Etymotic Research ER4S Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Etymotic Research Model ER4S
Headphone Type Canal Headband Type None
Weight (g) 28 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 23
Impedance (ohms) 110 Cable Length (cm) 150
Frequency Response (Hz) 20 - 16000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$219
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 6.0 Bass Impact 5.3
Bass Quality 7.0 Mids Quality 8.7
Highs Quality 8.0 Soundstage 5.3
Detail 8.0 Portability 3.3
Isolation 9.7 Comfort 6.3
Durability 6.7 Improvement With Amplification 8.0
Value for Money 7.0    
Overall Score 7.3 Total Reviews 3

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member Doug Greenberg on 11 Mar 07  04:43
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality9

For fine detail, particularly in the mids and treble ranges, these canal phones are unequalled, in my experience. The bass is certainly tight and accurate, but the level of bass reproduction is comparatively low. For recordings in which bass impact is important users will have to use their EQ (if available).

The ER-4S's themselves are certainly portable, but the drawback here is that unlike the ER-4P's, these require a small amp to produce any volume and impact at all. I have always found ER canal phones to be reasonably comfortable, but they do need to be inserted fairly deeply into the ear canal and this bothers some users.

Overall, for home use with an amplifier ER-4S's are wonderful, particularly for classical, jazz, and other types of music that might be categorized as "delicate," i.e., in which the reproduction of fine detail is essential. They are not ideal for bass-heavy or highly amplified music.

Review by Senior Member KrooLism on 09 Mar 07  05:10
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality8

Besides for a review comparisom, at no time was I listening to this headphone without an amp. Hence these reviews points are based on that premise.

I know this review is going to throw the average out of whack but this is my honest review about these headphones.

Bass Extension - 7 (But your recording MUST have bass)
Bass Quality and Impact - Superb
Mids and Highs - Very good, but... no veil. Once again, your recordings must have detailed mids and highs too. No colouring of the music whatsoever.
Soundstage - Not too bad, but hard to achieve with IEM's. Through the Grace M902's crossfeed, this headphone images quite well.
Detail - Almost as good as it gets. The most accurate phones I have used.
Portability - Only rated a 5 as it really does need an amp to achieve these figures. I would give portability another 4 points if you're willing to deduct 2 points for all other musical aspects. (don't do that)
Isolation - Unrivaled. A perfect 10.
Comfort - I find them more comfortable than Shures but each to their own.
Durability - Fine for everyday purposes, but don't bend the barrel.
Value for Money - Best $310 AUD I have ever spent.

These headphones are proof that SIZE DOES NOT MATTER.
These are amoung the flattest headphones out there. If your music has certain frequencies, these phones will reproduce to perfection. No more, no less. Etymotic in the truest sense of the word.

My $310 phones really does sound better than a $30 000 BnO system. This review is highly subjective not only on personal preference but on the quality and type of music heard through this headphone. I stand by my review points.

Review by Member agoston.berko on 24 Oct 09  12:18
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7

MP3-player: Sandisk Sansa Fuze
Music: FLAC
Amp: Portable FiiO E5

-sound is weak if not pushed-in enoughly
-where is the bass ? (but good for classical)
-ear wax is clearly visible after the time on the white rubber -> black would be way more better solution
(yellow earwax -> there is no chance to wash it out)
-clarity is great
-cable noise is way too much... that's why i only recommend this earphone for homelistening (forget it for the streets)
-hard to drive with an MP3-player (you have to turn volume extremely high)
- clothing-clip broken (maybe my fault)
- not comfortable because you have to push it in your ear-canal too deep - it hurts, but if you don’t push it enough in your earcanal the low freq disappears.
- too expensive for the overall sound-quality
- Flac is the best
- isolation is wow (but pain like hell!)
- for the sound signature i would say: monitor sound reproduction but only with pain (and don't move!)

- Sennheiser IE8 wins the battle by FAR

Etymotic Research ER4S
Etymotic Research ER4S