Click to view our Accessibility Statement or contact us with accessibility-related questions
Etymotic ER3SE & ER3XR IEMs

Etymotic ER3SE & ER3XR IEMs

Ready to Ship
Members who purchase earn
Drop Rewards
Frequently bought together:
Alpha & Delta MK 2 USB-C and Lightning Adapters
Etymotic Research ER2SE IEM

Customer Reviews

(84 reviews)
87% would recommend to a friend
By Feature
Build Quality
Music GenresPopular among reviewers
ActivitiesPopular among reviewers
Mar 3, 2019
checkVerified Buyer
This review is for the ER3XR. Short version: This is a fantastic IEM! If you are inclined toward neutral sounding IEMs, but still like full bodied bass, these are the ones to get. I think you'd have a hard time finding a better sounding pair at anything remotely near this price. Use the foam tips if the silicon ones are too uncomfortable Long version: I've owned the Ety HF5 for a while, and though I liked it, I hadn't really found it appealing enough to use all that often. However, not too long ago, I decided to try the HF5 on a cross-country flight to see how it did as a travel headphone, compared to my Bose QC25. I was surprised at how much better the passive isolation was on the HF5 than the active noise cancellation of the Bose. And, of course, the sound quality was dramatically better on the Ety. As I used them more, I came to the conclusion that, while they were good enough to be my travel IEM, they fell short enough on bass performance and musicality that they wouldn't reach the top tier of my headphone collection. So, when I saw the ER3XR drop, I was curious enough to give it a try. I'm glad I did, as this is now my clear favorite IEM, besting my previous favorites, the MD PX & Klipsch X11 and making a solid case for my favorite overall headphone (you can see the numerous headphones I own in my profile, to know what I'm comparing against). The sound on these is very clear, but manages not to be sterile at all. Nor is it the kind of clarity that makes poorly mastered tracks sound harsh and unlistenable. Don't get me wrong, you'll notice the difference, but it takes enough of the rough edges off that you don't feel like yanking them out of your ear. It's not the same sound signature, but the "makes everything sound better" part reminds me a lot of the Senn HD650/6XX. Overall it's a cohesive and close to neutral sound that is very easy to enjoy. The bass performance stands out though, especially when comparing to an older Ety like the HF5. It's not so much a bass boost as it is what it says in the name - extended response. The bass isn't overwhelming at all, just even and detailed down into the lower ranges, with just a slight elevation to give a full-bodied sound. In that regard, it reminds me of some of the planars I've heard. Overall, it's a really enjoyable listening experience. Add in the good detachable, pliable cable (although you'll want to use the clip to get rid of some mild microphonics) and this one is a real winner for me. It's pretty much taken up all of my listening time for the past couple of weeks - and I'm normally not headphone monogamous. The only places I can really ding it are soundstage and bass impact, but no balanced armature driver is going to deliver a win on impact, and no IEM is going to achieve much in the way of soundstage. Still, it has as good of directionality and spatial location as any IEM I've heard. The big issue with Etys overall is how deep they are inserted in your ear. They always show them with the silicon tips (they look much better that way), and that's where I started. However, I just couldn't make it work - I would burst into a coughing fit every time I tried to put them in. The foam tips are a different story, though. If the Silicon tips are too uncomfortable, use the foam tips and compress them into a tight narrow cylinder. Insert them until you meet resistance (don't shove them in hard, but if you do please take video and share it). Hold them there and let them expand. They'll fill in your ear canal and give you the best isolation you're likely to experience. Another nice thing is that they work for pretty much any listening scenario. One earphone that can work for everything from critical listening to air travel, with no need for a separate amp, is a definite bonus if you're looking for "the one." Overall, it's been a while since I've been this enthusiastic about a headphone, with no qualifications on price to performance ratio (although this definitely has it). It's just plain excellent - easy five stars on this one.
May 31, 2022
checkVerified Buyer
Excellent for price
I bought mine here when <$100US, because so many had said that they were an analytical reference point as well as Etymotic's storied history in IEM. Quick background: former classically trained bass player so I might lean toward being a bass-head. I personally prefer open-back over-ear cans for the soundstage, especially after I heard a pair of iGrados for the first time. I listen to a very wide variety of musical styles (but relatively little modern pop music due to the loudness-wars stuff) - my personal faves, in no particular order, would probably be TOOL, orchestral symphonic works, Imogen Heap, Blue Scholars, Yosi Horikawa, pre Bebop-thru-Hard Bop jazz including current players who refer to those eras, and SNFU (certainly not too audiophile - especially the first album from back when I was still skating). I really enjoy my Senn 560Ss, Focal Clears, HE5xxs, and 7Hz Timeless. Sources: mostly digital through LG V60 and Zen Dac V2, though it's entirely satisfying thru internal DAC in cMacPro via old Kenwood stereo receiver. Oh, and Dual TT with Grado Gold cart (best upgrade ever) thru the internal Kenwood pre. I was afraid, at first, of the discomfort I expected from insertion of the Etys into my canals, but it turned out to be no problem that I can tell. I have problems with fit, as I think I might have larger-than-average outer ears, leading to poor bass response. I ended up using the foam tips that were included, because they provided the best sub-bass response without losing the delicacy of the top. I bought some Comply Premiums, but I haven't decided if I prefer them yet to the stock foams. I find that I can forget them being in my ears about as much as I can forget the Timeless in-ear with Sedna tips (firm for more lows). When comparing the 3XRs to other IEMs I've tried, they outclass the Tin T2s (original with stock tips or with Sedna tips), especially in bass and sub-bass. They definitely outclass BLON BL03s, though I have fit problems with them. Moondrop Chus are shockingly good for the price, but low-end information is simply covered by the higher sounds in an unbalanced way, and the 3XRs deliver the same quality of treble/mid detail to me with the addition of bass support for the sound, and even some impact (hesitate to say "slam" though). Comparing these to Timeless seems to be the closest comparison for me, which seems appropriate, given the cost. I also feel like the immediacy of the sound is rather similar, despite being very different driver arrangements. I find that choosing between the two when listening seems to revolve more around comfort and convenience than sound quality. I've put my Timeless onto Fiio TWS3s, and they seem to power the Timeless sufficiently in a way that my LG V60 couldn't via cabled output. I haven't been able to test the 3XRs in a balanced config yet, though, due to lacking an appropriate cable; I'd be surprised if it was a night-and-day difference though. All in all, I'm very grateful that Drop was able to offer these at this price, as I'm very satisfied. I'm in no rush to put down over twice as much for 4-series Etys though. HTH!
Recommends this product? Yes
Mar 20, 2019
checkVerified Buyer
If you value accuracy and transparency, these are probably the best bargain in personal audio. I have both the 3XR and the 3SE. If I could own only one, it would be the SE, but only because I'm a bit of a bassophobe—if your tastes tend toward bass, you'll be better served with the XR. I find that the sound of the SE hooked up to an amp is just about perfect, so I leave it at work in that configuration (connected to the ludicrously overkill Gustard H10 amp), and I keep the XR in my travel bag for trips—its passive noise isolation really shines with a set of SpinFit or Comply tips. I can't abide the infamous Etymotic triple flange, and I would encourage you not to judge these headphones on the basis of those... invasive eartips. Whichever model you get, I think you'll be happy with the sound if you can achieve a proper seal. This is obviously the critical factor with all in-ear models, but none more so than Etymotic, whose long skinny tubes and tiny balanced armature drivers cannot compete against any ambient sound—the design of these depends on achieving a tight seal and firing sound straight into your eardrum, not just in the general direction. So why only four stars? As with all Etymotic designs, they aren't very practical for use while in motion. They have serious problems with microphonics (because of the deep-sealing design), and looping them over the tops of my ears prevents me from getting a seal. Although it's possible to make them work with an MMCX Bluetooth cable like the one MEE Audio makes, it looks ridiculous. Worst of all, even if you're using them sitting down, the needlessly heavy metal cable splitter tends to pull them down and out of your ears unless you use the included shirt clip, which also looks ridiculous and only works well with button-up shirts. That's right, I'm docking a full star for ergonomics, and the cable splitter is the worst culprit. On a lightweight, small pair of earphones like these, whose bright idea was it to create a metal cable splitter that weighs as much as the driver units? If Etymotic would design a new cable with a sensible cable splitter and a mic for calls (as seen on the legendary HF5), these would be just about perfect. As it is, they're great-sounding earphones that are only at their best when you're stationary.
Jul 19, 2018
checkVerified Buyer
ER3SE: May be bass-light for some (not me). Forward mids (I like). Treble is controlled, just enough without sharpness (could have more sparkle). Tonally accurate. Superb clarity. Very fast response. Good separation + layering despite single BA. Mediocre soundstage (maybe due to deep insertion). Isolates if inserted deep. Cable noises can be annoying.
Apr 19, 2022
checkVerified Buyer
Incredible detail for an IEM!
After reading a million comments on the amazing detail reproduced by these etymotics, I finally decided that I had to try them out. I honestly figured I would be disappointed because I thought there was no way a sub $100, single BA IEM could possibly reproduce music with as much detail as the reviews I read suggested. I also expected to find them lacking in bass for much the same reason, though I went with XR in order to preemptively remedy this as much as I could. Damn was I wrong! If anything these Etys produce more detail than I read about especially when paired with a quality DAC/DAP and some hi-res music files. The bass certainly seems to exist in perfectly reasonable quantities to my ear and the whole sonic range is produced with crisp, detailed, accuracy creating an overall sound characterized by tight, tonally balances musical reproduction. The Etymotic ER3XR are clearly worth every penny! I am one satisfied customer! Edit: After months of enjoying the ER3XR, I happened upon my own review and felt the need to add a couple tips from my experience. First, adding Comply Professional foam tips is the way to go for both the best comfort and great isolation. The Comply Ps beat all the stock tips, the new Ety double flange, Westone Star tips, Final E tips with adapters, and the Shure olives. I have tried all of them while also trying the ER4 and ER2 series IEMs. Second, a nice cable upgrade is totally warranted. The stock cable isn't bad, but an upgrade from LunaShops (the vendor I used and can recommend) or another seller of your choice to something less microphonic and a bit more robust makes for a much better experience, IME.
Recommends this product? Yes
Jul 10, 2018
checkVerified Buyer
A Former Condender for 1st Place, Dethroned by Crinacle.
This review has been amended. Previously, I said: "The Etymotic ER3XR is the most neutral earphone you can find at this price point, and is plenty neutral enough. Mid and high bass is slightly above neutral, while the sub-bass is where it begins to roll off below neutral. The high end may lack a little bit of sparkle, making it very slightly below neutral as well, but overall, this earphone is plenty accurate. In fact, in certain situations, I prefer slightly less treble and slightly more bass (most importantly the mid and high bass for when commuting in public transport). Besides, I doubt that you can find earphones that are definitively more neutral than these, even when spending much more; the inaccuracies described are small and I'm sure that other so called 'accurate' earphones will have areas of slight inaccuracies as well." A few years later, I then amended my review the first time by adding: "Having become more knowledgeable overtime about audio, and going back to the ER3XR, I would really like for a new version that has more bass and bass extension, and more mid and high treble. The treble roll-off begins 4kHz, and the bass is quite lacking in general, contrary to how I reported it above (though it is still there). The mid-range, starting from 200Hz, tapering down at 500Hz, is just a little elevated. Etymotics target curve doesn't have the increased bass compensation that earphones need a lot of, and it also has a strong treble roll-off that they say is to "compensate for the increased treble in modern music". I think that's ridiculous. If it wasn't for these 2 characteristics of their target curve, these earphones are completely accurate and would be that much better to listen to. Overall, however, these are still the most accurate earphones I've owned, and still the most accurate at its price range that I know of. " A few years again after that, I discovered Crinacle's collaborations with IEM manufacturers, bought the KZ CRN, and added: "Crinacle collaboration IEMs address most of my desires as above. He even launched the KZ CRN, which costs a third the price of the ER3XR and sounds much better, having the fuller bass response and increased clarity and soundstage that sounds much closer to neutral than the ER3XR. This is because Crinacle uses a target curve that is much better than Etymotics. For that reason, I don't think I'll be reccomending Etymotics anymore. Crinacle's IEMs also don't use the deep insertion triple flange tips, and the KZ CRN has the option of an in-line mic, making it a much more practical daily driver. However, if you prefer having a larger mid-range emphasis, and you care less for the other convenient features, Etymotic is still worth a consideration, though there are cheaper options from them like the ER2XR that have a very similar frequency response."
Jun 8, 2023
Activities:Casual Listening, Gaming
Music Genres:Metal, Rock
checkVerified Buyer
Great value for money but defective
They were great for the money but the left earbud died with only home usage and they have no warranty i can't recommend them.
Recommends this product? No
Aug 4, 2022
checkVerified Buyer
ER3XR lives up to the Etymotic legacy
I have been a fan of Etymotic gear since I bought my first ER4 many years ago. Clarity, purity, and intense detail are hallmarks of this brand, and I know of no other IEM that approaches the Etymotics in this area. The ERs reveal detail in recordings that surprise, astonish, and reward the listener, and I can always rely on them to present information in my recordings that I never knew was there. The old ER4 is a champ in that regard, and the ER3XR has 90% of that capability. However, while there is a small tradeoff from the ER4s in that crystaline presentation of mids and highs, and a bit less sense of space and air between instruments and notes, the ER3XR rewards the listener with a richer, deeper bass that is missing in the ER4. When I use my ER4, I often boost the bass so that it has a more balanced presence. The ER3XR, on the other hand has that already, along with another octave or two of low-end oomph that equalization alone cannot provide. I welcome that tradeoff in certain genres and recordings, where pace and rhythm benefit from a robust foundation and a wide frequency range in music reproduction. I also own a pair of the ER2XR, which is similar to the 3, but with a noticeably lower amount of secret sauce. Bass in the 3s sounds subtler because it is more controlled and better refined. Mids and highs have that Etymotic magic, to a greater degree than the 2s. The difference between the 2s and the 3s is much more substantial than the difference between the 3s and the 4s. In the latter case, the bass boost is the obvious standout, with the slight reduction in detail that I mentioned earlier, that may not even be obvious without a direct comparison to the various versions of the ER4. So, with the ER3XR, you get a big slice of the Etymotic pie with a substantially smaller price tag. Like all Etymotic IEMs, these perform best with deep insertion in the ear canal, and some will find that uncomfortable. I find that the grey foam tips work the best for me. I also have used pro ear tips from Comply that aid in both achieving the necessary insertion depth and creating the exceptional isolation these provide (think "noise reduction"). If ample bass and magical mids and highs are what you crave, I suggest trying Comply tips with the ERs. However, the range of tips that come with the ER3XR provides many options for finding a balance between comfort and the isolation that is necessary to get the bass performance that these guys can provide. These newer ERs also have a better cable (much less microphonic) and cable management that the old ER4, which makes using them yet more satisfying. I still return to the ER4 when I want to mine the most information from the recording, but the ER3XR is not far behind, and is now my go-to when traveling or just looking to disappear into the music with delivery by IEMs. They have excellent isolation (great for air travel), unrivaled detail, and now greater pace, rhythm, and timing enhanced by clean, clear low frequencies. They are not bass-heavy, though - look elsewhere for head-banging bass if that is what you crave. But for a satisfying balance in music and the opportunity to discover hidden gems in your recordings, the ER3XRs are a great choice at a very reasonable price.
Oct 17, 2021
checkVerified Buyer
Excellent sound, fit, and isolation
These are my fourth pair of Etymotics. The "house sound" of that company is clarity and neutrality. They are not bass shy to my hearing as they reproduce the entire frequency range very flat with no bass emphasis (which is incorrect for many listeners). The sound is comparable to my Sennheiser HD 600, with the Etymotics reproducing a clearer midrange and the Sennheisers having a louder bass response. The fit is superb -- with the correct tips. (I buy the 3 flange large tips.) The isolation is very close to custom-molded ear tips, when fitted properly. I have advanced from the basic ER6i to the HF5 and HF3, and now the ER3XR, which is a clear improvement over the others. My other IEMs from other companies may better these in certain areas, but overall, these are the most enjoyable and accurate, by far.
Jan 15, 2022
checkVerified Buyer
ER3XR Review
For the price the XR version is awesome in its clarity and mild bass boost. I quickly switched to the Comply Professional tips and they really opened up the clarity and don't require a lot of adjustment to get the right fit in the ear canals. I still have to burn them in, but so far I'm very impressed and pleased. They fit my need for easy to take along anywhere earbuds due to the small size and isolating sounds for limiting background noise. I will take them on my flight from the West Coast to East Coast during my travels. I have a $550 and $1500 set of earbuds for listening at home, but these fit the need for compact size and little sacrifice in listening quality compared to much more expensive earbuds. I may upgrade the cable to a 4.4 male, but right now leaving everything the way it is.
Showing 10 of 100
Recent Activity
Placed an order
Placed an order
Placed an order