If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...
May 27, 2015 at 10:40 PM Post #5,986 of 17,429

gixxerwimp

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I may look for a new cable soon... Only because I've been more interested in the ER4B now that I may buy the cable with B resistor. I feel that I could perhaps use a bit more treble than what I'm getting with S at the moment. Even if I do I'm not looking forward to removing the cable though... i hear that it can be very difficult?

 
It's not hard, just go slow and easy. It was my first headphone mod, so I'm not an "expert" or anything. Didn't notice any glue, but it required a bit of force to get them started coming out. The side cutters acted like a wedge driving evenly from both sides and helped it to come out straight. Not much chance of squeezing too hard and cutting into the pins. You'd have to try really hard to do that.
Here's my tutorial for the cable mod.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/560401/etymotic-er-4-aftermarket-low-microphonics-cable#post_11353406

 
May 28, 2015 at 10:16 AM Post #5,988 of 17,429

K_19

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Thanks for the tip.
 
I have one concern with those adapters btw... how do they fit? One of the reasons why started liking the Etys so much is how they are narrow and easy to insert deep due to wide angled plug. Those adapters I see all seem to be on around 90 degrees and seems like it won't fit the same way as the default wide angled plug... 
 
May 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM Post #5,989 of 17,429

Jazic

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BTW, I liked your recent post on the SE846 thread. I can believe that makes a difference.

 
http://i.imgur.com/yQoSBGE.gifv
 
But seriously, it's not just impedance it's conductivity that can effect sound as well. The more pure a signal is the better signal transfer occurs. But like you say the difference is most likely in your head and not in your cables. 
 
For example, I have the Tidal app on my PC and when bandwidth is limited it sometimes downshifts from flac to 320kbps. It's not instantly that I notice but there is not been a time yet that I haven't noticed it. It can take 2-3 songs to notice but every time I stop to see why it doesn't sound as clear. 
 
Alot of people will say that the difference between 320kbps and flac is so small nobody can notice yet I do.. Perhaps it's because I still have good hearing and I'm using reference/analytical type gear, specifically the LCD-X. 
 
As for the FiiO suggestion I made earlier, I myself and others have noticed a difference in sound. I can personally hear a higher sparkle. I would use that cable but I hate the comfort and the insecure fit it has. 
 
I can very much appreciate someone telling me it's in my head and I'm making it up but with the right gear and basing that around an opinion but I know for a fact that I have heard the difference. Yes, it is very small but it is there and when it's missing I can tell. 
 
May 28, 2015 at 10:43 AM Post #5,990 of 17,429

gixxerwimp

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I have one concern with those adapters btw... how do they fit? One of the reasons why started liking the Etys so much is how they are narrow and easy to insert deep due to wide angled plug. Those adapters I see all seem to be on around 90 degrees and seems like it won't fit the same way as the default wide angled plug... 


They fit exactly the same as the stockers, better IMO because they don't stick out. You can sort of see in the last two photos of my tutorial. I have them deeply inserted and the adapters don't touch my ears if I'm wearing them up. They do just touch if wearing them down (due to the downward angle of the ear canal), so it depends on how you plan to wear them. Haven't seen anyone mention any problems with fit.

But maybe your ears are mega deep or slope down A LOT, so no guarantees. Take a picture with them inserted and see how much of the armature enclosure is left sticking out. Maybe tape something on that will simulate 90 deg and check if it touches.
 
May 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM Post #5,991 of 17,429

VladTheImpala

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Personally, I believe cables make a difference in sound, but I don't think it's very important to sound *quality*. You can alter the sound signature a little, and alter the sound quality a little bit, but most of the sound quality is determined by the quality of the source and the headphones/speakers. You won't get a cheap device sounding twice as good by buying a $500 cable for it, but if you have an expensive piece of equipment, a nice cable can be the thing to help you get the most out of your chain. And digital cables do matter as well. I own an expensive DAC which I was using a dollar store USB cable for for the first month that I owned it. I bought a used Wireworld Starlight, and the difference was striking. The whole idea about how it's just 1's and 0's and cables make no difference for digital information is simply not true. Having the experience of hearing the difference for myself really made me see all the pedantic internet ravings about cables in a new light. I wonder how many cable skeptics have actually spent money on a cable, or whether they just assume that all those people who have spent the money must be imagining a difference to justify their spending. Whenever people talk like that, they don't realize how inappropriate and completely out of line they are behaving when they claim to know other people's motivations and psychological processes better than they do themselves. However, like I said earlier, although I'm a "believer" in cables, I still think cables aren't the main driver of sound quality. You won't get a $200 DAC sounding like the Chord Hugo by buying a Cardas cable - you're better off investing your money into upgrading your DAC.

Anyway, I don't think much of this applies to the Ety conversation, though. I imagine that the Westone and Shure cables are high enough in quality that they wouldn't sound *bad*.

Without talking about sound quality, does anyone have a preference for Westone or Shure cables with the Etymotics? Is one of them better as far microphonics or durability? How about tangling? I'd really like to get those awwan adapters and and get a different cable, but I don't know if I should go with Westone or Shure. What is MMXC?
 
May 28, 2015 at 5:23 PM Post #5,992 of 17,429

luisdent

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  Personally, I believe cables make a difference in sound, but I don't think it's very important to sound *quality*. You can alter the sound signature a little, and alter the sound quality a little bit, but most of the sound quality is determined by the quality of the source and the headphones/speakers. You won't get a cheap device sounding twice as good by buying a $500 cable for it, but if you have an expensive piece of equipment, a nice cable can be the thing to help you get the most out of your chain. And digital cables do matter as well. I own an expensive DAC which I was using a dollar store USB cable for for the first month that I owned it. I bought a used Wireworld Starlight, and the difference was striking. The whole idea about how it's just 1's and 0's and cables make no difference for digital information is simply not true. Having the experience of hearing the difference for myself really made me see all the pedantic internet ravings about cables in a new light. I wonder how many cable skeptics have actually spent money on a cable, or whether they just assume that all those people who have spent the money must be imagining a difference to justify their spending. Whenever people talk like that, they don't realize how inappropriate and completely out of line they are behaving when they claim to know other people's motivations and psychological processes better than they do themselves. However, like I said earlier, although I'm a "believer" in cables, I still think cables aren't the main driver of sound quality. You won't get a $200 DAC sounding like the Chord Hugo by buying a Cardas cable - you're better off investing your money into upgrading your DAC.

Anyway, I don't think much of this applies to the Ety conversation, though. I imagine that the Westone and Shure cables are high enough in quality that they wouldn't sound *bad*.

Without talking about sound quality, does anyone have a preference for Westone or Shure cables with the Etymotics? Is one of them better as far microphonics or durability? How about tangling? I'd really like to get those awwan adapters and and get a different cable, but I don't know if I should go with Westone or Shure. What is MMXC?


I agree cables can affect frequency response primarily via impedance changes with some earphones. However, I'm not sure I agree on the usb cable. I'm pretty sure it truly is "1s and 0s". It makes sense scientifically. Most apps and devices won't even WORK if the signal isn't fully intact. That's why you get connection errors, performance speed problems, etc. If an audio app is playing audio via a USB cable, it is usually because it is receiving the intact digital signal. In the event that it wasn't receiving the intact signal, you would get a crash, a connection/data error, or at worst digital audio problems that you would hear as digital errors and not simply "lower sound quality". You would hear noticeable blips and blurps. Most people would not consider this "lower quality", they would consider it "not working properly".
 
Whereas analogue cables might be able to affect impedance and capacitance to generate extremely slight difference in response. Usually, in earphones like the er4s this would make no audible difference. You would need a cable that generates a very large amount of impedance (such as the resistor in the ety cable - not just a cable) to hear a change in frequency response. And dynamic drivers usually have even less change if any at all, no matter how much impedance you add.
 
I would challenge you to do a blind test on your usb cables. You can't rule out expectation bias... :-/ And while you could argue the usb cable dropping bits is like a CD player correcting errors on a digital CD, I believe mp3 players work differently than that. But anyhow, you never know. :p

 
May 28, 2015 at 7:46 PM Post #5,993 of 17,429

Happytalk

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Ok. Bought the adaptors. If anything for a backup for when my oem cable goes. Need a cable. Can't find any or many shure oem cables on the used market. I'm unsure which one. Don't need a microphone or controls, but if it's a bargain, I'm in. Any suggestions on where to find a shure cable or one that fits with low microphonics?
 
May 28, 2015 at 8:49 PM Post #5,994 of 17,429

Jazic

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Ok. Bought the adaptors. If anything for a backup for when my oem cable goes. Need a cable. Can't find any or many shure oem cables on the used market. I'm unsure which one. Don't need a microphone or controls, but if it's a bargain, I'm in. Any suggestions on where to find a shure cable or one that fits with low microphonics?

 
I personally like the Westone braided cable with or without the memory. I prefer the memory though. It's still flexible and doesn't have a wire like the Shure's do. It runs around $55 on Amazon but it has a 2 year warranty. 
 
To use with the adapter I think it flanges over some so you might need to cut a 1mm piece of material off but I did it easily with an Xacto knife. 
 
May 29, 2015 at 10:03 AM Post #5,996 of 17,429

vechung

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Adding to the cable discussion.  I made my cables just for comfort and elimination of microphonics.  However I do notice that I get better channel separation and wider soundstage.  It probably has to do with crosstalk difference between the two cables.
 
I can't say I understand it but I think it has to do with the signal from one side of the output amp bleeding into the other side's output amp path to ground through the ground wire.  So in theory if we have separate ground wires to both drivers, it should reduce that.  Then after adding the 100ohm resistors it further reduced the crosstalk.
 
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/538615/if-you-still-love-etymotic-er4-this-is-the-thread-for-you/5610#post_11411686
 
May 29, 2015 at 1:12 PM Post #5,997 of 17,429

Antihawk

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Hi all,
 
Anyone had experience wearing the ER4s to the gym and putting themselves through a pretty strenuous cardio workout? 
 
I'd think that sweat might clog up the filters or something, but I am no expert. Really would be useful to wear these, though, so I could isolate myself from the irritating TV programmes people watch in there.
 
Essentially the question is how do these fare when a lot of sweat is introduced?
 
Thanks.
 
May 29, 2015 at 1:21 PM Post #5,998 of 17,429

K_19

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I would think the biggest problem with using the ER4's in the gym would be the horrible amount of microphonics, unless you're wearing them up over your ears (though I personally find that they don't really fit well at all that way)... I find them troublesome to listen to on any kind of move, even while walking (the shirt clip don't really help much either), so using them while running would definitely be out of the question for me... 
 
Sweat wise though I'd think they do alright, as they stick in really deep and I don't think the innermost part of your ears really sweat enough to worry about that. The opening is narrow and if worn properly it shouldn't really be close to any outer part of your ear canal for the sweat to go in.
 
May 29, 2015 at 1:24 PM Post #5,999 of 17,429

imackler

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  I would think the biggest problem with using the ER4's in the gym would be the horrible amount of microphonics, unless you're wearing them up over your ears (though I personally find that they don't really fit well at all that way)... I find them troublesome to listen to on any kind of move, even while walking (the shirt clip don't really help much either), so using them while running would definitely be out of the question for me... 

 
+1 Word. 
 
May 29, 2015 at 1:53 PM Post #6,000 of 17,429

castleofargh

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  Adding to the cable discussion.  I made my cables just for comfort and elimination of microphonics.  However I do notice that I get better channel separation and wider soundstage.  It probably has to do with crosstalk difference between the two cables.
 
I can't say I understand it but I think it has to do with the signal from one side of the output amp bleeding into the other side's output amp path to ground through the ground wire.  So in theory if we have separate ground wires to both drivers, it should reduce that.  Then after adding the 100ohm resistors it further reduced the crosstalk.
 
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/538615/if-you-still-love-etymotic-er4-this-is-the-thread-for-you/5610#post_11411686


I tried to get my head around that several times and I just keep on failing. ^_^
by having a bigger load (cable or IEM) the amp will proportionally use less current and that in turn helps reducing crosstalk inside the amp(more so if the channels aren't physically well separated) and in fact it reduces all sorts of troubles, as most of our amps are voltage amp, not current amps so they would rather go higher with volts.
so in a way we could say that a higher impedance headphone(again cable included as it's one and the same for the amp, it's just a load) is improving crosstalk.
 
now the problem is that adding impedance in the cable can tend to increase crosstalk in the cable itself (arrrghhhhhhhhh), I remember reading something about the difference from adding the resistor to the ground or one resistor to each side on the positive cable, and I think the result was that 1 resistor on the ground sucked.
 
also shielding can play a part. if ideal, you can end up reducing crosstalk. if not it can do the opposite and increase both crosstalk and impedance by some margin.
of course I have no idea how to do those stuff best or the magnitude of what I'm talking about. add to that the quality of insulation for each wire in the cable and crosstalk values become something you can either measure and be sure off, or should just forget if you ever want to sleep again ^_^.
 
now the icing on the cake: try to get yourself some VST adding crosstalk. if you have no advanced audio stuff, you can try crosstalk2 vst (to use vst in something like foobar you first need a vst wrapper). you can get crosstalk2 in this free cool bundle http://sleepytimedsp.com/downloads
when used at 100% setting in consumer mode(the worst and most obvious) you end up with -30db crosstalk (average audio sources will usually have better than -60db crosstalk if they're not plugged into really low impedance IEMs(my first point in this post). to put it in perspective, listening to vinyls will give that kind of crosstalk value, it's pretty massive, yet it doesn't stop us from perceiving some great soundstage with vinyls. and that's when my head explodes.
it seems intuitive to think that less crosstalk will improve stereo perception simply because it does, adding crosstalk is nothing more than the sound slowly coming to mono, but only with the quiet parts of the music. yet in practice, you can hear the change with -30db, so it's not transparent, but does it ruin the soundstage? not at all, in fact with some musics, it kind of feels better, more like a big mass of music instead of exclusive instruments, but the feeling of space is still very real(with a slight forwad push a little similar to what you get with a very very soft crossfeed).
 
all that to say that I lost my mind trying to associate what I clearly felt as being better space/stereo on some sources, and crosstalk. without real success unless the values become crazy bad, I stand there like an idiot with no conclusion at all to all those informations(and that's only the surface of what I actually read on the subject).
still, can we call a cable good is it makes crosstalk up to -30db or maybe higher? I'm guessing that's not too hard to measure but I have a very very poor soundcard and the input has more crosstalk than anything I tried plugging into it
redface.gif
. so I can't say by myself.
I thought crosstalk was my nemesis because it was the only measurement that was going real bad on a sansa clip with low impedance IEMs, and I never appreciated the clips on really low impedance IEMs for some reason, so I ignorantly associated both, but in practice the clip is still at almost -50db crosstalk into 15ohm(from memory so the value might not be exactly it). so I just feel the the small soundstage/headstage I get with low impedance IEMs is disproportionate to what crosstalk at -50db does. I'm missing something but what? ...
anyway crosstalk alone really need to be bad to be audible. that's the only rational conclusion on the subject.
 
ahahah Ive done it again, sorry for that guys, as you see I go crazy over nothing all day long and I'm loving it in a kind of S&M way.
biggrin.gif
I want to know everything about audio, but it's kind of a challenging project.
rolleyes.gif

 
 

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