Sold in black, blue, and red versions, Etymotic’s hf5 ($149) is a microphoneless version of the highly-rated hf2, sold exclusively through Amazon.com. The hf5 continues to offer similar noise isolation and audio fidelity to the company’s ER-4P earphones, but with more modern styling and subtly diminished accuracy.
A carrying case, replacement filters, and three types of eartips are included in the package. The fourth, fifth, and sixth pictures below show a set of alternate eartips that Etymotic will apparently offer separately for its earphones, using newly shaped foam and newly softer rubber, respectively; they are not included with the hf5.
We briefly reviewed hf5 in our 2009 Buyers’ Guide, largely making reference to the text above and noting that this is a “great, comfortable earpiece to reveal secrets in songs,” offering slightly more punch than the ER-4P, with tight, non-aggressive bass.
Our full review of the hf2 goes into considerable additional detail on the earpieces, which are identical to the hf5’s; the only differences are that you shave $30 off the price, lose the microphone, and gain a blue color option that is not available for hf2. We continue to feel that the hf5 represents a superb value for critical listeners, and falls short of the ideal only in its controlled bass performance, which may not suit the needs of those who love deep, booming low-end.
Company and Price
Company: Etymotic Research
Compatible: All iPods, iPhones.