Pros Accurate sound reproduction, Very good in-line mic w/ easy to push control button
Cons Microphonics (cable thump) do occur so these are not a good choice for the gym
Summary I would be willing to bet that many people have never heard their favorite music accurately. Most of the reviews I read online focus on preference, not accuracy.
These Etymotic hf2 in-ear canal headphones are accurate and reproduce music the way you are supposed to be hearing it. Without distortion and without altering the frequency response.
My greatest wish in audio is that everyone would settle for nothing less than speakers and headphones that are capable of reproducing sounds accurately. I've often heard people say that they are "no audiophile" or that they just want something inexpensive and they know they aren't getting "the best", but that's ok for now. Honestly, anyone with that opinion is only doing a great disservice to themselves and also to the artists and recording engineers.
There is such a thing as a "right" and a "wrong" when it comes to audio and video equipment. "Right" is when the equipment reproduces the recording accurately and perfectly recreates the recorded sound or image as intended. "Wrong" is when the equipment does anything else. In an effort to "stand out" and be noticed, almost all companies purposely go about things the "wrong" way. They alter the picture or sound on purpose in order to look or sound different from all of the other brands and they hope that their particular "wrong" choice will happen to appeal to your preference. In the case of headphones, this very often means exaggerated bass, rolled-off highs, exaggerated mid-bass (for a "warm" sound) or all other manner of changes to the original, intended sound.
So thank goodness for companies like Etymotic! Simply stated, these are the least expensive headphones of which I am aware that reproduce sound ACCURATELY and therefore deliver the sound to your ears they way you are SUPPOSED to hear it...the "right" way.
Outside of their sound reproduction quality, the in-line mic is very good as well. These hf2 have clearly been made specifically to work with the iPhone and that is how I am using them personally. The mic quality is at least equal to, if not slightly better than using the mic in the body of the iPhone itself with the iPhone held up to your ear. Thus, it is better than the mic of the included iPhone earbuds (which, in its own right is already quite good, so that is saying something!).
The control button is raised, small and very easy to push. No problem at all to activate the double-click command.
With such glowing remarks, are these hf2 perfect? No. There are some microphonics (cable thump) if you are vigorously moving about. These would not be a good choice for the gym. Then again, if you are working out, it seems unlikely that you are paying full attention to the details in your music. Thus, I would recommend having a different pair of headphones for the gym and using these hf2 when you are listening more attentively.
To sum up: BUY THESE.
If you spend less, you will only be doing a disservice to yourself and the artists by purchasing headphones that fail to reproduce the sound accurately. And truthfully, it is not really necessary to spend more. For certain, there are some excellent, more expensive headphones out there, but when you can achieve accuracy for this price already, it is not necessary to spend more for an alternative.
The only people who should NOT buy these Etymotic hf2 are people who want headphones for gym use, people who are using an incompatible player (as has been mentioned, due to the microphone connection, these will only work properly with particular devices - the obvious favorite being the iPhone) or people who just plain hate music and only want to ruin it with inaccurate equipment.
Pros There is a way around the plug problems
Cons none to add
Summary The problems with other MP3 players seem to be caused, as the editors say, by the fourth conductor area on the plug. This makes the headphones sensitive to exactly where the MP3 player has its ground connection contact.
If you really like the headphones (and for $179 you must or you would have returned them) you or a tech-savvy friend can make a short adapter cord which connects all but the mike channel to a standard 3 conductor plug. I don't know of any such adapters ready-made, but they might exist.
You won't see me wearing them, since I would end up with an ear infection even if I could tolerate the intrusive ear fit. But that is personal.
One other thing to keep in mind when comparing them to other options: noise isolating or noise blocking means it physically keeps the ambient noise out, while noise cancelling means that active electronics is used to generate a signal in the earphones that is the exact opposite of any leakage that comes around or through the earphone or earbud. Some product literature and even some reviews are not clear about what you are getting. Especially if a vague term like "noise reducing" is used.
Pros Great Sound (if you want to hear real sound without artificial bass)
Nice simple design
Cons You have to keep your ears very clean!
Summary I bought this headset from B&H, I only trust a couple of places for high quality equipment (I'm a musician and I own a recording studio. I record acoustic music, strings, piano, etc.). This places are sweetwater.com and B&H. They have great people who knows about the stuff they sell.
I was looking for a pair of headsets for my Droid phone and also something I can use while traveling on a plane and in the hotels with my laptop to compose and edit music. I told the guy my budget was $50 or $60. After he showed me a couple of options ask what would he recommend if my budget was greater, I said, I'm not rich but I need real and professional sound. He recommended me the HF2.
I got home, opened the box and plug the headset to my phone first, it was total disappointment! I spent $160 there the bass and the piano sounded ugly, although there was a great thing, I could hear every detail on the higher registers. Anyway I was decided to return them to the store the next morning. But, the next morning I woke up and I said, well I need to keep trying, it is not possible that they were recommended buy the guy at B&H, best of Macworld awards 2009, CNET has great review and I can't hear it! So, I gave them a second chance. Tried all the other ear attachments and, no, the sound was not there, UNTIL.... I pushed the earpiece a little bit dipper! WOW, that worked! The sound changed completely. GREAT NATURAL SOUND! So, make sure you do it properly! and... also... keep your ears clean, they go dip!
Pros sound quality
Cons None...well, perhaps price.
Summary I have had these headphones for a year. They are the best earbuds i have come across and i have gone through my share of earbuds. After reading some of these reviews i must chuckle to myself. These earbuds produce ACCURATE sound. if you want a base booster than go ahead an buy a BOSE...all highs, all lows. if you want to hear your music the way it is meant to be heard. these are the earbuds for you.
Now i haven't had any problems with the stem, however i do tend to wrap the cord around my phone and over the course of a year i have noticed that the cord is beginning to wear a bit. But considering most earphone cords wear out with my use within 2 to 3 months (what can i say, i put my earbuds to work) these have lasted far better than anything else on the market. i wish they had a beefy version of the cord for us folks that can't (won't) use the little carrying case that comes with it. but seriously...who uses that?
all in all, superb sound out of such a small device. well worth the $ you spend.
Pros So far, this has been the most amazing set of headphones in terms of blocking noise. Wearing them on planes, in noisy environments, has been a lifesaver--they block out all the noisy chatter.
Cons I use them wiht my iphone which i take running with me. The button on the headset only pauses audio. It'd be nice if it could also function as a skip-to-next-song button as well.
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