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

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  1. Dealux
    HD600 has grainy treble and too forward above 10K, but I digress.

    There is a bit of a dip after 3K. Just switched to brand new tips (bought a 5 pair pack a while back) and yeah, they definitely sound best brand new. The treble is very natural, just on the dark side of natural.
    robm321 likes this.
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    you have to remember that the 3kHz boost is there to replace something that would normally occur because of your ear. what it means is that different people having different ears, will end up having such a natural resonance reaching perhaps a different amplitude and perhaps being centered at a different frequency(still probably around 2 to 4kHz unless the ear canal has a really weird shape). only you can tell what feels more natural to you. kind of same thing for the upper range, as insertion depth will significantly alter high frequencies, your way to insert the IEM in your ears is a big part of how the IEM sounds. even more so for Etys given how deep they can go into some people's ears. some people play the trial&error game with many tips and many insertions depths(and some go mad with cables and amps and DACs trying to force them all to become the EQ they refuse to use). I'm lazier and perhaps just not as rich, so once I have found a comfortable and consistent insertion/tip, I just EQ a little to my preference and move on. in my case, I somehow "need" a strong boost near 3kHz, but at the same time I rapidly hate the sound if 4 or 4.5kHz is very boosted. so over time this has become a juggling game for me, trying to find the right tuning to get enough of one but not too much of the other. I'm guessing for other people, different yet similar such scenarios happen too. and create for them the difference between good sound and good sound with that one really annoying stuff in it. it's one of those few times where I must say "trust your ears", as they literally are the reason why you'll want more or less of a given frequency.
  3. chinmie
    I like this statement. This is also what i conclude from my audio friends: they spend too much on cables and DAPs (not to mention those magic stickers,etc) to make what they called "improvements" in sound that can easily achieved with small EQ nudges
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    well, I'm obviously a jerk for saying it that way, and there are other reasons to enjoy trying many things in a playback chain, other than to EQ the response. but the many people who do end up trying to EQ something by any mean that won't be called EQ, are usually fooling themselves and making their own lives more difficult for bad reasons. which is fine if they like that, just the same game in hardcore mode as anything changing the FR is probably acting like a form of EQ with the side effects of that form of EQ anyway.
  5. luisdent
    Absolutely. I find frequency response, while not the only factor determining which sound quality, is by far the biggest. I would take a straight out of phone mediocre output eqd perfectly flat over a $5000 dac/amp where the headphone has uneven frequency response. To each his own.

    I have the kameleon because I dont have the luxury of eq on all my devices/apps, etc. It works no matter the source. And it's awesome. But for me a dac and amp must need to be neutral in measurement and provide sufficient power for my headphones. Beyond that its "mostly" rubbish and even if there are gains, the $1000 increase would be less improvement than a 1db eq adjustment. That's my view. If someone enjoys the equipment who cares? But when they start criticizing, then show me the science or proof or no thanks. :p

    But I agree about ear differences too. If it weren't the case we wouldn't need various tips...
  6. EmPathWalker
    Avoiding introducing DSP ( or poor analog ) EQ is an objective worth keeping central to the whole idea, I think.

    Even inductance, capacitance and resistance must be handled very preciously, but at least they are in the analog realm.
  7. Dealux
    I don't think my hearing is that different than the average, if at all. I essentially hear exactly how the ER4 measures. Oratory has a graph where you can essentially see that the resonance peak starts a bit too early compared to the ideal Harman target. Ety uses their weird in-house Diffuse Field target that they tweaked to achieve a coherent and fatigue free sound.

    It's very pleasant but not quite accurate upon closer inspection. I've definitely heard better tuning out of EQ-ed headphones. EQ-ed to Harman that is.
  8. angpsi
    Hi guys, after spending several years on Hf2 and Hf3 I finally took the plunge and got myself a pair of ER4s —and loving it!

    On the question at hand, my two cents would be that my custom tips make a noticeable difference from the triple-flange by toning down the treble peaks and giving a more fleshed out bass —obviously without going magically beyond the inherent limitations of the ER4s. I believe that it has something to do with the fact that the triple-flange go all the way in to the inert boney part of the ear canal, whereas the custom tips feel like they replicate the resonances of the fleshy part of the ear to a certain extent. All in all, the triple-flange can sound very precise –borderline clinical, but the custom silicone tips round things up in a more appealing manner; maybe loosing a minor amount of that pinpoint clarity but IMO benefiting the SQ while staying true to the general positive traits of the ER4s.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  9. luisdent

    You're lucky. I went through a nightmare process of multiple earmolds and custom tips. Every one destroyed the frequency response and introduced massive treble imbalances. This is verified by the nature of getting the nozzle deep enough into the ear while custom tips prevent that usually. I worked work etymotic and the tips manufacturer to try and resolve it.

    Rin had measured this and there were even less than idea workarounds to fix the treble issues but none were close to stock response. So generally, it seems customs aren't always great for the er4. But then some people have had great experiences. So maybe their tip manufacturer does a better job fitting them in there. Don't know.

    I'm not at all disagreeing with what you're saying. And it's awesome if they work for you. But for most, going from stock tips to customs could be a huge risk of time and money not well spent. I would just try and make sure you have some return possibility if they dont work out.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
    angpsi likes this.
  10. angpsi
    Can't say I disagree, it is indeed a bit of a gamble to get it right and in fact I did have a bit of a strange reaction to the customs myself when I first got them for my Hf3. I had mine made at PC Worth in the UK, albeit I made my impressions at a local audiologist specialising on hearing aids here in Greece. On my Hf3, I did find them at times to somewhat smear the whole picture, perhaps because the Hf3 were a bit warmer and less technical by tuning; but they were infinitely more comfortable than the stock tips and I kinda settled on them. Now that I got the ER4s, it looks like it's a whole different story altogether. The ER4s can seem sterile to a fault, which is something that I found the custom tips corrected in a good way.

    Mind you, I'm all about clarity, transient speed, instrument separation and technical ability altogether; and these were abundantly available with the 'reference' tuning that the triple-flange gave the ER4s. But it was also the first time I felt that the bass was rolling off straight from the mid band —nice if you consider it as an Etys signature tuning, but it felt kinda weird in the end. To my ears, the customs gave me just a bit of a body to each note (call it what you may: piano, voices, etc.) that made the ER4s ever so more natural, without overly smearing or blunting that coveted sharp response the Etys are famous for.

    Given their considerable cost, it makes sense to propose custom tips with caution; I totally agree with you on that and therefore I stand corrected!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  11. FloofyBuffalo
    I'm interested in custom tips as well, so I'm curious how come custom tips cannot be made to go as deep as the triple-flange?
  12. luisdent
    FloofyBuffalo likes this.
  13. guicnovaes
    I use my ER3XR with the stock small triple flange tips. With these, I get a very deep insertion and the most accurate and natural sound I've ever heard on an IEM/Headphone.

    waiting for the 75ohm impedance adapter to arrive, to have the FR virtually identical to that of the ER4XR.
    graph (12).png

    I tried the ER3XR with the bigger triple Flange ones, but I didn't get a deep insertion and the result was a shouty, aggressive and fatiguing sound.
  14. castleofargh Contributor
    maybe you're lucky. because the average is just that, and I for one rarely fall on average anything when human specs are involved. I'm not like this guy
    but just by being taller than average, and having a bigger head than average, I rapidly end up in the one percent or less of stuff(not the one with all the money, sadly). what you call a bit to early for the simulation of the frequency resonance of the ear canal may be too early for you and not too early for others. my longer than average ear canal would be a pretty good candidate of a resonance peak at a lower frequency. a shorter ear canal and/or one that doesn't want to play perfect solid material shaped as a perfect cylinder, could on the contrary get a resonance peak above 3kHz. don't take graphs and reference targets for what they aren't. the Harman target in particular is a preference average, not something I'd refer to as ideal anything. it surely is a good starting point for most people(that's what a statistical result is good for), but many people will simply not align on it. no one FR will ever be right for all. and that's before looking at how we each insert our IEM and which tip we use, both potentially altering both ends of the spectrum in noticeable ways. and who knows how that will make us feel about the midrange?
    what I'm saying is: we're different, it's a mess to deal with humans, start making clones so subjective experiences can become relevant to more people. ^_^
    guicnovaes likes this.
  15. Dealux
    I have small ears and perceive Harman as very speaker like sound from my testing with EQ. I think their target is bang on but people have different preferences a lot of the time.
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