Originally Posted by javahut
ER4 doesn't have more "resolution". It has more unatural high end, and a completely unatural lack of low mids, lows, and sub lows. This is mistakenly taken as more "resolution" by some, when in actuality, they have more audible high end detail that is completely unlike any natural sound source I've ever heard. You may like that sound more, but don't think that's more "resolution", or higher quality because nothing else sounds like it. There's a reason nothing else sounds like Ety... because no one but Ety thinks that's a natural sound. And once you get your ears & brain used to that, and percieving that as "natural", you will never find any other sound signature like it. So you might as well either be happy with your Etys, or get something else and start retraining your ears & brain to appreciate what something more natural and realistic actually sounds like. Until you do that, you'll never think any other IEM has enough "resolution".
There's this thing called "sound masking." When there is emphasis -- be it spatial in a mix, with a number of instruments or voice and instrument in the same frequency range inhabiting the same aural location in the recording mix, or be it imbalance in a transducer, with emphasis on lower frequencies to "warm up" the sound -- it will invariably muddy up the details that are audible.
An excellent, delicate transducer like the Etymotics series takes this into account, and provides excellent clarity by _not_ filling up the aural space with unnatural bass or mid-frequency emphasis.
Transducer manufacturers since the beginning of audio time have been marketing "better" speakers that do just the opposite, because first reaction to "warmer" speakers is always, in the short run, more positive, unless you have an ear actively and recently trained by hearing live music in a good acoustic environment.
But the reality is, that warmness will prove to be muddiness over the long run. It's not a technical limitation in the architecture, it's a fact having to do with frequency masking. If you have some frequencies stepping on others, you're not going to hear the ones stepped on, it's that simple, no matter how a device is put together. If you prefer oomph over clarity, that doesn't matter. But extended listening to well-recorded music is far more pleasurable if clarity is the prevailing goal.Edited by Copperears - 1/7/14 at 10:06am