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New Etymotic HF3, one ear bud is louder than the other?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I just purchased a paid of Etymotic HF3.  After a few days of use I noticed that the left earbud is lower in volume to the right.  Is this normal or should I ask for an exchange?  Thanks.

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

To be more specific the vocals is much louder with the right earbud compared to the left.  There is an overall volume difference between the left and right earbuds as well.

 

I'm wondering if this is a natural part of the sound personality of Etymotics or did I get a defective pair?

post #3 of 17

You got a defective pair, ask for an exchange.  Channel imbalances happen from time to time.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jekostas View Post

You got a defective pair, ask for an exchange.  Channel imbalances happen from time to time.

 

Great I wasn't sure myself.  I initially thought maybe this was an Etymotic personality since I can hear instruments only playing on one side so I thought perhaps this was intentional with the vocals.  After awhile it just started bothering me since it just didn't sound right.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Any sec opinions?

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

has anyone had this happen to their etys before?

post #7 of 17

Balance bias is not standard behaviour.

 

If this is happening to a brand new pair like you mentioned, ask for an exchange.

 

If they've been used for a while, it might be worthwhile to pull out the filter to confirm it isn't clogged up.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brofeelgood View Post

Balance bias is not standard behaviour.

 

If this is happening to a brand new pair like you mentioned, ask for an exchange.

 

If they've been used for a while, it might be worthwhile to pull out the filter to confirm it isn't clogged up.

 

Would it be a filter problem if the headphones have been used for about approximately 20 hrs over the span of week?

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by superfuture48 View Post

 

Would it be a filter problem if the headphones have been used for about approximately 20 hrs over the span of week?

 

It's possible that it's a filter issue.  The only way to test this would be to replace the filter in the IEM, if I'm not mistaken Etymotic does include an extra pair.  You destroy the filter when you're taking it out BTW...

 

Have you tested to ensure you're getting a proper seal on both sides?  A difference in seal can actually create a channel imbalance like this for some people.  Test out foam tips on both sides (they'll always seal and about the same too) to ensure it's not the tips doing it (listen for imbalance, other changes are inevitable when changing tips). 

 

The only other thing is that you may have your audio panned to the left or the right depending on what source you are using.  Check your settings and ensure that this isn't the case.  Many computers, and some mobile devices, allow you to change the L-R balance of sound (I know my Macbook and iPod does).  Make sure that's centered as well.  I only say this because I've had it go unbalanced for me on my Macbook and thought my jack was defective :p Made me feel stupid when I figured out the issue.

 

If you've exhausted all of the above suggestions, contact Etymotic CS, they are generally really nice about warranty and IEM issues. 


Edited by tinyman392 - 8/10/13 at 11:26am
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

It's possible that it's a filter issue.  The only way to test this would be to replace the filter in the IEM, if I'm not mistaken Etymotic does include an extra pair.  You destroy the filter when you're taking it out BTW...

 

Have you tested to ensure you're getting a proper seal on both sides?  A difference in seal can actually create a channel imbalance like this for some people.  Test out foam tips on both sides (they'll always seal and about the same too) to ensure it's not the tips doing it (listen for imbalance, other changes are inevitable when changing tips). 

 

The only other thing is that you may have your audio panned to the left or the right depending on what source you are using.  Check your settings and ensure that this isn't the case.  Many computers, and some mobile devices, allow you to change the L-R balance of sound (I know my Macbook and iPod does).  Make sure that's centered as well.  I only say this because I've had it go unbalanced for me on my Macbook and thought my jack was defective :p Made me feel stupid when I figured out the issue.

 

If you've exhausted all of the above suggestions, contact Etymotic CS, they are generally really nice about warranty and IEM issues. 

 

 

I'm certain that it's not a sealing issue.  I'm fairly used to IEMs and get a very good seal on them.  I've also checked the balance on my Macbook just right now and found it perfectly balanced in the middle.  I've tried switching the earbuds to different side of my head and the left ear bud is still weaker regardless of which ear its on.  I will go ahead and try the filter exchange and hope it fixes the issue.

 

Is this common with Etymotics?  This is concerning for a company with a sterling reputation to be selling defective items straight from the box.

 

Thanks for you help, i appreciate it.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by superfuture48 View Post

 

 

I'm certain that it's not a sealing issue.  I'm fairly used to IEMs and get a very good seal on them.  I've also checked the balance on my Macbook just right now and found it perfectly balanced in the middle.  I've tried switching the earbuds to different side of my head and the left ear bud is still weaker regardless of which ear its on.  I will go ahead and try the filter exchange and hope it fixes the issue.

 

Is this common with Etymotics?  This is concerning for a company with a sterling reputation to be selling defective items straight from the box.

 

Thanks for you help, i appreciate it.

 

Still might be worth a try to swap tips IMO.  This is no common for Etymotic. 

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

It's possible that it's a filter issue.  The only way to test this would be to replace the filter in the IEM, if I'm not mistaken Etymotic does include an extra pair.  You destroy the filter when you're taking it out BTW...

 

Have you tested to ensure you're getting a proper seal on both sides?  A difference in seal can actually create a channel imbalance like this for some people.  Test out foam tips on both sides (they'll always seal and about the same too) to ensure it's not the tips doing it (listen for imbalance, other changes are inevitable when changing tips). 

 

The only other thing is that you may have your audio panned to the left or the right depending on what source you are using.  Check your settings and ensure that this isn't the case.  Many computers, and some mobile devices, allow you to change the L-R balance of sound (I know my Macbook and iPod does).  Make sure that's centered as well.  I only say this because I've had it go unbalanced for me on my Macbook and thought my jack was defective :p Made me feel stupid when I figured out the issue.

 

If you've exhausted all of the above suggestions, contact Etymotic CS, they are generally really nice about warranty and IEM issues. 

 

I just checked the balance again on my Macbook when the earphones are plugged in and the balance was off.  I feel kind of stupid now.  The balance was correct when I initially checked it without the Etys plugged in. 

 

The issue has been resolved.  Thanks again!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by superfuture48 View Post

 

I just checked the balance again on my Macbook when the earphones are plugged in and the balance was off.  I feel kind of stupid now.  The balance was correct when I initially checked it without the Etys plugged in. 

 

The issue has been resolved.  Thanks again!

 

LOL, it got you too!  LOL.  Apple devices somehow keep track (to the best of their ability) of the different headphones you plug into the port and adjust volume appropriately (it saves volume and settings).  I'm not quite sure how it works exactly.  It's not reading impedance or sensitivity, as both of my HiFiMAN RE-400 and RE-600 automatically adjust the same (share the same "profile").  It'd be interesting to know how the hell it works XD 

 

I've found that with my Macbook, it keeps reverting randomly.  Recently has stopped doing it though, hopefully it'll stay that way ;) 

post #14 of 17

I had a similar experience a while ago, I was using the small tri-flanges and one of them was definitely louder. Switching between eartips made me realize they were ok. I suggest you to do the same first, also try removing the filters after trying the tips. Take your time. If you're using your laptop. some players allow to listen in mono instead of stereo. 

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

LOL, it got you too!  LOL.  Apple devices somehow keep track (to the best of their ability) of the different headphones you plug into the port and adjust volume appropriately (it saves volume and settings).  I'm not quite sure how it works exactly.  It's not reading impedance or sensitivity, as both of my HiFiMAN RE-400 and RE-600 automatically adjust the same (share the same "profile").  It'd be interesting to know how the hell it works XD 

 

I've found that with my Macbook, it keeps reverting randomly.  Recently has stopped doing it though, hopefully it'll stay that way ;) 

 

Easily to overlook since it changes without notice, thanks again man...

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