On the market for E3 or ER4P
Apr 14, 2004 at 12:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19


New Head-Fier
Apr 13, 2004
This may seem like an odd question to you folks,
but I'm not an audiophile or musician.
I enjoy music only through headphones, I can't stand any distraction when I''m listening to music . there is no such sing as radio or worse: tv for me. This means also that I'm listening to music for only 2 hours a day. There are days when I'm not listening to music at all.
My preferences for styles vary a lot. (Clasical music, Jazz-like, electronic music, Rock). I do not care for longterm playlists. Even with fresh lists, I change my mind after some minutes.
My hardware is not upper class: Archos Gmini 220 with Sennheiser PX-100 or PortaPro or a Computer. Almost all my songs are mp3.
To get rid of background noise I want to treat myself some nice canal earphones, and because I'm in Europe, there is not much of a price difference between Shures e3 and ety's 4P.
Though I wonder, whether the microphonic effect on the ety-cable would be stronger and whether I would really enjoy the more analytical and revealing (remember my mp3s?) sound of the ety's?
Maybe the e3 would fit my needs better? On the other hand: the 4P are recommended by everyone, could I go wrong with them at all?
So far I'm not so thrilled with the sound of the Archos (infact my PDA sounds better, but then again the PDA has no bass at all :wink:), wich earphone would suit the Archos better?

Waiting for your professional opinion,
thanks :)
Apr 14, 2004 at 1:55 PM Post #2 of 19
Apr 14, 2004 at 2:48 PM Post #3 of 19
QUOTE]Originally posted by saint.panda

I'm in a simliar situation but there's really a lot of information on that topic already, just do a search for these canalphones.

Thanks for the link.
Yeah, right, doing research is all I do for the last days...
Still couldn't make up my mind. I have a strong tendency for the ER4P with 4P2S cable, but I´m also afraid for the microphonics of the thinner cable. I also got the impression that you have to stick the etys deeper into the ear channel and that the e3 are more comfy.
I was wondering: maybe the "being the better earphones on the acoustic level" doesn't really matter to someone like me - hence the profile description above.
On the other hand: with the etys I probably won't wonder how the sound of the e3 would be like as I would with the e3.
So maybe the shorter question would be: are the e3 really build more durable or in other words are the etys durable enough for portable "every day" usage?
Apr 14, 2004 at 3:24 PM Post #4 of 19
The Ety ER-4Ps are definitely durable enough for everyday use. They are probably one of the most incredible pieces of headphone equipment made today. The clarity, noise cancelling, and instrument separation on these phones is absolutely incredible. You will never regret purchasing ER-4Ps, or wonder if you would have been better off with E3Cs

The microphonics and the whole idea of canalphones is something that will stand out at first, but you will quickly adapt and not be bothered by it anymore. I have used my ER-4Ps for a few weeks now, and I don't even think twice about the microphonics.
Apr 14, 2004 at 4:15 PM Post #5 of 19
Cord noise won't be an issue unless you're jogging with them. I use them for wieghtlifting, and on a treadmill or elliptical without a problem. Jogging is the only place I wouldn't use them for.

Having listened to the E3's and Ety 4P's, IMHO the Ety's are substantially better. The E3's are somewhat muddy in comparison, but have more prominent bass. If they were priced the same, IMHO I would definitely go for the 4P's.
Apr 14, 2004 at 4:17 PM Post #6 of 19

Originally posted by kent1146
or wonder if you would have been better off with E3Cs

That is, of course, unless you find the ER-4's bass completely lacking for when you listen to rock and electronica... then you'd be left wondering still.
Apr 14, 2004 at 6:16 PM Post #7 of 19
Right, but couldn't a portable amp solve this problem?

Even bangraman, who wrote a VERY favourable review for the e3s writes:


If I had to pick ONE earphone for both portable and fixed use, and if I were to spend an equal time listening at home (on quality gear along the lines of what I use) as well as portable use, I might lean towards the Etymotics.

Apr 14, 2004 at 6:42 PM Post #8 of 19
Yes, Bangra has a taste that leans more on analytical as well.. so he would pick ER-4 over the E3c if he really had to stick with just one.

However, on the other side of the fence, being a more musical listener as myself, I would pick E3c over ER-4 if I had to pick just one.

A portable amp will not "fix" the ER-4 to the point where it has comparable excitement in the bass region as the E3c (not that E3c is perfect in the bass region either, but at least more forward and pronounced). You need a significant, and high quality bass boost that will not distort other sound spectrums.

Thus far, the only bass boost I've seen with such a quality is the PPL-based bass boost, used on PPA's and Pocket Reference. I haven't seen any portable amp that has that type of high quality bass boost.

I have not gotten to test Xin's new SuperDual w/ the bass boost option, and likely never will anyway. However, given the lack of refinement present in high-end amps (Xin's amp is not bad for their price though, it's unfair to compare them to high priced amps), I wouldn't expect the bass boost to be of the similar quality either.

That also brings to question, do you want to carry a portable amp around at all? I've personally all given up on carrying a portable amp around. The extra size/hassle/weight just wasn't worth it for me personally. I didn't need a portable amp with the E5c to make it sound fuller and well-driven, and I don't need one now with 2X-S either.

So I've gotten to the point where I consider a good headphone for portable use also has to have some consistency in the way they sound even without an amp... it's more than a bit stringent requirement, but I think a reasonable one to ask especially if the need is strictly with a portable unit.
Apr 14, 2004 at 6:50 PM Post #9 of 19
My tastes aren't really towards the analytical. I wouldn't own the E5 if it were skewed that way, and my next planned headphone purchase wouldn't be a choice between buying the MDR-V700DJ again or a Bose QC2... and I wouldn't have spent part of today with a PX200. Get the idea?

At home on fixed equipment, for analytical listening the Etys show a decided superiority to the E3c. I think that the E3c for portable use is as, if not more effective than the ER-4P. It's not just the sound, it's the overall usability of the E3c package.
Apr 14, 2004 at 9:01 PM Post #11 of 19
Thank you guys!
This is a great forum :)
I think I'm going right now for the 4P with the adaptor, so I can upgrade later to the e5c...
If I understood things correctly these would be a nice matching pair in the end

Also this would make an upgrade of other hifi-devices much more sensible...
The e3 might seem like the most reasonable choice for right now, but of course there will be a future...

see you around!
Apr 16, 2004 at 10:19 AM Post #12 of 19
Okay, I just got them! I'm sooo excited: here are my first impressions:

I only heard one album so far: George Moustaki: Racine et errances, because that's what on my cf (tested on Gmini 220 and the sharp zaurus):

first glance: the etys are soo small, but what a pain in my ears! The foamies do look huge so I tried only the triflags: they do hurt at the ends of the rubber and the seal just makes it worse. Without the tractive force of the seal they won't stay in...

The sound: just the 4P: nice, but boomy. I'd never expected that! I thought the bass would be missing, but in the beginning of "Elle est elle" they come in as an attack: just too much. With the adapter cable however: soo sweet! The 4s version just balances everything right!
Got the same effect on the archos as well on the Zaurus.
But then again, this album is not the best mix either. And on the road the 4P will probably even out the noise from the outside.
I'll see: have to go - I stayed at home to wait for the courier to deliver the phones, now I have to hurry to work :)


okay, a little update: I like the 4S version much more. I don't think, I will use them much without the adapter...
It really is a mindblowing experience with Zbigniew Preisner or Cohen. With Yellow, Bob Marley (remix) or the "Baader Meinhoff" album of Luke Haines the basses ARE there, but I understand, what people mean by "analytical" and "less warm": it's all more in the head than the stomach as I was used to. Still, it's cool, as you can hear MORE than before. And I suspect you get used to this kind of sound.
Most of my recordings are 256kb/s (or dynamic), but I got some Nirvana recordings in 128kb/s and I will have to reencode them, as they sound dead through these phones.

One problem though is still the pain: the rubber ends of the triflags just hurt (as they probably would fall out without the seal). Any advice from you experts?

Apr 16, 2004 at 4:42 PM Post #13 of 19
congratulations on the purchase! i don't think you will be disappointed with the 4p/s combo...and the great thing is that they will grow with your source and amps as you upgrade - my 4s never ceases to amaze me when i pair it with better and better equipment!
Apr 16, 2004 at 8:26 PM Post #14 of 19
Congratulations, I find myself using the P->S adapter more these days too. P is great but the transparency on S is just....wow! I also think the midbass on P is a bit too much sometimes. You really gotta try the Etys with a good dedicated amplifier. I was amazed by how well they scaled with different amps. They sound great with portables but when you hook them into mega dollar amp and source you get seriously tempted to open up your wallet (or sell your body parts and live on noodles forever, etc)

One odd thing is, while ER4P has more recessed highs, to my ears, the treble on the S version is actually smoother.
I wonder if it's just specific to my amp but I've tried it on various headphone jacks and my impression remains the same. I wonder if others feel the same way with their ER4?
Apr 16, 2004 at 11:13 PM Post #15 of 19
I went kicking and screaming into expensive headphone purchase (after all I was listening to MP3s) I was using Sony EX71's!! But it was a GREAT investment and made my DAP (Iriver h 120) worth more to me! Plus my thinking is within a short time there will be 120 Gigs in htese players and I won't be using lossy or encoders at all. Just waves anyway.

That said. I have both and prefer the ETY 4p over the Shure E3.

The ETY's are more transparent and clearer. More discreet.

I rip all my songs from CD. No downloaded music at all. I also remaster them using the ETY's in S mode as a reference. I adjust EQ and add slight reverb (blasphemous I know) to some artists (like Norah Jones) to add space. I don't like some of today's dry mixes on phones. I get all the bottom and top I need at lowered volume settings.. They are more sensitive as well .

I have had to re rip some and encode some songs again at a higher bit rate because of em!!!

The E3 are warmer with a more pronounced mid to upper mid resolution.

The E3 may be a bit more bottom heavt without "coaxing" from EQ

I use them on a Sony TR2 with an Echo Indigo I/O for remastering using Sounde Forge 7 and Waves L2, Lexicon and Timeworks verb. Sometimes T-Racks mastering. before encoding using LAME VBR.

I use the E3s in the bath now!!! LOL and for live in ear monitoring. with the ETY rubber flanges!

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