My Etymotic ER6i's sound distorted..
Nov 6, 2008 at 6:18 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

natogandalf

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I have a problem with my etys. At certain songs and volumes the bass gives off a distorted sound. Examples:

Röyksopp - Sombre Detune
Infected Mushroom - Meduzz
Younger Brother - Psychic Gibbon (the heartbeat sounding outro)

I thought the etys were bad and got them replaced but the new pair isn't any better. I use a Sony NWZ-A828 with no amplifier. Can it be that the player isn't good enough? Since my computer's sound card conveniently broke last night I have no other audio source to test with.

Can it really be that I have that bad luck that I get two faulty pairs in a row? The distortion disappears if I lower the volume a bit, but that means I can't listen at a comfortable volume.

The strange part is that other similar songs with a heavy bass sound just fine no matter how loud I play.. Do they need some kind of burning in?

Help me out here
frown.gif
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:15 PM Post #2 of 27

coolperl

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Have you considered, that maybe the quality of those files is not-so-good ? Ety's can go very low in frequencies (which doesn't mean they're bassy) so probably it depends on file quality. Also they're not some power hogs, so lack of amp shouldn't be an issue.

Try different headphones. Since this is an armature driver, it's not prone to burning-in process.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 9:33 PM Post #3 of 27

natogandalf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by coolperl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Have you considered, that maybe the quality of those files is not-so-good ?


They're all 320kbit/s mp3 from flac. That's why the distortion is so unbareable.

Also, trying new headphones isn't an option since I just spent a bit of money on these. I kind of thought they would do. Since I hear a lot of people recommending the etymotic ER6i's I guess the distortion is not a common issue. Therefor something must be wrong, either the phones or the mp3-player. But what is it?

EDIT:

The new pair gives distortion on
1. My NWZ-A828
2. My mom's creative-something
3. My PC
4. My Sony Ericsson cellphone

They dist with and without EQ

Is there some other kind of explanation or did I indeed get two faulty pairs in a row?

Note: They only dist on a few songs on my collection and only if I go beyond 50% volume
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 12:10 AM Post #4 of 27

TacticalPenguin

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50% volume on almost any source is absolutely unnecessary with etymotics. For sound scale, I use 2-4 for background sound, 4-7 for listening in a quiet place, 6-9 for more involved listening and 10-14 for listening on the bus. I have never once used them at 15+ volume (this is all on my Sony which is the same volume and sound as yours, just a different model)
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 12:27 AM Post #5 of 27

parrot5

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Quote:

Originally Posted by natogandalf /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Note: They only dist on a few songs on my collection and only if I go beyond 50% volume


Quote:

Originally Posted by TacticalPenguin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
50% volume on almost any source is absolutely unnecessary with etymotics. For sound scale, I use 2-4 for background sound, 4-7 for listening in a quiet place, 6-9 for more involved listening and 10-14 for listening on the bus. I have never once used them at 15+ volume (this is all on my Sony which is the same volume and sound as yours, just a different model)


I agree. Are you sure you have a good seal? (Should drown out almost all sound. Should probably feel a bit of pain after a while. With a really tight seal, even your munching sound shouldn't sound like amplified.) With a good seal, I can't really imagine going 50% volume on most sources with an IEM....
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 7:44 AM Post #6 of 27

natogandalf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot5 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I agree. Are you sure you have a good seal? (Should drown out almost all sound. Should probably feel a bit of pain after a while. With a really tight seal, even your munching sound shouldn't sound like amplified.) With a good seal, I can't really imagine going 50% volume on most sources with an IEM....


I tried the foam tips and got the ear pain, so I guess I'm half way there?
wink.gif


I don't think I get a "perfect" seal, no. If it's a quiet part in a song I can easily hear the bus' GPS system calling out the station names along with some of the engine sound. If I'm outside and the bus passes me I can hear it on top of the music most of the times. It's better with the foam tips than with the tri-flanges though. The foam tips REALLY hurt to remove however. I almost grimace of pain.

Also, why do people cut of the outer flange of the tips? Are there any advantages? And is there a difference between the provided tri-flanges? I can see one pair says x-3 and the other one says x-5 but to me they look exactly the same.

And is there any place where I can buy new tips with a better seal that fit the ER6i? Volume 15 is still on the edge of giving distortion, but it's still not "that" high. I can easily raise the volume 3 steps more without even getting close to an uncomfortably high level.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 10:42 AM Post #7 of 27

jinx20001

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just the limitations of a single armature being put through strain, if you blast complex music through a single speaker of any kind, unless its one hell of a good full range driver its going to struggle to put out clear bass. just lower it abit friend,save your hearing if nothing else
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 10:56 AM Post #8 of 27

natogandalf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jinx20001 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
just lower it abit friend,save your hearing if nothing else


This implies the volume is harmfully high, which it isn't.


EDIT: Soo, can I buy different tips somewhere? The person who decided the foam tips should be coated in sandpaper should be shot..
EDIT2: Can't someone with ER6i's try listening to the tracks listed (Sombre Detune and Meduzz) and raise the volume a bit? Even if it hurt your eyes, just to see if you also get distorted sound. If not, there is something wrong with my etys.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 2:17 PM Post #9 of 27

TacticalPenguin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by natogandalf /img/forum/go_quote.gif
This implies the volume is harmfully high, which it isn't.


EDIT: Soo, can I buy different tips somewhere? The person who decided the foam tips should be coated in sandpaper should be shot..
EDIT2: Can't someone with ER6i's try listening to the tracks listed (Sombre Detune and Meduzz) and raise the volume a bit? Even if it hurt your eyes, just to see if you also get distorted sound. If not, there is something wrong with my etys.



Actually, I wouldnt be surprised if 18 IS harmfully high. IEMs dont make you notice that it is as loud as it actually is, because past a certain point you dont have any outside noises to reference so you have no idea how loud it really is, because your ears stop noticing when the changes are gradual. I usually don't even use 14 on the bus, most of the time I use 12 or maybe 13, but I can't even imagine using 18 for any extended amount of time.

Anyways, Etymotic Research, Inc. - ER-6i Accessories
You can buy replacement tips there. If they already replaced the phones for you, chances are they'll send you some free tips to try - they sent me an envelope full a few weeks ago after I emailed them. Try the small biflanges (essentially triflanges without largest tips, while big biflanges are triflanges without smallest tip) as they are easier to get in deeper since they dont have the huge flange on the back. I usually use either the small biflanges or the blue triflanges.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 2:31 PM Post #10 of 27

natogandalf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TacticalPenguin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Actually, I wouldnt be surprised if 18 IS harmfully high. IEMs dont make you notice that it is as loud as it actually is, because past a certain point you dont have any outside noises to reference so you have no idea how loud it really is, because your ears stop noticing when the changes are gradual. I usually don't even use 14 on the bus, most of the time I use 12 or maybe 13, but I can't even imagine using 18 for any extended amount of time.

Anyways, Etymotic Research, Inc. - ER-6i Accessories
You can buy replacement tips there. If they already replaced the phones for you, chances are they'll send you some free tips to try - they sent me an envelope full a few weeks ago after I emailed them. Try the small biflanges (essentially triflanges without largest tips, while big biflanges are triflanges without smallest tip) as they are easier to get in deeper since they dont have the huge flange on the back. I usually use either the small biflanges or the blue triflanges.



Since I've got 4 pairs of tips now I can try cutting the small and the big flanges on two separate pairs, but I currently press the phones in far enough so that it's tricky to get them out. I need to use my nails to get hold of the phones so if I press them in any further I'd have to pull the cord to remove them.

Also, with the bundled phones I can go to 30 and get a lot higher volume than I use with the etys and still have no trace of distortion
frown.gif


I'll try mailing Etymotic and see what they say. I've also emailed the shop I bought them at to see if they have any suggestions. Thanks a lot for your help.

Anyone with the etys that would mind listening to the songs I wrote and see if your phones also start to dist at ~18? It's most noticable in the first minute on both songs.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 2:43 PM Post #11 of 27

TacticalPenguin

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The stock buds at 30 is absolute murder to your hearing. You seriously need to use lower volumes. The etys are some of the most sensitive, easy to drive, deepinserting IEMs out there, meaning they'll do the best job of killing your hearing as it is. Seriously, just listen at lower volumes.

Also, the stock buds dont compare to etys at all, you cant even try to argue with them.....
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 3:47 PM Post #12 of 27

natogandalf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TacticalPenguin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The stock buds at 30 is absolute murder to your hearing. You seriously need to use lower volumes. The etys are some of the most sensitive, easy to drive, deepinserting IEMs out there, meaning they'll do the best job of killing your hearing as it is. Seriously, just listen at lower volumes.

Also, the stock buds dont compare to etys at all, you cant even try to argue with them.....



I didn't say I listen at 30, I just said the stock buds CAN without distortion, while the etys start making noise at half that. 30 is waaaay to loud for me either way.

Also, would you spend a lot (for me) money on a pair of IEM's you can't listen to at a reasonable level? I understand that you are perfectly happy with your setup, but try to put yourself into my situation. I won't lower the volume to the point where I can't hear the music clearly and be happy with it. It's as if you bought a car that starts to vibrate heavily at 40km/h and someone says "just go slower". I shouldn't have to.

Also, as I have pointed out, I'm much more sensitive to sound than all of my friends (yes, every single one of them) and I'm always the one asking people to turn down the volume. There is nothing wrong with my hearing so stop telling me.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 8:24 PM Post #13 of 27

Calexico

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People aren't telling you that your hearing is bad, they're telling you that it is going to become bad if you keep listening at 18/30 on your Sony.

And you must have listened to your stock buds at 30 to know that there is no distortion, right?
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 11:56 PM Post #15 of 27

TacticalPenguin

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1. How can you accurately tell that your stock buds don't distort at 30 if you don't listen to them at 30?
2. If your hearing is so sensitive, you should be fine with 15 or less on the etys. You're not getting a good seal, or something, I don't know. At 18 on them I can't hear someone screaming their head off at me. No reason to listen that loud. I can't stand that volume, seriously there's something up and its not the phones. I listened to them for about 15 seconds just to see how loud it is, and I can't stand it. 40km/h is an exaggeration, I would say more like 130, and it's against the law to drive faster anywhere except the autobahn.

That said, any other armature would probably start distorting too at such a ridiculous volume.
 

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