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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2012
I simply cannot recommend these. After just over a year of light use (walking to work, on the Metro, never while exercising), the cable coating on the left side split open, exposing the interior wires. While they still technically work, needless to say, for the price of these 'phones, it's just not acceptable.

I upgraded to these after having two pairs of the ER-6is, both of which had to be serviced. I had hoped that moving up the product line would equate to superior build quality, but sadly that was not the case. Shoddy construction and chronically lacking durability appear to be hallmarks of the brand. After this many bad experiences with Etymotic products, the otherwise excellent noise isolation and sound quality just isn't enough to justify continued patronage of this company. You should also note that the company does not do repairs for out-of-warranty products either, instead offering a discount on a re-purchase of the product. Like the saying goes, that's just throwing good money after bad. Save your time and money and look elsewhere people.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
As other reviewers have noted, the sound quality and isolation are excellent. Etymotics have a reputation for a neutral and accurate soundscape, and if that's what you are looking for these are a real joy; if you are looking for a bass crazy sound, you are likely to be disappointed. As everyone says, fit is everything -- and when they do, these are one of the best sounds you can find for the price. You get two 3-flange sets of silicone plugs, and Ety's foam model (uncomfortable for me, but to each their own) and a single flange, quick-insertion pair. The large 3-flange barely creates a seal for me, and I have used the medium size on other IEMs so if your ear canals are a bit larger than normal you might be out of luck. The microphone quality seems to be relatively good -- at least no one has complained yet. Because of the sound isolation, you can hear phone conversations in environments that you would ordinarily have to run and find a closet for. I don't think you can buy a better sounding IEM with a decent microphone for phone use.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't have a problem with the microphonics (the sound made by the mechanical movement of the cord) -- these seem as good or better than most; definitely an improvement over my last pair of Etys.

If you are buying these for the features that Etymotics claims about their Awareness! software, you should first check out the reviews of it before you do (I'll save you the trouble: 1 star); it's just awful and has no redeeming features other than a battery drain. Don't think that you might get away with just some compatibility issues or occasional force closes if you're not running Jellybean because it isn't available for anything less. Your mileage may vary if you have the only Android set they tested it with (Galaxy 3), but based on the reviews from Galaxy 3 owners you'll still be uninstalling in minutes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2013
I generally prefer over-the-ear headphones to sticking something in my ear, but I needed something small and portable that I could take to the gym. All in all, I have been happy with it. Here's some of my thoughts:

Fit and comfort
============

I was really worried about this when buying them. Overall, it hasn't been too much of an issue. I have been using the three-flange earpieces, and they are comfortable enough to wear for a couple of hours while working out. I haven't tried to use them for any really long period of time (5+ hours), but I am not entirely sure I could stand wearing them all day.

You do have to be sure to get them in right; otherwise, they can slip out over time. Additionally, once they are in, you get to experience the noise isolation they offer.

Noise isolation
============

Wow. They are absolutely fantastic at providing noise isolation. I have some of the original Bose QuietComfort headphones for years (which use active noise cancellation), but they have nothing on these. You can't have a normal conversation with these on. While at the gym, just about all of the background noise (music, other people) is eliminated while wearing these.

Sound quality
===========

I am not sure I qualify as an 'audiophile' or not, but I do like to use speakers that don't add too much of their own colouration to the music that I am listening to. I have been fairly happy with these earphones in this regard; I feel like I can really hear a lot of the detail in the music I listen to.

Other features
===========

One of the reasons I picked these up is because they are compatible with Android phones. So far, the button and headset functionality has worked out just fine. It's nice not to have to take my phone out to take a call.

As good as these earphones are, they are not perfect. Some complaints:

Microphonics
===========

Yes, they are bad. The clip helps, but I am sure there are other earphones that do much better in this regard. I have learned to adjust the fit and otherwise put up with it.

Maintenance
==========

Since these go deep into my ear, they get waxy. It's simple enough to clean the earpieces, but it's not the sort of thing I have needed to do with over-the-ear headphones or other in-ear devices.

Cord length
=========

It's long enough that haven't found any problems while using it at the gym. However, when using this at my desk, I have found that the cord length can be an issue. Of course, I can use an extension for this circumstance.

My final thoughts after a few months of use is that these is a very good headset. At some point, I will most likely get the custom earpieces made to go with it. I am hoping this will improve both the comfort and noise isolation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
I like this set of phones a lot. I find the phones often don't have much power for my ER 4Ps but this pair does really well. In addition, they're not as expensive as the 4P so that I don't have to worry about losing these as much. The mic is good and the remote functionality is basic but the sound is amazing. Getting a good seal depends on choosing the right set of plugs for your ears. Foam tips and/or silicon flanges there's a lot of variety. Just experiment for a good seal. Once you have a good seal you'll see why Etymotics are far and away the best headphones out there. Crystal clear, transparent, they bring your music to life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2014
They're not as good as my old Shures (which lasted SEVEN years and were also seven years behind in sound quality tech.), comfort and sound-quality wise, and they broke one month after they left warranty. I bought them at $150 in Oct '12, so they lasted two years. Definitely not worth it, get something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2015
I’ve been a long-time IEM user--while the industry has matured, I’m not sure the product’s gotten better. Bose has given way to Beats, and Apple earbuds are being replaced by cheap, equally terrible Made in China options.

I use IEMs for city commuting--I go through a pair every year or two due to my heavy usage. I haven’t been truly pleased with a pair of IEMs since my last pair of Etys I purchased probably four years ago--since then, I’ve been trying to find something still around the $99 price point with a mic, something unfortunately difficult.

I’ve owned two pairs of these and I cannot recommend them. While Etymotics have always been known to be microphonic, the ability to wear them around the ear typically can assist this issue--unfortunately, the microphone cannot detect vocals in this configuration. Additionally, both of these headphones broke on the right side (the remote side), with both pairs having the right cabling failing. While the sound quality is an improvement over the Klipsch s4’s, the build quality is somehow a downgrade from the notoriously poorly-made s4’s, meaning the much higher price of the Etymotics is wildly uncompetitive. While the Klipsch’s aren’t good headphones, either are these, and if you’re not going to wind up with a good pair of headphones you might as well spend half as much money.

I’ve since been trying to find a good pair of bluetooth earbuds and have momentarily found happiness with the Jaybird Bluebud X’s. My headphones for home and work are Grado SR60’s and Beyerdynamic DT770’s, as points of comparison--I don’t think it’s even worth spending the time discussing how these sound as they’re not going to last as long as it’d take for me to describe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2014
I bought one 11 months back after reading great reviews about this earphone. To be honest, I was not aware of the Etymotic brand then.

But what a surprise it was. Great sound which is not bass heavy and sounded perfect for the music I listen. Have used it with my iPad, Lumia 920 and Nexus 5 and it worked great with all of them.

But just yesterday, I found a tear in the cable right near where the cable goes into the earpiece. Even though it still sounds great, I stopped using it as I don't want the tear to grow larger. My general usage was not heavy and I just used it for an hour in commute. I've had cheap earphones (Klipsche, Sony, Panasonic ~40$ cables) last longer than this. Just disappointed that it has not been even a year and the cable had fell apart.

Didn't get in touch with Etymotic yet as I'm not sure whether it will be covered under the standard 2year warranty and instead might be attributed to my handling of the earphone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2014
This probably the best earphone I have now. If you mind with something sticking to your ear deeply... you can change the earbud. But I like the default as it block noises, but after a while it develop some pain... then i will take a break.

Not sure why, I can't use it in Singapore Airlines (they are using two pin hole) even with converter..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2014
What's good:
- sound is very detailed, neutral
- easy to drive with portable devices without needing an amp
- comfortable to wear for long hours
- isolation is very good
- good accessories,comes with 3 different types of tips, and a replacement filter and the kit to remove them. Also comes with clip.

What's bad:
- cables are easily tangled
- build quality of cable is bad - I used mine over 2 years, yes you may say fair enough it's wear and tear, but if cheap earphones can be more durable, why can't Ety do the same? The cable on mine start to break, exposing internal wires
- jack is badly designed, easy to kink and break

Overall, it's a very good canal phone being let down by build quality
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
I've had these headphones for about two weeks, and after deciding that the acoustic foam tips worked best for my ears, I can say that these deliver the most accurate representation of the source audio I've ever heard for myself.

For me, absolutely none of the ear buds included with these headphones are comfortable for long periods of time. I use them on and off daily for perhaps 3 - 5 hours, and after two weeks I still feel some discomfort at the end of the day when I'm listening to music after work. This is probably because when I'm at home I now pass up my over-the-ear headphones for these, extending their usage, simply because of the sound quality. The main ear buds that come with the set (the large triple bud thing), and the same ones pictured, actually have some suction when they're in the ear, which is great for noise cancellation, but cumbersome both during insertion and especially pulling them out; I know I panicked a little when first trying to get them out before thinking to gently twist and wiggle to break the seal. Though the foam buds look ridiculous, they don't have suction, and block out the same (if not more) amount of noise as the standard ones do.

The microphone is placed a bit higher (nearer to the ear) than I am accustomed to, but this does not subtract from voice quality while on the phone. It is also larger than most wired headsets that I have used, which is somewhat of an issue depending on how you store/carry them while not in use, as they will not roll up into a neat spiral that I have been doing since I've used wired headsets. The button is on the small side, oddly enough, considering how large the microphone assembly is, but this is also not an issue as it protrudes nicely from the housing.

Overall, in my experience, they're uncomfortable, but I'm still willing to give them 5 stars because the sound is amazing (seriously), truly something that cannot be explained given the subjectivity of our perceptions; I worry now that I've set a new benchmark with sound quality, but I would definitely not "undo" trying out these entry level audiophile phones. If you have not invested in quality sound, do it; with the price of these even at MSRP, the quality far outweighs the cost. Get off the fence already and listen to how music was supposed to be heard.
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