New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Etymotic ER4 SQ
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Welcome to the Graham Slee Audio Products Owners Club

 

Open to all owners plus those contemplating the purchase of a Graham Slee audio product wishing to use our loaner program: join here
Subscribe to our newsletter here (Rules on posting can be found here)


Etymotic ER4 SQ

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
miT View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Location: London
Status: Offline
Points: 870
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Etymotic ER4 SQ
    Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 6:56am
Good morning,

I revived a dead thread but think the title may be limiting views so have decided to create a new one.

I have used my Etymotic ER4-P (with custom ear moulds) for many years and for portable usage, they are fantastic. Whenever I have compared to my other headphones via my desktop system (i.e. my Bitzie) however, I have always found them severely lacking in clarity and especially HF, to the point that I take them out immediately.

With Graham's assistance, I have recently found a DAP of sensible design so have taken the plunge and have been thoroughly impressed as all my headphones sound even better. However the issue has returned with my ER4-P which at least confirms how good the player is, but it makes me wonder whether the actual limitations of the IEMs are being highlighted. For one thing, the HF only reaches 16KHz; my hearing is pretty good and in all the headphones, etc that I listen to, my biggest frustration is always the HF quality or extension, so could this be the issue?

I am hoping to hear anyone else's experience with the different variants of the ER4 as I am concerned that replacing with the S or newer models which are harder to drive may not resolve the issue. If that is the case then it is time to look elsewhere if I want IEMs but after a recent demo, the only set that sounded ok to my ears costed around 3x times as much as the new SR/XR models!!

In case this post attracts those who do not know me, my reference headphones are the Sennheiser HD540ii as despite demoing headphones costing many £1000s of pounds, I do not feel any of they can beat the clarity, naturalness and overall package of these 30 year old marvels.

Thanks in advance,


Tim

P.S. To clarify while I welcome recommendations, especially in my existing threads, this thread is specifically to understand the HF limitations of the Etymotic IEMs. LF is already well documented but as I understand this limitation, I can live with it as the other strengths are/were hard to beat.


Edited by miT - 13 Nov 2019 at 7:00am
Back to Top
Ash View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Location: Dorset
Status: Offline
Points: 2920
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 7:55am
I don't recall, from memory, finding the ER-4S to particularly lack in the treble. I thought the upper midrange and lower treble was a bit forward and elevated although the overall tonality was still precise. I tried two pairs of them with the old glider mushroom tips and compared directly against the various HD540II collection I had at the time. The difference was quite significant. The 540II is light in bass weight but the 4S has even less weight here. I also recall that the 4S seemed less resolving of detail than the 540II and the 540II had flatter, more even frequencies. But the 540II is old technology and HD800 beats it technically, especially in resolution and absence of treble distortion. But the 800 wasn't very focussed or musical despite the improvements. The 800 was far from a natural listening experience, highlighted by direct comparison to the old K1000. In the scale of things, I found the 4S underwhelming and sold both of them. Well actually I sold everything mentioned here.

Edited by Ash - 13 Nov 2019 at 8:04am
Back to Top
miT View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Location: London
Status: Offline
Points: 870
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 9:04am
Originally posted by Ash Ash wrote:

I don't recall, from memory, finding the ER-4S to particularly lack in the treble. I thought the upper midrange and lower treble was a bit forward and elevated although the overall tonality was still precise. I tried two pairs of them with the old glider mushroom tips and compared directly against the various HD540II collection I had at the time. The difference was quite significant. The 540II is light in bass weight but the 4S has even less weight here. I also recall that the 4S seemed less resolving of detail than the 540II and the 540II had flatter, more even frequencies. But the 540II is old technology and HD800 beats it technically, especially in resolution and absence of treble distortion. But the 800 wasn't very focussed or musical despite the improvements. The 800 was far from a natural listening experience, highlighted by direct comparison to the old K1000. In the scale of things, I found the 4S underwhelming and sold both of them. Well actually I sold everything mentioned here.
Thanks Ash. The HF of the 4S has always been heralded as outstanding, but due to my current experience with the 4P, I am now doubtful if the 16kHz roll off can overcome this. I can sense the treble but the roll off kills off the higher frequency sparkle so my brain is potentially imagining what I am missing rather than hearing it.

Very few of the IEMs or headphones I tried recently could compete with the overall sound presentation of the 540ii those that did did not share the same issues that I am finding with the 4P. The sparkle was impeccable and what I perceive to be real so it can't be my ears.
Back to Top
Ash View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Location: Dorset
Status: Offline
Points: 2920
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 7:56pm
Although with some headphones, the sparkle can be representative of emphasis. I guess we all have our own ideas of what accurate sound is. I am not particularly intelligent or high in ability so a lot of hi-fi stuff is wasted on me as I would not be able to tell a difference, certainly not without a lot of listening beforehand. Consequently I like a listening reference to educate my hearing and judgement hence why I opted for MySphere 3.1; manufactured by sound measurement specialists. I don't even think I can hear up to 20kHz so I have far from Golden Ears.
Back to Top
miT View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Location: London
Status: Offline
Points: 870
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 9:30pm
I agree, but I have always been extremely sensitive to sibilance so any that over-emphasises HF cause me actual pain.

I guess my usage of "sparkle" is also misleading. My reference for HF is that a real cymbal has a unique crispness that doesn't sound rolled off, has a perceivable ceiling to the extension and doesn't cause pain due to being too spangly; it sounds true. That is likely why I rely on good recordings with real instruments when demoing equipment; I can tell if it sounds right or not.

LF on the otherhand I would be rubbish with. I know how to tune to achieve a balanced sound and can tell when something is over emphasized but I would struggle to tell you what real sounds like. Mids (for voices) and HF are more my thing.

My issue when using my 4P with an amped source is that they sound rolled off. Even though you can hear the HF is being reproduced, it doesn't sound anything near crisp enough, but is that due to them being easy to drive or due to the 16kHz roll off?


Edited by miT - 13 Nov 2019 at 9:35pm
Back to Top
Ash View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Location: Dorset
Status: Offline
Points: 2920
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2019 at 9:36pm
Poor impedance matching with source causing HF overdamping??
Back to Top
miT View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Location: London
Status: Offline
Points: 870
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2019 at 6:17am
Originally posted by Ash Ash wrote:

Poor impedance matching with source causing HF overdamping??
I did my best to learn about impedance so that I could see what is a best match but my without knowing the output impedance of my DAP, I believe it is a futile exercise?

My knowledge on that subject is poor but yes, I believe that is a big part of the issue as I have experienced it with both the Bitzie and my DAP even though my other headphones sound sublime through both. But even if the other models are better suited, I have no idea of knowing if they will sound crisp enough.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.113 seconds.