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313 of 321 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This review is a lie.
I bought these very recently, but it doesn't take long to formulate a thorough review. Overall I would give these a 4.5/5 if I could, but you must also take into consideration I'm a bit of an Etymotic fan. I can't claim to be an audiophile, but I like my music to sound good. I'll try to do a normal review, and then compare them to the Etymotic ER-6i headphones because a...
Published on August 15, 2010 by Stephen B

versus
82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Acoustic Sound Reproduction, Lackluster for Popular Music
I should start off by saying I'm a musician in a professional orchestra. Having studied and performed the repertoire for much of my life, I have a good idea of what an orchestra/chamber group sounds like in a good acoustical space. Because performing orchestral repertoire is my job, I often listen to popular music on earbuds, so I need an IEM that can both accurately...
Published on October 29, 2011 by Rauch386


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313 of 321 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This review is a lie., August 15, 2010
By 
Stephen B (St. Louis, Missouri) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these very recently, but it doesn't take long to formulate a thorough review. Overall I would give these a 4.5/5 if I could, but you must also take into consideration I'm a bit of an Etymotic fan. I can't claim to be an audiophile, but I like my music to sound good. I'll try to do a normal review, and then compare them to the Etymotic ER-6i headphones because a lot of people have those or might be considering them seeing the similar price.

What you get:
Etymotic MC5 headphones with 4ft cord and removable shirt clip
1 carrying case
2 large tri-flange ear tips
2 small tri-flange ear tips (already on the phones)
2 foam ear tips
2 easy glide ear tips
1 filter changing tool
2 filters

Review:

If all you're used to is the ipod headphones or something cheap you will absolutely be blown away by your music. Putting these in adds sounds you didn't know existed. This depends on the quality of your music though. If you have music files at low bit rates it's still going to sound bad. Personally most of my music is 192, but varies between 128 and 320 kbps, and while there is a difference, it's not too bad. Just know that if all your songs already sound muffled and off they probably will continue to do so, but if it's CD quality or itunes quality it should sound just fine.

If you're new to in ear monitors these things go inside you ear rather than just sitting on top of the ear. I mean way inside. For some people this is painful and awkward, and it definitely takes some getting used to. When I first tried it with my old Etymotics it hurt and I couldn't figure out why people liked them. Once you experiment with the different ear tips and find what works best for you, you'll start to get used to the feel and eventually you won't notice it's there.

Sitting so far in the ear is what gives these buds their isolation. You cannot hear a thing with them in. I use the large tri-flange tips but the foam ones are supposed to give better isolation. I often use my ipod at the lowest or second lowest setting and can hear just fine. Sometimes this is problematic when you want to go back and forth from listening to music to doing something like having a conversation. It can also be dangerous if you try to use them while driving or something like biking near roads.

One thing that is definitely different from other headphones is that the sound feels like it's coming from inside your head. It's kind of hard to describe, but you probably won't feel like you're surrounded by sound like you would with the large over the ear sets.

Bass is something everyone mentions with Etymotics. This set was supposed to be their response to everyone's constant criticism that their products don't have enough bass. While they have ramped it up a bit, if you're a bass addict like most people you will find these unsatisfying. As someone explained, we are addicted to bass. It's common to turn up the bass in the car or on the speakers. These phones play the sound as it was recorded, not necessarily how you're used to hearing it. One of the first songs I listened to with these was Satellite by Guster, and I noticed that the bass seemed to just fit right in with the music and blend rather than stand out. This might not be what some people are used to. One of the next songs that came up on my shuffle was by In Flames which has heavy bass driving the beat and it managed to come through alright. Not the level you might expect, but definitely acceptable. After listening through the shuffle a while I came across some Ben Folds songs and they sounded absolutely amazing. Styles of music that don't rely on heavy bass should all sound this way.

Overall this is a great item for the price point. The isolation is wonderful when you need it, though sometimes annoying when you don't. Once you listen to ears with sound quality like this you'll wonder how you ever went without them.

Comparison:

I used my ER-6i's for about 18 months before the cord cut out to one ear. The cord is very thin and fragile and it ended up being the downfall. I loved the ears, they sounded great; but with just one side working it was time to get new ones. Apparently it's common for this kind of fault to happen with the ER-6 series which is why they only get a 1 year warranty instead of 2. The MC5 has a much stronger cord and is firmly fastened at the headphone. Definitely something I was glad to see. The cord on the 6i's also made a whole lot of noise. Any small movement was amplified to the ear and would overcome the sound of the music (I believe it's called microphonics). The cord on the MC5's must be made out of something different because it's much less noticeable (though still present).

Another thing is comfort. I found the 6i to be much more comfortable than the MC5, probably because the MC5 is much larger and protrudes out of the ear while the 6i fits pretty well in the ear. This isn't to say the MC5 is uncomfortable, just less so.

Smaller differences include the carrying case for the MC5 feeling much cheaper than the 6i. The 6i had an L and R very visible on the side while the MC5 has it small and on the bottom. The MC5 has better bass response than the 6i. The MC5 uses much smaller filters that I feel like I'm going to lose. The MC5 ear tips sit more snugly on the phones and don't feel like they're going to fall off as easily. I think the 6i has a 5ft cord instead of 4ft. The MC5 plug is a 45 degree angle, and the 6i is 90 degrees.

I like both pairs of phones. I think the MC5s have a little better sound and it's nice to get a choice of color. I think the 6is are a little more comfortable though they have a tendency to break more easily. I really loved my pair of 6is but with how easily they broke I'd have to favor the MC5 over them. Hope this helps someone out.
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98 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solved our problems dealing with a lousy Gym, February 2, 2011
By 
M. Spitzer "mas017" (Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
Even though I have been going to gyms for 20 years, it seems just recently (the last few years), all the gyms in our area have fallen into the irritating habit of blasting the overhead music excessively loud.

How loud ?

Conventional ear-buds and headphones are unable to drown out the gym's overhead music even with your MP3 player on 10.

From talking with dozens of other members, it seems despite numerous talks with management and letters to corporate offices, all the gyms in our area (Ballys, LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, etc..) continue this same bad habit.

Hey ..... these are supposed to be gyms, not night clubs or rave/dance clubs ....... right ?

Unfortunately the locally owned gyms have all been squeezed out of business, so there are few options available for joining elsewhere.

Making it worse, these gyms all tend to play hip-hop, rap, techno or some other form of overly simplistic, repetitive, bass heavy, mind-numbing noise that barely qualifies as music.
More like an audio version of Chinese Water Torture.

So we were searching for a set of noise isolating headphones that would be effective at shutting out the gym's noise and allow us to focus on our workout with a music of our own choice ... played at a reasonable volume.

I heard these earphones have the highest noise cancelling factor in the industry
(up to -42 db with the foam inserts , - 35 db with the plastic inserts)
This is even better than the - 33db of sound isolation/protection offers with the earplugs often used at gun ranges.

Let me simply say this .......

The first time my wife wore them to the gym, she looked at me smiling and mouthed the words ...... "I don't hear anything".

I signaled for her to remove them.

She took them out, and WHAM could hear how loud the gym was playing the overhead music that day.

She said ..... "These are great, I am glad you got these. Now coming here does not annoy me anymore. You can tune out the gym's irritating noise and it's like you are in your own zone".

What you have here is essentially an ingenious "amplified earplug".
The earplug blocks off 98% of external sound, while the small 8mm dynamic speaker delivers the sound directly to your inner ear.

Now a few comments .....

1) Like any dynamic speaker type system, these will sound better after they have had a chance to be played for 20-25 hours. Just like guitar amp speakers or any other dynamic speaker system, they tend to be a little stiff and thin sounding when brand new.
After 20-25 hours of use, they are broken in and better reproduce the full audio spectrum with smoother highs and better low end.

2) Some people have commented these earphones have a weak bass response.
After broken in as described above, their complaint is not true.
They have a very natural frequency response from about 60 hz - 18 Khz
I have worked in recording studios, mixing and mastering for years and I can attest to the accuracy of these earphones for the price.

My guess is the people complaining about the weak bass either .. (a) do not have them inserted in the ear properly .... or ....... (b) these people like to listen to music that has exaggerated subharmonic bass (dance, techno, hi-hop, salsa, rap).

3) A proper fit is KEY to getting the best sound isolation and full sound. At least 5 different sizes of earplug are available for this model. When installing the earphone into the ear, you should actually hear the sound of the room around you dissapear to virtually nothing as the foam expands to fill your ear.
The expanding foam works best for total sound isolation.

4) Because these earphones block out the external sounds and deliver your music directly to your inner ear ... BE SURE TO LOWER THE VOLUME OF YOUR MP3 PLAYER before putting them on !!
If you are accustomed to listening to your I-Pod on 9-10 wearing normal ear-buds or headphones, you will probably find that you only need to turn the volume up to 1-2 with these.

This is a great thing. Listening to your music in this quiet situation at a lower volume is much safer for your hearing than needing to blast your player with regular headphones to try and drown out external noises.

5) They are easier, better and more quiet than the various Bose systems.

6) Do not wear these outside walking, driving , hiking, etc...
These things really make the outside world go dead quiet.
For example, I can't even hear my own Cell phone ring or people taking right in front of you to your face.
At the gym, it is as though you are deaf.
You see people moving but you don't even hear the clank of metal weights.

Perhaps in the 2 second break between songs on your own player, you MIGHT hear very faintly that there is something being played in the gym's background .......... but is is almost not even noticeable.

7) Some of the more expensive Etymotic earphones may sound slightly nicer, but these MC-5 are more durable and better suited for rugged activities.

In summary ........

These MC-5 give you your own zone of privacy and silence by tuning out 98% of all external noise.
They offer very accurate sound.
They allow you to listen to your music at a lower volume, thus protecting your hearing.

It is always nice to find a product that really excels at what it was intended to do.
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82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Acoustic Sound Reproduction, Lackluster for Popular Music, October 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I should start off by saying I'm a musician in a professional orchestra. Having studied and performed the repertoire for much of my life, I have a good idea of what an orchestra/chamber group sounds like in a good acoustical space. Because performing orchestral repertoire is my job, I often listen to popular music on earbuds, so I need an IEM that can both accurately reproduce an orchestral/acoustic sound and also deliver the punch and excitement of dance/rock music. I ultimately returned these, but they are not without merit.

Acoustic sound reproduction is fantastic. Listening to the recap of Mahler 3 1st mvt, I can accurately hear the warmth, body and burn of 9 Horns at fortissimo and then the woody buzz of the winds as the music fades. The ultimate test I normally put buds through is the opening and conclusion to Mahler's 8th (Symphony of 1000) to hear if it can deliver a sense of spatial awareness and reproduce all frequencies at maximum volume (organ, large orchestra, large choir), and these sound phenomenal. The timbres are accurate, the lows are warm and present, the highs are clear. Listening to Donizetti's Dirti Addio for horn, voice and piano, I can actually hear the performers moving and breathing as they prepare to sing and play. In short, these reproduce recorded sound extremely well, especially for the price.

Popular Music performance: quite flaccid, especially in the bass. I wasn't expecting these to sound like Beats by Dr. Dre, but they make my favorite popular music (Bodyrock remixes, RHCP, Radiohead, Cake, Midlake, Kayne, etc) sound really lackluster. Clarity, yes. Excitement, definitely not, which kind of sucks because that's a large part of what I enjoy about popular music.

For me another problem with these is the eartips. You shouldn't have to stick a rather stiff triple flange halfway to your brain to get good sound isolation from an earbud. Neither of the foam tips or the small triple flange sealed well for me, but the large triple flange definitely did. When you get the right seal, you can hear almost nothing. 35 db of isolation is a lot. After wearing these for a few minutes, I had an indent inside my ear's tragus (the triangular cartilage up from your earlobe) from the flange. Really uncomfortable. I now have a pair of Monster Turbines, which achieve great sound isolation with a simple round rubber tip. If the Etymotics had Monster's tips and slightly better popular music performance, I would have been thrilled with them. Also, I had to have the volume on my iPod turned nearly all the way up, which I definitely shouldn't, given the level of sound isolation.

In the end, amazing acoustic sound reproduction is not worth extremely uncomfortable eartips and lackluster popular music performance for me.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Up from ER 6is... BETTER Quality Cord!, February 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
If you're not familiar with them already most people know of Etymotic for the following pair of earphones - Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones (Black)

I had a pair for 3 years and I admit I absolutely LOVED THEM! I can't emphasize that enough. I could go on all day for why I recommend them. With that said I'll be honest, now that I own the MC5s I'll never go back. Not only do these phones sound just as good (after burning in for about 50 hours they sound better) to me than the ER 6i but most importantly (this was a big issue and why I upgraded) the cord on the ER 6i is incredibly weak and after being snagged one time too many the left channel eventually went out. Now granted they lasted for some time for me, however I was always a little cautious with the cord because of apparent frailty of it. I can only imagine some people who are a little more careless could snag them too hard on day 1 and that would be it... With that said.

The MC5s have a MUCH better cord, I've snagged them several times and not once was I concerned about it. If you've owned the ER 6is you'll notice this immediately just the massive improvement in build quality by comparison. If you're concerned as well they isolate IDENTICALLY to the ER 6is. So no worries there. All things considered I'm surprised to see these actually cheaper here on amazon than the 6is when they just seem to be better in every way.

I've tried out the popular Klipch S4s as well after reading so many good things about them - Klipsch IMAGE S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise-Isolating Headphones" However the main reason I want an in ear phone is to ISOLATE, I found the Klipch just didn't cut it at all, if you want the best isolating ear phones I've learned my lesson it's Etymotic.

I really don't have any complaints about the phones themselves. They drive perfectly fine from my SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4 GB MP3 Player (Black) (Which is an EXCELLENT portable MP3 Player BTW! With my micro SD card I have 20gb, I can always increase it with a 32gb card)

The only people who wouldn't like these are those who don't like In ear phones. However if you're like me and NEED ear phones that truly Isolate these are an INCREDIBLE VALUE I can't stress that enough, go out and get them now!!! You won't regret it!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!, August 20, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
I'm no audiophile but if you are looking for noise-isolating earbuds, these are the way to go. They block out the sounds of a moving train, loud side conversations you don't want to hear at work and the music just comes through crisp and clear.

I have yet to try these on a plane but I have no doubt that they would turn the loud plane engine to a low hum.

I used the large ear flanges that the come with the earbuds because it is actually more comfortable and because you can get a much better seal from them. Please make sure to read the directions on how to insert the earbuds before you start using them because it makes a HUGE difference.

Also, the fact that the cables are made with Kevlar, just makes me a lot less scared of roughing these earbuds up, considering that all other high-end earbuds complain about the cables wearing over time and the wires being exposed.

The only thing I can say is that users may feel like they are uncomfortable. When you create a seal from the earbud, it literally just feels like you've wedged something plastic deep into your ears. I'd complain that the flanges are not soft enough but if that were the case, I think there wouldn't be such a high level of noise isolation.

Overall, these are best pair of headphones I've ever owned as far as sound quality and noise isolation. I'd recommend them to anyone looking for those two features over comfort.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ety sound for a great price!, September 1, 2010
By 
K. Haynes (Jackson, MS, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
With the MC5, Etymotic Research has brought their clear, detailed sound down to a cost that most semi-serious music listeners can afford. On headphone forums, the MC5 gets reviews that the sound quality is within 90% of it's more then 2X more expensive big brother, the ER-4.

Since the MC5 has a dynamic driver (a first for an Ety phone), it really benefits from letting it burn in for 40-60 hours, helping the driver to relax and reach it's full bass potential. The bass on the MC5 will not blow anyone away, except maybe for the quality of the bass. The bass response is completely clean and clear, but it is not earth-moving in quantity. And it does respond well to some EQ if you want to bump up the bass.

The mids and trebles are very balance with the bass, and both are very natural sounding. Voices sound real, and acoustic instruments have a very natural, authentic timbre to them. Highs are not fatiguing but very present all that way past the delicate shimmering of brushes on cymbals.

With several types of tips provided, you should try to find the tip that allows a good seal from outside noise. Once sealed, you will hear very little outside noise when no music is playing, and when music is playing, you should hear a rich sound, balanced in both ears.

The only caution is the tightness of the tips on the nozzle. When removing tips to change them or clean them, you have to pinch the whole tip firmly and slowly rotate the tip as you are pulling the tip down the nozzle. Also be patient putting on the cleaned of different tip, slowly and firmly rotating it onto the nozzle.

Comply T-100 or P-Series tips also fit the MC5 to provide an excellent and comfortable seal.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I needed, April 29, 2011
By 
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I got these to use at the gym. I like to listen to audiobooks while I work out, but have always had to turn the volume up way too high to drown out the (awful, IMO) music that all gyms seem to play all the time. These are PERFECT. I use the large flange earpieces, and I moisten them slightly as suggested in the accompanying instructions. It's easy to get a great seal once you get the hang of placing them in the ear canal, and they actually block out surrounding sound much better than my husband's expensive Bose headphones.

I've used them walking back and forth to work in traffic, too (though be careful; you really can't hear traffic noises). And I'm looking forward to using them on my next long flight. They'll take up a lot less room than bulky noise-canceling over-the-ears headphones in my carry-on luggage - AND they'll do a better job at blocking out noise.

I'm a musician and am interested in sound quality as well. The music I've listened to with them so far (Chinese folk music, classical music) sounds better with these ear buds than with any I've used before. I didn't buy them specifically to listen to music, but I will use them for that as well after having tried them.

I am definitely satisfied and would buy them again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great earphone value, August 2, 2010
By 
A. Simmons (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
My daughter received a pair of Etymotic mc-5 earphones as a gift. The first thing she said when she tried them (connected to my ipod) was "daddy, turn down the volume"! She said that the sound was so much better and clearer and there was so much less noise interference than with her old earphones that she could listen without blasting. She even talked about hearing parts of the music on her favorite songs that she never heard before.

I've owned a couple of pairs of Etymotic earphones at different points, and have had really excellent experience with them. I was a little skeptical that, at this price point, the mc-5's would deliver, but I've really been pleasantly surprised by the sound quality -- I would say these are on par with several more expensive earphones, the Shure SE-115 or the new Bose in ear earphones.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consumer Reports Got It Wrong, November 8, 2010
By 
Ed (San Francisco Bay Area) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
Etymotic Research has daringly dove into the under $100 earphone category with their mc5 in-ear monitors (IEM). Competition in the earphone category has exploded, to say the least, thanks primarily to the iPod. IEMs have popped up from just about every consumer electronics company known to man. Can Etymotic fend off the competitors with their latest "canalphones?"

PROS:
- Beautifully accurate and detailed
- Durable build
- Useful accessories included
- 2 year warranty

CONS:
- Under represented bass
- Sound quality below average, out of the box

Historically, Etymotic used balanced armature transducers in their high-end IEMs. The mc3 and mc5 are their first moving coil drivers, used mostly as a cost-reducing measure. I have often been let down by companies introducing "value" versions of their successful products so I was skeptical about the mc5s. Consumer Reports' rating did not invoke confidence either. Etymotic was kind enough to provide me with a pair of mc5s so I could test them. As it turns out, Consumer Reports got it wrong and I almost did too.

SOUND QUALITY
My initial impression of the mc5 was not good. Though the details were phenomenal, it just did not sound right. I struggled with the 3-flange eartips for a good hour before I eventually found a better fit and seal with the gray glider eartips. Even with a good seal, I thought it was harsh with poor bass response. I had completed my review based on about 5 hours of critical listening but then decided to give them a 24 hour burn-in for a retest. In my opinion, those 29 hours of use completely changed the characteristics of the mc5. The mids and highs were very detailed and clear and the harshness smoothed out. The bass improved slightly and retained a quality tight sound. I usually prefer a flat sound from headphones or speakers and my favorite headphones currently are the Sennheiser HD 555s. Despite this preference, I found the bass on the mc5 to be under represented. Eminem, Usher and Black Eyed Peas were not as enjoyable to listen to as Sarah McLachlan, Liz Phair, ELO, or Keane. If you prefer artificial bass, the mc5s are NOT going to be to your liking.

SOUND ISOLATION
Sound isolation with the mc5 is excellent. Etymotic claims 35-42dB of isolation. They are so good that you should take caution when using them while jogging or cycling outdoors. They are however, ideal for commuting on buses or trains and perfectly acceptable for air travel. Best of all, no bulky noise-canceling controls or batteries to deal with. There is some microphonic effect but attaching the shirt clip and or wrapping the cord behind your ears help.

COMFORT
Some people will not find universal Etymotic in-ear monitors comfortable. The default 3-flange eartips require them to be inserted far into the ear canal and it can be a harrowing experience. For me, the glider eartips were more comfortable and provided a better seal so even though Etymotic offers custom-fit eartips, I found at least one pair of comfortable universal eartips. One minor drawback to the glider eartips is that they make the rest of the IEM stick out further from your ear, but I personally don't care how I look with them. The 4 foot cord is a perfect length for a wide variety of portable use and the included shirt clip can help keep the cord in place while you're moving around.

DURABILITY
I own a couple of under $30 IEMs and never wanted to spend beyond that because I always feared breaking or losing them. Etymotic addressed that fear by coating the cables with Kevlar, providing a protective case, and backing it up with a 2 year warranty.

MISC
I really appreciated that the mc5s came with a protective case. It also included 4 types of eartips, shirt clip, a pair of filters, and filter removal tool.

If you like the mc5 but want to use it with your iPod/iPhone/iPad, go check out the Etymotic mc3. They have identical sound characteristics but the mc3 also has an inline remote and a mic.

CONCLUSION
The sound quality of the mc5 improved greatly with some burn-in time and proved that Consumer Reports grossly misjudged them. Though I still feel that the bass response needs to be improved, I think the price for performance is very good. Etymotic IEMs are not for everyone, but if you prefer accurate details without distorted sound (bass boosting), then you are sure to enjoy the mc5s.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well made product-Needs time to break in!, December 22, 2010
By 
J. Lucas (Encinitas, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Overall, this is a very solid product. I was, initially, very disappointed with the sound quality, but this has greatly improved over the last 12 hours of play time. Like many home speakers, it appears that these headphones require a break in period to reach their optimal performance. I noticed a difference after about 30 min and then decided to let them play overnight hooked to my iPod set to shuffle. This made a huge difference. When compared to my Grado Labs SR-125 as a reference, these have a similar bottom end with a slightly masked midrange and rolled off high end. Voices sound muffled and guitar strings lack detail in comparison. But the SR-125s are an over-ear headphone at roughly twice the price.
A more fair comparison might be to my Sennhieser cx300 ear buds. The cx300 has a much bigger bottom end (almost too much) that sounds muddy by comparison. The mid to high range is a big improvement with the Etymotic over the Sennhieser. Sound isolation is also much better with the Etymotic. Comfort level seems similar, so far.
A huge plus is that these headphones have a jack that is compatable with the pass through hole in the Apple Bumper I bought for my iPhone 4. Finding a headphone that does not require removal of the bumper to work with my phone has been a problem (the cx300 headphones, for instance require bumper removal).

With slightly improved sound quality, this product rates 5 stars. A very good value.
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Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black)
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