Earphones specialist, Shure, has created a pair of sound isolation earphones (E3c) that were originally designed for professional musicians, but are now available to anyone looking for a portable audio device accessory.
The earphones were originally made to accompany Shure’s PSM series of personal monitoring systems for touring musicians. In order for the musicians to hear themselves, the earphones needed to cut out ambient noise by fitting directly into their ears. Thus, the earphones don’t feature active noise canceling technology (which may interfere with sound delivery), but claim to isolate sound naturally by fitting directly into the user’s ears (much like a pair of foam earplugs do). As for the sound, Shure says the speakers are constructed of studio-grade components and feature WideBand MicroDrive technology.
So do they work? Once I got the fitting right and connected them up to an iPod, they did cancel out ambient noise (such as loud computer/ electronic equipment humming), conversations and phone rings) quite well without having the volume up too loud, delivered nice highs and lows, and were quite comfortable to wear. However, the ‘earplug’ in-ear style of the earphones might not suit everyone, as they are a bit more intrusive (well, they sit a bit deeper in your ear) than your common in-ear earphones. Overall, a neat little product though.
Shure E3c |$300| |www.shure.com and www.jands.com.au
For: Good ‘natural’ noise cancellation; plenty of fitting options; great sound
Against: The in-ear ‘ear plug’ style may feel intrusive for some
Verdict: A neat product for the serious audiophile