Drop + Etymotic ERX In-Ear Monitors
$249
$299

Drop + Etymotic ERX In-Ear Monitors

bookmark_border
$249
$299
Complete Setup:
add
DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Amp
add
xDuoo TA-30 Tube DAC/Amp
add
Drop + THX AAA™ ONE Linear Amplifier
·
Free Returns in USA
Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.8
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
4
search
close
shotgunshane
105
Aug 14, 2022
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
Drop + Etymotic ERX Review MSRP $299 Pre-Order $249 Etymotic, hot on the heals of their 2021 first in-concha, over-the-ear wear style, multi-driver EVO, is now ready, in collaboration with Drop, to release a stripped down version of the EVO. Or is it a hot-rodded version of the ER4XR? The ERX utilizes the stainless steel housing of the EVO, with a matte black finish and dueling logos (Drop and ETY) on right and left faceplates. Inside is the single armature of the ER4XR but juiced up in tuning for a more fun, more dynamic, yet more-so easy to-get-along-with signature. That’s a whole lotta more.  The fit of the EVO shell is so much more (that word again) comfortable than the barrel, brain-tickling style fit of the old school Etys. Combined with the newer medium dual-flanged tips Ety provides, I can insert and remove the ERX much quicker and easier than the old school barrel Etys.  The cable is a version the Linum BaX with T2 connector. As far as I know, this connector is proprietary to Linum, however more manufacturers are starting to use it ( including Westone and Ultimate Ears). I prefer the Super BaX version, which comes on the EVO, as it is more supple and pliable but unfortunately costs double the regular BaX. The BaX version for the ERX is somewhat springy feeling and has a bit too aggressive preformed ear-hooks for my tastes but never-the-less is fairly friendly to the glasses wearer.   The ERX comes with some of the elongated Westone style single flange tips, as well as Ety dual and triple flange tips. For the me, the new duals in medium are so much more comfortable than any previous Ety tip; they are also slightly shorter, so perhaps this is part of the reason for that extra comfort.  Rounding out the accessories are a couple of extra filters, a tool to remove the old ones and Drop branded, oval zipper case. Simple and utilitarian.  As mentioned before, the ERX tuning is somewhat of a juiced up or hot-rodded ER4XR. Drop bills it as a tuning somewhere between the ER4XR and the EVO and I’d have to agree. While the ERX begins to stray a little more consumer than the ER4XR, it still doesn’t get too far removed from a reference and neutral-ish signature. The ERX is a downward sloping frequency response. Bass is full and pleasing, yet well controlled and nicely textured. The midrange is a little fuller and richer than the ER4XR, yet still maintains the trademark Ety clarity and transparency. Treble, on the ERX, is relaxed, smooth and a little dark. Overall it is a warm-neutral, yet musical presentation.  Comparisons via Mac Mini >> Pi2AES (via AES) >> RME ADI-2 PRO FS R Vs ER4XR The ERX bass is fuller and denser. It also comes across warmer and deeper sounding than the ER4XR. Even though I expect extension is similar, it's just that the boost just feels more palpable down low. Even though the ERX boost is fuller and richer, it isn’t necessarily better textured than the ER4XR. The ERX controls its bass boost well and doesn’t feel looser than the ER4XR. Overall I’d say the bass boost of the ERX is bit more pleasing and satisfying.  The midrange is plenty clear on both models, however the ERX is richer and fuller with both male and female vocals. On the ER4XR they all leaner with more energy and greater sense of transparency. This leaner midrange is also more nuanced and resolving of lower level detail, for better or worse. In contrast the ERX is just the next level smoother and more forgiving. Where the ER4XR can present recorded sibilants more forward, the ERX tends to smooth them over, for an easier going, albeit somewhat less resolving presentation. The trend continues with rock distortion guitars. They are noticeably fuller sound on the ERX, as well as smoother, with comparatively more rounded transients. The ER4XR has greater bite and attack, giving rock guitars more crunch.  The ER4XR is brighter in lower treble, where the upper mid transitions into treble. The ERX sounds somewhat duller and darker here. Cymbals have less splash and sparkle and seem further back in the presentation.   There’s not a whole lot of difference in staging; both are pretty much in-head, like most Etys, but the ERX feels more dynamic with a bit better portrayal of depth. Overall the ERX comes across as a slightly safer, slightly more consumer oriented tuning compared to the more reference ER4XR tuning. While slightly less resolving and nuanced than the ER4XR, the ERX is easier to get along with, easier to just get lost in the music without concentrating quite so hard on the detail.  Vs ER2XR The ER2XR bass is fuller and more robust. It also lingers longer with more overt texturing. While extension seems ultimately similar, the ER2XR rumbles a good bit louder and longer, and the dynamic driver bass of the ER2XR has a bit more natural roundedness to it. In contrast, the ERX sounds much better controlled, and more tastefully restrained in its level of boost. The ER2XR bass is certainly fun but is obviously much more removed from a reference signature. The ER2XR places both male and female vocals much more forward and considerably richer, whereas the ERX is feels more neutrally balanced and natural in comparison. The ER2XR also pushed natural sibilants more forward and was overall less smooth throughout the midrange.  Rock guitars are thicker, yet more aggressive on the ER2XR, while acoustic guitar reverberations, if mic’d a bit hot, can be somewhat overwhelming on the ER2XR. The ERX maintains a more balanced composure that is both smoother and better nuanced of low level detail.  Both of the Ety’s are bit more forgiving in treble, compared to the more reference tunings in the ER4 series. Cymbals and hi-hats have a bit more more presence in the ER2XR, making the ERX sound just a bit too smoothed over in comparison.  Both, again, present a mostly in-head presentations. Perhaps the ER2XR sounds a little deeper front to back while staging everything much closer to the listener. The ERX places you a few rows further way, as well as sounding a little wider left to right.  End Note Drop and Ety have successfully pulled off their Frankensteined project. The ERX is different enough from either of its progenitors to be a unique and compelling offering. It looks good, its pretty comfortable for an Ety, and best of all, it sounds really good. Well done. On the Drop rating 1-5 scale and considering all the Etys I've heard, I'd give the ERX a 4.75.
peterlask
68
Aug 6, 2022
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
This review was first published in Head-Fi where you can read the full version. (https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/drop-etymotic-erx.25983/review/28981/)

search
Build quality, appearance and fit The ear-shells are made from stainless steel with excellent build quality and a smooth, black matte finish that feels good to the touch and looks quite durable. This is definitely one of the best made Drop+ products ever and it is very beautiful looking too. The ERX is anatomically shaped with contoured surfaces and edges that add to a modern and slightly industrial appearance. The compact ear-shells follow the natural curves of the ear and thanks to the in-concha, deep insertion build they offer a secure but very comfortable fit without an extra bulky protrusion outside the ear. Of special note is the Etymotic’s signature deep-insertion system which is one of the best IEM fit systems that I have ever tried. The ERX achieves a deep, stable and snug fit with excellent noise attenuation while at the same time it manages to stay comfortable without causing pain to the ear. The only downsides I can think of is that you have to use the specially designed ear-tips so If you like to experiment with different kinds of ear-tips, you will have a problem finding something suitable and that some people will find the fit system quite annoying. Cable The ERX features a 1.2m detachable cable with the Estron T2 connectors which are not so commonly available but all major after-market cable manufacturers can build a cable with them. The cable is nothing special to talk about, it is a generic one with an average build quality. For $300 a better cable should definitely have been included not to mention the lack of a balanced one. Now that almost every single USB DAC dongle comes with a balanced output, a balanced cable is a necessity and I can't understand how some manufacturers keep making IEMs without one or at least the option to choose a balanced plug while placing the order.
search
Power requirements The ERX with 47Ω of rated impedance and a sensitivity of 98dB/0.1Vrms, is quite difficult to drive and the use of a powerful USB DAC dongle is a must. To include some real examples, the iBasso DC05 which is already powerful for the size is not sufficient enough for properly driving the ERX. With classical music it easily reaches its upper clipping limits with the result of a harsh and piercing sound. Since the ERX came without a balanced cable, I wasn't able to use more powerful balanced DAC dongles like the FiiO KA3 or the Shanling UA3 and I had to rely on single ended gear. From USB DAC dongles, the iFi Go bar (from the single ended output) was powerful enough but still not perfect so I ended with battery powered or stationary gear like the EarMen TR-Amp or FiiO K5 Pro ESS. I have also listened a lot with the iBasso DX320/AMP13. The ERX was burned for more than 50 hours before evaluation. Listening impressions Utterly balanced, this is the first impression that comes to mind after listening to the ERX and it doesn't fade away but it gets even stronger as you keep listening. Actually the ERX is one of the best tuned earphones that I have ever tested with great tonal accuracy and coherence throughout the whole frequency band. The tonality is near perfect, at least when listening to real instruments and voices, which all sound tonally correct with natural timbre.
search
The ERX tuning is not about personal preferences like whether you like your mids forward or your bass elevated because ultimate transparency and accuracy are the ruling principles. What you hear is an exact mirroring of the recording and the gear behind the ERX, this is a crystal clear mirror that reflects everything into your ears with the utmost honesty. The tuning is masterfully balanced, every part of the frequency range has the right amount of gravity and nothing gets too boosted or subdued. It seems that the engineers goal was to make every instrument sound with the correct pitch and they have surely succeeded. Some of you are going to be rather disappointed because the ERX doesn't offer extreme sub-bass or elevated bass or forward mids or cozy warmth or sizzling treble or an analytical sound signature or anything else that deviates from the reference norm. Looking into the specs and reading about the single full range balanced armature driver that is used inside the ERX, I bet that your first thought was something like, "hey there is no way that it can do real bass". Wrong, think twice, because the ERX extends well deep into the lows with ample sub-bass and bass quantity without unnecessary boosting it nor elevating the mid-bass. The only difference from a dynamic driver is lying in the bass texture which is not that visceral, it is on the lean side but not that much as to call it dry. While the whole presentation is very persuasive thanks to the excellent dynamic contrast which covers all the volume gradients, it is not that physically impactful and muscular as with a dynamic driver. Technicalities are superb, layering and definition are out of this world, the bass is extra tight and controlled with exemplary clarity without a single trace of mid-bass masking or bleeding into the mids. The mids are reproduced with exemplary fidelity, true to the original mix without being moved backwards or forward. Of course this doesn't mean that they lack in presence and weight while they are heard with the finest articulation and plenty of harmonic expression. As said earlier the timbre is not warm nor cold, nor lush nor dry but it rather sits in the middle, you could name it natural and lifelike while it is absent of the usual balanced armature artificially metallic flavor. The treble is sparkling, luminous and vivid with first class detail retrieval but without sounding analytical, bright, etched or fatiguing. Great high frequency tuning which balances the high quality resolution, excellent extension and airy presentation with a touch of smoothness and the lack of harshness. The texture is rather delicate and not that weighty but the interesting part is that decaying time is kept under control and is not that hasty so despite the lack of relative body the high pitched instruments, including percussion like high-huts, don't sound too thin and lifeless. The same high level of technical performance applies into the soundstage which is naturally extended, wide and airy with pinpoint accuracy and the most correct positioning with plenty of space around the performers. The ambience is well communicated but the balanced armature driver seems to be rather limited when it comes to depth layering and holography, the stage is rather two-dimensional and not that grand in scale.
search
The best part is saved for the last, the actual achievement of the ERX design is that despite the high transparency and accuracy, it is not by any means a boring, clinical or artificial sounding earphone. On the contrary it is rather musical and engaging with foot tapping qualities and an engaging character. With a wealth of overtones and a colorful harmonic palette, combined with the natural tonality, the ERX sounds realistic and emotional albeit not too full bodied. The ERX is at home with all kinds of music, as long as you don't have special tuning preferences, but it is impossible not to overemphasize how a perfect match is with classical or acoustic music. The ERX is the classical music listener's dream and from solo piano, to quarters and symphonic works or opera seria, everything sounded delightfully convincing and enjoyable. In the end The Drop+ Etymotic ERX is destined for great success and I can see thousands of it being sold over the years. Not by chance but because it is masterfully tuned with a reference-like sound signature that stays true to the legendary Etymotic heritage. With an exceptional tonal balance, excellent transparency and master class technicalities for the category, it is a critical listening earphone that manages to stay very musical and engaging. Add the top notch build quality, the comfortable fit and the outstanding passive noise attenuation and the Drop+ Etymotic ERX is a clear winner with the only thing really missing a better quality cable with interchangeable plugs.
check
Would recommend to a friend.
sdentremont
18
Aug 5, 2022
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
I've been listening to the ERX for a few days, so I'll give some thoughts from someone who is very familiar with Etymotic IEMs. Just as a preface to the review, I have owned or heard most Etymotic IEMs - HF5, ER4P, ER4S, ER4B, ER3SE, ER3XR, ER4SR, ER4XR, ER2SR, ER2XR, EVO... and now ERX. When I heard about a modified ER4XR in an EVO type shell, frankly I wasn't very optimistic. Why make it bigger? Why yet another slight variant? So I was pleasantly surprised in two ways. First, the sound, while similar to ER4XR in some ways, is more laid back. And second, they have introduced a new eartip I haven't personally seen before... and it's awesome. If you're familiar with the EVO, the shell of the ERX is identical but black (as far as my memory serves). It's at least essentially the same. This does give the benfit of a more secure fit for me. The old barrel design of previous models fits very deep (I probably wear it deeper than most), but the barrel can be torqued and it can be uncomfortable if that happens. The new shell design - for me at least - provides a bit better security from movement as it sits in the mold of my ear better preventing lateral movement. The cable is the oddly not common Estron T2 style. A good 4 feet or so in length. I feel like MMCX is fairly unanimously preferred by everyone I've seen comment about this. Nonetheless, I personally find the cable to be decent quality and styling. The cable is easily removed but feels pretty firmly connected. The center split section is small, the right angle 3.5 connector is compact, and the earpiece connectors also compact. The cable is average/thin in style. I personally like the sold sheath design, and it works well with the included cord neck cinch. It has a medium amount of springyness. Nothing objectionable, but sort a soft feeling touch with a slight memory springyness. The accessories are also nice, It comes with a much preferred semi hard case that sits between the old soft pouch and the newer ER4 chonky cases. It is pocket-able to some degree but not too small that it's hard to fit the earphone and a bag of tips in the case together. I'm a fan. The eartips are a bit more sparse than previous inclusions - 2 sizes of bi-flang silicone, 1 tri-flange silicone, 3 sizes of the new tip (reminiscent of shure star tips i think). The foam tips are missing altogether, which is a shame. However, the new tips are a very welcome addition. They are my new favorite tip. They may isolate just a touch less than the other tips, however, the are incredibly easy to insert very deeply and provide the expected sound. Lastly, there is a set of spare green filters and filter removal tool. So how do they sound?... They are very reminiscent of the ER4XR with a more subdued treble region. Frankly, on graph this looks very unappealing to me. The Etymotic treble is sacred in it's neutrality in most ways. However, I'm pleasantly surprised that it is nowhere near the effect I expected. It honestly has more extension and clarity than I expected, but just at a more relaxed level. I believe it is the way that the treble is still very linear and smooth, but just slightly tilted downward. This has the effect of making them sound a little bit more laid back and perhaps warm to some degree. But they still retrieve a lot of detail and nuance in Etymotic fashion. The ERX treble is a little more dry and laid back in a sense. The ERX might have improved stereo imaging (just a tad) providing a slight increase in spaciousness, but it's honestly not a drastic change. I feel the EVO shared this quality but to an even stronger degree. The old barrel style Etymotics all seem to have a more "wall in front of you" sort of sound field. The new shell styles somehow seem to improve that to be a bit more spacious. Perhaps it's just the difference in tuning? I'm not sure. Despite the lower treble compared to other Ety models, the response is still very well balanced between bass, mids, and treble... Just at a slightly more relaxed angle. The treble still maintains a precise sound and a smooth quality. The mids are very neutral and transparent, and the bass has a nice clarity and presence for a BA. No dynamic punch here, but if you are familiar with Etymotic earphones you should have a general idea of what to expect. Similar to ER4XR but slightly "drier" sounding to my ears. That might be influenced by the treble shape and texture as bass instruments naturally still have high frequency content and will be affected by the difference in treble. Technicalities seem a step behind EVO, but are still very good. The background is black and clean and the imaging is precise. Let's look at some graphs. You can find these on my site http://dent.reviews . These are measured on an IEC711 coupler. Resonance peak is typically targeted at 10khz, but can vary with tips. Please note this when comparing. Let me know if you have any questions on my measurement methods. Here is the overall response. Looks pretty nice, but a bit recessed in the treble. This is my personal target based on my years of audio engineering using reference studio monitors in treated mixing rooms. I don't claim it's perfect, but to my ears this sounds very close to a studio monitor neutrality. The treble is very similar to the IEF target, but the bass has a tilt towards low/sub bass boost a bit.
search
So you can see the bass doesn't fully meet my target, but this area is personally less critical than the treble for me and bass is very decent for a BA driver. The 3-11khz region is definitely lower than I would prefer, however, since it is smooth and not a single drastic dip or dips, it doesn't sound objectionable, but rather just more laid back. Here is a comparison to the EVO. You can see the EVO has a slightly nicer bass shape for my preference, tilting upwards down low. Treble is also a bit more linear.
search
Here is the ERX with added 75ohm Etymotic adapter. This is my preferred way to listen to them. It does take a large hit on volume due to the added impedance, but my JDS Element has zero issues driving them and the treble shape is ever so slightly more neutral. I'm curious to hear these with even more impedance or a less strong filter (white/brown).
search
Here is the ER4XR for comparison. You can see almost identical bass shape and treble shape, with just less presence between 2-8khz.
search
Here is the ER4S (still my personal favorite) for comparison. The ER4S is noticeably more "tilted" towards a brighter, less bassy tonality. It almost looks like the ERX takes the ER4S frequency line and just rotates it clockwise pivoting around 1k...
search
Same comparison with the resonance peak shifted to match the ER4S measurement I had.
search
So to conclude my impressions about the overall sound, I'm pleasantly surprised that it is a more relaxed ER4XR in sound without sounding inferior. I feel as though this might be an excellent entry point into the higher end ER series for newcomers to Etymotic. The relaxed sound might be easier to get along with than say the ER4S/R. The new eartip style makes them much more approachable in my opinion as well, as they feel much easier to insert and have less pressure discomfort. But you can still move to the other tip styles if you prefer. They appear to still be compatible with all the ER4 tips and filters, so that's good too. For me, It's a very welcome "relaxed" ER4 that I actually like more than I thought I would. I can easily recommend it as a very competent ER series earphone. I would steer those looking for a more laid back experience to this model. It provides the Etymotic experience while remaining an "easier" experience overall. Great build quality and comfort in a more modern styling to boot. In an ideal world for the user, the price would probably be closer to $200 and include MMCX and all the eartips. Heck, why not throw in a filter kit for people to experiment with too? This would be the best "all around" Etymotic model out there and more approachable. But as it stands, frankly, I think the sound is worth the price in many ways. The market is very competitive, but no other brand has the deep fitting style that provides isolation and superb response consistency backed by a company that tends to stand behind their products. I give it 5/5 for typical Etymotic sound and quality and 4/5 for price value. Stay tuned for a video review soon as well. If you read this far I applaud your patience and sanity...
check
Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
purr1n
324
Aug 2, 2022
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
star_borderstar
Drop + Etymotic ERX review
Etymotic needs no introduction when it comes to IEMs. They were around during the early days (before most of you kids in 2022 obtained sentience) and a proponent of their "diffuse field" target. The ER-4S can arguably be called the HD600 of the IEM world. If you didn't own one, you at least heard one, most likely being able to borrow a friend's ER4S for an extended period of the time. The ER-4S was finicky. Most complaints revolved around it sounding too thin, having too much emphasis around the pinna gain region 2-3kHz, and having a small spike in the treble. The secret to using the ER-4S was super deep insertion, usually with the treble flange penetrator tips. Naturally, most people did not like the feeling of having their ear holes penetrated so deeply. Now what seems like 15 or more years later, the folks at Drop have collaborated with Etymotic to make a new version called the ERX for people who did not want their ear holes assaulted. There's now a normal IEM body instead of a phallic tube. In addition, a set of tips is included that provides a good seal with a good tonal signature (that is not lean or spiky in the highs). At least for me it did. FWIW, I did try the triple flange tip and could not get it to work properly because the body of the IEM prevents deep insertion. Anyway, why did it take so long?
search
I would have to say that this is the most agreeable Ety yet to my ears. There's a good amount of bass that extends low. It's not overdone. Of course tastes and gear references vary, thus I can see many IEM users wanting moar bass, moar upper-mids, more treble, a la the Harmon Curve. However, for those who want something more natural and relaxed sounding, the ERX is it. It would say, take the stock ER-4S tuning, lift the bass a bit, lower the highs a bit, and keep the 2-3kHz bump. The 2-3kHz bump is slightly too much for my ears, probably because my pinna amplify this region more than what Ety expected. IEMs bypass pinna, so inverse HRTF curves will never be perfect. However, things were not so far off that I wasn't able to acclimate after a few songs. Drop + Etymotic ERX IEM Ety ER4SR (grey) Frequency Response
search
Drop + Etymotic ERX IEM Impedance (GRN) and Electrical Phase (GRY)
search
Nominal impedance is 45-ohms, rising to 60-ohms at 10kHz. Higher output impedance will lift the highs slightly, not much. FWIW, one thing I really like about the Etys is that they are NOT super sensitive. This allows us to use tube amps or high-gain (which usually sounds better). I had no problems with a Vali 2+ on high-gain. More detailed discussion can be found here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/drop-etymotic-erx-iem-review-and-measurements.12536/

check
Would recommend to a friend.
JohnShen
1
Aug 4, 2022
How does your pinna amplify that 2-3kHz region when the IEM is inserted into your ear canal? Pinna does not interact with any IEMs, does it?
I'm confused but for a different reason. Wouldn't it actually be the case that purr1n experiences less pinna gain than normal in the 2-3 kHz region? This way the inverse HRTF overcompensates and amplifies that region, which explains the sensitivity to the 2-3kHz bump once the IEM bypasses the pinna. Anyone reading these comments please feel free to correct me!!