These inexpensive audiophile in-ear headphones banish noise – CNET

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The Etymotic ER2 in-ear headphones 


Etymotic made a giant splash in 1991 with its ER4 in-ear headphones, which introduced skilled audio monitoring into the mainstream. 

The Etymotic ER4 headphone was my go-to in-ear for years, and in 2017 the road was refreshed with the ER4SR (Studio Reference) and ER4XR (Prolonged Response) at $349/£360 every. 

This mannequin was rapidly adopted by the ER3SE/XR ($179/£199), and it was the Audiophiliac inexpensive Headphone of the Yr for 2018.

Now in 2019 we now have the ER2 in-ear, which additionally is available in two variations, the ER2SE (Studio Version) and the ER2XR (Prolonged Response). The 2 fashions look the identical, it is simply that the XR model has barely extra bass. Every one retails for $159 within the US and £169 within the UK.

Each ER2SE/XR fashions use dynamic, not balanced, armature drivers featured within the ER3 and ER4 fashions. The ER2’s impedance is rated at 15 ohms, the four foot (1.2 meter) lengthy cable is person replaceable. The ER2’s guarantee is 2 years.

Use the included foam or flanged silicone ear suggestions with the ER2 and you will bask within the quietude of 35 dB of noise isolation, that is so a lot better than common. There’s one catch, to attain the utmost noise hushing you may must jam the information deeper into your ear canals than most in-ear headphones’ suggestions. Some people aren’t comfy with the sensation, however I do not thoughts. True, consolation is not stellar, however the ER2’s superior noise isolation on the New York Metropolis subway was wonderful whereas listening with my iPhone eight. The ER2 does not use batteries; its deep insertion suggestions hush noise with their hermetic seal.

Listening exams

I listened to the ER2XR for a number of weeks earlier than I in contrast it with the opposite ER fashions. Bon Iver’s hovering vocals had been let loose by these headphones. The open high quality and heat of the sound stability tickled my audiophile ears; I used to be a cheerful camper.

I questioned how this new Etymotic would evaluate with the ER3 and ER4. All of them look practically alike, however what concerning the sound? I listened to all three ERs with my iPhone eight (with an Apple three.5mm to Lightning adapter).

The sound was fantastic, however I could not resist upping the ante with the FiiO i1 Lightning to three.5mm adapter/digital audio converter ($40 on Amazon) and famous a definite enchancment within the sound of all three Etymotic headphones. The Apple adapter sounded muffled by comparability.


The Astell & Kern Tremendous Junior music participant

Astell & Kern

I additionally listened to music with an previous Astell & Kern JR transportable music participant, which supplied a lot improved sound over the iPhone eight/FiiO i1 mixture. The present Astell & Kern Tremendous Junior sells for $220 on Amazon.

The ER2XR and ER3XR sound practically the identical, the ER3XR was a bit clearer, however the ER4XR was a decisively extra clear and extra open sounding headphone with the Gang of 4’s good Stable Gold album. The spiky guitar riffs minimize by means of the haze like a knife over the ‘4XR, however they had been blunted by the ER2XR and ER3XR headphones.

The ER3 sounds a bit higher, and the ER4 continues to be my favourite, however the Etymotic ER2 has its straightforward listening charms, and it hushes exterior noise like a champ. 


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