Etymotic ER4XR and ER4SR Measurement

Discussion in 'IEM Measurements' started by Marvey, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Etymotic ER4XR Measurements

    [​IMG]

    See general measurement notes before digesting the plots below: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/note-on-iem-measurements-changelog.2153/


    Subjective Impressions Before Measurements
    1. Needs deep insertion to get best seal and not sound lean. Again, needs deep insertion. For those not familiar with deep insertion, it means jam the triple flange tip deep, really deep into your hole. Some people will not like this as it will not feel natural. On the other hand, some people don't like shallow insertion either.
    2. Whoa! Diffuse Field Galore! I guess Etymotic is still in 2007. I dunno, personally I think it's too much.
    3. I know many of you are familiar with the ER4S. Has the same great coherence throughout the audio band, but not as lean and more extended in the bass (a tiny bit of warm with proper insertion), and also not as fatiguing in the treble where there used to be a strong peak around 8-9kHz (if I remember correctly).
    4. Extremely inefficient for an IEM. Less efficient than some full sized headphones.
    5. Surprisingly clean sounding for a small IEM.

    Etymotic ER4XR Frequency Response
    ER4 XL FR.png

    I could only get a proper measurement on one channel. Something loose with the mini-coax connector thing. It was fine in my ears after wiggling it around, but on the measurement rig, I couldn't get the cable in just the right place for the best contact. When I could, the L measurement was 10db lower and followed the R almost exactly. Already spent 15 minutes, and I don't have time to deal with this right now.

    Etymotic ER4XR Distortion
    ER4 XL R HD.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
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  2. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Etymotic ER4SR Measurements

    Before I present the measurements, I should point out that subjectively, the SR sound more balanced than the XR and seem to have less of that overly done diffuse field target. In fact, I think I might even have to eat my words on Ety's diffuse field approach because these do sound quite right. The very strange thing is that the frequency response doesn't indicate what I am hearing. The measured leaner bass of the SR certainly doesn't explain to me why the SR sounds more "right".

    See general measurement notes before digesting the plots below: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/note-on-iem-measurements-changelog.2153/

    Etymotic ER4SR Frequency Response
    ER4SR FR.png
    As we can see, the response is more or less the same except with a little less in the lowest octave. This does not explain why the XR sounded more off in the upper registers to me. It turns out the answer is revealed in the next set of measurements.

    Etymotic ER4SR Distortion
    ER4S L HD.jpg
    ER4S R HD.jpg


    It turns out the SR's third order harmonic distortion is significantly lower than the XR's from about 300Hz to 1kHz. The XR's third order component has a broad lift in the range peaking at about 0.7%, which is kind of high, especially since it's a higher order. The SR also has some third order around 1kHz, but only at 0.3%, and even then, the bump isn't as anywhere as broad. I had a good discussion with @CEE TEE about this and his comments were spot on: ER4SR sounded good while XR sounded like it was trying but... needed more drivers (or something). @CEE TEE was exactly right. More drivers would have reduced the distortion and strain.

    In closing, I should say that the ER4SR is really nice. The updated version is quite neutral and doesn't have the treble fatigue of the original ER4S. I don't think it's as lean either. I'll try to compare it to the Campfire Audio Orion.

     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
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  3. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Etymotic ER4SR Impedance and Electrical Phase
    ER4SR Z.png

    I forgot to take measurements of the XR. Oh well.
     
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  4. FlySweep

    FlySweep Friend

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    Good stuff, Marv.. mirrors my experience w/ the SR (which I blabbered on about in the status box and IEM thread).. particularly the smoothness of the treble and how the anemic bass rep was overblown. Bass is neutral.. but it has body, texture, and a wee bit of (mid bass) slam (when amped appropriately).. speaking of which.. this is a thirsty bastard of an IEM. Bet it would sound pretty awesome off the Mimby/Joti/Vali 1 or 2. Resolution on the 4SR is damn impressive, too.. only thing I wished for was a little better macro dynamics.. alas, we're dealing with a single driver tweaked to all hell. Compromises, I know.
     
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  5. blackships

    blackships Friend

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    Marv, did you happen to try these straight out of the ZX2? I've got a ZX100 and I'm wondering if it's got enough power for the Etys.

    And how is the sub-bass extension versus the UERM? Graphs don't show much difference, but I'm wondering about subjectively.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  6. castleofargh

    castleofargh Acquaintance

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    @Marv did you try EQing down the 150-250hz area? or even all the low end to match the SR for the lolz? I dislike anything with bass rising so soon, it always feels like it creates a subjective imbalance in the mids and that's what decided me on the SR even though I do like me some subs. so I would try to level that part of the FR before suspecting the distortions levels to be the main cause of perceptual difference.

    @FlySweep I disagree with the IEM being "a thirsty bastard". I get 112.5db for 0.5V @1khz. even my euro sony A15(maybe the weakest amp section I've ever owned?) works well enough with it that I don't complain(and I always complain). the sensitivity is just low enough for me not to whine about background hiss on any of my sources. last but not least, the impedance is high enough that even a crap DAP won't have to struggle with current, or to roll off sub bass like mad because of some caps.
    a high impedance source will make the SR slightly brighter, and that's about it. so I'm tempted to say that on the contrary it's one IEM that is pretty easy to feed. it will work well on a vast range of sources, unlike most very sensitive IEMs.
     
  7. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Like you, I don't think the SR bass is anemic at all. I would assume that deep insertion IEMs may be tricky for some people. As far as macro dynamics, it's probably related to its horrible efficiency.

    Sub-bass and bass pretty much UERM like. The original ER4S may be been a bit bass anemic comparatively, but really I had no issues with the SR. With ZX2, gotta crank up the volume, but power seems sufficient. But as @FlySweep noted, it's dynamics are flat. ZX2 with the digital amp section is actually quite powerful for the low Z stuff around 50 ohms or less. It suffers when powering higher Z cans because of limited voltage swing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
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  8. Dreyka

    Dreyka Acquaintance

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  9. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    So you are saying Etymotic just took the ER4S and remarketed as ER4SR? I could swear these sounded slightly different to me. I think my old Changstar measurements didn't differ from these much either.
     
  10. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Moderator

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    It's a new driver with about half the resistance used compared to the old ER4S, but yeah, they aimed for the same diffuse field frequency response.
     
  11. Kunlun

    Kunlun cat-alyzes cat-aclysmic cat-erwauling - Friend

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    Very close!
    Except for the impedance, which is quite different.

    Right, I think EtyDave said this as well over on HF? The cable is better made now as well, iirc?
     
  12. Dreyka

    Dreyka Acquaintance

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    For non-linear distortion and frequency response it's basically the same but with a different BA used. Etymotic haven't been marketing this as a sound quality improvement either and have instead focused on the aesthetic/impedance changes.

    The advantage is that it doesn't a require a 75Ω resistor in series to reach their target response which will make it easier to drive out of smartphones. I don't know whether their MMCX connector is better or worse for reliability.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  13. Decomo

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    Ety Dave mentioned below on HF and hope he does not mind quote here. It looks like main advantage going with newer model is that no need to rely on ety cable since they removed resistor out of splitter. And MMCX connector should not have connecting issue since they did countersinking the connector and adding a key. (Time will tell I guess). My main concern is how compatible other company's MMCX cable would be since they countersinking the connector and adding a key. It sounds quite proprietary....and not sure how difficult to get balanced cable for it. :cool:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2016
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  14. Garry

    Garry Friend

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    Hi Marv
    Thanks for your measurements and subjective impressions of the ER4SR and the Campfire Audio Orion. Could you offer any subjective impressions of their differences? I have the old red/blue ER4S which I need to replace and both are considerations.
    Cheers
    Garry
     
  15. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    I was going to say get on the loaner until I realized your are in the UK. If your old ER4S are falling apart, I'd still go for the ER4SR, unless you want a change. The Orions are tuned much differently, having an overall darker slope and lower mid to middle mid emphasis. The ER4SR has the classic diffuse field tuning and seems to extend in the treble better than the Orion. The ER4SR are still horribly inefficient but have an even impedance curve so you won't have to worry about output impedance of amps as much. The Orion's frequency response will be super sensitive to the output Z.
     
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  16. Garry

    Garry Friend

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    Marv
    Thanks for responding and clarifying the differences.
    Cheers
    Garry
     
  17. drumline1997

    drumline1997 Rando

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    Just received my pair of XR's last week. Still early in the impressions phase but so far they are very impressive. The base is very much there with the 5DB boost, and helps to make the sound a little less sterile. The mids and highs are classic etymotic, just enough so that they aren't harsh atleast to my ears. I was quite impressed by the soundstage though. There was quite a bit more than I was every expecting. Its not mind blowing by any stretch, but it was a pleasant surprise. I'll try to post later with a more thorough evaluation, but just wanted to get this out there for people to see/comment on.
     
  18. LSW

    LSW Rando

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    Thanks for these measurements. I purchased a pair of the ER-4XR about a month ago; I've had the ER-4P and the P to S convertor cable (resistor?) for about 5 years. I tried to compare the ER-4S and ER-4XR. I honestly cannot tell much of a difference, although there might be a little bit more bass on the XR, as advertised (hard to say since I EXPECT there be more bass, so it might be confirmation bias), and obviously I need to turn the volume on my amp up higher for the S to reach an equivalent volume. If there was a way to compare them without the minute long process of swapping them maybe I'd be better at spotting differences.

    I've compared them to some Shure Multi driver IEM's over the years and think they hold up well compared to those (which to me are treble recessed and muddy), to me the ER-4s kind of sound like my HD800 in terms of timber/freq response/clarity and a big tradeoff in comfort for isolation and portability. I use them a lot since I travel 2-3 weeks a month for work, so not the worst thing in the world to have a duplicate pair, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  19. stratocaster

    stratocaster Friend

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    Got hold of the ER4SR and I have to say that I fully concur.

    If I just had to judge from my measurements, I would never think I could like these. This is how they measure on my rig, compared to the UERM and ProPhile-8:

    comparo.jpg

    But like Marv said, these sound very nice, very nicely balanced indeed. If fit and seal are good, the bass, to my ears, is just right, well controlled and rather tight. When looking at measurements, I was afraid that the mids could be too forward for me. But in fact, they are not. It's really strange, but the mids of the PP-8, while more resolving than these, had come around as a little too direct and forward for me, although the above plots do not really account for that. The higher frequencies are great with the SRs, there is no sibilance, yet enough air and detail retrieval. All in all, I really like them, and I guess they will stay with me for quite some time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017

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