Etymotic Research ER-4S/ER-4P Earphones | iLounge

Reviews

61

Not sure which to get the s or the p. I've read the faqs on their website and am leaning towards the p but this review is for the s. I'm confused. Any thoughts?

Posted by Dunklestein on January 14, 2005 at 4:54 PM (PDT)

62

So let me get this right, you think if they make them look as slick as they sound, they'd be an A+? :

Posted by andres in Miami on January 19, 2005 at 9:07 PM (PDT)

63

When I got myself a Grado SR80 a year back and i got a WOW!!... recently i just got this ETY ER4S and i got "Oh my god!! this are the finest".. i never hear so much details before, so natural sound. No coloration at all. Bass is not booasted. Have been relistening to all my CDS since i got it...

Posted by ETY ER4S in Singapore on January 26, 2005 at 10:18 PM (PDT)

64

When I got myself a Grado SR80 a year back and i got a WOW!!... recently i just got this ETY ER4S and i got "Oh my god!! this are the finest".. i never hear so much details before, so natural sound. No coloration at all. Bass is not booasted. Have been relistening to all my CDS since i got it...

Posted by ETY ER4S in Singapore on January 26, 2005 at 10:19 PM (PDT)

65

I have read numerous forums and reviews about these headphones. i am very tempted to purchase them. the cost is very high for headphones, but i can justify getting them for my DJ business. Does anybody know anything about/had any experience with the custom fittings for the ER-4p's? Are they worth the extra cost? What are the advantages/disadvantages of the custom earpieces?

Posted by dw2 on February 8, 2005 at 4:57 PM (PDT)

66

I bought the ER-4Ps from Headroom and have been listening for a few days. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations, but they sound too 'thin' for me. While I appreciate their precision and honesty, they just aren't anywhere near as pleasurable to listen to as my AKG K240s. I do like the isolation they provide in a noisy work environment, though. Maybe I'll try one of Sure's IEMs and see if they suit me better.

Posted by Socratease on June 16, 2005 at 4:49 PM (PDT)

67

I live in Australia. I'm saying this first because for those other readers out there here in Oz, there is a local (Perth)distributor of the Etys. Their URL is http://www.headphones.com.au/ which is mentioned on the Ety site under dealer locator/international. They were very helpful over the phone and were able to give me sound comparisons between other earphones I am already familiar with. They sell other brands including Shure, however they also say that the ER-4 series are much better quality and value.

I ordered my pair of ER-4P today, which were recommended over the 4S for use with an iPod. I can't wait. They're pricey at $AU449.00 ($455 with freight insurance), but I always like to buy the best, because ultimately I'll be completely happy from day one. It's the end of the financial year, so I need computer speakers to do my job (lol), so my company will pay for them.

Thanks to all of the glowing reviews above and the Podcast I downloaded from this web site via the new iTunes 4.9 yesterday, it was clear that these were the earphones I had to have. I will review them in the next few days when I receive them.

Posted by Dazzzz on June 29, 2005 at 1:30 AM (PDT)

68

Well perhaps people are not reading these reviews lately, since my post of over a week ago is the last one, but as I only discovered these earphones as a result of listening to the iPodlounge Podcast that became available when podcasts were integrated into iTunes last week, I figure someone else must have only recently listened to the review.

I received my ER•4P MicroPro™ Earphones this morning. I have been waiting with great anticipation. I have been into HiFi for about 20 years and have spent no small amount of money on Amps, Speakers, Turn tables, cartridges etc. to put together the sound system I finally have. I love it and on those occasions (fewer these days) when I can just sit down and listen to some of my favourite music, it's great.

As I'm on the go constantly I like to have my music with me too. I bought the very first 5GB iPod as soon as it was released and loved it. It didn't take long to fill it so I upgraded to a 1st Gen 20GB and sold my other one. This too I filled and so I waited and waited until the iPod Photo 60GB (as it was called then) was released and immediately bought it. My girlfriend got my 20GB. Along the way I used the Apple Ear Buds and found them to be OK but not great. In order to get the best sound, you had to somehow jam them in your ears to block out other sounds and to send the bass down your ear canals, but even the simplest movement usually dislodged them. Lying in bed or even using them around the house I found that I could only listen continuously for a couple of hours due to fatigue and my ears started to hurt from the pressure and size of the buds.

My next upgrade was to buy Bang & Olufsen earphones. Now they are beautiful in design with their three way adjustment, however the ear buds still only partially enter your ears and even these are fatiguing after a while. So after listening to the iPodlounge podcast review of earphones and reading all of the reviews above I decided to take the plunge.

I immediately love them. As a number of other people mentioned, they are a little strange to insert into your ear canals to start with and I recommend that you get a cotton bud and clean your ears first. I discovered plenty of wax in mine. They make a secure and comfortable fit which isolates all external sounds. This also means when listening that you don't have to have the volume all the way up in order to hear clearly.

Although this article is about the ER-4S and I have the 4P it may be of interest to know that Etymotic provide an adapter cable that will turn you 4P into a 4S, so in effect you can have two earphones in one for not too much extra. I may get this down the track.

So far this morning I have listened to classical music, drum and bass, electronica and serveral other styles as well. I haven't felt the need to use an equalizer. I love true flat responsiveness. In my home stereo, the pre-amp has no bass or treble adjustment. You just get what was recorded, the way it was recorded, so again these earphones suit me.

I'm using the shirt clip that comes with them and am getting no feedback through the wires rubbing.

Listening to acoustic music is amazing as you can hear very subtle sounds such as key being depressed on the instruments and breaths of the singers.

Enjoy

Posted by Dazzzz on July 6, 2005 at 6:54 PM (PDT)

69

I used ER6s for a year and was convinced by you all, that the ER4s were worth the extra money. I received my ER4Ps yesterday and they are great! I hear details in music I know well that I didn't know were there... Extraordinary!!

Posted by aadd on August 7, 2005 at 8:20 AM (PDT)

70

Perfect sound and quality if you are not moving. The noise that is generated by walking, talking or just moving with the ear phones on takes away from what you are listening too. The wire that goes to your ear is not insulated very well so if it rubs against something you hear it very strongly in the ear phone. I called the company and they had a solution but it only made it marginally better. They suggested placed the wire behind your ear instead of just hanging down in front of you.

Posted by jeep_kevin on September 26, 2005 at 10:46 AM (PDT)

71

Amazing headphones, I am listening to my new pair right now.

This review however; is rubbish, can we have a proper one that actually does the headphones justice.

Posted by etherealbeats on December 31, 2005 at 5:43 AM (PDT)

72

I recieved my ER4Ps 2 days ago. I have already had them in my ears over 16 hours. I love these things. Look, they're headphones. I would prefer my home stereo system any day. However, I find these to both be comfortable and sound terrific. You sure can tell when music wasn't recorded well (or has a low bitrate sample). Most of my music is Apple Lossless format. I have a few records that were done in 192k though, and I can notice the difference. Like someone above mentioned, I can hear the bass clipping if I use any of the EQ settings that boost the bass and turn the volume up more that 1/3 max. And yes, there is microphonic effects from the cords - but I can deal with that (I don't use them to work out or jog).

Overall, oh yeah baby.

Posted by IBnotRich on January 27, 2006 at 3:09 PM (PDT)

73

If you want truly GREAT sound, pair these Etys with a really good portable amplifier. Amazing soundstaging, imaging, and better fullrange sound. Yeah, you will spend an extra $200-500 depending on the manufacturer. But you might even rival your home-based rig for truly amazing sound experiences

Posted by tnmike1 on February 27, 2006 at 6:08 AM (PDT)

74

Had a pair for 3-4 weeks now. Absolutely amazing. Have also got a Sony EX71's and Shure E3c's. These phones blow them away. I was nervous about spending this amount on a pair of phones but they are worth every penny. I find them comfortable, the sound isolation is very good and they don't fall out. Recommend them without reservation. Got mine from Stone Audio (UK). Very good service and helpful advise.

Posted by Chubby on March 18, 2006 at 4:27 AM (PDT)

75

For anyone interested, PC Nation is selling the ER-4P for $189.23, a full $100 off the retail price listed on Etymotic's website. I just received mine and I'll never go back to my Shure E2cs!

Posted by mikeynyc on March 29, 2006 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

76

I had ER6i's for a year and went for ER4P`s... shipped from the States on Amazon for £104... not bad for UK prices, however not at the US equivalent...Anyway, I dont hear muck difference between them, infact the ER4Ps may have a little less bass, hoever they do need to go deper into the ears than the ER6i`s... In short the ER6i`s are a safe bet at aroung £60 cheapest price in UK... Also the latest ER4P`s do not come with the red and blue right and left identification on them (sad really as it safes a lot of time in the gym fathoming out the L&R...

Posted by ultraviolet on July 8, 2006 at 12:16 PM (PDT)

77

Just got a pair to use at work. I'm a musician converted web progammer, so I think I can cue you in on some of the details that may benefit a musician. (or any earphono-phile)

My general impression is that the er4S is a very balanced, true to original sound earphone. There's no cream and butter anywhere, just the real sound coming at you directly. None of that bass boosted, treble twisted nonesense you get from "will make anything sound like custard cake" head/earphones. For some, this may be the first step into reference quality sound.

This is actually a big deal. I used to use Shure e2c, 'till they died on me just recently, for all sorts of commercial audio projects. Don't get the wrong impression tho, I used the e2c just to check out what sounds were playing, kind of like a "preview" phone. There was no way I would do any mixing with the e2c because they're not accurate enough. (not accurate at all, imho)

Well, the etymotic er4S comes awefully close to the point where I would be comfortable doing some initial spatial (pan/reverb, etc) adjustements, comp and maybe some EQ. For those of you who know, it's just like starting out something on a set of AKG 240s. Can't do it all, but it lets you get some work done. Of course, I've yet to try them out in a real production setting... We'll see.

Some quirks I found: The bass that some people are compaining about. You won't get accurate bass unless you have a good seal. This requires some adjusting, and getting used to. And depending on the size of your ear canals, the flare style earbuds may be too small. Anyhow, the whole in-ear earphone idea relies on a good seal. The bass disappears when the seal is significantly broken.

Frequency responce accuracy, is near perfect. I mean, there's not really a perfectly flat responce, and it's even debated that a flat responce is actually good. (in terms of production work) The er4S actually does colorize the sound just a bit, at the mid highs. For the curious, it's about a 0.3db (or less) boost at around 4000hz. It may be dependent on the shape of the listener's ear canal's shape, I'm not sure. The higher highs (10k and above) are a-ok.

In terms of bass response, it's all fairly accurate. The mid lows are a bit on the weak side, but I'm not sure if it's something inherent to the in-ear design. I mean, alot of the mid-low "woof" is created in the room so... But the lower low end (90's and lower) are there, and sound like they should. It could also be a psychoacoustic thing as a result of the responsive mid-high's. (eq comes in pairs)

Anyhow, it's sort of pointless to be nit-picking on the "perfect response" of earphones.. I mean, you're not supposed to do mixing work on them to begin with. These are proven gems as stage monitors for live perfomance, and serve well for the bedroom composer. (esp if you have wife and kids) For the casual listener, it'll enlighten you to a new level of listening. For the audiophile, well, I guess the sound from the er4S should be familiar since it's near reference quality.

Posted by magronbass on September 20, 2006 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

78

Delivers as promised!

I just got them today from http://stores.ebay.com/Yogi-Computers. They sell it for $169.99, free shipping.

The reviewer’s here at iLounge were not kidding when they threw around words like ‘Reference’. I listened to some of my favorite tunes at lunch today and they sounded phenomenal. There’s been much said about the bass being weak, but I don’t think that is really the case. If ‘boomy’ is what you’re looking for, then the ER-4P is going to come up short. But, if your looking for bass reproduced tightly and accurately your ears will be pleased. In fact, I heard some base notes that I had only previously heard on a pair of $5K full range audio speakers. On one track in particular I heard the bassist picking the string and could hear the action of the string as it reverberated on the instrument!

I haven’t had a chance to try out the foam inserts, but the flange rubber inserts of the earphones are extremely comfortable and provided a good seal for me. This is one area that each person will have a different opinion as we are all made a bit differently. Sure, earphones can be had for less than the ER-4P’s, but if you want the best listening experience this is the one to get.

I have to admit that I am curious about the Shure E500PTH, since they are picked by iLounge as superior to these. But, the price point of those being about a $100 more I am more than happy with my decision.

Enjoy…

Posted by Ali Shafai on November 27, 2006 at 3:15 PM (PDT)

79

I received my ER-4Ps about an hour ago and I can't stop listening to them. First I hooked them up to my iPod and I was astounded -- I never knew it could sound so good. I am used to listening through a pair of Sony earbuds which aren't too bad themselves but the Etys are just in a whole other league. Then I hooked them to the headphone jack on my computer's Logitech 5.1 speaker system and they sound great there too. The clarity is just fantastic.

One interesting thing -- I was listening at a level that I considered pretty high. I took one out of one ear and realized that they weren't turned up very loud at all. They rely on the seal to produce their sound and when the seal is broken, the soundstage completely disappears. So, if you buy some make sure you get the seal just right. I have better luck with the foam eartips than the rubber ones but they both work well. I am listening at a moderate level right now and I can't even hear myself typing on the keyboard. The sound isolation is amazing.

If you have $200 to spend on earphones, the ER-4 is a fantastic choice. Anyone who spends another $100 on the Bose Quiet Comfort junk is an idiot.

Posted by twalker294 on January 10, 2007 at 10:20 AM (PDT)

80

Hey guys... How can I tell if I have the latest version of the ER-4P's? I thought there was a new version that did not have cord noise, but mine clearly does. My earpieces are not red and blue, but both black. Thanks for any insights.

Posted by ketanmv on May 29, 2007 at 2:47 PM (PDT)

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