Earphones That Shure Do Isolate Sound


Earphones specialist, Shure, has created a pair of sound isolation earphones (E3c) that were originally designed for professional musicians, but are now available to anyone looking for a portable audio device accessory.

The earphones were originally made to accompany Shure’s PSM series of personal monitoring systems for touring musicians. In order for the musicians to hear themselves, the earphones needed to cut out ambient noise by fitting directly into their ears. Thus, the earphones don’t feature active noise canceling technology (which may interfere with sound delivery), but claim to isolate sound naturally by fitting directly into the user’s ears (much like a pair of foam earplugs do). As for the sound, Shure says the speakers are constructed of studio-grade components and feature WideBand MicroDrive technology.

Fitting the E3cs is a bit fiddly and a bit of a discovery process as they come with several different fitting options – a key element, if noise canceling is all about the correct fit. The options include one set of foam sleeves, as well as flex sleeves and soft flex sleeves which come in small medium, and large sizes. You also have three different options of wearing the headphones – over the ear with the cord hanging down your chest (as in the picture), over the ear with the cord hanging down your back, or straight in like your usual in-ear headphones.

So do they work? Once I got the fitting right and connected them up to an iPod, they did cancel out ambient noise (such as loud computer/ electronic equipment humming), conversations and phone rings) quite well without having the volume up too loud, delivered nice highs and lows, and were quite comfortable to wear. However, the ‘earplug’ in-ear style of the earphones might not suit everyone, as they are a bit more intrusive (well, they sit a bit deeper in your ear) than your common in-ear earphones. Overall, a neat little product though.


Shure E3c |$300|  |www.shure.com and www.jands.com.au
For: Good ‘natural’ noise cancellation; plenty of fitting options; great sound 
Against: The in-ear ‘ear plug’ style may feel intrusive for some
Verdict: A neat product for the serious audiophile