A Canalphone Conundrum
Aug 4, 2008 at 6:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

Gawain-poet

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Hi Head-fi, this is my first post here - although I have to admit I've been lurking around these magnificent forums eagerly digesting as much information as possible for many a month. Nonetheless, I thought it was about time I joined the community in the chance that I might be able to give something back in the future.

In any case, I've recently purchased a Cowon iAudio X5 (and yes, I've read copiously about its line-out problems after I realised that when I connected it via that output to my speakers there seemed to be a lack of bass) and I've been considering whether to purchase the Etymotic ER4P canal phones, or the ER4S model; from what I can see they seem to be the same set of gear with different impedances, but the ER4S needs an amp to sound its best.

The problem of course is, that the line-out on the Cowon is insufficient for amping due to its poor quality, although I have read a bit about the HP out being suitable for amplification purposes when it is used as an output at high volumes (according to Bangraman's graphs on phonephile, the HP out is virtually equivalent to a proper line-out, which is interesting).

So the question is, do I buy a portable amp and use it via the HP out with the ER4S or should I just go for the ER4P canal phones?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. If anyone thinks certain canal phones synergise better unamped with the X5 please let me know!
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Aug 4, 2008 at 7:00 AM Post #2 of 7

NeObliviscaris

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Welcome to Head-Fi fellow Australian, sorry about yer wallet mate!

LoL!

I don't know much about the Cowon, but for what it's worth, which ever way buy the ER4p - because you can get an adapter that makes it the S, so if you buy the P and get the adapter you essentially have both earphones.
 
Aug 4, 2008 at 7:12 AM Post #3 of 7

Tom Drinkwater

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i'm thinking that the cowon products are mostly sufficiently powerful to drive the ER4S directly, but i haven't actually tried it so can't say for sure. whats the rated output on the X5?

I'm thinking of getting a D2 myself...

its not clear at all that the ER4P with the adapter is actually the same as the ER4S even though the impedance is the same. if anyone knows for sure please let me know... the frequency response is slightly different too, apparently the ER4P has a tiny bit more bass.

I have the ER4S and can say that the sound quality is superb, detailed and airy, they are bass light but in a natural way, you'll still hear the bass very clearly it just won't rattle yr skull. however, the ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. They don't require as much drive as my 55ohm akg271 full size headphones.
 
Aug 4, 2008 at 7:34 AM Post #4 of 7

Gawain-poet

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Thanks for the replies; I'm a tad confused about the difference between the ER4S and ER4P atm. Has anyone had experience amping either the ER4S or other 'phones from the HP out of an X5 (compared to say a LOD of an iPod?).

I'm leaning towards just getting the ER4P for the X5 but if anyone has recommendations for canal phones that don't need amps which synergise well with the internal circuitry of the X5 please let me know =]

Thanks again!
 
Aug 4, 2008 at 12:31 PM Post #5 of 7

tstarn06

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I owned the ER4P with the S cable, and according to Ety, the cable is what you need to get the benefits of both. Or, a PtoS switch on your amp, which I have with my Minibox.

If you are looking for a similarly priced IEM that doesn't require an amp, I recommend the Sleek SA6s. No need for me to deliver details, since there is a massive thread on the phones. But I can say that with the right sleeves (I use black olives or Shure yellows), the SA6s really sound wonderful. Unamped. Check the SA6 thread and look for someone who uses them with the X5. I have several DAPs, but not that one. The Sleeks synergize well with all of them, ampless.

If you decide to go with the Etys, you can get the Dowin cable for $28 (CONUS), rather than the $65 Ety charges.
 
Aug 5, 2008 at 5:45 AM Post #6 of 7

Gawain-poet

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Thanks for your help tstarn, much appreciated.

The SA's look great, and are cheaper than the Etymotics in Aus. too!
 
Aug 5, 2008 at 7:07 AM Post #7 of 7

noblsheep

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ok, i have the er4s and the X5L (different only in battery life from the X5). i often run the phones from the hp out and it takes less than half the volume to drive them to enough volume for outdoors listening. on the road, the differences between directly powering and running them through the line-out dock to a porta corda mk3 are small, unnoticable even in a noisy environment.

just my 0.02.
 

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