Shure E3g sound-isolating earphones
A word in your ear...
Review Where other headphone makers have pushed noise cancellation, using electronics to generate a sound wave that erases background noises, Shure has focused on the more basic approach of simply blocking out external sound, not to cancel noise but to isolate you and your music from it...
Shure reckons this technique makes for smaller, more comfortable 'phones that don't require a power source, making them more suitable for situations were you don't want to wear bulky headphones. The company also maintains the electronics of noise cancellation can produce some unwanted audio effects whereas its 'phones simply give the natural sound some breathing room.
The downside is that you've got to stick these fellers right into your ear canal, and not everyone feels comfortable with the idea or the practice. But since so many of us listen to music in noisy environments like tube trains and aircraft, demand has never been greater for 'phones that stop us having to have the volume jacked up to potentially ear-damaging highs.
Even in quiet environments, some folk want to be able to listen without interruption or distraction, and that probably goes double for game players keen to concentrate on the action. Shure's well known for offering a range of earphones for music fans, but with a slight change of branding, it's punting the same product at gamers. Whether you're looking for alternative earphones for your PSP or your DS, Shure's E3g set - the g's for gaming - will be just at home hooked up to your iPod.
The success of the sound isolation technique depends on how well the 'phones fit, and Shure wins top marks for including eight different pairs of sleeves - the plastic tubes that fit over the end of the micro-speaker units to fix them into your earholes and block out external sounds. Shure has bundled an array of sizes, some in very soft, squidy - a technical term, that - plastic, others in a slightly less flexible, thicker plastic and, finally, a single pair of foam sleeves that look and feel like the earplugs sold to insomniacs and aeroplane travellers. There's also a handy tool to help remove the sleeves when you want to try a different set and for scraping out any earwax that's got into the 'phones soundpipe.