Etymotic ER-4P or Shure E4C
Oct 4, 2009 at 5:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Cleid

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I have been tearing my hair out over the past few days while scouring the depths of the World Wide Web looking for suitable IEMs. At the moment there are two models that I am strongly considering: The ER-4P and the E4C. Both are close to my US$180 budget.

However, as I cannot test try these so I would like some opinions as to which would better suit a man of my tastes. Around 70% of the music I listen to is classical. Based on this I'm sure many of you would refer me to the ER-4P, and yet, I really do still need a reasonable amount of bass for anything with bass in it; even if it is just that lone double bass in a fifty piece orchestra, I must hear it if its there. Many people say that these are too light in bass but it is difficult to tell whether or not they actually had a better pair of IEMs on hand to compare them with, and if they did; if they had "burnt" them in, if they only listen to "doof doof doof" all day, etc. I would very much like to hear from someone that has extensively tested both headphones, particularly with classical music with any bass instruments.

But let me make this clear: I am NOT a bass addict! Mids and highs are still more important to me and I'm only willing to compromise a small amount of quality for extra bass. Does the E4C satisfy this?

The only point of reference I have is the pathetic excuse for earphones that are the pair that Apple thought were worthy of being used with their phone. If anyone has these and any of the above to compare bass response to then that would be great.

I am open to other suggestions as long as I can find one within my price range. From what I've gathered, the E4C is the only shure product that comes close to both my tastes and price range. I don't think I'll appreciate the lack of treble that Ultimate Ears seem to offer in all but their most expensive products. IEMs only. Nothing too expensive. Other than that I'm very open.


Amplifiers:
If it makes a fair difference to quality, particularly with an ER-4S converter cable on the ER-4P. I would be willing to fork out another $20 for an amp that can fit in my pocket with my iPhone. I was contemplating the FiiO E5 though I haven't looked very thoroughly at all.

Please discuss.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 6:44 AM Post #2 of 14

grahamnp

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How about the Head-Direct RE0? I think the mids and highs are fantastic and so is the bass although it doesn't have much in the way of quantity. The reviews seem to suggest that it outperforms the E4c.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 6:56 AM Post #3 of 14

Menisk

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I personally don't find that my ER-4Ps have quite enough bottom end to give classical the large feel that it requires. They're a damned nice and very detailed pair of IEMs, but if you're looking for something to play classical I don't think they've got the oomph.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM Post #4 of 14

nc8000

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I listen mostly to classical and I have/have had both. I started out with the ER4-P and loved it to bits but found I was missing more oomph at the bottom end (the bass is all there, well defined and reaches deep, just not much oomph) so I sold the ER4 and got the E4C and was happy but after a while I was so missing the the sparkle, clarity and speed of the ER4 so out the E4C went and back in with an ER4. Over the years I have repeated this with several other iem's and always come back to the ER4. In place of the ER4 and especially as you say iPhone you could do as i have done and go with the Etymotics HF2. This is an iPhone headset but based on the same drivers as the ER4. They look better and have a better cable than the ER4. The sound to me has slightly more bass presence and slightly less treble sparkle than the ER4P. Price is about $150 but has from time to time been on coupon offer at Amazon for $99.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 2:15 PM Post #5 of 14

Cleid

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Quote:

Originally Posted by grahamnp /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How about the Head-Direct RE0? I think the mids and highs are fantastic and so is the bass although it doesn't have much in the way of quantity. The reviews seem to suggest that it outperforms the E4c.


I've looked into those. It was close but I still think I would prefer the Etys with a decent amp.

The hf2 looks good, I don't make heaps of phone calls but I do use the clicker a lot on my current buds, but the bass increase is very marginal is it not? I'm leaning towards sticking with an ER-4P with the P-to-S adapter for versatility and a portable amp.

Anyone have any idea on what kind of quality I can expect from this setup?
Will it handle a small bass bosst well?
Reccommend any particular portable amp?
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 2:25 PM Post #6 of 14

GreatDane

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I use my ER4P with a Practical Devices XM5 portable amp. The XM5 has a generous boost of 6 dB. at 100 Hz. This is a higher frequency than I'd like but it works very good to eliminate the bass shy nature of the ER4. The XM5 also has the +75 Ohm feature.

I once owned the Shure E4Pro. I liked the bass and very nice mids but unless I EQ'd them to boost treble, they sounded rolled-off.

Even better than either of the above, my Phonak PFE sounds great top to bottom with no EQ.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 2:29 PM Post #7 of 14

Menisk

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cleid /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've looked into those. It was close but I still think I would prefer the Etys with a decent amp.

The hf2 looks good, I don't make heaps of phone calls but I do use the clicker a lot on my current buds, but the bass increase is very marginal is it not? I'm leaning towards sticking with an ER-4P with the P-to-S adapter for versatility and a portable amp.

Anyone have any idea on what kind of quality I can expect from this setup?
Will it handle a small bass bosst well?
Reccommend any particular portable amp?



Well you can expect good quality from a pair of amped ER4s, and they don't seem to mind if I turn the bass up on my NAD. After having them for a little while you'll probably find you don't need the bass boost as you get used to the sound of them.

A lot of the problem people have is with the seal. I thought they were lacking in bass until I realised it was the way I was inserting them. If you insert them and there's a feeling that the pressure in your ear isn't right they don't sound as good, you need to insert them with a seal that has normal pressure while still being sealed. It's hard to explain but with a little playing you work it out and they'll treat you with some exceptionally detailed music.

If you're going for a portable amp I'd look at getting an LOD or something similar depending on the player you've got. Bypass the internal amp and you'll get a much nicer sound.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 4:15 PM Post #8 of 14

parrot5

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I understand the dilemma, as I had that as well. My logic was that there is basically NOTHING that can help with the rolled-off treble of the Shure's line, while for the ER4 (if you don't mind sacrificing a bit of the treble) you can use foam tips or some larger soft tips that fit really really tight to help with the bass.

In the end I sold the E4C, upgraded to the SE530 and still sold it, and still to this date keep the ER4 as a reference just in case I need it.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 4:21 PM Post #9 of 14

ZARIM

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I think if you don't want to use AMPs then PFE are better IEMs because they has the same sparkle and great mids with good quantity bass. So overall it's better choice if you listen some other Genres too but for ER4P/S the AMPs helps lot to improve the bass. The MINI BOX E+ are famous to use with ER4P/S and they improve bass lot and overall soundquality get even better.
 
Oct 4, 2009 at 9:50 PM Post #11 of 14

Menisk

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Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot5 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I understand the dilemma, as I had that as well. My logic was that there is basically NOTHING that can help with the rolled-off treble of the Shure's line, while for the ER4 (if you don't mind sacrificing a bit of the treble) you can use foam tips or some larger soft tips that fit really really tight to help with the bass.


I've always found I get more bass with the tri-flange tips, strange. I guess everyone's got a different ear canal.
 
Oct 5, 2009 at 2:23 AM Post #13 of 14

parrot5

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Menisk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've always found I get more bass with the tri-flange tips, strange. I guess everyone's got a different ear canal.


Ar yes that as well, if you got a large enough one. I forgot that mine was tri-flanges-MODDED-TO-A-TWO-FLANGES, and I got the "baby blue" triflanges that are smaller as well.
 
Oct 5, 2009 at 6:58 AM Post #14 of 14

Cleid

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Thanks for the help. I think I'll be ok with an er-4p. Probably order it soon. I just hope if I find want a $20 fiio amp for a $200 set of headphones, that it won't distort the sound quality. A decent, more expensive amp is presently out of the question.

Now I'll disappear and return some time when I want some new hi-fi and an empty wallet. And thank you, head-fi.org, for doubling my budget.
 

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