
post #47 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

 

Well, that's simply because a custom is supposed to be tuned for each individual shell/bore shape and design.  That's a huge advantage but I don't think every custom takes full advantage in equal measure but it should in theory still be better than the end user trying to manage it w/ generic tips and various insertion techniques.  At least that's the theory.  Even Etymotic offers custom molded tips from Sensaphonics so in a way they even acknowledge the limitations of universals.  But it's all entirely personal and depends on about a hundred possible factors apart from any ideal theory which will formulate each opinion based on their respective experiences.  Most of the general impressions and opinions I read about everything on Head-fi are more quibbles resulting from user error or lack of understanding than any actual technical deficiency in the gear involved.

 

Maybe somebody should ask Ety/Don Wilson if given unlimited resources and market potential whether they could improve on the sound of the ER4.  If so, where would the improvement come from?  Otherwise, they are suggesting the ER4 is already perfect and impossible to improve upon.  Does anyone here actually believe that?  If not, then what do the Ety purists offer as critiques and where would they improve it?

 

You raise some great points.  Since I don't have custom fit tips for the ER4, does anyone know how deep the ER4 sits with the custom tips vs. with universal tips?  And doesn't ACS also offer custom tips for the ER4?  And I doubt Ety/Don would want to comment on that, but if they did I would think they would say their product is the best it can be.  That is of course unless they were working on the next generation.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

 

Do bear in mind this is an Etymotic specific thread so naturally they are discussed directly which seems more plausible than an alterior motive perhaps?  Anyway, if you want to call me out directly for something feel free.  ksc75smile.gif  Otherwise I'm....popcorn.gif

 

Well put.

post #48 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

 

Do bear in mind this is an Etymotic specific thread so naturally they are discussed directly which seems more plausible than an alterior motive perhaps?  Anyway, if you want to call me out directly for something feel free.  ksc75smile.gif  Otherwise I'm....popcorn.gif

 

Well put.

 

 

May I ask what exactly was "well put"? Was it:

 

1.-- Do bear in mind this is an Etymotic specific thread so naturally they are discussed directly which seems more plausible than an alterior motive perhaps?

 

2.-- Anyway, if you want to call me out directly for something feel free.  ksc75smile.gif

 

or

3.-- Otherwise I'm....popcorn.gif

post #49 of 143

Oh you two...rolleyes.giftongue_smile.gif

 

I meant ACS, not Sensaphonics.  My bad.

post #50 of 143
Quote:
Otherwise, they are suggesting the ER4 is already perfect and impossible to improve upon.  Does anyone here actually believe that?

What I believe is that it's still the closest approach to their targeted frequency response that they know how to make. That doesn't translate to "perfect", because there's no such thing. There is not, and never has been, universal agreement among competent headphone designers on the "correct" approach to equalization. So the bottom line is that if you don't like Ety's approach, it makes a lot more sense to shop elsewhere than to wait for them to produce something quite different. And if you do like it, be glad that they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

post #51 of 143

I have owned the ER4P almost 2 years now, along with a 75-ohm adaptor to dig out another layer of details and crispness when I want.  I have not listened to any other multi-BA IEM, so the ER4P is my only frame of reference.  (I have heard the MEElec A151 BA phone, but to me, it under-performed the ER4 in nearly all areas.)

 

I have to believe, however, that in 25+ years of R&D, that Etymotic Research has created several test multi-BA phones.  And I can only assume they found that the additional work, technology and overall cost yeilded only slight improvements in sound quality, and probably very little improvement in sound clarity, which is their main goal -- accuracy in sound reproduction.

 

For me, I can adjust the EQ and other settings on my Cowon J3 a bit and make the ER4P give me all the bass fullness I really want.  But I would love to hear a JH5 or Westone 5 or Shure 535, just to compare them myself with the single BA ER4.

post #52 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by supersleuth View Post

What I believe is that it's still the closest approach to their targeted frequency response that they know how to make. That doesn't translate to "perfect", because there's no such thing. There is not, and never has been, universal agreement among competent headphone designers on the "correct" approach to equalization. So the bottom line is that if you don't like Ety's approach, it makes a lot more sense to shop elsewhere than to wait for them to produce something quite different. And if you do like it, be glad that they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

 

Seems I chose a poor term providing an easy way out.  Let's rephrase.  Could Ety build a better sounding IEM and if so what would it do to attain that performance?  Multi-BA or revised single driver?

 

There's also quite a few IEMs using diffuse field as target reference such as the B2 and UERM both of which I find better, and/or more enjoyable.  Nobody is talking about waiting for Ety for anything, others have already gone there.  The question really is whether the ER4 is the best possible sounding phone they know how to make.  Let's be clear too that Ety doesn't only make one IEM, they also made the ER6, HF5 and MC5.  Did they make those with inaccuracy in mind or just budget concerns?  Which brings me to another point you made, bang per buck.  Tbh at anywhere between $180-$280 I find the ER4 rather overpriced especially next to some competition in the $100-$150 range.

 

I also wonder how many think the ER4 sounds best because it does sound best to their ears versus how many might be more influenced by knowing how FR measures.  Clearly, beyond FR they still have other areas to be improved upon when looking at just the data. 

post #53 of 143

There is no universal definition of "sounds better". And I think if the Ety folks could make an IEM that more closely approaches their own ideal (which is the only possible practical meaning of "better" for something like this), they'd be selling it. But they won't do different just for the sake of different, which frankly is refreshing.

 

And of course, they make the cheaper models in order to expand their market to people who want to pay less; isn't that obvious? And I'm glad, because I think the HF5 (especially for the $100 I paid) is an outright steal.

post #54 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by supersleuth View Post

And I think if the Ety folks could make an IEM that more closely approaches their own ideal (which is the only possible practical meaning of "better" for something like this), they'd be selling it.

 

How do you know that?  You don't think the business calculus is a bit more complicated than selling the best they can make?  They have a single armature retailing for near $300.  Adding another or designing a proprietary driver would make for a $400 single/dual BA in theory?  Seems the profit margin would be smaller compared to the added expenses in RnD and manufacturing going that route.

 

I guess I'd like to hear Don Wilson say that it is not possible for Etymotic to design a better or 'more ideal' phone than the ER4.


Edited by Anaxilus - 8/8/12 at 10:50am
post #55 of 143

I've seen quotes from him that come pretty close to saying that. Certainly he is more than skeptical about the claimed advantages of multi-BA designs.

 

Look, buy something else if it gives you sound more to your liking.

post #56 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by supersleuth View Post

I've seen quotes from him that come pretty close to saying that. Certainly he is more than skeptical about the claimed advantages of multi-BA designs.

 

Look, buy something else if it gives you sound more to your liking.

 

Lol, I already did.  You'd know that by reading the thread or looking at my sig.  This isn't the ER4 appreciation thread.

 

Also, why buy the ER4 over the HF5 is both are designed using the same ideal and technology?  What does the ER4 bring that the HF5 doesn't?  Audiophile marketing, different filters?  

 

HF5:

 

  • 85%+ response accuracy from
    20 Hz – 15 kHz
  • Accu•Driver™ high performance, precision matched, balanced armature drivers

 

ER4:

 

  • Unsurpassed frequency response accuracy and sound quality — 86%+ response accuracy from 20 Hz – 16 kHz
  • The only earphones with Accu•Driver™ balanced-armature, precision-matched, custom-tuned drivers

Edited by Anaxilus - 8/8/12 at 11:24am
post #57 of 143

They base the ER-4 on extended research, based on the average human-related transfer, thus their ideal curve. This approach has actually been done by Beyerdynamic, Stax, Sennhessier in their full-size headphones. . By getting as close to the curve as they can they did create something special, 95% of the IEMs I've heard are loosely tuned, at least the manufacturer has backed research involved and the performance shows in certain areas. 

 

Is there room for improvement? I believe so, specifically at the extreme frequency ranges. A good way for them to keep their curve while getting a more visceral bass presentation, will be to introduce a dedicated woofer, a real "woofer", one that will increase regions only below 100hz. It will compensate for that lack of full-body vibrations in IEMs, while keeping their transparent bass presentation in the midbass. Then a dedicated tweeter to maximize treble bandwidth up to 20k, though the latter here will be be a small increment. Perhaps find a way to maximize soundstage width while retaining their class-leading isolation. I think the latter point here is mostly overlooked by them as the benefits of isolation when commuting far outweight the cons of giving that up for small stage width increases. I though the Phiaton PS200 did a fine job to compromise between the two though. 

 

MC, HF and ER6 series are with a limited budget in mind and portability. I find the HF series to be easily one of it's best at it's price-point. ER4s aren't overpriced at all considering the actually sonic QC going on and most multi-BA IME compromise more in performance. 

 

 IMO IEMs by design are very limited, thus cannot reach as close to "perfection" as a transparent loudspeaker set-up will. 

 

ER4s have better driver control-quality compared to the HF5s. The drivers are more closely matched and they have less distortion. Much much better build quality as well. I do think the 4P have slightly sonic characteristics as well as in more subbass and treble extension. Rin may get the chance to look into this closely. Same filters, same drivers but still have notable differences, though not extreme. 4P are targeted more towards the "purists". 


Edited by Inks - 8/8/12 at 11:31am
post #58 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post 

 

Is there room for improvement? I believe so, specifically at the extreme frequency ranges. A good way for them to keep their curve while getting a more visceral bass presentation, will be to introduce a dedicated woofer, a real "woofer", one that will increase regions only below 100hz. It will compensate for that lack of full-body vibrations in IEMs, while keeping their transparent bass presentation in the midbass. Then a dedicated tweeter to maximize treble bandwidth up to 20k, though the latter here will be be a small increment. Perhaps find a way to maximize soundstage width while retaining their class-leading isolation. I think the latter point here is mostly overlooked by them as the benefits of isolation when commuting far outweight the cons of giving that up for small stage width increases.

 

You just described the UE IERM.

post #59 of 143
Quote:
Lol, I already did.

 

 

I know you did, which is why I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what you're on about.

 

The frequency response of the ER4S is quite different from the HF5's, and it's much less efficient- apples and oranges. The ER4P is quite close but not identical in performance to the HF5 due, I presume, largely to their slightly different impedances. Without having heard the ER4P, I suspect the audible difference is quite subtle. Some people are willing to pay significantly more for subtle improvements (keeping in mind also that the removable cable is an objectively valuable feature); that should come as no surprise on this site. For my part, I'm simply happy to get sound that very closely matches my own preferences for less money with the HF5.

post #60 of 143
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

You just described the UE IERM.

HMM not exactly if that raw Purrin graph is to be trusted and then transferred into a HRTF. 

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