For Valentine’s Day the wife got me a pair of headphones that I had been lusting after for quite some time, the Shure E3c sound isolating headphones. I basically wanted them for my iPod listening as at minimum an hour a day is spent on the train with tunes running.
Well, I’m not disappointed. These things are phenomenal sound wise. Clear highs, good bass, and the ability to really bring out the nuances in the music that I hadn’t been able to hear with the stock iPod headphones. I had been reading for awhile that upgrading the headphones on the iPod makes a huge difference, and that surely is true.
I had been thinking about getting Noise Cancellation headphones, they block out unwanted noise by playing the exact opposite frequencies of what is going on around you. So for example, when you flip the switch, all the engine noise on the train or airplane disappears. You can find these in a variety of styles, but I had a problem with a few of the issues surrounding them. For one, the good ones cost a lot of money, even more than the Shure’s. Secondly, those headphones have extra circuitry in them that needs battery power. More bulk, more money, more chances for something to break in my opinion. That’s why I went for the Shure’s instead.
The Shure calls their technology Sound Isolation. Basically, the headphones fit your ear like ear plugs. It blocks out unwanted noise that way, and shoots the sound directly into your ear canal. It works VERY well. The problem is getting the headphones in your ears just right. The headphones come with a variety of different sized ear sleeves so you can find an exact fit. But even with the right size, you have to make sure that they are in just right. If they aren’t, the sound can be tinny. They also take a bit of getting used to. Typical ear buds don’t plug your ear canal like this, so adjusting may be a problem for some people.
But when you do get them in right, and get used to them, the sound is phenomenal. The train rides have been heavenly since I’ve gotten the new headphones. Also, I’ve been able to keep the volume at about 50% of where I used to have to put it. Makes for less strain on my ears, and more battery life in the iPod.
$179 may seem like an awful lot for headphones, but if you are serious about your listening, and do it a lot, they pay for themselves in enjoyment, batteries, and saving your hearing. I highly recommend them!