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ER4P > HF5? Are you sure?

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  1. suburbanite
    My HF5's are slowly dying so it's time to either replace or upgrade.
    I have enjoyed my HF5's because I like fast, precise bass and don't want anything with a "slower" sound.
    I seem to like the idea of spending less on their replacements but the lower-tier model, the MC5s, were adjudged as having not only more bass but looser, less controlled bass, so I don't think I want those.
    I seem to also like the idea of upgrading, so I looked at the ER4P's which I understand to be the mobile device version of this model as they have a lower input impedance. When discussing which ER4 is right for the consumer, Etymotic describes them as having:
    This causes me to wonder if I will notice much difference between my HF5's and the ER4's.
    My case against the ERP4's is that in comparison to the HF5's, the ERP4's also:
    * have non-removable cables
    * have microphonics even though they have a braided cable
    * need the ERP "S" adaptor and more amplification to sound superior to the HF5's
    My case for the ERP4's is that in comparison to the HF5's, the ERP4's:
    * have less cable memory from braided cable
    * are overall more sturdy than the HF5's
    Am I right?
    Am I wrong?
    I actually want you to argue with me.
    I've never listened to the ER4P's at all and have no way to compare.
    Necessary to mention is that my "rig" will include:
    1. lower mobile devices only such as my Sansa Clip+ and my Nexus 5
    2. no additional DAC or amplifier
    3. 320kbps MP3's
    4. Popular music- Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal, and "Technical Brutal Death Speed Metal"
    AK240 or library of 24/192 symphony tracks for this plebian. Just The People's gear.​
    Feedback appreciated. ​
    I would like to place my order for either 'phone by the end of the week.​
  2. soundstige
    1. The entire ER4 line have removable cables, though there's physically quite a bit more friction to it when compared to IEMs that are billed as removable-cable type.
    2. ER4P/PT is nice to have the 'option' of turning it into an ER4S with the adapter cable, but if you're seeking pure sound quality, you'll always be using the adapter. My ER4S wasn't hard to drive out of my Sansa Clip on ReplayGain'd files.
    3. The ER4 line is definitely more sturdy than the HF line cable-wise, but at a steep cost of comfort. The cable is heavy and microphonic... but will last forever.
    4. IMHO, the ER4P already sound better than the HF5 without the P->S cable... but not by a whole lot. Which leads me to my next point...
    Here's my advice: try out the new MK5 Etymotic just released last month. For me, it was a very clear step up in audio quality compared to the HF series. To me, the quality of Etymotic's historical lineup ranges ER4S > ER4P/PT > ER6/i > MK5 > HF5 > EK > MC5. I'm frankly a bit surprised they're only selling for $60. Give them a spin and see if your impressions are similar, you can't go wrong for the price. They also have better, though similar, build quality to the HF series.
    Overall the MK5 sound is a lot clearer and more detailed than the HF5, though the MK5 goes for a wide soundstage while the HF5 goes for an intimate in-your-face one. One big thing to note is that the MK5 have much tighter, more present bass, compared to even the ER4 line (and no it's not boomy in any way whatsoever, it's still an Ety). It sounds quite a bit like the old ER6 with a touch less microdetail and a wider sound stage.
    And just a little note, every Etymotic product I've ever heard at least sounds "fairly similar" as far as sound signature goes. In fact, they're intentionally tuned that way, to match Ety's house sound and target 'accuracy'. It's all just different levels of detail and refinement. If you like one Ety product, you'll (probably) never be completely turned off by another, as they're all alike; but you will be well-suited to eke out extra details if you can afford them.
  3. Mooses9
    i have owned the hf5 and pretty much the whole line of etymotic products, if you are thinking of going with the er4 series, i would personally say go for it, from a audiophile standpoint. they are in my opinion a huge jump from the hf series . obviously there arent going to be differences in sound sifnatures between the 2 however the er4 imo is the best there is . sound biased but its very very very great. to say the least. esp with a good rig, like a dac,dap,amp ect
  4. Spyro
    ER4 at $300 versus HF5 at $130 is criminal.  Should be same cost, really.
    Many prefer the HF5 for on-the-go listening due to better cable (less microphonics and more durable-Kevlar) and a slightly smoother, less hot treble.
  5. Mooses9
    true but thats brand new cost, vs preowned
  6. Spyro
    Moose, what you mean?  That's the retail selling price of each.  Same drivers too.
    What really irked me was ER4P was $20 for the longest time, then they claimed hand matched drivers and added a certification piece of paper on all ER4P's and started charging another $100.
    That's a joke considering the drivers are already bought to a pretty tight spec, undiscernible to the human ear.
  7. Mooses9
    are you tallking about the P/T vs P? or S? New?
  8. Spyro
    New, the P is $299 (use to be $199). HF5 new is $129
  9. Mooses9
    so the hf5 and er4 have the same drivers? sorry not informed
  10. suburbanite
    Well, I got the HF5's again.

    The biggest reason for this was that I let myself get suckered by Etyotic's buyback program through which I saved only $20 over what I would have paid through Amazon- and the shipping turn-around was way slower, too.

    The bigger clincher, though was that I read that the ER4's:

    • suffer from microphonics, just like the HF5's, despite the ER4's braided cable
    • Cost $300 if you buy them directly from Etymotic
    • have a reputation for being more uncomfortable than the HF5's

    I was interested in the MK5's but I didn't know if I'd like them and since I was buying through Etymotic's buyback program, I didn't want to risk buying something that I might not like- returning them to Etymotic to exchange them would have cost me more time and money- so I went with the HF5's just because I knew what I was getting.

    Still would like to try the MK5's sometime. :xf_eek:
  11. Mooses9
    well good deal on the purchase.
  12. goodvibes
    I agree about the pricing and sig though I don't think that they're the same drivers. The 4 is more delineated but the hf5 has less of a ba highs sound. Never heard the mk5.
  13. AUserName501
    The HF2/3/5 has a shorter overall barrel length than the ER-4 which allows you lie down with the side of your head against a pillow without discomfort (assuming proper insertion depth). If you are using the Westone 2 pin adapters with the ER-4 then this is definitely not possible. The HF series cable is much better than the cable supplied with the ER-4 which is microphonic, heavy and generally awful. However, the HF series cable has a memory and is still somewhat susceptible to microphonics but it is much better overall. You could buy the ER-4 + Westone adapters + Linum cable but that is obviously more expensive.
    You can use a P -> S adapter with the HF series but it won't boost the frequency response beyond 3Khz as much as with the ER-4P to S. You can buy these adapters on ebay cheap because all they really are is a 75 ohm resistor in series.  Overall, most people say the difference between the HF series and the ER-4P is marginal and considering the difference in cost I think buying a HF 2/3 is the best action.
    It's a real shame that Etymotic haven't bothered to update the cable supplied with the ER-4 or change the ER-4 to use the standard 2 pin adapter. Personally, I think you should buy HF2/3/5 and a P-S adapter from ebay. The money saved is better spent elsewhere.
  14. Mooses9
    I really feel if you use the supplied clip on the shirt up higher toward the neck you don't get as much microphonics with the er4's it's when you use the clip lower on the shirt and the wire leads to the housings rub against anything is when you get the microphonics. Otherwise not so much.
  15. Bonzo

    Do the MK5 need burning in?  I got them as I was looking for an economic isolating IEM.  But I'm feeling no bass at all.  Tried both triple flange tips and foam tips, the large ones.  I certainly have much isolation.  But no bass at all.  I am a little disappointed with them.  I guess i was used to my JVC marshmallows.
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