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Dave Approved: Etymotic

Posted on Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Dave!About a month ago, the cups on my faithful Sony earbuds came off and all my attempts to procure a new pair met with failure. Apparently I was going to need to buy an entirely new set, but never actually got around to ordering them. Instead I used the dreadful Apple earbuds that came with my iPod. Since they are not in-ear, noisy airplanes and airports ruin any enjoyment you might get out of listening to music so, after my last trip, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new set.

But which ones?

I have a friend who is a true audiophile, so I asked him which ones I should get. He instantly said "oh, get a set of Sure E5's... I love them." And so off I went.

Only to find out that they cost $625.

"ARE YOU f#@%ING INSANE?!? WHY WOULD I PAY MORE FOR EARBUDS THAN I DID FOR THE IPOD?!?" I screamed, after calling him back. Well, he had a laundry list of very excellent reasons that $625 was well spent, but I sure as heck wasn't going to spend that much... I was thinking more like $20! This made him laugh out loud for about an hour, after which he informed me that the earphones I use are arguably more important than the iPod itself, particularly for use while traveling on airplanes.

"Well, maybe I would go up to $100 if you are certain that it would be money well spent..." I replied. He said I could probably get a decent pair of "Ety's" for that much and, indeed, they would be well-worth the cost.

So I reluctantly ordered up a pair of Etymotic 6i's, which are specially made for the iPod, and a "bargain" at $149.

And two days later, I have my earphones. Anxious to know how super-terrific all my music is going to sound now, I rip open the package and plug them right in.

And they suck ass. Hard. The sound is tinny, weak, and generally bass-free. So, naturally, I call up my friend to start ragging on his moronic suggestion... only to find out I am the moron. Unlike other earphones, these are meant to be worn like hearing aids, and have to be shoved way into your ear (as shown in the instruction booklet I never bothered to read)...

Etymotic 6i

And oh what a difference a good set of headphones make (when used properly). Suddenly the bass is back in full-force. Sound is so bright and clear that I nearly have an orgasm when Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence starts playing. My nether-regions are still tingling.

My only complaint is that the "white" color they use to match the iPod is not "white" at all (more like a dirty cream or something). I seriously don't give a crap what color the cords are on my iPod, but if you're going to advertise them as "a perfect match for the iPod," then you should at least get the color right.

If $150 sounds this amazing... I have to wonder what in the heck do you get for the $625 price tag?


Categories: Dave Approved, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Nez says:

    I had to buy a pair of ear buds last month when I was in England. They wanted £12 ($22.80) in London and £5 ($9.50) in Melton Mowbray where I bought them thinking what a bargain. I got back to the US and found the same ones for sale in WalMart for ninety-seven bloody cents!

  2. Patrick says:

    For the $625 you probably get an experience I don’t think I can write about now that you’ve ICRA-rated your blog :)

  3. Dave2 says:

    And now I find out that $625 is relatively tame compared to the $900 you have to pay to get a set of Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pros. For that kind of money, Elizabeth Hurley had better be delivering them naked.

    I never thought that the $150 set I bought would be considered “low-end” – but on a scale from ninety-seven cents to nine-hundred dollars, I guess they are.

  4. Neil T. says:

    You could probably buy a date with Liz Hurley for that price…

    My earphones are in-ear ones. They’re about the same quality-wise as the iPod ones, maybe a little worse, but they do have good bass and they actually stay on my ears! The buds fall out almost instantly – I must have bizarrely shaped ears or something.

  5. Anders says:

    The Etymotics are great; I ended up buying the ER6 phones after evaluating other options, including a cheaper version of the Shure phones your friend recommended you. That said; I find the Etymotics to be simply too good for day to day office use: I can’t even hear my phone ringing nor anyone walking up behind me to talk…

    http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2003/05/11/noise_cancelling_headphones_reviews.html
    http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2003/06/09/etymotic_er6_isolator_earphones_tested_and_reviewed.html
    http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2004/10/01/how_do_noise_cancelling_headphones_work.html

  6. I seriously considered those, but ended up getting the Sony Fontopia in white… I’m not too unhappy, but I’m also secretly hoping they die an untimely death so that I can justify getting the ones you described.

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