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If you’ve ever wondered what music would sound like if it were piped directly into your brain, this is it.
I’ve long been a fan of Etymotic’s approach to making true monitors, without colouration of the music. Sure, other brands stuff more drivers in a case and market the package as a no-compromise solution, but Etymotic shows you can do just as well with good engineering and design, as well as a complete disregard for style.
I bought the ER4SR from Drop. They sound very neutral. Some people will complain that they sound “harsh” or “fatiguing,” which, while I don’t necessarily disagree with, sort of misses the point of true “monitors.” I listen principally to classical music with these, and they have always faithfully reproduced the timbre of instruments, where other more expensive pairs often haven’t. Some instruments are naturally more “harsh” than others in real life, and I disagree with changing the sound of these and still calling the result faithful to the performance. Popular “warm” sound signatures also tend to adversely affect instrument balance in symphonies and chamber music in my experience. I’ll admit however this is potentially a rather niche use case.
I also have the ER4PT; for reference these sound very similar (near identical) to the PT with the adapter attached. I’m also pleased to note that the custom ACS/Pacific Ears moulds I had made for the ER4PT fit these just fine without making any discernible change to the sound. I’d recommend the moulds for anyone who wants to wear the monitors for longer than an hour or two. These definitely look nicer than the ER4PT though (less professional/industrial), have a nicer flexible cable, and are less affected by cable noise. The ER4PT also doesn’t have a cable slider, so that inclusion is a nice touch.
This has always been my gripe with the non neutral types, The warm tuning are only good for limited set of music. You can tell they don't listen to a lot of stuff to under that, Since the ER4SR fine for any genre 99% of the time. Even then the ER4XR or a ER4SR with up to 6db bass boost can cover the 1% stuff.
You know, I don't find these harsh or fatiguing at all. I use a CMOY ampifier; that might help.
Honestly, I really only use wired earphones for critical listening these days, and I don’t mind the sound. I’ve recently received the Drop AAA 789 but haven’t had much use for it yet.
You know, Etymotic is selling a wireless adapter that supports lossless over Bluetooth; you can listen critically and be untethered at the same time :)