If you make your own music or edit audio tracks, do you ever get tired of those over-ear monitoring headphones? Especially if you do those things on a laptop rather than in a studio, over-ear headphones can be a hassle to transport.
That’s why we have In-Ear Monitors (IEM), which look like average earbuds. The main difference is the IEMs fit deeper in the ear canal than standard earbuds. This helps to substantially eliminate external noise and improve sound isolation.
There is a set of great wired in-ear monitors on the market that I will be looking at in this Etymotic ER2SE Review. The SE stands for “studio edition,” and these have been called the most accurate earphones in their class. So, let’s find out what these Etymotic in-ear monitors are all about.
What is in the Box?
Let’s start with a quick overview of what you get with the Etymotic ER2SE.
- Two earpieces.
- 4-foot detachable cable.
- Collar clip.
- Large and small size tri-flange eartips.
- A set of memory foam ear tips.
- Two spare filters and filter removal tool.
First of all, these are small and lightweight earbuds. Although the housing is metal, they weigh about six ounces or three ounces for each earpiece. The cylindrical design of the earbuds means they naturally fit deep into your ear canals. This helps to add more in the noise-isolation department. But, some may not like the feel of earbuds that sit so far in the canal.
One of the main features of these earbuds is the detachable cable. Additionally, the cable is four feet long, which is a big plus for any kind of wired earbuds. The earbuds attach to the cable via MMCX connectors that include a locking mechanism. Therefore, the cable doesn’t spin or turn.
The cable is pretty sturdy, thick, and flexible. It should be able to deal with heavy usage and handling. However, it is easy to get your hands on a replacement cable should you lose it or something happens to either of the connection points. The 3.5mm input jack is L-shaped and gold-plated.
Comfort and Fit
As mentioned, these go pretty far into your ear canals. For some, that will mean a very secure fit. While others may find this kind of design unpleasant. However, you should keep in mind that these will become irritating after long periods of use. These are not earphones which you can wear all day at work.
That said, wearing them does offer a secure fit, if not the most comfortable. Part of this has to do with the ear tips included. You only get small or large-sized tri-flange ear tips. So, there may be some issues with them fitting comfortably and securely. Luckily there is a set of memory foam tips included to help offset some of the fit problems of the silicone tri-flange tips.
Etymotic uses the tri-flange design because they go so far into the ear canal. Indeed, this design offers a secure fit if the ear tip size works for you. But, there is another reason for this design – noise isolation.
Block out all the noise
Since these are “studio edition” IEMs, they need to offer excellent noise isolation. And that is something these little earphones do very well. Partly because of the deep placement in the ear canals and partly because of the tri-flange ear tips, you get 38dB of noise reduction. In fact, these are some of the best noise-isolation earbuds you can buy.
In addition to the detachable cable, the other big selling point for these IEMs is the amount of noise that they can block out. You can expect near-zero leakage. With these in your ears, you will hear only the audio you are listening to. Awesome for mixing and mastering, but not so good for jogging or cycling.
There is one tiny thing to address as well – the filters. These work to protect the drivers from debris, earwax, and sweat. There are two extra filters included and a small tool for removing the filters. If there is a loss of sound clarity, it’s likely the filters are too dirty, and you should replace it with one of the spares.
Here we find the heart of the Etymotic ER2ES earphones. Each earpiece houses a single high-performance dynamic driver that delivers studio-grade accuracy and clarity. This is helped by the flat frequency response range of 20HZ – 16kHz.
Likewise, these drivers have a sensitivity level of 96dB. Therefore, you won’t get any distortion when the drivers are pushed. Along with an impedance of 15 ohms, you should have no problem using these on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
One area where these earphones succeed is in separation. Each instrument is distinct, and from the low to high frequencies, there is balance and clarity. After all, that’s kind of the point with monitoring headphones.
Etymotic ER2SE Review – Pros and Cons
- High-performance dynamic drivers.
- Accurate and clear soundstage.
- Flat frequency response of 20Hz – 16kHz
- 35dB of noise reduction.
- 96dB sensitivity level.
- Great for reference and monitoring.
- Long cable length.
- Easy to replace the detachable cable if necessary.
- Lightweight and durable casing.
- Good value for the money.
- The earpieces tend to protrude quite a bit.
- Not enough ear tip sizes included.
- Uncomfortable after long periods of use.
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We can help you find just what you need, so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Most Durable Earbuds, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 you can buy in 2023.
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Etymotic ER2SE Review – Final Thoughts
If you make music or edit audio in any way, then these are great for that purpose. However, they are not ideal for casual listening or for when you are traveling or commuting. But for audiophiles who love a natural, detailed, and accurate reproduction, they are a nice option. Especially if over-ear headphones tend to make your ears too hot.
The Etymotic ER2SE offers great value for the price point. For reference and monitoring, they are a great option thanks to the dynamic drivers, sensitivity, noise-isolation, and flat frequency response. The reality is that these are very affordable wired in-ear monitors that can compete with other products that cost twice as much.
The bottom line is that if you want inexpensive IEMs that are easy to transport, offer reliability, and accurate sound reproduction, the Etymotic ER2SE is worth a closer look.
Until next time, happy listening.