Etymotic ER3XR

Slightly Bass-Emphasised In-Ears with Quality Sound and Good External Noise Insulation

For audiophiles with a love of bass and more exacting demands come the ER3XR from US manufacturer Etymotic. These slim in-ears have a more enhanced presence in the bass range when compared to the ER3SE Studio Edition, with excellent ambient noise cancellation another standout signature of this headphone model.

The wearing position of these in-ears is a special feature, with the blade-like attachments designed so that they can be placed unusually deep in the auditory canal when compared to competitor models. Only then does the remarkable noise cancellation properties of these headphones take effect. According to the manufacturer, this is said to be in the measure of 35 decibels. Basses also benefit from this positioning, unfolding with enhanced detail. Otherwise, the sound is heavy in the highs. Those not particularly sensitive to pressure will still be able to adjust quickly to these in-ears, with good levels of wearing comfort and a design that ensures a stable fit that makes them ideal for sports, as well as everyday use.

The narrow, elongated metal housing of these in-ears boasts an anodized surface, while a gold-plated MMCX connector can also be found here. Workmanship is impressive, with a robust impression that gives a sense of durability and longevity. However, existing cable noises, often annoying when you’re listening on the go, can be detected when listening in quieter surroundings. That being said, a cable clip should be sufficient enough to keep cable noise disruption to a minimum.


This 1-way system is equipped with balanced armature drivers that have been neutrally tuned and boast analytical capabilities, despite the bass boost. Reproduction is, for the most part, largely unembellished and can highlight both production errors and overall weaknesses in audio material. Individual instruments have clear contours and can be precisely isolated thanks to a finely graduated panorama. Spatial imaging capabilities here are exceptionally good for in-ears and worthy of praise.

All in all, sound quality is convincing and doesn’t present any real problems with most material. There’s appealing levels of resolution and fine dynamics as standard. While lower frequency boost is moderate, contemporary genres like electro and hip-hop benefit from the dry, fuller bass with its impressive depth that instantly brings fun to the proceedings and delivers audio with a real assertiveness. Mids are skilfully neutral, while trebles provide a lot of clarity. In my opinion, they can also demonstrate a slight sharpness at higher levels, although this is a rare criticism.

Maike Paeßens
1 year ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 4
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

If you’re after contemporary in-ears with good sound capabilities, the ER3XR from Etymotic is the right choice for you. In spite of its amplified bass, the neutral and analytical alignment is not lost with these headphones. Existing cable noises can prove distracting, although the in-ears otherwise impress with their significant audio shielding capabilities.

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principleBalanced Armature
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 16.000 Hz
  • Impedance23,55 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)102 dB
  • Weight with cable18 g
  • Cable length120 cm

What's in the box

  • Exchangeable cable
  • 2 pairs of silicone ear tips
  • 1 pair of foam ear tips
  • Replacement filter incl. tools
  • Carrying bag
  • Cable clip
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