Review of the Best Etymotic Earphones
Etymotic Research Inc. has been making avant-garde innovation in the hearing and instrumentation field for over 30 years now. While one may argue that music is an art, producing it does involve science in copious amounts. Etymotic put down their roots in instrumentation and wielded engineering as a tool to create true hearing aid components and headphones. Etymotic itself means ‘true to the ears’. Contributing to both auditory research and musical ambrosia for the common folk, the best Etymotic headphones have been pushing the envelope in hi-fidelity category. They have varied takers amongst scientists, musicians, hearing impaired customers etc.
What’s special about Etymotic earbuds?
Etymotic Research Inc. has a history of dealing with audio in a very precise and technologically advanced way. Hi-fidelity is a way of life at this firm. All their IEMs are near- unbeatable in their category in clarity and detail resolution. The real extent of treble and mids in making superb music is elucidated by these Etymotic earphones. Most of them use custom-tuned and precision-matched balanced armature drivers that will redraw the boundaries in terms of delivering the meticulous nitty-gritties of the audio. The noise isolation from these minute IEMs will blow your mind away! You will find yourself in an anechoic-chamber kind of silence when you have these on. These earphones also come with a deluge of accessories to turn you into a certified music-maniac. Specialized eartips, wax filters, filter removers etc all form the entourage of Etymotic IEMs. We have reviewed numerous earbuds in the same price range as these and we have never seen such a diligently completed package.
What other Etymotic accessories are there?
Etymotic Research takes its audio seriously. Apart from earphones a number of custom accessories can also be found at their website.
- They have an elaborate fitting and manufacturing procedure for custom eartips which will transform the way you hear music.
- Their Adaptive noise-reduction electronic earplugs come in handy for music producers who want to switch quickly between ear protection and listening mode.
- Personal noise dosimeters help you check the noise levels in various environments and take mitigating action.
- A home hearing test will vouch for your hearing if you have been playing your music at safe levels.
Which are the best Etymotic earphones?
Etymotic has limited number of products which have proved their high resolution mettle over the years. When we picked the best of them, the following caveats were kept in mind:
Audio: Sound is the most important testing parameter of any earphone. You will be swept off your feet by the fidelity, resolution and isolation of Etymotic IEMs. But are you ready to let go of the slightly overdone bass that makes normal headphones so warm in their spectrum? Make sure you are audiophiliac enough to make your peace with flat and neutral frequency response.
Build: Etymotic invests more in sound than appearance. Their earphones are not complete dogs but they won’t look fancy like Skullcandys. Some models even have subtle colors splashed across the earpiece.
Comfort: Etymotic does not skimp on comfort. Each IEM is designed to enter cozily into your ear canal and sit tight. Their fitment is a result of moderate to high levels or penetration into the canal. Most of these earphones come with a shirt clip in case you want to make them stay in their place.
Features: Etymotic designs its earphones for the singular bliss of music. So, many of them are marketed without mics even though three types of eartips are included in each pack. It’s almost endearing as to how music-nerdy these earphones are.
So embrace the best Etymotic earphones for all their simplicity and stunning audio and take your pick out of our list.
|1. Etymotic Research ER4P-T MicroPro Reference Earphones||35 dB – 42 dB||$$$||4.4|
|2. Etymotic Research ER23-HF3-BLACK-I HF3 In-Ear Headset||105 dB||$$$||4.4|
|3. Etymotic Research HF5 Portable In-Ear Earphones||35-42 dB||$$||4.1|
|4. Etymotic Research Isolator MK5 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Earphones||35-42 dB||$$||3.9|
|5. Etymotic Research ER7-MC3-BLACK MC3 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headset||35-42 dB||$$||3.9|
|6. Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones||100 dB||$$||3.7|
|7. Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening Earphones for Kids||35-42 dB||$$||3.7|
Noise isolation is a profound discipline with Etymotic Research. You can analyze the depth to which they must have dived in the pursuit of this ideal when you listen to the ER4 Etymotic earphones. They are epitome of the art of breaking down original sound and reproducing them detail-for-detail via an IEM.
ER4P-T Etymotic earphones are made to simulate the human ear so that the media plays like a live concert. The earpieces look like petite tubes topped with ACCU-fit eartips. The tubes may protrude out of the ear canal more than the usual IEMS because of their design but they are not absurdly heavy. The ACCU-fit earphones have crescendoingflanges that penetrate into the ear canal for a tight fit. Both silicon and foam eartips come with the pack to suit your preferences. The cord is braided and ends in an L-shaped 3.5mm plug.
Flat and neutral best defines the sound character of the ER4P-T Etymotic earphones. They are all about creating accurate reproduction of the music and that’s exactly what the output relays. Audiophiles will be left drooling after its audio that lends them an ear right into the recording studio of the artist. These earphones claim to reduce 98 percent of the ambient noise and make good on that promise. They are eerily quiet so don’t jaywalk down crowded streets with these on. Clarity and details have near-perfect execution. Quick response balances bass against mids. Bass may not be as edgy as some other headphones in the same range but that’s because they were not so in the original track. Soundstage is optimally wide but not massive. Treble is lifted without any sibilance. Sound quality alone grabs it the top spot on our best Etymotic earphones list.
Studio adapter of ¼ inch is provided in the pack. The nifty little foam-lined hard case of ER4P-T Etymotic earphones makes space for eartips, shirt-clips, replaceable wax filters, filter remover and a travel pouch. Etymotic has definitely not pocket-pinched on accessories.
- Highly accurate
- Blots out ambient noise almost completely
- Secure fit with the supplied eartips
- Wax filter replacement kit is supplied
- Extended treble
- L-plugs may not fit through some phone cases
- Microphonics can be heard if you move around
Etymotic Research ER23-HF3 headphones will give you a surgically crafted sound. Mostly the Etymotic gear only believes in utilitarian looks and mind-boggling audio quality. HF3 brings that to the table with better compatibility with phones and mp3 players. In other words, Etymotic diversified beyond studio and diagnostic grade headphones with these.
The tube-like phenomenon that ER4P-T sports has been replaced by a much prettier slanted driver casing in HF3 Etymotic earphones. At least they don’t look like something out of a DIY science project. Further down the Y-cable is a three button remote. You can control calls or playback and also volume and track navigation using these buttons. The mic is closer to mouth and sound clear as a peal of church bell on the other side. Even at its princely price, the build quality of these earphones is a big bang for bucks, hence their place in our best Etymotic earphones list.
Armful of details are set into a tight bass, balanced mids and crisp highs. The intricacies of sound are so minute that a badly recorded media or rotten format will become unbearable to listen to because the HF3 Etymotic earphones reveal all their dirty secrets. The more complicated the music is, the more effort precision-matched HF3 drivers put into disintegrating its nuances. The biggest challenge for an IEM is to keep the high from getting crass at high volumes. And HF3 manages that with remarkable grace. Vocals and mids remain reined into their limits with excitement bubbling just under the surface.
The Etymotic Research ER23-HF3 earphones come in three colors: black, red and cobalt. There are also three kinds of eartips in the zippered case: two sizes of flanged eartips, cylindrical foam eartips and glider eartips. Choose the eartip that fits best into your earcanal and shut out the world around you. These earphones are also party to custom eartips made by Etymotic.
- Clean balanced sound
- Exciting sound output, not clinical
- Has a mic and 3-button remote compatible with all Apple products
- Good noise isolation
- Tangle free cable
- Different kinds of eartips are part of the package
- Costs more than HF2 for just adding volume controls
- Unforgiving on bad audio
The HF5 Etymotic earphone has built on the sturdy DNA of HF2 and HF3 to form a formidable contender in the $150-$200 price range. If you can spend that much and you like use the earphones purely for music, then search no more. Because your Holy Grail is the HF5.
Etymotic Research Inc. doesn’t fix what’s not broken. The architecture of HF2 was highly approved and went on to be fixture in HF3 as well. HF5 Etymotic earphones have retained the same curves minus the microphone. So as with the previous models you won’t have anything bulky peeking out of your ears. The slanted tubular structure that encases a powerful driver sits deep inside the ears. So if you find that level of ear penetration too invasive, then consider other earphones. They are definitely comfortable and fit tight into the ears. Since Etymotic seems to have warded off microphonics successfully in this version, feel free to take these babies out on a jog with you. Their surreal capabilities land them in our best Etymotic earphones list.
Etymotic has taken to specifying the accuracy level with each of its earphones. HF5 Etymotic earphone is rated at 85% + accuracy. Their balanced drivers drive a pleasantly full sound that is rich with details. Bass is tight and may sound a little toned down to the usual listeners. But that’s part of its neutral signature. Mids relay the clear amount of pains that Etymotic bears to create accurate sounds. High are wisely denoted, neither muddled nor shrill. Treble has a glorious expanse over all frequencies. Soundstage is not wider than what would be expected of the price.
Like HF3, HF5 Etymotic earphones also have a cobalt blue and ruby red models in their arsenal. The metallic matte finish is a rejuvenating change from Etymotic’s goth black. The usual artillery of wax filter kit and several eartips are part of the zipped case.
- Precision sound
- Low microphonics
- Reasonable price
- Secure fastening inside ears
- No microphone
The MK5 Etymotic earphones are Etymotic’s attempt at resurrecting their spot-on audio reproduction at a smaller price tag. So MK5 has its USPs. The ambitious clarity that we see in ER4 series is almost achieved by this set at one-fourth the price. Its performance is a function of your personal tastes. If you are investing only so much into a headphone, you might not be an audiophile. And mostly only they are bitten by the hi-fidelity bug. Still we give it enough benefit to put it on our best Etymotic earphones list.
The minimalistic construction of Etymotic IEMs is apparent in the MK5 as well. A tubular driver casing houses the dynamic drivers that are common to headphones in this range. The higher echelons of Etymotic earphones create melodies from balanced armature drivers matched by hand. To get a dynamic driver to achieve same levels of exactness is a daring feat in itself. Three-flanged eartips, foam eartips and mushroom eartips allow you the prerogative to find the best fitting tips. More snug the fit is, the better isolation you will get. And do note that this is an important factor that affects its sound. MK5 is also a highly efficient noise isolating IEM like its pricier brothers and needs your cooperation to realize its full potential.
Just like their architecture, Etymotic MK5 earphones avoid gloss in their audio as well. The trademark flat and neutral response is all there. But Etymotic couldn’t help but add the tiniest bit more volume to the bass. Thanks god for small favors. Because of this allowance, the audio keeps from sounding morose from the normal drivers. Isolation and instrument distinction are top of the class in this price coordinate. Certain rigidity creeps into the otherwise perfect sound at some frequencies.
To keep the price down, they come with a mélange of eartips and nothing more. Buying wax filters separately might be good idea to reduce distortion and keeping the MK5 Etymotic earphones sanitary.
- Hi-fidelity sound at its price
- Punchier bass than other models of Etymotic
- Slim but durable
- Amazing noise isolation
- Treble is not as extended as other models
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Etymotic Research Isolator MK5 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Earphones>>
Bassheads give up already. The MC3 Etymotic earphones are not meant for you. Coloring the frequency spectrum black and white, these earphones shun brightness and transport you to audiophile nirvana with their accurate sound. You cannot throw any genre at it that will come out misshapen from these headphones. Each characteristic is treated as sacred and preserved. It’s as good as the best Etymotic earphones can get in its cost coordinate.
The lanky tubes that are so typical of Etymotic IEMs seem to have beefed up in the MC3. Their driver casings are bigger than the Etymotic average and still leaner than normal headphones. It does make them look better and livelier. The ever-present 3-flange eartips are mounted on the headphones. A mic and remote control is situated on one side of the Y-cable. You will need to press the buttons from memory because they lie out of your line of sight. They are durable and will handle regular abuse of commuting and lying inside your cluttered bag.
Etymotic has never been one to relent on one element just to color their frequency response warm.MC3 Etymotic IEM sounds fresh out of the recording studio for all its attention to clarity and details. Starting with low end, it works its way scrupulously up the spectrum with not a note brighter than it’s meant to be. The left and right earpieces are rarely unmatched. Owing to correct bass there’s no distortion at higher volumes. The response is quick with instruments placed discerningly in an open space.
Wax filters, assorted eartips and zippered soft case are all shipped with the MC3 Etymotic earphones. Getting the right eartips enhances the overall noise isolation to a big extent.
- High precision sound
- Detailed mids
- Microphone included, compatible with Apple products
- Clear treble
- Kevlar-reinforced cable
- Bass is not punchy enough for ordinary junta
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Etymotic Research ER7-MC3-BLACK MC3 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headset>>
MC5 Etymotic Earphones are the upgrades to MC3. Etymotic has reduced the price and created a slightly better-sounding earphone that can be your new travel buddy. At the usual audiophiliac level à extreme, these babies will rock your world in terms of sound quality at their puny price.
Ditching the balanced armature drivers, Etymotic has used the moving coil drivers in the MC5 earphones. They are not as slender and add brawn to the driver casing. As a result, MC5 does not look anemic like its other cousins. Three-flange tip that has few takers is attached to these earphones. Glider and foam tips are included in the box. Glider eartips seem to be the best fit with these IEMs. They close of the ears to outside noise providing almost over-ear can-like passive noise cancellation. These earphones are ripe to accepting custom made eartips that Etymotic manufactures.
If you thought MC3 sounded a bit lifeless with the austere bass, MC5 Etymotic earphones are tad brighter in the low-end. Bass is more voluminous than MC3 on these earphones. But it may still fall short of running headphones-kind of bass. The more budget-oriented Etymotic earphones bring details to the music without the maturity to be forgiving. They sound a little too technical than the free flowing art that music is. As with MC3, MC5 also has this detached character which is evident in bad tracks. Good music is treated well by these IEMs. Resolution is the biggest adornment of their music. Treble, mids and highs are right-on with spaciously separated instruments.
Shirt clip that comes in the box of MC5 Etymotic earphones come in handy to reduce microphonics. Rest of the accessories matches the higher end Etymotic IEMs which is a steal at this price. MC5 qualifies for the best Etymotic earphones easily enough.
- HD sound with tight bass
- Good noise isolation
- Available in four colors
- Durable build’
- No microphone
- Details of bad tracks are emboldened
Here’s Etymotic branching out to be family earphones brand. There ascetic looks can scare the majority of consumers. With the ETY Kids earphones they try to build a safe hearing environment for your music-crazy children protecting their hearing from a very young age.
Etymotic folks might be feeling a little zazzy because the ETY-kids Etymotic earphones are pink in color. The tubular structure is sheathed in pink and mounted with the 3-flange eartips. Two sizes of these eartips and the mushroom eartips are all packed together in a zipped pouch that will teach your child to organize. There is no microphone on these IEMs. They are simply used to revel in music.
Etymotic tries to educate the children in old-school ideals of pristine music. They are industry pioneers in noise-isolation. They use this capability in the ETY Kids Etymotic headphones to make them safer. The more the isolation is , the less likely your kid is to crank up the volume. This way they will remain inside the specified limits of volume that are healthy for their ears. Flat and neutral response will help them appreciate the small nooks and crannies of soundstage where the magic of music is completed. The best Etymotic earphones list wholeheartedly receives this IEM
Just the pouch and eartips we mentioned before. Make your kid check out which eartip provides best isolation.
- Noise isolating
- Accurate sound
- Attractive color
- Different eartips and pouch shipped with the product
- Kids may not enjoy neutral music