I’ve never really come across Etymotic as a headphone brand before, so when I was offered to review one of their newly released models, the MC3, I jumped at the chance. I use my mobile phone for music and these headphones fill the bill entirely as they also come with a built-in handsfree controller for making and receiving calls.

To start, the Etymotic MC3 headphones are in ear. The buds that come with them are cone-shaped, meaning they actually sit quite far into the ear cavity. This in turn blocks out any outside noise to give you immersive listening while in louder environments. The headphones come with different sized cone buds for different ear sizes, and also an expandable foam that once flattened, you insert into your ear and the foam expands to block the ear cavity entirely. I prefered the foam buds as my ears are an odd shape, and I didn’t like the fact that the cone bud had to be inserted so far into your ear, but both kinds of buds worked extremely well.

The sound quality the headphones blared out was a mixed issue. If the ear buds were inserted correctly so your ear canal was blocked, you could pick up the full range of frequencies. However, while I was walking and listening, the headphones tended to slip so my ear wasn’t fully enclosed. That said, I think that comes down to the shape of my ear. The expandable foam ear buds worked well as they moulded to the shape of my ear.

Higher frequencies are extremely crisp, sounding instruments not normally heard through a more basic set of headphones. The bass was slightly lacking being overpowered by higher frequencies, but again, I think that’s because my ear wasn’t always plugged properly. When they were, the bass was clean but still not punchy enough, especially with bass-relying electronic music like dubstep and house.

As always we use the highest quality CD tracks we can find when testing out sound equipment and I can definitely say these headphones are very good for under £100.

Call quality was great on the receiving end. I was able to hear everything the person on the other end of the call was saying. Feedback I got was that they could hear me well through the built-in control box on the right headphone. The control box is also used for volume control as well as answering and hanging up phone calls. It’s in a nice position close to your face. You can pick yours up from the Etymotic website.

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Stef Murphy

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