Excerpt: These were my first and only earphones that cost over 100 dollars (about $ 113 here in Israel) and the sound quality blew me away. The high end detail is outstanding, and the base is not over emphasized, like it is on many sets these days, which results in a very natural and enjoyable sound, but...
Summary: ...got everything else wrong. Take this mini-review with a grain of salt because YMMV with these IEMs. You may even get a great fit with comfort, but I didn't.
Tried all the tips. The gliders don't stay. The foams are itchy. The grey flanges are itchy and too big. The only one that works are the stock small flanges. They fit well and isolate well, BUT they are uncomfortable as HELL.
Summary: Etymotic Research HF5 Review
The hf5 didn't fit well with my ears. I believe this is due to the long armature shafts and ear tip combo. Essentially, the sound port needed to be pointing at precisely the direct path of my ears to get a good sound, but this didn't happen with the normal fit position. This seems to be rare for most, but just something to note. However, in the "normal" position I would call these comfortable.
Summary: These phones are great, for their value, even at retail price these are quite good.
Though I do not have past exp. with other etymotics, I could sum these as very clear, tight bass but not lacking, unless the track you're playing is.
the mids are a little emphasized, but it's not too obvious the seperation is also very good,
If I were to give an example these are like an artistic version of
That is regarding the soundstage, but it's not that big a of a con...
Pros: Awesome for the price
Cons: Somewhat congested soundstage but not terrible
Summary: First off let me preface by stating that I bought these on a whim. I had read many things about Etymotic's penchant for accurate reproduction.
The initial impressions I got from these were a mixed bag. First off, I love the isolation factor, putting these on in the middle of a crowded communal area was like stepping into a library. I tried the various silicone pieces which were provided as well as the obnoxious chunks of foam and settled back on the medium sized...
Pros: Amazing isolation, Transparent sounding, Extremely accurate, High degree of imaging in mid and treble
Cons: Bass is uninspiring, Product out of the box is a poor representation of the device -- burn in absolutely required.
Summary: Using the buds with computer , ipod and other portable devices. Sound is good, very detailed, good low end when properly inserted. Frequency balanced , very present. The response is so detailed that MP3's don't sound so great. The buds are good enough that you hear ALL the flaws in the low band width clips. So mp3 players and streaming audio can sound pretty bad. Not the buds fault, thats the signal.
Pros: Compact, Good isolation, Good Value, Great Sound, Lightweight
Summary: I use these on the subway to work. Great noise blocking over the full spectrum (not just bass), and I can listen at a much lower volume and still hear everything. Amazing clarity. The bass is not "thumping", but it's there. Rock lovers may be disappointed, but bass drum hits are musical, not just an indistinct "whump". Proper fit is extremely important and requires patience and fiddling, but very much worthwhile.
Summary: Etymotic Research's HF5 in-ear earphones worked well on a transpacific flight. Seventy-five percent of engine noise was cancelled and most of speech was nicely muted. They were comfortable but had to be inserted "deeply" to attain reasonable bass and noise isolation. Worth the price and very compact.
Summary: For some time, I've owned an ER4p with the adapter that made it into an ER4s. Strictly from a sound viewpoint, these are super IEMs. But the physical design left much to be desired for carrying around with my IPODs, especially the Nano. The HF5 addresses the design issues. Samller, with a flexible 4 foot cable that, unlike the 6i, does not get tangled up. Easily wraps around my new Classic for easy transport.
Summary: I recently came into the market for an upscale set of canalphones. The market is now flooded with options most notably from Shure and Ultimate Ear. Sennheiser just came out with three new models and then you've got Etymotic's offerings. Plenty of other brands as well: Westone, Vmoda, Sony, and more...
I chose the Hf5 because they offer really high levels of sound isolation at this price point. In practice, I find that the isolation they provide is excellent.