Very varied music taste - Etymotic ER4 worth considering or something else?

pullman

Standard Member
Hello everyone

I’ve been using a pair of Ultimate Ears SuperFi 3 Studio which I bought in 2006. Overall I've been happy with the sound but not thrilled. I find that the medium and top ranges sound OK but that the UEs are rather weak in the base range.

In addition, I find and have always found the UEs difficult to use. The metal thread that loops behind the ears doesn't hold the plugs in place very well so they pop out quite frequently. Also, the cables are rather hard and stiff with a "memory effect". This means that when I take the headphones from the case the cable will be really quite curled. The hard material used for the cable also results in microphonics which I dislike a lot.

I’m now intent on spending a bit more on a good pair of IEMs which will last me several years and I seek your advice.

My taste in music is extremely varied - I listen to everything from classical music, to jazz, to rock and pop, to very heavy metal - so ideally I would need headphones which do well with most musical genres.

When I bought the UEs I considered Etymotic ER4 but thought they were a bit pricey since I wasn't sure how much I would listen to music. I also wasn’t sure which of the various sub-models I should get. I am wondering if these are IEMs I should consider now, several years later or if I should look for something else, given my taste in music. The headphones market seems to have exploded in recent years so it's a bit dificult to know what are good brands. Price-wise I think I should stick to about 250 EUR if possible.

Thanks very much in advance for any suggestions

Philip
 

McCol

Well-known Member
I use Ety Er4 and think that they are probably the best earphones on the market when price is taken into consideration.
I also have Akg k3003 which are 4 times the cost, the Ety's run them close.

The er4 are very neutral sounding and add nothing to the music as in no extra bass or extra on the MIDs and highs. Some don't like this as they may be used to other iem's which boost bass etc.

If you buy then the Er4 then the PT model is the best option. Comes with the s adaptor cable which normally retails fro etymotic for around £20.
Amazon currently selling for £162 which is a bargain.
 

pullman

Standard Member
Thank you for the replies.

Zenza - what type of music did you try them with?

Also, what other IEMs should I consider in that price range?

Many thanks in advance
Philip
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
When i was in Tokyo the Chord & Major (Classical) was the best iem under £100 I have heard in a long time (local price):
Headphone Diary Thread | Page 2 | AVForums
Tonal Earphone collection | chord&major english version

They have a US distributor with online shop but seems EU consumers still have to import and all that ensues. That may rule it out for you.

Most people will find Ety too thin sounding and it pays to demo. If you are in the South give hifiheadphones a line about demoing. I expect based on the UE then something like Westone UM Pro line would be more desirable

I have only heard the top end InEar SD3 which has a spacious bassy sound. But the SD1 falls in budget: In-Ear-Headphones - Thomann UK

Fischer Amps line also gets online love so plenty to research
 

zenza

Well-known Member
Thank you for the replies.

Zenza - what type of music did you try them with?

Also, what other IEMs should I consider in that price range?

Many thanks in advance
Philip
I used them with a variety of music including indie rock, rnb, folk, classical and pop.

I tried Final Audio Design Heaven 4 and they were amazing compared to the Etys. I would consider them and also Westone 4R, UM3 pro.
 

McCol

Well-known Member
The Ety's will always split opinion.
I think like Steven says if you can demo then that is ideal because I have found over the years that we all hear things a bit different when it comes to earphones. For example I bought the Sony EX1000(think that was the model name) on reading threads at head-fi, they were ok but very harsh with terrible sounding highs but others loved them.
Same applies to the Ety's. I personally dont find them lifeless and dull, I find them full of energy, accurate and very detailed but I could understand why people wouldnt like them.

Might be worth looking at the Sennheiser IE80, quite a bassy earphone but detailed and they have a very big soundstage for an iem. I've been using the IE8 model for a few years and still love the big sound they produce.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
ppl he has a budget :laugh:
- but good call on IE80

Seems to be less divisive than IE800 too!
 

McCol

Well-known Member
I used them with a variety of music including indie rock, rnb, folk, classical and pop.

I tried Final Audio Design Heaven 4 and they were amazing compared to the Etys. I would consider them and also Westone 4R, UM3 pro.
Good shout on the UM3 pro, I had the UM3x and it is one earphone I regret selling, very neutral sound and not dis-similar to the Ety er4. The W4 however I found to be a tad over-rated, quite dull in comparasion to the cheaper UM3x/pro model.
 

pullman

Standard Member
Thank you for this wealth of information. It is much appreciated! There is an incredible array of brands and models. Quite staggering.

If we leave aside for a moment the sound qualities, as important as they are, what about the other aspects I don't like with my UEs? For example, will IEMs which don't loop around the ear remain in the ear as securely as those with a metal thread in them? And what about the memory effect of the cables and microphonics?

I agree trying out various models will be necessary. I won't plonk 200+ EUR on IEMs without testing. I'll just have to find a place here in the Netherlands that stocks higher end IEMs.

Cheers and thank you very much for your continued help
Philip
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Looping around the ear is better versus hanging down for several reasons:
Flatter profile
Less strain
Stayability

What you are complaining about is not the looping per se but the memory wire section. That differs as some manufacturers use harder plastic sheath than others. If removable at least that allows aftermarket cable of all budgets so it is not critical
 

pullman

Standard Member
On that basis the ER4s wouldn't be great, then (though I realise this is also an individual matter of course)?

About the cables - I've seen some of the Jays models which have a flat band for a cable which doesn't become a tangled mess so easily and also seems not to have a memory effect when rolled up for a while. Does this exist for the more premium IEMs?

And has any brand thought of making the cables themselves more supple and soft?

best
p
 

Member 266567

Active Member
The Shure SE425 is a great choice for rich bass and great mids, the Westone W20 for a smooth and balanced sound or the Final Audio Heaven IV for something more exciting :)
 

McCol

Well-known Member
The quality of the Etymotic is excellent however they are worn down from the ear and can be very microphonic if not using the shirt clip that comes supplied. They can be worn over the ear but they are not really designed for that.
Although both of my main earphones(AKG K3003 and the Ety's) are worn down from the ear I do prefer over the ear the ear as they more secure and less likely to slide out.
 

mrbrjohns

Standard Member
I had the er6i which were great but wire out. I then went for the UEs but found the sound fussy and overly "synthesised". I sold on eBay quickly and replaced them with the er4pt. They are absolutely brilliant if you appreciate clarity and openness. If you want bass, these aren't for you. Over the ear is best with these.
 

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