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Ety HF5 mini comparison from a Newb.....

  1. LJH01
    Hey all,
    Pretty new to portable music but have been enjoying a bunch over the last 6 months.  When the company I work for went IPhones it all started and after listening to the stock ear buds for a few weeks I thought there has to be something better....enter Head-Fi. 
    So, in my short tenure of listening to IEM's I have tried a couple, I started out with the RE0's and then tried the DBA02's.  While I was totally impressed with the RE0's and still listen to them today they left me wanting something, then I bought my wife a pair of S4's and listened to them and knew right away that was not what I wanted.  Enter the DBA's, when I first plugged them in I was like OK but after listening to them for a couple hours and burned them in (I know this is heavily debated) for 100 hours or so, they totally changed and I was in love...they were pretty fast, accurate, and sounded full and punchy and just a slight bit warmer to me...they offered all that I loved about the RE0's but just more of almost everything.  After 6 weeks of listening bliss they crapped out and I was back to the RE0's.  Now you ask why I just did not buy another set of DBA's?,,,,I started another post on that whole fiasco for your reading enjoyment.
    So with that said I had an itch to buy another set of IEM's and one thing I have learned about Head-fi is that you could read 20 different reviews on the same product and get 20 different verdicts.  I actually think reading too many reviews is bad as you will have just finished reading a great review and then read one that pans the products....it comes to a point where you read and then just use your gut instinct from reading between the lines. 
    I had initially had a list of about 7 IEM's I was interested in and they included the following:
    Roland RH-IE3 (Not a lot of info out there on this one)
    Ortofon E-q5
    I ruled a few out based on price and lead time and decided to try the HF5's.  I received them last night and I have to say I am happy....I think.  To be honest they sound A LOT like the RE0's and they also sound A LOT like the DBA's (in my recollection).  To me the HF5's are just slightly warmer then the RE0's and on par with the with the DBA's.  The highs on the HF5's are not quite where the RE0's or DBA's are but I think I enjoy them more, I find the highs of the RE0's to be slightly fatiguing.  Where I think I like the HF5's a bit more than the RE0's is the mid and lower octives, the HF5's seem to have more punch, not quite where the DBA's are but more so then the RE0's.  With the right tips i do not feel that the RE0's are lacking bass but they seem to lack the punch...hard to explain.  Punch is where I think the DBA's excel....there were times listening to the DBA's where the punch would catch me off guard and it would actually surprise me.  Another thing I have noticed with the HF5's is the sound stage, with the RE0's I would listen to a tune and all the instruments sounded blended together to a certain extents where as with the HF5's it seems like you can pick out where in the room the instruments are, easiest way to explain this is the RE0's are like you are sitting far away from the performers whereas the HF5's feels like you are in the first row.
    In terms of fit, finish and comfort I will give the highest comfort score to the DBA and then I am not sure.  I have not played with all the tips on the HF5's but the the standard triple flanges that come installed on the HF5's hurt putting them in but once in they are very comfortable.  I have been using the Klipsh small triple flange on the RE0's and while the seal great and really add to the bass they are VERY deep in my ear....kind of a weird feeling.  Build quality/coolness factor I will give to the HF5's, I have had no issues with the build quality of the RE0's but they do not look like anything special, the DBA's are plastic and I had reliability issues with my pair.  The HF5's just look cool, I bought the Ruby and they look great and seem to be nicely built and are tiny.
    All in all if you like the RE0's but want something just slightly more emotional while retaining most of the RE0's sound quality the HF5's should be considered especially if you do not want to wait for DBA's or want to spend a little less money. 
    With that being said I am still looking for the holy grail....is it obtainable?  One of these days when I am not feeling so cheap and have time I may take the jump and try the E-q5's as they sound like they are right up my alley and they sound like they are built really well and....well.....they look cool.
  2. DCofficehack
    Thanks for your review. I recently spent a lot of time pondering HF5s versus DBA-02 and decided that, after reading too many reviews, the HF5s were great but the DBA-02s were just a bit more in every way. I decided I was willing to pay more for that, especially if buying the HF5s meant that I'd always be wondering how much more I would be enjoying the music had I gone for the Fischers.  But that really is the question, isn't it? Is the extra $70 worth it (street prices, not MSRP)? As much as you like the HF5, do you still regard it is a lesser product than the DBA-02?
  3. kmhaynes
    Thanks for the comparison of the HF5 to your DBA-02.  The DBA-02 is the one IEM I have thought of that might be a small step above the HF5 due to dual drivers.  But price and availability have held me back so far.
    For comfort with my HF5, I use the Shure black foam "Olive" tips (or you could use the Comply T100 tips).  Either will give you all the isolation that the Ety stock tips give you, but both are WAY more comfortable.  The Ety bulb-shaped gray foam tips work ok, but they quite aren't as comfortable and forgiving as the Shure or Comply foam tips.  And the Ety bulb foam tips are much more position sensitive, where as with the Shure Olives, I just shove them in and the foam conforms and sound is 100% clear always.
    One question about the DBA-02: they appear to be made for over-the-ear wear only, unless you want to swap ears with them, but that really bothers my brain!  Can you wear them cable down in the correct ears and not have them stick out of your ear the wrong way?
  4. qwertasdfg24
    it's funny, and yet eerily scary how your experience is similarly to mine. ever since the death of my ER-6i, i've been lurking in the forum looking for replacement. Many times, i almost decided to buy the DBA-02, but didn't because i want a pair with really good noise isolation that will work with Shure olive foams(i really can't live without).
    I've purchased Shure SE215 to work with the olives, unfortunately, the detachable connector was causing too much interruption of music delivery, and after 3 weeks trying to convince myself that problem might go away, i realized, who was i kidding, so i returned them. SE215 was a nice change of sound from ER-6, the bass department was so much stronger, yet, the more i listen to SE215, the more i realized i really missed Ety sound signature. 
    I just got my HF2 today, and plugged in the shure olives, ah.................heavenly. 
    I've always fancied those really high-end IEMs, the SE535, Sony 1000, E-Q5/7, FX700, however, i really don't have enough alone time to really enjoy them with 2 young toddler that i want to spend time with. Those will have wait~

  5. LJH01

    It is weird, They only hurt when I insert them but once they are in they are very comfortable, I tried some of the other tips that came with the HF5's and I went back to the small triple flanges but I think I like the sound with cylindrical foams but they do not feel secure at all.  I will play with that a bit more as I have never used foam tips before. 
    I wore the DBA's 99.9% of the time down but yes that will require you to put the left in the right ear etc, but that did not bother me.  You cannot wear them in the correct ear with them down....well maybe but that would mean you have very odd ears.....LOL

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement that the DBA's just offer more of everything.  That is exactly how I discribed them when I first compared them to the RE0's.  The HF5's offer 80% of what the DBA's offered over the RE0's.  The one thing I did not like about the DBA's were how Symbinat (SP?) they were, they got better with more use but it was still there on tracks that I had never heard it before.  On a out and out performance shoot out I would still give the DBA's the nod, but when other variable come into play the margin gets much narrower.  My DBA's lasted 6 weeks of VERY gentle use and now I have been, mostly, left out to dry on them, I am not happy with FA or FA's North American distributor on the customer service side...again I do not want to get into this but a little searching will find all the info.  The Ety's on the other hand are from a US company and offer a 2 year warranty and supposedly very easy to deal with if there is an issue.  On a price VS. performance view I would give the thumbs up to the HF5's, the DBA's are not 82% better to my ears but I do think they are 15% better than the RE0's....at $99 shipped I think the HF5's are a deal and a half but we all know that audio equipment closely follows the law of diminishing returns.  By no means did you go wrong with the DBA's, I loved mine and wish they lasted longer as I hope yours do but the HF5's are a viable alternative to my ears.
    On a side note I am working from home today and have been listening to them since 0830 and I just put the RE0's in to see if I am talking out of my butt.....Nope, these things are just more enjoyable....not sure if they are as analitical as the RE0's but these make me play the air drums more often than the RE0's.
  6. DCofficehack
    I'm giving the DBA-02s heavy use: almost all day, every day, for as long as I'm am at my computer, which is nearly all the time.  It will be interesting to see how the hold up. If they crumble fast, you can be sure I'll go straight for the Etys.
    I started with the smaller of the stock tips, by the way, and am now using Ety-3 flange tips. They sound better, but I find them a touch less comfortable. I'm tempted to try the smaller Ety 3-flange tips, or some of the foam tips people on this site talk about a lot. 
  7. Tefloon
    It looks as if I managed to stumble onto the right IEMs -- waiting on a pair of HF5s as we speak. How's the build quality on them vs the Fischers? Much better, I'd assume?
  8. LJH01
    From the outside there is nothing wrong with the DBA's but I am not the only one who has had a channel go bad on them...and in pretty short order.
    The HF5's and nicely done and all metal on the outside and the cable is nicely done, though I have found is quite microphonic.  I think they just look cool and it amazes me how something so small can sound so big.  As I mentioned after dealing with FA's NA dealer I am comforted by knowing that I should be able to get in touch with both the retailer and the manufacture of the HF5's.
    I hope you enjoy them and keep us posted after you have had a chance to listen to them.

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