If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...
Aug 18, 2016 at 4:26 PM Post #9,137 of 17,432

TheDreamthinker

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I'm looking forward to it! 

 
I have not forgotten that I have the opportunity to own these wonderful ER4s (bottom left) thanks to you.  
Thanks again.
 
The place I am currently at, has a fairly extensive line of IEMs (incl. entire UE-line, JHA-line, Ocharakus and more).
 
If anyone is looking for a particular comparison, I can try to give my opinion should the IEM involved be available for audition (& you can stand form of writing). Requests are welcome. No guarantees.
 ​
- Disclaimer: As a matter of principle I generally try to avoid comparing IEMs to (full-sized) headphones and vice versa -​
 
Aug 18, 2016 at 5:26 PM Post #9,138 of 17,432

thefitz

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This cable marking business is really an issue, eh?

The freaking markings are raised and they're only on one side of the cable! If you're going to put a driver in your right ear with your right hand can't can't feel a little roughness under your thumb, put it in your left ear. Then put the other one in the other ear. Yikes.
 
Aug 18, 2016 at 8:32 PM Post #9,139 of 17,432

luisdent

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This cable marking business is really an issue, eh?

The freaking markings are raised and they're only on one side of the cable! If you're going to put a driver in your right ear with your right hand can't can't feel a little roughness under your thumb, put it in your left ear. Then put the other one in the other ear. Yikes.


I personally have a very hard time feeling either mark on the er4sr. I have to use the tip of my fingernail to very carefully rub a few times and hopefully feel the marks on one of them, and I don't have much fingernails. Everyone is different I'm sure. I try, believe me i do, but it isn't easy, and I don't like wasting time trying to figure it out every single time.

The colors work well for me, as does adding heatshrink or tape or glue to feel it easier... If there was a small dot on only one ear that would be my ideal solution. A more tactile bump on one ear, right under one of the l/r markings. Then it would take one try to feel an obvious bump with just your finger (not even a nail) and if you feel it it's one side, if you don't it's the other side...

But even with all this talk and the suggestions, it isn't a big deal to me. I can mod it myself, and i still haven't cared enough to, although i might. I'm more giving constructive criticism in case the redesign the cable...
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 2:21 AM Post #9,140 of 17,432

pkshan

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The ER4SR is super.
On my TDA1540 DAC, it beats my vintage Telefunken Alnico speakers & headphones,
the ER4SR is better in almost every aspect, very smooth, delicate​ & real.
 
ER4SR > vintage Alnico > Electrostatic, in terms of sound quality, timbre and accuracy.
it's the best transducer on earth? unbelievable
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 3:10 AM Post #9,141 of 17,432

pkshan

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Quote:
   
I actually think the ER4B is still available.  I have not heard about it being discontinued.  I expect we will continue to make it as long as people want to buy it.  If demand is high enough, I wouldn't be surprised to see us bring it over to the new line, but we will have to see; it generally doesn't sell as well as the other models.
 
The change in response happened years ago.  It was actually based on a number of studies and wasn't made casually.
 
The ER4B is often preferred for binaural recordings (which are recorded to be played back on headphones).  Unfortunately, the ER4B (which was the first model and originally just called the ER4) wasn't very well received by many listeners who complained that it was simply too bright with the music that they listen to.  Realistically, how many people listen to binaural recordings as their primary source of music?  There are people out there, but it isn't the majority of listeners.  The vast majority of people get their music from commercial recordings, which have been recorded so that they sound good on loudspeakers placed in a room.
 
Etymotic did a write-up of this back in 1993.  Below is a very short excerpt from the original write-up: 
 
"Most stereo recordings have been equalized--electronically or by choice of microphone type and placement--to sound good with mainstream "good" loudspeakers in typical living rooms.  Roy Allison's recent data on living rooms is consistent with Harry Olsen's earlier data:  A reverberation time of 0.4 to 0.5 seconds at low frequencies, 0.3 seconds at mid frequencies, and 0.1 to 0.2 seconds at high frequencies.  Thus even a loudspeaker with a perfectly flat power output would show a room response down 4-5 dB at roughly 10 kHz relative to mid-band, and few loudspeakers meet the goal of a flat power response at high frequencies.  It appears that a net loudspeaker-room response that rolls off 5-8 dB at 10 kHz is typical in practice."
 
Because of this high frequency equalization, most commercial recordings end up sounding too bright on the ER4B.  For what it's worth, when I referenced Tom Holman's X-Curve (from THX) matching our target curve.  It actually closely mirrors our modified target not the original diffuse field Kemar target response.
 

 

How about when listen to those high quality ,neutral recordings?
when  I listen to ER4S, the 6k-10k roll off makes the music lost energy, the sound is flat, boring, I felt asleep when i listen to it.
because the mid high roll off destroyed the music instrument harmonics, it changed the timbre.
music is not engaging, and this kills it for me.
 
I am sorry, I can't agree with you on this. and I think you're lying on this :wink:
The real issue of ER4B, is the 2khz & 14-16khz peaks, those peaks cause the real problem. not 6khz-10khz.
try use a EQ, lower 2khz and 14-16khz about 5-10 dB, and see it. it won't sound too bright anymore.
 
(These resistors, capacitors in ER4B/S/P are causing some sound issues too,
I am happy to see Ety removed them on the new ER4SR,
an accurate sound is not just about frequency response, for example: the quality of harmonic/timbre, I hope Ety will understand this)
 

 
Aug 19, 2016 at 8:27 AM Post #9,143 of 17,432

EtyDave

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How about when listen to those high quality ,neutral recordings?
when  I listen to ER4S, the 6k-10k roll off makes the music lost energy, the sound is flat, boring, I felt asleep when i listen to it.
because the mid high roll off destroyed the music instrument harmonics, it changed the timbre.
music is not engaging, and this kills it for me.
 
I am sorry, I can't agree with you on this. and I think you're lying on this :wink:
The real issue of ER4B, is the 2khz & 14-16khz peaks, those peaks cause the real problem. not 6khz-10khz.
try use a EQ, lower 2khz and 14-16khz about 5-10 dB, and see it. it won't sound too bright anymore.
 
(These resistors, capacitors in ER4B/S/P are causing some sound issues too,
I am happy to see Ety removed them on the new ER4SR,
an accurate sound is not just about frequency response, for example: the quality of harmonic/timbre, I hope Ety will understand this)
 

 
I'm really glad you like the ER4B.  While it's not as popular as the other varieties of ER4, the ER4B fans tend to be very passionate about it. 
 
The anatomy of the human ear creates a resonant peak at 2.7-2.8 kHz (on average).  This can be confirmed (and has been by many people) with probe measurements at the ear drum.  If you have a deep insertion earphone, you lose that resonance and the earphone needs to put it back in.  Now, that accounts for for why it's there, but does not account for individual preferences.  If one prefers to reduce the peak via EQ (or higher value damper) there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
 
The peak at 16kHz seems unnatural high on that particular graph.  Did they say which artificial ear simulator (or coupler) they used to make that measurement?
 
Etymotic Stay updated on Etymotic at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.etymotic.com/
Aug 19, 2016 at 9:39 AM Post #9,144 of 17,432

castleofargh

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  Wow. Is the ER4SR really that good?

when somebody who just got a device tells you it's the best stuff in the world, you have to hurry and.. forget you ever saw such feedback.
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 2:22 PM Post #9,145 of 17,432

Marc Lian

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 ​
- ER4XR First Impressions (& UERR comparison) - 
 ​
Many pages ago, I asked whether upgrading to an ER4XR was worth it. And now i feel i can begin to answer my own question.
And from my initial impressions, possibly yes indeed.
Etymotic Research seems to have addressed some (not all) of the issues which held it back from becoming possibly my long-term IEM. 
As has been said many many times in this thread, they seem to have extended and empasised the low end, giving the ER4, the body it (sorely) lacked in many tracks. And they implemented it in such a way, that makes the bass and its renewed extention only fully apparent when pushed and asked for. Especially in electronic music this becomes evident - where some lower frequency layers and samples are almost completely lost on the ER4s, the XR can show parts it you didn't know where there when only listening to the ER4s. When not asked to show this aspect of the sound, this bass extention is hardly apparent, making certain bass-light songs sound almost identical to how they sound on the ER4s.
 
While the bass 'problem' has been addressed, other grips with the ER4s remain, such as the small soundstage and non-satisfying instrument placement and layering. But these issues can probably traced back to the lack of air which simply is inherited due to the ventless, high isolation design.
 
Directly comparing the ER4XR to the UERR (demo) was very interesting and did not do well to the my image of the UERR. In comparison the UERR did not seem ahead (if at all) from the ER4s/XR in terms of detail and treble implementation. It did improve, to a certain degree in terms of soundstage and imaging, but not to a degree I would have expected given my very fond but old memories of the UERM before I owned the ER4s. Outside of that the UERR seems to have a lot in common with the (much cheaper) ER4XR in terms of overall tonality and perceived target demographic.
 
This being said, I don't think I will be upgrading my ER4s to the ER4XR, simply because I find buying the same IEM twice, is not an efficient use of my resources. I can attest that the XR is without a doubt an improvement to the ER4s, but they remain close siblings, with the ER4XR basically being a more versatile version of its older sibling. For the same price, one can purchase other IEMs which potentially compensate for the ER4s' shortcomings better than the ER4XR, while at the same time not being as good as the ER4 in terms of detail and treble extention.
The InEar Stagediver 2 comes to mind in this regard.
 
Due to time constraints (i was the last to leave the store) I was not able to compare them to the ER4SR, but will do so in the coming days, as I return to do more auditioning.

 
Thanks for this even though I wished I hadn't read it, haha. I am a new owner of the UERR and I use it for music production work, I've never tried the Etymotic earphones but have been interested in them for awhile as they seem to be good value for money. I guess the comfort was an issue I was worried about, seeing as how those tips look really intrusive and scary.
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 3:55 PM Post #9,146 of 17,432

luisdent

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For the same price, one can purchase other IEMs which potentially compensate for the ER4s' shortcomings better than the ER4XR


Not sure which iems... Sure there are models with more sub bass, but awful treble, or more this or that... But I've rarely found an iem other than the er4sr and pfe112 that are nearly, relatively equal in quality of neutrality...

But i guess that depends on whether you're looking for an "improvement" or just a different sound signature... Even considering the fact that I like the pfe112 a lot, and that it has a wider more spacious soundstage in some regards, i wouldn't buy it to compensate for the er4s' lack of soundstage (not that i find this is true). Because i would then be trading one flaw for another.

While I'm not saying there is anything wrong with swapping to different earphones to get aspects of the sound you like in each... It doesn't seem very logical to me to say you should buy something alternate to the er4sr to make up for some aspect that is lacking at the cost of other areas of sound, when the er4sr is an actual improvement on the er4s. In other words you can compare the er4s to the pfe and say they are roughly equal but in different ways. If that's true the er4sr is better than both of them... So it's not a fair comparison.

Again, yes, it depends on what you're looking for, but i believe anyone that likes the er4s will like the er4sr... Probably more. So i say upgrading isn't "buying the same iem twice." Its a new, better iem. Both physically and sonically.

That is all. :p

(Don't mean to sound harsh, just saying...). :)
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 5:04 PM Post #9,147 of 17,432

TheDreamthinker

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Thanks for this even though I wished I hadn't read it, haha. I am a new owner of the UERR and I use it for music production work, I've never tried the Etymotic earphones but have been interested in them for awhile as they seem to be good value for money. I guess the comfort was an issue I was worried about, seeing as how those tips look really intrusive and scary.

 Just doing my job of spoiling other people's fun 
wink.gif
.
 
As I stated, I do not own the UERR (or any other custom for that matter). The piece i compared the ER4XR to, is a universal demo model, which is said to compare the sound.
In case you get the opportunity to audition and compare the ER4 in person, your opinion is probably worth more than mine.
 
Would love to hear that. BTW, did you own and can compare the UERR to the UERM, this is really confusing me.
 
First impressions are very likely to change over time, would I own them.
 
Not sure which iems... Sure there are models with more sub bass, but awful treble, or more this or that... But I've rarely found an iem other than the er4sr and pfe112 that are nearly, relatively equal in quality of neutrality...

But i guess that depends on whether you're looking for an "improvement" or just a different sound signature... Even considering the fact that I like the pfe112 a lot, and that it has a wider more spacious soundstage in some regards, i wouldn't buy it to compensate for the er4s' lack of soundstage (not that i find this is true). Because i would then be trading one flaw for another.

While I'm not saying there is anything wrong with swapping to different earphones to get aspects of the sound you like in each... It doesn't seem very logical to me to say you should buy something alternate to the er4sr to make up for some aspect that is lacking at the cost of other areas of sound, when the er4sr is an actual improvement on the er4s. In other words you can compare the er4s to the pfe and say they are roughly equal but in different ways. If that's true the er4sr is better than both of them... So it's not a fair comparison.

Again, yes, it depends on what you're looking for, but i believe anyone that likes the er4s will like the er4sr... Probably more. So i say upgrading isn't "buying the same iem twice." Its a new, better iem. Both physically and sonically.

That is all. :p

(Don't mean to sound harsh, just saying...). :)

 
I understand your point.
And I have watched all your reviews and know how highly you think of the entire ER4 line and 'neutrality' in general.
 
As I wrote in the end, I was specifically talking about the ER4XR not SR. I did not audition them the former due to time constraints, but will do in the near future.
 
That being said, assuming this was a typo on your end, I think there are to things which make me not share your approach:
 
  • I was discussing the ER4s in the context of a potential upgrade to the ER4XR. This was not a cost-effective improvement as, to me, the lower regions have been improved in impact, extension (from almost non-existent), but not the highs, making them fairly similar on tracks which are not mastered to emphasise bass response. In that way both sound very similar (almost identical) on some/most tracks. And this is not the paradigm,and character shift i'd expect to justify a $300-$400 purchase.
  • This brings me to which i believe is a different approach to this hobby as a whole. In my experience with IEMs (in particular), I have not yet experienced 'the holy grail' (like most people) and have resigned myself to the fact that no such IEM probably exists at any price range. A good example is the KSE1500, which is without a doubt a truly good IEM (possibly the best I have heard to date), but would not the be all and end all for me. In this respect IEMs are like cars, which are also designed for different terrains and the ability to travers a vast range of terrain, hinges upon having the car which was designed with said terrain in mind. A race car, might be great on a paved roads of the Nürnburgring, but useless in the mountains of Nepal. This is where tuning comes in, but this is a story for another time....
 
Ergo, I am currently not looking for an ideal IEM, but rather a specific tag-team which can cover all fronts, while (inevitably) sacrificing others.
Said team, is an ever shifting and changing composition, but might look somewhat like this:
  • Etymotic Research ER4 - for analytical listening (neglecting bass)
  • In Ear StageDiver SD2 - for fun listening (neglecting treble, both in resolution and sparkle)
  • Ocharaku ____ (Sakura or lower end bretherin) - for natural and airy sound (as a middle ground between those other two)
 
Add another UERM or others in the mix and I should have a team which can cover 85% of cases of music genres adequately. The above trinity can be had for around $1000 (when bought at the right places) and would possibly be more versatile than any single IEM above that price.
But that ER4XR was still possibly the most versatile I have heard to date in that price range. 
 
I feel what I wrote is obvious and probably not even worth reading, but this is the impression I get from your post and videos.
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 8:37 PM Post #9,148 of 17,432

Marc Lian

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I can't find much info about the drivers in the ER4 variants. I know that they are balanced armature types but are they just one driver configurations?

I read that Etymotic believes the lack of crossovers and driver networks is a plus point. While other IEM manufacturers think the opposite and try to tack on as many drivers as possible, curious to know which school of thought is better.
 
Aug 19, 2016 at 8:45 PM Post #9,149 of 17,432

Matte82

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I'm by no means an expert, but have been around and studied sound systems, for a while now. IMO and generally speaking, I tend to be of the camp that simpler is better. Everything that's in the signal path can "color" the signal. Sometimes in good ways. Sometimes in bad. Sometimes in unperceptable ways. So the less chances there are for the signal to be altered is the way I approach things. Which is better? Depends.
 

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