Etymotic Earplugs: Etymotic ER2SE Review in Detail

Etymotic ER2SE

Etymotic Research ER2SE High-Fidelity Earplugs: Musician Earplugs?

The Etymotic ER2SE is one of the most evergreen Etymotic earplugs and also a highly regarded in-ear monitor (IEM) known for its commitment to sonic accuracy and precision. Etymotic ER2SE has a strong reputation for creating audio products that prioritize flat, neutral sound signatures, and the ER2SE is no exception. With its clean and uncolored sound, it’s a favorite among musicians, audio professionals, and audiophiles who demand accuracy in their audio reproduction.¬†

These Etymotic earplugs offers a true-to-source listening experience, making it an ideal choice for critical listening, audio monitoring, and enthusiasts who prioritize faithful audio representation. Coming at only ~$99, let’s explore the key features and characteristics that define the Etymotic Research ER2SE and made it an evergreen audiophile commodity.

Etymotic Earplugs

Build Quality of Etymotic Earplugs ER2SE

Just like any other Etymotic earplugs, the Etymotic ER2SE features housings made of high-quality materials, designed to withstand regular use and provide durability. The dark blue color of the housings not only looks elegant but also reflects a degree of craftsmanship. The anodized coating adds to the aesthetic appeal, and while there are serial numbers on the bottom of the housings, they do not detract significantly from the overall aesthetics.

The¬†detachable cables with MMCX connectors are of good thickness and feel solid, avoiding the flimsiness found in some other cables. Notably, the MMCX connectors have a notch designed to align with a tab in the housing, similar to the ER4XR, ensuring that the wires stay securely in place. The Y-splitter matches the housing’s color and is of appropriate length, featuring “ETYMŇĆTIC” branding. Strain reliefs are thoughtfully placed throughout the design, and a neck cinch is included to help keep the wires tidy. The L-shaped jack is robust and sturdy.

Is Etymotic ER2SE Comfortable?

Etymotic earplugs such as the Etymotic ER2SE is designed with user comfort in mind. The earphones offer a secure and comfortable fit when properly inserted into the ears. They are provided with various ear tip options, including large silicon tri-flange tips and foam tips, catering to different preferences. While deep insertion is an option, many users find a regular insertion comfortable and suitable, however, with regular insertion, the IEM changes its sound signature and the bass becomes even less. 

The secure fit ensures that the Etymotic earplugs stay in place during extended listening sessions, contributing to a fatigue-free experience. Additionally, the earphones provide excellent noise canceling and isolation, blocking out external noise effectively. This isolation enhances the listening experience by allowing the user to focus solely on the music. Furthermore, the inclusion of a shirt clip helps in managing cable microphonics, which can be minimized by wearing the earphones over the ear.

DISCLAIMER: These Etymotic earplugs require deep insertion, which could be a factor to consider before making a purchase decision.

However according to our experience, one can easily get used to the insertion with time, for instance, it took me a week or so to get accustomed.

Etymotic Earplugs

How To Insert Etymotic Earplugs? Official Video by Etymotic

Explore Etymotic Earplugs Reddit Opinions

Sound Quality of the Etymotic ER2SE Earplugs

Lows (Bass): The bass response in the ER2SE is tight and precise. It delivers a sub-bass that is more on the subtle side, characterized by a gentle touch rather than a powerful punch or impact. While the sub-bass reaches deep, it maintains a controlled and restrained quality, making it suitable for listeners who prefer accuracy over exaggerated bass. 

The bass notes are well-articulated and carry warmth, contributing to a natural and balanced presentation. The sub-bass adds depth and texture to the music without overshadowing other frequencies. It’s worth noting that the ER2SE’s bass performance may not satisfy those seeking pronounced, booming bass, but it aligns perfectly with the IEM’s commitment to accuracy. Overall bass quantity is a tad bit less than my liking, but tips and insertion depth matter a lot as well and the IEMs go well with warm sources such as RS2.

Mids (Vocal): The midrange of the ER2SE is characterised by its neutrality and exceptional detail. Vocals, in particular, shine with clarity and accuracy. They carry a subtle warmth that adds a touch of naturalness to voices. The midrange notes have a sufficient body, ensuring that they don’t sound thin or recessed.¬†

Instruments, such as guitars and violins, are rendered cleanly with the right amount of brightness and bite. The dynamic drivers in the Etymotic ER2SE contribute to an organic and lifelike quality in the midrange, making it well-suited for critical listening and audio monitoring applications. The midrange is both cohesive and fluid, favoring a musical presentation over a purely analytical one.

Highs (Treble): The highs in the ER2SE are a highlight, offering a pleasant and clear presentation. They are smooth and detailed, avoiding harshness or sibilance even at higher volumes. The treble notes maintain their composure and don’t become piercing. Detail retrieval in the treble range is impressive, although it may not reach the level of some balanced armature (BA) drivers.¬†

Cymbal hits, for example, exhibit weight and rounded tones. The treble region contributes to the overall clarity and transparency of the Etymotic ER2SE’s sound, ensuring that even complex musical passages are rendered with finesse. The dynamic drivers provide a natural and organic timbre to percussion instruments and add to the overall musicality of the IEM.


In summary, the Etymotic ER2SE earplugs showcase a sound signature characterized by tight and controlled bass, a neutral and detailed midrange, and smooth, clear highs. Its commitment to accuracy and precision makes it an excellent choice for musicians, audiophiles, audio professionals, and anyone who values faithful audio reproduction and an engaging listening experience.

Comparison of Etymotic ER2SE With Other In Ear Monitors

Etymotic ER2SE vs ER2XR: The ER2XR is the same IEM, differently tuned there isn’t much of a difference, The sole differences lie in the low section, XR having more bass, even more so than the B2, however, the quality of the bass is not on par with B2, comparing with SE the XR can sound boomy and the bass sometimes can bleed into the mids, Which makes the SE a much more accurate and beautiful sounding IEM. However, the XR still surpasses a lot of IEMs in terms of overall quality and is still one of the best IEMs one can get at the price point regardless. One may choose one over another depending on their own preferences.

Etymotic ER2SE vs. Blessing 2: Blessing 2, has a similar approach in tuning, but comes in a much higher price bracket. The B2 has its edges over the ER2SE, especially in terms of the highs, the B2 can render treble with much more precision, airiness, and sparkle. ER2SE however for the asking price is one of the best if not the best in terms of resolution and overall timbre quality. The mid of these two IEMs are very similar, with B2 having a tad bit more vocal authority and crispiness.

Again cannot complain that Etymotic earplugs like the ER2SE managing to compete with B2 with a hefty price difference and even driver differences is a feat on its own. The lows however are pretty different on these two IEMs, where B2 bass feels just right, maybe a bit lean The lows on the ER2SE are leaner, having a dynamic driver one would expect some authority but ER2SE lacks that. Overall both IEMs are similar sounding in nature, balanced and organic, The ER2SE for the price point is a steal deal considering you can get the proper fit and are into leaner IEMs.

(We have compared the Moondrop Blessing 2 with other popular IEMs too!)


Accuracy: The Etymotic ER2SE is known for its exceptional accuracy and true-to-source sound reproduction, making it an excellent choice for critical listening and audio monitoring.
Neutral Sound Signature: It offers a flat and neutral sound signature, ideal for users who prefer uncolored audio playback without exaggerated bass or treble.
Detail and Clarity: The ER2SE provides excellent detail and clarity throughout the frequency range, ensuring that you can hear nuances and subtleties in your music.
Build Quality: Etymotic Research is renowned for its robust build quality, and the ER2SE is no exception. It is built to withstand regular use and offers durability.
Isolation: The IEM’s design provides top-class isolation, blocking out external noise effectively. This feature is particularly useful for audiophiles and professionals who need a quiet listening environment.
Comfort: The ER2SE is designed for a secure and comfortable fit, even during extended listening sessions. Various ear tip options are included to cater to different preferences.


Fit: While many users find the fit comfortable, some individuals may find the deep insertion required for optimal performance uncomfortable or challenging to achieve.
Lack of Bass Impact: The Etymotic ER2SE’s bass response is precise and controlled but may lack the punch or impact desired by users who enjoy a more pronounced sub-bass.
Limited Soundstage: The soundstage is primarily experienced within the listener’s head, which may not satisfy those seeking a more expansive and open soundstage.
Cable Microphonics: Some users have reported cable microphonics (noise when the cable rubs against clothing) when the chin slider and shirt clip are not used.
Semi-Proprietary MMCX Connection: The MMCX connectors on the cable have a notch that aligns with a tab in the housing, which may require modifications to accommodate aftermarket MMCX cables. A lot of aftermarket cables do fit, such as Fiio with the ring removed.


Sound Quality:
Low Frequency (Bass): (3.5/5)
Mid Frequency: (4/5)
High Frequency (Treble): (4/5)

Fit and Ergonomics: (4/5)
Prolonged Wear Comfort: (3/5)

Overall Rating: (4/5)


The evergreen Etymotic earplugs, the Etymotic ER2SE/Etymotic Research ER2SE stands as a testament to the pursuit of audio accuracy and precision. This in-ear monitor (IEM) offers a flat and neutral sound signature, making it an ideal companion for those who demand uncolored audio reproduction. Its commitment to clarity and detail is evident throughout the frequency range, providing listeners with the ability to discern subtleties and nuances in their music.
One of its standout features is the exceptional isolation it provides, effectively blocking out external noise and creating an immersive listening experience. While the deep insertion required for optimal performance may not suit everyone’s preferences, those who appreciate its secure fit will find comfort even during extended listening sessions.
However, it’s important to note that the ER2SE’s sound signature may not cater to those seeking pronounced bass impact or a spacious soundstage. Its focus on accuracy means that it excels in reproducing audio as faithfully as possible.

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