So much for saving money by using price differences between the US and UK version of Amazon. Today, I received not my headphones, but the duty bill for them:
Cost of headphones from Amazon.com: US$75 (C$85) (Â£40)
Shipping from USA to UK: US$26 (C$29)
UK Value Added Tax: Â£12 (C$25)
UK Parcelforce Clearance Fee: Â£14 (C$30)
Total: C$169 (Ack! Ack!)
Delivery time: about five weeks
Cost on Amazon.co.uk (with all taxes and shipping): Â£74 (C$156)
Delivery time: 4-6 days
In any case, I suppose I will cycle the five miles or so out to Kidlington (where the depot is) to pick them up either after my tutorials today or tomorrow. Many thanks to Jessica for her help with the ungainly trans-shipment process above.
The moral of the story: ye who think you can get $160 headphones for $85 are probably mistaken.
[Update: 9:01pm] I rode the six and a half miles to the pickup depot. I paid the $100 in taxes. I put in the headphones with the flanged eartips… and was disappointed. It sounded more precise than the default iPod earphones, but not enormously better. An hour later, I tried the foam eartips and I understood. Tori has never sounded more astounding. If it keeps up for a few years, the Etymotic ER6i headphones will have been worth every cent.
[Update: 2 August] It should be further noted that the Etymotic customer service people are unusually polite and helpful. I wanted to order the larger flanged tips to see if they work as well as the medium foam tips. There was no time spent on hold at all, and I was immediately put in touch with someone who is going to send me the large flanged eartips internationally for free. Such things are always pleasant surprises.
[Update: 8 August] I got the larger and smaller alternative eartips for the Etymotics today. The large flanged ones work much better than the normal flanged ones, but don’t sound quite as good as the normal foam eartips. That said, the normal foam ones get somewhat gross quite quickly and are hard to clean. I think I will mostly stick with the large flanged eartips.
[Update: 30 January 2007] I had a few minutes of abject panic today, when it seemed that the right earbud in my pair of excellent but expensive Etymotic ER6i headphones had dropped to 10% of its original volume. I had been listening for a few straight hours, working on a paper, and found myself wondering why the song I was listening to was so biased to the left. Thankfully, when I called their very helpful tech support people, we realized that it was just a clogged filter. I replaced it with one of the replacements included in the original set and all is well. (Actually, the right side is a bit louder now, but the filters are $2.50 each and I should wait until the other is more clogged).