IEM general discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Etymotic ER2XR early views


    My journey to find a fulfilling, isolating and easy to use IEM has led to ER2XR - basically a dynamic Ety with some real bass and a competitive price (150€ new from Ebay). I've avoided many years delving into the sea of chi-fi, custom, BA, DD etc. IEM models around and concentrated on headbanded models for at-home and on-the-go. For reference, here's some of my previous IEM experiences:

    • Andromeda - good fit, awesome SS, detail, mids etc. Pretty as hell. Way too thin and lacking body in noisy environments though. Cable was pretty noisy for the price. The OI causes real problems, does it really have to be that low? These were pretty good for home-use, but still lacked heft. And I don't use IEMs indoors. Might have worked ok'ish with Ety levels of isolation.
    • UE TripleFi 10 - kind of thin too with terrible fit caused by very thick nozzle, ok detail-wise
    • Senn IE8 - easy fit and great cable. Agreeable tuning therefore these have gotten lots of use. SQ though is very grainy, midbassy with some annoying peaks up top. Sound-wise competes with some under 50€ models, maybe.
    • Shozy Zero - cheapo chi-fi with a basically agreeable warm tuning, good bass extension. Loads of grain/distortion masking details. Terribly noisy non-removable cable though is the reason these get "Zero" use.


    My initial thoughts of this DD Etymotic:

    Insertion
    Knowing these need to sit DEEP in the ear, insertion with stock (smaller) silicones was a breeze, nice! Well, that didn't last long - using these on a walk the seal broke repeatedly on my left ear. I needed to man up and start shoving them huge & long foams deep into my head, sigh. Once that was done with some force & trickery they were stuck in and going nowhere, nice! Would have been cool to get there with the "easier" tips though. (Only tried to insert the large silicones once, a painful experience 'twas.)

    Isolation
    Crazy good isolation, not even my earplugs kill the speakers playing in the same room like this. Biggest surprise is how much they cut lows, very much like my QC35 ANCs. (I guess you need that third flange / that much deeper insertion to get here. Tyll described this well in his ER4XR review.) This is what makes inserting these worth it. I bet this goes for all Etys. I thought previously that low rumbles could really only be killed with ANC, you live & learn I guess.

    Amping etc.
    These do sound better out of ADI-2 DAC's IEM out than iPhone 6s+, with which the volume needs to be pushed to about 3/4 to get nice & loud, but I have no problem getting along with this downgrade when out-and-about. Cable is very pliable and of good quality, but it does make some noise when walking. The provided clip comes handy.


    [​IMG]


    First SQ impressions

    Highs

    It has no readily audible peaks and are kind of mellow esp at first. Detail is pretty good but not TOTL great like the Andros. Very pleasing in amount and colour. Having no annoying characteristics here is a big plus in my book.

    Mids
    ...Are just lovely, vocals sound nicely upfront and very life-like. In my experience with IEMs these and Andros are the only ones that get the timbre really right - a believable vocal tone just hooks me. I'm pretty easy to please, but there's lot to love here. This kind of pleasant and correct vocal timbre reminds me of the HD600-series. Yeah, for vocals this thing shines. There's some nice emphasis on the vocal range for sure, but nothing honky etc. happening here.

    Bass
    This was my biggest fear, but phew these do quite respectably here - with proper insertion there's plenty of lows and "meat on the bone" overall. There's some mid-bass emphasis for sure adding to the overall warm signature, kind of reminds me of HD650 a bit. This kind of warmth isn't my exact favourite coloring, but it's very easy to live with. There's some subs presence too, but it's not really upfront and gets a bit pushed back because of the prominent +100hz. There might be some bloom affecting the mids, but I haven't had enough time to notice or get bothered with it.

    Soundstage
    This isn't a deal-breaker for me, but these do not sound very wide or spacious. Andromeda did much, much better here. I'm not an expert in describing SS factors anyhow, so I'll leave it at that.


    Last thoughts
    I'm sure my ears need more hours to truly get to terms with these, but I'm feeling content for the first time with an IEM. CA Andromeda were a real revelation to me of what IEMs can do, even if they didn't get there for me balance-wise. ER2XR is a step in a very good direction, to say the least.

    Have you guys tried these, or even better compared to ER3XR or ER4XR?

    I'll report back when/if shit starts to get on my nerves :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  2. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    Etys are great but when taking them out of my ears, I feel my whole brain is attached to them.
     
  3. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    I feel you @Brause - they sure go deep :eek: I can get behind the concept though because of the unrivaled seal it produces.
     
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  4. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Damn, I'm pretty sure using these deep-insertion Etys caused me an ear wax plug in my right ear. At first I noticed there was basically no highs with them, then tried other models with similar results.

    Just got some spray to get rid of it. I tend to clean my ears with some tp using my pinkie every 2 days, maybe - should've used a q-tip to clear deeper in the canal before shoving these in there.

    Anyone else with similar problems after using IEMs?
     
  5. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Just be careful! If it's a big chunk-o-wax then you risk pushing it in deeper. If the spray doesn't open you up I'd go to an audiologist or doc. Good luck!

    PS - I've seen people at shows go to get impressions made for CIEMs and they always look for ear wax before starting the process to ensure they don't just jam anything down in further. Talked to the person doing the impressions and they said they've seen some gnarly stuff!
     
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  6. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Thanks! I'm sure as hell not putting anything up there before things are sorted. I remember hearing less when I took the Etys out of my ears, which seems like a strong indication that they were the culprits for creating the block in there by pushing the wax up the canal. Haven't seen a doctor yet, but sure will if needed.

    Btw, I'm betting differing amounts of wax within all of us colors the sound to some degree. This and other ear-related medical concerns are hardly ever talked about though in audio circles, even though these two weird holes in the head are the only tools we ever get to enjoy audio with.
     
  7. AndreaR_94

    AndreaR_94 Acquaintance

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    Never, never use a q-tip for cleaning the ears: you'll more often than not end up pushing the earwax deeper. As someone who had a earwax plug, I can tell that I got rid of it only after I went to the audiologist and got earwax water removal; spray, candles, praying to the Ancient Ones: none of this did work (but it was pretty big, so YMMV).
     
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  8. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    FYI - ear candling is a hoax. They do absolutely nothing for you and the resulting wax comes from the candle itself. Has potential to injure your ears too.
     
  9. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    A cheap solution that usually works is to use a rubber "ear syringe":

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Equate-Ear-Wax-Removal-Aid-0-5-Oz/25876336

    You don't even need the ear wax removal aid, just use warm soapy water to flush your ear canal and have a little patience. It may take some time and several tries, but eventually the ear wax plug should come out.

    (Of course, not recommended if your eardrum is injured or perforated!)
     
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  10. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    My wife is a doctor and has a weird fascination with watching videos of ear wax removal! If you look on YouTube there are tons of (pretty gross) videos showing such procedures (lot's of pimple popping and cyst draining also). If you see the videos you'll understand the advice about not pushing it in further and why going to an audiologist or MD is important in those extreme cases.

    Here's a little "taste" -
     
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  11. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Yeah, thanks. Not gonna watch that stuff right now. I started using the ear-spray yesterday. That's supposed to dissolve/remove the wax plug, no luck yet. Though it said on the instructions to do this for 3-4 days. I'll just be patient and do that and call a doctor on monday if there's no improvement. Right now everything sounds like the highs are missing on the right side, basically every cymbal hit is heard only on my left ear.

    I must admit, this is causing me some stress. Playing and listening to music is everything to me. Thoughts of having done harm by maybe by shoving the Ety too deep in the canal and such pop into one's head. I'd think there would have been pain, if that is even possible... Dunno. But, on the bright side chewing the first bites of gum sounded just as crunchy on both sides, maybe meaning the problem is indeed a block in the canal.

    I'll keep you posted, cheers for the help.
     
  12. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Once an audiologist just barely touched my eardrum with a piece of cotton when she was doing my impressions for a set of customs and it hurt like heck! My non-medical guess is that if you'd done any real damage you'd have a lot more symptoms than asymmetric high-hats! Best of luck
     
  13. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Cheers! There's this small pressure that I feel, like having a shitty earplug in deep. Also some high pitched tinnitus, which I read is common with wax plugs. I have no history of tinnitus, I'm not really concerned about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  14. AndreaR_94

    AndreaR_94 Acquaintance

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    Yep, same symptoms I had. I wouldn't worry very much, but it's better to get rid of it because it might lead to a ear infection.

    About earwax plugs, since prevention is important, what causes them is (a part from shoving stuff into your ear) an increase of earwax quantity (no shit Sherlock), which can be triggered by either some diseases (like a cold), ear canal irritation (the earwax has a protective function, so the body starts producing more as a reaction), and water in the ear (since earwax is hygroscopic).
     
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  15. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    Ohhh foooooooock
     
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  16. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    Went to Wal Mart upon the recommendation of @james444 looking for something to effectively clean my ear canals...mine are not plugged but the triple-flanges always are waxed up despite of thorough cleaning. Q-tips are said to be harmful. I had asked Etymotic's support but didn't really receive a satisfying answer.

    My Wal Mart trophy was yet another scooper, and it is only designed for the outer ear canal...so it won't help much. Does anybody have any idea how to effectively and routinely clean the inner ear canal?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    On another note, I have been using the Sony MH755 for a while now and I am quite impressed by them (@Biodegraded had kindly supplied me with a pair; I think he picked them up at $7 AUS). Well, I had missed the hype train completely but find them the most even and homogeneous sounding earphones I own. Their tonal accuracy is stunning. I listened to Dudamel/Los Angeles Symphony and was not only very pleased, but also shocked when A/B-ing with the $600 Sennheiser IE 500 PRO, which skipped the piccolos and higher strings completely congesting the orchestra. Some say the Sonys have a $10-type soundstage, but that's only true to my ears at low volumes.

    So, while no transpore tape is required for this one, you need a female-to-male extension audio cable ($2.99). These Sonys are a triumph for the dollar-store audiophile. Very enjoyable.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  18. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Like it says in the instructions, reserve au medicin! I imagine though for occasional light-duty cleaning and preventive maintenance, james444's solution solution would work.

    Me too. The bass is a bit overdone, but not as much as measurements would suggest. I'm still considering re-cable one pair, but will go for an extension until I feel a good hand-eye co-ordination day is upon me.
     
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  19. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    @Brause I periodically let the shower water spray directly into my ears for a minute. The other day I was at the doctor's office and he commented on how clean my ear canals were. Some was on your buds is Norma though.
     
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  20. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    What I dislike about my Etys (HF5) is that problem of the triple flanges AND the filters waxing up. The flanges can be cleaned (cumbersome after each use) but the filters may need frequent replacement...and these are ridiculously expensive. Other than that, the HF5 are a great bang for the buck.

    Will try the shower trick...
     
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