Summary: The Etymotic Research canalphone was the original and the Etymotic hf3 sits easily among the very best earphones available at any price. With the hf3, Etymotic Research is offering a superbly balanced earphone/mic combination that will bring out music like few earphones can.
Excerpt: A few months ago I was in the market for some high quality earbuds, just ahead of several holiday flights across the country. While I was still content with my Beats Studio by Dr. Dre headphones and the noise cancellation performed well on flights, they were large enough to become cumbersome during frequent travel. After a bit of poking around, I purchased a set of Etymotic hf3 earphones (retail 180). hf3 earphones + Nexus One + Pandora.
Etymotic Research Inc. HF3 Noise-Isolating Headset + Earphones (with optional Custom-Fit Eartips) Review
24 November 2010
Conclusion: That "rock star status" is hard to resist, as the notion of a pair of quality headphones made for you and you alone should likely justify the significant bump in cost. There's a definite bump up in performance too, but whether or not these sound like quasi- $300 headphones, after all is said and done, remains debatable.
Pros: Well-featured iPhone-friendly earbuds, Optional custom eartips make them a unique, "perfect" fit, Decent performance for the cost
Cons: Strained trebles at high volume, insufficient bass at any level, Custom-fit tips enhance performance but add $100 to the cost
Excerpt: What is it? Like other writers hear at Gadgetell, I tend to use headphones quite often. Unlike our editor Robert Nelson, I don’t mind spending a relatively high price for good headphones. I have gone through several pairs of higher-quality earphones because I appreciate having better sound quality.
Conclusion: We liked the hf2 headphones and we like the hf3's as well. The well-balanced sound makes them easy to listen to, while the additional functionality for iPod and iPhone users comes in handy. We are still trying to master the voice calling headset capabilities and are getting better at judging the level at which we need to talk, but it's frustrating that you can't seem to adjust the voice volume and not the ear volume - a side affect of having such good sound.
Pros: Sound, iPhone/iPod controls
Cons: You'll need to talk up to be heard on the built-in mic, controls only work for iPhone or iPod