Etymotic ER4p vs Shure EC3's

Oct 15, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Beautiful, acurate, detailed, crisp, live sound. Great sonic isolation. Comfortable plugs.

Cons:terrible cord "rub", expensive, gotta get used to the in-ear style

The Bottom Line: If I were listening to these while sitting and not moving these would be the hands down winner!! If you move around the "rub" noises drive you mad!!


Etymotic ER4S - $330 retail $220 street….. These sounded unbelievable, very comfortable, not too hard to get in the ear, amazingly accurate, very detailed/full/warm/complete sound, decent bass…...no thumping but present, surprising imaging, lots of sonic detail, with the sonic isolation you get from sticking these in your ears you could run a vac right next to my head and I wouldn’t have known, cord transferred almost any vibrations or rubbing into noise through headphones that was very distracting/annoying, could actually hear my own breathing and footsteps when the music was soft or between songs…..not realistic for my needs/application…… active listening… gym, walking, traveling…. Not sitting perfectly still….. Which is what was required to fully appreciate these in ear canal phones.



Shure E3C - $179 retail $129 B-stock…… These were not nearly as crisp, detailed or live sounding as the Etymotics, however they did sound nice. They have a different style of headphone cord requiring you to insert the headphones and then wrap the cord backwards over your ear and around to the back of your head. This was nice… it helped the cord stay out of my way. There was hardly any noise or vibration from the cord rubbing or being tapped…. This made it better for walking, moving around and even jogging….. however with these type of headphones you get a very interesting experience. I liken it to being sick with a head cold. I felt a little pressure behind me eyes and my equilibrium was a tiny bit off. Maybe this was me… but I believe because of the seal these headphones create (being that you push them in to plug your ears) there is more pressure. Therefore when I tried jogging I had to remove these and carry them ( this is no different then the Etymotics)



I should note that if the Etymotics did not get the noises from the cord I would have bought those. I felt the Shure’s were not so great for the money - of course this is after enjoying the Etymotics for 4-5 days. Also the Etymotics were not nearly as efficient as the Shures. In other words…. With the Etymotics I could raise the volume on my Ipod all the way to the top w/out hurting my ears….. with the Shures at 75% volume they were as loud as the Etymotic’s.



I have returned both of these earphones and am waiting to receive a pair of Etymotic ER6i’s. These were designed for the Ipod and hopefully will have the efficiency of the Shures, sonic quality of the Etymotics and the cord that doesn’t transfer sounds like the Shures.

Heaphone.com or Headroom is the only place I found that offers 30 day no questions returns allowing you to try a pair or two before commiting to this expensive purchase. They are professional and knowledgable as well!


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