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Old 09-16-2009, 05:00 PM
David Tucker
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Default Shure SE210 Earphones: Pure Audio Delight

<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1251926182.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></p><h6><strong>Product Category:</strong> Earphones <strong>Manufacturer:</strong> Shure</h6><h6><strong>Where to Buy:</strong> <a href="http://astore.amazon.com/zunethoughts-20/detail/B0013JT3XC" target="_blank">Amazon</a> [Affiliate]</h6><h6><strong>Price:</strong> $97.78</h6><h6><strong>System Requirements:</strong> Any MP3 player with a 3.5mm headphone jack</h6><h6><strong>Specifications:</strong> Headphones have a frequency range of 25Hz - 18.5kHz with a 26 ohm impedance.&nbsp; They come in black or white and have an 18 inch cable with a 36 inch extension.&nbsp; The headphones pack up easily in a small travel case and come with a deluxe fit kit of 7 different tips to easily fit almost any ear size.</h6><p><strong>Pros:</strong></p><ul><li>Amazing sound, it blew me away;</li><li>Lots of fit options, ensuring a comfortable, tight seal;</li><li>High quality construction that should stand up to long term use.</li></ul><p><strong>Cons:</strong></p><ul><li>Somewhat expensive;</li><li>In-ear design takes getting used to.</li></ul><p><strong>Summary:</strong> No matter what you use as an MP3 player there is a universal law that applies to your device of choice.&nbsp; The included ear buds suck.&nbsp; Sure, there&rsquo;s different levels of suck, but in the end they&rsquo;re all pretty horrible.&nbsp; There was a brief period of time when the Zune came with the premium sound isolating earphones and those were certainly a step up from the usual throwaways you get.&nbsp; Still, to really appreciate your Zune or "other" MP3 player you only have two avenues to really get the most out of your music. <MORE /></p><h1>What's In The Box?</h1><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1251082032.usr307.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 1: The unassuming box for the Shure SE210 headphones.</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re using that "other" brand, your first avenue is to get a Zune.&nbsp; (I&rsquo;m kidding!)&nbsp; No, what I&rsquo;m talking about is depositing your freebie ear buds in the garbage and going to your retailer of choice and buying something that will really deliver music to your ears.&nbsp; I was going away on a long vacation a couple weeks ago and my Sony NC-40s had just bit the dust.&nbsp; I had to buy something before I left so I spent some time at Best Buy the day I was leaving and decided to splurge a bit and picked up a pair of Shure SE210s.</p><p>Shure is a name I&rsquo;ve long associated with high quality sound.&nbsp; The SE210s aren&rsquo;t exactly new at this point as they&rsquo;ve been out for around 2 years now.&nbsp; But the SE line is Shure&rsquo;s current consumer level earphone line, containing the SE110, SE115, SE210, SE310, SE420, and SE530.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s a lot!&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s start with what&rsquo;s in the box.&nbsp; Shure gives you a really good package with these earphones.&nbsp; In the box you&rsquo;ll get:</p><ul><li>SE210 Earphones</li><li>3 sets of replacement foam earpieces</li><li>3 sets of replacement silicon earpieces</li><li>1 set of triple flanged earpieces</li><li>Extension cable</li><li>Cleaning tool</li><li>Carrying case</li></ul><p>Now, if you can&rsquo;t find a way to get these earphones to fit with seven different options you probably have some tough to fit ears!</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1251081996.usr307.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 2: The headphones, all 7 sizes of earpieces, cleaning tool, carrying case and extension cable</em>.</p><p>The extension cable is a bit misleading.&nbsp; The earphones really only have a short cord coming off of them that&rsquo;s about 18 inches long.&nbsp; The extension cable adds another 36 inches onto that for a total of 54 inches.&nbsp; Obviously the short cord isn&rsquo;t nearly enough in almost any imaginable situation so why would they do that?&nbsp; Shure split the cable so that you could, if you choose, add in accessories.&nbsp; The two options are a "Push To Hear" system and a mic to let you use the earphones with a cell phone.</p><p>The earphones are constructed out of hard plastic and a rubber covering.&nbsp; The cables are nice and thick, lending to the overall feeling of quality.&nbsp; The last two pairs of headphones I had both eventually needed replacing when their cables wore out.&nbsp; I really feel like these will withstand the rigors of daily use.</p><p>They can be worn with the cables hanging down or looped over your ears.&nbsp; I prefer the over-the-ear configuration since it makes it a little harder for pressure on the cables to pull them out of my ears.&nbsp; Since a tight seal is ideal with this style of earphone I find this gives the best listening experience.&nbsp;</p><p>A major concern I had when I bought these was comfort.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve never found ear buds to be comfortable.&nbsp; These aren&rsquo;t ear buds but the thought of having something stuck in my ears for long periods of time didn&rsquo;t seem like it could possibly be comfortable.&nbsp; I was wrong.&nbsp; This&nbsp;is the most comfortable set of earphones I&rsquo;ve ever had.&nbsp; Even more comfortable than the supra-aural style I&rsquo;ve always preferred up until now.&nbsp; I can wear them for hours with no discomfort.</p><p>So Shure gives you a great package for your money and I can wear them for hours on end.&nbsp; The question is, do I want to?&nbsp; All of this is academic unless these earphones deliver on their promise of high quality sound.&nbsp; Does Shure live up to its name?&nbsp; In a word, yes.&nbsp; Read on for my impressions on what the listening experience itself is like.</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1>From Digital Bits To Audio Bliss</h1><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1251903042.usr307.jpg" /></p><p>The SE210 uses a type of driver called balanced armature.&nbsp; Balanced armatures are excellent when it comes to tight sound reproduction.&nbsp; To be used properly, though, you have to have a tight seal or it will sound awful.&nbsp; But when you achieve that seal you&rsquo;ll hopefully experience two things.&nbsp; The first is a rich, detailed listening experience.&nbsp; The other thing you&rsquo;ll discover is that you have been entirely shut out from the world.&nbsp; Active noise cancellation has nothing on passive sound isolation like this.&nbsp; You won&rsquo;t just dampen outside noises...they will practically vanish.</p><p>This has the benefit of allowing you to listen to your music at much lower volumes than you are probably used to.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve always been someone to listen to music around volume setting 3 on my Zune anyway but now I can listen at the lowest settings and not lose any clarity.&nbsp; Since we're listening to music for much longer periods than ever before, safety is important and these earphones will help ensure that I will be enjoying my music for many more years to come.</p><p>I&rsquo;m not going to bother beating around the bush: the SE210s sound really good.&nbsp; They are, by far, the best earphones I&rsquo;ve ever had.&nbsp; I compared them to the Zune Premium ear buds and there just wasn&rsquo;t any contest.&nbsp; The Zune Premiums sounded thin and bright compared to the deep sound I get from the SE210s.&nbsp; I can't emphasize enough though the importance of wearing these properly.&nbsp; A tight seal is the difference between a tin can radio and feeling like you're at the concert.</p><p>I used several different tracks off of my "Ghost in the Shell" soundtracks to test the sound reproduction of these earphones since those songs all have a lot of great instrumentals and really let me test a pretty wide range of sounds.&nbsp; "Inner Universe" has a lot going on but the vocals and highs came through very crisp all while the deep beats were thumping in the background.</p><p>Of course I mostly listen to rock so I had to test the earphones with some of my favorite artists.&nbsp; I really like Third Eye Blind and their song "Non Dairy Creamer" off of their "Red Star" album has a good bass drum beat in the background.&nbsp; I could really feel the beat of the drum and the bass guitar also came through really well.&nbsp; Again the bass really made itself felt and known without overpowering the rest of the song.&nbsp; The vocals and lead guitar still came through perfectly.&nbsp; Towards the end of the song there is a section with violins that really shines.</p><p>Everything I threw at these earphones sounded great.&nbsp; After using them for two weeks now I&rsquo;ve listened to everything from Metallica to Dave Matthews.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t found the sound to be lacking in any of the genres I&rsquo;ve listened to.&nbsp; The sound is just very well tuned for today&rsquo;s listening experience.&nbsp; That means these phones favor the bass range a little but they are definitely not overwhelming and do it without much sacrifice of the higher ranges.</p><h1>Conclusion</h1><p>If you need to blow your ears out with bass you can probably buy a much cheaper pair of earphones.&nbsp; But if you want to hear your music how it was meant to sound and hear things you&rsquo;ve never heard before, the SE210s are outstanding.&nbsp;&nbsp; Deep lows and crisp highs all contribute to an enjoyable listening experience.</p><p>Despite these phones being significantly more expensive than most of the other options out there, the SE210s are a very good price for high end earphones.&nbsp; You get a pair of earphones that will blow away your ears without blowing away your wallet.&nbsp;&nbsp; So go treat your ears to this outstanding pair of earphones and you'll start enjoying music on an entirely different level!</p><p><em>David Tucker is a software developer who lives in Tampa, FL.&nbsp; His hobbies include all things technology with a healthy bias towards Microsoft products.&nbsp; Since the fall is here you'll often find him traveling to Gainesville or hosting a game day party to support the Gator football team.</em></p>
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