To Don Wilson, Etymotic Research: We call for the story of ER4S, ER4P & ER6 earphones
Mar 27, 2002 at 10:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Nicwix

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Dear Don

In a mostly fairly ordinary world, the Etymotic earphone series are something special, standing head and shoulders above any other earphone or earbud.

Reading some of your comments, you seem to have taken a fairly pragmatic, engineering approach to the development. Any yet it is still an unrepeated feat - no other headphone manufacturers
(even the far larger and better known) has come close achieving anything close.

For the sake of history please tell us Head-Fi-ers the story of how Etymotic earphones came to be -warts (if any) and all.

Nix

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Mar 27, 2002 at 8:33 PM Post #3 of 15

Nicwix

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A few snips from Don's posts that give some insight into Etymotic Research:

The designers: "The ER-4 was a rogue project that Steve Iseberg and myself were allowed to pursue, even though consumer products were far from our main focus."

Background: "I am an engineer who has had the chance to work with other good engineers in the field. I have an electronics background, but have had great exposure to acoustics at this job, and a great environment, and equipment."

The company: "We have a president who is a great engineer, and has provided an environment where we can learn and grow. He keeps controlling interest in the company so we can continue to design products to solve problems."

On testing: "We use a Zwislocki coupler which is an acoustic ear simulator ... This is the best methed we have to simulate the response in a real human ear."

On quality control: "There are failures at final testing, most of which are probably inaudible, but we don't sell b-stock."

On cables: "I don't know for sure if it is oxygen free copper, nor do I think I care. This is a 5 foot section of wire with low frequency signals and a low impedance. Don't read too many Monster cable ads they are bad for you.
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"

Record keeping: "When we get repair, we check the units against the original curves and they are amazingly similiar, except for damaged units of course. When replacing a transducer we match a new transducer with the other one and keep all of the curves in the file."

And finally: "I still plan to make a higher quality version of the ER-4 when I have more time."

What can else can we add ... search for D_Wilson on this site and Headwize
 
Mar 30, 2002 at 8:15 AM Post #5 of 15

kaiwei

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I'm all for the past but this is the only response that'll REALLY interest me.

Quote:

And finally: "I still plan to make a higher quality version of the ER-4 when I have more time."


 
Mar 30, 2002 at 8:54 AM Post #7 of 15

ai0tron

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I really must hear these marvels.

I guess if he is trying to make a better one, well he must be taking a wicked stab at perfection. Which just isn't right, but it's about damn time if he really intends to take a stab at "perfection" This elusive psychological manifestation which drives so many otherwise good human beings utterly insane. This seeking of, and wanting for perfection... it's like, a virus, a psychological virus, a pattern of recognition which drives you towards some unreachable ideal, argh, it's like an entity with out itself. MADNESS, the need for, something better, always, needing. PLEASE DON, we need this, this... perfection. We must have it.... YOU WILL NOT DENY ME HEADPHONE bliiiiIIIIISS.

Well then, have at it, good luck.
 
Apr 1, 2002 at 12:59 AM Post #9 of 15

eric343

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Verry interesting... Read this description of the little pod in the middle of the cable... It's more than just resistors! It's a filter that improves the sound...

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of the configuration of the junction unit 15 which connects the earphone cables 13 and 14 to the common cable 16 and which includes
special electrical filters for enhancing the performance of the earphones 11 and 12. One conductor 63 and one conductor 64 of the cables 13 and 14 are directly
connected to a ground conductor 65 of the common cable 16. A second conductor 67 of the cable 13, a second conductor 68 of the cable 14, and conductors 69
and 70 of cable 16 are respectively connected to pads 71, 72, 73 and 74 of a circuit board 76 which is formed with two circuits operative to increase the signal
applied to the receivers of the earphones 11 and 12 as a function of increasing frequency.

As shown, a capacitor 77 and a resistor 78 are connected in series between pads 71 and 73 while a resistor 80 is connected directly between pads 71 and 73, in
parallel with the series combination of capacitor 77 and resistor 78. Similarly, a capacitor 81 and a resistor 82 are connected in series between pads 72 and 74 while
a resistor 84 is connected directly between pads 71 and 73. It will be apparent that at very low frequencies, when the capacitive reactance is high, the series
impedances are determined primarily by the value of the resistors 80 and 84. As the frequency increases, the series impedances are reduced, increasing the
amplitudes of higher frequency components of the applied signals.

This electrical filtering operation is found to be highly desirable, permitting the use of an amount of acoustic damping sufficient to smooth out peaks in the acoustic
responses of the earphones 11 and 12 while obtaining optimum frequency response characteristics. By way of example, the value of each of the resistors 78, 80, 82
and 84 may be 100 ohms and the value of each of the capacitors 77 and 81 may be 0.22 microfarads. The circuit board 76 and the parts thereon preferably have
quite small dimensions. Each of the resistor and capacitor parts preferably has maximum dimensions of 0.150".times.0.300".times.0.100". These dimensions are
desirable to obtain a compact junction unit and are such that if desired, as when a single earphone is to be used, the filter for each filter might be located within the
earphone, e.g. between the receiver 18 and the end cap 29. In a two earphone assembly such as the illustrated assembly 10, however, it is generally preferable to
locate the filters in the junction unit 15.
 
Apr 1, 2002 at 2:54 AM Post #10 of 15

skippy

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i recall someone (i think don) addressing the descriptions in the patent. i believe he said that they had to make some general statements so the patent could cover all the etys even though only the 4b had caps in the pod. or something like that.
 
Apr 1, 2002 at 5:02 AM Post #11 of 15

kwkarth

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Quote:

Originally posted by skippy
i recall someone (i think don) addressing the descriptions in the patent. i believe he said that they had to make some general statements so the patent could cover all the etys even though only the 4b had caps in the pod. or something like that.


I think you peanutbuttered it rather well Skippy.

Cheers
 
Apr 1, 2002 at 7:37 PM Post #12 of 15

d_wilson

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I will try to get to this at some time, but am very busy fighting some fires now.

Writing and especially editing a post can consume a lot of time.

Don Wilson
Etymotic Research
 
Apr 2, 2002 at 9:08 PM Post #14 of 15

Nicwix

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While Don is busy fighting fires, to help him with the Etymotic earphone story, why don't we compile a list of questions, such as:

1. When did the ER4S go onto the market (likewise for ER4P and ER6)?
2. How long did it the development take?
3. Have there been any significant changes to since it was introduced?
4. Why is the transducer for the ER6 so much bigger than the ER4?

Please add lots or questions - and I will sort into some sort of (semi) logical order.
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