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Subject: amps was: Re: Etimotic

amps was: Re: Etimotic

From: Clive Freeman <>
Date: Mon, 8 May 2006 11:22:30 +0100

Seeing the recent discussion about Etymotics and headphone amps, I
thought I'd relate my experiences:

I've had a pair of Etymotic ER4Ps for four or five years, and I have
to say they're just SUPERB. For me at least, they're very comfortable
to wear, and I've appreciated the isolation they provide on many train
and airplane journeys. Great bass, very realistic treble. I even use
them to listen to audiobooks when out cycling - but only with one ear
plugged in, so I can hear traffic. They come with spares both for
the flanged or sponge "plugs" which give the close fit in the ear, and
also for the very very small filters. These filters fit into the
channels that conduct the sound, and over time they get clogged with
ear wax (every 3-6 months or so for me), and you need to replace them
using a little tool. You can tell when it's happened, because it
sounds like sound is only coming through one earphone. A little
fiddly to change these, and I've bought a couple of packs of spares
(they're not too expensive) to ensure I have a supply.

About a year ago I also bought a small headphone amp. Runs off
batteries, and I bought it mainly to power my big Sennheiser's, which
I use at home. Does it improve the sound for the Etymotics? Yes, it
does. Enough for me to bother to carry the thing around with me on
the train? No, not really: with both my Archos and my iHP140 I find
the sound loud enough not to bother, and quality is pretty good anyway
with these sources. The little amp I bought is a homebrew thing, to a
fairly common design that's known as a "CMoy". I bought mine off
e-bay - type in CMOY, you'll see a few people selling ones they make.
Cost me about 30 UK pounds, but depending on component quality, etc,
you can pay more or less. Runs on a 9V battery that lasts forever,
and mine is built into a Zippo lighter tin (other favourite containers
include Altoids tins). If you want to make one yourself, you'll find
designs on the web - only about a dozen components, and I've
subsequently built one myself to test out different component specs.

Received on 2006-05-08

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