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Personal experience with the ER4SR as apparently they are tuned the same as this offering. SR vs. XR = picked up the SR after feedback emphasizing lower frequency response curve may impede upper frequencies (XR). These are single driver IEM so good luck in expecting balanced frequencies on both ends of the curve with these. Armature excel at high frequency so I decided to commit to the best offering a best case armature could provide. I found the ER4SR on sale new for $270 and consider this a good buy as I appreciate the aluminum housings. Plastic housing on these tiny buds would feel very cheap and scratch very easy I presume.
The sound the ER4SR gives is articulate. This is where the love comes from for Etymotic buds. I use a very good Amp / DAC to accommodate the buds although not required but in doing so I know just how articulate the sound these IEMs can provide. It can be a very intimate listening experience with good source music. Key is good source music. Argue the difference in compression, bit, DSD, Flaq, Wave, etc. but I would not want to listen to any source using cheap compression as these are a very revealing IEM. Using Tidal Hifi I can immediately tell when a track is either old analog, old analog remastered or new high definition or simply a bad recording. There is a dramatic difference. Again, once you plug into a long familiar song at 1411kbps remastered these buds are a personal, intimate connection with that track. It can be intoxicating as is the draw on any high quality music listening experience.
These IEMs isolate well. This was my primary purpose in purchasing Etymotic. I wanted isolation and detail. I can't see the reason anyone would settle for noise cancellation while sacrificing fidelity. Etymotic does this in spades. Good luck with your tips as this is an adventure on its own with flange, foam, rubber, etc. I ended up with generic brand silicone that isolate and are easy to insert / remove as necessary in an office environment.
The caveat with the Eytymotic is the single driver. If you purchase these as a top of the line IEM in your collection they should be wonderful with the understanding bass is and will always be under emphasized on these IEMs. I use them for acoustic singer song writer tunes and they are wonderful. If I want to get lost in some rock or EDM then these will not be my choice. If you purchase these as a step in the expensive path of a fidelity "jones" you may decide to purchase a nice quality multiple armature driver IEM as sold on Massdrop frequently. When you find that set of IEM's that have multiple drivers that represent low, mid, high frequencies in quality and detail as the one found in the Etymotic then it is a hard sell to put them away to grab the Ety's. Beware.
Enjoy the music!
Have a recommendation on multi driver IEMs? I love my HF5s and will probably be buying a pair of these because for me the Ety fit is the easiest to use for long times. The other aspect is the clarity is unlike anything I have used before I just keep coming back to it over and over again. I listen to rock/posthardcore mostly and the lack of bass has never bothered me but I dont know where to go from the HF5 other than higher end Ety models.
This proved a challenge in that I wanted clarity, balance and isolation but already had the Ety's so I wanted a step up in IEM. Basically, if one driver sounds this good what can I get with multiple drivers. This opened a whole lot of IEM offerings where some specific models stand out as excellent options. Problem is price of course. After reading up on Westone, MEE, several Chinese brands with swap-able filters I was left with either purchasing a custom mold set at a grand or more or settling on the Shure 846s or Astell&Kern Angie. Both impress but both are expensive. If your aggressive in shopping for a deal you can get a like new, open box for a couple hundred less but stay clear of imitations as there are many. Luckily I found a set of ATH LS400's that seem to be little known except for one review on Major HiFi and some anecdotal forum info. What keyed me into these IEM's was the Major Hifi reviewers experience with the Shure 846s and how he referenced them in relation to the LS400s at a price of $300 less. I found the LS400s for $310 open box new so I grabbed them. After finding a good set of ear tips I found my isolation and balance that is on par with a 1k set of over ear, closed back headphones I have. I was impressed and tend to use them more then any other IEM, headphone I have as they sound balanced, detailed and best of all they get out of the way and let me listen to the music. So... I would suggest "not" spending over $500 for the Angies or 846s. I would also recommend "not" selecting any IEM that does not have at least three drivers with each driver dedicated to representing a low, mid, or high (armature). Be wary of any IEM that has two drivers dedicated to low if your primarily looking for mids and highs. If your able to find a pair of authentic Shure846s (not 5 series), Astell&Kern Angies or LS400s at a good price then I would grab them.
Also, remember that any IEM with a dynamic driver will require venting which will compromise isolation so I prefer an armature driver dedicated to each frequency in range compensating for the lack of a dynamic driver.
Good luck man.