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John Smallberries 11-03-2011 04:15 AM

Etymotic ER6i earbuds discontinued: now what??
I've tried many different earbuds for riding and found the Etymotic ER6i to be a great solution for 1) isolating wind noise, 2) providing excellent sound quality and 3) not sticking out of my ear to rub against my helmet liner, 4) reasonable price ($110 delivered to my door).

Looking at their website ( - they have been discontinued! All of the remaining models look to have relatively long housings. Mine take a bit of strain every time I take my helmet on/off - I got 12 months out of my first set. You can still get them off eBay, but that can't last forever.

What is the next best choice in the same price range (or less).?

LateApex 11-03-2011 04:48 AM

How about these...
I've been using Shure's SE315 for a while now. They work great, come with 3 different sized ear rubbers and foams (I like the foams best for riding), fit well under a helmet and are super heavy duty. The cords are also detachable from the earbud so they can be replaced if needed, although the cords are also heavy duty enough I doubt if that will ever happen.

soyanarchisto 11-03-2011 08:21 AM

$215 for earbuds? Wow.

Wlfman 11-03-2011 08:38 AM

That SUX :cry

Those were great ear buds. And as you stated, they didnt stick out and rub the helmet

guavadude 11-03-2011 01:16 PM

I tried a bunch of earbuds until I found these Shure SE-115s, $89 on Amazon

I use the smallest rubber inserts and they seal out wind noise so much better than any earplugs I have tried.
The detachable cable is great when you stop to get gas and want to keep the helmet on.

They are designed to have the cable go over your ear which doesn't work with a helmet, so use the right in the left ear and the left in the right ear.

Use the smallest rubber insert, you will want to seat them in as far as possible.
I give them a little finger/spit lube when I put them in, then put on the helmet, then pull the helmet off to one side, slide your hand up in there and seat them in one at a time really good and as deep as they'll go. Fasten chin strap and you're good to go. You'll know you have them in right when you can't hear anything and you have a head voice.

I use the treble boost setting on my ipod since the eq is a little dark on them. This results in very nice natural non-fatiguing high end. I also use the volume leveling feature on itunes to keep the tracks at the same relative volume.

When removing your helmet, reach in on each side and remove the earbuds first.

I do music for a living and love the way these sound. I'm very careful with my ears and can't stand wind noise.
Highly recommended.

hrolf 11-03-2011 01:26 PM

the model bump to the er6i is the MC3:

same price, slightly longer body, and an inline remote / android & iOS compatibility.

The big open question is whether or not they're as great for not chafing inside your helmet as the er6i's were -- and i don't know the answer.

Otherwise: same kickass company, presumably same kickass performance, and they've got a higher NRR than the er6i's, to boot!

EJ_92606 11-03-2011 02:33 PM

I bought the MC3s recently and they will work under the helmet, you just need to be sure to insert them fully and be a little bit careful putting on and removing your helmet. The noise reduction is phenomenal....frankly, almost too much. I may ride with only one earphone and one earplug so I can get a little bit of engine and ambient noise.

nytrashman 11-03-2011 02:55 PM

i know this doesn't help but when i find something that works i always buy a second pair just in case they become discontinued.

i have tried more brands of earbuds then i care to remember and what i have found is none of them compare to custom earphones. the customs are more comfortable, fit better, go in easier etc. yes they are not cheap but we spend so much money on our bikes that a couple of hundred dollars (Westone CR1 in ear monitors are $289.00, including the ear impressions) on quality earphones seem like a good deal to me. if you try two or three pair of various brand earbuds before you find ones you like you have most likely spent the equivalent of what a pair of custom in ear monitors would cost.

swimmer 11-03-2011 06:16 PM


Originally Posted by hrolf (Post 17223229)
kickass company, presumably same kickass performance, and they've got a higher NRR than the er6i's, to boot!

+1. Had my ER6i's for a couple of years. I can't believe how well these things hold up. Far surpassed expectations.

kawalaser 11-03-2011 06:28 PM

I will second all the ER6i praise. mine have lasted quite a while, for earbuds. Purchased in 2009. Since then, the rubber shroud protecting the wire leading into the jack cracked. As a precaution, I wrapped it with electrical tape knowing this connection to be a common failure point among many a brand of headphones. No complaints! I removed the filters, they seem unnecessary and the phones seem to sound better and with the filters removed. I use the larger rubber flanges, and they wore out to a point where they would frequently become disconnected. Ordered 10 pairs of flanges straight from the manufacturer for around 10 bucks on amazon.

These phones see so much use particularly when I need a quiet study environment. Sad to see them discontinued.

JGBrown 11-04-2011 10:47 AM

I really like the Shure 215, 99$ at London Drugs, the Wirecutter reviewed them as the best bang for your buck in the price range and I have to agree.
I miss my ER6is, but I don't miss the shitty cord.
the cord on these is tough and replaceable. Also after a bit of research I discovered that any headphones using a 2.5mm tube can use Etymotic tips. Of course I discovered this right after I got rid of an entire bag of them.
I don't like the stock foam tips, they take more effort to put in and more care to make sure they stay seated while putting on the helmet. I think with the Etymotic silicone tips again I'll have a perfect fit.

I don't like the MC3 because of the longer body, having the body turned sideways like shure makes more sense to me. I also don't understand why you can't wear them properly with the wire over the ears?:huh
I must be doing something wrong, because I wear them that way every day on my commute, and have for 5 months...
I tried reversing them and letting them hang out, but they always get pulled out when I'm putting on my helmet then. I also make sure to pull outwards on my helmet straps when putting on the helmet, that makes a sort of channel so the helmet doesn't drag on them and hurt my ears.

RxZ 11-04-2011 02:15 PM


Originally Posted by kawalaser (Post 17225398)
I will second all the ER6i praise... ...I removed the filters, they seem unnecessary and the phones seem to sound better and with the filters removed...

I just replaced the filters in mine about a month ago. One ear bud was to the point that in a quite environment, I could just barely hear anything. The other side sounded pretty good I thought. I wasn't sure what was going on, but since they send you an extra set of filters I figured why not before buying new earbuds.

After changing the filters both sides now sound great! Turns out that over time a little bit of ear wax had got on the filter, and was blocking the sound. Knowing that, and that I have to clean a very small amount of wax off the buds after wearing them, I think I will recommend keeping the filters in. I bet the sound is a little better without them, but the tradeoff isn't worth it to me.

Sad to hear about the ER6i being discontinued. I love mine. I really like them on airplanes, blocks out pretty much all engine noise, and at a fraction of the cost of the Bose headphones that get all the advertisements! When my ER6i breaks, I will try this new line (although I am a little concerned about the longer body). I have been very happy with them.

enduro0125 11-04-2011 02:26 PM

I sent in a pair of er6i's in early October for warranty replacement.
I was informed that they were being discontinued,the person I spoke with suggested the hf5 as a replacement.

She said they worked underneath helmets,and she was right.
No long days with them yet,but so far I'm very happy with them.

LocuL 11-04-2011 03:36 PM

the S-plug will do a better job.

Wlfman 11-04-2011 08:39 PM

I sent an email to them asking why and if they were replacing them with a similar version.

Their reply

Hi Shawn,

I will share your email with our marketing group.

You might try the hf5, although a totally different look, it is just a few millimeters longer than the ER6i. I have heard from many riders who have said they are working out great.

Best Regards,
Maureen (Moe) Defoort
Customer Service
Etymotic Research, Inc.
61 Martin Lane
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Toll free: 888-389-6684
Main: 847-228-0006
Fax: 847-228-6836

You know your music. Etymotic knows your ears.

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