Shure E3g Earphones
When Shure rolled out their E3c earbuds in 2004, I was one of the first adopters. And though it took some time playing with various sleeves to get the perfect seal, the ear buds were very much worth the $150. And though the bass was incredible for earphones this tiny, and the sound isolating aspect was impressive, there were a few small aesthetic gripes I had with them. First, the cord was much too long; second, the grey/white color scheme wasn't especially attractive. I must not have been the only one to complain, because just recently Shure has re-released the E3c earbud in a new gaming-styled form: the E3g.
Completely made over from the dull grey and white construction of the E3cs, the E3gs are much more stylish in design. The earbuds themselves are made over in a glossy black as opposed to matte white (which turns to a slightly mottled grey with frequent use), and the dark-grey cord has been ditched for a sleeker matching black one.
The other design improvement was a shortening of the cord, from 62 in. to 57 in. It may not seem like a big difference, but the shortened cord length is much more convenient. That extra 5 inches lopped off is 5 less inches hanging out of a pocket and 5 less inches to untangle. Ultimately, Shure made some simple but effective aesthetic improvements in their old design to arrive at the better looking E3g styling.
One thing I noticed immediately was that the sound-production quality of the E3gs was almost exactly the same as that of my old E3cs, which was surprising at first given the fact that the E3gs were released almost two years after the E3cs and have a comparably higher street price. An email to Shure, however, settled the matter; apparantly, the internals of the E3c and E3g earphones are identical.
Now, it's dissapointing that Shure didn't even make an effort to improve the bass or sensitivity of what are supposed to be their "gaming" earbuds. In reality, the gaming buds sound exactly the same as the non-gaming ones. But that's not to say that they sound bad, becuase they dont. The E3cs featured a low impedance, high quality sound reproduction technology and purity of sound that still holds true for the E3gs. Sound isolation is also still highly effective.
For those who have never used this kind of noice-reducing earbuds, they work not by emitting a balancing frequency (that would be noice cancelling) but by forming a secure seal in your ear canal. Once the rubber or foam sleeve is jammed deep enough into your ear is secure, that's all there is to it. It sounds elementary, but it works very well; so well, in fact, that Shure warns against driving or biking with these because they render you completely oblivious to surrounding sounds.
The seal doesn't just block noise however, it focuses your music and delivers a professional-quality sound. Powered by MicroDriver technology, clarity in the middle ranges is outstanding. With higher frequencies, sound production suffers, but for its size, the E3gs are very accurate. Unfortunately, as with the E3cs, the E3g suffers from a considerable lack of low bass. But while the lack of a strong bass was forgivable in the E3c, it is not in the E3g; E3g earbuds are marketed for gamers, and one of the main audio qualities gamers expect are a powerful bass. Why Shure didnt improve upon an obvious weakspot in their E3c technology before implementing it into the E3g we will never know.
Shure's new E3gs are a leap forward from their E3cs in terms of superficial design. But when it comes down to sound quality, it is very obvious that Shure made no effort to improve upon their old technology. In the end, if you've don't already own a pair of E3cs, then the improved design of the E3g coupled with superb sound isolating technology make these buds a great choice. But if you already have a pair of E3cs, dont waste your money; you're not going to get a better sound out of these supposedly "gaming" oriented earbuds.
SLCentral Verdict: 7/10
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