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: It’s strange that Etymotic is not more widely recognised, as it was the company to devise the canalphone – an earphone that slips so intimately into the ear that it forms an airtight seal and shuts out practically all outside noise.
The canalphone design ensures that almost all background noise is blocked, first-class audio
Excerpt: Etymotic seems to have garnered a reputation that’s both ‘hi-fi’ and ‘cool’ – two things that aren’t easy to combine. The hf3s are the earbuds that most embody this. They're available in three flashy, luxurious metallic finishes and are fitted with a three-button remote and mic at chin-height on the cable to the left ear, which lets you control your music and take calls.
Pros: Detailed, direct and crisp, excellent dynamics, stylish, can take custom buds
Cons: Invasive fit, can be pushed to brightness by poor recordings
Excerpt: If you are blessed with small ears Etymotic's HF3 earphones are a godsend. The company has recognised that to get a comfortable fit and block out external sound in small ears and children's ears the earpiece needs to be smaller. Hence the HF3s come with the option of a smaller flange – finally buds that don't hurt when inserted in tiny ears.
With a good fit you’ll get excellent noise cancellation and superb sound reproduction, high end technology for a mid-range price, mic positioning and audio pick up
Excerpt: So you've bought your iPhone or iPod and now you need a set of earphones to help you enjoy the music or make people's voices a little clearer. In steps the Etymotic hf3 headphones from Etymotic, promising to not only make everything sound rosy, but also give you help in controlling your Apple device when it's still in your pocket.
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