E Series earphones have been on the market for more than a couple of years and
have proven themselves with both professionals and consumers alike. The all-new
E4 is the latest professional model to join the E Series family and offers high
performance audio to performers and consumers who need isolation from background
noise. This is especially important for on-stage musicians who need to isolate
themselves from the many sounds around them during performances. The E4 is a professional
product that has the sonic attributes of a high performance earphone with a single
low mass/high energy/tuned port. The E4 is fitted with high-energy, low mass micro-transducers
and features a low profile design with brushed metal accents. As part of the review
we connected the earphones to a Shure P2R Personal Monitor Hybrid Bodypack Receiver.
This unit works with both wired and wireless connections. We used the wired interface
and spent most of our time listening to high quality SACDs as a source. We also
used the Headroom Little to drive the earphones for review purposes. We
wanted to try and separate the drive electronics from the sonic characteristics
of the earphones themselves. The E4s have a sensitivity of 109 dB SPL/mW with
an impedance of 29 ohms at 1 KHz. A gold-plated 1/8-inch stereo plug has a long
options are provided with the E4 earphones and include a pair of disposable foam
sleeves, a pair of triple flange sleeves, three pairs (small, medium, large) of
flex sleeves, and three pairs (small, medium, large) of soft flex sleeves to ensure
the best fit possible. Some performers may choose to mate the E4s with sleeves
prepared by a professional audiologist which provides the ultimate custom fit
for both performance and comfort. A pair of replaceable nozzles are also included
in the event the original ones become clogged with ear wax. The gold-plated 1/8"
stereo plug makes it compatible with other personal audio products such as iPods.
An 1/8" to 1/4" plug adapter is provided for the more common professional
audio interfaces. The supplied in-line attenuator can be used on airplanes and
other applications where high level signals need to be reduced. A zippered nylon
carrying case holds the earphones and sleeves.
impedance of the E4 earphones gets interesting as it approaches the high frequencies.
We measured 27 ohms at 1kHz which is close to the specification of 29 ohms. A
peak of 44 ohms occurred at 2kHz and then the impedance steadily increased to
1380 ohms at 20kHz. The overall impedance of the earphones is relatively flat
up to 12.5kHz and then begins to rapidly increase with frequency. We saw similar
characteristics with the E3c earphones, but to a lesser degree.
performance of the Shure E4 earphones is a step up from their E2 and E3 models.
The internally ported enclosure helps with extending the low-frequency response.
The midrange was detailed and the high frequency response was excellent. While
the flex and flanged sleeves offer the most comfort, the foam sleeves provide
the best performance due to the way they seal in the ear canal. These are similar
to the ear protection ear plugs used in industrial environments. Simply squeezing
them and placing them in the ear allows them to expand to form a custom sonic
seal. Like many of the other in-ear designs from Shure, these earphones need to
be well sealed in the ear canal to maximize audio performance. Shure sells additional
disposable foam sleeves in bags of 20 (PA750) and bags of 500 (PA754).
earphones have been with me on several coast-to-coast business trips and they
never let me down. More recently my plane seat was right next to the large jet
engine on an MD-80 and I had to rely on the E4 earphones to not only block out
the majority of the noise, but to also provide me with high quality audio from
my portable Neuros digital audio player. It's no wonder why these earphones work
so well with performers on stage where its audio performance finds its way through
the loud background noise.
The new SHURE E4 earphones fill the performance/price gap between the E5 and E3
earphones already offered in the E Series lineup by providing excellent audio
performance along with the ability to seal out unwanted background noise. Users
will enjoy the lightweight design and sturdy cable construction. The wide variety
of different size in-ear adapters included with the earphones maximize comfort
and provide peak performance. The problem for me is that I have become so dependent
on these earphones when I travel, that they are as important as my shaver.