Etymotic ER4 closest to perfect?
Jul 21, 2008 at 4:41 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

M3NTAL

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I used to own a set of Shure SE500/530, liked them a lot, probably my first "ear gasm" only due to their midrange and bass. The cable broke, Shure gave me a hard time, but ultimately repaired them. As soon as I got them back I sold them so that I wouldn't have to deal with them again.

Fast forward to now. I am going on vacation and wanted something decent, but not TOO expensive to take with me. Everything I heard about the Etymotics were a turn off to me. The "shrill highs" "no bass" "clinical" blah blah blah. Almost gave me flashbacks of my K701 that I sold because there was no bass for the type of music I listened to. It shouldn't matter what type of music I listen to, bass should sound right. In real like - bass has impact! No, it shouldn't cause fatigue, but it should give you some realism.

For some reason, I was on the hunt for the Etymotic though. Wanted to get them out of my "want to try someday" list. I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with the iM716, I had to have the big boy! The ER4!

Amazon.com had them refurbished for 140.00, couldn't pass it up. A week later, they showed up - perfect condition with everything as original and brand new!

No eargasm this time around - and to be honest, I don't think "perfect" should cause an eargasm, it should just be "right" - toe tappin' perfection. I think eargasms are associated with things that stand out different than what you are used to.

Nothing really stands out on the Etymotic, it just IS! Hooked up the the iPod direct, it is a little grainy, looses its ultimate resolving power. With a little Go-Vibe hooked up, it becomes a little monster. Sounds very full - a larger stage than Grados also LOL! Very stout - tight bass, not in your face and not too far out either, just right. Instrument placement is great. Highs are great too. If it is shrill or sibilant - it is the recording!

I decided to take it up another notch, hooked them up to the Cullen DLIII IV and Cullen GCHA... quite liquid - warm - rockin! I am love with something the side of hot tamale (or mike & ike)

I think I am going to HAVE TO try the "S" cable and see what improves or changes, but I am honestly perfectly happy with the sound now and wish I could find a full size to recreate this sonic signature (which is basically no signature, just the music coming right off the source)

My only gripe - is the same gripe I hold with all things that go in my ear.. pain! I have tiny ear canals (yes I have tried every tip because this isn't my first IEM)

In conclusion, these are defiantly keepers - on top of that, they are probably the most correct sounding headphones in my line-up. Kinda funny that we all look for that, but in the end we might just go to something with a "flavor" that fits our tastes - in my case, I really love my SA5000 which isn't as correct IMO as the ER4, but it is way more comfortable and creates a different atmosphere! ER4 - my IEM savior, if it didn't get it right, I would have quit the IEM game for GOOD!
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 8:27 AM Post #2 of 31

steviebee

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Does 'every tip' include Shure black foams ('olives'). Very comfortable tho they do warm up the sound a little. Worth trying just for their comfort if you are experiencing pain...
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 8:42 AM Post #3 of 31

Ross

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Comply make foam tips for the Etys in slim and short versions - these may help. Also try the Apuresound ety cable some time in the future - it is a reasonable upgrade, although the standard cable also sounds fine.

Otherwise, I agree completely with your comments - definitely my favourite IEM for their accuracy and resolution, without giving up musicality, as well as their superior isolation. I often prefer to use them instead of my Senn 650s or Beyer 880s as well. It is like having the music wired directly to your brain.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 9:03 AM Post #4 of 31

Superbaldguy

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It seems the ER-4's were the first IEM's that elicited a lot of excitement on this forum, as they were one of the first of this type. They provide a very honest reproduction and are uncolored. I find them to be a necessity when I need to get into my music, although their high isolation make them very unsociable.

Are you referring to the 4P's or 4S Etys?
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 10:44 AM Post #5 of 31

GreatDane

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Congrats on your ER4P. I'm still enjoying mine after 20 months...still with the same filters! (thinking of changing them soon).

There's a very nice change going "S".

I like mine at home with tubes.
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On the go with Cowon iAudio 7.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 12:17 PM Post #6 of 31

nc8000

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Have you tried the new Etymotic baby blue tips ? They are supposed to be perfect for tiny ears
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 3:29 PM Post #8 of 31

M3NTAL

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I have tried the "olives" and the compy tips. My favorite is the tri-flange modded to bi-flange. I might give the baby blues a shot. Possibly even go for a custom mold!!

They will be getting hooked up to my LD IV SE at work today HA HA - see how they sound on tubes.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 3:34 PM Post #9 of 31

Nuwidol

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Spyro /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Tough to beat the sound of an ER4 with a warm amp.


I've been listening to my ER4-S through a Graham Slee Voyager & its a winning combo for sure. I've never heard a darker amp in my life.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 3:35 PM Post #10 of 31

Golden Monkey

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Yup. They are the most neutral phones of any type I've ever tried...in ear or over ear. The P's are great, but I really love mine with the S adaptor, as long as I'm running them on an amp. When I want to hear a recording with all it's details, and hear exactly what's on the disc without flavor or color, this is what I go with. Truly a reference sound...almost clinical, but not in a "bad" way. I've never thought of the highs as shrill or harsh, just very very..."there". I used to think they lacked bass, but they really don't. They just don't beat you over the head with it. The bass extension digs really deep, and you hear it more than feel it, it's just something to get used to. These are the phones that really showed me how my music sounds, and taught me how to listen properly.

X2 on the baby blue tips...haven't tried them myself, as the regular tips work fine for me, but my wife hates the stock ones because she says they hurt like hell (even though her ear canals are bigger than mine). The BB's might do the trick for any of you folks that find them painful. For me, I usually don't wear them for more than an hour at a stretch anyway, but they can be uncomfortable with longer sessions.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 7:03 PM Post #12 of 31

gp_hebert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mrdeadfolx /img/forum/go_quote.gif
"shrill highs, no bass, clinical" pretty much sums up my feelings about Ety's. They also stick out of your ear a mile and are uncomfortable. I gave mine away.


Your second sentence explains the first. They shouldn't stick out of your ear a mile, that means you had a bad seal.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 7:08 PM Post #13 of 31

TheMarchingMule

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I liked the ER4P/S, but I felt that they were too "digital-sounding." And by that I mean I felt I was listening to a recording all the time, and not feeling the actual music or artist.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 7:23 PM Post #14 of 31

Spyro

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMarchingMule /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I liked the ER4P/S, but I felt that they were too "digital-sounding." And by that I mean I felt I was listening to a recording all the time, and not feeling the actual music or artist.


That's really a good point. Also, if you tend to listen to your music somewhat loud I think it is far less fatiguing to have an IEM that is a little warmer than one that is razor sharp/bright. It's much easier on the ears.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 7:45 PM Post #15 of 31

M3NTAL

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Mine stick out a bit more than I would like, but I can lay on my pillow with them not causing too much discomfort - I actually fell asleep like that.

I felt the K701 was too "digital" sounding - like I was listening to a recording all the time, the ER4, not as much. I listened to Alice in Chains live last night, it was like I was right there with them - not digital at all, but then again - this was with a slightly warm amplifier (Go-Vibe V5)

I listen to a lot of electronic music, so the speed and resolving power are a HUGE turn on. Thumping bass with this genre can be fun, but it causes a lot of fatigue after short periods of time. The smooth bass on the ety is more forward than the K701 also and doesn't roll off quickly like it.


If you are used to the triple + driver subsonics I can see you being a little disappointed. Having came from them - down to the er4 I prefer the less bass. Odd because I am a bass head too! I think I am becoming a convert though! Not going back to AKG unless they come out with something "interesting" again. Audio Technica is about as bass lite as I go!
smily_headphones1.gif


The "Shrill" thing really is source/amp dependent. Direct out of my iPod is a bit painful when cranked up, but amped it gives it more headroom to go louder and keep the dynamics at high volume.
 

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