These earphones do work only when they are inserted correctly. Unlike other bud-earphones, which can sit outside the ear canal, these ones have to be inserted because they don't have speakers and rely on an enclosed air chamber (between earphone and ear) to create the sounds. Tiny sound is a sure signal that you need to correct the insertion of these earphones. If you are new to ear canal phones, I'd suggest you start with the silicone buds, then, after you get used to them, use the foam buds--bass, isolation and overall sound will improve.
Yup, unfortunately any kind of sound isolating mechanism will create this thump. Even the $550 E500's. There's no way around it. I sometimes where just regular ol' ear plugs, and even with those my footsteps also generate the same thump.
All I can tell you is that these earphones are probably more for sitting and enjoying, like on an airplane, or at work. Not so much for walking or running.
Hi, I'm a professional touring bassist. I've been using the ER4P's for about 8 years on stage and in the studio. I had similar ones before this, some custom moulded that cost from $350 to $800 but I prefer the Etymotics. BTW, You can find them for about $170 on amazon. I now own three pairs, one for stage, another for when I travel, one I leave at home. They are great on planes and for traveling because of their sound isolation (about 32db) This allows me to listen to movies and music without having to crank it up, thus saving my ears. I use the foam tips because they are way more comfortable. Do they hold up? They are very well made and durable and I have had absolutely no problems with them. I did have a friend of mine break off an end by accident and he had no problem getting a new pair under warranty from Etymotic. These are some of the very best out there if not the very best, well worth the money. I hope this helps, take care.
Go to an audioligist and get fitted for custom earmolds ("Musicians Earplugs" aka ER49's). Then order yourself the earmold adapter from Headroom or Etymotic. It is expensive, but as you've already plunked down $200 plus for these phones it will be money well spent. In addition, you will have a nice set of professional earplugs that you can wear to concerts. Or when your spouse is nagging you or what have you.