I picked these bad boys up at J&R in NYC for $95 and I love them. I have owned the Sony MDR-EX71SL and these are far superior.

First of all a big tip to all those considering these phones CUT THE LAST FLANGE ON THE TIP! It is a world of difference in bass output. The 71SL are muddy and overbearing with its bass. The ER-6i have accurate bass reproduction, not boomy at all, just a very nice accurate bass note. Mids are very full and highs are a bit bright but that's because I've been used to having dull highs on the Apple cans.

I recommend these to anyone who listens to a lot of rock music especially with accoustic guitars. You will hear notes you've never heard before.

Very highly recommended for the price.

One last thing, your earphones are only as good as your source material. I always try to rip MP3's at 160kps at the very least; you'll notice the difference.

Posted by Q.Lam on February 18, 2006 at 5:05 PM (PDT) Comment 121

I got the ER-6i phones less than a month ago, and I have to say that I am a quick convert. I do admit that initially I was disappointed with the bass, having switched over from the Sony EX-71s, but after having really listened to the music, I discovered that there was so much more texture to the music that the Etymotics offered over the Sony headphones. Like another reviewer had written elsewhere, you do become addicted to the in-ear quality that these offer. The channel separation is so much more distinct, and the clarity is unbelievable. The sound imaging is very accurate, and you can pick up the nuances of balance of particular recordings and the subtlety of the changes. It is really great to be able to visualize the rosin coming off of a bow when you hear it scrape off of the strings. I have read somewhere here where people are recommending that you cut off the smallest flange or the largest flange. I have tried cutting off the smallest flange, and I have found that the sound isn't as good as when you leave it intact. Admittedly, the phones are uncomfortable at first, but you do get used to them quite quickly. I also find that jamming them deep into your ear does not neccessarily create a good seal; sometimes they create a pocket of trapped air that actually inhibits clear listening. Gently inserting it into your ear while equalizing the pressure by opening your mouth or swallowing brings about the best results, I find. I agree with Mr. Horwitz's assessment of the Etymotics, and find that they are well worth the money.

Posted by richlu on February 27, 2006 at 9:39 PM (PDT) Comment 122

I just ordered my pair of ER-61's yesterday, and have not even recieved them yet and are ready to give them a positive review. I have read some of the reviews and some are saing that you may need to cut off a flange to get a better fit. So I went on the web site to see if they offered this. Come to find out they offer them but only in sets of 5 pair. So I called ER on their local # and the guy offered to send me a set of each pair they have absolutely free to see if I liked the fit. This is by far the best service I have ever received from a electronic company. Having said this you don't have to cut them ER is stationed in Illinois so they can ship them right out to you.

Posted by Steelwill777 on March 1, 2006 at 9:47 AM (PDT) Comment 123

It's probably been said before, but these are really good headphones if you use them right. You need to push them right in to get an airtight seal, or else the bass will be too weak--as a rule of thumb, push them in until it feels too far. I personally found the flanges uncomfortable, but after using them for several hours the silicone seemed to get more pliable and change shape to my ear a little.

I've used them for about six months now, and they've proved to be as accurate as well placed speakers--they have a lot of detail and clarity, but not too much bass--however, you'll probably find that because the bass is well defined and punchy you don't feel you have to turn the volume up to appreciate the music. This coupled with the isolation of the flanges means you can listen to your music quietly as you travel around town--far more quietly than if you were to use the standard headphones.

If you're considering these headphones I'd totally recommend them.


Posted by Jim Hartley on March 5, 2006 at 6:52 AM (PDT) Comment 124

I purchased both these and a set of Shure E2's. I prefer these over the Shure earphones handsdown. So, if you're up in the air, buy these.

Posted by BrokeinCollege on May 4, 2006 at 1:10 PM (PDT) Comment 125

I'm sorry, but I am very disappointed with these. I understand needing a good seal for decent bass. I've tried everything to make these sound good. I've used the large size flanges, moistened the flanges, jammed it deep in my ear... Nothing makes these sound good.

The sound is flat and actually shrill. Much of the music seems to blur in the background and all I can hear clearly are vocals. I bought these due to the rating they received here in iLounge. I'm very frustrated having made the investment.

Posted by Wog1970 on May 20, 2006 at 8:25 AM (PDT) Comment 126

I just bought a pair of these and I'm immensely satisfied. I'm not a bass nut, but I need a good solid thump to enjoy my music, and the earbuds I've tried in the past have had terrible bass (particularly Apple's iPod buds). The ER-6i's don't have mind-blowing bass, but I was suprised at how much they do have. They're worlds better than other earbuds I've tried, at any rate.

The sound is crystal clear otherwise, as well. Great range and stereo balance, and it's true that the 6i's reveal details in your music that you may never have heard before. Basslines now actually sound like bass guitars being picked rather than just a flat tone - it's remarkable.

And the sound isolation is phenomenal. I own a gigantic pair of Bose Noise Cancelling headphones, and I thought those were as good as it got for noise isolation. Well, the ER-6i's perform just as well, at a fraction of the cost, and they're earbuds! I'm listening to my iPod right now with a very loud desk fan on, and with the 6i's it's like the room is completely silent. My bus commute is sure to be much more pleasant with these.

Overall I think the A rating is deserved. Again, there's only so much bass you can get from earbuds, but these will probably suprise you. Really, the noise isolation is worth the $149 (now closer to $120) alone.

Posted by VousDew on June 20, 2006 at 11:32 AM (PDT) Comment 127

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 much difference between them, infact the ER4Ps may have a little less bass, hoever they do need to go deeper into the ears than the ER6i`s... In short the ER6i`s are a safe bet at around £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...

In short the ER6i's are possibly a better bet than the ER4P's with the 6's seeming to have a little more bass and you dont have to turn the iPod's volume up as much to get the same volume.

Posted by ultraviolet on July 22, 2006 at 12:29 PM (PDT) Comment 128

Should I get ER6i's or Shure e4c's. Comfort is most important to me, then sound quality. Price doesn't really matter to me I found a good deal.

Posted by Ryan1019 on July 23, 2006 at 1:30 PM (PDT) Comment 129

I am a provider for Etymotic products in the hearing industry, and recently bought both the 4P and 6i. We sell custom iPod/mp3 earmolds, and after having custom earmolds made for me from two different earmold labs, I was extremely disappointed with the sound. Someone asked about these in an earlier post, and I can tell you that there is significant sound degradation within the earmold bore. Bass response is exaggerated and the highs are chopped off. I experimented with a larger sound bowl and maximized the bore diameters, tried a bell canal (internal flaring at the tip) and adjustable venting. Of all these, the venting helped restore the HF response, but at the expense of poor sound isolation.

Which brings me back to the Etymotic products. The 6i is good but the 4P is so much better. I realize it's significantly more, but objectively, it returns very good value for the cost. The sound is extremely smooth and balanced, with exquisite detail and imaging. I'm hearing sounds in music I've been listening to for over 30 years that I've never heard before!

As many have mentioned, the seal is critical for either the 4P or 6i. To address an earlier concern, there is no possibility of damaging your eardrum with even a deep insertion - you would have to push it past the second bend, which would not be just incredibly deep but also very painful. The best method for inserting these is to pull up on the pinna (upper part of the ear) to open the ear canal, and insert the tip. Breaking the seal by pulling up again when removing it will prevent negative pressure on your eardrum.

Sound evaluation is certainly very subjective. For me, these (both) deliver very accurate and balanced acoustics at a reasonable cost. You can spend more and get worse results. The sound isolation is significantly greater with these than in noise canceling headphones, and the accuracy of the transducers is phenomenal at all listening levels.

Posted by Barmats on November 23, 2006 at 8:11 PM (PDT) Comment 130

Here's a link to a very thorough comparison of the Shure e3c and the Etymotic ER-6i.

Posted by eskimo boy on November 27, 2006 at 9:55 PM (PDT) Comment 131

I bought these and could not get them to fit my ears using any of the included earbuds. As a result, they sounded terrible.

You will want to try these before you buy them or find a reputable dealer who will let you return them if they don't work for you.

Posted by chazzman on February 5, 2007 at 12:12 PM (PDT) Comment 132

where did you find the ER-4P for 200$?

Posted by danielson820 on April 20, 2007 at 1:42 PM (PDT) Comment 133

WIll these work with the Nike Sport kit?

Posted by mtcross on July 5, 2007 at 6:08 AM (PDT) Comment 134

I bought a pair of ER6i 2 years ago and was very disappointed with the bass level. They claimed that the flanges were too big so they shipped the small one instead. No major differences... Now after 2 years of light usage, the right side is dead. Am I going to buy a new pair of ER6i you're asking? Not in this lifetime.

Posted by Major Nelson on July 8, 2007 at 8:15 AM (PDT) Comment 135
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