Big headphones are viewed by many as the best source for personal high quality sound. Some of the biggest names in audio don’t even bother to make small headphones. Shure is looking to change that perception by showing that their smaller earbud headphones can perform as well or better than their bigger, heavier counterparts.
- Sound Isolating Design
- Speaker Type: Wideband MicroDrivers
- 2-Year Limited Warranty
- Lightest Shure Design: Only 0.9 oz (28g)
- Secure In Ear Design
- Personal Fit Kit
The biggest feature is the Wideband MicroDrivers. These tiny speakers, combined with the design on the earbuds, are what make the speakers so unique. The Wideband MicroDrivers deliver very clear sound and the Sound Isolating design the earphones block external sound from entering the ear which makes it possible to hear all sound coming from the MicroDrivers
Unlike other earbud headphones that just rest on the ear or side just outside the ear canal, the Shure earbuds actually go into the ear canal. This design is what makes the Sound Isolating feature possible. Because of the small size there is no room for big noise canceling electronics. So instead they use a really old technology that blocks the noise from entering the ear at all. This technology is called ear plugs. It is actually quite ingenious. They have pretty much taken some ear plugs, drilled holes in them and inserted their MicroDrivers. Shure has taken a lot of care in the design to make sure the ear plug part is comfortable. The earphones even come with different types and sizes of ear plugs that you can use. These are great because you can custom fit them to your comfort.
The earphones are designed to be used in several different positions. The main position is with the wire going up and around the back of the ear. They can also be used more conventionally with the wire going down, but because the earphones are angled they will stick out of the ear slightly. You can see an example of how to wear them on the Shure website.
Because the earphones go into the ear canal they are prone to ear wax build up. Shure included an ear wax cleaner so that build up does not prevent optimal sound from coming out of the earphones.
Performance of headphones is all about how they sound and feel. Sound is not a problem for these headphones. It is amazing just what can come out of such a small package. My biggest concern is with comfort. In order to get the best performance from the speaker and the sound isolating design, you should push the headphones into the ear canal. Not only is this dangerous because if you get them in too far you could damage your ears, but it is also uncomfortable for people who are not used to ear plugs.
There is another side effect of the ear plug design. Anyone who has worn ear plugs will know exactly what I am talking about, but when you are wearing earplugs the sound of everything you do including walking, talking and breathing is changed. The reason for this is because most of the time your ears take in the majority of the noise you hear. Therefore, you don’t hear a lot of the noises that are transmitted through your body. When you put in earplugs and talk, walk and eat you will hear these sounds because the outside noise is not covering them up. You can try it right now by putting some regular ear plugs in your ears, or if you don’t have any put your fingers in your ears, and walk around on a hard floor, eating something, or talking. You will notice that the sound has changed and is much more noticeable. This can be annoying and it does interfere with your enjoyment of the whatever you are listening to. After a while you will adjust and start to naturally tune out the sounds.
Also, because ear plugs block all sound it is difficult to hear other people when wearing these. Noise canceling headphones can be used to help cancel out background noise so that it is actually easier to hear conversations. For example, I recently took an airplane trip and I took these Shure headphones and a pair of noise canceling headphones with me. While the Shure headphones did a much better job of blocking the sounds from the airplane, it also blocked the sound from those in the seat next to me. The noise canceling headphones did not block as much sound, but they did block the high pitched sounds that make it hard to hear conversations.
Playing games or listening to music is great with these headphones. You will hear the sounds of the game and the instruments in the songs more clearly and with greater definition than ever before. The cord is also plenty long to allow you to sit away from your computer or gaming device.
Warranty and Support
These earphones come with a 2-Year warranty which is better than a lot of others, but still could be improved upon. There are really no moving parts, so unless you turn it up so loud and blow the speaker or break them by crushing or dropping them, nothing should go wrong.
These earphones sound fantastic. They do take some time to get used to and you will have to spend some time finding the right fit for the ear plugs, but after you do they will be great and comfortable. It may be a good ides to buy a pair of regular earplugs and wear them for a week just so you can get used to the feeling. They are also on the expensive side, these particular earphones retail for $199. As always compare prices before purchasing.
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