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[Double Review] Etymotic HF3 & Sony XBA-3, with appearances from the Vsonic GR07 MKII - Page 2

post #16 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by glac1er View Post

Though I don't think the Etys can be beaten on their own game, comparison with the gr07 mk2 will be interesting. The vsonics have some tricks up their sleeves too.

I was getting a good seal with the Etys and was an er4p fanboy for years, but I always find them a bit light tactile feel, but it really depends on each one's threshold.

Great to hear that you're getting a good seal at last, olives works nicely with the hf2. The triflange is also really good.

 

I've owned the HF3s for a couple years now and have had the GR07 Mk2s for a few months.  Years ago (circa 2005) owned the ER4Ps for a couple years as well and they were my sole portable phone until I tried the Shure S500s.

 

Maybe after thousands of hours of listening to Etys (generally because they're so well regarded on Head-fi) I would hope I'd 'get it', but I just don't.  I prefer everything else I own to them... relative low end stuff at this point, including EPH-100s, FXD80s, S500s.  To my ears they come off dull, anemic in the bass, and shrill.  And I've tried driving them out of things like my old desktop setup (Metrum Octave -> WA6SE), O2/ODAC combo, and the Dragonfly.

 

So something about me must be defective to not hear how special these guys are.   I still use them regularly - for conference calls with clients because of their mic.  Music listening, no way.  OTOH, the GR07 Mk2 are my favorite IEMs right now, so it's not as if I'm against a neutral presentation.


Edited by bobeau - 10/14/12 at 9:50am
post #17 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

I've owned the HF3s for a couple years now and have had the GR07 Mk2s for a few months.  Years ago (circa 2005) owned the ER4Ps for a couple years as well and they were my sole portable phone until I tried the Shure S500s.

 

Maybe after thousands of hours of listening to Etys (generally because they're so well regarded on Head-fi) I would hope I'd 'get it', but I just don't.  I prefer everything else I own to them... relative low end stuff at this point, including EPH-100s, FXD80s, S500s.  They sound dull, anemic in the bass, and shrill.  And I've tried driving them out of things like my old desktop setup (Metrum Octave -> WA6SE), O2/ODAC combo, and the Dragonfly.

 

So something about me must be defective to not hear how special these guys are.   I still use them regularly - for conference calls with clients because of their mic.  Music listening, no way.

 

Seal with these is everything. I find them to be very capable in the bass, though it doesn't go very deep, and they're anything but shrill. The very fact that you find them shrill says to me that they're not sealed well.

 

It's not a very comfortable proposition at first (especially with the triples), but insert them until a good part of the body can't be seen anymore. When you look in the mirror, you should only see the strain reliefs and the last few mm of the iem. 

post #18 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

Seal with these is everything. I find them to be very capable in the bass, though it doesn't go very deep, and they're anything but shrill. The very fact that you find them shrill says to me that they're not sealed well.

 

It's not a very comfortable proposition at first (especially with the triples), but insert them until a good part of the body can't be seen anymore. When you look in the mirror, you should only see the strain reliefs and the last few mm of the iem. 

 

Eke... I've spent years of my life with Etys.  If I haven't figured out how to get a proper seal at this point I must be a special kind of moron.

 

Out of all the tips I've tried I always come back to the triple flanges, and trust me when I say this - I get a seal of death with them.  I do the typical wet the tip, tug on my ear lobe, open my mouth and jam them in with a twist.  I have to open my mouth and give them a twist to get them out, otherwise I could blow an eardrum.

 

The one thing I can say about them is they block noise like nothing else. 


Edited by bobeau - 10/14/12 at 10:03am
post #19 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

Seal with these is everything. I find them to be very capable in the bass, though it doesn't go very deep, and they're anything but shrill. The very fact that you find them shrill says to me that they're not sealed well.

 

It's not a very comfortable proposition at first (especially with the triples), but insert them until a good part of the body can't be seen anymore. When you look in the mirror, you should only see the strain reliefs and the last few mm of the iem. 

 

In contrast to the other IEMs he's using, I can see him calling them shrill.  You are right though, they aren't "shtrill".  I get good depth and body with them, but not as much impact, but a nice quick punch.  The highs may be a bit much for people though, mids are just about stunning.  My preference of IEM would be something along the lines of Phonak PFE232 highs, HiFiMan RE0 bass, Etymotic HF mids.  I've seen some things get very close to that.

post #20 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

Eke... I've spent years of my life with Etys.  If I haven't figured out how to get a proper seal at this point I must be a special kind of moron.

 

Out of all the tips I've tried I always come back to the triple flanges, and trust me when I say this - I get a seal of death with them.  I do the typical wet the tip, tug on my ear lobe, open my mouth and jam them in with a twist.  I have to open my mouth and give them a twist to get them out, otherwise I could blow an eardrum.

 

Oh, didn't mean for that to sound condescending redface.gif. I just know we hear similarly with regards to the GR07, that's why I'm wondering why you find it anemic. 

 

I've yet to compare it with my 07, so I don't have your frame of reference yet. Is it the sub-bass you find lacking?

post #21 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

Oh, didn't mean for that to sound condescending redface.gif. I just know we hear similarly with regards to the GR07, that's why I'm wondering why you find it anemic. 

 

I've yet to compare it with my 07, so I don't have your frame of reference yet. Is it the sub-bass you find lacking?

 

Your statement wasn't condescending, I didn't read it that way smile.gif 

 

I haven't heard the GR07...  LOL.  I wouldn't call the bass on the Ety's anemic (unless you compare it to something).  As I did say, I get a defined body (not anemic) that takes a bit from the impact, but retains a good punch.  I actually like the sub-bass on the Etymotic.  It, if memory serves (IDK how reliable it is), comes in as the Ety tips conform to your ears (and the bass body increases).  The consequence though is a loss of impact.

post #22 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

Oh, didn't mean for that to sound condescending redface.gif. I just know we hear similarly with regards to the GR07, that's why I'm wondering why you find it anemic. 

 

I've yet to compare it with my 07, so I don't have your frame of reference yet. Is it the sub-bass you find lacking?

 

Understood, and if it were a new user I'd suggest the same for any IEM, but keep in mind there are those out there who are just turned off by the Ety sound.  The ER4Ps were actually my first IEM and I had no frame of reference before venturing out about a year or so after listening to them. 

 

Sure, the sub-bass is rolled off.  But that wouldn't fix the main problem - I have Magnepan MMGs without a sub for my home audio system and think they're godly despite basically having nothing below about 45hz (to be fair I do equalize their low end +4 db).  The thing that Etys do takes the fun out of listening to music for me.  They come off flat, not in neutral way, but in an emotional way.  Shrill might be a bit harsh, they're not sibilant, just not a fan of the hyper-detailed thing.

post #23 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

Understood, and if it were a new user I'd suggest the same for any IEM, but keep in mind there are those out there who are just turned off by the Ety sound.  The ER4Ps were actually my first IEM and I had no frame of reference before venturing out about a year or so after listening to them. 

 

Sure, the sub-bass is rolled off.  But that wouldn't fix the main problem - I have Magnepan MMGs without a sub for my home audio system and think they're godly despite basically having nothing below about 45hz (to be fair I do equalize their low end +4 db).  The thing that Etys do takes the fun out of listening to music for me.  They come off flat, not in neutral way, but in an emotional way.  Shrill might be a bit harsh, they're not sibilant, just not a fan of the hyper-detailed thing.

 

Ok, I see where you're coming from. I like it mainly because it allows me to hear deeper into the recordings. I'm already emotional about my music since all tracks are handpicked, so I don't really need a phone that will color it to my liking, know what I mean? That's also the reason why I like the GR07 so much.

post #24 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

Ok, I see where you're coming from. I like it mainly because it allows me to hear deeper into the recordings. I'm already emotional about my music since all tracks are handpicked, so I don't really need a phone that will color it to my liking, know what I mean? That's also the reason why I like the GR07 so much.

 

I guess that's the reason why I'm speaking up... I adore the GR07.  Whether or not it's colored, I honestly don't know.  I just know that it sounds very different to my ears than my HF3s.

 

To me, it's like the difference between using something like Genelecs vs. a neutral hi-fi speaker.  The former is a tool - and to that point I can totally see why audio engineers continue to love the ER4 series.  I'm just not of that mind.

post #25 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

I guess that's the reason why I'm speaking up... I adore the GR07.  Whether or not it's colored, I honestly don't know.  I just know that it sounds very different to my ears than my HF3s.

 

To me, it's like the difference between using something like Genelecs vs. a neutral hi-fi speaker.  The former is a tool - and to that point I can totally see why audio engineers continue to love the ER4 series.  I'm just not of that mind.

 

Fair enough

post #26 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

See, I really feel like that depends on fit. I have a perfect (almost too perfect) seal with these. I'm using them with Shure olives, and I'm hearing plenty of bass with good body when needed.

 

I don't find the treble to be rolled off at all. It reminds me of the RE272 in that it's very present without ever being harsh or bright, even for one second.

 

 

 

In the same boat. I keep going back to RE-272 in rotation out of respect for a good maker, Hifiman, but somehow find the HF3 just easier to bring and easier to seal up. Same when compared to my beloved MeElectronics A161P. Love that one's sound, but the Olive seal on the HF3 kills the seal I get with the A161P.

 

Once in an A/B/C comparison, I came away with no real winner. So a choice (if recouping money is a concern) is to look at carry features, comfort, seal, ease of putting on/taking off and warranty.

post #27 of 106
Thread Starter 

I just tried the Vsonic biflanges. 

 

They sound really good, but don't work very well for my ears. They create a suction seal with the HF, which I hate. Back to the olives

post #28 of 106
Thread Starter 

 

Just got my GR07 MKII back. I have 4 exams in the next 5 days, plus I'm still waiting on the XBA-3 to come in, so I probably won't be able to post anything in depth until after Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

Also, I've switched to the foam tips that come on the Atrio M5. They provide me the best sound and comfort, bringing them on par with the GR07's "disappear in your ears" factor.

post #29 of 106

Great impressions and I agree completely - Etymotic HF series are some of the most natural and enjoyable IEMs I've ever heard. Like you wrote, I also think the treble is superb with pristine refinement and resolution, second only to the ER4S IMO - compared to the latter it lacks that last bit of control and sounds sibilant at times. But, really, other than ER4S, I can't think of any IEM with better treble than that of the HF series. They are even more refined than ER4P (although a bit more sibilant) and a more enjoyable listen overall than ER4P to my ears. I also agree about the 3D soundstage - with the HF series imaging is incredibly precise. Again, I feel that they surpass ER4P in this area where the latter sounds more flat and 2D with less depth to the soundstage, even when amped. ER4S images a bit better maybe, but HF series are more intimate sounding and arguably more musical.

post #30 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

Great impressions and I agree completely - Etymotic HF series are some of the most natural and enjoyable IEMs I've ever heard. Like you wrote, I also think the treble is superb with pristine refinement and resolution, second only to the ER4S IMO - compared to the latter it lacks that last bit of control and sounds sibilant at times. But, really, other than ER4S, I can't think of any IEM with better treble than that of the HF series. They are even more refined than ER4P (although a bit more sibilant) and a more enjoyable listen overall than ER4P to my ears. I also agree about the 3D soundstage - with the HF series imaging is incredibly precise. Again, I feel that they surpass ER4P in this area where the latter sounds more flat and 2D with less depth to the soundstage, even when amped. ER4S images a bit better maybe, but HF series are more intimate sounding and arguably more musical.

You should try the ER-6. They were meant to match the 4S and are more accurate than the hf series. The ergonomics suck though.

This should be a good comparison thread. It's funny I've also ended up with the GR07 and etys as my main 2 iems. They are both the best at what they do imo and compliment each other very well.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [Double Review] Etymotic HF3 & Sony XBA-3, with appearances from the Vsonic GR07 MKII