HeadphoneFilter: Shure v. Etymoric
November 14, 2004 6:48 PM   Subscribe

HeadphoneFilter: Let's put this to rest once and for all! Who here owns both the Shure E2c and Etymoric ER-6?!?!?!

After googling and browsing not only AskMe, but apparently every site on the internet, I have yet to find a clear verdict. Some people say the Etymotics have better sound, other people say the Shures have better sound; some people say the Etymotics are more comfortable, others say the Shures or more comfortable. Has anybody used both of these products, preferably with an iPod? Or are they really just equally good?

(I lost my Apple In-ear Earphones and need to get a replacement, is why I ask. I used to listen to them on the subway and at the gym, and I can't figure out which of these two earphones would be a better replacement.)
posted by josh to Shopping (12 answers total)
Can we add the etymotic er-6i into this?
posted by ascullion at 6:51 PM on November 14, 2004

Don't have both, but I love the Ety ER-4Ps (as evidenced in most other headphone posts). I don't use the Etys for working out. I think it may be difficult maintaining a good seal, but I could be wrong. I can also vouch for the Ety-Com, hands free set. Check out the Head-Fi forums for reviews of both the models you're looking at.
posted by anathema at 6:56 PM on November 14, 2004

Not strictly ontopic, but for other headphones enthusiasts like myself attracted by the topic: if you dislike buds and like closed headphones for under $500 Sennheiser's HD 280 Pro is an excellent choice. Amazing sound quality, even better after you break them in, very comfortable, and they really do block out most background sound.

Pricegrabber has them for $86, too.
posted by Ryvar at 7:00 PM on November 14, 2004

'nother off-topic vote for the hd280. they are sweet.

er, assuming your portable music player can drive them. and that you don't mind looking like a git. and messing up your hair.

but seriously, they sound amazing and isolate you from the rest of the world.

on-topic: a cow-orker has both the shures and the etymotics. his opinion is that the etymotics fit better/more comfortable, and sound better; but that they have too much microphone effect on the thinner wires vs. the shures. i.e. if you are going to sit perfectly still and never move then the etymotics are perfect... but how likely is that?
posted by dorian at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2004

but that they have too much microphone effect on the thinner wires vs. the shures. i.e. if you are going to sit perfectly still and never move then the etymotics are perfect

I've just got the etymotic er-6i (hence above post) and woud agree with this.. that's my only criticism of them. Other than that, they provide a very crisp sound, possibly a little bass-light for some tastes (have been enjoyed hearing sounds I didn't know existed in my favourite songs for a week now).
posted by ascullion at 7:45 PM on November 14, 2004

So it sounds like, for workout purposes, the Shure is the better purchase, because of the microphone effect....
posted by josh at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2004

this is the other reason I have been reluctant to wear the hd280s on the subway (I don't actually mind looking like a git, or messing up my hair, and my portable is capable of the 64ohm requirement...) -- even tho they have massive wiring and massive insulation, they also have a very annoying microphone effect. which, since they are (I imagine) designed for stationary usage, is not terribly surprising.
posted by dorian at 8:01 PM on November 14, 2004

Anyone have any experience with the Shure e3c?
posted by josh at 8:06 PM on November 14, 2004

I have a pair of Shure e3c's, and the sound is quite fantastic. That being said, they do seal out almost all outside noise, which may not be what you're looking for in all cases. I have a cheap pair of Sony sport buds that I use when running, because the Shure's completely block out the world around me. For plane rides, working, etc, the Shure e3c is perfect - small, good range, and a very good seal. They're not cheap, but considering I got my pair for free, I can't specifically say they're worth the cost.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:34 PM on November 14, 2004

We're drifting OT (strictly speaking), I know, but Sennheiser anything is pretty much awesome, from what I know. I own a pair of HD 590s (large and bulky, and of open-ear design so they'd probably not be ideal for on-the-go) and they're totally awesome. (Yes, that's a scientific measurement.)
posted by neckro23 at 11:22 PM on November 14, 2004

And then there is the cheap way out: Koss sells earphones in the same style as the Shure/Etymotics, for about $30 at Radio Shack.

They might be a good choice for finding out if you're going to even like the in-ear style of headphone.

They might also be the most sane match for portable electronics, which I'm fairly certain don't have an amplifier that's even remotely capable of producing signal worthy of a Shure/Etymotics headphone.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 AM on November 15, 2004

There was a good article on this just the other day at Slate.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2004

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