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Mids and highs only, and noise isolation is just OK
on September 21, 2012
Unlike a couple of the other reviewers, I wasn't impressed with the noise-isolating qualities of the Etymotic ER7-MC3. For comparison's sake, I don't think they block out surrounding noise nearly as well as the Klipsch S4i (whose sound I love and short lifespan I hate). On the street, on the subway, and in other places where I've used the Klipsch earbuds on a regular basis, the Etymotics let significantly more noise through.
The other major disappointment was the lack of bass. Yes, I had read the reviews -- here and on other sites -- that said these are not the best choice if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music. I don't think I do. Hip-hop, for instance, takes up no more than 10% of what I listen to. But you want to hear *some* bass, of course, and it's barely there in these earbuds.
To make sure I wasn't going crazy, I picked five songs that I've listened to countless times and representing different genres: Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major, "So What" by Miles Davis, "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin, "How to Disappear Completely" by Radiohead, and "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z. On all of them, the bass/low end was very faint. Especially on those particular Davis and Radiohead pieces, the bass should be prominent -- not loud, just prominent -- but I had to strain to hear it.
The earbuds come with four different tips, and the company includes a note in the package that says it's essential that the listener uses the right ones. I get that. But the issues described above occurred no matter which tips I used.
My last gripe, though not the end of the world, is the placement of the controls at chin level. I know it doesn't take too long to remember where each button is by feel, but it still feels weird to reach up that high.
On the plus side, the cables are a little heavier than the ones on the Klipsch and feel like they would last longer. And the conical tips, at least in my ears, were very comfortable -- snug but not irritating in the least.