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

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  1. earplug
    So what do you think of the cable? Thinking of getting one myself. I've been looking for a 2.5mm balanced cable for my ER3XR, but don't know what to get. I've seen some out there, but couldn't find any reviews or impressions on them.

    Is the MMCX connection a snug fit like the default cable? Do the notches line up perfectly? I'm worried about the drivers annoyingly spinning around.

    Also, I asked them if I can get the cable without the memory wire, and they said they can remove it.
  2. ClieOS Contributor

    Just built another cable.
  3. Colors
    I’m listening to my ER4SR + Chord Mojo + TIDAL and I think you can get 90% of IEM HiFi here. But we spend thousands for that last 5-10% =P

    But ya, really good music can be had for <$1000 with this setup.
  4. SilentNote
    Heck I run my ER4SR directly through my phone. The convenience and portability can’t be beat for a sound quality that even more expensive setups may not surpass.
  5. jdmoorman
    I like the cable, it is well made with quality components and sounds good.
    The angled MMCX connector fits well and has the ety index notch - a solid connection.
    Their angled MMCX connector is a little longer than ety's, which will allow a slightly deeper insertion, if that matters to you.
    Mine came without the memory wire.

    The only tiff I have is that the connector images shows an angled 2.5mm plug and I received a straight plug. It's a high quality metal (vs. molded) plug, but I don't like the way it sticks out of the DAP.

    The only other 2.5mm balanced to ety MCX cable I've found is from LunaShops. I like the Null-Audio one better.
    earplug likes this.
  6. Spie1904
    I have extremely small ear canals, what tips would you guys recommend to get to try with my etymotic er4sr? :)
  7. AudioNoob
    @JohnYang1997 if you don't mind, how do the er2se / xr compare to the hf2/5. I thought I could ask you since you had them all. I tried the er4xr once and returned them because there was too much bass bleed onto the lower mids that made them feel veiled (haha, I guess I'm not a basshead) but I wouldn't mind a touch more reach in the low end then hf2. Does the er2se's dynamic carry a little more weight in that end?
  8. episiarch Contributor
    I'm a neutral-signature person, and I recommend ER4-SR. To me ER4XR sounds Just Plain Wrong. (I didn't like ER-4P either.) For me it has that uncanny-valley problem where it sounds almost right, until you get to a low note that is just wildly (to me) overrepresented in the mix, and then the illusion of reality shatters.

    Mine's pretty clearly a minority opinion — lots of people love the XR — but I figure you might as well have the minority report in addition to the more widely held opinion.

    In answer to a couple of your other questions,

    1. How will they sound with Fiio M6

    I can't really speak to ER4-XR here, but I'll answer in terms of ER4-SR. Also, for some people "easy to drive" is pretty much an is-it-loud-enough question, while to others it's a how-well-does-it-approach-the-sound-it'd-have-with-a-proper-amp question. I'm in the latter camp.

    I don't have an M6, but my Shanling UP2 has comparable output power (67 and 70 mw respectively into 32 ohms), and drives the SR to more than sufficient volume.

    Sound quality with that output power limit, though, is not up to my standards. The sound's not terrible by any means, but there's just not enough amp power to make the SR perform properly, and to me it's just lethargic and unsatisfying. (So what's the minimum? I don't know, but I have another device that does 130mw into 32 ohms and drives 4SR gloriously.)

    You know what does sound great with ~70mw output power? ER3-SE. Absolutely fantastic, and to my ears it thoroughly trounces the 4SR when you only have 70mw to work with. And when you do have a good amp, 3SE still is not at all a bad alternative to 4SR, with 3SE the "warmer" of the pair and 4SR the more "objective" of the pair.

    2. Custom molds

    Ety custom molds can sound great. Over the years I've gotten 5 custom molds made for Etys, and one custom mold for something else. In my experience what distinguishes the great-sounding ones from the bleah-sounding ones is the rigidity of the material. Stiff silicone sounds fine. Squishy, pliable silicone seems to preferentially soak up highs and messes with the clean, spacious airiness and precise timbral reproduction I treasure Etys for. So if you consider customs, I really recommend investigating the materials choices and opting for high rigidity.

    But all the customs add a few mm of extra travel to the sound channel, which isn't quite what Etys were designed for. Really do try to get a good fit with the tips Etys were designed for, before you invest in customs.

    (After years of mucking around with customs, I'm back on triflanges myself — only my weird ear shape has me wearing the long-stem variation of the triflanges in place of the normal ones. While my customs are somewhat more comfortable for long sessions with no break, I happily wind up using triflanges nearly all the time.)
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
    G_T_J likes this.
  9. stephanemtl
    Thank you, Episiarch! Very informative!! I never considered the ER3-SE. How much warmth does it add to the mix? I am also looking, this time around, for a mostly neutral signature.
  10. HAMS
    I just tried shallower insertion for more comfort 3mm-5mm shallower. Get more peak at 10khz and dip at 13khz, I fix it with eq and thought it sound just as good.
  11. episiarch Contributor
    Not a lot of extra warmth, but I notice it.

    I'm about to make a strange analogy, but bear with me if you will.

    I haven't done speakers in about a decade, but I remember when I'd be playing around with positioning, tweaking position, separation, and height and trying to find the setup that sounded best to me.

    To me the 3SE and 4SR feel like when I would listen to the same speakers in the same room, but at different locations.

    In that process, the 4SR would be like when I picked something out as the positioning that provided the rendition that seemed the overall the most "objectively truthful" and didn't either overemphasise or underemphasise anything but seemed closest to making everything equal.

    There'd often be some other location, though, that would add just a little extra weight to the sound. Not emphasis, exactly, but weight. And maybe a touch more emotion. All the top end and all the detail were fully there, but just a little less top-of-mind amidst the lovely weight and emotion of the sound. To me the 3SE is like that.

    Yet still, the same speakers in the same room. (In the sense that all the same elements were there, but were being reinforced subtly differently.)

    Does that make any sense?

    But, to reiterate what I said before, for me that comparison holds only when both have plenty of driving power. With a weaker output I think the 4SR is the clear loser in the contest. (For that matter I even prefer the old hf3/hf5 over 4SR or 4S under those conditions.)
  12. episiarch Contributor
    That said, if you want a much more detailed and well-informed review of the two, rather than my brief and impressionistic one, @luisdent's comparison on YouTube is definitive. (Though I think he doesn't mention, or isn't as concerned by, the 4SR's falloff in quality when it's underamplified as I am.)
  13. luisdent
    Thanks for the kind words. I didn't go into that much, no. I think the er4 series can do well enough on most reasonably powerful devices, but I do recommend at least an amp that can drive them to levels beyond a smartphone. The er4s series that is.

    But you can get into a whole discussion on which amp is best. As I say in many reviews, I generally prefer JDS maps, as they balance cost and scientific accuracy of measurements. In other words, they guarantee low noise, granular volume control, good output for the size, etc. I use an element for my desktop amp and a c5 for my portable of needed. But I often use the er4xr and don't find I "need" to amp those on a good phone or player. Although I'd always use the element if I had a choice. The volume knob is precise and sublime. Haha. and the quality superb.
  14. JohnYang1997
    No er4sr's high frequency doesn't gets more with more power amplifier. On the other hand, with actually good amp it will sound much smoother and more solid rather than thin and floating with poor amp. If you experienced more highs it's probably your output impedance being high causing er4sr's high frequency to rise a bit.
    Also er4sr still has resistor in between the cable and the driver. So there isn't much improvement to be made with high performance amp. The impedance of the driver itself is quite low so no big emf to deal with. The distortion between the driver terminals will always be somewhat high but not crazy high.
  15. episiarch Contributor
    The amps I use are similar in their tendency not to inject their own character into the sound. At home I'll use an Amb Mini3 or a Headamp Gilmore Lite v2 (an old model which is not the mk2 currently sold), and at the office it's a Headamp Pico. I also liked the O2 (precursor to the Element's circuit, I believe), and a few earlier amps from the DIY days.

    Since I spent (does the maths) about 15-17 years listening primarily on ER-4S for which an amp was pretty much mandatory, my mental model of what it "should" sound like is really heavily skewed toward the "well-amped" sound. Accordingly, sound that I perceive as "under-amped" bothers me like a pebble in my shoe. I recognise that's probably not how it is for most people. Still I put it out there as a minority report, for the benefit of anyone who thinks the way they hear might be similar.
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