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Etymotic ER-4PT MicroPro Earphones

5 Stars- techdad

Etymotic ER-4PT box

It took me a while to figure out how to pronounce Etymotic (eh-duh-moe-tick) correctly but not as long to realize just how amazing their earphones are. The pioneers of in-ear monitors (IEM), Etymotic has methodically been adding new products to compliment their award-winning, gold-standard, ER-4 earphones. The ER-4PT is Etymotic’s latest ER-4 model, joining the ER-4P, ER-4S, and ER-4B.

PROS

  • Incredibly accurate sound
  • Detailed mids and highs
  • Tight bass
  • Great noise isolation
  • Ideal for portable use
  • Partially braided cable inhibits microphonics
  • Oodles of accessories included

CONS

  • Thick plug may not fit on smartphones with cases

Did you know that it’s hard to type while shaking your hips and moving your head from side to side, sitting in an office chair? That’s the challenge I’m facing right now trying to write this review. I spent about a month listening to the ER-4PT off and on and spent the past two evenings listening to them very critically. Here are my observations:

SOUND QUALITY
They are by far the best sounding headphones I have ever heard. The treble and mid range were crystal clear. I could distinguish vocals and instruments very clearly and they all sounded crisp. Bass response was good and tight, though not thumpy like Monster Cable earphones. Every type of music I threw at the ER-4PT sounded fantastic. Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Lily Allen, Liz Phair, Eminem, Olivia-Newton John, Pet Shop Boys, Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, AC/DC, Smashing Pumpkins, and Metallica all sounded great. For some hip-hop and rap, I did think more low end response would have increased my listening enjoyment but for a single pair of earphones to handle such a wide range of music genres so well is a testament to their high-performance tuning.

Amazingly, the ER-4PT reduces outside noise by 35-42 dB. This means with music playing, you aren’t likely to hear any outside noise. That level of noise isolation is great for personal enjoyment and airplanes, but dangerous when riding bikes or walking home at night.

[My Testing Equipment]
Source audio: Lossless FLAC format
PC sound card: Asus Xonar DX
Portable music player: Sansa Clip+ and Motorola Droid X

COMFORT
To achieve the best sound quality, Etymotic and other IEM’s require a proper seal inside your ear canal. A proper seal is critical, and achieving it can be a harrowing experience for some. It was for me at first, but I’ve grown used to them now. I can wear them for a few hours at a time with only a slight amount of discomfort. From my experience with other Etymotic earphones, I knew that the glider eartips would work best for me. I recommend new owners try every eartip included to find the best balance of seal and comfort.

BUILD & DESIGN
The overall build quality of the ER-4PT is outstanding. The 5-foot cable is thick and smooth–keeping the ER-4PT from becoming a tangled mess. The twist with the ER-4PT is that the top 12 inches or so are braided to help alleviate microphonics. Microphonics is the noise that is heard when the cable rubs or hits against an object. Nearly every IEM is susceptible to microphonics because IEM’s rest inside your ear canal. Some companies have battled microphonics by designing the cable to be wrapped behind the ears. The way Etymotic designed the cable works fairly well but doesn’t completely eliminate it.

The only design problem I found was the size of the plug cover; it was too thick to insert into my Motorola Droid X smartphone with a thin case on it. I didn’t experience this with the Etymotic mc5 or hf5 so I was a little surprised to run into this little problem.

Etymotic ER4PT Plug

ACCESSORIES
The only difference between the Etymotic ER-4P vs. the ER-4PT are the accessories. The ER-4PT comes with an airline adapter and a “Channel-Matching Compliance Graph.” That’s it. Physically and sonically, they are identical. The ER-4PT also comes with an assortment of eartips, filter removal tool w/extra filters, 1/4″ adapter plug, shirt clip, storage box and travel pouch.

Etymotic ER-4PT Box OpenER-4PT Channel Matching Compliance Graph

CONCLUSION
Etymotic ER-4 MicroPro series earphones are the gold-standard of IEM’s. The ER-4PT is an amazingly accurate earphone that handles a wide range of music genres remarkably well. The included accessories add value while the channel-matching compliance graph gives the entire package a nice personal touch. If you’re looking for the best sound quality, you owe it to yourself to start with the Etymotic ER-4PT.

Available from Amazon.com.

* Review sample courtesy of Etymotic Research, Inc.

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