Comparison strategies: Etys, Fixup 4P->4S, TAH vs. HD-600
post-153469
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 12

AngusMcToon

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
134
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Posts
134
Likes
10
This is going to be a little long-winded, but I think I'm asking for suggestions on how to manage comparisons...I've gotten a bunch o' new variables here and have begun the auditioning process to start to differentiate among them. I'm trying to balance being somewhat scientific with listening against my real sources, in my real environment, etc., to find the combinations that will produce a consistently great sound from my phones in daily use.

Today was the first time I combined the big new components, and did a bunch of direct A-B comparisons using a new (used) TAH 9V. So I compared the TAH with crossfeed engaged (I generally really like crossfeed, and want to use it most of the time, so it seems reasonable to test with cf engaged, no?). I listened to several songs completely through using my HD600 with stock cable, my new Ety 4Ps, and the 4Ps using the fixup adapter (the 5in gold RS one). For consistency (well, I was at work), I used my SlimX for all tunes, with the TAH connected to the line out and powered by a 12V DC adapter, with CDs and some MP3 cds with a variety of encoding rates ranging from 128 to 360, many encoded with the r3mix.net vbr preset via CDex or EAC.

This is my first day with the TAH, and my first week with the Etys, so this is a very preliminary, exploratory set of observations, just kind of orienting myself still.

Overall impressions: the TAH livens up the HD600 considerably, changing--I'm not sure I can describe exactly how just yet--the soundstage a bit, and letting them breathe more. I find my reaction to the 600s changes dramatically depending on the material, but it's almost always positive...sometimes more positive than others. I may be hallucinating, but I feel I can hear some areas, that mid bump area, where even the TAH struggles a bit--there's still room for improvement is my overall assessment. Put on, e.g., the Offspring, not my favorite band or anything, but there's still room to rev up on the thrashing side of things. In general the 600 sound is just thrilling to me, elegant and musical, especially gorgeous with woodwind instruments, voices. The Ellington / Armstrong Great Reunion through 600s...unreal.

I started with the A-B between the 600 and the adapted-to-4S Etys (let's pretend they're 4S), and was feeling a little perplexed. I was cranking the volume to higher levels to drive the 4S to equivalent volumes to match the 600. There's still a difference of 200ohm in question, right? This mystifies me a bit. Am I still not seating the Etys properly?

Etys have a very different sound to my ears, indeed much more analytical, and I feel that there's room in life, at least my life, for the characteristic sound of both the 600 and the Etys--I like them both, but they do sound very different. Analytical seems accurate for the Etys, but I'm wary about using any adjective because I'm still struggling to figure out how to fit them, and they can sound very different based on the particulars of the seal--this to me seems like their greatest drawback, along with that awful feeling after first sealing of having too much pressure inside the ear. I still find the Etys very uncomfortable.

Well, after about 6 times through the same material with 4S and 600s, I realized I hadn't really tried the 4P with the amp direct...and surprisingly, that produced a match that I found very compelling. Have I been taken in by the volume control alone? I don't know...I tried to compensate but this is an inexact science. The 4P through the TAH though struck me as open and profoundly easy...a great sound for rock and roll, quick and present. Do I have a predilection for the EQ curve of the 4P? Is it just that the 4P are well matched with a portable amp? Well, all I can say is that the 4P + TAH combination brought about the most satisfying listening to date through the Etys, bright and detailed, forceful, illuminating in spite of all the nasty earwax gurgling I get now and then.

So I'm new at this (though well I've become somewhat obsessed) but have all this very nice gear. And I feel it's important to derive pleasing sounds out of it all, that's what's really important. And I've added things quickly, so I may end up losing track of where the real incremental gains come from.

But it's fascinating how different the same material can sound.

I wish the Etys were winning me over more than they are; so far, the discomfort is outweighing their amazing capabilities. The 600 sound seems puffier by comparison, but the 600s themselves are so much more relaxing to wear it's hard to concentrate on sound alone. I've had moments with the Etys where I've completely understood why they're so well respected here--but I find it disconcerting that it's so hard to get them to perform this way seal after seal. I'm resolved to give them a good long trial, open them up, and adapt to their idiosyncracies.

Least compelling is the 4S sound through the TAH. I don't know why, but today so far that combo seemed lifeless, underpowered, slow, labored in many cases, to such an extent that I've been wondering if my cable might be defective in some way.

Well, these are subjective impressions, but I'd welcome any suggestions, strategies, tactics for rationalizing all this.

Thanks,

AMcT
 
     Share This Post       
post-153540
Post #2 of 12

dgs

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 27, 2001
Messages
314
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 27, 2001
Posts
314
Likes
10
Well, you certainly are thinking about this stuff…obsessing seems to be the right word you used above. I can add only these remarks…

I never found the 4s TAH combination particularly engaging. I love my etys dearly, and I found they sound much better coming out of my CHA47. The TAH is a little dirty for the 4s IMO. But the TAH sounds good with my grado 60s (which are gritty to begin with).

I have the ety 4p/s and senn580, which I drive now through my Meier Corda HA-1. And I agree, both sound wonderful in different ways.

The ety volume issue seems strange to me. If anything, I have to push the senns much harder than the 4s to get the same subjective volume.

As for the ety discomfort, have you tried the foam plugs? How about custom ear molds…

At any rate, enjoy your rig...
 
     Share This Post       
post-153564
Post #3 of 12

AngusMcToon

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
134
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Posts
134
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally posted by dgs
...As for the ety discomfort, have you tried the foam plugs? How about custom ear molds…


Well, I am totally unable after many attempts to get any kind of seal out of the foamies...I don't know if I'm spastic or some kind of ear canal freakazoid, but they don't seal up, they pop out, etc. etc. and I can't seem to do much to get them to work for me.

I will consider custom earplugs if things don't improve, but so far the white tips are most successful, if somewhat abrasive inside the ear. The hint on these boards to drive them in angled up slightly has helped get more consistent results, but even these improved seals vary in quality and pressure buildup. (Also, one issue I hadn't calculated is that at work someone is always interrupting, requiring near constant removal of phones. This "cost" is offset of course by the isolation...)

Custom tips seem like the ultimate obsessiveness amidst a general sea of OCD-like general woe.


I'll have some fodder for amp comparison soon too, since I got word today from Tangent that he's starting soon on a pretty maxed out Meta42 for me. Oh dear
 
     Share This Post       
post-153693
Post #4 of 12

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Messages
11,037
Reaction score
2,787
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Posts
11,037
Likes
2,787
Angus, I found it much easier to seal using the foamies than with the flanges--*squeeze* and roll the foamy for one bud in your fingers and make them as small as possible, then quickly stuff that bud into your ear as far as it can go, (for me it goes easily further than the flanges with little effort) and if necessary hold it there until it expands to hold itself in place. Replace with other ear.

You *do* compress it before trying to stuff it in your ear, don't you?
Do you?
 
     Share This Post       
post-153853
Post #5 of 12

AngusMcToon

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
134
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Posts
134
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
...*squeeze* and roll the foamy for one bud in your fingers and make them as small as possible, then quickly stuff that bud into your ear as far as it can go, (for me it goes easily further than the flanges with little effort) and if necessary hold it there until it expands to hold itself in place. Replace with other ear.

You *do* compress it before trying to stuff it in your ear, don't you?
Do you?


Well, ok. I gave this another shot here and did a little better, squeezed harder, waited longer, etc. and got a slightly better seal, but they still keep popping out of my ears unpleasantly if I move my head the slightest bit, so I'm guessing that I've got a bad case of Massive Canal Syndrome (MCS) or else to use the foamies I've got to hold my head perfectly still for hours on end.

Thanks for the suggestion, though...

AMcT, Team EarFreak
 
     Share This Post       
post-153895
Post #6 of 12

lextek

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 22, 2001
Messages
4,425
Reaction score
34
Joined
Oct 22, 2001
Posts
4,425
Likes
34
You must have some weird ears. I had some luck with the flanged tips, but always a good seal with the foamies. keep the faith.
 
     Share This Post       
post-154390
Post #7 of 12

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Messages
11,037
Reaction score
2,787
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Posts
11,037
Likes
2,787
Quote:

Originally posted by AngusMcToon


Well, ok. I gave this another shot here and did a little better, squeezed harder, waited longer, etc. and got a slightly better seal, but they still keep popping out of my ears unpleasantly if I move my head the slightest bit, so I'm guessing that I've got a bad case of Massive Canal Syndrome (MCS) or else to use the foamies I've got to hold my head perfectly still for hours on end.

Thanks for the suggestion, though...

AMcT, Team EarFreak


Pity... I found that I could just stuff the uncompressed foam into my ears and I'd get a halfway decent seal even like that.
I suppose in your case even the uncompressed foam can slide in and out of your ear?


The solution I believe would be to get some Massive Foam Earplugs (MFE
) and do some DIY to fit them over the etys.


Funny though, I thought the flanges are even smaller than the foam?
How come you can keep those in your ear at all?
 
     Share This Post       
post-154452
Post #8 of 12

AngusMcToon

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
134
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Posts
134
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
Funny though, I thought the flanges are even smaller than the foam?
How come you can keep those in your ear at all?


I'm baffled, and so are my ears apparently. The flanges seem to grip something non-massive in there...obviously, we've got some sort of Variable Massiveness (VM) issue inside the ear. The solution might be to wait for the wireless brain-implanted ER-8S that are due out sometime next year?
 
     Share This Post       
post-154942
Post #9 of 12

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Messages
11,037
Reaction score
2,787
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Posts
11,037
Likes
2,787
As the foam can be made thinner than the flanges across its whole length on compression I believe you can catch that 'non-massive' part of your ear with the foam also?

Oh and here are a few other tips that might matter (but bear in mind I'm a beginner too
)

1. It might matter which side of the foam you use. The side that has the foam flush with the plastic tube is the side that I stuff into my ear.

2. Use the shirt clip!
 
     Share This Post       
post-155016
Post #11 of 12

BDA_ABAT

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 22, 2001
Messages
1,089
Reaction score
12
Joined
Sep 22, 2001
Posts
1,089
Likes
12
Angus: Etymotic has larger foamies available. Certainly worth checking out before going to the expense of custom earmolds. Ety also has two sizes of flanged tips. The ones that come standard with the cans are the larger of the two. To order the smaller size tips, just go to the Ety website. Might lessen your discomfort a bit.

I'd second JoeBloggs comments on foamie insertion. Initially, I felt like the foamies were popping out of my ears with the slightest movement. Turns out I wasn't squishing them + rolling. One other problem... I'd just shove them inside my ear and... let go! Gee, I wonder why they keep falling out. Dop! Need to give the foam time to re-expand to fit your ear canal... wait ~ 20 seconds (which seems much longer when you are standing there holding stuff in your ear). But, they are MUCH easier to extract than the flanged tips for me. There isn't the exact same level of isolation, but it's still very good. I'm fortunate in that I can wear either the flanged tips or the foamies for hours without discomfort.

Speaking of isolation... I don't know how you wear Etys at work and interact with people. I have difficulty even at home with my wife suddenly jumping in front of my field of vision scaring the pants off me. When I finally get one of the tips out of my ear, she'll be amazed that I didn't hear her talking at me for the past five minutes, trying to get my attention. One night, she "snuck up" behind me while I'd been listening and typing away on the PC and she suddenly appeared. YIKES!!!

Bruce
 
     Share This Post       
post-155285
Post #12 of 12

AngusMcToon

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
134
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Posts
134
Likes
10
Hey I didn't know about the larger earpads, I'll try them.

Well, the Ety at work thing is mixed. The isolation has a good side, since you type away in utter oblivion, blissfully unaware of distractions and frivolous conversation. The real issue is that you have to remove the phones very often, so there's a lot of seating and reseating, which undoes a good deal of the pleasure of isolation, and roughs up the inside o' the canals, and is just not as convenient as moving a pair of phones off the head. But it is a good scenario for practicing the sealing skills, no?

Maybe neb is right, but instead of the stapler, I should get one of the air compressors to blow up the foamies to the right width, rig them up withe a rubber hose, crank it up...
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top