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Amazon product: Etymotic Research ER4SR in-Ear Monitors Headphone
Customer Reviews:
What can you say about Etymotic? I currently have two pairs of the ER4S, and owned the ER4B in the past. I have been using Ety products for at least four years non stop, and I absolutely love the ER4S, and consider if one of, if not the best headphone ever. Decided to try the ER4XR after reading the impressions on the forums at head-fi. At first I thought the ER4XR had slightly too much bass compared to the sound of the ER4S that I was accustomed to. They still have the classic Ety sound, but with a very slight bass boost. | Because I was used to the sound of the ER4S, I cringed when I first heard the ER4XR. My immediate first impression, after hearing a couple of tracks I was intimately familiar with, was that the bass drowns out a very small amount of midrange detail (Compared to the ER4S). I immediately started thinking “oh no… what is Etymotic doing??”. But you know what? After a few tracks, my brain adjusted and I absolutely love the ER4XR now, even on those tracks where my initial reaction was negative. I probably won’t ever get rid of the ER4S, as I feel that on some recordings the ER4S is a bit better, but on other recordings, the ER4XR is clearly better. I was stunned when some tracks produced a lot more realism than the ER4S was ever capable of. When certain background vocalists would come on, or a certain instrument would kick in, the ER4XR’s imaging and warmth really adds to the realism, and produces a sound much more natural than the ER4S. This isn’t true across the board, but on a good 60-70% of the tracks I listened to. Some Etymotic fans, and other fans of neutral headphones may say that the slight bass boost makes these headphones “less neutral”, and I honestly thought I would think the same thing, but I was surprised by the added realism, and now I can’t help but think “if it brings more realism and texture to certain tracks, how can that be a bad thing? how can that be “less accurate”?” | I’ve read some people who claim that the classic etymotic sound wasn’t really neutral, but clinical. Now that they’ve provided a very careful, slight bass boost, it produces a sound much more akin to what the human ear expects to hear. According to this viewpoint, it’s the ER4XR that is the first truly neutral Etymotic headphone. I haven’t spent enough time with them to settle on a viewpoint, but I suspect there may be something to this. Something about these headphones just sounds more REAL than the ER4S, even if I know it’s less “neutral”, the overall effect this headphone produces tricks my brain into believing it’s more real. | There is so much music out there, all mastered using different studio monitors, by mastering engineers of various ages and skill levels. In my experience, the ER4S seems to be a better match for some music, while the ER4XR is a better match for others. Who knows why. Maybe it has something to do with the studio monitors used to master the tracks. Studio monitors are supposed to be neutral, but there are many models out there, all with slightly different frequency response curves. So if the engineer masters a track on a slightly warmer monitor, it might be better to play it back on a slightly warm speaker or headphone, and vise versa. I feel that, for some truly wonderfully mastered music, the ER4S is better than the ER4XR (I haven’t tried the ER4SR), but for other music, the ER4XR brings out more realism and texture, without losing any detail. That’s not to say that the ER4XR is a “forgiving” headphone, not in the slightest. It just has that slight bit of warmth that really bring an element of euphonic texture to the music.