The first and still amongst the very best audiophile in-ear headphones, the Etymotic ER-4S delivers outstanding acoustic performance and ultimate clarity at this great price. These earphones are exquisitely flat in frequency response and have been employed by location recording specialists and stage musicians for decades. The ER4S is somewhat inefficient and power-hungry at a stiff 100 Ohms impedance, listeners should consider a headphone amp for maximized detail with iPod/iPad/iPhone and portable sources -- or select the low-impedance ER-4PT model for non-amped mobile applications.
What's In The Box:
It's hard to imagine that such superb sound can come from such tiny earpieces, but trust us: these ER-4S in-ear headphones are a traveler's or musician's best friend. 'Extremely detailed across the entire musical spectrum', 'well-balanced', and 'amazing highs' are just a few phrases used around here to describe the audiophile sound of the Etymotic ER-4S. A lovely sonic check-out from the hectic & noisy 'real world' is what the Etys promise—and they will deliver. The minimum -23dB of isolation leave the ER-4S unrivaled by any over-ear headphone or even by active 'noise-canceling' headsets. Wearing comfort with all in-ear headphones depends solely on your ear canals—85% of people find the design fairly comfortable to wear—and if you find the stock eartip selections too uncomfortable to deal with, one can always get audiologist-customized molds made exclusively for your ears and this model by the audiology labs at Etymotic. Acoustically, the ER4S presents a very well-extended midrange & ultra-clear treble response that might qualify as one the very best in the entire in-ear category. However, funk-loving listeners seeking deep bass response might find the Ety sound a tad lean in the bottom-end for their tastes since the tonal approach gravitates toward analytical listeners needing detail and clarity above all.
The Etymotic ER-4S are one of the few earphones that can potentially sonically transform under the drive and control of a dedicated portable headphone amp. Their very stiff 100 Ohm impedance rating makes them slightly hard-to-power -- and thus can be somewhat 'flat-sounding' and undynamic when plugged directly into most portable audio players (iPod, iPad, mp3 players) or laptop computers, unless you use a quality portable headphone amp. Please consider the nearly-identical low impedance [27 Ohms] Etymotic ER-4PT in-ear model for 'non-amplified' use.
The high-impedance, single driver Etymotic ER-4S provides excellent sound quality while remaining small enough for total traveling convenience. Contrary to popular belief, the chances of hearing damage are actually lessened with in-ears because of their amazing isolation properties—you don't need to turn them up as loud to overcome external ambient noise in order to get full musical clarity and impact. The ER-4S come with two different types of variously-sized earpieces: black foam-material tips and white flanged flex-silicon 'X-mas tree' type eartips. If none of the eartip types works right for your particular ear geometry, you can have customized ear-molds made by any of the audiologists found listed on the Etymotic.com website. The ER-4S package also includes a shirt clip that serves critical dual functions: to keep the tension from the cord off the ears, and to deaden that annoying microphonic 'thump' sound made by accidental rubbing/body contact with the earphone cable. The cord terminates to a 1/8' (3.5mm) 'mini' plug with a 5ft cord length; also included is a durable plastic storage case that contains the following: 3 pr white 3-flanged silicon tips; 5 pr black foam tips; 2 green earpiece filters; a filter-changing tool; a shirt clip; a hard-shell carrying pouch; and a handy 1/4' inch adapter to a full-size stereo plug.
Obtaining a good ear canal seal with the Etymotics--or with ANY in-ear earphone--is critically important for best sound quality. Please watch the Etymotic Insertion Video to learn more about proper in-ear earphone insertion techniques.
As a very cool extra, optional custom audiologist in-ear molds for the ER-4 are available via Etymotic. Any customer purchasing an Etymotic product can register their product at Etymotic.com; after registering, you'll print a voucher from the Etymotic site, then schedule an appointment with an audiologist in the Etymotic network (which can be located through the Etymotic website by entering your zip code). Then take the voucher to the audiologist appointment, the audiologist takes impressions of your inner ears and sends the impressions -- along with the voucher -- to the Ety labs. Customer pays nothing to the audiologist; the lab will contact you for credit card payment ($100usd); the lab then produces the molds and ships them to the customer with the lab compensating the audiologist. BAM! It's a really easy way to get into 'master-level' sound quality performance and superb personalized wearing comfort at a very reasonable expense.
Etymotic ER-4S Frequency Response
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