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Etymotic ER-4PT or Klipsch Image X10i

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello, this is my first post although I have been reading these forums for a while as a guest.  I am looking for some advice on whether to get the Etymotic ER-4PT or Klipsch Image X10i earphones.  I was actually going to pay the extra and go with the Grado GR10s as I had the chance to demo them and really liked their sound, but I found the isolation lacking as reported by another member in this thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/674144/grado-gr10-with-better-isolation#post_9666794

 

I travel a lot with my work (metro/subway or plane) and really need some earphones with good isolation.  The G10s just weren't good enough for me at blocking ambient noise even when using a friend's Comply tips.  I demoed the Etymotics and Klipsch Images and remember generally liking the sound of both, but it was quite a while ago.  I guess I have a few general questions:

 

- Do either the Etymotics or Images have a similar sound to the GR10s?  I found the Sony XBA-4s and Westone 4s to have a rather dark and veiled sound.

 

- I've read that the isolation of the Etymotics is very good, but how do the Images compare?  Do they block out airplane and metro noise?  Again the Westone 4s apparently don't have much better isolation than the GR10s.

 

- Are there any alternatives I should consider (I don't mind paying extra) that have similar detail and balanced, engaging sound as the GR10s?

 

Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated.  I have checked out the reviews on this site and elsewhere.

post #2 of 12
Hello!

How about holding your breathe for awhile and wait for the X11i?

Hope it helps!
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 12

I've only tried out the ER-4PTs myself but although the isolation is great they lack the tight and controlled bass of the Grado GR10s in my opinion.

post #4 of 12

In terms of isolation, you wont find anything better than Etymotics. In terms of comfort, many have argued that klipsch tips are really comfy.

 

I've read somewhere that the ER4 is just a USA handmade, custom tuned HF5 -- they use the same housing and drivers, that is. Not sure if this is true or not but I can speak highly of the HF5 and ER4 and they do sound very similar.

 

All that being said, why the X10i? Sorry to hate, but the X10 is the most overrated IEM out there, imo.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
To be honest, I wasn't blown away by the X10s when I tried them out. But it was a brief demo and they've been given decent reviews elsewhere. I've also tried out the following:

Westone 4R - Decent but I found the sound a bit too veiled. Also, the isolation didn't seem to be very good.
Shure SE425 - Generally good sound but I found them cumbersome and difficult to put in.
Shure SE535 - Same as the SE425s with even better sound, but also a chore to put in.
Sony XBA40 - Sound was quite veiled, but seemed to have better isolation than the Westone 4Rs.

I also gave the Etymotics a demo and although I liked them, I wasn't a fan of the lack of bass (or control of it) and I'm not even a bass person. It's a shame the isolation isn't better in the Grado GR10s (even with Comply tips) as in terms of the sound and comfort they are perfect. Any other suggestions for IEMs I could give a try?
post #6 of 12

Well there's always the classic UE TF10 (if you have medium to large ears), which I actually think is much better than the UE900. The UE900 has some really harsh sibilance that I can't listen to, while the TF10s are among the best highs I've heard (and I own an HD800 and Ultrasone ED 8).

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolhart View Post

Shure SE425 - Generally good sound but I found them cumbersome and difficult to put in.
Shure SE535 - Same as the SE425s with even better sound, but also a chore to put in.
 

 

And I agree -- the new shures are harder to put in than the older ones, which I actually prefer. Also the SE420 > SE425 because of the better seal, resulting in better audio quality (same with the SE535/530). I don't think we're the only ones to have noticed that. But the new ones do have removable cables and are more strudy.

 

Another option is the sennheiser IE80 (which, on amazon germany is 199 euros + shipping; don't buy from a 3rd party or ebay cuz of fakes). I can't comment on them but I'll be getting them in a few days. A lot of people have gotten good seals (monster provides like 20 tips) off monster turbine pro/miles davis, but again look out for fakes (and you'd better be a basshead.

post #7 of 12
I think those are all great suggestions, but I'm not sure if the isolation would be much better than the Grado GR10s. Did you completely rule out the Westone 4Rs? The isolation is better than the GR10s in my opinion.
post #8 of 12

Well, I cant comment on the 4R's -- the only westones I've had was the UM2-RC.. for some reason my ears fit much better with shure's than westones.

 

Update -- I got my authentic IE80 yesterday -- It definitely is a love it or hate it type of IEM. Isolation isn't great with stock tips, but gets *slightly* better with monster supertips.

 

If isolation is your main priority, go with the etymotics or shures. I've had both the 425 and 535 (actually currently using the 535 as i type this), and they're fairly sold all-rounders. If you can stomach the neutrality, that is.
 

post #9 of 12

I would honestly go with the x10s. THe Etymotics have a more honest sound with more neutrality but the x10s are more fun to listen to. They are also much more comfortable in my experience and easier to get a perfect seal with. That should block out ample noise. They are small and light, meaning that they will be VERY COMFORTABLE. And if u live in the US, Klipsch tends to honor their warranty VERY WELL and their customer service is superb. The x10s seem more open to me so no I wouldn't describe the sound as veiled.

Also it has a single BA driver on each end which may seem odd because you know there will be tradeoffs on the sound spectrum. But surprisingly it manages to deliver fantastic lows and highs. The BA driver used in the klipsch x10 is quite advanced in this way and is very good with instrument separation and quite decent with soundstage.

 

But you have to think about what type of sound signature you want. The klipsch has a more customer friendly, fun signature while the etymotic is more honest and neutral.

Hope this was helpful!

Nusho

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I managed to arrange a demo of the Etymotic ER-4PTs. It really does sound great with certain types of music due to the balance and transparency. And the isolation is definitely the best I've tried in an IEM. However, I did find that when listening to upbeat pop and dance music that there was something missing. It wasn't so much the base (which is fine with a good seal) but a lack of energy. Is this something that can be improved with changing the EQ settings? I have the app Accudio.
post #11 of 12

OP - I have the Klipsch 10xi ( with the mike) and they are ok. Very fragile to the point that I had to get them replaced as the rubber near the earbud started to split. The sound is a little muffled compared to the Ety HF5. They are comfortable but if sound clarity is important to you, look elsewhere. Good luck!

post #12 of 12

I had the x10 and then the x10i as a warranty replacement.  I can't hear differences between the two.  The x10 is the most comfortable IEM I have ever used.  I have not heard the HF5.  I do not have an external DAC or headphone amp but I have tried the x10's in every signal source I can find from home stereo equipment to iPods to cell phones.  I find the x10 to reveal details in the music that I had not heard with any other headphone, but it is my first venture into the >$100 IEM range.  I prefer the x10 for its upper range that reveals details without making my ears bleed like many headphones do with "hot" treble.  My experience is if it sounds muffled it is not inserted in the ear correctly.  Depth and seal can be fine but alignment in the ear seems to matter for me.  Isolation to block outside sounds is good with the x10 but I do not feel their low bass is anything exciting.  I tend to describe the x10 sound as a good set of bookshelf speakers which should have a sub with them but do not.  I should add that I listen at low volume levels and the bass does improve slightly as I crank up the volume but still never gets to be full or strong low bass before I can't take the volume.

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