Etymotic ER4XR – If angels were to sing you a song

Build Quality: 8/10

Sound Quality: 9/10

Isolation: 7/10

Comfort: 6/10

Watch the video review here !

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Etymotic builds a story here. I will tell you that story. In this planet called “earth,” there are various people with various tastes for music. It is just simply impossible to target everyone with a single product. With that being said, the current generation loves bass, it’s all about that bass. However, there are times when bass does not matter as much because of the how well neutrality and harmonic acclimatization is presented. I would like to introduce you to the Etymotic ER4XR – slightly bass boosted version of the ER4SR. Due to the demand of “more bass” while retaining that beautiful neutrality and harmonic sound signature, the ER4XR was created and it worked. The viewer that sent this to me told me that 4 people bought the ER4XR while only 1 person bought the ER4SR on the day he purchased these.


Etymotic ER4XR was sent to me by a viewer just like you for this review and as always, I am fully committed to doing unbiased reviews.

ABOUT Etymotic

The name “Etymotic” (pronounced “et-im-oh-tik.”) means “true to the ear.” Mead Killion, Ph.D. founded Etymotic Research in 1983 to design products that accurately assess hearing, improve the lives of those with hearing loss, protect hearing, and enhance the listening experience of musicians and music lovers everywhere. Etymotic invented insert earphones in 1984. Etymotic’s original earphone design used balanced armature receivers. The first versions were used for diagnostic testing and precision auditory research (ER-1, 2, 3). Etymotic produced the first noise-isolating high-fidelity in-ear earphone, the ER-4 (1991), which became the basis of all subsequent in-ear earphones and in-ear monitors worldwide, and created an entire category of consumer electronics. The ER-4 earphones are still produced and channel-balanced to within 1 dB in Etymotic’s labs in the US.


Frequency Response 20 Hz – 16 kHz
Transducers High performance, balanced armature micro-drivers
Noise Isolation 35-42 dB
Impedance (@1kHz) 45 Ohms
Sensitivity (@1 kHz) SPL at 0.1v 4XR (98 dB) 4SR (98 dB)
Maximum Output (SPL) 122 dB
Cable 5 ft Detachable
User Replaceable ACCU-Filters Yes
Warranty 2 Years


Buy it here !



The Housing: The housing is a bullet like straight configuration for deep insertion into the ears and is made of metal.


Cables: ER4XR comes in a 5 ft detachable cable. Pass the splitter, it is braided and below the splitter it is a rubbery plastic cable that terminates in 90 degrees 3.5mm jack. Cable may cause microphonics when in contact with other surfaces however, the shirt clip is included to reduce this phenomenon.

Accessories: it comes with quite a few types of tips but may not be for everyone’s perfect fit due to how these are “supposed” to be worn. It does come with extra filters in case you damage the old ones with your earwax accumulations.


Case: It comes with a big case for an in-ear monitor and many different pockets inside to hold other things. The practicality is questionable as to if these will be used due to the fact they will not fit in your pocket

NOTE: some accessories may be missing due to the fact that I’ve received these from an individual who has been using it for some time.


These IEMs are worn in a straight deep insertion configuration. This leaves some of the housing hanging in a 75 – 90-degree fashion in reference point with the gravity pull. This may lead the IEMs to fall off your ears or leave its perfect fitted position overtime during long listening session. This also means that it is not probable to wear these for exercises involving up or down movements. Sound isolation can be quite good however, this is only if you can get a good insertion fit.


For the purpose of this review, this iem was using with shanling m1, fiio x1 and oppo ha 2 se.

Driving these IEMs require more than your typic 16 ohm IEMs but not by much.

Lower Frequencies: There is not much to expect in the lower frequencies if you are a bass head however, there is enough bass for someone looking for neutrality. XR version has about 3 db of bass increment, which may benefit and please some individual’s preferences. Nevertheless, the bass given is a very pleasing clean bass.

Mids/High Frequencies: these two are clumped together because of how redundant I will be explaining each one. To put it simply, you get these for this frequency range. These are neutral in this frequency range while not being “boring.” Neutrality can be a double-edged sword because it can be terribly boring and common OR pleasant and harmonic. In this case, it is the later. The details are there although I felt recessed 7 to 8 khz in some genres of music. However, this is something I heard personally and cannot be confirmed. There is absolutely no unpleasant spikes or sharp sounds coming out of the trebles. The separation between instruments in this frequency range is outstanding to the point of transparency.

Soundstage: It would have been interesting to get more soundstage out of these IEMs. These IEMs do not lack soundstage but can be defined as more intimate compared to other IEMs in this price bracket.

Final Thoughts

For $500, It is quite remarkable and unique what Etymotic has achieved here with a single armature driver. But the fit and comfort may not be achieved for everyone. It would be nice to see a better fit with the sound engineering that has been done here.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tyler Hill says:

    What did you think of that eartip design?


    1. soulsik says:

      like I said. thats is where they need to improve


  2. Der Klaviermann says:

    Just got a pair of ER4 XR last week. Loving them so far! And yes, deep insertion may not be for everyone.


  3. Youjiang Xu says:

    I have ER HF5, which delivers perfect vocal even driven by iphone. I have listened to high-end headphones like HD800, but HF5 is still amazing. Really impressed by ER’s products. I will definitely try ER4 after reading this review.


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