If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...
Jul 10, 2016 at 1:01 PM Post #8,611 of 16,946

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  Wow, awesome discussion guys.  I'm glad, after so many years of using the P's, that there's something else now to consider.  (At some point I tried out a pair of $1000 Shure IEM's and I thought the Etymotics were much better.  :D  )
 
I was thinking about getting the SR, but now I'm leaning XR.  I do like hip hop, electro-trance.  They'd benefit from the bass.  Then again, I like Joni Mitchell...
 
This intrigues me:
 
I could do that.  But I'm wondering... how annoying is that to Etymotic?  I know it's fairly common to buy things, demo them, and return them, but I almost never do.  This would be the ideal solution to me... but is it, like, wrong?

I called and emailed to be 100% sure about not liking the SR and if an exchange for the XR is optional as I don't like to sample either being fair as a consumer and Etymotic said they always have had a 30 trial period. I even said I would not use their tips and use mine so if I did a return it will all be pristine. They said NO use our tips and it's not an issue. Awesome company!
 
Jul 10, 2016 at 1:30 PM Post #8,612 of 16,946

luisdent

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Believe me, etymoric is the stuff. :p

They "allow" returns, so it isn't "wrong". I wouldn't abuse it personally. I bought both and will probably keep both if i can, but if i returned one i made sure to keep everything perfect as new. I had extra tips, so they wouldn't even be out tips. But i think if you know which you like, buy them. Techno will rock on th xr, but so will joni mitchell...

If you can't decide,while the return shouldn't be abused, if you're respectful and keep things in good condition they are proving customers a way to be sure they like the product. If you're that worried you could buy both and try the one you think you'll like better first. If you love it you can return the other one without even opening it. :) although your curiosity will absolutely kill you! :wink:
 
Jul 10, 2016 at 4:25 PM Post #8,613 of 16,946

ElMarcado

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Are there any real sound differences between the ER-4P with the ER-4S adapter and the ER-4S itself? I really love the ER-4S and I need to know if I will get better sound with just using the ER-4S itself or it will be the same as the ER-4P with the adapter. Thanks!
 
Jul 10, 2016 at 6:22 PM Post #8,614 of 16,946

uzi2

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Wow, awesome discussion guys.  I'm glad, after so many years of using the P's, that there's something else now to consider.  (At some point I tried out a pair of $1000 Shure IEM's and I thought the Etymotics were much better.  :D  )

I was thinking about getting the SR, but now I'm leaning XR.  I do like hip hop, electro-trance.  They'd benefit from the bass.  Then again, I like Joni Mitchell...

This intrigues me:

I could do that.  But I'm wondering... how annoying is that to Etymotic?  I know it's fairly common to buy things, demo them, and return them, but I almost never do.  This would be the ideal solution to me... but is it, like, wrong?

Joni Mitchell definitely benefited from the bass supplied by Jaco Pastorious.
 
Jul 10, 2016 at 6:34 PM Post #8,615 of 16,946

mw7485

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Are there any real sound differences between the ER-4P with the ER-4S adapter and the ER-4S itself? I really love the ER-4S and I need to know if I will get better sound with just using the ER-4S itself or it will be the same as the ER-4P with the adapter. Thanks!


No difference.

ER4P + p->s adaptor = ER4S

The only physical difference between the P and the S is the higher impedance of the S. The adaptor/converter provides the additional resistance to the ER4P, makeing them the same as The ER4S.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:43 AM Post #8,616 of 16,946

mark88888

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Joni Mitchell definitely benefited from the bass supplied by Jaco Pastorious.

 
 
That is true, but not on my favorite Joni CD (by far), "For the Roses".  
smile.gif

 
Thanks all for a nice discussion about the levels of bass in the various Etymotic phones.  Another thing I was wondering, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this:  is the improvement in sound in the SR/XR really very obvious, as compared to the ER4P/S?  I do understand that it's a bit improved, and I think I understand how.  But to be honest I wonder how much of the improvement people are hearing is what they are expecting and wanting to hear, vs reality.  For those of you who have made a comparison between the old and new ER4 phones, are you absolutely confident that in a blind test comparing them, playing the same music, you could easily, quickly, absolutely tell the difference?  In other words, is it very obviously different and improved, or pretty/extremely subtle?  It's a fair question considering the $350 price tag!
 
If you comment in response to this, could you also mention what kind of player you are using?  I ask because I'm using a Sansa Clip+ player.  Cheap, very small and light, very good sound IMHO.  But it's not a $350 Hifiman or whatever.  So I wonder if the improvement in the new phones would be much less obvious in a player such as the Sansa, as compared to a more expensive "audiophile" player.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 9:27 AM Post #8,617 of 16,946

luisdent

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Joni Mitchell definitely benefited from the bass supplied by Jaco Pastorious.




That is true, but not on my favorite Joni CD (by far), "For the Roses".  :smile:

Thanks all for a nice discussion about the levels of bass in the various Etymotic phones.  Another thing I was wondering, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this:  is the improvement in sound in the SR/XR really very obvious, as compared to the ER4P/S?  I do understand that it's a bit improved, and I think I understand how.  But to be honest I wonder how much of the improvement people are hearing is what they are expecting and wanting to hear, vs reality.  For those of you who have made a comparison between trhe old and new ER4 phones, are you absolutely confident that in a blind test comparing them, playing the same music, you could easily, quickly, absolutely tell the difference?  In other words, is it very obviously different and improved, or pretty/extremely subtle?  It's a fair question considering the $350 price tag!

If you comment in response to this, could you also mention what kind of player you are using?  I ask because I'm using a Sansa Clip+ player.  Cheap, very small and light, very good sound IMHO.  But it's not a $350 Hifiman or whatever.  So I wonder if the improvement in the new phones would be much less obvious in a player such as the Sansa, as compared to a more expensive "audiophile" player.


The clip+ is an excellent player. Probably to the point where most people couldn't tell between that and something better, as the difference would be so slight we're talking very small. Much smaller than any difference between even two er4 models.

As for the er4 models, there is definitely an audible difference between the er4s and er4sr. And moreso the er4xr. I would say the difference between the s and sr is probably no more than the difference between the p and s, but that's hard to quantify. I think there is "more" difference, in the sense that the response itself was altered and not just adjusted.

What I mean is that the p and s are technically the same earphone, one has a shift in treble due to impedance. So the treble is the same response "shape" but more or less of that treble response. Whereas, the sr is a different response. Very similar overall, and it still sounds like an er4, but the treble is different. So there is more "change" to the sound in that the response was altered in shape, but the overall "amount" of change is hard to quantify. But I would venture to say it is probably no more than the change between p to s. You could almost think of going from p to s, and then a little more again. At least perceptually it sounds a few more percent improved.

I could absolutely blind test the s and sr and tell you which is which. That isn't to say it is a night and day, enourmous change, but it is noticeable and easy to hear. Moreso with the xr.

In regards to players, I have the clip zip, fuze v2, sony nwz-a17, iphone6, galaxy s6, apogee duet, denon avr998, jds labs c5. And I've tried many more players and amps.

To compare players, as an example the sony nwz-a17 is the best I've heard in a portable player with good files. Using my a/b switch in a double blind test, I can hear the difference between identical files on that and my sansa/iphone6 pretty much 99% of the time (literally I guessed a large number of times with only one mistake). And although I can hear a difference every time, the difference requires me to listen very carefully and without intently listening I might not immediately notice a difference. But I will say that overall I do "feel" the sony is higher quality in normal listening, but it's hard to tell how. But before I did any testing comparison, I was impressed that I "felt" it sounded better just in general use.

Anyhow, the point is that the difference in even a high quality portable player, although apparent, is very small. The difference between er4 models is bigger. You would hear a much bigger difference going from the er4p to the er4s than you would going from a sansa clip+ to a sony nwz-a17.

Now throw all of this stuff together and grab a sony nwz-a17 and an er4sr and throw some lossless files on there... Oh yeeeeeeah!....
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 10:22 AM Post #8,618 of 16,946

Happytalk

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I think with an iem as accurate as an etymotic you will be able to hear the differences between a sansa clip and players starting in the $300+ range. The clip is nice, but we've come a long way baby. At least in sound quality, maybe not so much in user interface. So it would be beneficial to hear new DAPs, but only if you can actually buy one eventually. If not, you're good with the clip.

As far as explaining the benefits of a better sounding DAP. You'll hear the differences as better and you'll know they are there. However, I'm gonna go with the fact that better sound brings a better intangible feeling. Like some sort of inner peace that I didnt know was possible from listening on the go. After all, music is a mysterious element of the world that brings on mental and emotional stimulation. Anything that gets me closer to that is justifiable and why I've stuck with the er4s since I started lurking here.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 11:33 AM Post #8,619 of 16,946

luisdent

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I think with an iem as accurate as an etymotic you will be able to hear the differences between a sansa clip and players starting in the $300+ range. The clip is nice, but we've come a long way baby. At least in sound quality, maybe not so much in user interface. So it would be beneficial to hear new DAPs, but only if you can actually buy one eventually. If not, you're good with the clip.

As far as explaining the benefits of a better sounding DAP. You'll hear the differences as better and you'll know they are there. However, I'm gonna go with the fact that better sound brings a better intangible feeling. Like some sort of inner peace that I didnt know was possible from listening on the go. After all, music is a mysterious element of the world that brings on mental and emotional stimulation. Anything that gets me closer to that is justifiable and why I've stuck with the er4s since I started lurking here.

Yeah. Sometimes the differences aren't really identifiable, but you know they're there. I'm of the belief that the sansa is as good as many $300+ players and this has been shown by nwavguy. Not to say there aren't better players, there are. The nwz-a17 is one of them. But even with high dollar amps and dacs, the differences are not great. That doesnt mean they are not noticeable to some. I enjoy the sony player and find listening to my iphone now sounds a bit dull in comparison. Instruments has less distinction.

It is a small difference again, but i perceive it and it makes the overall enjoyment better on the sony. However, there are many players that are very expensive and fail to show any improvement vs something like a sansa player when tested using blind testing. Unfortunately, our brains can make us think things sound better when they really don't. So the challenge is finding those players that actually do provide sonic improvements. And the best method to do this is blind testing/measurements.

My point ultimately is that there are better players. But there is also the law of diminishing returns. And I hold to the fact that the er4s coming from an er4p should show you a much bigger change in sound than going from a sansa to a $300 audio player. The sansas measure incredibly well and are known to be good players sonically. So while I would recommend getting a better player if you have the money and "want" to go that route, I would just say I wouldn't fret over it if you don't have the money. Getting the er4sr will sound superb through a sansa.

When you can afford it, getting the a17 or similar higher res, higher quality player will only further the experience a small amount. Each little bit counts and will enhance your listening if you have the hearing discernment, but I would put my money where the biggest change is first...
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 12:11 PM Post #8,620 of 16,946

mark88888

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Hm!  Player talk.  :D
 
I could afford it.  I have to say, I love how small, light, and cheap the Sansa Clip+ is though...  not least because players to break, drop etc., and when that happens I just replce the $30 clip!  But... better sound.  Hm.
 
But you are saying, not MUCH better.
 
We are talking about this:
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Walkman-NWZA17SLV-Hi-Res-Digital/dp/B00OCJRX8C
 
is that right?
 
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
 
You mentioned "similar high res player"... are there any ones with as good sound quality that are smaller?  I like the text-only interface of the Clip+...
 
So the sound is clearly better than the Clip +?  Hmmm ............  ER4SR and sony nwz-a17.   A whole different setup!!
 
Interesting that youd recommend the SR with the sony.  I wonder if, in fact, the XR would be a wiser choice with the Clip because it can use the touch of extra bass, but the Sony doesnt need it, as it has more power etc?  I also assume it has a decent equalizer... which the Clip does not have.  (i dont rockbox it and am not interested in doing so...)
 
HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 12:55 PM Post #8,621 of 16,946

castleofargh

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I think with an iem as accurate as an etymotic you will be able to hear the differences between a sansa clip and players starting in the $300+ range. The clip is nice, but we've come a long way baby. At least in sound quality, maybe not so much in user interface. So it would be beneficial to hear new DAPs, but only if you can actually buy one eventually. If not, you're good with the clip.

As far as explaining the benefits of a better sounding DAP. You'll hear the differences as better and you'll know they are there. However, I'm gonna go with the fact that better sound brings a better intangible feeling. Like some sort of inner peace that I didnt know was possible from listening on the go. After all, music is a mysterious element of the world that brings on mental and emotional stimulation. Anything that gets me closer to that is justifiable and why I've stuck with the er4s since I started lurking here.


most of the time what you need to tell DAPs apart, isn't an accurate IEM. my sure way to identify sources is to get an IEM with very high sensitivity and listen to the noise floor that will most of the time be louder on one DAP, or even recognizable, like the little buffering noise I have on my sansa clip every 30seconds or so, added to a little background hiss. a louder background hiss on the sony A15, a very very small background hiss on my fiio X1, no background hiss I can hear with my leckerton amp at normal level setting...
once identified, it's a walk in the park to tell which source I'm using, as long as I have a mighty sensitive IEM(the HF5 is a good candidate for that, much more sensitive than any er4).
 
the other potential clue would be a slight frequency response change in the treble from the low pass filter. but for that you may need an IEM that extends far, and young ears to do a better job.  so even though it seems like the first thing one would notice, it's in fact the one thing I have the most trouble doing. also most of my IEMs start rolling off after 10 khz ^_^. it sure doesn't help.
 
another easy cue with the right IEM would be impedance variation. the bigger the impedance swing on the IEM and the lower it gets in ohm, the bigger the frequency response change when plugged into something like a 4ohm A10 or a 2ohm fiio X1 or a 1ohm sansa clip or 0.6ohm or my O2.  with my IE80 I can't say shiit about that particular variable as it's impedance response is flat. with my JH13 on the other hand, if the low end goes quieter, then the source has more impedance and it's relatively easy to notice.
 
the last cue can be caps at the DAP output(it's a protection, not a plague!!!!). with ludicrously low impedance IEMs, it will result in a sub roll off. and then a higher impedance IEM(in the low end, not just @1khz) doesn't sound as rolled off, then bingo, there are caps. hinted in my sentence, the ideal IEM for devices with caps are those without a high impedance as the subs will not be as affected.
 
all in all with my little bag of tricks I can tell almost any source from one another and it's really not because of some golden ears or resolving IEM. now with a pair of etykid (high and relatively flat impedance + low sensitivity) good luck telling most DAPs apart from one another. ^_^ that should be the real golden ear challenge because you can't use my easy "cheats" and have to look for actual sound differences, not manufactured ones.
 
to me nowadays, a good IEMs is one that does NOT exhibit any of those traits. stability in sound is a feature I value more with passing years. for the er4sr, the sensitivity is a good middle ground so it's unlikely that people would notice any obvious hiss on most DAPs. yet it's really easy to drive. and the impedance is also not so low as to create real problems for the source in most cases. it isn't too much of a mess so you only get a tiny bit more upper frequencies on a sony's 4ohm than on the sansa clip, but it's really hard to notice for a cardboard ear like myself. so yeah if someone believes the new er4 has a signature they'll enjoy(and that's really the main point here IMO), then it's an IEM that will work just fine into most sources and that's a good thing.
the er4s with 100ohm is a very safe bet too as long as we can go loud enough, it makes it relatively easy for the source.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM Post #8,622 of 16,946

Happytalk

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I settled on an ibasso Dx90 (don't shoot). But I only use firmware 2.2.0. I like the sq and I like the digital out for listening in theiving room system, as well as the ability to change the battery on the fly. Compared it to Fiio X1, x3 2nd gen. They seemed to slow and cymbals were too thick and bass was really watery and slow (unscientific). I agree from researching and inferring that the Sony is likely an excellent choice. Just heard about hiss with sensitive iems. The dx90 is known for its silent background. I settled on it after a lot of research. Got a used one for $250. It has been serving me well and is relatively small compared to some other daps. Also have 5.5th gen and 7th gen iPods. They can't touch the instrument separation that the dx90 presents. I think that is one of the things that starts to improve as you go higher up the chain.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:06 PM Post #8,623 of 16,946

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most of the time what you need to tell DAPs apart, isn't an accurate IEM. my sure way to identify sources is to get an IEM with very high sensitivity and listen to the noise floor that will most of the time be louder on one DAP, or even recognizable, like the little buffering noise I have on my sansa clip every 30seconds or so, added to a little background hiss. a louder background hiss on the sony A15, a very very small background hiss on my fiio X1, no background hiss I can hear with my leckerton amp at normal level setting...
once identified, it's a walk in the park to tell which source I'm using, as long as I have a mighty sensitive IEM(the HF5 is a good candidate for that, much more sensitive than any er4).
 
the other potential clue would be a slight frequency response change in the treble from the low pass filter. but for that you may need an IEM that extends far, and young ears to do a better job.  so even though it seems like the first thing one would notice, it's in fact the one thing I have the most trouble doing. also most of my IEMs start rolling off after 10 khz ^_^. it sure doesn't help.
 
another easy cue with the right IEM would be impedance variation. the bigger the impedance swing on the IEM and the lower it gets in ohm, the bigger the frequency response change when plugged into something like a 4ohm A10 or a 2ohm fiio X1 or a 1ohm sansa clip or 0.6ohm or my O2.  with my IE80 I can't say shiit about that particular variable as it's impedance response is flat. with my JH13 on the other hand, if the low end goes quieter, then the source has more impedance and it's relatively easy to notice.
 
the last cue can be caps at the DAP output(it's a protection, not a plague!!!!). with ludicrously low impedance IEMs, it will result in a sub roll off. and then a higher impedance IEM(in the low end, not just @1khz) doesn't sound as rolled off, then bingo, there are caps. hinted in my sentence, the ideal IEM for devices with caps are those without a high impedance as the subs will not be as affected.
 
all in all with my little bag of tricks I can tell almost any source from one another and it's really not because of some golden ears or resolving IEM. now with a pair of etykid (high and relatively flat impedance + low sensitivity) good luck telling most DAPs apart from one another. ^_^ that should be the real golden ear challenge because you can't use my easy "cheats" and have to look for actual sound differences, not manufactured ones.
 
to me nowadays, a good IEMs is one that does NOT exhibit any of those traits. stability in sound is a feature I value more with passing years. for the er4sr, the sensitivity is a good middle ground so it's unlikely that people would notice any obvious hiss on most DAPs. yet it's really easy to drive. and the impedance is also not so low as to create real problems for the source in most cases. it isn't too much of a mess so you only get a tiny bit more upper frequencies on a sony's 4ohm than on the sansa clip, but it's really hard to notice for a cardboard ear like myself. so yeah if someone believes the new er4 has a signature they'll enjoy(and that's really the main point here IMO), then it's an IEM that will work just fine into most sources and that's a good thing.
the er4s with 100ohm is a very safe bet too as long as we can go loud enough, it makes it relatively easy for the source.

I agree with both. You can take a great DAP and connect gen 1. apple earbuds and hear no difference between the two DAPS's. If you connect a high revealing IEM you can hear the sound signature between the two DAP's, I know I can. All else is true too. Noise floor and etc all add into it all also. You are both right.
 
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:20 PM Post #8,624 of 16,946

luisdent

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Yes that's the sony.

I get no noise on my a17 with er4 of any model.

I don't get any background noises on my sansa either, although I've heard some people do and it's inconsistent. So i guess price might also get you more consistent quality control...

But yes, certain earphones can bring out noise on players that are less than perfect. But i use a shure srh949, er4s/sr/xr, pfe-112 and a few others and the sony a17 is the best portable I've heard so far for the price. And the $300 gets you 64gb with an sd slot.

A lot of people complain, but i absolutely love the interface. There are a few small things like playlists that are different, but i love it overall. 50 hour battery is great. It is very small and light. And while not as small as the clip i find it more easy to use in the hand.

There may be other players, but at $300 retail i think it's a great deal. The sansa clip is too though.
 

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