Build quality & Comfort
I didn’t know EartechMusic (ETM) and there isn’t a whole lot to find about their monitors online, so I really had no idea what to expect. They have low prices but would my monitors fit? How would they be built? And most of all, how would they sound?
I booked an appointment with my favorite audiologist for my impressions (€20 for one set) and I sent them off to Drew, my EartechMusic contact. I also mailed him the Headfonia logo and that was about it. Three to four weeks later my monitors arrived back in Europe. I popped open the box, undid the knot in the cable and put them in my ears… a perfect fit!
ETM’s monitors in my case have fairly short canals and they compare to the ones from Rhines and Vision Ears where the canal is hollow. The only difference here is that one sound tube actually goes to the tip of the canal, so it basically is a mix of both styles used by CIEM companies. A short canal usually means the monitors are easier to insert into your ears but it doesn’t always guarantee a good fit. In this case the fit is superb and very comfortable. The Quad is also pretty small in size for a four driver. I have a lot of monitors that feel a lot tighter/bigger in my ears but the Quad is just right: impossible to break the seal even with me putting on all my weird faces and perfect comfort. I’ve used the Quad for hours without a single break and I never felt uncomfortable or got painful ears from doing so.
George will also be glad to learn that the ETM monitor is perfectly symmetric on the inside. The shells are 100% bubble free, there are no glue leftovers or scratches on the inside, the faceplate was closed perfectly and the flush sockets are beautifully finished on both sides of the shell. There isn’t a single thing I can complain about comfort and build quality wise. These are superb and ETM clearly has a lot more experience as I figured they had.
While I never ask for anything specific when getting review samples, a lot of companies like putting their (and our) logo on the monitors. As I also sent our logo to ETM and the Quad came back to me with our logo on the faceplate and the ETM logo on the inside. There are no other markings on the monitor like my initials or a left right marking..
Drew told me a few days after he got the impressions that my shells had been poured already. He chose cobalt blue. Good choice, as grey and blue are my favorite colors and I didn’t have a blue pair of customs yet. The Cobalt with the white HFN logo looks very good. The only minor thing is that the left and right logos aren’t the same in size but you can only tell when you put them side to side.
Next to all the different colors for the shells and faceplates (21!), EartechMusic recently also started offering wooden faceplates and glitter. For $75USD extra you can choose between 8 different types of wooden plates. ETM also offers one-color and multi-color artwork for on the face plates. The examples on Facebook look pretty good but at the same time you’ll notice that the designs aren’t as spectacular as those from Noble, Vision Ears, etc. It’s basically a simple kind of customization but don’t forget these are budget monitors either. There is nothing wrong with that and most stage artists usually go for something simple anyway. Simple also is beautiful.
On EartechMusic’s website you’ll find a simple monitor designer tool where you can check all the colors of the shells and faceplates, the wooden faceplates included. It’s not like the JH designer where you can upload your own creativity but it’s good enough to get an idea of how they will look.
Price & Accessories
This is where it gets really interesting: the Quad model starts at only $499 USD. That’s the same price the European Cosmic Ears CE4P is going for and that’s pretty impressive! While universal monitors seem to be getting more expensive, multiple driver customs it seems are actually getting cheaper. Personally I’ll take a custom over a universal any day, and with prices getting closer to each other, why not go for the custom experience?
Each set of monitors comes packaged in a Pelican 1010 case with a cable, DryCaddy Disc™ desiccant, a shirt clip, a cable organizer, a 1/4” adaptor and ear wax removal tool. On top of that I also received the Zephyr cleaning solution from their parent company. The Zephyr operates on an 8-hour cycle and it utilizes warm, moving air and a desiccant which is a proven technology for maximum drying effectiveness. The biggest difference with other more upmarket cleaning units is that the Zephyr does not include the germicidal UV lamp. The Zephyr costs about $74 USD and you can fit four sets of monitors in it. The price for the Quad bundle (which includes Ears & Zephyr) is $579. I would for sure recommend getting the cleaning device, especially when you live in a high humidity climate.
I haven’t really exchanged emails with their after sales department as my monitors were perfect from the first time. Seeing on how nice they have been ever since we got connected on Instagram, I am convinced they have a great customer service. They give everyone a 30 day fit guarantee and fit service which is more than what several big players on the market give. You also get a 1 year limited warranty from ETM
The turnaround time for my monitors was about 4 weeks but that was with shipping to the US and back to the EU included. Normally ETM will make you your monitors in two to three weeks which is pretty impressive nowadays. With a lot of other companies you would have to pay extra for a so called rush order.
Sound continues on Page 3