Product Review (December 2007) - SHURE
SE310 Sound Isolating Earphones

By Kevin Nakano

SHURE has introduced five new earphones ranging from the affordable SE110 ($119.99) to the high performance SE530 ($499.99). We will cover the mid-priced SE310 model ($299.99) which offers performance at a reasonable cost. The SHURE in-ear design blocks out over 90 percent of ambient noise, making them ideal for commuters and travelers. Musicians, especially those on-stage have already benefited from the performance of the SHURE design. The SE310 design features Hi-Definition MicroSpeakers integrated with a tuned bass port for deep response. The SE310 design utilizes a single balanced armature driver to deliver accurate audio reproduction and extending the capabilities of portable audio players. The stylish and comfortable design compliment the high performance sound.

Full Kit
The SE310 comes with a Premium Accessories Kit that includes three sizes (S, M, L) of the Flex and Foam Sleeves. Since the inside of each person's ears is different in size, SHURE provides a kit that works for virtually everyone. It is important that a good seal is maintained with any earphone to maximize bass response and optimize the sound isolation capability. The earphones have a cable that is 18" long and is ideal for iPods or similar media players that are kept in a shirt pocket. However, if you need a longer cable, SHURE provides a 3-foot extension. The oval shaped zippered protection case offers a convenient tangle-free way to store the SE310 earphones.

Frequency Response
We took some frequency response measurements using our Sencore SP295 Audio Analyzer. While this unit works well with speakers, we had to make some adjustments to measure the output level of these earphones making sure the microphone was well sealed with the earphones. What we found is the midrange had a slight boost with good response on both the low and high frequencies. This would account for much of what we experienced with these earphones including the forward midrange and the excellent overall frequency response. It was interesting to see a slight bass boost near 20Hz. Like most earphones, the sensitivity of the SE310 is excellent and according to SHURE produces 111 dB SPL/mW.

Impedance measurements on the SE310 earphones took on some interesting characteristics. The impedance stayed between 22 and 43 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 147 ohms. The impedance at 1kHz was exactly at 28Hz as specified by SHURE in the documentation. This is very similar to measurements we took on the E3c earphones a couple of years ago. Many of the portable audio players sound quite good, yet their ability to drive headphones varies from unit to unit. As a result, your mileage may vary depending on the quality of the source electronics.

We used our SE310 earphones with a Microsoft Zune media player and found this combination to be a wonderful experience. The added feature of sound isolation proved to be a huge benefit when traveling on long trips in a noisy airplane. We listened to a variety of music and also used them when watching movies on the Zune media player. We found the SE310 to have more capability than the media player could provide.

Using the SE310 earphones with a dedicated SACD player and a HeadRoom Little headphone amplifier resulted in a more pleasing experience. The bottom line is that the SE310 earphones are not likely to be the weak link in portable audio applications. So toss those cheap earphones or ear buds in the trash when you get a new media player and enjoy what you hear though a pair of good earphones.

The SE310 is a mid-priced earphone from SHURE and offers a nice balance of sound quality and cost. This in-ear design not only have great audio performance, but also has the added benefit of sealing out unwanted background noise. We found this to be especially true on planes, where background noise can be exceptionally annoying. With any in-ear design, comfort may be an issue, so SHURE provides many fit options along with the SE310. The earphones are also available in black. Those looking for more performance can move up to the SE420 ($399.99) or SE530 ($499.99) models, while those on a budget can look towards the SE210 ($179.99) or SE110 ($119.99). SHURE has everyone covered with the SE line.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review System

DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
Portable Media Player:
Microsoft Zune - 30GB Portable Media Payer
Headphone Amplifier: HeadRoom Little (Premium Module)

Review - At a Glance

SHURE - SE310 Sound Isolating Earphones

Key Features

Sound Isolating Design
Included sound isolating sleeves block over 90 percent of ambient noise. Combined with an attractive ergonomic design and a modular cable, interruptions from the outside world are minimized, enabling you to focus on your music.

Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker + Tuned BassPort
Developed for listening to high-quality recordings, the SE310 utilizes a single balanced armature driver to deliver pristine, extended range audio. Additionally, Tuned BassPort technology improves bass response. The result is a rich listening experience that reveals the hidden details of your favorite music.

Deluxe Fit Kit includes:

  • Sound Isolating Sleeves - The role of the included sound isolating sleeves is twofold: blocking ambient noise and ensuring customized fit and comfort. Because every ear is different, the Premium Accessories Kit includes three sizes (S, M, L) of the Flex and Foam Sleeves. Experiment with the size and style that creates the best fit for you—a good seal is key to optimizing sound isolation and bass response as well as maximizing comfort during extended wear.
  • Modular Cable - Based on extensive user feedback, Shure engineers have developed a detachable cable solution to enable unmatched personal customization. An included 3-foot cable allows you to tailor your experience depending on activity and application.
  • Carrying Case - In addition to the sound isolating sleeves and modular cable, a durable and compact carrying case is included the SE310 to provide a convenient, tangle-free solution to store your earphones.


Company Information
Shure Incorporated
222 Hartrey Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
Phone: 847.866.2200

Source: Manufacture Supplied
two-year limited warranty on materials and workmanship

Source: Manufacture supplied
Model Number: SE310
MSRP: $299.99

Review at a Glance

Technical Specifications:

  • Speaker Type: Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker + Tuned BassPort
  • Sensitivity (1mW): 111 dB SPL/mW
  • Impedance (1kHz): 28 ohms
  • Frequency Range: 22Hz – 19kHz
  • Cable Length/with Extension: 18 in. / 45cm (54 in. / 136cm)
  • Color: Available in Black and White

    SE-310 User Manual

Company Information
Shure Incorporated
222 Hartrey Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
Phone: 847.866.2200

Source: Manufacture Supplied
two-year limited warranty on materials and workmanship

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