Etymotic ER6i earbuds discontinued: now what??

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by John Smallberries, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. MadtownMaxx

    MadtownMaxx more ride than post

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    I should start by thanking everyone who's chimed in to all the threads on this topic. Like many here I've been fixated on finding the ideal ear protection/music listening setup for quite a while and have benefited from others input. Hopefully any rehashing I do is helpful by virtue of having multiple ideas in one place.

    Up until early last summer my best (performance/price) had been the ER6i's with stock, 3 flange silicone tips: good noise isolation, decent sound, fairly fuss-free install/fit and at a manageable price ($75 a couple years back if I remember correctly). I'd occasionally get my head turned by the custom molded options but could never justify the cost despite being very capable at rationalizing quality kit (Held, Vendramini, Motoport.....). And on those occasions when I did get tempted by customs, reports of poor fittings (helmet pressure?) in this forum and others gave me cold feet. That plus the fact that I do loose/break/forget these things more often than I'd want to spend for them at the custom molded price.

    So anyway, about 6 months ago my ER6i's go AWOL. Lost, lifted, I'm not sure, but regardless, I was back in the hunt and have discovered some new things from this latest processing that may help others.

    1) Given my head and ear shape I need low profile headphones to avoid interference with my helmet. This is true, to some degree, for all of us who wear helmets. Even the ER6i's would occasionally cause me a little soreness in my ears after all day use or interact with my helmet in a way that would degrade the fit/performance despite always wearing a helmet liner (Buff) which minimizes interference. After loosing my ER6i's my quick-and-dirty replacement was a cheap ($25) pair of Phillips earphones which worked o.k but stuck out a little further than the ER6i's so they were a bit fussy to get and keep set properly. I experimented with aftermarket tips (Comply) with limited success but never was able to consistently duplicate the noise reduction of the ER6i's with any of the tips. After going through the summer with the Phillips I decided, based upon reviews in this thread, to try the ER hf5's. Unfortunately they stick way too far out of my ears with the only tips that provide a good seal which makes them unusable under a helmet (think: for sale). My next try and current set, the ME Electronics M6's (@ $27 shipped to my door), also recommended here, are fantastic in this regard. Very unobtrusive/low profile so once put in they stay put. I wore almost all my earphones with the wires up and over the ear, which these require, so that didn't take any getting used to. I find this method keeps small inadvertent wire tugs from ruining the fit/seal of the earphones.

    2) After finding the best fitting tips on the M6's are the single flange silicone ones I augmented them with foam earplugs. I basically cut the foam earplug to just less than the silicone tip stem length, made a round hole centered down the foam earplug length and then slid this foam "donut" up under the silicone flange. This memory foam seems to "back up" the silicone creating a better seal to my ear canal. I haven't done an all day ride with this setup but have had them in over 4 hours at work with no discomfort. I'd say the noise isolation meets or exceeds the ER6i's.

    3) A thin film of waterless hand soap on the silicone tip provides additional seal. It doesn't evaporate like water/saliva and it's surface tension bridges small gaps. I've heard of folks using lotion as well but I like the soap as my ears can always use cleaning :shog and having a small container of waterless hand soap with me is convenient anyway. The quality of fit/seal has a huge impact on sound quality and comfort. The M6's are far from hi-end kit but with a good fit (and #4) they approximate the sound quality of the ER6i's. Even better actually.
    NOTE: Be aware of too much noise isolation as is mentioned often on these forums.

    4) For those of you using iPhones (and possibly other makes of smart phones) as your sound source, consider using a hearing test app (uHear is free) to evaluate your hearing and then use an equalization app (EQ 10 is 99¢), customized to your hearing profile and preferences, for playback. Reportedly, the more hearing loss you have at certain frequencies the more the customized EQ playback profile will improve your sound experience. You can setup different profiles for different headphones: one for moto earbuds and another for your home, over-the-ear variety for instance.

    5) And finally - something I've yet to try - consider casting your own custom earbuds with Sugru or the homemade equivalent - Silicone adhesive mixed with corn starch or talc. Search the web for specific method and material instructions. There's a lot out there.

    So in summary, for ~ $40, I'm :D with an easy-on/stay-in-place, comfortable, quality sounding, highly noise isolating setup that exceeds the ER6i's via:
    • Cheap, low profile earbuds - $27 (M6's for instance but I suspect there are others that meet this criteria)
    • Option: Buff ($30) or other helmet liner ($10) to further reduce earphone/helmet interference.
    • Option: waterless hand soap - $1 worth for this purpose would last a long time
    • Run earphone wires over the ear to minimize wire tugs effect on earphone fit/seal - $0
    • Cheap semi-custom ear tips (solution will vary per individual) - less than $1 for foam earplugs (as "backer") or aftermarket option - add $5.
    (or add less than $8 for silicone/starch mix + misc to cast your own custom eartips)
    • Custom equalization playback app (if available) - $1

    At this cost I can reproduce the whole setup annually if lost/stolen/broken and am, again, not inclined to invest in custom molded.

    In case anyone cares, I listen to all types of music for much of my day, every day, but am not a musician myself.

    Despite being satisfied with my current setup, I'll continue to follow these threads to keep up with other solutions and new developments.

    Sorry so long - good luck to everyone in their search!
  2. NJ Moto

    NJ Moto Long timer

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    A little heads up. Earphone Solutions is having a 25% off sale until 9:00 pm eastern time tonight. Use coupon code FLASH25.

    No affiliation, just passing along what I think is a great sale.
  3. daysgoneby

    daysgoneby Been here awhile

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  4. petzi-baer

    petzi-baer Been here awhile

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  5. MadtownMaxx

    MadtownMaxx more ride than post

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  6. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    Westone universal earphones.....great under the helmet or beyond.
  7. Xeraux

    Xeraux Archvillain

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  8. daysgoneby

    daysgoneby Been here awhile

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    With my old HLC CL-SP I could use Super.fi 3 Studio's if I installed them upside down, my new SHOEI QWEST has a much tighter fit and there is no way the super.fi will work. The VSONIC GR07 fit's far enough into the ear to work with my new Shoei but since this is new to me and it's winter I haven't done the ride test yet.

    Mid Priced? Considering that the best cost around $1400. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-5...r-headphone-in-the-world-the-fitear-togo-334/
    Anything that sounds great for under $200 is a good buy.

    There is a cheaper version of the VSONIC GR07 called the VSONIC GR06 http://inearaddiction.blogspot.ca/2011/12/vsonic-gr06.html

    I also have a set of MEElectronics M6 http://inearaddiction.blogspot.ca/2011/08/meelectronics-m6.html which are cheap,sound good and fit my Shoei

    If your using a Iphone or touch this DSP program works well https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/audio-xciter-studio/id537422341?mt=8
    Review http://www.theiphoneappreview.com/2012/07/audioxciter-iphone-app-review/
  9. NJ Moto

    NJ Moto Long timer

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    I've been using the Etymotic mc5 with good results. They are a little longer than the er6 but work well with my helmet. Noise isolation is fantastic.
  10. daysgoneby

    daysgoneby Been here awhile

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    This guy likes his tunes and has a nice setup
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/great-motorcycling-headphones-jays-q-jays-and-etymotic-er6i

    The q-JAYS are no longer in production but can still be found, at least for now.

    Rockit Sounds R-50 look like they would work well, they have good reviews and can be had for around $120.

    Nocs NS800 About the same size and price of the Q-Jays $200.
    http://www.ifans.com/forums/threads/nocs-ns800.382312/

    Which iPod has the best quality audio?
    http://macintoshhowto.com/itunes/which-ipod-has-the-best-audio-quality.html

    What are the best settings to import songs into itunes?
    http://macintoshhowto.com/itunes/importing-into-itunes.html#more-15

    Comply Foam Tips and the Effects of Tip Selection
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comply-foam-tips-and-effects-tip-selection

    Some of the best prices I've seen http://www.earphonesforsale.com/


    O.K I've put about 1000 miles on with the Nocs NS800 And I really like them, they sound great, they look to be built really well and best of all they fit nicely inside my snug Shoei helmet.
  11. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    My ER6is are good but the plug has started to flake. Are there "replace your plug" services? Seems like someone probably does that for $20-30.

    (yes, I can solder it myself. I don't want to fuss with the tiny little wires)
  12. Xeraux

    Xeraux Archvillain

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  13. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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  14. Mr. Canoehead

    Mr. Canoehead Taste Gunnels!

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    The problem with hi-end cans is that the motorcycle is such a noisy environment that noise attenuation is more important than fidelity. I find that my ER-6i's sound just as good as my Shure E-530's on the bike because they isolate better so you can actually hear the music better. No comparison off the bike.

    BTW, Q-Jays worked great but the quality control was awful. I went through two sets in 4 months before going to the ER-6i, which have lasted in daily use for 4 years.
  15. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    I find the noise attenuation and fidelity to be both very good with the Westone IEMs. My Shure E2cs have held up well too (so many years of use) but are nowhere as comfy and musical as my Westones (2 & 4). Ymmv :deal
  16. soyanarchisto

    soyanarchisto Long timer

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    But do the westones fit into your ear canal as deeply as the Er6i?

    With all the demand for the er6i why in the world were they discontinued?
  17. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    I have a pair of s-wires which look very similarly shaped to the er6i IEMs and prefer the fit of my Westones over the other, especially in helmet.
  18. Xeraux

    Xeraux Archvillain

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    :nod

    Yep.
  19. daysgoneby

    daysgoneby Been here awhile

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    Your right, what counts most is fit,comfort and seal that's why I suggested the MEElectronics M6 for $25 it's a good starting point, if you don't like em then I think you must move into the $100 plus range to get something that will work with a helmet.

    I think we can scratch the Q-Jays off the list, I've read of cord issues to add to your dislikes.

    I have a deal in the works for a used set of Nocs NS800 So I'll have 3 sets of IEM's to play with this spring.

    Goin cheap http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/B004D9GPT4/211m4-20 They had them on sale for $84. now back to $199.
  20. munchmeister

    munchmeister Grow'd Up Mini Trail

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    Anybody tried these? Twist to fit them into your ear, designed for the runner, etc. so they don't fall out while exercising. Seems like the twist in approach might be good for motorcyclists.

    :ear

    yurbuds.com

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