final A4000 / Etymotic ER2XR – Listening Session

Note: This is NOT a review.

Setup: DAP [Sony NW-A105] ➞ Music [Spotify (Downloaded at Very High Quality)] ➞ IEM [final A4000 / Etymotic ER2XR]

Track: Misty by Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio

  • Track: Misty
  • Album: Misty – Live At Jazz Is
  • Artist: Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio
  • Listening Volume:
    • A4000: 76
    • ER2XR: 80

What I hear on this track

  • On A4000, starting at around 0:01, I hear the drummer making what sounds like 2 circles on the snare with brushes which I hadn’t paid attention to on ER2XR. Once I knew it was there I could faintly hear it on ER2XR as well and by increasing volume I could hear it clearly but at the expense of making everything louder.
  • The piano sounds warmer, fuller and rounded/blunted on A4000 while on ER2XR the attack is more defined/sharper, has nice decay and sounding tonally richer and more “real” (actually sounds like piano keys being struck).
  • On A4000, cymbals and hi-hats sound more emphasized, splashy and have a lot of sizzle, drawing attention to them in the mix while on ER2XR they are just there, are more articulate and cymbal strikes actually sound like wood (drumsticks) hitting metal.
  • The upright bass is more emphasized and has more body and mid-bass on A4000. It stands out more in the mix than on ER2XR.
  • Imaging seems more precise on ER2XR, for example with the piano and especially on hi-hat, cymbal strikes and snare hits.
  • While the instruments seem to be panned to similar width on both IEMs, on A4000 the cymbal strikes sound closer and higher. I assume this is because of the boost in the highs. The A4000 also has a larger “sense of space” (wet/reverb).

Track Verdict

With ER2XR, the piano is the star of this track (which is how I think it’s mixed), while on A4000 the trio seem to be fighting for attention. The A4000 has what I call “emphasized detail” on this track where certain sounds/instruments are emphasized (which might make it interesting for some people) at the cost of tonal richness and sounding “natural”. This track is more engaging, immersive and richer on ER2XR for me.

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