The Shure E2c earbuds are professional in-ear monitors that feature isolation. Unlike noise cancellation headphones, these actually filter out the sound in a similar fashion to an earplug. One of the main advantages is that, in theory, you should be able to form a perfect seal between the ear and the driver and be able to get a near perfect frequency response and lower noise floors, due to the isolation of the outside world (less things for sound to bounce off). This technology has been known in professional audio for a few years, where on stage monitoring is required instead of the old traditional wedge speakers that no one could hear. It is also used in places like car and motorcycle racing where it is hard to hear the pit crew over the roar of the engines.
In practice, I ran these buds through a series of tests. After finding the right earpiece to make the perfect seal I found the plugs to be very comfortable. The E2c’s come with three pairs of different sized foam sleeves and three pairs of different sized flex sleeves to ensure a personalized fit. The first thing I noticed, when using these on my portable device while running through the city, was the total lack of sound from the outside world. I found it took about a week for the buds to burn in. Off the bat, they had a slight congested and plastic sound. After a week though, they opened up and became transparent. The bass performance was excellent, and extended with a nice fluid midrange. It was easy to tell the difference between CD sound and MP3 on recordings. Another nice point was being able to shut your eyes while on the subway and be completely consumed by the recording. At times I was hearing more detail and sound, that I had never known to have existed in these recordings. These little guys where outclassing my Sony headphones at nearly sixtimes the price.
The second test I gave these buds was in a live sound setting. This was my initial reason for wanting to purchase them. DJing a few gigs, I found these buds to be the absolute best thing for mixing. Not only could I hear layers of sound and bass within the isolation of the room, but also I could play these monitors at very low levels thus reducing fatigue. If anyone is considering or does live performances and has had the hassle of bad stage monitors or large ugly headphones – these are the answer to your problem. With the wire tucked behind your ears and head it is like having nothing on at all.
Summing up, I found these Shure E2c’s to be a touch rolled off at the top end, but part of the perception is just how clean the sound of the high end is. This is also a bit of a mixed blessing when always listening in pro situations. Overall though, I found their sound to be very natural and of superior quality than one would expect at this price. The E2c’s are my new favourites. They work well both in the real world on portable listening devices and in the pro world where sound isolation and accuracy are of the utmost importance.
Manufacturer: Shure Incorporated
Price: MSRP: $99.00 (US)
Toshiba SDP4000Dimensions (WxHxD): 437 mm x 331.5 mm x 184 mm
Weight 5.5 kg
Shure E2cSpeaker 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
Fit Kit for personalized, comfortable in-ear fit.