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on 7 January 2011
I've had these for a couple of months now and can only say good things about them. Once correctly inserted into the ear, sound quality is truly excellent. I regularly listen to a wide variety of music ranging from rock to dance to alternative and the depth and range of music is (in my opinion, as they should be) far better than the Klipsch S4i headphones I tried previously. The phone control buttons are also good and despite having to get used to not hearing your voice as clearly as the call recipient (ears isolated from outside noise) people receiving calls have all confirmed that sound quality is excellent. In brief, I'm very happy with the HF3's and the icing on the cake is that they block out the noise pollution of household noises such as TV or other music I don't want to hear whilst revealing elements in music I've sometimes not noticed before.

UPDATE: I was happy as Larry with the HF3's until the cable broke. I really did look after these earphones and feel that Etymotic need to resolve this apparently (reading blogs) common issue. Thank goodness I purchased from Amazon and returned within the Warranty period.
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on 12 May 2011
These earphones are great. Hands down they are the best earphones I've ever used. Only problem? I had to go to an NHS Walk-In Centre to have the earbud removed from my ear due to it detatching and becoming completely stuck. Don't let this put you off though these earphones and Etymotic are great.
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on 28 May 2012
Whilst there are many positives about these earphones, ultimately I can't recommend them.


Crisp, insightful, transparent sound. Remote mic/volume controls are also useful. Noise isolation is good too.


After 5 months of daily use, the connector has become worn and I need to constantly adjust it in the socket to ensure I get a feed to both earpieces. I now need to carry my ipod (rather than keep it in my pocket). Simply not durable enough for day-to-day use.

Also, whilst on certain (acoustic, for example) tracks, the sound is excellent, it simply lacks sufficient low end for certain genres of music. Rock tracks sound awful frankly - they simply lack bite, bass and sound shrill as a result. Some tracks are simply unlistenable. I bought these headphones with my 'ears wide open' so to speak - the reviews, and even the manufacturer, are very clear that they do not produce a bass heavy sound (and I didn't want that). However, even when they are properly fitted, the sound is just too anemic.

Shame, but even with the discount, I don't think they are worth getting.

p.s. just bought some Soundmagic e10's to replace the etymotics. first impressions are excellent - great detail with good low-end heft.
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on 1 April 2012
A magnificent pair of headphones with the added advantage of a microphone & controls that put it ahead of the HF-5's.

The audio is excellent, and the varienty of headphone covers provided ensure proper ear fitting and thus an excellent sound quality. Even better is that these headphone can have custom fit ear-moulds created for them, meaning you bin all of the funny rubber, foam and other such attachments for a pair of properly moulded in ear mounts that provide you with perfect listening. I was purchased the 'custom-fit' earmoulds as a birthday present and contacted the firm (ACS) who after signing me up informed me that although earmoulds were supposed to be £80 - £90 (I can't rememeber which) because I had been signed up I could not get them for £75 ish for the pair - this included the creation of moulds of the interior of my ears (done at my local ACS vendor, which happened to be Boots) to a full laser 3d scan of the moulds and the creation of full hypoallergenic moulds which can fit these earphones. The laser scans are apparently kept of file for at least 5 years and at any time you can order a new pair to be made up, in any of the huge variety of colours (or see through) - only trouble at the time of writing this delivery time is about 3 weeks due to a massive surge in orders due to ACS being featured in a professional drumming magazine.

Anyway back to these headphones, they arrived promptly and my only niggle which prevents them from scoring the full 5* rating is that the cable shirt/jacket clip needed to be fitted by the end user and there was no indication of where on the cable the clamp was to be fitted and nothing to make the fitting simple, so aside from that which may or may not apply to you, a truely great product which does exactly what it says and produces a really great listening experience
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on 15 February 2013
The main purpose of this review is to give people an idea of the long term robustness of these headphones. Mine have just gone past the two year mark (purchased 5th Jan 2011 through Amazon) and have reached the end of their life.

The headphones have failed on two counts: firstly, the wire has split in three places, and secondly, the right earbud now makes a rattling sound pretty much permanently. The two things may be related, but it's obviously the rattling sound that has lead to the 'phones now being unusable.

If I had abused these headphones, I wouldn't be posting a three-star review, but I have been *extremely* careful with them at all times (>£100 is a lot of money for headphones). I have always kept them in their pouch when not in use, and have never tugged or twisted the wires; never wound them round my phone and chucked it in a bag, etc. In fact, it's because I've been so extra careful with these things that I felt compelled to write a review. For the wire to split even with such careful use I think is an indication that it's too fragile. Whether or not this 'splitting' has anything to do with the degradation in the sound quality, I'm not 100% sure, but it's likely.

I don't know, maybe I'm being overly harsh. Is two years a reasonable life expectancy for a product of this type at this price point? I wouldn't have thought so, and as such I'm slightly disappointed.

When they worked, I found the sound quality to be absolutely superb. 5 stars there, no doubt. In ear headphones are a very personal thing, but I found that these fitted very comfortable also.

But I do think that a life of just two years with careful use means they're not well built enough.

(To be fair to Etymotic, they offer a two year warranty, which is reasonable. I'm just outside it, and I have not investigated whether Etymotic would honour it. They may well do. I know other companies that have in cases where things have failed so close to the end of the warranty period.)
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on 29 December 2014
Having been a Shure customer for a couple of years I heard about Etymotic and decided to give them a try. Etymotic make professionally sounding, flat sound signaure IEM's. These are the mobile version with built in microphone and playback controls. I've had these IEM's for over 3 years now and love how they sound. Unfortunately during that time I've had to have them replaced 3 times by Etymotic due to faulty cables, always around the headphone jack. This would make one of the earphones cut-out and crackle. I can't fault Etymotic's warranty and service and they have been excellent replacing them for free each time, even courier collecting them. Considering they are a US based company, you really wouldn't want to send them at your own expense!

Having been an Etymotic customer for over 4 years, I absolutely love their sound signature. Unfortunately, after this pair has now become faulty again (same cable issue at the jack, even after a re-design) I've decided to give another manufacturer a try. I absolutely love these IEM's, but for the price, there are similar manufacturers with similar sound signatures that offer replaceable cables.

I've decided to check out the Westone UM-Pro 10's with replaceable cables! It seems such a waste having to ditch this earphone just because of a faulty cable.

If you're willing to put up with potential failures, they sound great and are worth the purchase.
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on 16 April 2016
Hi don't listen to the negative comments here, yes, they are a bit fragile so don't go to sleep in bed only to find them wrapped around your throat in the middle of the night, that's a sure way to break them, though I have to say I've done that several times and despite owning one pair of ER6i 's, and two HF3's not managed to break any of them, just be careful, unlike me. That said, I'm sure that most people's problems with longevity comes from inadvertently pulling on the cable to remove them from the ear, rather than the body.
Regarding bass response, yes they are lower than others but that's their strength, heavy bass would only just get in the way and cloud top and mid frequencies, I can say this because I listen to Black Sabbath on them and the bass is more than adequate. Just get used to the bass response and you'll be fine.
There is a caveat however, and that is that they have to be pushed that tiny bit further than you originally thought they had to go in, in order to realise that full bass potential.
Every ear is different of course, but I found that the clear flanged tips allow greater insertion into the ear canal, in fact I'm ordering a pair of those tips for my ER6i's as the light grey tips were too soft and came off the unit when it was extracted from the ear.(great shame they don't make those any more).
In case you're wondering why I bought two HF3's, the first simply got lost!
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on 20 February 2012
This happens to be my second set hf3 of headphones from Etymotic. Having previously owned a set of hf2 that where awesome for more than 2 years my first complaint is that the cables are a bit thin and not as rugged as the hf2. My previous pair of hf3s got a rip in the rubber of the cable exposing the wire within and eventually stopped working due to this. I concede that this happened due to carelessness on my part and should normally not be a problem as long as you are careful. However I do find the cables thinner and more flimsy than on the hf2.
Another annoyance is that the filters are fairly hard to come by and so far I've only seen them on Etymotics website and then shipping to Europe is quite expensive.

But all in all, a great product that really isolates the listener from noise, great sound and remote works perfectly with the iPhone. The wide range of earpieces guarantees a perfect fit, (I'm currently waiting for my custom fit)
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on 14 July 2011
I worried about a bit, because I had Beyer DT770Pro, I liked them, however I needed to sell, because it was too big and heavy to carry then in a plane, example. I have bought a pair of Dr Dre Studio headphones, because I liked the sound very much when I tried in the Apple store, especially liked the isolation feature. Unfortunately there was a huge sound leakage to outside, so that can's impossible to use in studio environment, so I sent it back...
I have read different opinions on the web about this HF3, so I decided to give them a try, now I was lucky (almost, at least :D)

I did some tests and performed very well, clear, loud, transparent, I clearly heard the mastering errors, background noises, I did some recordings with Apogee One, and that was absolutely brilliant, I wasn't hear anything from the earphone in the recording, so the isolation (to outside) is stunning, however you need to put into your brain :D
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on 8 February 2012
I had high expectations, but considering the price I think that they are only ok - not anything exceptional. The sound is good but not great and the microphone is only ok. They do have some very good features but overall a slight disappointment.
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