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Mon, 14 Feb 2005
Etymotic ER6i Isolators

Last year I wrote about my experience with the Shure E3C headphones, which I ultimately returned. After my adventures at Zeitgeist, I decided that I had worked up enough courage to try the Etymotic ER6i headphones. A number of people have written that these headphones are much better at blocking out noise, so I've been curious. I did try on a pair of the Bose noise canceling headphones at an Apple store, and they didn't seem to block as much noise as I would have liked, and they have the drawback of being quite large and requiring a battery. So, I ended up back at Microphone Solutions, which matched Buy.com's lower price, and whom (despite last year's experience) I knew would honor the 30 day money back guarantee. I got the ER6i's which are tuned for small MP3 players like the iPod, and claim a higher degree of noise isolation (compared to the regular ER6)

The sound isolation is very good at home. On the day that I got them, I had Michaela jumping up and down and yelling right in front of my face, and I didn't hear her at all. The iPod was set on a low volume setting, which seemed promising. The acid test was last week's trip to the Bay area, which included trips on ferries and airplanes, and a stay in the OSAF offices, which are a large open area. I was listening to a lot of IT Conversations, which has the pauses in conversation, during which I was able to pick up noise from my surroundings. Playing music at a relatively low volume took care of most of those noises. I noticed significant (to me) reduction of airplane noise just by having the phones in the ears. I've gotten over the hurdle of licking the flanged ends to get a better fit, and I haven't yet tried the foam earpieces, but so far I'd have to say that the noise reduction is better than the Shure's. I think that the Shure's had slightly better sound, but I'm willing to accept the tradeoff. The Etymotics seem to insert more easily (although the fit is still not perfect -- I really need to try the foam earpieces) and I haven't developed any pain like with the Shure phones.

At this point, I think they're a keeper.

[23:29] | [gadgets] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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