Welcome to another review of in-ear headphones and this time we look at a high quality, but still relatively affordable pair from company Etymotic. If you visit their website, Etymotic claims that this is “the world’s most accurate noise-isolating earphones under $200”. So they’re obviously targeting a somewhat budget type of customer.
$150, which is the price asked for this pair, is still a lot, but it’s still less than its competitors like the Yamaha EPH-100sl, which is $50 more.
Before I start saying what I’ve enjoyed about these headphones, let me give you a bit of information about the company because it’s indeed a bit less known than other big names.
Before we start this review, you will be happy to know that Etymotic is quite specialized in the area of in-ear headphones. They build products for kids, people that are hard of hearing and more high-end headphones like the HF5.
The company was founded in 1983 and has a long history of research when it comes to audio products. Another of their most popular product is the ER-4, which are sold for much more at $299. If you wish to go in that range, they’re a great pick too.
What I liked
I must say that what I liked about the Etymotic HF5 is the price. I had been looking for a pair that was high quality, but not as expensive as the best ones out there.
In the in-ear category, it’s often all or nothing – either you buy a cheap pair at the store and switch it as soon as they’re done, or you put out a ton money for the best of the best. The Etymotic HF5 ended up being pretty much the only pair that matched my budget exactly.
And when it comes to sound, I thought I got my money’s worth. I don’t listen to hip-hop, and I don’t think these can produce the same level of bass as some of the more expensive options, but my good-old pop/rock anthems never sounded better. Clarity is a big argument in the favor of the Etymotic HF5.
And then there’s the sound isolation which is also pretty good. Combined with the clarity of these and the good sound blocking, you can hop in a bus with confidence that you will be able to enjoy your music just like at home.
What I disliked
A thing that the Etymotic doesn’t have going for them is perhaps the comfort level which should be improved. I would qualify these as “fairly comfortable” and unfortunately I didn’t find much to work with in that regard inside the package. There was only a few sleeves and that’s it.
I think that while these are a bit cheaper, you can tell in which areas the cuts were made. I have a feeling some big beats listeners will consider the average bass as a disadvantage too so let me just remind you of that.
I was curious to read the customer reviews before I ordered these and they convinced me that I had made a good choice. Amazon seems to have sold a bunch of these with 321 reviews being displayed and most of the comments were positive.
Other customers were pretty straightforward in saying that they enjoyed the sound more than anything. The few complaints came in the department of durability, but I don’t think they were in enough big numbers to be taken into account.
Overall, I think this is a good offer by Etymotic. With the HF5, they stick to what they have promised and deliver a crystal clear listening experience for a medium-high price, and the good sound isolation allows you to benefit from that wherever you are. They do have some drawbacks like the bass, but not overwhelming enough to say that this is a bad pair.
I would pay the price and I paid again and I hope these will last a long time because I’m getting quite accustomed to them. Comfort-wise, they’re still alright for me. The Etymotic HF5 will please a big number of customers no matter what they do. This makes them a great pick for a gift too.