ER4s in noisy environment
Apr 18, 2004 at 5:49 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6


New Head-Fier
Apr 16, 2004
A fellow named Xin, who makes an amplifier for ear phones has recently stated that he has stopped recommending ety's for noisy environments because the low frequency noise comes through a person's body while on a train or plane and this drowns out the bass sounds. He has changed to recommending an earphone that is not completely sealed as were the ety's or Shure's. This is in spite of the fact that he is marketing his "micro amp".
His web site is .

I have been using a Bose QC2 on trial and have not been happy with the midrange or highs although the active noise suppression is not bad. I'm currently burning in the Bose, but was thinking of trialing the etys or Shures.

Is Xin right about the failure of these earphones to deliver the bass range in a noisy (plane) environment? I listen to classical violin and piano and occasional jazz trio type music.

Please advise. Thanks.
Apr 18, 2004 at 6:06 PM Post #2 of 6
I can confidently claim expertise on airplane noise and the Ety ER4-P, having flown over 30 times this year in small rear-engined regional jets while often sitting in the back near the jets. I haven't had any issues with deficient bass, and frankly do not understand how a semi-sealed design would alleviate this problem even if it did occur - unless the higher ambient noise forces you to crank the volume up and thus overwhelm the external low frequency noise.

You have to be realistic about commercial air travel these days. It is hard enough lugging my laptop and portable through airport security without worrying about the last iota of bass through my Ety. Its small size, easy driveability (no suspicious looking amplifier needed) and isolation are much more important factors for me.
Apr 18, 2004 at 6:14 PM Post #3 of 6
Yeah, I read this (Xin's) statement a few times, but as I already wrote elsewhere, I don't believe it.
But then I always have trouble believing things I don't understand :wink:
Apr 18, 2004 at 6:16 PM Post #4 of 6
For your type of music you'll be very happy with the etymotic. Especially classical music where there is a lot of dynamic range etymotic are great for noisy environnement. The bass one problem is with one of my very cheap pcdp(my father's actualy), the bass is weak even when amp with My NAD integreated and yes with realy cheap pcdp I can see why someone would prefere mx400. I don't have this problem with my denon pcdp the bass is great and the sound equality is at an other level completly. I haven't try it in a plane yet but in metro/subway it work great.
Apr 18, 2004 at 6:24 PM Post #5 of 6
I am going on the offense here JFYI and I do not care if I step on few toes.

1. If noise isolation is what you want, then do not use a headphone that does not isolate you from the external noise. Period. Any other recommendation does not make any sense. For instance, MX500 is nice, but it cannot be used where there is a lot of external noise. They do not isolate at all.

2. Any earplug will attenuate higher frequencies better than lower frequencies. Also, when you use earplugs, body movements are transmitted to the ear. You can't change this characteristic. It is what it is. This characteristic also applies to over the ear isolating headphones. What happens is that low frequencies hit your body and they get transmitted to your eardrum. This does not happen to the higher frequency sounds.

3. The etys have a flat frequency response. The bass is not weak. Xin's logic in this matter is all wrong. He discredits the etys for not producing enough low end frequency gain to compete against the unattenuated low frequency that gets through the isolating earplug. By boosting the low end response to suit this purpose, you create more problems including unbalance in the music. In my experience travelling with the etys, I have never found the airplane's engine sound to drown the music I play through my etys.

4. Noise cancelling technology is less effective that noise isolating technology. It is an alternative, but a bad one. Noise cancelling technology injects noise in your ear in an attempt to neutralize the external noise that is getting inside your ear canal. Using noise to neutralize noise is only so effective.
Apr 18, 2004 at 6:30 PM Post #6 of 6
Thank you for the comments. I am using a Sony MD player. Does this change anyone's opinion on the suitability of the Etys? Based on what I've hear so far, I'll get the ER4P's with an S adapter.

Last question is with this setup, wll i need an amp for the S configuration with the MD? If I do, which amp do you recommend, the Headroom airhead, total airhead, or the Xin?

Thanks for all of your help.

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