ety-ER6's lack bass response
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rstran

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I received my ety-er6's two weeks ago and have about 30 hours of listeneing time on them. It seems that I need to turn te basss up all the time. I do not reacll anyone mentioning stuff like this in the forums in the past. I have no problem seating them in the ear. I have used both the foam and rubber ends, with out a difference in sound quality. Anyone have a comment about this? I am kind of disapointed with their performance. I have previously used the sony ex70lp earphone. The bass was BIG, but the sound was not great. The rest of the sound is much better with the ety's.
 
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erikiksaz

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I'm thinking two things:

1) you were conditioned by those sony's to make you think that BIG bass is GOOD bass. I don't have the er6, but from what i can tell about the er4s, the etys do not provide BIG bass, their bass can be more described as refined and articulated. In other words, none of that boomy crap


2) your seal. This might be influenced by #1, since it doesn't sound like you have good bass because you've grown too accustomed to the "bass" of the ex70. But, otherwise, maybe your seal still isn't airtight.
 
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pedxing

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I have ety er-6. I have to agree at some level that they do lack bass response that most typical headphones have.

It also took me like 100 hours of listening to classical music before the bass opened up a little more.

The way I see it is that the bass is very different because you don't feel it (you probably read this a million times already). Depending on the type of music you listen to, you might be use to experiencing visceral bass. In my experience, I can hear all the bass in the ER-6 played on my stereo system. It took me a long time to disassociate the audible and feeling part of bass.

Obviously, certain types of music wouldn't go with ther Ety's if the music is all about feeling low vibrations.

If this lack of bass continues to annoy you, you might want to try the ER-4P. Many people who didn't like the ER-6's bass response liked the ER-4P's bass response.
 
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Gluegun

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From what I have heard about with the Ety's, you need to sort of train your brain a bit from the boom/physical definition of 'bass'... like, you need to LISTEN for bass as part of the music, not as it's own seperate entity that you feel and that booms. Also, i've also heard that there are a gazillion different strategies to put the ety's in your ears, and until you get the right one, the bass won't really 'click'. I don't have etymotic headphones, but I *do* have the ex70lp's, and for my difficult ears, getting a good seal is extremely difficult.... but once you get the perfect seal, it's worth it, cause the bass is sooo much better.
 
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scrypt

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Beware when people tell you to retrain your mind if intuition tells you something's wrong with what you're hearing. (Nothing against Gluegun or anyone else here -- it's not them I'm talking about, it's you as an individual.) Yes, it's good to give someone's theory a chance. But not at the expense of your better judgment.

Not only are ER-6s lacking in bass, but in my view, the extra high end coupled with less bass makes them unsafe for prolonged listening in transit in an urban situation. The lack of bass makes you turn up the volume, which is drowned out by loud sounds (such as subway train movement), which makes you turn up the volume again without realizing how loud the sound really is. Couple this with an excessive number of listening hours every day and you have the recipe for tinnitus if you're not careful. I say, listen at the office and at home but not while riding a bus or subway. Otherwise, your ears are going to ring.

(Few at Head-fi agree with this theory -- I'm reiterating that to give you proper balance on the subject. And many people, such as Joe Longwood, who also reports getting a great seal with ER-6s -- do seem to hear enough bass from the ER-6. But some do not -- whether or not they are made to feel comfortable stating that here.)

Are ER-6s still useful? They are, I think, in specific ways. For one thing, their design is less awkward and more portable-friendly than that of the superior-sounding ER-4s. For another, they're quite light and durable when compared to Sony earbud fare such as the 888, which aren't that much cheaper than the ER-6. And they do have the advantage of offering exquisite clarity.

But I'm still selling mine. I thought a lot about keeping them, honestly. But I'm selling them just the same.
 
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Jeff Guidry

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I tend to agree with scrypt. Much is made of the ER-X series as 'commuter friendly', but my experience using them on an airplane clearly revealed the limitations of the ER-6 I was using. Though audible frequencies are indeed attenuated, you cannot get rid of the low frequency rumble of an airplane that physically affects you, nor can you avoid the rumble of a bus, subway train, etc. The details that you can expect using the Etymotics at home is lost, and you must turn them up to regain that detail, beginning the process of tinnitus. For much the same reason that car audio cannot truly be considered audiophile because of ever present road noise killing detail, I don't think commuters can experience audiophile detail on the go either.


But back to the question of bass. Scrypt's theory flies in the face of actual testing...the Etymotics clearly are reproducing bass notes with the same relative amplitude as the rest of virtually all the audible frequency spectrum up to the notch at 6k-10k.



When people say that the ER-X series lack bass, they mean that you don't physically feel the mid-bass boom that many full sized headphones reproduce.

When listening to the first track on Lull's 'Cold Summer' CD, there is a continuously repeated low bass pulse. On traditional headphones, I could hear it and feel it, though the pulse was warm and lacked detail. On the Etymotic ER-6, I could clearly hear all of the low bass and much detail in the pulse that I could not hear with traditional headphones, though the low bass pulse was not felt, because the transducers of the Etymotic series are A: not very large, and cannot move large amounts of air necessary to reproduce the physical sensation of bass and B: do not exaggerate the mid-bass, which is where many headphones tune a hump so you can 'feel' rather than just hear the bass.

If you believe the ER series has no bass, fine. Return the headphones and find something more to your liking. I am not trying to convince anyone to keep a headphone they are not happy with. If your definition of 'bass response' is physically felt bass, then I would agree that the Etymotics lack bass response. But if by 'bass response' you mean what frequencies the Etymotics reproduce and at what relative amplitude, then the Etymotics clearly reproduce all bass frequencies nearly evenly.

I think that we continuously have this debate and continuously have arguments over this subject (and others) because we are not properly defining the terms we are using. I hope that we can come up with a lexicon that more clearly expresses some of the most commonly discussed subjects here so that old-timers can speak to newbies in more productive ways.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by pedxing
I have ety er-6. I have to agree at some level that they do lack bass response that most typical headphones have.

It also took me like 100 hours of listening to classical music before the bass opened up a little more.

The way I see it is that the bass is very different because you don't feel it (you probably read this a million times already). Depending on the type of music you listen to, you might be use to experiencing visceral bass. In my experience, I can hear all the bass in the ER-6 played on my stereo system. It took me a long time to disassociate the audible and feeling part of bass.

Obviously, certain types of music wouldn't go with ther Ety's if the music is all about feeling low vibrations.

If this lack of bass continues to annoy you, you might want to try the ER-4P. Many people who didn't like the ER-6's bass response liked the ER-4P's bass response.



he had EX70s, he is already used to the not felt bass...
i too also feel that the er6 bass is a bit recessed and not that great... but I do think that it goes pretty deep, to my recolectionn. although not very tight. the er4 is much better on the bass notes. and the coupled tinny sounding high end makes them sound like they have even less bass. i just use the EQ on my rio to make things sound a bit better, but I am considering just getting another pair of EX70s and saving for some er4p instead of getting the er6. the er4 seemed to have much much miuch better bass to my recolection. you might want to give the er4 a try. or the Sony V6, which has very tight and deep bass. also if you need isolation, the sennheiser hd280pro.
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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Quote:

Originally posted by scrypt
Beware when people tell you to retrain your mind if intuition tells you something's wrong with what you're hearing. (Nothing against Gluegun or anyone else here -- it's not them I'm talking about, it's you as an individual.) Yes, it's good to give someone's theory a chance. But not at the expense of your better judgment.

Not only are ER-6s lacking in bass, but in my view, the extra high end coupled with less bass makes them unsafe for prolonged listening in transit in an urban situation. The lack of bass makes you turn up the volume, which is drowned out by loud sounds (such as subway train movement), which makes you turn up the volume again without realizing how loud the sound really is. Couple this with an excessive number of listening hours every day and you have the recipe for tinnitus if you're not careful. I say, listen at the office and at home but not while riding a bus or subway. Otherwise, your ears are going to ring.

(Few at Head-fi agree with this theory -- I'm reiterating that to give you proper balance on the subject. And many people, such as Joe Longwood, who also reports getting a great seal with ER-6s -- do seem to hear enough bass from the ER-6. But some do not -- whether or not they are made to feel comfortable stating that here.)

Are ER-6s still useful? They are, I think, in specific ways. For one thing, their design is less awkward and more portable-friendly than that of the superior-sounding ER-4s. For another, they're quite light and durable when compared to Sony earbud fare such as the 888, which aren't that much cheaper than the ER-6. And they do have the advantage of offering exquisite clarity.

But I'm still selling mine. I thought a lot about keeping them, honestly. But I'm selling them just the same.




hey i might be able to buy your er6 if your are going to sell them soon....
 
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Tim D

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About tinnitus and turning up Ety's. It is pretty simple to know if they are working or not in their job of isolating and wheter you are listening too loud. Just unplug them and if a roar of environmental noise floods in, then hooray everything is probably good and you can or know how to get a good seal.

Unless you can't get a good seal or maybe the ER6's are just that much worse in isolation, I don't particularly see how boosting volume does anything particularly about bass. Masking of frequencies is by proximity...in order to mask low frequency noise, it would require similar low frequency reproduction in the recording. Turning up the volume on your music typically will do little to mask/drown out low frequency noise and it would be foolhardy to do so. You'd just get louder music + same low frequency droning. Maybe a magnetically suspended chair would solve the low frequency issues. Sure low frequency droning noises doesn't make for the ideal listening situation...but it is far more ideal to listen with Ety's on a plane than without. I've traveled with ER4's and they exceeded my expectations. The low frequency droning was not an issue...but I'm sure that could vary on seat position or plane.

Also in regards to tinnitus...some people are just prone to listening too loud period...they could probably make themselves deaf in a quiet room with SennHD600 or Ety's as far as I'm concerned. Ety's isolate and have great detail retrieval making them one of the least tinnitus risk phones out there. Also if you aren't one to appreciate Ety's at low to moderate volumes, there typically isn't much extra that I'd think Ety's would deliver at higher volumes.

True you really have no idea how loud you are listening to them...but that is just the thing...it is because they isolate well that you don't have much indication of how loud you are listening UNTIL you take them off. I personally can take them off after a long listening period and instantly think that my computer fan sounds like a jet engine. Likewise it wouldn't be good to take them off and just hear ringing. I would think most people who can get a good seal with Ety's would be in the first camp...while others either don't get a seal, or just like to listen at such high volumes they would probably be just as happy with a Sony VXXX (eventually).

Anyways bottom line is Ety's are earplugs that deliver music. If you do need to turn up the volume over the ambient noise after attenuation to a level that exceeds the ambient noise level before attenuation...than the isolation is suspect, and the seal is also suspect.
 
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MacDEF

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The ER-6 are, empirically, not lacking in bass. The bass is there, it's audible, and it's pretty well balanced with the rest of the frequency spectrum. The problem with hearing it is two-fold:

1) As others have mentioned, Etys do not produce visceral bass. While some may belittle the theory that you need to "retrain" your hearing, the fact is that this is exactly what you need to do. There are two types of bass: audible and visceral. Most headphones have visceral bass -- some even try to fool you into thinking you have audible bass by increasing the visceral impact. Etys have basically NO visceral bass -- but the *actual* audible bass they have is as good or better than any other headphone on the market. The ER-4 series seem to have better bass response than the ER-6, and while that's true to some extent, a major difference between the perceived bass response on the ER-4 and the ER-6 has to do with isolation (see #2).

2) The ER-6, while having a pretty flat response, do not have a flat noise-reduction curve. If you download Etymotic's measured noise reduction, you'll see that at 10kHz they reduce sound at a -10dB level, increasing to -30dB at around 1200Hz, then gradually decreasing again to -18dB at 1000Hz, to -10dB at 200Hz, until at 40Hz they barely reduce external noise at all. Consider that you're listening to Etys in a noisy environment. Noise in the midrange is going to be blocked extremely effectively, treble noise is going to be blocked pretty well, but noise in the lower bass region is going to be blocked very poorly. The effective volume of these parts of the audible frequency spectrum is going to be inversely proportional to the noise reduction ability. In other words, since midrange noise is blocked out very well, midrange audio is going to be clear and undiluted. Since treble noise is going to be blocked out well, treble will be fairly clear -- the fact that the ER-6's main variation from flat occurs in a slight bump in the highs means that treble is fairly balanced (a slight bump in production coupled with a slight dip in external noise reduction leads to a fairly flat response compared to the mids). But at the low end, you've got bass reproduced at a level flat with the rest of the spectrum, but noise reduction that is MUCH worse than the rest. The net effect is that in noisy environments, much of the actual bass response of the ER-6 is going to be drowned out by external noise. Basically, this is all a long-winded way to explain that the ER-6s "bass roll-off" is actually a low frequency noise attenuation roll-off -- they headphones themselves are pretty darned flat. This is immediately clear when you compare the sound of the ER-6 in a noisy environment with the same ER-6 in a very quiet environment -- presto, there's the bass


I mentioned in #1 that the differences in bass response of the ER-4 series are partially explained by isolation differences. The ER-4 series have a much flatter noise reduction/isolation curve, so for all the reasons outlined in #2, their effective bass response sounds much better.
 
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scrypt

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Quote:

Originally posted by Tim D
About tinnitus and turning up Ety's. It is pretty simple to know if they are working or not in their job of isolating and wheter you are listening too loud. Just unplug them and if a roar of environmental noise floods in, then hooray everything is probably good and you can or know how to get a good seal.

Also in regards to tinnitus...some people are just prone to listening too loud period...they could probably make themselves deaf in a quiet room with SennHD600 or Ety's as far as I'm concerned. Ety's isolate and have great detail retrieval making them one of the least tinnitus risk phones out there. Also if you aren't one to appreciate Ety's at low to moderate volumes, there typically isn't much extra that I'd think Ety's would deliver at higher volumes.


First, as an owner of both Ety earphones, I never lumped the ER-4's sound in with that of the ER-6. In fact, I avoided doing so carefully.

Second, you're missing my main point, which has nothing to do with my assessment of how the ER-6 sounds:

Good hearing is priceless; ultimately it is more important than any set of audiophile headphones. I question whether *any* headphones should be used in transit in an urban setting, because hearing loss is likely to be the result. It isn't that the balance between high and low elements improves when the volume is raised in a setting in which there's a body-shaking rumble (that of a bus, train or airplane, for example). It's that all elements become more audible when the volume is increased. It isn't that the sound improves. It's that the lower range begins to drown out external sounds with which it is in conflict.

In the case of headphones that reveal more highs and are lacking in what, traditionally, headphone listeners consider to be bass, I am twice as concerned about the hearing of people who listen in transit. Listening is to some extent grounded on lower frequencies, which in my opinion is a psycho-acoustic phenomenon based on the overtone series, in which a series of partials occur over the fundamental tone (which is lowest, of course). I'd wager that bass-heads are scanning for the fundamental in literal acoustic terms. They're not fools, they're just people who want psycho-acoustic cues. Does that make them audiophiles? Of course not. But it does make them people who need to be especially aware of a low frequency-canceling phenomenon in certain settings -- one that can make ER-6s especially risky, given problems with getting a correct seal and so forth.

Another factor that I worry about is the proximity of the ER series to the eardrum in a situation in which they're turned up too loud. Don't shout me down, because I'm not bullying anyone here. I'm only asking the question because it has to do with hearing loss and is therefore worth considering. Undamaged ears are the best stereo equipment any of us will ever own.

Styles of music can be an issue as well. Music I never listen to with the volume set too high: old skool jungle, Squarepusher, IDM, clicks and cuts stuff, middle period Autechre, Xenakis or Stockahusen's Gesang der Junglinge. IMO, inhumanly piercing highs should be listened to at a lower volume.

I agree with Jeff's explanation of tinitus, isolating headphones and dangerous listening conditions; in my view, he articulated the case far better than I. But about that graph: since I don't experience any lack of bass with the ER-4, the ER-4 graph has no relevance to what I've said about the ER-6. This thread addresses issues with the ER-6. I imagine it would be a simple matter to pick up a graph of the ER-6's freq. response from the Etymotic website, so this should be an easy matter to address.

However:

No matter how much table-banging might occur with regard to the bass response of the ER-6, a graph doesn't address the experience of the individual, which can also involve the other factors, such as shape of the ear, the fit and the "correct seal" (which many here refer to as an holy grail but which even Don of Etymotics is unable to achieve with ER-6 silicone tips). Even taste can factor into the hearing risk. Just as people with indulgent eating habits can increase their risk of heart failure, so a headphones person with an appetite for low frequencies runs the risk of damage in a noisy environment.

When it comes to taste and listening habits, individuals are exactly the people who must be addressed. And if someone isn't hearing the bass, I'm sorry, I don't think anyone here has the right to say "You're insane, musically illiterate, have no taste, haven't been indoctrinated into the mysteries of the ER-6, etc." That's another case of ad hominem and stir.

There are a number of people on Head-fi who seem not to get a good listening experience from the ER-6 (not the ER-4). They don't post as often or as loudly because many Head-fi denizens are not tolerant of that view. This is why the problem should be acknowledged with a degree of tolerance and understanding. In the first place, it's their money, not yours; it's also the money of people who might share their taste. In the second place, no graph or consensus can restore someone else's hearing. Does anyone here really want to take responsibility for someone else's loss?
 
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MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by scrypt
Good hearing is priceless; ultimately it is more important than any set of audiophile headphones. I question whether *any* headphones should be used in transit in an urban setting, because hearing loss is likely to be the result.


That's a very good point, scrypt. The ER-4P is the only headphone I'll wear in such a situation, simply because it has the isolation (across the spectrum) to allow me to listen without turning the volume up to damaging levels.

Quote:

But it does make them people who need to be especially aware of a low frequency-canceling phenomenon in certain settings -- one that can make ER-6s especially risky, given problems with getting a correct seal and so forth.


Exactly. When I posted the above about the real reason there is a perceived lack of bass in the ER-6 -- especially in very noisy environments -- I didn't mean to imply that your statements about the dangers of them were incorrect. In fact, it probably makes them that much more correct: because of the way the ER-6 disproportionately reduces external noise in the mids and highs compared to the lows, someone looking for "good" bass in a noisy environment is likely to turn up the volume to levels that are damaging, especially considering that the mids and highs are louder relative to the bass in such environments.


Quote:

But about that graph: since I don't experience any lack of bass with the ER-4, the ER-4 graph has no relevance to what I've said about the ER-6. This thread addresses issues with the ER-6. I imagine it would be a simple matter to pick up a graph of the ER-6's freq. response from the Etymotic website, so this should be an easy matter to address.


As an aside, the ER-6 have pretty flat bass response, as well.


Quote:

When it comes to taste and listening habits, individuals are exactly the people who must be addressed. And if someone isn't hearing the bass, I'm sorry, I don't think anyone here has the right to say "You're insane, musically illiterate, have no taste, haven't been indoctrinated into the mysteries of the ER-6, etc." That's another case of ad hominem and stir.


Just a slight exaggeration, I think
The truth is that if someone isn't hearing "bass" with the ER-6, it can be attributed to one of the following reasons:

1) As you mentioned, not getting a good seal.
2) Listening in a noisy environment (explained in my post above).
3) Not being used to a lack of visceral bass.
4) Personal tastes that make them want extra bass.

Notice that "the ER-6 don't have good bass" is not a reason
-- that's because they *do* produce good bass, and their bass response is pretty close to flat.

So... when someone says "the ER-6 don't have any bass," that's empirically incorrect. I agree that sometimes people are a bit overzealous in calling the person crazy
but the other extreme (just saying "yep, you're right") is just as bad. Rather, we can help the person figure out which of the "causes" is the reason they're not satisfied with the bass on the ER-6.

If it's #1, we can point out that they need to work on getting a better seal. If it's #2, the ER-6 may simply not be the best headphone for them -- then again, as you mentioned above, maybe NO headphones are right for them. If it's #3, we can (rightly) point out that they need to give themselves some time to get used to audible bass without visceral bass. #4 speaks for itself.

Quote:

There are a number of people on Head-fi who seem not to get a good listening experience from the ER-6 (not the ER-4). They don't post as often or as loudly because many Head-fi denizens are not tolerant of that view.


Even if a few people on Head-Fi are "not tolerant" of the view that the ER-6 don't have good bass, or don't sound good, etc., I think there's good reason, and that's that those positions aren't true. As I explained above, much of the reason for not getting good sound out of the ER-6 is that they are simply more difficult to use than tradition headphones. Getting a seal isn't easy for everyone. Because of their odd noise reduction curve, they don't always sound good in noisy environments. They don't have visceral bass, which is a new experience for most people. Do *any* of these issues mean they don't sound good? No, but they do mean that some people aren't going to have good experiences. And they also mean that the explanation for not enjoying the ER-6 is rarely as simple as "they don't sound good" or "they don't have bass."

Quote:

This is why the problem should be acknowledged with a degree of tolerance and understanding.


I agree, which is why I'd rather see people discussing the possible reasons for not realizing the potential of the ER-6, and solutions, rather than calling people crazy. But I think the former happens much more frequently than the latter.
 
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Jeff Guidry

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Quote:

Originally posted by scrypt

But about that graph: since I don't experience any lack of bass with the ER-4, the ER-4 graph has no relevance to what I've said about the ER-6. This thread addresses issues with the ER-6. I imagine it would be a simple matter to pick up a graph of the ER-6's freq. response from the Etymotic website, so this should be an easy matter to address.


]


My apologies. I did not dig as deeply as I should have.

Quote:

Just as people with indulgent eating habits can increase their risk of heart failure, so a headphones person with an appetite for low frequencies runs the risk of damage in a noisy environment.


Just as people with overly indulgent rhetorical habits risk grandiloquence and resultant marginilization. You dissuade rather than persuade...

Quote:

There are a number of people on Head-fi who seem not to get a good listening experience from the ER-6 (not the ER-4). They don't post as often or as loudly because many Head-fi denizens are not tolerant of that view....


Would you mind terribly posting a link to the crystal ball that gave you that information?

Quote:

Does anyone here really want to take responsibility for someone else's loss?


I would enjoy reading the brief of a civil lawyer attempting to sue Head-Fi for the hearing loss of his client...though Jude might disagree...
 
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Ken

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because I have the sony md mini disc player with 7 settings of bass which i put thru a hansen amp. I find the available bass amazingin my ER4S , one day turned up the bass to full then increased the volume.
The bass from the unit was amazing and it could have gone louder but I did not.
I find the bass response like the unit is perfect. I suppose there is some "if its small it probably cant do the bass bit as well"
I think ety's were made with nothing missing.
They are just great. I am a bass lover from way back,
but these days while i love great punchy bass I hate bad boomy over the top bass.
In your case I tend to think you may not have wet and inserted correctly. Im talking about your ety's
 
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scrypt

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Quote:

Originally posted by Jeff Guidry

Just as people with overly indulgent rhetorical habits risk grandiloquence and resultant marginilization. You dissuade rather than persuade...


My last published tome o' prose won an award and was nominated for two others, which means that some people like my style. There are also readers who hate my style for being ornate and have said so in print. If you fall into the style-hating camp, sobeit. Not my problem.

Also: To use *rhetoric* in the pejorative sense is incorrect. It's like using *profound* to refer to something empty. And the phrase "overly indulgent rhetorical habits" is so problematic that you should be focusing on your own style before criticizing anyone else's.

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Would you mind terribly posting a link to the crystal ball that gave you that information?[/B]



The key phrase is *don't post that often* -- meaning they've posted before, meaning anyone who searches can find those posts.

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I would enjoy reading the brief of a civil lawyer attempting to sue Head-Fi for the hearing loss of his client...though Jude might disagree... [/B]



If my point had been pro-litigious, Jude might have wanted to consider hiring his very own dream team. But since I was addressing the conscience and not the wallet, he can dismiss my post easily enough.

One thing I do have to ask -- why does every thread started by someone who regrets their purchase of the ER6 turn into a defense of the ER6 itself replete with graphs? If someone doesn't like the sound and is looking for corroboration, why not let it go?
 
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