Etymotic Research music gear review

Music Gear Review: Etymotic Research Updated ER4XR and ER4SR In-Ear Earphones

Etymotic Research added new features to their classic ER-4® insert earphone and also now offers the ER4SR Studio Reference and ER4XR Extended Response models.

The new ER4SR Studio Reference and ER4XR models build on the Etymotic Research's ER-4’s 30 to 40dB of noise isolation and feature increased sonic accuracy with the ER4XR delivering more bass. I liked the new, easily replaceable cables that detach, don’t tangle and are durable.

There is a posh zipper carrying case with individual pockets inside to hold different size ear tips, cable adapter, extra replaceable filters, insertion tool, instructions and performance specs.
I gave both new models a test run here at my studio and I used the large foam ear tips. Once I had them in my ears, I was very surprised how much outside sound isolation was possible and yet how full range they sounded.

The ER4XRs had good bass and were capable of loud playbacks. The two (L and R) anodized metal bodies are not marked left or right so there was a little guessing each time I put them in—but switching them to the correct sides revealed how closely matched they are.

The ER4SR Studio Reference and ER4XR Extended Response sell for $349 MSRP for each pair and make an excellent way to hear music from your phone or in the studio without outside disturbance.


BARRY RUDOLPH is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com