If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...
Jan 11, 2021 at 4:43 PM Post #16,081 of 17,908

EtyDave

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I liked very much your interviews and responses over here, helping me to become part of the ER4-family :p
Indeed, it would seem I am more a SR, than an XR guy :)

My questions were environmentally oriented, I'll rephrase:
1a) Do you use returned units to learn from (where they wear, how they are used, etc)?
1b) Do you 'recycle' returned units that have very little nothing wrong with them (think damaged cable, maybe one unit malfunctioning early or whatever)?

2) I may see avenues of interesting environmental science and/or feedback on how to improve environmentally while being cost-effective, companies like Etymotic are scarse (Thermalright is another) and deserve some help in that regard. I would like to help out if possible/wanted, increasing design space and paths.

You know, giving back as you and your team basically are responsible for unexpectedly widening my appreciation for other genres considerably (apparently, the ER4s are that good).

Ah, I see now.

1.) I have looked at more broken earphones that I would have ever guessed. Root cause analysis is important. I do tend to look at the early failures more as it's usually more informative, but I always like to see anything that is new or odd.

2.) We've looked into refurbishing and it's something we are discussing. I don't think we'd bother reusing cables as those are the highest wear item, and certainly not anything like eartips or other accessories (even if they looked brand new). Earpieces (the most expensive bit) could be worthwhile as long as they were basically new. I don't think earphones that have seen any extended use would be worth refurbishing.
 
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Jan 11, 2021 at 4:55 PM Post #16,082 of 17,908

SXero

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Ah, I see now.

1.) I have looked at more broken earphones that I would have ever guessed. Root cause analysis is important. I do tend to look at the early failures more as it's usually more informative, but I always like to see anything that is new or odd.

2.) We've looked into refurbishing and it's something we are discussing. I don't think we'd bother reusing cables as those are the highest wear item, and certainly not anything like eartips or other accessories (even if they looked brand new). Earpieces (the most expensive bit) could be worthwhile as long as they were basically new. I don't think earphones that have seen any extended use would be worth refurbishing.

1. I agree, sometimes it is overlooked by companies though, after they have done a short cost-benefit analysis. Indeed, costs of raw material is very low, too low.
2. On that note, the cable was a pretty bad example, hahah :p I could see design pathways were a troubled ER4-unit may be refurbished or repaired and be OK as, say, an ER3-unit.

Electronics are maybe not the easiest market where one could try to Reduce, Re-use, Re-manufacture or Recycle. I do not know about the metal-fatigue in BA, but otherwise electronics do not wear like the mechanical domain does. As far as I am concerned, physically immeasurable differences or something in that limit, should have the same price as new. Do you have thoughts on that?
 
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Jan 11, 2021 at 5:15 PM Post #16,083 of 17,908

EtyDave

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1. I agree, sometimes it is overlooked by companies though, after they have done a short cost-benefit analysis. Indeed, costs of raw material is very low, too low.
2. On that note, the cable was a pretty bad example, hahah :p I could see design pathways were a troubled ER4-unit may be refurbished or repaired and be OK as, say, an ER3-unit.

Electronics are maybe not the easiest market where one could try to Reduce, Re-use, Re-manufacture or Recycle. I do not know about the metal-fatigue in BA, but otherwise electronics do not wear like the mechanical domain does. As far as I am concerned, physically immeasurable differences or something in that limit, should have the same price as new. Do you have thoughts on that?

I think you'd be hard pressed to find customers willing to support remanufactured goods priced as new. And, unfortunately, it's rarely cost effective to break things down to a component level to reuse them, at least with earphones.
 
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Jan 11, 2021 at 5:40 PM Post #16,084 of 17,908

SXero

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I think you'd be hard pressed to find customers willing to support remanufactured goods priced as new. And, unfortunately, it's rarely cost effective to break things down to a component level to reuse them, at least with earphones.
The separation of measurable physical degradation and 'value' is empty of arguments, yet something most people take for true, oddly and annoyingly enough -_- (EDIT: I realised afterwards that it could be read as personal critique, but it is meant generally for homo sapiens :) Sorry for any possible confusion or affective reactions.)

The current business case for disassembly and re-use is poor, nowadays that is. I hope working people anywhere realise the potential of re-manufacturing, although it is still not being adopted widely. The "root cause analysis" you mentioned is one great way of at least using waste-products in part (for knowledge otherwise obtained via cost-inefficient R&D), although it is probably mostly motivated by after-sales and company image/reputation. In any case, I hope that being a smaller company might make you more nimble to actually implement one of these options to press costs, instead of increasing them.

Moving production to Vietnam suggests maybe that these considerations are not that high on the agenda, yet. Still, I appreciate very much your contribution by replying to my inquiry.
 
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Jan 13, 2021 at 5:32 AM Post #16,087 of 17,908

Blackwoof

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With the multi BA ety being announced, Noticed more on a another group i lurk. Trying to claim the ER4 bass distortion is 1% when it 0.3% or that it shoots up when boosted by 10db. Quite annoying when they went quiet, when oratory showed when EQ'd the HD650 only got 0.5% more distortion while still being 1% not the 8% they claimed as fact.
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 9:30 AM Post #16,088 of 17,908

EtyDave

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@EtyDave Nice to see you back again in this thread.

Just a random-ish question that came into my mind recently - is the "mk" in the mk5 a reference to Mead Killion?

Yes, that definitely factored in, but I can't remember if that's what initially drove it or not.
 
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Jan 14, 2021 at 4:19 PM Post #16,089 of 17,908

weissglut

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ER2XR vs ER4XR: what do you think?

Got a ER2XR here (which I still can return). I quite like it, also I usually like the bass. I know the ER4XR has less bass, but does it work well with EQ if needed? What about overall sound quality?

The ER2XR is 129 € here in Germany, the ER4XR from Adorama would be ~180 € with shipping and import taxes.

P.S.: I've got a Tin P1, Tin T4, Tin T2+ and the Etymotic ER2XR here. All well sounding IEMs, but still my preferred headphone is the Denon D5200.
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 3:03 AM Post #16,090 of 17,908

Blackwoof

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ER2XR vs ER4XR: what do you think?

Got a ER2XR here (which I still can return). I quite like it, also I usually like the bass. I know the ER4XR has less bass, but does it work well with EQ if needed? What about overall sound quality?

The ER2XR is 129 € here in Germany, the ER4XR from Adorama would be ~180 € with shipping and import taxes.

P.S.: I've got a Tin P1, Tin T4, Tin T2+ and the Etymotic ER2XR here. All well sounding IEMs, but still my preferred headphone is the Denon D5200.

The 2XR = 8db, 4XR = 4db, Detail/clarity they sound the same if the ER2 given bit more power. The ER2XR to me sounds like a ER4XR with better timbre if you cut the bass by 4db, -1db 190Hz low shelf & -3db 95Hz low shelf. More energy for mids/treble, mids = 1db at 750Hz(Q 2) & 2db 11KHz High shelf.

Way cheaper and better than the ER3XR with ohm adaptor, Since even with the 4XR bass it still seems to have more punch but still lightning fast for a DD headphone.
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 3:57 AM Post #16,091 of 17,908

skumrat

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I am so keen for this new IEM (ER5SR?). If it can reproduce the sound profile of the ER4SR but with some more soundstage and separation it will be a major win in my book. Just hoping they don't go in the direction that a lot of the high end multi-BA seem to these days (looking at you Sony) and go for a dark/warm tuning. I like my bass light SR, even ER3XR sounded muddy and boomy to me (haven't tried ER2).
 
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Jan 15, 2021 at 5:37 AM Post #16,092 of 17,908

ClieOS

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Yes, that definitely factored in, but I can't remember if that's what initially drove it or not.

I recalled the initial dynamic driver model line was “MC” (MC5), as in 'Moving Coil'? Then it was revised to MK line, which in a way was still referring to moving c(k)oil?
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 1:56 PM Post #16,093 of 17,908

bflat

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New ER4XR owner here and sharing initial impressions:

Background - a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.... I was shopping for new earbuds at an airport because I left my pair at home. While browsing I see Etymotic boxes behind the counter and ask the salesperson what's up with those earbuds. The conversation went something like:

Salesperson - those are the best earphones in the world!
Me - cool how much?
Salesperson - $300
Me - for earbuds? really?
Salesperson - yeah, but best don't come cheap.
Me - LOL, only a sucker would pay more than $50 for earbuds. No thanks. I'll just take these $19.99 JVC earbuds.

So here I'm today owning an ER4XR and even more ironic, these are now considered mid range to some, even budget priced to others. I still credit Etymotic for starting my audiophile journey because my mind got curious if there really was a difference with $300 "earbuds".

I've sold off or given away all my prior headphones and IEMs that used for business travel for the past few years. With no travel last year and little to no travel in the near future I figured it's a good time to reset. I've gone back and forth with wired/wireless and ANC/no ANC and nothing I had prior worked perfectly. When I saw the ER4XR at a nice discount during the holidays, I remembered Etymotic is known for really good passive noise isolation so decided to buy and use for future travel.

Noise isolation - using my personal airplane simulator the results are as good, if not better than ANC headphones I've tried. My "airplane simulator" is a small half bathroom where the fan is in desperate need of replacement and registers 88 dB noise with the door closed. I can easily listen at moderate levels without hearing the fan.

Sound - to my ears the XR is pretty balanced but tuned for a touch of musical tone which is slightly elevated lower bass and smooth but detailed highs. Mids are nice and full, but not too forward. I'm definitely glad I got the XR version over SR which I imagine is more analytical. Only minor flaw I can think of is a touch of sharpness in the upper mid, but short of sibilance so probably in the 2-4K range. It's only noticeable on certain tracks. Being a single driver, there are no issues with coherence or obvious cross over points.

Soundstage/Experience - I think the most impressive aspect of the ER4XR is how big the soundstage presents. It's more wider than it is deeper but it really does approach full sized headphones in experience. I can really only think of 2 IEMs I've owned that have a bigger soundstage - JH Layla and 64 Audio Forte. Pretty good company indeed.

Comfort - using the small triple flange, the ER4XR fit very comfortably in hanging mode instead of over ear. I thought these would stick out but they fit nice and flush in my ears. After a few minutes of listening the ER4XR almost disappear and I feel like I'm listening to speakers. "Almost" disappear because the stock cables are a bit microphonic. Now I understand why Ety includes a cable clip. I plan to get a custom 4.4mm balanced cable anyway.

Summary - great musical sound and invokes more emotion rather than analysis. Super comfortable and there is not a more portable wired IEM that I can think of. Noise isolation is best I've experienced in a passive IEM. Prior benchmark for me was the KSE1500. With the high input impedance and lower sensitivity than most other IEMs, I find this to be a benefit because your only issue will be if your amp can provide enough volume. I'm sure those of us who have owned low impedance, highly sensitive IEMs don't enjoy the constant tinkering to fix hissing and/or impedance mismatch issues.

Well done Etymotic! I regret not buying a pair way back when.
 
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Jan 16, 2021 at 6:32 PM Post #16,095 of 17,908

EtyDave

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I recalled the initial dynamic driver model line was “MC” (MC5), as in 'Moving Coil'? Then it was revised to MK line, which in a way was still referring to moving c(k)oil?

The MC was definitely because of Moving Coil. MK was sort of an extension of that, but the spelling Koil wasn't part of it (that I remember). I think it was just sort of an extension that sounded a bit like MC and happened to use Mead's initials.
 
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