Need a replacement for my dying Etymotic mc3
Jun 7, 2013 at 5:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

fzwo

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Hello everybody.
 
I've been using an Etymotic mc3 headset for a while, with the "christmas tree" style tips. Unfortunately, they're on the verge of breaking, so I am looking for replacement in-ears with good seal, an iPhone remote, and a price tag below 200 €.
 
I am sure this is not a rare topic, so in the hope of not wasting other peoples' time, I did some research - including ljokerl's huge IEM thread, which admittedly caused a bit of information overload - and ordered a pair of Sennheiser IE80 (with the intention of getting the IE8i's iPhone cable). They're exactly 200 € on Amazon in Germany, I really like their service, and they have replaceable cables. Unfortunately, I can't get a good seal with any of their ca. 237 different tips, my right ear starts hurting after an hour or so, and I also find them to be comparatively dull in the highs and boomy in the bass, even with the bass adjustment know turned all the way down. So I'll be sending them back, and I'm turning to you guys (and gals) for help.
 
Before going out and getting a new pair of Ety mc3, I'd like to see if there's something better for me out there, and I would really appreciate your help.
 
What did I like about the mc3?
 
I am extremely pleased with the insulation, I really like the clarity, and I can wear them for hours at a time without causing any pain. The iPhone remote is not as good as Apple's original one, but it's there and it works. I like that they're relatively small, and that the cable isn't very stiff.
 
What didn't I like?
 
Both earpieces broke in half (where the plastic meets the aluminum), which I superglued back together. Unfortunately, Ety's service would have required me to send the phones from Germany to the US, something I was not prepared to do.
 
Also, the cable is breaking, in multiple places now. It already broke where it connects to the plug, now it's coming apart at the right earpiece. A detachable cable would have been great. Also maybe one with less microphony, if possible.
 
The remote's mic seems to be not very sensitive - I have to speak up for people to hear me over the phone, which I don't want to do in public. Siri almost never understands me when I use the Etys' mic.
 
While I really liked the clarity of the highs, there could have been a little more, and deeper, bass. The Sennheisers' bass was a tad much, though.
 
What am I looking for?
 
Ideally, I want a pair of good in-ears with good seal that are comfortable to wear for me (I don't mind sticking stuff deep into my ears, but apparently the IE80s were too thick or something for my ear). I've found Etymotic's Christmas Trees to work best. Foam sometimes works well for me, but is cumbersome.
 
I'll mainly be using them with my iPhone and MacBook, so they need an Apple-compatible remote (which also works on MacBooks, by the way - both the microphone as well as the playback controls). Ideally, they have the clarity of the Ety's with the bass response somewhere between them and the boomy Sennheisers. I will wear them many hours every day, both in the office and outside on the train or while doing some sports (riding my bike, including sweating). I put them into my ears and take them out maybe 10 times a day, and I would prefer for this process not to be cumbersome, and not to have to wait a minute for some foam to expand.
 
If the cable were detachable, that'd be great. Alternatively, great, cheap service that's reasonable to reach from Germany. Shipping something to the US (and paying for it), waiting multiple weeks for it to even get there, etc., is essentially equivalent to no service for me.
 
I'll listen to music (mainly indie electronic - pardon me, I'm not good with genres) a lot, but also regularly listen to podcasts (mostly well-produced), and want to use them as a headset for videoconferencing, phone calls, etc.
 
Is there any good recommendation for me?
 
I've been tempted by the Ety hf3, but I wasn't pleased with the mc3's build quality nor service, and I've heard the hf3 has even thinner bass than the mc3.
 
I would also be open to custom in-ears, and would be prepared to spend above my stated budget of 200 € if I can get something very, very good and comfortable that's rugged enough to use every day, just stuff in a jacket pocket, etc. But then, I'm not sure hat custom earpieces would really give me what I'm looking for.
 
Sorry this got so long. If anybody is still reading, I would really appreciate your thought. Thank you!
 
TL;DR: Recommend me durable, comfortable in-ears with good seal, an iPhone remote, and preferably a price tag below 200 €.
 
Jun 7, 2013 at 9:52 AM Post #2 of 8

kimvictor

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Quote:
Hello everybody.
 
I've been using an Etymotic mc3 headset for a while, with the "christmas tree" style tips. Unfortunately, they're on the verge of breaking, so I am looking for replacement in-ears with good seal, an iPhone remote, and a price tag below 200 €.
 
I am sure this is not a rare topic, so in the hope of not wasting other peoples' time, I did some research - including ljokerl's huge IEM thread, which admittedly caused a bit of information overload - and ordered a pair of Sennheiser IE80 (with the intention of getting the IE8i's iPhone cable). They're exactly 200 € on Amazon in Germany, I really like their service, and they have replaceable cables. Unfortunately, I can't get a good seal with any of their ca. 237 different tips, my right ear starts hurting after an hour or so, and I also find them to be comparatively dull in the highs and boomy in the bass, even with the bass adjustment know turned all the way down. So I'll be sending them back, and I'm turning to you guys (and gals) for help.
 
Before going out and getting a new pair of Ety mc3, I'd like to see if there's something better for me out there, and I would really appreciate your help.
 
What did I like about the mc3?
 
I am extremely pleased with the insulation, I really like the clarity, and I can wear them for hours at a time without causing any pain. The iPhone remote is not as good as Apple's original one, but it's there and it works. I like that they're relatively small, and that the cable isn't very stiff.
 
What didn't I like?
 
Both earpieces broke in half (where the plastic meets the aluminum), which I superglued back together. Unfortunately, Ety's service would have required me to send the phones from Germany to the US, something I was not prepared to do.
 
Also, the cable is breaking, in multiple places now. It already broke where it connects to the plug, now it's coming apart at the right earpiece. A detachable cable would have been great. Also maybe one with less microphony, if possible.
 
The remote's mic seems to be not very sensitive - I have to speak up for people to hear me over the phone, which I don't want to do in public. Siri almost never understands me when I use the Etys' mic.
 
While I really liked the clarity of the highs, there could have been a little more, and deeper, bass. The Sennheisers' bass was a tad much, though.
 
What am I looking for?
 
Ideally, I want a pair of good in-ears with good seal that are comfortable to wear for me (I don't mind sticking stuff deep into my ears, but apparently the IE80s were too thick or something for my ear). I've found Etymotic's Christmas Trees to work best. Foam sometimes works well for me, but is cumbersome.
 
I'll mainly be using them with my iPhone and MacBook, so they need an Apple-compatible remote (which also works on MacBooks, by the way - both the microphone as well as the playback controls). Ideally, they have the clarity of the Ety's with the bass response somewhere between them and the boomy Sennheisers. I will wear them many hours every day, both in the office and outside on the train or while doing some sports (riding my bike, including sweating). I put them into my ears and take them out maybe 10 times a day, and I would prefer for this process not to be cumbersome, and not to have to wait a minute for some foam to expand.
 
If the cable were detachable, that'd be great. Alternatively, great, cheap service that's reasonable to reach from Germany. Shipping something to the US (and paying for it), waiting multiple weeks for it to even get there, etc., is essentially equivalent to no service for me.
 
I'll listen to music (mainly indie electronic - pardon me, I'm not good with genres) a lot, but also regularly listen to podcasts (mostly well-produced), and want to use them as a headset for videoconferencing, phone calls, etc.
 
Is there any good recommendation for me?
 
I've been tempted by the Ety hf3, but I wasn't pleased with the mc3's build quality nor service, and I've heard the hf3 has even thinner bass than the mc3.
 
I would also be open to custom in-ears, and would be prepared to spend above my stated budget of 200 € if I can get something very, very good and comfortable that's rugged enough to use every day, just stuff in a jacket pocket, etc. But then, I'm not sure hat custom earpieces would really give me what I'm looking for.
 
Sorry this got so long. If anybody is still reading, I would really appreciate your thought. Thank you!
 
TL;DR: Recommend me durable, comfortable in-ears with good seal, an iPhone remote, and preferably a price tag below 200 €.

From my knowledge, hf3 has more bass than mc3. Anyways, Etymotic's ER4 series are awesome, and if you like flat sound sig, SE425 is very goo as well. Build quality and comfort wise, I say go with 425.
 
Jun 7, 2013 at 10:39 AM Post #3 of 8

fzwo

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Thanks, but that's not really an answer, is it? Not only is the SE425 outside my stated price range, it also doesn't come with the iPhone remote (same for Ety ER4).
 
Jun 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM Post #4 of 8

kmhaynes

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If you liked the SQ, isolation and fit of the MC3, but it is breaking apart, I would suggest your get another MC3 and then take better care of it.  Keep it in a pouch, or better yet, a rigid case when you are not using it.  Don't stuff it into your pocket or backpack and yank it out of your ears, pocket, backpack, etc.
 
Most Ety products are very durable when treated with some care.  I owned one for 3 months and the sold it -- but it looked almost as good as the day I bought it, and yes I used it every day of those 3 months.  Same for the HF5 which I owned for almost a year.  I've had my used ER4 for 3 years now, and it goes in a pouch inside an old camera case to carry it and my Cowon J3 (with the charging cable in a different pouch.)
 
Jun 7, 2013 at 2:58 PM Post #6 of 8

fzwo

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Quote:
If you liked the SQ, isolation and fit of the MC3, but it is breaking apart, I would suggest your get another MC3 and then take better care of it.  Keep it in a pouch, or better yet, a rigid case when you are not using it.  Don't stuff it into your pocket or backpack and yank it out of your ears, pocket, backpack, etc.
 
Most Ety products are very durable when treated with some care.  I owned one for 3 months and the sold it -- but it looked almost as good as the day I bought it, and yes I used it every day of those 3 months.  Same for the HF5 which I owned for almost a year.  I've had my used ER4 for 3 years now, and it goes in a pouch inside an old camera case to carry it and my Cowon J3 (with the charging cable in a different pouch.)

Thanks for the suggestion, that is what I might end up doing.
 
But as I said, all was not rosy with the MC3. Sound quality wise, I would have preferred a little more bass (though not as much as the IE80), and I thought I'd take the opportunity to upgrade to something even better than the MC3.
 
And, well, they still did look like new when they suddenly broke apart. Both times.
 
You've had both the MC3 as well as the HF5, if I understood you correctly. Can you tell me how they differ (aside from the fact that the -5 has a different remote than the -3)?
 
Jun 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM Post #7 of 8

kmhaynes

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Quote:
You've had both the MC3 as well as the HF5, if I understood you correctly. Can you tell me how they differ (aside from the fact that the -5 has a different remote than the -3)?

 
The HF5 (and HF3) is a good step towards a more accurate earphone.  The MC5 is actually closer to a dynamic driver, whereas the HF5 (and ER4) uses a balanced armature driver, the same kind of driver that nearly all custom built earphones use (like what stage musicians use, although they usually have multiple drivers in their earphones).  
 
With the HF5, the clarity and cohesiveness of the music will increase a good bit, and if you tried one, you would hear the difference pretty quickly.  IMO, the cost difference between the MC5 and HF5 is completely worth the increase in sound quality.  AND, the HF5 is a single barrel earphone that is nearly indestructible.
 

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