Review (June 2004) - SHURE
By Kevin Nakano
SHURE has always been known for their high performance microphones in the music industry. Whether on stage or in the studios, Shure has a long history with musicians around the world. Their professional series earphones have also been used by top musicians in the industry and are commonly seen on stage. Recently, they have introduced an E Series line for consumers, taken from their professional products. The E Series earphones feature advanced, high-energy drivers that are capable of producing the sound quality of larger headphones in a portable, lightweight package. The low-mass, high-energy drivers not only contribute to the compact design, but also deliver impressive sound quality.
The new E Series earphones are unique in that the design helps isolate the listener from the rest of the listening environment compared to conventional headphones. The professional models were originally developed for musicians who needed to hear themselves in loud onstage environments. Similar to earplugs I've used in the past, E Series use soft foam or silicone sleeves to seal out background noise. As a result, the listening experience is intimate and the noise floor is greatly reduced.
We measured the E2c impedance using our Sencore SP295C Audio Analyzer across the usable frequency spectrum. Our measurements show a relatively constant impedance of around 16 ohms. These earphones reveal a lot of detail especially since most of the background noise is completely removed. It's almost as if your hearing sensitivity has been improved. We tested the E2c's with the Digital Innovations Neuros HD Digital Audio Computer. This portable audio player was a perfect source for these earphones. The E2c's are capable of playing very loudly without breaking up and went far beyond my tolerance level. We also used a Sony DVP-NS900V SACD player along with a HeadRoom Little (Premium Module) headphone amplifier. We could hear even more detail in this configuration.
Impedance measurements on the E3c earphones took on some interesting characteristics. The impedance stayed between 20 and 45 ohms at all frequencies below 5kHz. Beyond that, the impedance began to rise as a function of frequency all the way to 20kHz, where it measured 160 ohms. This may account for some of the brighter sound in the upper frequency range we heard. We listened to audio directly from the headphone jack on our Sony DVP-NS900V and also through the HeadRoom Little with the Premium Module upgrade. The Headroom amplifier module clearly made an improved difference in the sound quality we heard with the E3c headphones. As a result, your mileage may vary with the source electronics that is used to drive these earphones.
We ran the same impedance tests on the E5c using our Sencore SP295C Audio Analyzer and found some interesting results. The impedance started out around 30 ohms and peaked around 110 ohms at 1KHz. The impedance dropped to just about 10 ohms at 7 KHz. Depending on the drive capabilities of the device being used with the E5c earphones, the response may vary. As mentioned we heard significant differences with our portable Neuros HD audio computer and the HeadRoom Little (Premium Module).
The E Series earphones offer exceptional audio performance with a unique in-ear design to seal out unwanted background noise. Comfort may be an issue for those who wear them for long periods of time. However, they do have many fit options available. The E2c is priced right and offers great performance for the money. The E3c is a higher performer and geared for audiophiles who want the extra performance while still at a reasonable cost. The E5c carries a substantially higher price tag, but does offer extended frequency range particularly in the bass region and is more sensitive than both of the other earphones.
- Kevin Nakano
Player - Sony DVP-NS900V
|Review at a Glance|
Shure - E2c E Series Earphones
Shure - E3c E Series Earphones
Shure - E5c E Series Earphones
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