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Etymotic Research Isolator MK5 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Earphones

  • Isolation never sounded so good. Isolator earphones are a great choice for today's active lifestyles. They tune out the world around you, so you can hear every detail in your music. These low-profile, in-ear earphones fit comfortably with hats and helmets. Ideal for commuting, travel and sports activities. Best Sound Accuracy--True high fidelity requires reproduced sound to be as close as possible to the sound of a live performance. Etymotic's earphones have the highest response accuracy of all in-ear earphones. Best Noise Isolation--Etymotic's ear phones have the highest noise isolation of all earphones. Reduction of outside noise lowers the risk of listening at unsafe levels. Best Style and Fit--All Etymotic earphones include an assortment of noise-isolating ACCU-Fit eartip options to ensure proper seal and comfort.

Recent Reviews

  1. tomscy2000
    The "basshead" Etymotic (no, not really, but close enough)
    Written by tomscy2000
    Published Mar 12, 2015
    Pros - Etymotic's Best Value IEM, Great Bass Quality and Quantity in the Context of the EtyHead Sound
    Cons - Love/Hate Fit/Comfort, EtyHead Sound Signature Polarizing, Treble Extension Not perfect, Slightly Hot Upper Midrange, Thin Lower Midrange, Grey Only
    If it looks like an Ety, quacks like an Ety...
    They look just like the EtyKids, but in grey, and only in grey. One shade of grey.
    I'm not going to go into detail about the way Etymotic earphones work --- you have to insert deeply (up to the second bend of your ear canal, where you'll mostly cease to hear tissue occlusion effects), and no, they don't care if you're not used to it --- you're just going to have to do it. For science.
    Once you're fitted properly however, and they include two triple flange tips and a pair of foam tips for that goal, the famous Etymotic sound continues in the MK5 with more gusto than ever.
    Just like the EtyKids, the MK5 can sound a little thin in the lower midrange, and may be slightly too hot in the upper midrange, but overall midrange transparency is great. I find the smoothness and transparency of the ER4PT and ER4S is better, however.
    The treble extension of the MK5 isn't perfect, but it's acceptable. I wouldn't fault it at all, considering this thing is essentially a $50 earphone.
    The bass response of the MK5 is where the Isolator really takes its cake. Although the decay is super quick, especially for a dynamic driver IEM, there's so much texturing and resolution there. It also reaches deeper than any Etymotic I've ever heard, while being punchier too. I call it the "basshead's Etymotic" as a joke, but it's really not that far of a stretch. Considering the FR of the MK5 works within the confines of Etymotic's accuracy target, the bass is about as good as it can possibly get.
    Yeah, not very interesting looking, I know.
    In accordance with my tradition of not using supercilious audiophile music to evaluate sub-$100 earphones, I used Thelma Aoyama's single 'Soba Ni Iru Ne' (certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as Japan's best selling digital single of all-time), to really showcase the bass definition of the MK5 Isolator. SoulJa (the producer and featured rapper) really did a great job with the drum programming, making the track sound relaxed, yet highly defined. The YouTube music video is embedded below, but please listen to the CD to get the right idea. The audio quality in the video is beyond lossy.
    BoA & Crystal Kay's duet 'Girlfriend' highlights the slightly "hot" nature of the MK5's upper midrange response. BoA does not have great presence as a vocalist (she rose to fame because of her dance skills), and has the typical upper midrange heavy kind of sound. Crystal Kay isn't really the best singer around either, but she has far more lower midrange presence and clear upper midrange roll-off (she has a small vocal range).
    All in all, considering everything, if you're receptive to the love or hate fit, comfort, and overall sound signature of the Etytmotic brand, you'll love the MK5. It's not only the return of the 'Isolator' tag, it's the best low cost Etymotic yet.
    If you've always been curious about what an Etymotic sounds like, the MK5 is probably the best option for any head-fier to get into. It's more comfortable than an MC5, and just as affordable, while being far easier to drive than an EtyKids EK5. Get one today.
    From GoldenEars: MK5 overlay against ER4PT (with P-to-S adapter)
    My personal EQ settings (relative to 0 dB; I normally drop it down to reduce clipping)
    1. View previous replies...
    2. tomscy2000
      @ozkan sorry to hear about your fit troubles; I have to wear them over-ear to get a good fit. The ER4 has a better overall fit, definitely. However, the MK5 has a far better fit range than the MC5.
      tomscy2000, Apr 1, 2015
    3. ozkan
      Ok I could be able to get a good fit after some attemps. They are still not comfortable for long sessions though but passable because of the wonderful sound it puts out.
      ozkan, May 8, 2015
    4. sanakimpro
      Hey guys, How does this compare with the HF 5 and/or RE-400's sound sig?
      sanakimpro, May 30, 2015
  2. eyal1983
    For the paid price? I'm contemplating on maybe buying another one...
    Written by eyal1983
    Published Feb 26, 2015
    Pros - ALMOST flat FR, bass quantity is higher than neutral, the earphone itself and its cable are light and small, comfier than other models
    Cons - Bass quantity higher than neutral, not even close to ER4s in treble quantity and detailing (more forgiving then), is this a memory cable?
    For those if you who know me, you know i prefer the FR curve to be as neutral as possible. 
    I have the Etymotic ER4s (ER4p with Etymotic's 75 ohm converter cable), had the HF5, and tried many other IEMs.
    I'm Listening sometimes via my desktop amp. (the "Shiit Fulla"), and sometimes straight from my "Samsung Galaxy S4" cellphone (when commuting).
    While i pretty much enjoy hearing everything from my ER4s (sometimes I prefer using the 'p' version (w/o the converter) when i desire a tiny bit more warmness to the sound),
    It is sometimes just too clinical and analytical sounding for use with "normal" (mainstream) music / TV.
    Also - the piano timbre sounds sometimes just too light sounding / bright with these (for me at least.. I think it has to do with the BA drivers vs. dynamic ones)
    I tried to have 2 earphones then, when the other one should serve my other purposes;
    But something like "Zero", "Havi", "Sennheiser", "Westone" and even "Shure" is just too warm for my tastes.
    I then tried "Rock-It sounds", "VSonic", "HiFiMAN" and more.. but it was almost the same (analytical), or just not detailed enough (w/recessed treble). 
    So i didn't find peace...
    Then, a thought came into mind... why not try the new model from Etymotic, which supposedly caters for more genres?
    Not even 2 minutes later, I bought my unit from an authorized Ety dealer I found on eBay (paid 72$ after ship.), and 2 weeks later (this was an intl. shipment) it has arrived.
    Einstein said that physical things are relative; 
    That said, I will base my characterization of the MK5's with having the ER4 acting as the baseline.
    While the MK5 is less detailed than the ER4s, with less treble quantity (ofc.), it is lighter, smaller, has a thinner cable (not coiled nor twisted) -which weights less BTW.
    Also, it seems to me that it exudes a wide sense of stage (for ex. listening to "Radiohead" is a possible pleasure now... also, i can enjoy ambient styles more)
    the bass is bigger than any other Ety earphone in the series, but still much lower than any of the "bass" earphones
    the lower mids are somewhat fuller, which is better for mainstream songs and/or piano (in my tastes)
    The upper mids are slightly less forward, but still sound very clear
    The treble doesn't have the air the ER4 has, but it's not too far away from the 'p' version (in quantity)
    They are light and comfy
    I'm not sure regarding to the cable as of yet... it is thinner and lighter
    same goes for reliability... time will tell i guess.
    Overall, i'm very happy with it
    for the price paid? WOW...
    My verdict, you ask?
    Highly Recommended  :)
      NeonHD, Light - Man and AL13N like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. eyal1983
      don't think as much...
      If they were to gain an increase in SQ, then that's something Etymotic would certainly mention.
      eyal1983, May 9, 2015
    3. sanakimpro
      Hi! Since you have both the HF 5 and the MK 5, could you please detail a bit of comparisons? I liked the HF 5 sound female vocals and would like to know if the MK 5 is as good? It'd be great if I could sleep with these, cause HF 5 seem to jab my ears when I rest on the pillow.
      sanakimpro, May 30, 2015
    4. eyal1983
      I don't have the HF5 for quite some time ...
      yes, the MK5 however is much more comfortable
      the mids are excellent
      eyal1983, May 30, 2015


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