If you still love Etymotic ER4, this is the thread for you...
Aug 12, 2019 at 2:43 PM Post #13,966 of 19,241
I have 3xr and love them. Not sure whether to get 4sr or 4xr as an upgrade. I love metal, rock, classical and jazz
 
Aug 12, 2019 at 2:56 PM Post #13,968 of 19,241
Thanks, that sounds like good advice. It's funny how people struggle for comfort with etys. I find them more comfortable than normal iems. I have narrow ear canals, not sure if that makes a difference
 
Aug 12, 2019 at 4:02 PM Post #13,969 of 19,241
Good morning from office with my old and faithful ER-4P, wishing a great week to all Etyheads!

May supreme isolation and holy accuracy be with you :ksc75smile:



hi :floatsmile:

9940948_l.jpg
 
Aug 13, 2019 at 8:14 AM Post #13,971 of 19,241
From last checking of several IEM measurement equipment maker, none of them really have accurate measurement over bass and upper treble region due to technical constraint of artificial ears. If very accurate measurement can not be done, then it is impossible to fully match the channels over these regions.

using a desktop microphone with an electret mic, i was able to detect the discrepancy between my drivers
my method was to use the REW program to test each driver, testing them with the same eartip, as well as disconnecting and reconnecting them to the same channel, so that variations between eartips and between the channels of the amplifier are avoided... each driver is tested 3 times, by removing them and reinserting them onto the earpiece, so that variations between insertions can be accounted for
as you can see, its obvious from the graphs that 3 of them are different from the other 3
test.jpg 20190813_140311[1].jpg 20190813_140418[1].jpg rew.png [
 
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Aug 13, 2019 at 8:18 AM Post #13,972 of 19,241
QUOTE="ClieOS, post: 14635758, member: 11725"]From last checking of several IEM measurement equipment maker, none of them really have accurate measurement over bass and upper treble region due to technical constraint of artificial ears. If very accurate measurement can not be done, then it is impossible to fully match the channels over these regions.

using a desktop microphone with an electret mic, i was able to detect the discrepancy between my drivers
my method was to use the REW program to test each driver, by alternating between the drivers 3 times, so that variations as a result of insertion are accounted for
as you can see, its obvious from the graphs that 3 of them are different from the other 3
Contact etymotic directly for that. You should get a new pair.
 
Aug 13, 2019 at 9:00 AM Post #13,973 of 19,241
Contact etymotic directly for that. You should get a new pair.
unfortunately because i have no fixed address, the logistics of sending and receiving things from Etymotic are difficult for me... plus, even though this is the first time i have used this test setup, i could hear the same bass imbalance in all 3 of the Etymotic ER-4 series that i bought new, as well as both of the replacements they have sent me over the last few years, as well as my current pair of ER-3XR's

all i hope for is for other people to replicate my test, so that i know that im not going crazy

software used:


hardware used:
  • cheap desktop mic, usually if they are slim and small, they are of the electret type, and if the girth of the mouthpiece seems to be the same as your finger, it means the actual electret mic inside will be around the same cross section area as your ear canals, which is important for the fit on the eartips.... you will have to remove some of the outer plastic to expose the actual mic itself, but leave enough structure to hold the mic in place when you are attaching and removing the driver you are testing
  • flexible clear tubing, normally used for water, it should have the correct diameter to fit onto the electret mic's metal body, cut to 2cm, enough length to cover the eartip and the electret mic
  • superglue, to hold the mic onto the remnants of the plastic housing, as well as to hold the tubing onto the mic
for testing Etymotic ER-series earphones:
  • 1x ER38-14F black foam eartip, maybe the silicon tips can work too depending on the size of the mic and tubing, and do not expose the foam to any un-dried superglue
for testing other earphones:
  • a stereo-to-mono adapter, to eliminate the variations between amplifier channels, since other earphones are generally not symmetric and interchangeable like the ER-series
  • lubricant, to ease the ingress and egress of the eartip, for earphones with specific left and right side eartips
 
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Aug 13, 2019 at 9:06 AM Post #13,974 of 19,241
using a desktop microphone with an electret mic, i was able to detect the discrepancy between my drivers
my method was to use the REW program to test each driver, testing them with the same eartip, as well as disconnecting and reconnecting them to the same channel, so that variations between eartips and between the channels of the amplifier are avoided... each driver is tested 3 times, by removing them and reinserting them onto the earpiece, so that variations between insertions can be accounted for
as you can see, its obvious from the graphs that 3 of them are different from the other 3
[

There is a lot of artifact in your graph that might have came from the mic or the setup instead of the IEM itself, such as the spike on 50Hz. But let assuming the artifact is indeed the problem of the mic and just purely consider the comparison between the two channels - I can see the biggest gap is probably around 40Hz and it is about 1dB to 1.5dB or so - I am not sure how tight Etymotic tolerance is over sub-bass region, but the mismatch is actually not that bad as far as IEM matching goes and typically this will pass as a match for most IEM out there, consider that 3dB is usually recognized as the smallest difference most people can distinguish, and also that human usually don't 'hear' sub-bass on ear drum as much as they 'feel' it over their skin. Nevertheless, you can try to present your case to Etymotic and perhaps they will do an exchange for you.
 
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Aug 13, 2019 at 9:08 AM Post #13,975 of 19,241
unfortunately because i have no fixed address, the logistics of sending and receiving things from Etymotic are difficult for me... plus, even though this is the first time i have used this test setup, i could hear the same bass imbalance in all 3 of the Etymotic ER-4 series that i bought new, as well as both of the replacements they have sent me over the last few years, as well as my current pair of ER-3XR's

Is it always on the same side, even if you swap the driver around?
 
Aug 13, 2019 at 9:18 AM Post #13,976 of 19,241
Is it always on the same side, even if you swap the driver around?
the first thing i do when i hear a difference is detach the drivers and swap them around, and it is by doing this that i am certain that the bass responses differ between the drivers
i have even removed the drivers , put them down, and picked them up and reattached them blindly, so that i am sure that i am not biased based on the serial number on them... and i could identify the different drivers by the bass response alone
 
Aug 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM Post #13,977 of 19,241
There is a lot of artifact in your graph that might have came from the mic or the setup instead of the IEM itself, such as the spike on 50Hz. But let assuming the artifact is indeed the problem of the mic and just purely consider the comparison between the two channels
such is the scale of the problem that even with all the artifacting from the setup, the difference is still clearly visible
i would have expected that, being that i have spent 100x more money on the earphones than the mic, any flaws in the earphones would be masked by the flaws in the mic, but that is not the case
 
Aug 13, 2019 at 9:57 AM Post #13,978 of 19,241
i could mitigate the problem by using equalizer APO, and its ability to selectively equalize one channel across all the programs in windows, including the test program
rew apo.png
there is still what looks like a 1db difference above 80hz , this is possibly imbalance from the amplifier since i am testing across both channels now, but with more adjustments in equalizer APO that can be solved as well, and my listening experience is much improved, at least when im on my computer

perhaps this method can apply to every IEM out there? so that we can have objectively matched sound
 
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Aug 13, 2019 at 10:07 AM Post #13,979 of 19,241
I can see the biggest gap is probably around 40Hz and it is about 1dB to 1.5dB or so - I am not sure how tight Etymotic tolerance is over sub-bass region, but the mismatch is actually not that bad as far as IEM matching goes and typically this will pass as a match for most IEM out there, consider that 3dB is usually recognized as the smallest difference most people can distinguish
also remember that the mic is not calibrated, and we dont know about the linearity of its response, and from the curvature of the graph, the mic seems less sensitive on the low end, the test is about the relative responses of the drivers, not the true output
so a 1db - 1.5db difference on this part of the graph might actually be more than that in real life
 
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Aug 13, 2019 at 10:07 AM Post #13,980 of 19,241
i could mitigate the problem by using equalizer APO, and its ability to selectively equalize one channel across all the programs in windows, including the test program

there is still what looks like a 1db difference above 80hz , this is possibly imbalance from the amplifier since i am testing across both channels now, but with more adjustments in equalizer APO that can be solved as well, and my listening experience is much improved, at least when im on my computer

perhaps this method can apply to every IEM out there? so that we can have objectively matched sound
Since you said that 3 pairs of etymotic iems have same "issue" I guess it's your ears. Or maybe you didn't fit them correctly. There is very low chance that they all becomes imbalance. Also remember that er4 series is hand matched. It's very low possibility it's the iem themselves. You may try different amplifiers, swap left and right drivers, different songs(or tone generators) etc.
 

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