Headphone Review: Etymotic EtyKids 3

Starting at birth, hearing is such a huge quality to have. A newborn baby can hear what seems to be the entire audio spectrum consisting of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Overtime, however, the hearing range shrinks; this occurs more in the higher frequencies than the lower ones. This is natural; even at the end of adolescence, some people may not be able to hear past 17 kHz.  Read on for more: 

However, with today’s style of listening, hearing is diminishing at a much higher rate as people tend to want to blast their headphones. Much damage cannot be reversed, so it’s important to protect this beautiful sense. It is never too late to begin protecting your hearing, and one step is to lower the volume on your headphones. If that isn’t an option, then there are some headphones specifically targeted for this.

Ultimate Ears have released a pair dubbed the Loud Enough Headphones. Etymotic, on the other hand, released their pair called the EtyKids. The idea is to keep the accuracy and quality of sound intact, but still limit the volume. Although they are aimed towards kids, these IEMs are still suitable for any adult who want to protect their hearing.

Specifications

  • Driver Type: 6mm Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 15 kHz
  • Impedance: 300 ohms

In the Box

  • Etymotic EtyKids Headset
  • Carrying Pouch
  • 3 Sets of Tips (tri-flanges: S/L; Mushroom-shaped tips)
  • Shirt Clip
The headphones come with an ample amount of accessories.

Design

Etymotic looks to recycle the MC-series style with their EtyKids, which really isn’t a problem. The Etymotic EtyKids are available in one color only: black. The design overall isn’t as flashy as the MCs, but still can hold their own with their gloss-finished plastic that is softer on the eyes. The remote and mic follows the same pattern, and the entire theme is on the basic side. The entire design is black and each part just flows into the others. The left and right indicators are marked with a single circled letter on the bottom of each IEM.

The design of the EtyKids are minimalistic and glossy, similar to some iDevices are known for their design.

Overall, the design is just simplistic. The shape of the headphones take a large L-shape like all the other Ety models. However, being that these have a slightly larger dynamic driver, the IEMs are slightly bigger, despite actually having a petite size. The design is pleasing and really nicely designed by Etymotic as always.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

OK, now, Etymotic has a huge mission to accomplish with audio quality, they have to prove to the public that louder isn’t always better. Scientifically, it is the opposite; louder music actually makes your music sound worse. So even at full volume, you never really get loud enough to fully hurt your ears. Etymotic limits the volume by using a high impedance rating.

Bass

Bass is definitely on the leaner side, but compared to many balanced armatures, it’s a pretty large step up. These IEMs have really great impact that allows you to feel the bass slapping you silly. This really fixes one of the main concerns I had with the HF2s; the impact has been substantially improved. The texture and imaging on the bass is pretty spectacular since it simply stunned me when the bass was more present, but the texture still isn’t at the level of the HF2. What does bring these down is going to be the body. Although the bass body is ample for most songs, it definitely will not do for all songs. At times, I felt that the bass could be felt and heard, but just wasn’t present enough. Etymotic can definitely use a slightly larger bass body to even things out. Even without it, the bass is still stellar. The impact and texture really break you a long way.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

The mids on the Etymotics are, well Etymotic mids, but with a slight twist. The most audible part of the spectrum is the small spike that Etymotic puts in the higher mids; Etymotic lowered this slightly which makes the mids not as forward. They may even seem slightly recessed at times. In essence, it balances them out a little better in my opinion. The mids still contain a large amount of details which is expected from Etymotic, but it can’t get all the smaller things the HF2s picked up. The clarity is simply put, incredible. The vocals are dynamic, but don’t have as much life in them that the HFs had. Timbre is another area where these mids really excel. Overall, the mids are really amazing and a huge step up from a number of headphones.

Mids: ★★★★½

Highs

Treble, if Etymotic isn’t renowned for their mids, it’s definitely the high end that really gets them their fame. The EtyKids high end is a little leaner than that of the HFs, but still ample enough. At times, they could seem to lack, but this is really rare. Details, clarity, even sparkle… It’s all there and simply stunning. They remind me of RE0s highs, but with slightly less details. The clarity is entirely there. They never smear and really don’t have that edge that the HF2s and B2s had. Overall, the highs may not be perfect, but they are the next closest thing to perfect.

Highs: ★★★★½

Isolation

These headphones look like ear plugs with a stem sticking out. Etymotic manufacturers ear plugs. Honestly, the Etymotic EtyKids may not isolate as much as the HF2s, but they definitely outdo most other IEMs I’ve heard. Isolation is top notch, ‘nuff said.

Microphonics

Microphonics can be quite harsh on these IEMs since they seal really well. However, I had no problems wearing these over the ear, and the included clip can also reduce much of it. If you don’t use either of these though, the microphonics will be there, but it’s entirely bearable. They won’t come in and get in the way of your songs.

These IEMs may not be as loud as other headphones, but they certainly are loud enough for people to enjoy their tunes. Essentially, these IEMs are an accurate, analytical IEM that is not only suitable for most people, but also will protect their hearing in the long run. Etymotic definitely shows that louder doesn’t always have to be better.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

Build quality looks and feels just like the HF2’s build quality. The main difference is that the EtyKids come with a difference carrying pouch. This carrying pouch is about the same size as the one included with the HF2s, but is composed of a thinner material. It’ll still protect your IEMs from damage though, which is really all that matters.

The EtyKids come with a lightweight carrying pouch for protecting your Etymotics on the go.

The housings on the EtyKids are made of a nice strong plastic. Although tiny, these housings will be able to take a beating and provide the utmost protection for the enclosed 6mm drivers. The IEMs in general have a really nice solid feel to them. The strain reliefs coming out of each monitor are large and strong, making them extremely durable.

The cable on these IEMs is the same exact one that is found on the HF2s as well. Etymotic really knows how to do a really good build when it comes to headphones. The Kevlar reinforced cables continue that solid feeling to them and won’t ever snap. These cables are just really strong.

As we move down, we meet the large headphone jack which is also the same one found on the HF2s. The headphone jack is pretty thick and has good flexibility to it. The 45 degree angle also helps protect the cable from tension which is always a huge plus.  The headphone jack is, like the HF2′s headphone jack, built to perfection.

The headphone jack is really strong like the HF2s headphone jack, but the slight curve in the actual metal jack was worry-some for me.

Overall, these IEMs have the same exact build quality as the HF2s, which isn’t a terrible thing at all. The HF2s, as I have stated in the past are built like a tank. The slight hitch I had with the actual metal part of the jack will lower scores a bit.

Build: ★★★★★

Comfort

Now, unlike the HF2s, the EtyKids cannot be inserted as deeply in the ear, but do still require a pretty deep insertion. You don’t need to dig them into your ear drum, but the tips still reach pretty far. Being used to the HF2’s tips already, I couldn’t feel any discomfort at all, your ears will adjust to them over the course of a week. However, your ears still do need to adjust to them, which may be a turn off to many users.

The Etymotics come with a small variety of tips, but there is always the option of using custom tips if these don’t suite you.

If you’re a user that doesn’t like deep insertion, you can always use Etymotic’s mushroom-shaped, foam tips as well which are just comfortable. If none of these sound comfortable enough, for 100 dollars, Etymotic can get ACS to make a tip for you that is custom-fit to your ears. Besides the added comfort, custom tips will also allow the IEMs to sound like they should since the seal with your ear will be perfect.

Comfort: ★★★★½

Value

Pricing these up, the EtyKids come in on a huge field of IEMs in the sub-100 dollar market. The EtyKids 5 will run you around 50 dollars while the microphone-equipped EtyKids 3 will go for 80 dollars. I do understand that a microphone may be hard to put on an IEM, but the 30 dollar increase may be iffy. However, with the delivered audio quality, build, design, and even comfort, I can definitely see these being on par with some IEMs twice the price. Therefore, 80 dollars really isn’t asking much since these monitors are well worth their price tag, regardless of how much the remote costs. At 50 dollars, the EtyKids 5 is just an absolute steal being able to run with the big dogs worth 3 times as much.

The remote and mic is a 30 dollar addon, if you don’t need it, I wouldn’t push for it. Still, it’s a nice addon for all smartphone users.

Value: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

Etymotic comes in and shows the world two things, you don’t have to be loud to sound good and affordable headphones can have amazing sound quality. I honestly don’t know why Etymotic is selling these IEMs at this price point, they can easily get away with pricing the EtyKids at 100-150 dollars. So, these are really just a huge steal. If you are a growing audio enthusiast, or want to try out the analytical sound, these EtyKids will not only protect your hearing, give you the sound quality you need, but they also won’t burn a hole in your wallet either.

I’d like to thank Etymotic Research for the product sample.

Overall Score

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Etymotic for the product sample.
Post a response / What do you think?