It's a Headphones Thing

A Headphones Reviews Blog

REVIEW: Etymotic ETY-Kids 5

Prior to the review, I’d like to thank Andrea for the review sample.

There’s no need to explain who Etymotic is; they’re a very well known IEM and hearing research and protection company, and in fact, they’re the pioneers of the universal IEMs (way back in 1984, they invented the IEMs, and in 1991, their most known model, the ER-4 was released and became an industry standard). At IFA 2011, one of the biggest consumer electronics showcases in the world, they had presented for the first time a very special IEM line, called “ETY-Kids”. This line, currently consisting of two models (one is an headset, called the “Kids 3”, while the other one is only an IEM, called “Kids 5”. Both of them are identical in the sound quality), is aimed to kids. Its specialty is that they offer a “Safe-Listening Experience” by causing the impedance of the IEMs to be of 300 Ohms, which causes a maximum volume output of around 89dB. It protects the kids’ ears, by limiting their listening volumes to acceptable levels, which won’t cause them hearing problems.

Here are the Etymotic Ety-Kids 5 specifications:

Frequency Response

20 Hz – 15 kHz

Transducers

6-mm neodymium moving coil drivers

Noise Isolation

35-42 dB

Impedance (@1 kHz)

300 Ohms

Cable

4 ft with 3.5 mm plug

Packaging: The Kids 3 comes packaged in a small cardboard box, designed in a way attractive to children with a cute writing font and with a very “childish” and nice design. In the front there’s a big picture of the product. In the rare side, some explanations that are intended to be read by the parents are written. At first, before opening the package to see it contents, I was a bit afraid that all of its contents were stolen, because the packaging is very light.

the cute fabric made case

Accessories: Packaged with the Ety Kids are the following accessories: A small “Ety-Kids” branded fabric made zippered carrying pouch, a shirt clip, a pair of small sized transparent triple-flanged tips, a pair of white big triple flanged tips and a pair of “glider” tips. For its retailing point, I was pretty impressed with the included assortment of accessories. The rating is 9/10.

Building Quality and Design: With housings built of sturdy and solid plastic, with good strain reliefs, with Kevlar reinforced cable and with an angled-gold-plated jack, the building quality is great. The quite small housings can take some abuse without sacrificing their inner parts. The strain reliefs are in the right size and they do their job quite good. The Kevlar reinforced cable is top-notch built; it’s very strong even though its thickness is only average and it isn’t very prone to tangling.The Y-split is a small plastic piece, with a strain relief in its bottom. It has a chin-slider integrated in its design when not in use. The 3.5mm gold-plated jack is 45 degrees angled, to protect it from being easily damaged. The building quality of these IEMs is great, and it is ideal to kids, which sometimes tend to abuse their IEMs. This IEM will be pretty hard to break by them; it’ll survive some abuse easily. The rating 9.5/10.

the angled jack feels very durable and can take some abuse

Comfort/Fit: Because the ETY-Kids are intended to be used by children, they were designed to fit small ears easily. Also, Etymotic states that the tips were designed especially for small ears. All of the company’s products offer extremely deep insertion to the ear canal with the supplied triple-flanged tips, which might be quite bothering in the first uses, but after a while, your ears will get used to it, and the comfort will be very good. Other than that, the small earpieces assure that the comfort provided by the ETY-kids will be great, and won’t be bothering the kids. The rating is 8.5/10, only because getting used to the deep insertion can be quite bothering.

the included tips provide supreme isolation

Isolation and Microphonics: Due to the very deep insertion, the isolation is supreme, though its big brother, the HF5 isolates a bit better, but the HF5 can be inserted a bit deeper too. Microphonics are present in an average amount. To reduce them to minor levels, over-the-ear wearing style is recommended. The rating is 9/10. (5/5 For the isolation and 4/5 for the microphonics).

Sound Quality: Before the auditioning period, the ETY-Kids were given at least 50 hours of burn-in. No noticeable changes were detected.

Like the other Etymotic IEMs, also the ETY-Kids produces analytical, cold and dry sound, which may not fir those that it was intended to: the kids. Most of the kids listen to mainstream music and like to get “knocking” and big bass response, which usually fits well the music they listen to. I’m not really sure if the ETY-Kids will really fit the kids’ sound requirements, and they may be disappointed with it at first, but later, when they’ll get used to it, I’m sure that they’ll be able to adore the great sound quality which is produced by the ETY-Kids.

The Bass: The bass is quite “shy” and light, and not too punchy either. The impact of it is a lot better than the one offered by the HF5, and it has better body (though the body still isn’t really good) and texture too. I believe that it was tuned a bit, to match the Kids’ bass requirements, without sacrificing the detailing and the analytical nature of Ety’s IEMs.

The Mids: The mids are not forward but not recessed either; they are in their natural form, not feeling forced or “in your face”. The mids are very detailed, clean and clear, in a quality which isn’t common in these price ranges.

The Treble: The treble is very detailed, clean and clear and has a great sparkle to it. It has a very good extension to it, and micro-details in the very high frequencies are revealed and stunningly reproduced by the ETY-Kids.

The Sound-Stage: The sound-stage is average. Not too big, but not too small either. The instrument placing is quite good.

For its price, the sound is great and is easily comparable to more expensive sets.

The rating for this category is 9.5/10. It’s rated in ratio to its price.

In Conclusion, The ETY-Kids 5 IEMs are a great attempt from Etymotic to enter the Kids’ IEM market. Though it is aimed at the kids, this IEM is recommended by me not just to children’s’ parents, but also to everyone which is looking at to buy IEMs in its price range. It isn’t common to find analytical IEMs in the less-than-50$ price range, but Etymotic had managed to bring a one, which isn’t just sounding good, but it is also well built, isolates very well and offers very good comfort. The value to the money in this case is huge! The final rating is 9.5/10.

Pros: Good Accessories, Great Building Quality, Durable, Etymotic Isolation, When getting used to the deep insertion the comfort is great, wonderful sound quality, hearing protection.

Cons: Volume limiting, the deep insertion may be quite bothering at first, microphonic cable, “shy” bass.

Where To Buy? The official pricing of the ETY-Kids 5 is 50$. It can be purchased from Etymotic Direct, where all of the company’s other products can be purchased too. It can also be purchased through Amazon and B&H. You can find more dealers by using the dealer locator in the company’s site.

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4 responses to “REVIEW: Etymotic ETY-Kids 5

  1. James 02/04/2013 at 21:40

    Thanks for the review.
    How do you compare Ety-Kids to HF5? Is there a difference big enough to upgrade to HF5 if I already have Ety-Kids?

    • Yuval 04/04/2013 at 19:12

      Hi James, my answer is yes. Even though the Ety-Kids is a quite good IEM for its price (moreover for its now $25 price), it cannot really compete with the HF5, which is superior by any means (except of the bass impact). It has a better clarity, cleaner sound, faster bass, better detailing and more, so instead of you, I would have considered upgrading to the HF5. I hope this answer helps you, and if you’ve got any other questions, please feel free to follow up in another comment.

      P.S.: If you like my reviews, could you please consider subscribing to my website (just put your e-mail address in the form which is on the right toolbar and click on the button)? Thanks a lot!

  2. thedanofsteel 02/05/2013 at 2:36

    Hi thanks in part to your review I purchased the etykids. for $25 I think it’s hard to beat. I absolutely love the sound. For a little extra oomph I sometimes use an amp. However I also recently purchased a warehouse deal HF3 thinking the step up would give me more of what I loved… but I don’t know. There’s an airiness and bass impact to the etykids thats not on the HF3. What do you think of filter rolling? Or maybe I have to step up even further to ER4?

    • Yuval 02/05/2013 at 20:23

      Hi Dan, Thanks for your comment!
      The Ety-Kids indeed has noticeably more bass than the HF3 (I’ve reviewed the HF5, their un-mic’d version).
      I have never tried to change the filters, so I can’t provide you an answer about it.
      I’ve also never heard the ER4, but as far as I’ve read, the HF series have a bit more bass than it, so I guess that you wouldn’t like it. You might want to check the ACS T15. They sound similar to the Etymotic HF-series, but they’ve got some additional bass.
      Here is the link to my T15 review: https://iahpt.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/review-acs-t15-the-analytic-dwarf/

      Yuval

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