Etymotic vs. Bose QC20i earphones (Negative long term side effect to ears?)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. hajime, Dec 9, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013

    hajime macrumors 603

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hello, I have been using the Shure 115 for a few years. I am not an audiophile but I need one that has good sound isolation capability to block out noise from noisy people talking in cafe, keyboard hammering, traffic, bird singing, etc. Which product do you recommend? Thanks.
  2. ChangshaNotes macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2013
    I can't speak to the Bose but the Etymotics are great at passively blocking out sound. However, the triple flange ear pieces that they use are really uncomfortable for many people and their sound is painfully accurate which is not always a good thing.
  3. hajime thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thanks for the info. Do those ear pieces have negative long term side effect to the ears? For example, do they push the earwax further to the canals, etc.?
  4. Dulcimer macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    I have the Etymotic hf5. Noise isolation is very good. That doesn't mean you won't be able to hear anything since these are not actively cancelling out noise.

    As for the triple flange ear tips: I find them both comfortable and at times uncomfortable. They fit nicely and go deep in the ear canal; a tight seal is necessary for proper noise isolation and bass response (as the person above said, the sound is very "accurate," which is to say that you won't get loud, dance club–like bass).

    Recently I've experienced ear wax impaction. I couldn't use my earphones because it was painful when something touched the ear canal. Was it a result of the ear tips? That, I cannot say. It was the first time that it happened, though.
  5. ChangshaNotes macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2013
    Like the last poster, I can't say that it does but it always felt like it could. I wasn't really uncomfortable with them but I always felt them in my ears they felt totally different than any other earbuds I have ever used. I also found the cord to be very noisy and a little flimsy so it wasn't good for walking around for me.
  6. ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    I loved the etymotics when I had them (broke quite a few pairs). However, I fly a lot, and after about 3 hours, my ears get pretty tender. On top of that, it is extremely painful when a properly sealed earbud gets ripped out because the cord catches something.

    Again, they are pretty darn good headphones, but anyone I recommend etys to, I warn them not to use them for outdoor exercise. You won't hear cars coming.
  7. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    I used to fly with the Etymotics and they get VERY uncomfortable for me after more than a couple of hours to the point I finally quite using them.

    Went to Bose QC15 (big over the ear units) whcih are pretty nice but a pain to carry (the case is BIG)

    This last weekend I was at the airport and tried/bought the QC20i. WOW! Just WOW!

    Even with no music they make the drone of the 737-800 sound like my living room and make even a lot of voice chatter go away AND they are super comfortable and sound pretty good.

    I really like/recommend the QC20i if $300 is within your budget!
  8. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Note that you can have custom molds made for the ety's like many other in-ear monitors and that should improve comfort greatly.

    I've been using them with the triple-flanges for nearly a decade with no ill effects, but they can get uncomfortable after extended use.
  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 23, 2007
    If I sometimes feel pain wearing the Shure 115, how likely will I have the same issue with the Etymotic's triple-flanges?

    Besides the cost, I am not aware of local store in my city that does custom mold. Getting a refund is also difficult.

    It seems to me that only audiophile can tell the sound difference between the ER4-PT and HF-5. Am I right?

    Personally, I am quiet satisfied with the sound from the Shure 115. So, my standard for sound may be low. My standard for sound isolation/cancellation is high.
  10. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    You should be able to get custom molds at any audiologist's office. They will likely have agreements to sell both custom IEM's and high quality ear plugs for protection.

    I recently had a set of plugs made and the fit/comfort is excellent. Off topic, but they have interchangeable filters so that I can choose the level of attenuation that I need for increased flexibility.

Share This Page