So, there’s no denying that the sound quality from these headphones is first rate, but is it better than the Ultimate Ears super-fi Pros? To be honest it’s a very close fought contest, but I think that the Ultimate Ears just take the win. The Ultimate Ears provide a more powerful sound than the Etymotics, meaning that you don’t need to crank the volume quite so high. Also, the silicone tips on the super-fi Pros just fit my ears like a glove, in a kind of reverse simile way, thus cancelling even more ambient noise than the Etymotics. That said, the Ultimate Ears headphones are quite bulky, which could put some users off, while these Etymotics weigh practically nothing, so much so that you barely notice that they’re there.
Of course there’s also the issue of price to consider, and while many would balk at the thought of paying £140 for the Ultimate Ears headphones, at £190, the cost of the ER.4 microPros will seem downright scary to many potential buyers. To be fair though, the ER.4 microPros are far from the most expensive in-ear headphones available – I’m in the middle of testing the Shure E500PTH headphones and these carry a heart attack inducing £420 RRP!
The Etymotic Research ER.4 microPro headphones are very good, there is absolutely no denying that. The sound quality is excellent, the bundle is extensive and the build quality is solid. £190 is definitely a lot of money to spend, especially if you’re plugging them into an MP3 player that cost you a fraction of that price, but as with most audio devices, you get what you pay for.
The ER.4 microPros definitely produce a more balanced and pleasing sound than the Shure e4c set, but given the choice I would still opt for the Ultimate Ears super-fi Pros. It’s a close call, but the fuller, more powerful sound and lower price point of the Ultimate Ears, mean that the ER.4 microPros just miss out on a Recommended award.