"These things are awesome!"5.0 starson by JudgmentDay
Pros: Excellent sound, fit, noise isolation, small size and cost
Cons: Cord is long and tends to be microphonic
Summary: First off, let me just say that these things are wonderful! They are pefect for any situation, and here's why:
These things are very well made. You can tell that etymotic really put a great product out there that will last for a long time to come. These earphones also look great. The only little problem I have run into has been the cord. It is quite long at 5 feet, but it has never gotten in my way. I can see how this would be a problem if you use an in line remote, but again, I haven't experienced any real negatives about this. The only other thing about it is the microphonics. Yes, it does pick up sounds, but is has an included shirt clip to keep this down to a minimum. Simply put, if you use any type of IEM or in ear earphone, you are going to have microphonics, though some will be better than others.
The isolation on these things are really great, provided you can get a good fit. For me, I had absolutley no trouble fitting these things in my ear. I followed the instructions and instantly I couldn't hear anything! I know that some people have trouble with the fit, so to give you some reference, I use the medium tips on all of the earphones that I have tried. They fit me perfectly and are the most pleasing and comfortable fit that I have tried out of every other earphone product. When it's in my ear, I can't hear anything around me, which is great with my roomate when I am trying to do homework in the dorm or when I am studying at the library; I can finally study in peace!
Oh ya, did I mention these things are small? It's perfect for anyone, especially those that don't want earphones sticking out of their ears. When you get a proper fit the entire thing lies in the entire ear, with just the very very little end of it sticking out. Don't worry though, it isn't noticeable at all. People don't even know I'm wearing these things until they notice I'm not responding when they talk to me or they see the wires dangling out of my ears.
I know I already said how great these things feel, but I'll just mention it one more time. These are AWESOME! I don't even notice them in my ears once I have put them in. For reference, I have owned the Sony MDR-ex71, the ex81lp, shure e4c, ultimate ears super.fi 5 pro, and the etymotic er-6i. These are by far the most comfortable, but again I can see how this depends on your ear size. The earphones next to these in comfort would be the sony line, but again, nothing touches these in terms of comfort.
Now onto the most important thing, the sound quality. These things are AMAZING. I can't believe what I'm hearing out of them. The detail is incredible and the sound is very, very accurate. Just go to the etymotic website and look at the earphone comparison. The only thing that surpasses the accuracy are the er-4's. It even surpasses the er-4p's, although I have heard that they do offer a little more clarity and detail. I listen to these using an unamped mp3 player and everything encoded at 192 - 320 kbps, so don't be afraid of the other reviews saying that you need an amp to use these things, although if you did use one you would even get better results. Next is the bass, which some people have complained of. The reason why is because the people do not get a proper seal. The bass is perfect, very accurate and tight. Not a huge thump like the sony's, but much cleaner and appropriate. If you have used the sony's and are used to the bass, just give yourself some time with these. I promise you will get used to be bass and will be very happy that you did, as the sony's bass is enhanced and over represented, making the rest of the music muddy. Simply put, the entire sound range is represented perfectly. Never bright or shrill, these things are the real deal.
The last thing I am going to talk about is the cost. I got mine from buy.com for $89.99. They have a great 30-day no hassle return policy on these, as well as most of the products in their store. Needless to say, I am not going to send them back, so I won't need to worry about that anyway. But in case you do, they are very helpful with returns. The cost is great with this item, and very cheap compared to many similiar audiophile earphone products. And, the cheapest place I could find the 4p's were around $199, so they are less than half the cost of them. A great bargain, especially considering the low cost for such a high quality product.
In summary, I would like to say you should give these a shot if you are considering them. You will not be sorry as long as you get a good seal. Again, like I said, go to buy.com to try them out if you're not sure. As a quick side not, I didn't bother with the etymotic er-4p because of the price and also the comfort/build. I hated the er-6i's triple flange tips. They were so uncomfortable to me and that's what the e4's use, so I didn't even bother. But, if there is a way to use the 2 flange tips with them then they would be a lot better. Also, the earphones stick out of your ears and are not the best looking things in the world. Anway, if you do decide on these things, give a few days to break in and I promise they will deliver on all fronts. I highly recommend these little earbuds. They do exactly what they are supposed to do at an affordable price. A perfect 10.