Etymotic Research hf2 iPhone Stereo Headset - Etymotic Research hf2

By Riyad Emeran



  • Recommended by TR
Etymotic Research hf2 iPhone Stereo Headset


Our Score:


Unsurprisingly, the hf2s sound very much like the ER.4 microPros, which is no bad thing, especially since they're considerably cheaper than the ER.4s too. If you're a fan of heavy, over emphasised bass response, then you're not going to like the hf2s. Like all Etymotic earphones I've listened to, the hf2s are all about clarity and accurate audio reproduction, but many will equate that to a lack of bass and dismiss them, and that would be a serious mistake.

If you want to hear the hf2s in their element, you need to throw some more acoustic material at them. Wild Wood by Paul Weller instantly showed just how good these earphones are. The acoustic guitar and background percussion are rendered beautifully, as is Weller's distinctive voice. Listening to a track like this makes it clear that a bias towards low frequency is nether necessary or desirable.

Changing tack completely I fired up Cochise by Audioslave, a track that recently got a lot of exposure due to the Iron Man movie. Again the hf2s did a great job, reproducing the heavy guitar riffs and Chris Cornell's vocals with an impressive amount of power, but not at the expense of the percussion, which is relatively far back in the mix. However, the slight lack of bass response is evident here, especially when I listened to the same track on my triple driver Shure E500s directly afterwards - but let's not forget that there is a major price differential between the E500s and hf2s.

Next I cued up Future Sex/Love Sounds by Justin Timberlake - when this guy went solo I really wanted to hate his material after he subjected us to ‘N Sync, but unfortunately he ended up producing some pretty damn good stuff. What Goes Around Comes Around is a fairly complex arrangement, but the Etymotics didn't miss a beat, despite the plethora of strings, heavy beats and strong vocals. Again, there's less bass than you'd get from a set of dual or triple driver earphones, but overall you're getting a well balanced sound.


August 2, 2008, 1:50 pm

I have the Shure MPA and a pair of Etymotic ER.4s and the resulting cable situation is a real pain. So I was wondering whether the sound quality of the hf2s was really the same as the ER.4s?

It would also be nice to have an image of what these earphones look like while being worn. Not really for vanity reasons as I get odd looks already wearing my ER.4s, but it would be useful to see where the microphone placement is and how the clip works that was mentioned in the review. I know I could probably check Etymotic's site but hey, I'm lazy.


August 3, 2008, 8:15 pm

I also own a pair of hf2's Andy and obviously the ER4s are more expensive but I do believe (especially if using the foam inserts)the sound is close enough when playing high bitrate encoded music to make the extra convenience worth it.

Put it this way, I have both and I use the ER4s with my Sansa Clip at the gym and the hf2s are my default earphones with my iPhone. (The hf2s don't stick out as much as the ER4s!)


August 5, 2008, 2:35 am

Having just lost my crap iPhone stock headset, where can I get my hands on a pair in the UK?!

I am loathed to pay another 㾿 for a replacement standard set!


August 5, 2008, 5:32 am

@Toberman - hf2 stock seems surprisingly limited at the moment but I did find a link here:

If cash is tight I'd hold on for a week or so, there are usually 100s of retailers stocking the full range of Etymotic earphones.


August 5, 2008, 1:56 pm

Thanks Gordon. Any suggestions as to which retailers to keep an eye on?

Looking at them on eBay to import from the US... tempted!

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