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If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...

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  1. luisdent
    Just to say one more thing. As a studio engineer who mixes and masters audio, my goal is the same as any other serious engineer/recording technician... that is to get the best possible sound. Any serious musician wanting to record themselves will usually literally spend thousands of dollars to modify their home studio in an attempt to control all of their freuqncies acoustically (prevent bass issue from standing waves, resonances, etc.) Ironically, just as I talk about the bass with the er4, bass in a small studio is the hardest thing to control.

    Anyhow, they try to control these acoustic aspects for a reason. To get closer to flat by studio standards. Is it achievable? Not always. People are limited by their rooms. You can think of the rooms in this example as their ears. Their acoustic space. Earphones remove the room element so your ears become the studio.

    Anyhow, they attempt to get their space as accurate as possible, not only in terms or response, but also decay, reflections, etc.these are known targets. They don't disregard the target because their room is square. And that is one of the worst situations. Instead they do the best they can to deaden the space, add a wall to correct standing waves, whatever... they move closer to the goal.

    Now, not everyone has the resources to get all the way there. And that is why most home recordings don't sound like Nashville. The ones that do usually have a) the best possible sound in their studio, b) help from others, or c) really trained ears/mind that are familiar with the downfalls and differences in many systems and how to best approach them.

    Anyhow, the er4 is the earphone equivalent of this situation. They have gone so far to remove all acoustic issues. The depth and seal are the best way to eliminate bad acoustics from the space (ear canal) even if not everyone has the best studio (ear space). They have pushed the response close to target (like a studio meticulously treating the room). My entire point has simply been they're like a million dollar Nashville studio already. I just want them to upgrade to a 1.5 million dollar studio :wink:
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    episiarch likes this.
  2. luisdent
    In relation to this thread, yes. Most people. Even people who don't think there's enough bass, usually report hearing exceptional response everywhere else. Sometimes that could be fit. Sometimes they aren't spending enough time getting used to deep insertion, sometimes they are and it's simply they expect more bass. Sometimes they're just very critical, and as I said prefer a more accurate bass where the er4 lacks (sub bass). But none of that matters. What matters is that the method is sound (pun intended). They're not going to work for everybody. And that's ok. You can buy other earphones. There are many available. I've just never head anything as good as the er4. And I've heard a lot. You may prefer something else. I get the impression you're taking offense because you think I'm defending that they "should" work for you. That is not what I'm saying.

    If the deep fit and insertion is hard for some, I get it. I've been there. I almost didn't keep my ety originally. But I stuck with it and believe their system is the most ideal given their goal and general earphone limitations. Maybe one day it will be easier to fit with the same predictability. Maybe they will be more on target. But either way, for me, for now, they are the bee's knees. And many others agree. If you don't, no hard feeling intended. Best of luck finding something that does work for you.
  3. Pro-Jules
    I am also a recording studio engineer (check out my personal info here, PM me yours:thumbsup:)
    I also stuck with it and tried ER4-XR in Snugs custom molds - that's worked out great for me.

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  4. HAMS
    I think people need to love upper bass too. I'm tired hearing sub-bass this sub-bass that. lol. Sub bass alone doesn't give body or thicker sound.
  5. zamuz
    Do you guys know if there any plans for a cable with a remote, hopefully Android compatible, for the ER3SE/XR? Hopefully @EtyDave can chime in. I'd love to upgrade but I really want a remote in the cable, and clearly it won't work with any MMCX cable.
  6. castleofargh Contributor
    that's an argument for making sure we're getting a specific signal at the eardrum, but it's also a valid argument against IEM. because they do bypass almost all the HRTF while our brain knows sound only through that and has no other concept of realistic or neutral. we live in our subjective bubble our entire life. not that headphones are doing it right either under the current typical uses, but bypassing the body isn't the bonus you make of it. it only leads to different concerns and averaging of what we expect a human head to do.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    csglinux likes this.
  7. luisdent
    I agree headphones aren't perfect. And those were just illustrations. But I was simply speaking relative to other earphones.
  8. luisdent
    So it sounds like you still lean towards the very target. It just took finding a good fit. :)
  9. edgeworth
    I am not a big fan of any headphones in general and get many different ones because they all bother me in one way or another. The ones that satisfy me most especially when listening to the best recorded classical music are the Etys. Compared to almost everyone on this forum, I am an old fogey -- in tastes more than age. I still hold to the old vision of the original Absolute Sound magazine that the only true test of stereo equipment is its reproduction of acoustic music that can be heard live -- vocals and instruments that are designed and played live with absolutely NO amplification at all. This rules out almost all non-classical music. Even jazz is usually played with some amplification even in small clubs. For my tastes the Etys do best with this test. If that means some rock or pop sounds too harsh or too dull, that is a function of how the music was recorded and much less the fault of the IEMs and I prefer listening to rock this way. I have a variety of IEMs because most bore me after a while but I tend to come back to the Etys as my default, and also when listening to podcasts. Take this endorsement for what it's worth. I suppose for many this would condemn these IEMs as they only judge IEMS using studio manipulated music which has no live equivalent for people to judge. But it is what it is.
    episiarch likes this.
  10. luisdent
    You founded gearslutz? That's awesome. A very awesome resource. I don't use any online "credits" type sites. However, I've worked in a studio environment for a long time, and recently became engineer at a local studio here. I've been recording my entire life, mixing my own music, etc. But I've been the official engineer at flyboy studios for about four years. I've simultaneously being running my own mastering business in the last two.

    My main and only issue with the er4 has always been bass representation. Many may disagree, but as I was saying about people knowing their equipment and the downfalls... I find the er4 series handle low bass EQ pretty well. When I eq back the missing sub bass I am able to use the er4 as an aid. Just another tool in the listening box. Anyone who mixes music who has ever tried to use the er4s/sr specifically, would find it's good in many ways as an aid, but it is very difficult to determine how sub bass will translate to a full range speaker or properly calibrated subwoofer. With the proper eq to neutralize the bass of the er4 it becomes much easier. As you know,it's still not ideal to use earphones, but in my experience, the "overall" sound of the er4 most closely matches a good studio monitor in a reasonably well treated room.

    I have some high end headphones that are known to be very "studio" quality. The hd600, q701, etc. but I'd take any er4 over any of them for accuracy. They may sound more speaker like in some ways, but to me the er4 sounds more reference. I don't generally use eq on the er4, but it would be nice to get the bass perfect without needing any eq.

    But I'm still extremely happy with the er4 series. Hence why I have them all. Ha. They are a superb earphone, really for a pretty incredible price.
  11. luisdent
    I pretty much agree with this. And not to sound snobby, but I really don't listen to much music that I don't think is well produced. That is as much of what I enjoy about music as is the melody and lyrics or whatever else. At heart, I primarily listen to the "sound" of a song. The mix of instrumentation, the sonic beauty. There are exceptions, but because of this the etsy work well for me. They simply reveal the bad quality of a lot of recordings that aren't recorded well. But I generally don't buy headphones to color things in order to mask bad recordings. In fact the etter the recording the better it will sound on a more neutral speaker/earphone in my opinion. Binaural recordings are a treat too.
  12. edgeworth
    I agree, but I also like a lot of music that unfortunately was very badly recorded, much as I love great sound. So in those cases it is handy to have "colored" equipment to make these sound tolerable. But often, straight is still best.
  13. Hadden
    I did not give my Ety er3xr enough of a chance and sold them quickly. Did not know about the finicky fit. They sounded weird and thin. I will have to try again except the Etymotic stuff is expensive in Canada with exchange. For my ears most headphones are bassy and I do not understand the mass preference for that voicing. I have been trying iems as a change recently and they all so far have a muddy goopy sort of sound. Or with some balance issue making them unusable.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  14. luisdent
    The irony is that the "mass" preference never made sense to me. The are so many bass heavy headphones you would assume everyone loves them. While many may, there have been studies by Harman that show that when people are shown a more neutral response next to a bassier response, the participants unanimously preferred the neutral response.

    There are so many other factors, but that's at least interesting. Maybe bad sound isn't so bad to some people if the bass relaxes the tone by masking some of the treble unevenness? Who knows.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  15. betula
    I think you should give them another try with proper fit/seal. Proper insertion can be a bit finicky at first. All the IEMs I tried under $500 sounded too (mid)bassy to me as well. I only heard $1500-2000 IEMs with many balanced armature drivers that I found well-balanced enough. I would never spend that much money on IEMs (I much prefer headphones). To me the ER3XR has plenty of bass and I don't find them thin at all. It is like a glass of fresh water in the syrupy ocean of coloured/bassy affordable IEMs. For this price the ER3/ER4 are exceptional value on the overcrowded and ever-growing IEM market. One just have to get used to the deep fit. I am used to sleeping with earplugs, so for me this deep fit wasn't an issue.
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