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Etymotic Research

Etymotic ER-4SR Studio Reference Earphone

The Etymotic ER-4 in-ear headphones are a paragon of clarity and remain largely unchanged since their introduction to audiophiles 20 years ago. No other reference in-ear headphone can claim such successful market longevity - a tribute to the precise acoustic power of the ER-4 design.

The refreshed 2016 version of the classic ER-4 earphone adopts a detachable cable for extended product life.


The original Etymotic ER4 in-ear audiophile headphone began life over 20 years ago and has remained a steady beacon of clarity, definition and detail resolution ever since.

Its newest iteration as the Etymotic ER-4SR ‘Studio Reference’ headphone keeps the same free-range dynamics, razor-fast sound and precise timbral accuracy of its predecessor. It also maintains the same tightly corralled bass response with a laser-tight low end that avoids thump or hump and instead focuses on a clean, dead-flat neutrality and sheer transparency to the source.

If anything, the ER 4SR model does exhibit a slightly improved focus and smoothness over the old ER4S with a bit better sense of air and dimension compared to its forerunner. For both portable audiophiles and studio mixing/mastering applications, the Etymotic ER4SR offers a direct red hotline to the smallest production details or little sonic quirks obscured in the darkened corners of the music.

The sole caveat for big bass lovers is the overall presentation may perhaps be heard as tilting towards the analytical with a tightly reined-in extension in the lowest octave that actually serves to bring an even more intense level of incisive resolution to the mids & highs.

Yet the Etymotic ER4SR somehow manages to avoid etching or sharp glare in the treble ranges, instead presenting the upper frequencies with a smooth, clear tone that showcases a completely impartial, objective sound that's true to the recording. At this friendly price, we think the Etymotic ER4SR is the clearest, best detailed in-ear headphone value to be found in the business. 

The Etymotic ER4SR employs machine anodized laser-etched aluminum earpiece housings that are very lightweight, slim profile and 100% engineered/manufactured in the USA. True to Etymotic origins, the internal design remains a balanced armature construction utilizing a single microdriver which Etymotic engineers state are  more seamless and musically cohesive versus multiple-driver designs given their difficult frequency crossovers and time-phase alignment issues.

The ER4-SR earpiece snugs fairly deeply into the ear allowing for superb noise isolation, but some listeners may find the precise insertion a bit uncomfortable after a few hours. It’s important to try all the various eartips provided in the box to determine which set offers the most comfortable fit and best sound quality. Remember that a good eartip fit into the ears will also deliver the best bass presence!

We will again mention that the Etymotic ER4SR in-ear headphones offer perhaps the best audiophile bang-for-the-buck value in all of in-ear headphone land. At this affordable price, we think discerning listeners seeking a serious high-fidelity sound with superior mids/highs clarity and an unhyped, accurate tone will be shocked when comparing these against more expensive earphones.

The Etymotic ER-4SR in-ear headphone has an exacting industry-exclusive 1dB match between left and right channels across all audible frequencies to ensure the most perfectly balanced sound possible. Individual channel-matching performance charts signed off & dated by Etymotic techs are provided with each pair of new Etymotic ER4 earphones. Also included in the package are five sets of eartips (2 grey foam sets, 3 silicon triple-flange tips in S/M/L sizes), a eartip filter removal tool, sets of replacement filters and a soft travel/storage case.

  • Features

    • Reference standard sound
    • Crystal clean analytical sound
    • Industry leading noise isolation up to 42dB
    • Metal body with anodized finish
    • Detachable Kevlar reinforced cables allow for easy replacement and customization
  • Specifications:

    • Driver Type: Balanced Armature
    • Impedance @ 1kHz: 45 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 98 dB SPL/V
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 17kHz
    • Maximum Output: 122 dB
    • Isolation: -35 dB ~ -42 dB
    • Connector Type: 1/8" (right angle plug)
    • Cable Length: 5 ft. (1.5 m)
    • Cable Style: Straight "Y" Type
    • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 year

    What's in the box:

    • Etymotic ER4SR earphones
    • Detachable 5ft cable
    • Foam and 3-flange eartips
    • Filter removal tool and filters
    • Deluxe storage case
    • Performance certificate

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