"Good, not the best, still MUCH MUCH better than ETYs"3.0 starson by charesr22
Pros: Comfortable design, fairly good sound, very precise, good bass
Cons: single drivers limits soundstage range
Summary: Let me begin by asking what the cnet editors who reviewed these are smoking???
First of all, these are NOT the best cans out there. They are not even the best phones made by Shure. Anyone with an internet connection can go to the Shure webpage which clearly shows that their top of the line model is the Shure e5c, which has dual drivers in each earbud and an inline crossover to split high and low sound frequencies and maximize driver efficiency.
Furthermore, the CNET editors, in their haste to name every new product "the best," began a year or two back by naming the ETYs as the "best." That is completely ridiculous. In the world of high end personal audio equipment, the ETYs are the low end, entry studio model. I don't know any professionals that use them. In fact, no serious audiophile does, unless they don't have the money for something better.
The three main players for the really expensive earbud market are Shure, Sensaphonics, and Ultimate Ears. Ultimate Ears are probably the best, but they are mostly limited to serious professionals because of their fantastic cost, which is about $1,000 for their flagship UE-10 pro model. Sensaphonics also has a great industry reputation, but they are a bit lacking in customer service and have a lame webpage. Shure is very good, and I highly recommend the e5cs, which retail for $500, but can be had for $350 or so on the internet.
To turn specifically to the e4cs, they are what they are. They are good, but not great. They are severly limited by only having single drivers, which no matter how good they are, can only produce certain sound frequencies at a limited efficiency.
They were obviously designed for the "prosumer" market. That is to say, people who like music, aren't professionals, but know the difference between crap and something good, and have a little extra cash. Hence the IPOD matching design.
My final thought - save up a little more money and go for the e5cs over the e4s, there is a very significant difference between the two.