Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones
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- Smallest of Shure E-series Weighing only 0.9 ounce - less than 1 ounce
- Instead of bulky headphones, E3 wearers get form-fitting earpieces that stay securely inside the ear without uncomfortable headbands
- Sound isolation prevents outside noise from interfering with the music, and creates a quiet space for exceptional audio clarity
- The studio grade, low mass, high energy micro-speakers employ balanced armature technology for more efficient output and extended high frequencies
- Compatible for use with 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) audio output ports
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|Item Dimensions||—||7 x 3 x 2 in||2.2 x 7 x 6.2 in||6.2 x 2.2 x 7 in||2.6 x 9.1 x 5.7 in||0.5 x 1 x 0.5 in|
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Get these Shure Sound Isolating Earphones for when music really matters. They produce an audiophile listening experience with their studio-quality sound, and they are small and ultra light with a compact design, making them ideal for active listening while you're on the go. These high-energy micro-speakers deliver great tonal balance across the entire frequency range, revealing the subtle details of original recordings, and the foam and soft rubber sleeves customize your degree of isolation and reduce outside noise. Imported.
If you're looking to upgrade your portable music listening experience, the Shure E3c sound isolating earphones deserve a serious look. The E3c's offer a level of sensitivity and range that places them in the audiophile tier of earphones and fortunately, Shure has priced them to make this kind of quality within reach.
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
- Simple, compact design
- Designed for compatibility with most ears
- Excellent sound quality at a non-stratospheric price
- Cord ergonomics could be better
- Lower-quality sound than the E5c model generates unplanned spending urge
Top customer reviews
Longer review: I owned a pair of Sony over the ear active noise canceling headphones. They did an OK job canceling out some noise, however they weren't comfortable enough for extended listening. I decided to give the E3c's a try. Pressing them into your ears can be a bit "unusual" at first, however this is a CRITICAL step to getting the best sound. If they just losely fit in your ears, the frequency response will suffer greatly. Press them in a wee bit and they form a tight seal. Voila! Amazing sound!
Something else you'll notice: You'll need to turn down the volume on your iPod. Because these earphones block out so much external sound (not just noise, but sound) you need less volume to overcome the external sounds. This is the classic Signal to Noise ratio problem.
If I love them so much, why only 4 out of 5 stars? Well, how do I say this without sounding silly... On more than one occasion when I quickly removed the earphones the little rubber gasket was left in my ear. Other than being a bit embarassing, it was easy to pull them out and put them back on the earphones.
I would NOT recommend wearing these earphones while walking on the streets or near traffic. They isolate you too much from external sounds which might result in a dangerous situation.
I also recently had the chance to compare the Shure E3c earplugs to the Bose QC3 noise-canceling headphones - the Shure's are far better, since the Bose still lets through some of the high pitched engine noise as well as people talking around you. Again, if you're used to wearing earplugs, the Shure's are for you.
January 2011 Edit: I've now had these earphones for over 3 years and have traveled around the world with them (several times, actually). Their performance continues to be excellent, and the new black soft foam tips (purchased separately) are much more comfortable than the original yellow foam tips or the triple flange tips. The cover that includes the tip did break off one of them (be careful when putting them into the case), but I managed to superglue it back together and it still works fine. The current comparable model is the Shure SE210.
Overall, the sound is smooth and warm, it's comfortable when you get use to wear it. However, like other reviewer mentioned, the bass is weak. Then I ordered an UE Super.fi 5 Pro(from a local store). I have to say UE 5 pro is a way better earphones, at least for me. The bass is strong, (not as accurate as my friend's Sennheiser HD-555. lack the vibratos. but this is not an apple to apple comparison anyway as with the size of 555, it could have a much larger spatial field). the really good part of the 5 pro is the voccal. it really stands out. It felt like I was standing right in front the singer.
I convert my cd to mp3 with 320k rate. So the source distroation is minimum.
So if possible, try it out before you buy. Since the refund will burn you if you don't like it and want to return it. Amazon.com only offer me 20% money back when I returned it. (Thanks to my credit card 'refund protection' service).
There are only two problems that I can think of, and they're relatively small. First of all, if earplugs are uncomfortable for you to wear, then this line of earphones probably aren't for you. Second, when listening to music on these, you can't hear anything else. In most cases I would consider this a good thing, but I would recomend against them in a situation where you're walking or running outdoors, as it may inhibit your awareness of everything around you.
But by and large, I really like them, and while they are a little bit pricey, they aren't ridiculously priced, and well worth it to more-than-casual listeners.