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on April 13, 2012
These are the most inexpensive Etymotic Research earphones. They come with a variety of ear tips, including the regular adult size, as well as tips for smaller ears. The stock tips are fine, but I suggest the Comply P Series Foam Tips (Black) 3-Pair Pack, Medium for an upgrade to the stock silicone or foam rubber tips. The Comply foam tips fit better and are more comfortable, with excellent noise blocking.

These earphones block outside noise just as well as the other models. You won't hear anything except your music.

The sound quality is very good in my opinion, although I haven't compared them with Etymotic's more expensive models.

All earphones have some cord microphonic noise when the cord rubs against your clothes or body. But compared to other earphones I've tried, this model is not bad at all.

These are advertised as safe for kids because they don't go too loud. I'm not sure about that. To my ears they do go very loud when the volume is turned high on my clock radio/CD player, enough to hurt someone's hearing, at least over a period of time. So I would advise parents to monitor their kids when using these.
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on November 12, 2012
We were looking for a earbud or headphone which would block out external noise for our child. The use case would be in the car so he can tune out his brother and while doing home work (maybe with music or noise machine). My biggest worry was that he would not like putting these in his ears. Since this is a gift which has yet to be giving the jury is still out on that. This review is solely being given on my testing them to make sure they work. Edit: having now tried them he loves them (after playing around with the different ear pieces it comes with).

I bought these since I have a pair of Etymotic HF3 which I love. Like the HF3 these are placed into the ear canal, like an ear plug. They are a little tricky to place in the ear and it takes practice but once in properly I have found them to be extremely comfortable. This seams to be a personal issue which others may have strong disagreement with. When music is not playing they work just like an ear plug in that they attenuate outside noise. You will still be able to hear a little bit of what is going on but not much. Once the music starts you will be in your own world and only loudest of noises will break you out of it. These kids ETYs only can be turn up to a moderate-low listening level on a iPod/iPhone. When testing on my iPhone at full volume they played at a normal listening level. In other words they will probably always be used with the volume up all the way up just to get to a reasonable listening level ... so Kid safety A+ ... but music enveloping enjoyment B- because you'll always wish for a little more volume. The frequency response is great for most music (so don't let the quoted 15khz top end dissuade you ... it's really quite good. I'd say as good as the HF3 at the same volume). Note for you spec people the frequency response reported by the speaker/earbud manufactures often means nothing as they don't quote where or how they are taking the measurements (i.e. 20-20kHz means nothing but 20-20k @-3db has some weight). A 2nd issue with frequency response is that in-ear buds need to take into account the frequency filtering your outer ear has on sound. This is why ety quotes % accuracy (to the frequency curve in ear) rather then the more traditional 20-20k flat curve we use outside the ear.

The cord and plug seem to be the same as the HF3, very sturdy. The earbud body is plastic with a rubber strain relief (the HF3 has rubberized body (I assume over plastic)). I suspect that these are going to be as sturdy as my HF3's. (I have a few times now taken my HF3's out of my ears and forgot about them as I walked around dragging them behind me until I discovered the fact because I felt a tug from the cord plugged into my phone as they got caught up on something or I stepped on them. Each time I'm amazed that they were not damaged!). The other great thing about the cord is that it resists getting tangled (Unlike my Klipsch x-10 or apple ear buds).

Overall for the price (around $35) these are a very good set of noise isolating ear buds.
The only Con is it's strength ... they won't play loud!!
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on December 28, 2012
I have researched for days and weeks to find the perfect headphones that would block out as much external noise as possible. These are the headphones!!!!!!

Not only are they safe for your ears because of the noise reduction, but they block out external noise so well. Without any music on, just having them in your ear is about as effective as putting in foam earplugs! Once you get music going, you can't hear much at all.

I got these for work and studying - I have to do a lot of analysis and I cannot concentrate when I hear people talking or just noise in the background. I bought these, stick them in my ear, play some static white noise on them... and it's hardcore concentration for hours and hours.

One of the best and most value adding purchases ever!
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on June 29, 2014
I should mention that I'm not an audiophile, and I use these primarily for listening to podcasts, so I can't give you a detailed review on the audio quality. To my untrained ears, they sound very good, though. I tried the various supplied tips, and found a grownup-sized one that was extremely comfortable and gave me excellent sound isolation.

Also, using the enclosed child-sized tips, I've given this to my daughter to listen to while we're on an airplane. I like the fact that it blocks out the noise of the airplane while preventing the audio level from getting too loud for her.

I got the model with the inline remote control, and it has worked very well with various models of iPhones and iPads.

So why only three stars? Because I bought the headset in October, and by February, it was only working intermittently. I returned it to Etymotic, and (to their credit) they repaired it under the warranty and sent it back promptly. But now, four months later, I'm having exactly the same problem. It's still under warranty, so I'll return it again, and I'm sure they'll repair it... but it's annoying to have to keep doing this. And when the warranty runs out in a few months, and the headset breaks again (as I now expect it will), I will have to throw it away.

EDIT AS OF AUGUST 2014:

I sent in the broken pair and, to their credit, Etymotic sent me a brand new one within the week. I was very impressed with the speedy customer service.. until, 24 hours after I got the new pair, it broke again. So, I'm sending it back to be repaired under warranty for the third time in 10 months. This is getting a little ridiculous. I'm downgrading my review to 2 stars.
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on August 24, 2012
These are great sounding, which is what you would expect from Etymotic. They are no fills, look very plain and don't come with a lot of tips. While that sounds negative it is not. ETY spent money where it counts most - the sound.

Very balanced and detailed sound will reward you, way a above their price point (considering they now sell on Amazon for about 50% off MSRP).

They will keep you from listening to your music at a loud volume - not a bad thing for a product like this to do. I found I got just enough volume out of an ipod for my liking. keep in mind that if you crank the volume on your music player - you still can not get these to go above 88dB, If you try to push them louder, they will start to distort badly, but not get louder. also max volume will drain your battery faster than a low volume will

I was surprised how loud 88dB was, in that it was pleasant for rock and I could be happy with the volume in all but noisy situations. Again, this will save your hearing since even in noisy areas you can not turn up the volume too high.

They also do a really good job at blocking sound from outside, almost like good hearing protectors would. They are not noise canceling (that requires fancy electronics) but are noise blocking like ear plugs - and really who cares if the results are basically the same?

If you can stand lower (and safe) volume on your earphones (and you should if you want to keep your hearing intact)these sound as good as most IEM under $100. If you like a nice balanced sound (ie no bloated bass here at all) these are really great for the money and then some. Highly recommended as long as you keep the volume-limited nature of this product in mind.
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on January 6, 2014
These are comfortable (and fit my adult-sized ears just fine) and have surprisingly great sound for the low price, but they have an upper volume limit. This seems like a great feature to protect the hearing of kids and adults alike, and isn't a problem for listening to music, but can be an issue when listening to podcasts or other spoken word recordings, especially on a loud subway or plane.
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on June 1, 2015
If you have small ears, these are great headphones. I have a few ER headsets but my husband complains the ear tips are too large and these are perfect. You can also add the larger ear tips to these if you do have larger ears. I was worried about the "safe listening" aspect thinking they would be too quiet but that is not an issue. I have no idea how loud kids like to listen to things but these still get loud enough for me to feel uncomfortable.
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on September 26, 2015
I have just used these headphones for two days, but I am thrilled. For the first time, I am using earbuds without bruising my ear canals and/or having the buds randomly fall out of my ear. I am using the "large" (not really!), clear, three-flange ear tips. Even with the gentle flanges of the tips extending from them, the ear buds are much smaller than the norm. Theses earbuds are wonderfully small and gentle. They are easy to insert, and stay in place until you remove them with a gentle rotating pull on the hardware. I recommend these earphones to anyone with small ear canals. Although these are for children, I am an adult. But whose hearing is not worth protecting? Everyone owes it to themselves to try these earphones.
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on November 17, 2015
Excellent and affordable for classical musicians and audiophiles. Not as amazing as Etymotic's much more expensive models, but superior to all others I've tried. Virtually all other headphones and earbuds hurt my ears at any volume, I think it has something to do with the distribution of frequencies or the upper partials. Etymotic's are wonderful. If you want a natural sound you will love these. The kids model is a bit quiet, probably not for on the metro or anywhere really loud, although the buds do block out sound well.
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on November 22, 2015
I live on a noisy street in a city (above a bar and with noisy roommates) and was going crazy trying to find a method to block out noise. I tried getting a noise machine, 4 different types of earplugs, getting fancy ANC headphones, and even getting industrial earmuffs that construction workers wear when they jackhammer with no luck of complete sound isolation. Then, I found these. When I opened the package I tested them out while home alone and when I took them out to see how loudly they would play at the highest volume, I saw my housemate walk by and was startled. I hadn't heard her come in and stomp by my room or even noticed that her boyfriend was now playing guitar and singing in the next room over. I was mindblown. These seriously do their job at blocking out sound and if you're like me spending way too long researching around while also getting angrier by the day from noise, stop hesitating and just order these. They are volume limiting, which I was concerned about being a dealbreaker at first, but it's good to know they do not exceed dangerous levels that harm your ears and you realize you don't need to play music that loudly anymore to block outside sound. I wear these on busses, to study, and to bed on nights the bar is really loud/bassy or when I know my roommates will come home late. With a little bit of music or even white noise playing, you won't hear a thing. They're very comfortable and I can't believe I didn't buy these sooner.

The only reason why I give these 4 stars is because I can't give them 4.5. The bass is lacking and the sound quality isn't the best but I bought these for noise isolating purposes and they far exceed my expectations. I kept my fancier over the ear headphones and use those when I want to leisurely listen to music and use these for times where I really need quiet.
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