Etymotic HF2 vs Ultimate Ears 5vi?

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by mdwsta4, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. mdwsta4 macrumors 65816

    Jul 23, 2007
    i've had a pair of shure e2c's for about 4 years now. they were great headphones but the left speaker finally crapped out. not to mention they don't seal as well in my ears as they used to.
    earlier this year i bought a pair of etymotic er6i and i much preferred the seal of the triple flange ear plugs, but the wires were a bit on the thin side. unfortunately, those headphones got stolen so i need a new pair.

    i figure i may as well pay $20 extra and get iphone versions of the headphones i was looking into. does anyone have any experience with Etymotic HF2 or Ultimate Ears 5vi?

    i've had a pair of etymotics in the past so i already know how they could potentially sound. i also really like the seal the triple flange ear buds give. the headphones can be found cheaper.

    i really like the 'look' of the UE, not to mention the over-the-ear wearing which i liked on shure headphones. the fact that L and R are also different colors is also a nice feature (shures were also like this, etymotic were not). lastly, the control/mic seems much smaller. however, they are more expensive.

    so who has what, which do you prefer, and why? and lastly, any cheaper places to buy them than directly from the companies?

  2. lenrodman macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    hated the hf2's

    I had a pair of HF2's that I sent back today because I was very unhappy with them; just ordered a pair of 5vi's coming in tomorrow.

    The HF2's have mediocre bass (accurate, but sound weak after using apple headphones). They have massive microphonics, but if you wrap them around your ears from above, the super-huge-and-heavy microphone weighs down your ear and becomes painful, putting stress on the back of your right ear.

    The flanged tips were good, but I got the best results with the foam earpieces. Looking forward to trying out the comply foam earpieces that come with the 5vi's

    The microphone is horrible (perhaps just mine) - I couldn't use it without holding the mic up to my mouth, which defeats the purpose (the stock mac mic was great, no complaints or people even knowing I was on a headset). As mentioned, the microphone assembly is super heavy.

    Finally, the button is very hard to double-click (and slightly hard to press) - easy to find but due to its small size, hard to press with the middle of your finger (the fleshy part) - you have to press it with the tip of your finger. This makes double-clicking (to skip songs) hard to do accurately, often resulting in restarting songs (some other double click functionality I was unaware of, and can't duplicate intentionally) or just pausing and resuming (too slow between presses).

    I'll post a comparison once I get my 5vi's tomorrow and try them out.
  3. lenrodman macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    the scoop

    So, quick review:

    5vi's have about 25% better bass, 5-10% worse highs (rough estimate)
    The mic is great, and works even when wrapped behind the ear.

    My set came with 4 silicone tips and no comply foam tips, so I can't talk about the foam on them. Sound isolation seems similar to the tri-flanged rubber tips with the hf2's but the silicone is much more comfortable. I'll review the comply foam once I get them.

    The button on these is fantastic, but the location (middle of the chest) below the split is a bit low - I pressed it once today when carrying something against my chest. Not sure why they separated it from the mic (advertised as a feature). I still like the stock apple button/mic the best (this mic may be a little better though).

    Weight of the button and mic is not noticable. Thumbs up :)

    Plug looks like a lower carat gold plating to me.

    Hard case is very small but protective - improvement over the hf2's. It does tend to pop open when you squeeze it, but still resists compression so it gets a 4/5.

    No filters like in the hf2's so a bit worried about gumming them up. They do come with a cleaning tool but I'd prefer removable filters.
  4. Stormbringer macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    I'm hesitating about those two earphones, so I thought I'd bump this thread.

    What I understand is that the HF2's are extremely accurate and therefore a bit "sterile", the UE's sound more what most of us are used to (but better). So that's why the bass of the HF2's can sound "weak". So the difference is about your preference: "very accurate" or "very pleasant".

    Did I say this correctly?

    EDIT: I couldn't wait, just ordered the Ruby HF2's. :)
  5. Stormbringer macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    I got them! Tremendous seal, comfortable in the ear and in use, great audio quality.

    Not extremely much better than my CX400 (in audio), but I guess because they are just out of the box...
  6. scott99 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2007
    I think a lot of people have complained about the HF2's, due to the fact that they never learned to get a proper fitting, with a good seal. Once you get a good fit, the bass is fine, and the sound is amazing, at least that's what I've found. They are my back up now, as I now have gone to the Stereo Bluetooth headset Motorola S9-HD, love them.
  7. Stormbringer macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    Very true I think!

    After a few hours listening I really can't go back to the CX400! The bass there really is TOO much, and it lack the clarity of the HF2 by miles.
  8. TapHappy macrumors regular

    May 21, 2009
  9. tallan macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2009
    I just got the UEs yesterday so I haven't had a chance to really wring them out but they sound very good on first blush: very comfortable, plenty of bass, and maybe lacking just that "taste of metal" shimmer on cymbals and other highs that the etymotics can give you.

    Here's the deal on the buds themselves. Most people will get the best fit and the best sound from the foamies; properly inserted once they re-expand they make the best and most comfortable seal. The soft plastic of the UE variety is good, comfortable, and very easy to insert but doesn't give the tightest seal. The triple ridged buds from Etymotic are by far the most difficult to insert properly: you really need to pull up fairly hard on your upper ear to open the ear canal enough for them to seat properly, and they need to be slightly moist. Proper insertion for best sound feels too deep to me for long-term comfort, but if you do it right the sound quality is unsurpassed, simply unsurpassed, for accuracy and "aliveness."

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