Etymotic Fires A Broadside Of New Gadgets And Custom Eartips At The iPhone


Etymotic's etyBLU2 fitted with custom eartip.
Etymotic's etyBLU2 fitted with custom eartip.

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.