Etymotic mc5 Earphones – Review

At the time of this writing, I’ve been using the Etymotic mc5 Earphones almost every day for 2 years, 3 months.  I wear glasses, so using over-the-ear style headphones is out of the question.  Over the years, I’ve tried many different types and styles of in-ear Earphones.  A little more than two years ago, I made the decision it was time to do some research, get some recommendations, and spend some money on a quality product.  On a friends recommendation, I turned to the Etymotic mc5.

They sell for $59 and you can purchase them from their website, or from Amazon.

What I Like

I’m a programmer.  And, like many programmers, I listen to music a lot while I work.  Because of that, comfort is a must when considering a pair of in-ear earphones.  Especially when shelling out more than $5 or $10 dollars.  These particular in-ear earphones are, by far, the most comfortable I have ever owned.  They come with a few tips to choose from,  I chose the gel tips, which themselves come in three different sizes.  Speaking of ear-tips, they also offer a service where you can get ear tips made, custom to your ear.  I have not done this.

When I purchased these, I hadn’t caught the fact that they were noise isolating, but they are.  So much so, that when I plug them into my computer, I have to turn my volume down to 4, and I still can’t hear my wife when she comes up behind me.

When I’ve had to call customer service, they have been great, every time.

What I Don’t Like

Honestly, there are only three things I don’t like about this product.  And, one of those is a small inconvenience, which I’ll start with.

They are only 4′ long.  Which isn’t all that bad, but I tend to adjust in my seat often, and for my office setup, it’s just barely long enough.  A 6′ cord would go a long way for these earphones.

The product only has a two-year warranty.  For a product as expensive as this, and one I’ve heard should last for several years, a two-year warranty just seems too small.  Which brings me to my third issue.

In my 27 months of use, I’ve had to send it in for replacement twice, so I’m already on my third pair.  The problem has been the same with each pair.  The adhesive that holds the two main pieces together, wears down.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know that earphones don’t last forever.  But, for the price-tag, and such a high-quality earphone, I would expect the quality of the construction would be the same.  It should also be noted, that both times I called Etymotic to initiate the exchange process, and they were nothing but helpful and friendly, which I find hard to find these days.


As company that has it’s roots in designing and manufacturing hearing products, I had high expectations for my Etymotic earphones.  And they met those expectations.  I would recommend these earphones to anyone who is looking for a quality earphone at a reasonable price.

Technical Specifications

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 15 kHz
Accuracy Score: 85%
Transducers: High-output 8mm neodymium moving coil driver
Noise Isolation: 35-42 dB
Impedance (@1kHz): 16 Ohms
Sensitivity (@1 kHz) SPL at 0.1v: 100dB
Maximum Output (SPL): 120 dB
Cable: 4 ft.
User Replaceable ACCU-Filters: Yes
Warranty : 2 Years
Custom-Fit Option: Yes