January 22, 2021

Gadget Generations

Tech Review of your favorite gadgets

Etymotic ER2XR IEM Review: A Definition Of Natural Sound

Etymotic ER2XR-9

People in my country are familiar with the name Etymotic, myself included. But it isn’t known as widely as I have seen the Moondrop Kanas Pro or the BGVP DM6, maybe because of its long nozzle that gives deep penetration for the ears. A few of my friends have praised the Etymotic ER2XR and ER4 like anything but I was always worried to pull the trigger on them as I was doubting their fit(never tried deep insertion design before). So last month Jitesh Jumani, a very good friend of mine from Chennai told me he is getting a unit of ER2XR for himself. He is a very generous soul, I simply asked him whether I can audition his unit and he sent it right away for me.

I have now spent a few days with the pair and now it’s time that I publish my review/impressions for the single driver monster, ER2XR. People who are a fan of Etymotic earphones call themselves Etyheads, will I become the next Etyhead?? Let’s find out.

Etymotic ER2XR:-

Etymotic ER2XR-1

Etymotic is a revered brand among audiophiles and sound engineers especially for their deep insertion design on IEMs like the ER2 and ER4 series. The ER2 has two products in its series, ER2SE, and ER2XR. XR here stands for Xtended Response(for bass it seems from the packaging). It is their single DD offering with their usual bullet-style deep insertion design. The pair has a price tag of 15,000INR(about 200$) in my country while it is priced at about 99.95$ at Ety’s website.

Disclaimer:-

I have got the unit for auditioning from my friend, All thoughts in this blog are my personal impressions of the pair. I am not affiliated or paid by anyone to write positive or negative about the pair.

Packaging & Accessories:-

Etymotic ER2XR-2

The Etymotic ER2XR has got a rectangular white packaging, the front is full of ER2XR branding and picture. Inside is the beloved ER2XR sitting firmly in its foam cut out attached to the cable that is again in the foam layer. There is a zipper earphone carry case that has different pairs of ear tips. A pair of triple flange silicone ear tips are already applied on the pair and another one is in the carry case. There are four pairs of double flange tips and one pair of foam ear tips. The foam ear tips here look quite different from usual Foam tips(Comply and others).

The overall packaging looks quite normal nothing fancy other than an unusual-looking pair LOL.

Etymotic ER2XR-3

Package Contents:-

>One Pair Etymotic ER2XR IEMs.

>One Detachable MMCX cable (3.5mm Termination).

>Two pairs of Triple Flange silicone ear tips.

>Four pairs of Double Flange ear tips.

>One pair of Foam ear tips.

>One zipper carry case.

Build Quality:-

The Etymotic ER2XR earpieces are very small and have an unusual bullet-style design with a long nozzle. Even though they have a metallic build, they are quite lightweight. Usually, the MMCX or two-pin cable connectors are at the bottom of an IEM, but here the MMCX connectors are actually at the back of the earpieces. They have ER2XR branding and earpiece serial no. printed on both of them. The cable fits securely with the earpieces, the build quality is top-notch there are no complaints here.

Etymotic ER2XR-4

Fit:-

Usually, I write about the fit with Build quality but here the case is different. As I told you earlier, I was doubtful about the fit with the Ety’s. To my surprise, they fit like a charm, believe me, these are actually one of the best fitting pair of IEMs for me. They provide perfect noise isolation from the ambient environmental noises, feels like I am using ANC-enabled earphones.

Etymotic ER2XR-5

They penetrate deep into the ears but the fit is very secure and the seal is simply perfect. I am using the stock triple flange tips. The stock foam tips are of average quality though.

Driving the Etymotic ER2XR:-

The Etymotic ER2XR is very easy to power. They have a low sensitivity of 96dB which might sound a bit difficult to drive but it has an impedance of just 15 Ohms, so no issues there. I used the pair with three different sources here are my findings.

Etymotic ER2XR-7

>With Honor View 10 Smartphone:-

The pair is driven easily out of the low power smartphone. Though the pair showed good energy and dynamics at around 75-80% volume levels.

>With iBasso DX120:-

Since the pair was driven well using a smartphone how can a hi-res player struggle haha. Here don’t have to push the volume more than 50% for my adequate volume levels. The pairing is cleaner than with View 10(better DAC so cleaner background).

>With Topping E30+L30 Desktop Stack:-

The Etymotic ER2XR is a very easy to drive pair, you don’t need such power for it. Here the L30 features a low gain mode(-9dB) at it and about 30% volume knob, the pair comes to life and sounds brilliant. Not to mention this combo is the cleanest among the three combo’s I tried.

Sound Quality:-

The ER2XR is famous for its natural sound response. The first song I listened to on this pair was “In The End” by Linkin Park and my next response was a message to my friend to gift me this pair haha. Honestly speaking the ER2XR feels damn neutral and smooth. No particular frequency feels emphasized, the overall signature feels just neutralish. You like bass, it will deliver precise deep thumps; you like vocals, you will get smooth detailed vocals; worried about sibilant or harsh treble?, well you don’t have to worry about with the ER2XR as the entire frequency response is super smooth.

Etymotic ER2XR-7

Pairing it with my Topping Stack, the background is so clean that the minutest of the details from music come to life. I love how beautiful this pair sound, I guess I am becoming an Etyhead myself haha. let’s dive into separate frequency response.

Lower End:-

The pair is named ER2XR where XR stands for Xtended Bass Response. Honestly, I was hoping to get a super heavy bass here but to my surprise, the bass is just perfect. I mean it is controlled, it is precise, drum thumps leave their impact yet don’t sound overpowering at all. The mid-bass slams are presented amazingly well. Bass-heavy tracks like “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish sound very clean, no signs of muddiness. The controlled, well-presented lower end complements the other frequency regions well and provides a clean audio experience.

Mids:-

The mid frequencies here show very good detailing and texture. Natural vocal tonality, airy acoustic instruments make the sound fuller and present you with a lovely musical experience. I enjoyed listening to Rock tracks like “Hey, Oh” by RHCP, Numb by Linkin Park, the speed and dynamics are just great.

High-Frequencies:-

As before, the pair maintains a natural tonality and presents the music in a smooth manner. There is no sharpness, no unnatural color to any of the instruments. Listen to Tina Guo play Violin, I am pretty sure you will fall in love with the pair. The sound output is so smooth that there is no fatiguing even at louder volumes.

Soundstage:-

The soundstage is adequate. I mean it just doesn’t feel too wide or too deep, It presents more of an intimate response. Don’t take me wrong, the headroom is not narrow by any means, it just feels adequate and not huge. I have tested Rock, Acoustic, Vocals, POP, Regional Indian Bollywood music and the pair provides ample headroom for them.

Etymotic ER2XR-8

Final verdict:-

Well to finish my review, I just have a few words to say, “I AM AN ETYHEAD”. Yeah honestly, the first pair from them, and I just simply loved it. I just connect with the pair, I mean there definitely be the pairs that might sound more fun, more analytical but nothing in its price point sounds as natural as the ER2XR. Definitely gonna buy a pair for me when I arrange funds, oh god this hobby is making me go bankrupt, but it is worth it isn’t it??

Final Scores
  • 9/10
    Build Quality - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Fit - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Lower End - 8.5/10
  • 9/10
    Mids - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Highs - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Soundstage - 8/10
8.8/10