October 05, 2010 3 min read
First Impressions We first heard the new Etymotic MC3, MC5 and HF3 prototypes at CES in January courtesy of Ety honcho Michael Shaver (The HF5's were released a bit earlier in '09). After picking our jaws up off the floor, we closed our eyes, danced in the aisles, and sang at the top of our lungs (i.e., standard HeadRoom listening procedures) until reminded by Mike that we were in a public place. Since leaving Las Vegas, we've counted the days until the Fall release date when we could bring the new Etymotic earphones to HeadRoom customers. Our objective audio lab tests (only minimal dancing allowed) reveal the new Etys deliver a tremendously high level of in-ear sound quality with features and performance routinely expected to cost many hundreds of dollars. So perhaps the biggest and best news is the headphones are being offered at reasonable-to-ridiculously-reasonable prices made even more so by the serious scientific prowess girding Etymotic Research products. Early word on the HeadRoom streets is the new Ety ear-gear smashes previous price-to-performance barriers for both the ''in-ear'' and ''headset'' categories! Employing proprietary 'AccuSound' technology boasting high-end build design & parts quality for uncompromisingly accurate reproduction, the fresh Etymotic earphone colors encase some terrific sound within. HF3 & HF5 The Apple iPhone / iPad compatible HF3 [$179] claims the world's top balanced armature driver construction in a stereo headset along with the clearest microphone array in the industry, derived from their award-winning HF2 universal cellphone headset and the lauded Ety-Com mic system. For Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch listeners demanding both audiophile stereo music reproduction and pristine voice & call clarity, this may be your ticket to effortless mobile bliss. MC3 & MC5 At a nearly unheard-of $79 pricepoint, the MC5's moving coil drivers bring near-reference grade sonics typically found only at two-to-three times this price to your daily commute. Eschewing a microphone or remote features, the MC5 is engineered strictly for maximum musical dynamics and pure acoustic detail without any telecommunication extras. For MP3 player, iPod and laptop owners, your tiny in-ear portable listening room just showed up. And for a few bucks more, the sister MC3 model [$99] with its handy 3-button Apple remote controller & excellent built-in microphone delivers an obvious "night & day" upgrade over stock headset earbuds that all iPhone and iTouch owners should hear for themselves. Customized Molds Available from Etymotic.com As a final extra, audiologist-customized in-ear molds for all models are optionally available via Etymotic after purchase. Any customer purchasing Ety product can register it at Etymotic.com. You'll then print a voucher from Etymotic's site and schedule an appointment with an audiologist in the network, located via the website by entering your postal code. Take the voucher to the appointment, the audiologist takes impressions of your ears and sends the impressions -- along with the voucher -- to Etymotic Labs. Customer pays nothing to the audiologist; Etymotic Labs will later contact you for direct credit card payment in the amount of $100, a quite reasonable expense for the procedure. The lab then produces the molds and ships them to you with the lab compensating the audiologist. It's a really easy way to get into master-level sound and supreme wearing comfort. Safe to say the original worldwide patent holders and audiology innovation leaders in the earphone world have raised the bar for performance while lowering the bar for cost with their new headphones. Yet another major step forward for the in-ear category and also for portable audio consumers guarding where they spend their hard-earned cash.
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