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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Colour Name: Black|Change
Price:£49.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 10 November 2011
For a set of entry-level IEMs, these are absolutely brilliant. I'd even go so far as to say unbeatable - I've owned Senns, AKGs, Grados and more and these are some of the best sounding 'phones I've ever had in this price range.

The bass is well rounded, not ridiculously strong like the Senn CX series. The expanding foam tips are probably going to be the choice for bassheads, the triple flange tips don't fit my ears and I've heard from friends who've had a go on my MC5s that they shallow out the low end a bit. The Glider tips are really uncomfortable. I guess you just have to experiment to find the right ones.

The treble is bright and airy; classical, trance & ambient sound amazing. You can hear every little detail (although sometimes that means they show up artifacts in the sound that others might mask).

The obvious aim of these things is accuracy and if that's what you're going for, these are the 'phones to get. Etymotic started out as an audiology research lab after all.

If you like meaty bass, or you prefer your music to have character over accuracy, these aren't for you and you're better off looking elsewhere.
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on 29 March 2012
After much research and testing, I decided that noise cancelling head phones were not the option for me. That left headphones with noise isolation for use in various environments.
Unfortunately you cannot do comparative tests with headphones that are designed for in ear use, due to health reasons (although I'm sure a good clean would solve these issues).
Firstly the HC5 headphones as supplied. As mentioned else where, the cable design is such that rubbing noise passes from the cable to the ear phones. Therefore it is essential to run the cable behind the ears. This deadens most of this noise, unless you are wearing a hat.The flexible cable distance from the headphones to the Y join is 333mm. This is enough for me to wrap the cable around my ears and under my chin. A sliding ring can be used to tighten this under the chin, to help prevent the cable from coming out of behind the ears. the remaining cable to the connector is about 880mm, ending in a 90degree gold plated plug.
As for audio quality, my ears are past their best due to hearing damage (which is why I want ambient noise reduction). All comments about lack of bass are correct, especially that you need to push the ear pieces a long way in to the ear. The better the seal in the ear, the better the sound. There are plenty of headphone end options to choose from. I had the large 3 way cone in the right ear and the foam in the left.
Compared to other head phones, there was definitely only a little base. The rest was fine. Once fitted properly, there was definitely more noise ambient noise reduction than any noise cancelling headphones I tried, including the Bose ones. The plugs were a little uncomfortable after an hour or more. this persuaded me to try the moulded ear plugs.
The headphones allow you to visit the ACS web site and get a voucher for ear mouldings. I did this and visited one of the places listed on the web site for the procedure. Unfortunately my left ear had too much wax in it and I had to get it unblocked via the doctors. A slightly unpleasant process. I then got the moulding done; took about 15 minutes. Two days later I got an Email for £80 from ACS. Paid this and was told 4 week delivery. Took 7 weeks.
Initially they don't look much, but the translucent silicone moulding are easy to fit on the head phones. Once you know what orientation to fit them in to your ear, they go in easily, and come out easily as well. Definitely the best noise isolation I've experienced. All frequencies are suppressed dramatically. The only noise that comes through is when you rest your head on something and noise is transmitted through the bone.
The sound quality has also improved, with the whole range being sharper. I still find the base weak though.
I would love to try the mouldings with the more expensive headphones in the range, but unfortunately they are not interchangeable.
When walking the jarring of the feet on the ground can cause noise in the headphones. Something I experienced with all headphones pushed firmly in the ear.
The ACS web site says you have to pay extra for the company to keep you moulding information. The fitter said they do that automatically now, but they only keep them for four years. this is because your ears are continuously growing, and will have changed in four years. Does this mean I will need new mouldings in four years time?

So, If you are looking for the ultimate isolation from outside noise, so that you can use low volumes to protect your hearing, then I would recommend these. If you want a headphone with the best sound quality and plenty of base, look else where. I hope there is enough here to help your purchase decision.
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on 20 November 2010
These are AWESOME headphones, probably would have paid about £100 for the noise cancellation alone, took me about an hour to get in my ears and stop them falling out though, but that's because you need to pull your ear back and up. which is annoying, but only takes a few seconds. the headphones themselves are really good, treble is perfect, the main flaw is that it has a low amount of bass, as i listen to hip hop rnb etc, i like a lot of bass. although you can use the foam tips which make quite a difference to bass. the best thing about these earphones is BY FAR the noise cancellation, on the specs they say 35-40db, but it appears to be more. with NO music playing if you get them in right you can walk along and you won't hear the cars at all. it's unbelievable. playing music at full volume blocks out EVERYTHING, walked past a pneumatic drill the other day, didn't even realise it was there.

definately a reccomended buy, specially with the 2 years warranty as i always break headphones.
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on 12 July 2011
These are a cheaper version of the more expensive etymotic ear phones and I think they're great. They come with 4 different ear buds, two replacement filters and a cleaning tool in a handy little pouch. Once you've found the correct buds for your ear canal (and for different types of sound) your away. The noise reduction is suberb and treble & bass suits me just fine. More base? Push them in a little further. Simple. Very good product for the price. Arrived the next day.
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on 5 June 2013
Bought these to replace my old Etymotics ER5is which are no longer made. Third pair so that tells you how much I like them. I wear them most of the time on my motorbike either just as ear defenders or to listen to music on boring runs. There is a choice of ear fitments with them so you should find something comfortable - all ears are very individual! You can also go to an approved ear clinic and get made to measure fitments - might do this if I ever have the time/money. My first two pairs wore out through a bike related issue - the cables frayed in the wind, rubbing against my leathers. I now take more care routing the cables so they might last better. Sound reproduction seems fine to me - I can hear music clearly at motorway speeds. I couldn't tell you whether they are technically as good as a more expensive set but they are good enough for my purposes. They are reasonably priced by my reckoning - you get your moneys worth.
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on 6 July 2016
Not eveyones taste I'm sure the deep in ear fit is an odd sensation but I love the way they sound and block out background noise. if you are walking or cyclcing you can get noise if the cables are loose and flopping round ur neck. Tuck them in and enjoy the sound.

I think these have a really nice natural balanced sound. If you want a deep heavy bass sound I would try something else.
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on 25 January 2013
The headphones arrived one day after the scheduled date but this was still a fast delivery as they were only ordered on Sunday and arrived on Wednesday. Etymotic products are well known but are advantageous for the gym as the ear pieces as shown isolate the gym music and do not fall out during exercise. The down side is they are a little bass light and the wires wear bare if you are a runner and then need to be patched and finally replaced. I got exactly what I wanted but watch out for those models with a microphone if you are a distance runner as faults on the mic result in the music changing or being switched off unexpectedly.
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on 26 August 2011
I have and adore etymotic er4p and er4s. I had and semi-adored the slightly cheaper er6i too. Unfortunately my er6i's met with an accident and when i went to find another pair i discovered they were discontinued and that etymotic had replaced them in their range with these, the mc5's. In fact if you go to the er6i page it tells you that these are the newer version of the er6i's. Great! thought i. And bought a pair without hesitating.

When i got them .... omg. Hideous. Gone are the crystal clarities ety are known for and in is mud and mess and in-distinction and so much middle and fuzzy bass that you think you're wearing shure or klipsch. This isn't audiophile; it sounds like the mid 1970s.

If you like what ety used to do ... avoid these like the plague. I hate them.
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on 5 August 2011
I don't normally write reviews for products I purchase, but decided I had to this time in the hope that my contribution will help others as much as everyone elses helped me.

As a professional drummer for some time, a lot of the music I play is synched to a backing track which I play along to and the rest of the band plays along to me. What this means is I need headphones. It also means, as I'm making a lifetime career of this I need GOOD headphones that will protect my ears, so not just anything will do.

I used to use EXTREME ISOLATION cans, and still do in the studio, but live its nice to have something more discreet.

I used to use Shure EC2 headpones for years and they served me well. I won't go into specifics as they are now discontinued, so I needed to find something else to replace them that was not going to break the bank.

In short I looked everywhere online to compare headphones and when I discovered these Etymotic ones I was intrigued due to the fact I also use standard Etymotic ear plugs at gigs etc... So, they clearly know that PROTECTING the ears is important. Also, the price was right, and the only thing that concerned me was if they would stay within the ear when I'm going berserk on stage.

The answer is yes they do, using the replacement black foam tips (included) instead of the standard tips they come fitted with, I found they stay in the ear perfectly and are just what I've been looking for at a good price. What's more, if you really need, you can pick them up from HMV as some of the larger ones have started stocking them. Nice.

With regards to sound quality, that was never an issue. I wasn't buying these to sit back and relax. I was buying them for one purpose only. However, having said that, I;d say normal listening is fine, and I can drown out the rest of the band while on the road to relax myself.


NB. After 6 months of use I have JUST needed to replace the foam eartips. I've used them A LOT and I think general wear and tear has caused one of the tips to fall apart. The other is fine.
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on 22 November 2014
Pros: sounds incredible, very high clarity, you will hear parts of songs you won't hear on standard priced in-ear headphones. For the price, the sound quality on these is amazing.

Cons: Some would consider them to be uncomfortable - for the true sound you have to really push these quite far into your ear.
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