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-   -   Quick Look: Etymotic MC5 (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59743)

dfkt 12-10-2010 06:17 PM

Quick Look: Etymotic MC5
 
http://img.elektrokrishna.com/images...8855371808.jpg

http://img.elektrokrishna.com/images...0900870843.jpg

The MC5 are the cheapest Etymotic phones available, and they use dynamic drivers, contrary to the often mentioned (and overly hyped) balanced armature ones, such as the ER-4 and ER-6.

It's somewhat amusing that Etymotic claims "best in class under $100" on their website for the MC5. True to the standard Etymotic house sound, the MC5 suck every last bit of excitement, emotion, and musicality out of the sound. They make everything sound dull, lifeless, and boring, no matter how good the recording quality of the source material. Off the top of my head, I can think of about a dozen other IEMs that sound better than the MC5 in the sub-$100 class.

Everything about the MC5 is mediocre. Nothing is really overly bad with their sound, but everything is far from being good. The bass doesn't extend deep, it has little texture, sounds muddled, lacks dynamics, attack speed and punch. It has more bass quantity than other Etys, but less quality. Midrange is anemic, instrument separation isn't anything special. It lacks all the precision one is accustomed to from Etymotic's armature IEMs, it's less detailed sounding than even some $30 Hippo IEMs. Treble is so-so, it neither sparkles, nor is it recessed or rolled off. It's just frequencies, not music.

To add insult to injury, the MC5 are some of the absolutely quietest IEMs I ever heard. Even the Phonak PFE are quite a bit louder than them. This means, they're absolutely unusable with players like the Sansa Clip+ and similar. Of course amping them would be futile, since they're just no good phones - money would be better spent on another pair of IEMs. Personally, I usually listen at quieter volume levels, but the MC5 are too quiet to be useful.

Build quality is good - better than ER6 - strain reliefs and cable seem to be sturdy. Isolation is very good, up there with the SE530 and such. Two extremely stupid design decisions however make them worse than they have to be: the strain reliefs at the earbuds are 45° angled, so it's hard wearing them with the cables over the ears. Wearing them with the cables hanging down results in terrible noise, there's no reason why they didn't make them have a proper over-the-ear fit. The 3.5mm plug is 45° angled as well, which is the worst plug one could come up with. It's neither low profile 90° nor is it a straight plug. A 45° plug acts like a catch-all, hooking on everything, always being in the way. Extremely annoying. So much for Etymotic's "best-in-class fit and style" claim.

Verdict: Absolutely not recommended. Decent build quality (despite the stupid 45° angled earphone strain reliefs and 3.5mm plug), good isolation, but disappointingly anemic and boring sound, and incredibly inefficient. No clarity (for Etymotic standards), no precision, no punch, no dynamics. No music.

JxK 12-11-2010 12:21 AM

On the bright side, they do manage to beat the dealextreme orange IEMs. ;)

james444 12-11-2010 02:18 AM

Once again I entrusted you with one of my beloved IEMs, only to find them shot down in flames shortly afterwards. Why am I doing this?
I really need to see a shrink. ;)

lestatar 12-11-2010 04:17 AM

ouch... :D but dfkt loves the Panas ;)

dfkt 12-11-2010 04:28 AM

If you'd have added the word "beloved" when you gave them to me, I would have reconsidered my wording, for sure. ;) Seriously, I'm allergic to all that "best in class" and "85% accuracy (on some made-up fantasy scale)" nonsense Etymotic's marketing department came up with. It's ok to make a mediocre phone, such things happen to the best of them - but advertising them like they're god's gift to the audio aficionado on a budget needs to be counteracted with some stronger wording...

On the other hand, the Heaven-S are really lovely sounding phones. Now that the MC5 are out of the way, I can concentrate on listening to some fine tunes with them. :)

WalkGood 12-11-2010 05:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by james444 (Post 520977)
Once again I entrusted you with one of my beloved IEMs, only to find them shot down in flames shortly afterwards. Why am I doing this?
I really need to see a shrink.

The truth may hurt for a little while but a lie hurts your wallet forever, don’t tell me you’d rather hear lies ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfkt (Post 520986)
… but advertising them like they're god's gift to the audio aficionado on a budget needs to be counteracted with some stronger wording ...

This brings thoughts of many companies’ products, even forums that pose as being helpful recommending/hyping products and snake oil just to line their own pockets, you’ll soon need an army and your work will never be over :rolleyes:

BTW nice product outing.

lestatar 12-12-2010 01:48 AM

The 2 posts above from dfkt and walkgood are at the core of why I love ABi so much. Honest, no marketing-BS appraisals of gear, regardless of price.

Don't ever change guys.... :)

nodirectionhome 12-12-2010 06:06 AM

it's good that you put up reviews of the mediocre as well as the good stuff.

Carson Dyle 12-12-2010 08:59 AM

This reads to me more like a drunken rant than an actual review. But I suppose it may have some value to someone.

Marvin the Martian 12-12-2010 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carson Dyle (Post 521207)
This reads to me more like a drunken rant than an actual review. But I suppose it may have some value to someone.

You mean like post #9 in this thread?

Lawk 04-02-2011 09:56 AM

Are you selling these? Looking for a local dealer in Vienna to pick up a pair....

dfkt 04-02-2011 10:32 AM

They aren't mine, they were loaned.


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