ETY ER6 vs. ER4's?
May 18, 2002 at 10:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

wacomme

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I recently bought the Ety ER6 and 4.5 V Airhead from Headroom and I'm hooked on better sound, despite using a Creative MG MP3 player as my source. I recently tried an old Sony D-E301 PCDP with line out and I'm happy with that set-up as well.

I've read this forum up and down this past week with obsessive thoughts; it's been fun and informative. I'm not sure, however, if I have more insight into this Head-Fi field. I know wonder:

1) What is the differences between the Ety ER6 and the Ety ER4's? Does the added cost justify the difference in sound? In other words, how much better are the ER4's than the ER6? I'm thinking of the ER4P with an adapter.

2) If I replace the ER6 with an ER4P, should I also trade in my 4.5V Airhead (not Total) and get a Porta Corda? How about a JMT? Yes. I know I'm talking more money. I'd like to keep the system portable for gym use as well as desk access.

3) Should I replace my Sony D-E3-1PCDP with a Panasonic 570? Will there be a big improvement in sound quality?

4) At home, instead of using my computer's CD player (Mac G4 Tower), should I get a CDP like the NAD571? Will the Porta Corda or JMT work well with this player? Will there be a significant difference in sound quality?

I like all sorts of music. Until I put the Ety ER6 in my ears, I've been satisfied with the mediocre sounds I had. Now I know the difference. I'm a changed man. What to do? What to do?

Michael
 
May 19, 2002 at 12:13 AM Post #2 of 19

AtEase

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I can't help with all your questions, but wrt er6 vs er4 here is a
great review comparing the er6, er4p, and er4s.

dg's ety mega-review

To be honest, I'm in the same situation as you, I love my er6, but I can't help wondering what I'm missing -- I start working next week, and once I get some cash I know I'll be really tempted to go for the upgrade...
 
May 19, 2002 at 1:53 AM Post #4 of 19

davo

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1. I'm a big fan of the Ety concept and I have the 4P with 4S adaptor. I just returned the ER6 to Headroom last week. As good as the ER6 is, it just doesn't compare with the 4P/S. I was going to keep the Er6 for gym use, but for the money, in that noisy environment, the Senn MX500 works better. The 4P/S simply has better bass extension and cleaner and brighter treble. The 4P is also easier to drive than the 6. The onen advantage of the 6 is the lack of microphonics, but since I use the 4P at home only, this is not an issue.

2. I wouldn't think there is a significant enought difference between the Porta Corda, AirHead and a JMT to warrant a change here. The JMT CHA47 may be faster and brighter and offer greater dynamics as a result, but JMT's CMOY would likely be quite similar to the PC or the AH, for all intents and purposes.

3. I'm not familiar with the Sony, so can't compare, but my Pana 570 is a gem.

4. For home use, I just bought a NAD 520 from a HeadFier as a dedicated HP source. So far, I'm using it with a Porta Corda and it sounds great. I plan to get a Corda Headamp 1 in kit form soon. I think that a dedicated good qauality non-portable source is always going to be better than a PCDP. Generally speaking , a home source will have better DACs, better op amps, better power supplies, better board layout without the compromises that have to be made for size constraints.


The ER6 is a great set of headphones.....until you try the 4P/S. The difference (IMHO) is like night and day!
 
May 19, 2002 at 2:30 AM Post #5 of 19

BDA_ABAT

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I had the ER 6 for 27-28 days. The sound from them was an improvement over what I had been listening to. They are good cans that have very good isolation. However, for my ears and my tastes, they left me wanting... wanting better comfort and better sound.

The comfort was a major problem. When I had these phones, there were no foamies available. So, I put up with the silicone tips and some pain for the whole time I had these. In addition to discomfort, I had a difficult time getting a consistently good seal. On the occassions where I did get a good seal, the sound was very good. I actually had sort of an epiphany while flying with them. I'd been messing around with the fit, trying to get better comfort, and suddenly, the sound just magically improved. Compared to the Sony 888's that I had been A/B ing at the time, it was an amazing difference in sound. Good lows, great mid range, acceptable highs. The isolation made air travel wonderful.

But, the more I listened to these cans, the more I realized that I NEEDED the ER4P. From what folks here and at HeadWize had written, the sound and fit were better. And, they were CORRECT (for my ears... YMMV)! Although many folks have mentioned needing time and practice to get a proper seal with the ER4, my practice with the ER6 seems to have helped. I can get a good seal nearly every time. Comfort for me has improved dramatically. With the ER6, I couldn't leave them in for more than ~ 40 minutes. After that, my ears were sore. With the ER4, I've listened to them for > 3 hours without any discomfort using the basic silicone tips.

I did not have a chance to A/B the ER6 and ER4, but my memory of them was that the sound differences were pronounced. Everything sounds better, but the most noticable difference was in the upper ranges. There was definate roll off in the upper end on the ER6 that was noticable even to my tin ears. I kept having the feeling that a.) I was listening to headphones and not music; b.) that there was something better out there. And there is!

If you like the Ety sound and don't mind sticking things in your ears, the ER4 are a true joy. Everything sounds so much better! One of the wonderful things about these cans is that music that I'd thought I'd known well before now sounds different. There are frequently additional layers that are now noticable that were not before. Like having a whole new collection of music that you know you already like! That to me makes these cans an absolute bargain.

And, if that still weren't enough, getting the ER4 with the S adapter has cured me of upgraditis (at least, for headphones). I started off this addiction getting inexpensive cans because I didn't want to spend a lot of money. At the time, I couldn't justify to myself spending $300 on headphones like the ER4. However, during the 7 months I'd been listening to headphones prior to getting the ER4, I'd spent almost $650 on headphones (Koss, then Sony, then several flavors of Grado). So much for trying to save a little money.

For my ears, equipment, and tastes, the ER4 are a bargain. Amazing sound, excellent fit, very portable, low enough impedance to be able to effectively be driven from a portable source. My primary rig is now a Panasonic 570 --> Markertek mini to mini --> JMT built CHA 47 --> ER4P+S adapter from Fixup. This setup, despite being powered by a portable suorce, provides amazing sonic quality. And, it's PORTABLE!!! Truly amazing sound.

Be warned: the ER4 are so revelaing that you may need to upgrade other components in your system. I started hearing stuff from my old pcd that bothered me enough to upgrade to the 570.

So much for my expereinces... your ears may be different from mine so that fit with the ER6 is no big deal. You may not perceive the sound from the ER6 the same way I did. Lots of factors go into the equation of what sounds good to you. But the only true way to find out is to demo. If you're curious about the sound quality and are trying to decide if it's worth it to upgrade, order them from HeadRoom. Try them for 29 days. If you don't think the price difference is justified, send them back. You only loose the cost of shipping. Or, go to one of the HeadRoom Tour locations and try a whole bunch o' different cans (including the Ety's) and find something that works for you. When in doubt, demo!!!

Good luck!
Bruce
 
May 19, 2002 at 3:43 AM Post #6 of 19

wacomme

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Thanks everyone for your input. Like Bruce said, I should order the ER4's from Headroom and try them out! Now do I order the P or S version? I keep reading that the S version has better highs, but then I read that fixup has an adapter that turns a P to an S. Does is completely, or is there a difference between the original S and a P + S adaptor? Thoughts?

What concerns me about the ER4's for portable use is the radiophonics. Since I have the ER6 I really don't know what this means, but does getting the fixup cable solve this problem. Is there any reason to NOT take the ER4's to the gym?
 
May 19, 2002 at 5:45 AM Post #7 of 19

davo

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Wacomme,

If you buy the 4P and then get a 4S adaptor, you will have both versions. The 4P can be used without an amp for portable purposes, although it does sound better with an amp. The 4S requires an amp due to its higher impedance, but the trade-off is much better sound, especially the extended high frequencies. For all intents and purposes, the adaptor turns the 4P into a 4S, since the mere difference between the two is the resistors in the cables.

Use of the 4P's at the gym would be difficult if not impossible due to the microphonics transmitted to the drivers from the cord with any movement. Further, there is so much isolation with the 4P's, even compared to the 6's, that it might be dangerous at the gym.

I would use the 4P's on flights (and trains and road trips if I weren't driving) and use the 4P with S adaptor at home.
 
May 19, 2002 at 5:51 AM Post #8 of 19

zend

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Quote:

Originally posted by wacomme
Thanks everyone for your input. Like Bruce said, I should order the ER4's from Headroom and try them out! Now do I order the P or S version? I keep reading that the S version has better highs, but then I read that fixup has an adapter that turns a P to an S. Does is completely, or is there a difference between the original S and a P + S adaptor? Thoughts?

What concerns me about the ER4's for portable use is the radiophonics. Since I have the ER6 I really don't know what this means, but does getting the fixup cable solve this problem. Is there any reason to NOT take the ER4's to the gym?


Fixup sells two types of cable solutions. The first type is an adapter cable, which work like an extension cord: you plug the existing ER4P into the adapter cable, and then plug the adapter into your source or amp. The second solution is actually a complete replacement for the etymotic cable. To use this product, you disconnect the ety cable from the transducers, and connect fixup's cable.

The adapter cable is intended to allow you to easily switch back and forth between 4P/4S sound. The replacement cable is more of a permanent solution, since the transducer/cable connection isn't designed for lots of disconnect/reconnect cycles.

I recently opted for the 4P's with the intent of buying an adapter cable down the road. Etymotic is rumored to be on the verge of releasing an adapter cable of their own, so if you go this route, you may want to hold off on buying fixup's cable.

Cable microphonics are fairly significant with the 4P, and I don't use it for exercising.
 
May 19, 2002 at 1:16 PM Post #9 of 19

wacomme

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It sounds like my best solution is to keep the ER6 for exercising and get the ER4P (with an S adapter) for home use.

Does the fixup replacement cable eliminate radiophonics from the ER4's?

And why do the ER4's have radiophonics, but the ER6 does not?
 
May 19, 2002 at 3:19 PM Post #10 of 19

zend

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Quote:

Originally posted by wacomme
It sounds like my best solution is to keep the ER6 for exercising and get the ER4P (with an S adapter) for home use.

Does the fixup replacement cable eliminate radiophonics from the ER4's?

And why do the ER4's have radiophonics, but the ER6 does not?


Fixup's replacement cable supposedly has reduced microphonics relative to the etymotic cable. I've never tried his cable (or any adapter/replacement cables).

Just to make sure you understand this, though: to get reduced microphonics, you'd have to buy either ER4P's or 4S's (it doesn't matter which), and then buy fixup's replacement cable (not the adapter). You'd have to detach the transducers from the cable, and install his replacement. You will end up with a voided warrantee, and phones that are the equivalent of 4P's, but you will not have the flexibility of switching your 4's between 4S and 4P. If you want to get your phones to behave like 4S's again, you'd have to buy an adapter cable, or revert back to the original cable, which isn't recommended.

The cost of fixup's replacement cable is: $45. The cost of his high-end adapter is: $29.99. You'd add about $75 to the already expensive ($270 at headroom) ER4's.

Personally, I'd recommend the following: pick up a pair of ER4's and an adapter cable. I'd wait a bit on the adapter cable, since etymotic's cable may be preferable to fixup's. Return the ER6's.

See if you can get the ER4's to work for exercising. Maybe the microphonics won't bother you. If they do, consider getting a pair of less-expensive workout phones. I have a pair of Koss KSC-35's which I find more appropriate for working out than the ER4's. There's a guy selling them on Headwize for $20. If he still has any available, it's a great deal.

http://headwize.powerpill.org/ubb/sh...101255&fpage=1

Fixup's page on his ER4 cables, in case you haven't seen it yet, is at:
http://www.fixup.net/tips/ety/ety.htm

Hope that helps...
 
May 19, 2002 at 5:15 PM Post #12 of 19

mulciber

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For anyone's information: there is a guy who runs constant, ongoing sales of both Etymotic ER-4P's and 4S's on Ebay. Just go to Ebay and search "Etymotic".

They are always 239.95 (opening bid, and you can always get them for this, I see) and he always sells three pairs at a time. Once those three are sold he pops up with three more. He sells the 4S's and 4P's under two different names. One is "azvaquero" and the other is "as9342".

I get the impression that he is a retailer who buys large quantities of Etymotics for some sort of volume discount, but can' possibly sell enough of them in his store. In any case he seems to be on the level, afaik.

DGI

 
May 19, 2002 at 7:22 PM Post #13 of 19

Gluegun

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Zend, actually, you'll end up with a 50 ohm ER4, which is, supposedly, a compromise between the ER4P and ER4S, and which sounds better than both, especially with sources like the CT470 or CT570.
 
May 19, 2002 at 10:23 PM Post #14 of 19

zend

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Quote:

Originally posted by Gluegun
Zend, actually, you'll end up with a 50 ohm ER4, which is, supposedly, a compromise between the ER4P and ER4S, and which sounds better than both, especially with sources like the CT470 or CT570.


According to fixup's site, the replacement cable is 20 ohms, which is equivalent to the 4P (once you factor in the resistance of the cable). He'll make a 50 ohm or 100 ohm version upon request so I think we're both right
smily_headphones1.gif


The link below is a reference to an interesting thread on cable mods to the ER4's. Contributors include Don Wilson of etymotic, fixup, and Daniel Pumphrey, who also makes and sells (at least used to make and sell) adapter cables. Dan's comments suggest that using 50 ohms can actually result in serious audio distortion:

http://head-fi.com/forums/showthread...0&pagenumber=1
 
May 19, 2002 at 11:19 PM Post #15 of 19

Gluegun

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What thread should I believe?

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showth...&threadid=1239

"Hi All!
In a post Some time ago at Headwise I talked about "My" discovery of a new 50 ohm ER4 headphone. After conversations with Don Wilson, the inventor of the ER4 phones it was revealed that this actually had been one of his suggestions when development of the ER4-P was underway. It was decided at Etymotic to develop the P version instead and there are many reasons for this decision. In my own research after this stage I found that the 50 ohm version had serious problems or side effects which can cause transducer distortion when being driven by a dedicated headphone amp. This distortion is driver induced and only seems to show up during extreme transients usually encountered in orchestral music. Tests confirmed driver distortion occurring when powered by even a 40mw source. A standard headphone amp like the cmoy. Amps like those made by Headroom and others can have much more power and can cause this problem to escalate. "

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showth...&threadid=6372

"Performance-

Microphonic noise is just annhilated with Fixup's cord...I was quite thrilled. Even without a shirt clip or any draping over the ears, the cable simply has much less microphonic noise to the 4S cable did. Tapping the cord below the Y junction had very little effect. I was testing without music as well. I even stuck my face in front of a fan to test wind noise, and at the highest setting, I could easily tell wind noise was also greatly reduced. I could jump up and down on my tip toes and slight occlusion noise aside, there was just no shirt cord scraping noise that was highly noticable even without music playing. ER4S stock cable had loud microphonic noise without music playing, and somewhat noticable microphonic noise with music. Fixup's cable in comparison had slightly noticable noise without music playing, but was extremely unobtrusive with music playing.

As far as sound, I found the 50 ohm setting an absolutely perfect mating with my Panasonic portable of 9mw. I am sure that it might be lacking for 3mw portables, but I wouldn't likely buy those anyways. As far as sound quality, I was very impressed as the 50 ohm setting was a somewhat subtle difference from 4S to me. The amount of increased dynamics with the 50 ohm setting compared to 4S was very large, and I would be harder pressed to convince myself to need an amp for traveling and convenience.

Given the difficulty to swap cables and give definitive comparisons, I can only say that the microphonic noise difference was a huge difference, and that I didn't consider the newer cable + adapter to degrade sound over the original cable which in itself probably didn't have as good resistors. Right now I believe however that the 50 ohm + 4S adapter is at least as good sounding as my older stock 4S cable.

Conclusion-

You lose some fit and finish as the cable no longer looks as fancy, but seeing as microphonics are just on a much lower level and the stiffer stock fancy cabling really doesn't work well as well for portable cording anyways, I really don't care. You risk looking slightly weirder especially if the earpieces are pastel colors...but most Etymaniacs already look weird with Ety's. I happened to mark over the earpiece connectors with a black sharpie for a lower profile as pastel colors didn't do it for me.

I can't guarantee an absolute ease of installation(installation is easy and simple, but removal of original cords may or may not be). But if microphonics are getting on your nerves, I think Fixup's cable definitely does the job and is worth a try especially considering the price. Also there is quite a price gap as well as more customizability issues with Fixup's cord swaps as opposed to factory replacement. If Fixup gets around to making them look even nicer I would be pretty hard pressed to find a reason not to use em."
 

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