Introduction

Speaker Type: Dynamic High Energy

Sensitivity (at 1kHz): 105dB SPL/mW

Impedance (at 1kHz): 16 ohms

Cable Length: 1.57m (62 inches)

Net Weight: 30g (1 oz)

Input Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated stereo plug

Design

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Although based off of Shure’s previous earphone designs for professional musicians, the E2c earphones have been redesigned for broader consumer use. Each ear bud has a somewhat tear-drop shape (think Hershey’s kisses), with a small tube on its end designed to fit a small variety of sleeves.



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There are two types of sleeves that come with your E2c earphones; foam and rubber. There are three pairs of each type, and each pair is a different size.



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I found that the rubber sleeves were not very effective; the large ones could not fit deep enough into my ear and the small ones kept popping out after a few minutes.

The foam sleeves worked great; they expanded into my ear and were a snug fit. But after a while a pair would get pretty disgusting from use, and I would have to throw it away. I have already tossed one pair, so now I am down to two. After I run out, extra foam sleeves are two bucks a pair.



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The E2cs are designed to be as inconspicuous as possible without sacrificing comfort. The cables of the E2c earphones wrap discreetly behind your ear, extending down your neck and out of plain sight. The ear bud itself is designed to fit snugly inside your ear, which not only makes it less visible, but also stays secure during workouts. I now use the E2cs (with foam sleeves) exclusively when I run, simply because they stay in my ear despite all the sweat and activity.

Sound Quality

A pair of earphones can look and feel great, but what it all boils down to is their ability to produce audio. While testing the E2cs, I played a variety of music to determine their strengths and weaknesses. From Beethoven symphonies to punk rock, I tested its high treble and bass capabilities.

What I found was the E2cs were superb in the mid to high range. I listen to a fair bit of R&B, and the clear and balanced audio I got was a welcome surprise. And when listening to a Mozart violin concerto, I did not hear the overly-bright and “biting” sounds that most earphones fall victim to.

In the lower ranges, the earphones were alright, though I would recommend those who want a strong bass sound to use the foam sleeves instead of the rubber ones. This is because the foam sleeves can fit deeper into your ears, which enable you to get the most bass out of your music. Even so, my Sennheiser HD-series cans outperform the E2cs in terms of bass any day. (Believe me though; you are not going to see me jogging in those!)

Sound Isolation

Of course, the most prominent attribute of the E2cs lies with its “sound isolation” ability. Mind you, the technology that Shure employs is not the same as noise cancellation (a technology that records the offending wavelengths of unwanted noise and broadcasts identical wavelengths in an opposite phase to cancel them out.). Instead, Shure has used a much simpler but equally (if not more) effective way of blocking out unwanted noise, by designing ear buds that fit deeper and seal better in your ear.

This may seem like too easy a solution to a widespread problem, but in reality, it is very effective. While it may initially take a little adjusting with the ear buds for you to find the best position in your ear, you will find that the E2cs completely isolate you from outside noise. For example, I have the buds in my ear right now as I type, and though I am not even listening to music, I can barely hear the sounds my fingers striking the keyboard. With all its effectiveness, I am surprised that this method for blocking noise is not being exploited by many other earphone manufacturers.

Conclusion

Shure’s cheapest earphone offering, the E2cs make great use of sound isolating technology. And while $99 is still a hefty price to pay for a pair of ear buds, those looking for a less visible solution to their portable audio needs should definitely give these a try. Plus, with the 30-day no-questions-asked return policy that Shure offers, there really is nothing to lose, but quite possibly, there is a pair of great buds to gain.



SLCentral Verdict: 8/10



Pros:



- Effective sound isolation technology

- Foam sleeves keep buds secure in ear

- Design is lightweight and inconspicuous

- Produces good treble



Cons:



- Somewhat expensive

- Rubber sleeves prone to slipping out

- Poor bass

SLRating: 7.5/10



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