My New Etymotic Headphones


I have owned the Bose Noise QuietComfort I and II for a while now. A few weeks ago (at Macworld) I purchased the Etymotic ER 6 isolator earphones for $99. I seriously love these headphones. I did not get the white ones (ER 6i) because they were designed to compensate for deficiencies in the iPod (from what I understand). These are also deficiencies common in other MP3 players although I don’t know which ones.



“6i isolator earphones are designed specifically for use with the Apple iPod and other small portable players, offering 8 dB higher overall sensitivity and slightly more bass than the ER-6 isolator earphones.” [link]


I was lucky enough that I could try both the black 6 and the white 6i. The both fit in your ear a bit differently, and I happened to like the black ones better because they use the 2 flange eartip rather than the white 3 flange eartip. Plus they were cheaper. I also tried out the Shure E3c, but liked the ER 6 much better. I also happen to have a great interaction with the people in the Etymotic booth at Macrworld… much better than my experience in the Shure booth. To top things off, the Etymotic people were selling their product in the booth for a nice big discount and they gave me a free Sumajin, which is a genius invention and a must have for all portable music player owners. I like companies that sell their stuff at Macworld… instant gratification + big discount is king


I have yet to get on a plane since purchasing them, but when I do I’ll let you know how they fare against the Bose. Scoble says he is going to buy the white ones, but if he doesn’t have an iPod I’m not sure why he would. Buzz first pointed to these a few months ago, and of course planted the seed in my head that I must buy them to replace my white Sony Earbud headphones.

Comments (5)

  1. My problem with these is that they are buds, which I can never seem to get comfortable with. I switched from the high-dollar Sony buds to the QuietComfort II’s awhile back, and couldn’t be happier.

    BTW … the space in the Bose case fits an iPod very well. So, I end up with a great carrying case for the iPod & headphones!

  2. Edward says:

    By "designed specifically for use with the Apple iPod", are you sure they didn’t just mean "we made them white to match the colour of the iPod, and so they look like the original iPod earbuds which are already such a status symbol", rather than for the specific sonic qualities and frequency response of the iPod hardware?

  3. Nigel Pond says:

    I have a pair of the ER-4 Etymotics. I would recommend that you have custom ear molds made by a professional, especially if you will be using them whil travelling. The isolation that custom molds provide is superb — better than noise-cancelling models in my experience.

  4. I agree with the comments about the custom molds. I am going to get them when I have an opportunity. My ER6i’s are so much better than the ones that Apple sells, that Apple should be embarrassed, or better yet cut a deal with Etymotic.

  5. Take a flight already so that you can compare them to the Bose! Surely you must have some reason to go to Redmond.