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

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  1. carmatic
    a point that i would like to argue about is how people are feeling low frequency on their skins
    this implies that a loudspeaker is being used and actual sound waves are propagating through the air , and hitting our entire bodies and not just our ears.... below a certain frequency, the lack of attenuation as the sound passes through our heads, as well as the lack of phase difference due to the distance between our ears compared to the wavelengths, makes it impossible to distinguish the direction of the sound... thats why you can put a subwoofer to one side and it doesnt matter, but also thats why people think that low frequency matching doesnt matter either

    with IEM's , there isnt so much sound waves as there is an almost direct coupling between the drivers and the eardrums, and the sound image we get is directly depedent on the quality of the drivers, and not on any external physical phenomena
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  2. SilentNote
    Do you even read what's in your box. There's literally a slip in the ER4SR product box that shows the channel matching of your drivers, and some audio engineer in Etymotic even signed it as passing their +/- 1 dB channel matching from 100 Hz - 10,000 Hz.

    Your ER4SR passes their "quality tests".


    Actually I just had a thought. Did you try swapping the L / R of the drivers and see if the channel mismatch still persists on the same side? For all you know, you could have developed hearing loss on one side that causes the mismatched sound. Especially when you say so many pairs have the same problem.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  3. ClieOS Contributor
    Lets take a step back and sum up what we have discussed so far:
    1) You believe you have ruled out any other possibility but a driver mismatch under 100Hz.
    2) You seem to be the only one that has suffered from this issue, multiple times nonetheless.
    3) If it is indeed a defect, though some would argue otherwise, the best and probably the only option to fix this issue is to contact Etymotic for either repair or replacement, which you seem to be either unwilling or can't do, thus making the continuation of discussion a moot point.
    4) If it is not a defect at all but just you being super duper unlucky, even though you might like to insist otherwise, the continuation of discussion is still a moot point since I don't believe anyone in Head-fi knows how to fix luck.

    So I wonder, what is the point of us keep discussing this issue of yours that won't in anyway improves your situation? If it is (3), then you already know who you should be really talking to. If it is (4), then perhaps just stop buying Etymotic?
  4. carmatic
    i have run both drivers off a single channel , attached to the same eartip,and measured the relative frequency response with REW , and i have measured a difference in response below ~65hz

    thats the thing, i think that the lack of matching down to the lowest frequencies is based on a misconception that low frequency matching is not necessary , not just in IEM's but in all other personal audio devices, just because they are not needed in loudspeakers
    and if i can measure the difference with a very cheap microphone, surely it is not going to be a technical limitation of a professional artificial ear
  5. carmatic
    as for getting in touch with Etymotic, some years ago I have indeed sent an ER-4 back to them, to which they responded by saying that they could not find anything wrong with it, but were kind enough to send a replacement pair back to me anyway, which just happens to have a less severe mismatch
    these mismatches would not be considered 'defects' because, as per the specifications, the matching only goes down to 100hz
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  6. SilentNote
    Human ability to localize sounds at low frequency is very poor. It's not a misconception, as long as the mismatch is not 10db or something stupid, very close low frequency matching is not necessary indeed.

    Good thing you didn't answer the question about checking your own hearing; instead relying on "measurements" that aren't even with calibrated equipment, proper tools and testing methodology to "demonstrate" a "defect", and creating anxiety for yourself because an "unprofessional artificial ear" could "detect" a difference.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  7. HAMS
    You could just said you already swapped the left and right bud and make sure it's not your ear. People would stop arguing.
  8. castleofargh Contributor
    he did several times ^_^. people just keep asking him the same question so it takes longer.
  9. ClieOS Contributor
    If I recall correctly, you have been chasing this ghost of driver mismatching for a few months now, haven't you? So far you seems to be the only person who have the problem - and given this thread is probably the most active Etymotic discussion thread across the whole internet, which makes it the most possible place any other person who has the same issue will come to ask for help, I think it is reasonable to assume you are most likely an outlier in the sea of Etymotic users, and we are speaking perhaps the 0.1%, 0.01% or even 0.001% of all users out there. Remember, Etymotic already has one of the tightest matching standard in the industry, what you are asking is essentially wanting Etymotic to match every IEM from 20Hz to 20KHz - which is unheard of in any mass produced headphones. What you are asking for can only be done in super expensive hand crafted headphone or custom IEM that probably only being sold a handful every week if not every month, not something that comes out of a factory a few hundreds if not a few thousands every days. Also, do not forget that I have mentioned in the past reply, no professional headphone measuring equipment (i.e. artificial ears,etc) makers have ever made products that claim to accurately measure sub-bass (and upper treble).

    That being said, I think we still reach the same conclusion that the discussion is a moot point. Most of us have no driver matching problem and doesn't require Etymotic to improve what already seems to work out just fine for us. On the other hand, what you have is an individual incident that can't be resolved by talking about it. The industry isn't going to change how it operates just because a single person disagrees with it, especially since the change is costly and doesn't bring any obvious benefit.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
    SilentNote and panasonicst60 like this.
  10. SilverEars
    If not the hearing sensitivity, it's the fit. I know my ears aren't symmetric as I had times when eartips of the same size didn't fit both ears well. Also, I've been having issue with fit with Ety as well. This can effect perception of bass I noticed, especially if both sides are not getting the same fit, then one side will sound reduced in the lows, or imbalanced on both sides.

    I think people can have hearing imbalance just from left and right canals having some geometric differences. But, this is something our brains adjust over time?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  11. SilentNote
    He never answers the question directly though. Only that "he eliminated every other factor other than the drivers themselves", what that means is entirely up to his, your and my interpretation.

    To me, it means that he unplugged the L / R driver, swapped it around, then put it back into his "unprofessional measuring tool" and ran the "measurements" again. Then getting the result that is similar but reversed for the L / R channel.

    That is of course, not helpful for diagnosing the problem if he has recently grown a brain tumor that is compressing on his auditory nerves. You see, he'll need to swap the drivers, then stick it in his ears and see if he can detect the channel mismatch. For the purpose of discussion say if originally the L side was softer, after the swap, the R side became softer. However if after the swap the L side was still softer, that means he'll need to get a medical examination done, there are medical conditions that can cause mismatched hearing and doctors actually check for this as an early sign for several medical problems.

    Of course, best to do a single blinded test and have a friend / family member do the driver swapping without his knowledge and see if he is still able to identify the softer / louder side correctly about 10/10 times.

    If he is able to pass the single blinded test, and it still bothers him, the only solution left is - play the low frequency matched channel matched lottery game, or find a custom IEM maker that will tune the channels to the level of matching he desires.

    Regardless, my point is that +/- 1.5 db mismatch under 100 Hz is not a legitimate concern for just about everyone out there. I myself have a hard time distinguishing +/- 0.5db at 440 Hz using a very sensitive volume changing sine tone ABX test. Doing this same thing more than 3 octaves lower at 50 Hz is unthinkable, especially without a level change, and just detecting it casually after plugging into the ears.

    P/S: I legit missed JohnYang's post that also suspected his hearing instead of the drivers.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  12. JohnYang1997
    Try to use APO and tone generator to balance the bass in your ears then see if you can confirm that it's matched with measurements. I suspect that the difference you hear is actually what you measured.
  13. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    Comments anybody? :joy:
  14. JohnYang1997
    Maybe verify by tone generator. I tried several similar modification a few years back. They create 13khz peak in my ear. So this doesn't work for me. On top of that, deeper isn't better. It's desired frequency response at designed acoustic volume. I could certainly push deeper with the dual flange mod and have excess energy around 13khz-16khz and a bit recessed around 8khz-10khz.
  15. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    The thing is, I certainly can't get deep enough with any usual sane tip configuration. I do get a bit of a peak at 13kHz this way but better than the big peak at around 7kHz I usually get. Besides, there's less music at 13kHz than at 7kHz, and even less sensitivity by my old ears :laughing:
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