Skip to main content

Etymotic Research MC5 review

In-ears with slightly leaner sound than rivals Tested at £57

Our Verdict

Leaner sound to rivals and not too bass heavy


  • Energetic sound
  • optional custom-fitting service


  • A little bass-light

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Leaner sound to rivals and not too bass heavy


  • + Energetic sound
  • + optional custom-fitting service


  • - A little bass-light

Etymotic provides a smorgasbord of eartips with the MC5s to help ensure the perfect fit. And, if you want the snuggest placement possible, there's even an optional custom-fitting service.

Where some in-ears can overdose on bass, the MC5s don't sound boomy in the slightest. They're a real contrast to the likes of the Skullcandy FIX as they promote a slightly leaner sound.

Despite being a little bass-light, one of the benefits is that bass notes don't lag. Instead, they're agile enough to bob around energetically during Michael Jackson's You Rock My World. Timing is top-drawer and there's good clarity where instruments and Jacko's vocals are concerned.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test