Bose IE2 vs. Etymotic Research HF5
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dtao819

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Hey everybody, I have been reading threads from head-fi for a few weeks now. This is my first post and I would love to hear some opinions, experiences, recommendations. I am debating between the Bose IE2 and the Etymotic Research HF5. I was told that the Bose IE2 has better bass and the HF5 is more clear. What do you guys think? I will be using them for casual listening. They will be used in home and short walks. Noise canceling is not a make or break feature for me. 
 
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nadsta

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Hi there
 
I'm pretty new here too but in my short time on head fi I've learnt that there's way more to iems than what's available in my local store.
 
As a suggestion, start with this thread if you haven't already,
 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-162-iems-compared-kozee-infinity-x1-earsonics-sm2-added-04-16
 
particularly the 162 and counting review.  Even if your 2 shortlisted iems aren't mentioned, it will give you a feel for how different iems' sound signatures, applications and practicalities can vary, and how spending more $ doesn't necessarily guarantee a better iem for your purposes. eg my current iems cost half what my previous ones cost and I way prefer them, all things considered.
 
I'm not familiar with Bose but I would guess they're are better alternatives for less money especially if their 'hi fi' is anything to go by (although their pro stuff had a good reputation way back).  I owned Ety HF2's for a couple of years and they offered the best isolation i've experienced which was a priority to me (it isn't to everyone) but the deep insertion did become painful.  Their sound sig was AFAIK typical Etymotic, very flat freq response but one that favoured 'airy' sparkling highs. Great, analytical hi end, but for me at the expense of the rest of the spectrum and eventually fatiguing.  
 
I can't recommend poring over the above review enough before throwing down cash, and don't be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. If you buy a well regarding iem and find its not for you, eBay or the For Sale section here will bite your hand off.
 
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Alondite

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Well, having only owned the Bose I can only comment on those. I didn't like them much at all. I was upgrading from a cheap pair of $10 headphones and I still wasn't impressed by how they sounded. The bass seemed really muddy to me. There was a lot of it, but it wasn't good bass IMO. Overall they seemed to be really lacking in clarity. The mids were decent, not exceptional and I have certainly hear worse. The high end seemed really weak to me. They also had zero isolation and didn't really stay in well for me. They were pretty comfortable though. I didn't care for them at all. I consider my Klipsch S4's (which are a good, but not exceptional set of IEMs according to most people) to be much better.
 
As for the HF5, I have been considering getting them as an upgrade over my S4s. Based on what I've heard, the HF5's sound can best be described as "cold precision." They are sonically "accurate," but a bit cold and dry according to some, such is the nature of accurate headphones it seems though. They apparently have exceptionally good isolation, but could be uncomfortable for some.
 
Hope that helps.
 
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Balloons

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From my understanding, the Etymotic is considerably better :)
 
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dtao819

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I have tried both, but I do not know much about highs, mids, and lows. I am new to this stuff! I tried both from different friends and all I know is that the Bose has a more significant amount of bass and the HF5 does seem more accurate. However, the HF5 does sound a tad weird when a song comes on my iPod that has a lot of lows.
 
 
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jleewach

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Quote:
I have tried both, but I do not know much about highs, mids, and lows. I am new to this stuff! I tried both from different friends and all I know is that the Bose has a more significant amount of bass and the HF5 does seem more accurate. However, the HF5 does sound a tad weird when a song comes on my iPod that has a lot of lows.
 


No offense, but you're probably accustomed to farty-bloated bass. I was too a long time ago. But once you get used to a more accurate sound sig, you'll never go back. W/ the HF5's, you're getting a sq that is very close to the top of line ER4, which is a true reference iem. They share the same type of drivers, just a tad bit less accurate. 
 
W/ the Bose, you're getting a severely bloated sub & mid-bass w/ no presence of quality treble to be heard. From personal experience, I've owned the bose iems in the past. You're getting very mediocre sq for a premium price. I'm not a BOSE hater, that's just the way it is with their products. 
 
Go HF5. 
 
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supersleuth

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I have the Ety MC5, not the HF5, but what I can say as a classical concertgoer that their frequency balance- in my ears, which is an always necessary qualification- is exceptionally realistic. When I hear a live orchestra after listening to my Grado SR 80s, there is a sneaking disappointment at first that the real thing is not quite as energetic at either the bottom or top end as the sound of the Grados. :wink: Not so with the Etys, which are right on the money. Now, not everybody likes that, and that's OK. Even I had to adjust a bit after being used to the Grados for years.


 
 
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I bought the IE2 and just received my HF3 - First let me say that both are very high quality.  The IE2 has a fuller sound and definitely has a more bottom end. The HF3 are very clear, you hear the highs mid as good as it can be, but the lows are not as present but sometimes that can be a good thing. The HF3 goes inside your ear canal and the IE2 rests on the surface, so the isolation is better with the HF3. They are both comfortable. They both come in nice carrying cases. The cord is approx 3 inches longer on the HF3.  The Controls are nicer on the HF3. 
 
It really is a toss up which one to use. I like them both and they are both priced the same.  I think that this comes down to personal preference. You won't be unhappy with either one of them. The hardest part for me is too decide which one I am going to keep and which one I am going to return.
 
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ethanc

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Quote:
I bought the IE2 and just received my HF3 - First let me say that both are very high quality.  The IE2 has a fuller sound and definitely has a more bottom end. The HF3 are very clear, you hear the highs mid as good as it can be, but the lows are not as present but sometimes that can be a good thing. The HF3 goes inside your ear canal and the IE2 rests on the surface, so the isolation is better with the HF3. They are both comfortable. They both come in nice carrying cases. The cord is approx 3 inches longer on the HF3.  The Controls are nicer on the HF3. 
 
It really is a toss up which one to use. I like them both and they are both priced the same.  I think that this comes down to personal preference. You won't be unhappy with either one of them. The hardest part for me is too decide which one I am going to keep and which one I am going to return.
easy. keep the ety's. over time the ety sound will grow on you and can be much less overwhelming than the bose. the ie2 muddiness and bloatiness I cannot stand. 
 
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