Shure SE102 sound-isolating earphones
Shure quality without breaking the bank
Review Using cheap earphones on your expensive MP3 player is as pointless as spending all your money on a triple SLI graphics set-up and using a 14in CRT to watch it all on.
You can argue that to enjoy music, you just need to be able to hear it – and the number of people still using the standard earphones that came with their iPods is testament to this very fact. But it doesn't take much of an investment to gain a significantly better sound.
Shure's SE102: blocks out 90 per cent of outside noise
Shure is a name that is well known in the recording industry, with the SM58 and SM57 microphones being practically the industry standard for vocal and instrument recording. Shure broke into the consumer earphone biz a couple of years back and has been doing pretty well for itself against some stiff competition.
The £40 SE102s are the latest attempt to re-kindle its product line-up. This price is the value-for-money sweetspot beyond which extra cash starts to show diminishing returns.
Much like the rest of the Shure range, the SE102s are “sound isolating”. This is no fancy wave-cancellation technology, but instead involves getting so deep inside your ear canal that no other sound can penetrate. Apparently, this blocks out over 90 per cent of the noise around you, and from our experience, we're inclined to agree.
ER6i for iPod... great headphones and similarly priced.
Just replaced mine with some HF2's so i can have handsfree calling on my iPhone, but they're £99 - better mind!
Re: Diminishing returns
I'm one of those audiophiles as I spet 200odd quid on on my Etymotic ER4 headphones when I bought them.
Simple, I love music, and want to hear it how it was intended warts n all. I have 20k's worth of stereo at home to listen to music (2 speakers, 1 cd player, 1 pre amp, 1 power amp + assorted cables). Listening to music on that is almost as good as listening live.
I wanted that sort of experience on a portable for when I was out and about, and the Ety's were the best in ear phones at the time that I tried. I rip lossless as I can tell hear the difference when lossy. The sound I get out and about is fantastic and I'm happy with it.
200 quid is a small price to pay as far as I'm concerned for something I get so much enjoyment out of.
as for the Etymotics, they are brilliant and way above other portable headphones I've tried and I tried a few. They don't emphasise any part of the frequency range, sound stage brilliantly, and are very well made. they block almost all outside noise, so music can be listened to quieter.
Their bad points though is that the cable is pretty microphonic (something all headphones of this type suffer from), so you can't go jogging in them. Getting them correctly fitted into your ears takes a lot of practice and getting used to, as does the feeling of them being in there. And they are useless if you have sore ears due to cold or something as they do irritate if you try to wear them then.
Oh and unless you get them correctly seated in your ears, they do not sound all that special.
for the days I have a flu / cold etc, I have Koss Porta Pros which have a fantastic build quality, great sound quality (though nowhere near as good as the Ety's, but still vvery good), no noise cancellation though but they were cheap as chips.
Some of us like to listen to music properly, and listen to proper music. Not this compressed, volume recorded so bloody loud so it sounds good on iPod, but crap on anything half decent chart crap.
Paris cause she would sound decent on anything.
"The cable "problem" is a load of bollocks". I can unfortunately disagree, my E4C's are cracking on one side where they go over my ear. They're less than 2 years old and they've got a lot stiffer which has led to one side starting to go through normal use, though it does mean I can tell the left from the right side in the dark now!
Excellent sound though, when they finally crack to death, I'll probably buy a pair of these.
right in time
As my Koss Spark Plugs just crapped after roughly 7 momnths of light use. Not the kind of quality I expected after owning a Sporta Pro for years.
Well, not just right in time, as it seems i missed a bargain on play..
I suspect some 30 quid of the price is brand tax.
I've bought myself a JVC HA-FX34 (also in-ear, "marshmallow") and it sounds great. Well, at least to me -- so much of this is subjective anyway. For $20, it's great. Very good bass, not so clear trebles, but OK -- middle freqs included. In some songs, I can hear details I had not noticed before on car stereos or other earphones. It is so silent when stuck in the ears that it is scary. Maybe it's not as silent as the Shure, don't know, but it's enough. I pay twice the attention when using it, because if there is music playing, I won't be able to hear anything but the loudest things. I sometimes use it *without* music, just to get some silence (a science lab can be a noisy place most of the time).