These guys were all unveiled at this year’s CES, but earphone-maker Etymotic doesn’t pop out products very often — their still-popular er6i earbuds have been around since 2004 — so when no less than four Etymotic goodies are hitting stores within the space of a month, we sit up and take notice.
First is the hf3, which adds volume-control buttons to the award-plastered hf2. Pricing is the same ($179) — why? Because the volume controls will only work with later-gen iPhones and iPts, which means the hf2 will stick around for the less-fortunate, like say, Droid owners. Wait, did I write that out loud?
Next up is etyBLU2, a second-gen $129 monaural Bluetooth phone headset that combines active noise-reduction at the mic with Etymotic’s noise-isolating earpieces. Both the etBLU2 and the hf3 should have arrived at stores in the last week or so.
The last two are the mc3 ($99) and mc5 ($79), brothers in a new line of earbuds that Etymotic’s consumer products division chief, Mark Karnes, is calling “the world’s most accurate earphones under $100,” and told us they sound almost as good as Etymotic’s vaunted $180 hf series, but at about half the price; that’s quite a claim, because — as we’ll reveal in an upcoming review — the hf-series buds sound very good. The two are identical, save for the addition of a microphone and control button on the mc3, and will hit stores mid July.
Finally, Etymotic has seen fit (pun intended) to include the option of popping for $100 custom-molded eartips with the purchase of any of their products; that gets you a pair of tips and the fitting appointment to make the molds, and Etymotic says the fitting is good for four years, should you need extra tips.