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Etymotic HF3 compared to ER-4P?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I own the Ety ER-4P's, these are my second pair as the first got lost/stolen years ago, I quickly replaced them since they are worth every penny. I've been using these headphones for years and years and they are still rock solid. I love these things, awesome clarity, super isolation and I actually think they're quite comfortable. I don't have much of a problem with microphonics either (shirt clip helps massively).

I recently upgraded my phone to the iPhone 5 and obviously the bundled earpods can't hold a stick to the Ety's, don't stay in my ears well, don't isolate noise and probably wouldn't last the test of time nearly as gracefully. However one thing that I love is the mic and three button controller. With Siri and the cold winters in Canada (i.e. gloves) the physical buttons come in handy.

I bought my ER-4P's for $180 at the time and am pretty sure I can sell them on eBay for around that although I don't see many listed so not sure there is a big market for these. My question is what will I miss if do sell these and switch to the HF3's? Would love opinions from others who have used both. I am talking sound quality wise only, I don't have a problem with the cables on the ER4's. Given they seem to be so similar I don't think it makes sense to own both.

Cheers!
Edited by starlan - 11/24/12 at 10:01pm
post #2 of 26

Hi, Welcome to Head-Fi =D 

 

This thread would help you what you want to do. Also HF2 is made for iPhone and the rest is the same as HF5, I believe. 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/598267/review-etymotic-hf5-or-the-er-4s

 

A brief comparison quote from the thread. 

Quote:

WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE THE HF5 OVER THE ER-4

Here are a few quick points on why you should choose the HF5 over the ER-4

- Much more affordable

- More forgiving sound

- More bass and smoother highs

- More fun sounding

- More musical

- Lower impedance than the ER-4S making it a better portable solution

- Sounds good unamped, while the ER-4S seems to be amp dependent

 

WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE THE ER-4S OVER THE HF5

Again, here are a few quick points on why you should choose the ER-4S over the HF5

- EXCELLENT monitoring IEMs (Best I’ve ever heard)

- Removable cables

- Feels much more sturdy on the cables, plugs, and entire housing

- According to Etymotic, next best thing to live music

- Extremely revealing

- Even though it is flat and "boring" sounding, VERY revealing and excellent delivery of bass, mids and highs

- Even more revealing

- Loves to be amped, especially with warmer signatures to make it sound a bit more musical.

- Un-colored for monitoring


Edited by mgpyone - 11/24/12 at 10:03pm
post #3 of 26

I have the Etymotic MC5 which also has the mic and 3-button controller.  The controller works though small size buttons maybe not quite as handy as the earpod controller.  When I try to use the microphone with my blackberry, people say that my voice sounds really far away... now matter how I may hold up the mic.   And not surprisingly, trying to hold the mic produces extra noise from handling the cord.

 

So when I'm talking on my phone, I always use my apple earpods.  When I'm listening to music I use the etymotic 'phones.

 

So in switching, you do get the controller.  Why the mic is not as good, I'm not sure.  Possible it is the match-up with my phone?  

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. There is a wealth of information on this site , almost overwhelmingly so! The general consensus seems to be is that the HF series is approx. 90-95% of the sound of the ER4’s but more day to day usable.

Interesting info on the mic I would have thought they would sound great since they are Ety's, I also noticed that the buttons seem quite small on the device and may be hard press with gloves on. This would take away some of the advantage of the HF for me.

Listening to my ER-4P's again yesterday I just can't help but be in awe of how awesome they sound. In fact I think they've gotten better with the iPhone 5 (had the 3GS before). I think I will keep them for now and just use the apple earpods for when I need the mic. That's the beauty of IEM's, they are so convenient that I can have both with me at all times.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

Had some more thought and decided to give the HF3's a shot as they have a 30 day return period from where I got them and if the sound quality difference is material I will likely return but if they are very close (as everyone else says they are) then I may keep these. I'm also hoping the microphone works well the iPhone 5.

 

I will likely list the ER-4P's on eBay but what is a fair price for a 2nd hand sale? I am a little worried that there won't be much interest since I didn't see many 2hd hand ones listed. Any other alternatives besides Craigslist?

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by starlan View Post

Thanks for the replies. There is a wealth of information on this site , almost overwhelmingly so! The general consensus seems to be is that the HF series is approx. 90-95% of the sound of the ER4’s but more day to day usable.
Interesting info on the mic I would have thought they would sound great since they are Ety's, I also noticed that the buttons seem quite small on the device and may be hard press with gloves on. This would take away some of the advantage of the HF for me.
Listening to my ER-4P's again yesterday I just can't help but be in awe of how awesome they sound. In fact I think they've gotten better with the iPhone 5 (had the 3GS before). I think I will keep them for now and just use the apple earpods for when I need the mic. That's the beauty of IEM's, they are so convenient that I can have both with me at all times.

 

Hey, I'm the Reviewer of the link listed above. 90-95% of the sound of the ER-4 is a simple way of putting it, but if you listen close enough, there are enough differences between the two to convince you to have one or the other. For me, I barely use the HF5 because the ER-4S matches me more and the treble doesn't affect me as much as other users I guess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by starlan View Post

Had some more thought and decided to give the HF3's a shot as they have a 30 day return period from where I got them and if the sound quality difference is material I will likely return but if they are very close (as everyone else says they are) then I may keep these. I'm also hoping the microphone works well the iPhone 5.

 

I will likely list the ER-4P's on eBay but what is a fair price for a 2nd hand sale? I am a little worried that there won't be much interest since I didn't see many 2hd hand ones listed. Any other alternatives besides Craigslist?

 

That is a good idea! You will never know unless you tried the two yourself. Considering you have the ER-4PT and I have the ER-4S, the sound is a little difference. Don't be selling the ER-4PT yet unless you had a good session between both the HF and ER-4 and are completely satisfied with the HF3. I've seen a lot of members sell off their ER-4 and later regret it as they miss the sound biggrin.gif

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply planx. I will definitely wait for the HF3 to arrive before I list the ER4's. I am in no rush to sell the ER4's. At that point I will see if it makes sense to keep the HF3's or return them. This way I can also really test them side by side to see what differences I notice in their sounds. Of course the ER4P's are heavily worn in while the HF3's will be brand new but still.

 

I almost hate to let the ER4's go though regardless of outcome, they've served me so well for so long that there is a little sentimental value to them!

post #8 of 26

Yes, a lot of etymotics have a way of getting personal with the owners haha. It's very smart to A/B them and since you're given the opportunity, I think no more advice is needed tongue.gif only trust your ears

post #9 of 26

If only I had seen this a couple days ago, we could probably have worked something out...

 

I'm actually considering buying the 4p as a replacement for the hf3's I have.  The reason is pretty simple: I want to try something new.  I have custom molds for my hf3's which kept me looking at Ety and the 4p's seem like a great option since they don't necessarily require an outboard amp like the 4s *might* and the FR is more tolerated.  The marketing on the 4p led me to believe it has a flatter FR but the comparison below indicates that's not really the case.  So, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the comparison.  Personally, I don't need the controls and have found I don't use them much at all.  But I don't see anything from the data that says there's a strong reason for switching.

 

- Erin

 

 

 

 

 

Edit:  Compared to the 4s (whcih is level matched for reference in headphones.com's graphs, I can only assume), the 4p and hf3 are indeed different.  The marketing on ety's site doesn't show this difference.  Their site says the difference is about +10dB for "high end" and +13dB for "low end" for the 4p vs the 4s.  But the graph below doesn't show this as really being the case; at least not so on the high end, even if you factor a 10dB margin.

 

 

 

Ety's site:


Edited by bikinpunk - 11/25/12 at 6:56pm
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi bikinpunk. I will let you know once I get the item, I'm in Canada and its coming from the US so it may take a week or two but I will post some impressions.

 

I suspect there would be a bigger difference between the hf3 and ER4S compared to the 4P but I still suspect there will be some difference. I have never tried the 4S's and have not tried my 4P's with an amp either so I may not know what I am missing. 

 

I don't use the crappy apple earbuds much but when I do I find the mic and controls handy, I also make calls using the mic on the apple buds regularly so that's another plus for the hf3's.

 

The only thing I'm thinking now is if I can justify owning both sets lol!! I read some comments about getting a converter/amp to turn the ER4P's into ER4'S but am not sure on this process. Does anyone have any recommendations for amps/converters (not looking to spend too much) that would do the trick?

 

EDIT: I found these on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/Etymotic-ER4P-to-ER4S-3-5MM-plug-resistor-adaptor-/281009593372?pt=Other_MP3_Player_Accessories&hash=item416d7a1c1c.

 

It seems I would need an amp to drive these from my iPhone 5? Any recommendations for a small portable one? I found this tiny one called the Fiio E6 that is cheap but will it do the headphones justice? There is also the Fiio E02i for use with smartphones?


Edited by starlan - 11/25/12 at 8:11pm
post #11 of 26

I've used both the HF3 and the ER-4B (slightly different, boosted treble) and I actually liked the HF3 better. The bass impact was greater and the sound was more musical and not as dry. I also tend to be a bit treble sensitive, so the ER-4B got a bit fatiguing. I also found that the HF3 fit was perfect. The ER-4B does have quite a bit more detail, but most of the music that I listen to isn't recorded terribly well (pop/rock) so the effect was minimal. Soundstaging wise, they're pretty much the same: both very constricted. I'd say if you like the ER-4 sound, the HF3 shouldn't be a huge step down.

 

But in the end, I kept the HF3 for on-the-go use with my other IEMs used for music. The HF3 is really quite perfect in that aspect.

post #12 of 26

The Fiio E02i AMPs mic, remote control can work with ER4PS on iPhone 5 and HF3 wont match the same soundquality as ER4P.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeroicPenguin View Post

I've used both the HF3 and the ER-4B (slightly different, boosted treble) and I actually liked the HF3 better. The bass impact was greater and the sound was more musical and not as dry. I also tend to be a bit treble sensitive, so the ER-4B got a bit fatiguing. I also found that the HF3 fit was perfect. The ER-4B does have quite a bit more detail, but most of the music that I listen to isn't recorded terribly well (pop/rock) so the effect was minimal. Soundstaging wise, they're pretty much the same: both very constricted. I'd say if you like the ER-4 sound, the HF3 shouldn't be a huge step down.

 

But in the end, I kept the HF3 for on-the-go use with my other IEMs used for music. The HF3 is really quite perfect in that aspect.

 

I think you should really consider the ER-4S or the ER-4PT. From experience, the ER-4PT is sort of a middle ground in between the HF and ER-4S. The PT is definitely a little more forgiving than the ER-4S and the bass is mildly more prominent. I've heard the B can be fatiguing in the high-end, just like you experienced. That's why they stopped production of the B lol.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the further info. Is it possible to convert the hf3's into the ER4's by way of a converter a-la the ER4P > ER4S conversion or is there something else to that? I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere so I'm guessing there are some other differences between the two here that might not make that possible.

 

The Fiio E02i and ER4P > ER4S converter sounds intriguing but I question how much I would use it vs. just going for the convenience of the hf3. Anyways, first I will have some comparing to do just driving the hf3 and ER4P straight from the iPhone 5 itself and then will take it from there but it will either be return hf3, sell ER4P or keep both and get Fiio E02i and 4P > 4S converter which was not what I was planning initially at all lol! bigsmile_face.gif


Edited by starlan - 11/26/12 at 5:45am
post #15 of 26

I have and use both HF3 and ER4PT (with 75ohm adapter - PT basically being a P). My personal experience is that if you compare HF3 and ER4PT that it's mainly the detail level in difference and HF3 perhaps being a bit more monitor like in the sound.

 

Making the ER4 an S is quite something else here you get another sound especially in the treble of the cost of some bass quantity. I didn't find the HF3 to scale as well as the ER4P(T) with the ohm adapter.

 

Personally I use the HF3 directly out of my iPhone when I need to but usually find myself changing to amped ER4S whenever I can as the difference is noticeable enough to be worth the extra hazzle imo.

 

Just my subjective 2 cents

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