Etymotic Dilemma
May 9, 2002 at 6:51 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

Aristillus

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Last week I ordered the Etymotic ER6 phones. I was thrilled with them...such amazing sound from such a tiny thing! Once I got over sticking "beans" in my ears, I was hooked. I really like the isolation they provide, although I can see where that could be a problem in some situations because you really can't hear very well with them in your ears even if you turn off the music to talk with someone. (Prior to my Etys, I was using a set of Sony E888's, which aren't bad but are uncomfortable in my ears and only sound *good* if I push in on them with my fingers.)

Anyway, after reading so many glowing descriptions of the ER4's, I was intrigued and wondered just how much better could they possibly be? Better enough to justify that much more $$$? Knowing the generous return policy at HeadRoom, I ordered a pair...hoping I wouldn't like them better...at least not better enough to keep them. My ER4P's came today.

Arrrrrrrgh!!! They really *do* sound better! A *lot* better!!! I'm listening right now to Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 for Organ...ahhhhh the richness...heaven! It's not that there is more detail with the ER4, compared to the ER6...it's just, for lack of a better word, richer and somehow larger.

On the downside, I don't like the way the ER4's fit in my ears as well...they are longer and more narrow. Foam is better, for me, because the weight of the heavier cord pulls enough to break the seal of the silicone tips...even with the shirt clip. But inserting the foam tips is a bit time consuming...can't just pop them in and out so easily. I find I have to roll them squished to insert and then hold them in place for a few seconds while they re-expand.

So...for me, the ER4 is perfect for relaxing at home when I have time to kick back and "get into" the music but the ER6 is better to grab and go with when I'm traveling/walking/listening to MP3's. What a predicament! I think I'm going to have to keep them both, assuming I can figure out which bank I'm gonna rob. Whaaaaaa!!!

One word about cord microphonics: I don't see any real difference between the two and I think it has to do more with being so close to your eardrum rather than the construction of the cord...it's even more noticable with the sound turned off. I find it easy, and helpful, with the lighter cord of the ER6, to just flip them over my ears...which stabilizes them enough to prevent most vibration traveling into my ears and I think they would be fine like that for all but the most vigorous activity...it really isn't that noticeable if the music is on the loud side. The ER4 cord is too thick and stiff for that and the shirt clip is much more necessary...both to diminish cord microphonice and to prevent them pulling out of your ears.

So...there's my two cents...or should I say my $400? LOL! I guess I should bla...er, thank you guys...the pleasure, and the expense, is all because of what I've read here.
 
May 9, 2002 at 6:59 PM Post #2 of 8

RickG

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The Ety's are fantastic phones, Aristillus. Congratulations on your aquisition!

Enjoy.....



smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 9, 2002 at 7:06 PM Post #3 of 8

Wes

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That's just fine, Arstillus. And it puts you far ahead of me, but I'm a stationary listener and the S's are quite enough, thank you. However, you--well, you better get the P-to-S conversion cable from fixup, hadn't you, so that you don't miss out on the 'less exaggerated' bass and 'more detailed' treble.

In any event, congratulations on your discovery of the Ety sound and your easy adjustment to the fit and bass presence issues. I envy you that first-contact excitement. On the other hand, it doesn't die away so quickly. I've still got some traces.

Have fun!
 
May 9, 2002 at 9:24 PM Post #4 of 8

RobertR

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I had the same problem with the er4 cord. It helps to keep the cord positioned under your chin by ( taping?or keeping the right & left cords together) I use a little rubber grommet which can be slid up and down. See my thread "taming the stiff er cord".
Anyway happy listening.
 
May 9, 2002 at 10:07 PM Post #5 of 8

davo

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Just as Aristillus discovered, the Er6 and the Er 4P both have their place. My 4P has amazing detail, especially amped and with the $S adaptor. However, with the stiffer cord and greater microphonics (which btw, aren't really that bad), I choose to use the 6's on the go, as for walks, jogging and at the gym.

I have no problem with insertion and seal of the 4P's but have abit of a problem getting a good seal with the 6's. I feel I have to continually push them further into my ears and they actually won't go any further. Bass seems more distant, although I get good midrange and decent treble.

Stil, they both serve their respective purpose. I was going to keep one and sell the other (whichever I cared less for, but what the hell....let's just keep them both.
 
May 9, 2002 at 10:57 PM Post #6 of 8

JaZZ

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After a long while in which I have laid my ER 4S beside, now I'm an Etymotic enthusiast again.

I have found out that the length of the foam tips and the plastic tubes in it plays a role for the sound quality. The best sound is given when the driver is no more hidden in the foam tip, that means the foam tip is shortened accordingly. My newest trick: yellow noise protection foam tips cut in two halfs and pricked by an awl – they hold pretty well on the ER-4 without the plastic tubes.

Concerning the cable microphony: I have ordered a replacement cord at fixup and I'm hoping it be less stiff than the original one.

By the way, Wes, it will be equipped by some 50 ohms resistors instead of the 100 of the ER-4S and the 20 of the ER-4P. What influence on the sound can I expect from that? The intention was to enable the ER 4 to operate with an Archos MP3 Jukebox at reasonable levels.


JaZZ
 
May 10, 2002 at 10:48 AM Post #7 of 8

Wes

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JaZZ, I'm not a good one to answer your question because I own only the ER4s's with stock cables (and am quite content with that).

I was just trying to provoke poor Aristillus into another minor purchase to complete his collection. My only authority on cable characteristics was what I had read here--hearsay, you might say.

Nevertheless, your question deserves a serious answer. As I recall, resistance in the 50 ohm range was considered by some to be potentially preferable even to the ER4s. I don't remember exactly for what changes in the sound. It seems clear that these resistances do not have a linear effect on the frequency response of the transducer, and I'm not going to make any assumptions about what you will hear from 50 ohms. In general, the resistance-driven modifications to sound are minor, and I suspect living with any of them will be pleasurable enough.

For more specific information, you could search here and at Headwize for references. It seems to me that Don Wilson had something like this in mind as a potential design under the title of ER4x. You might start with searching for that.
 
May 10, 2002 at 2:40 PM Post #8 of 8

JaZZ

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50 ohms seemed to be a good compromise: more efficiency on the MP3 Jukebox and nevertheless no bad low frequency drop-off caused by notoriously undersized coupling capacitors.

Jazz
 

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