Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Etymotic HF3 compared to ER-4P?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Etymotic HF3 compared to ER-4P? - Page 2

post #16 of 26

I've had both, but still have the ER-4P.  IMO, the HF5 was 90-95% of the ER-4P in terms of musical experience -- nearly the same level of details and similar frequency response.  But to me, the ER-4P just had an edge in musical cohesiveness.  It's hard to explain, but the HF5 sounded more like I was hearing the parts here and there, but with the ER-4P the same song ingredients "added up to" music.  "Cohesive" is the best way I can describe the ER-4P over the HF5 -- it is a quality that may only be important to (or even heard/perceived by) a smaller majority of people.

 

That was a couple of years ago when the ER-4P could be found for under $200 retail, about $150 gently used, and the HF5 about $110 new -- not so today.  Bang for the buck, the HF5 is probably a better deal, and I tend to recommend it way more for people looking for excellence under $200.

post #17 of 26

I've been listening extensively to the HF5 and ER-4PT and can definitely say that they are "different." The biggest difference, to me, is that the HF5 has less annoying cable "microphonics" than the ER-4. However, the ER-4 has noticeably better detail. It isn't that the HF5 is notably lacking detail, it is more that the ER4 takes it from "excellent" to "outstanding." As a result, the ER-4 is even more unforgiving of low-quality source material.

 

For my ears, I prefer the ER-4 over the HF5, but with the HF5 running $100 and the ER-4 somewhere over $200, I can recommend the HF5 quite easily and I don't find any significant sonic flaws. I wouldn't at all mind having the HF5 as my day-to-day IEMs. I haven't gotten my "P-to-S adapter" so I can't comment on its sound.

 

With either one, I'd use the shirt clip if you are moving around listening to them to reduce the cable microphonics. Even without the clip, it has become a "non-issue" to me as I've figured out how to make sure that the cables don't rub very much and the sound quality of either is just far superior to anything else I've heard in the price range.

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

Great information from everyone here, many thanks for the info.

 

I have a few more questions:

 

How is the build quality on the hf3? I have read a few reviews (mostly on Amazon) that seem to point this out to be an issue? Is this the experience of people in this forum? I have yet to have any build related issues with my ER4P but I do think the ER4's are likely built to a better standard. This may be a reason to keep the ER4's regardless then.

 

Secondly - any input on the cheap Fiio amps (specifically the E6 and the E02i 'Rocky' with the controllers/mic). Would these be a good starting point, and if so which one, or should I just not even bother with these?

 

Lastly - how would the ER4P's with the 75ohm adaptor sound unamped straight from the iPhone 5? I understand an amp should improve sound quality and not just boost volume but I am noob when it comes to amps.

 

Thanks again everyone!

post #19 of 26

I have only had my HF3 4-5 months but haven't had any quality issues so far - use it 5-8 hours a week commuting to/from work.

 

No idea about fiio amps, never had one.

 

I would personally never use the ER4 with the ohm adaptor directly out of an i-device. Not that it can not play loud enough but just find the sound quality to be better through my amp - what you basically do is bypassing the internal amp of the i-device by going through the line out dock - ofc you are still stuck with the internal dac but still an improvement. With the iPhone 5 you will need to put in a dac in the mix there can decode the digital output from the "nice" new connector - think Apples own 30-pin converter does it but not completely sure as I use an iPod classic for music which has the old 30 pin connector.

 

If you go the ER4S route you also want to be sure to feed it lossless or at least aac or high bitrate mp3 music files. You might also find poor recordings and much of the newer pop recordings not that enjoyable to listen to. 


Edited by lcooksl - 11/26/12 at 2:11pm
post #20 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by starlan View Post

Lastly - how would the ER4P's with the 75ohm adaptor sound unamped straight from the iPhone 5? I understand an amp should improve sound quality and not just boost volume but I am noob when it comes to amps.

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

I can't speak to any adaptors, but I run my ER-4Ps direct to my iPhone 5 often and they sound great. Plenty of volume and a nice low noise floor, too.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by starlan View Post

Great information from everyone here, many thanks for the info.

 

I have a few more questions:

 

How is the build quality on the hf3? I have read a few reviews (mostly on Amazon) that seem to point this out to be an issue? Is this the experience of people in this forum? I have yet to have any build related issues with my ER4P but I do think the ER4's are likely built to a better standard. This may be a reason to keep the ER4's regardless then.

 

Secondly - any input on the cheap Fiio amps (specifically the E6 and the E02i 'Rocky' with the controllers/mic). Would these be a good starting point, and if so which one, or should I just not even bother with these?

 

Lastly - how would the ER4P's with the 75ohm adaptor sound unamped straight from the iPhone 5? I understand an amp should improve sound quality and not just boost volume but I am noob when it comes to amps.

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

The build quality of the HF is below the ER-4 from experience. For instance, I have a minor cable tear around the 45 degree plug but it hasn't caused any major problems so far. The ER-4 is of better quality because of the removable cable solely.

 

Fiio amps are a great starting point and I strongly recommend the Fiio E11 if you won't be using it with a phone or if you want you can try to wait for the replacement Fiio E12? AKA Mont Blanc?

 

ER-4P with a 75ohm adapter pretty much equals the ER-4S and the ER-4S definitely lacks potential coming out of an iphone. I have the iPhone 4 and it is somewhat disappointing with the ER-4S while something like the Fiio E11 will sound significantly better, especially with the bass boost where it really brings the lacking bass up for a lot of people

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks again everyone. I find my ER4P's sound pretty damn good out of all of my devices (iPhone, iPad, laptops). My first decent set of earphones were the Shure E2C's but the cable gave away in those after a year or so and I moved up to the Ety's and they sounded much much better to me and still do. A direct comparison with the hf3 will be revealing I think. If there is one thing with the ER4's it is that they may be a little, and I say this with reservations and only on occasion, a little too bright and treble-happy, but ever so slightly. Some types of songs/music accentuates this more but overall I love these things.

 

So if I understand this right to get the most potential from my 4P's I would need the 75ohm 4P>4S converter, a decent amp such as the E11 and that I should altogether bypass the headphone out jack of the phone (and hence the built-in amp) and instead use a line out which is a hassle with the new 'lightning' connector on the iPhone 5. To me personally that sounds like a situation where I would just opt for convenience (i.e. hf3 or ER-4P straight from the device) vs. the setup. Does anyone use the 4P+converter (or 4S) with an amp going into the headphone jack of their device? If so are they pleased, especially compared to going straight from the device without an amp?

 

Anyways, I may be getting ahead of myself at this point, I'll start off with simply comparing the hf3 and ER-4P straight from my devices and then decide the next step from there. I will post my impressions in a reply post in this thread when I get the chance.

 

Cheers!


Edited by starlan - 11/26/12 at 7:39pm
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 

Update. So I got the hf3's today. Firstly on the headphones themselves. They seem well built, I still like the large triple flange eartips that I've gotten very used to on the ER-4P best and will be sticking with these. I find the ER-4P's easier to insert due to the longer stem. The hf3's basically go all the way in with my ears when fully inserted. 

 

As everyone has already mentioned, yes the microphonics are clearly better controlled with these compared to the ER4's. The wires are more rubbery and so seem to absorb and transmit less than the ER4's. It's still there, and I will still likely use the shirt clip (can't use the ER4's without them) but it is a welcome improvement. The mic and controls are as advertised. Not sure on mic quality but frankly I don't care so long as people can hear me decently which I was told during my one phone call with them that I sounded just fine. Good enough.

 

Now for the sound/audio quality and excuse my basic way of describing it as I don't even know the correct terminology but I know what I hear. Clearly these are brand new and not worn in like my ER-4P's with hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of hours but on first listen the sound profile to my highly untrained, non audiophile ears sound familiar but at the same time quite different.

 

Upon initial listen the thing that jumped out the most to me was that the bass was definitely fuller, had more oomph so to stay. Not a vast amount but clearly noticeable. It also seemed to better flow into the mid's, they seemed more harmonic together. The treble was also good, I wouldn't say spectacular though. The ER-4P's highs are quite a lot more pronounced in my opinion. Overall, I think the ER-4P's have a broader sound spectrum, like they have a more extended range compared to the hf3's. I find this both good but also not so great depending on the song, type of music and audio quality of the file to begin with.

 

Another thing I noticed is that the hf3's seem maybe a tad louder at the same setting as the ER-4P's (i.e. at 50% volume), this must be due to the lower 16 ohm impedance vs the 27 on the ER-4P's. 

 

I listened to various kinds of music and bitrates (though mostly at higher 256 or 320kps mp3's) to determine the sound. Some tracks included Terranova - Bombing Bastards a trip-hop track with vocals by Tricky, Adele - Set fire to the rain, Radiohead - Street Spirit, Rise Against - Satellites, Rage Against the Machine - Wake Up, Nas and Damien Marley - Patience, Nas and Damien Marley - Friends, 65daysofstatic - 65 doesn't understand you (prog rock/electornic), Tomaso Albinoni - adagio in g minor (classical), Nick Warren - Balance 18 CD1 first 10-15 (house music) etc. So quite a varied mix. 

 

WIth the classical music the ER-4P's are hands down better. They carry much more of the emotion of the strings and violin for example due to the greater emphasis on the highs. On Set fire to the rain the ER-4P's are generally more revealing with the various drums, cymbals, and beat sounds. However ghe hf3 are close and still have the same detail you just have to pay more attention and its quieter, the ER-4P just throws the highs/details straight at you basically. Sometimes I find this a little fatiguing like if I'm doing other things and not just listening to music. I liked Radiohead - Street Spirit on both, depending on my mood (bass vs. brighter vocals) I may prefer one over the other. Rock songs I typically preferred the hf3, I think the ER-4P's can be a little bright. Rap was mixed and the hf3's work well but the ER4's do vocals/voice better so really it's a bit of a trade-off. Vocals/voice sounds more life like on the ER4’s, it seems to have more detail and hence carry the emotion in the human voice better. This seems to be a recurring theme, the ER-4's are just more revealing. Its subtle but its there. The House/Electronic music I would have thought that I would like the hf3's more but I think the ER-4P's may be ahead again because of the greater clarity in the highs and higher mids that create a broader soundscape. However, I can see the hf3's clearly being favoured on some days/moods if I want more bass and slightly more subtle detail and highs . 

 

Overall, very tough call but the hf3's are clearly a keeper and well worth the price. I would agree that these are like 90% of the ER-4P's with the 10% being the difference in detail and highs. The ER-4P's sound different enough that they may be worth keeping as-well, especially for classical music and for vocals, they are simply outstanding. Overall the ER-4P's do have an edge and worth the price difference for audiophiles I would conclude. I can only imagine what an amp and the P to S converter will do to them. I will give it some thought and A/B both to determine if I should still keep the ER4'S, I am undecided. I may get the 4S converter and an amp if I do decide to keep them smily_headphones1.gif

 

Sorry for the long post. I have no interest in charts, diagrams and numbers/specs so I'm not sure what those may tell me or anyone else. I simply judged the sound with my ears and I will clearly need more listening time with both sets to get a better understanding of the differences/similarities. Hopefully this will be helpful to some out there.  



Edited with more comments.
Edited by starlan - 12/10/12 at 9:31pm
post #24 of 26

I've been using the HF-5 for some time now.  Although they are are not my overall favorites, their isolation trumps all the others when in noisy environments, therefore they get the most use.

 

I have contemplating going to the ER-4's. How to they match up with J3 or HM-601.

post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think the ER-4P's are going up for sale. I've been using the hf3‘s quite a bit the last few days and they are most satisfying. I have also further A/B'd the 2 and I seem to prefer the hf3 's sound over the 4P's in more situations for the type of music I listen to more regularly. The notable exception being classical which the 4P's just nail without fault.

Thanks everyone for the info here. Ultimately all the comments and especially planx's review seems spot on and it comes down to preference (detail/highs/analytical vs slightly more bass, slightly more musical and more forgiving sound).

Cheers!
post #26 of 26

I just got the ER-4PT and I'm using an Fiio E11.  I have no disappointment in bass or anything else for that matter!!  The combination for me is fantastic.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Etymotic HF3 compared to ER-4P?