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In many ways, judging sound quality is all about making comparisons, and when the E3c's are matched against their big brother, the Shure E5c earphones, the E3c's do reveal a noticeable loss of dynamic range and clarity. Of course, the E5c's are worth every penny for those who want to spend more on earphones than they spent on their iPod. The E3c's, on the other hand, come out a clear winner when you weigh their quality and cost.
The E3c earbuds are small and easy to insert in the ear-- easier, in fact, than the E5c earbuds, which are larger and less friendly to folks with small ears. The E3c's thin and pliant cords are light and easy to manage. They're also designed to be looped over the back of the ear, but some testers found it uncomfortable and awkward to keep them there. These testers also said they preferred inserting the earphones upside down, letting the cords dangle downwards from the ear to avoid hassles. By comparison, the E5c earphones feature a bendable stiffening material in the section of cable that runs behind the ears, allowing the listener to loop the cables over and behind the ear more securely. It would be nice to see this simple solution added to the E3c earphones.
Shure did choose to give the E3c's the same gold-plated, 3.5mm input connector as the E5c's. The connector has a low-profile elbow bend to minimize accidental unplugging and snags-- great for laptop and airline users. And just like the E5c's, the E3c's come with a number of earplug "sleeves" packaged in what Shure calls a "fit kit". Our testers had little trouble finding a sleeve that felt comfortable. We especially liked the expanding foam sleeves that, like those foam dinosaurs that grow in water, expand to fit the contours of the ear canal.
As we listened to a broad range of musical genres on the E3c earphones it was hard, once again, not to make comparisons with the E5c's. If you aren't even entertaining the notion of purchasing the E5c's, then make sure you never have occasion to listen to them. Rest easy in the knowledge that the E3c's deliver clear, crisp highs and rich, thundering lows. Delight in the fact that they excel at delivering the celebrated earphone experience; the external world is largely silenced and the music resonates inside your head. Meanwhile, if you are toying with the idea of stepping up to the E5c's, go ahead and give both models a listen. Although the difference between the two is not stark, we immediately noticed that we had to drive the E3c's at higher volume to get the same kind of resonance and fullness the E5c's deliver at a relatively lower volume.
Comparing the E3c's to the E5c's is a bit unfair, but in many ways, the comparisons revealed just how good both sets of earphones really are. The E5c's represent an extremely high benchmark, and fortunately for those who don't want to spend a bundle on top-quality earphones, the E3c's aren't too far off the pace. We recommend them as a massive upgrade to the standard headphones that ship with most portable music devices.--Joshua Gunn
They sound OK but they won't stay in my ears... I only wish I was able to purchase new replacement ear bud covers.Published 8 months ago by Patrick
Awesome in-ear headphones. They are very comfortable and can be worn for hours. Sound is excellent and the best part is that blocks completely noises from the outside, like kids... Read morePublished 14 months ago by AJ
First pair I bought lasted almost 2 years before the right side earphone quit working completely. Shure replaced them under warranty with a refurbished pair. Read morePublished on August 1, 2010 by David Christenson
This is my second pair of Shure earphones, and while they sound good, both pairs broke within a year of very careful use. Read morePublished on April 30, 2010 by Mirja I. Pitkin
This is the second pair of earphones(Sure Ec3) earphones, not because there's anything wrong with the first pair, I'm still using those, but in case anything ever happens to them,... Read morePublished on March 2, 2010 by C. Mcclure
I've owned these for a few years, and also use two sets of DJ cans and a set of studio monitor speakers. Read morePublished on December 31, 2009 by Jared Hunter
No doubt about it: These head phones sound great. When properly worn they do cancel out all backround noise but that's the trick isn't it? Wearing them properly. Read morePublished on November 17, 2009 by M. Smith
I paid 175.00 for these and when I first got them I thought they were MUCH better than the Bose. After 7 months of using at the gym, one of the ears became very staticky. Read morePublished on August 17, 2009 by Bruce Goldberg
First off let me say that I love shure headphones. That said, let me explain why I will never buy another pair ever again. I've owned Shure E3c's for several years now. Read morePublished on January 17, 2009 by Vegan Marcos