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ER4 -What am I missing?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

This subject's probably been covered Ad nauseam but I've yet to find a definitive answer. I currently have a pair of Westone 4 IEms and they are very nice.


But I looked into the Etymotic ER4 and found that it has a near ideal EQ curve, being mostly perceptually flat. But people complain of issues like "anemic bass" and whatnot. Is it not bass how it was intended to be heard in the track? I suppose some bass boost is needed beyond neutral in canalphones because of inability to cause bodily bass impact, but I don't know. Put simply:

 

What makes my Westone 4s better? They're both BA transducers, just the ER4 seemingly has more accurate FR. I guess there are figures like distortion and other things I'm not totally versed in. 


Edited by fourthwall - 1/1/13 at 9:04am
post #2 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwall View Post

This subject's probably been covered Ad nauseam but I've yet to find a definitive answer. I currently have a pair of Westone 4 IEms and they are very nice.


But I looked into the Etymotic ER4 and found that it has a near ideal EQ curve, being mostly perceptually flat. But people complain of issues like "anemic bass" and whatnot. Is it not bass how it was intended to be heard in the track? I suppose some bass boost is needed beyond neutral in canalphones because of inability to cause bodily bass impact, but I don't know. Put simply:

 

What makes my Westone 4s better? They're both BA transducers, just the ER4 seemingly has more accurate FR. I guess there are figures like distortion and other things I'm not totally versed in. 

 

People have different tastes. /end thread

post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 

That's not very helpful. I'm asking for a technical explanation as to why other earphones are considered better, because surely you could just EQ one with a totally flat response to your taste? What other technical factors make other IEMs superior? I'm sure there are some, I just don't know them.

post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwall View Post

That's not very helpful. I'm asking for a technical explanation as to why other earphones are considered better, because surely you could just EQ one with a totally flat response to your taste? What other technical factors make other IEMs superior? I'm sure there are some, I just don't know them.

Technically, the W4 has 4 BA drivers per ear while the ER4 has one. EQ is not the same as having it come from the earphone, and good EQ is not available on a number of players in the first place. I don't think "totally flat" is even flat in IEMS. There are more factors than frequency response as well, like imaging/headstage/soundstage, timbre etc that I don't think you can account for 'technically'.

 

However, as I originally said, 'better' is largely subjective. Among top tiers they are generally considered sidegrades based on what someone listens to and prefers. Yes, a 3/4 drivers should be better than 1, but it is not always the case.


Edited by Zalithian - 1/1/13 at 9:23am
post #5 of 63

It IS about tastes.  No matter how well it is tuned many think (me included) a single BA has severe limitations in realistically and adequately covering the entire frequency response curve while creating great realism and dynamics.  It's much more than marketing.

 

I've never heard any "live" music sound anything like what I hear with an Etymotic earphone but I might just have bad ears.

post #6 of 63
Thread Starter 

I just figured that the number of transducers was kind of irrelevant if the FR response is high, low, and flat inbetween...

 

Timbre's a good point, but I don't know if that's encompassed in frequency response. As for the totally flat thing, they're apparently tuned to be perceptually flat. I'd be interested in some technical data showing differences - advantages - disadvantages etc.

post #7 of 63

etymotic has a sound no other IEM has,if you like it nothing else is better...if you dont then get something else

post #8 of 63
Thread Starter 

Are there ever going to be any responses better than "It's just your taste" as in, an explanation by someone who understands the differences and all the factors that make a good earphone? It's single driver - but as far as I can see it does 20hz to 16khz, flat. How do more drivers help?

post #9 of 63

Its bass is not anemic, its just not pronounce. There are portable amps that can alleviate that.

post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwall View Post

Are there ever going to be any responses better than "It's just your taste" as in, an explanation by someone who understands the differences and all the factors that make a good earphone? It's single driver - but as far as I can see it does 20hz to 16khz, flat. How do more drivers help?

Get off the chart thing.  Charts are for nerds and don't treally tell much of anything about the sound.

 

As far as the bass, Etymotics are great a reproducing bass tones but terrible at reproducing the tactile effect of bass.  The difference between the two is what makes a good IEM from a bad one.

post #11 of 63
Thread Starter 

"Charts are for nerds"

 

No, they just don't lie and aren't affected by the subjectiveness of the listener. Surely that's kind of like saying "get off the whole science thing, the earth is flat". Empirical data provided by charts is kind of what I'm after as I'm slightly sick of everyone just talking about how treble lacks sparkle, mids aren't forward enough, bass lacks punch, I mean, how many words can you come up with to describe such things? Surely, a flat frequency response, is what's desired. A deviation from this is colouring the sound against how the producer wanted it to be. Please, tell me what I'm missing here.. what is the "tactile effect of bass"? Airflow/vibration?

post #12 of 63
Looks like this thread is going to turn into one of THOSE threads...

Charts don't tell you everything. Your ears do. Like other posters have said, you can't tell what anything is going to accurately sound like soley from observing a chart.
post #13 of 63
post #14 of 63
Thread Starter 

Okay... what is this supposed to be telling me? Is there any reason why I can't equalize any boosts into it should I be required to, to acheive pretty much any signature (seeing as it's flat, mostly)

post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwall View Post

"Charts are for nerds"

 

No, they just don't lie and aren't affected by the subjectiveness of the listener. Surely that's kind of like saying "get off the whole science thing, the earth is flat". Empirical data provided by charts is kind of what I'm after as I'm slightly sick of everyone just talking about how treble lacks sparkle, mids aren't forward enough, bass lacks punch, I mean, how many words can you come up with to describe such things? Surely, a flat frequency response, is what's desired. A deviation from this is colouring the sound against how the producer wanted it to be. Please, tell me what I'm missing here.. what is the "tactile effect of bass"? Airflow/vibration?


"Surely, a flat frequency response, is what's desired." - This is a false claim/assumption. Desired from who? Consumers? Surely natural food is desired from consumers, with no taste beyond what is naturally occurring, as mother nature intended. Why would anyone ever want something to have more taste than it has naturally? Why do some people prefer bananas to strawberries? Science should be able to tell us. Sir, can you please explain to me scientifically why people prefer bananas to stawberries? Why do some people like MSG on their food? Come on, man.

 

Charts, like statistics, do not tell the whole story. Have you ever watched sports? Have you ever seen an athlete with a good stats and an athlete with bad stats? Some things cannot be measured. One may have good stats but suck in crunch time. One may have bad stats but come through in the clutch. Where do you see leadership or the affect on teammates in statistics? Does it measure how he might coordinate his team or lead them to make changes during a game? How do you measure the width of headstage in frequency response? How do you measure how wide it sounds with frequency response? Or anything? 

 

"A deviation from this is clouring the sound against how the producer wanted it to be." Again, false. Do you have something to back this up? I don't believe producers produce music expecting everyone to listen to it on a perfectly neutral and balanced system. Actually, if I were to bet, I'd bet they expect most people to be listening to it on some of the crappiest sound systems possible. Walk around and tell me how many people you see listening to music on ibuds or some crappy $10 JVC gummies.

 

People in general, like excitement. It just might explain why movies are a more popular form of entertainment than documentaries. What is more realistic is not necessarily what people prefer.


Edited by Zalithian - 1/1/13 at 12:54pm
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