Everyone has their own inner rock star. Whether you singalong while driving (we see you), or yodel in the shower, its your inner self trying to get out. Thankfully, most of our inner children stay where they belong, inside (I can’t explain Ashlee Simpson, so please don’t ask). The few who have the gift are (we hope) out there sharing it. And when they do, they need gear. Good gear. One key thing they need is headphones, the kind that can block out enough of the outside world and let in what they want to hear during their performance. Believe it or not, for as little as $99, you can play in their world.
Shure, an American company whose roots are in the radio parts business, makes what they call “sound-isolating” headphones. In a nutshell, Shure combines exceptional quality headphones with earplugs. We were sent a pair of the E2c model, the lowest end that Shure makes, to try out. The units come in a great, compact carrying case, and were easy to carry along in our laptop bag.
We went out for a combination headphone test and workout, and tried to find an environment that would put the unit in a real-world environment. Somewhere where there’s a bit of background noise, and a jogging trail. We went to a small little built-up strip on the edge of the San Francisco airport. By the way, jets are loud.
We also found a new friend, Emily. We asked Emily to try on the headphones, and then do some basic jogging, stretching, sitting, just like she usually does near SFO. Most important was to test if she could clearly hear the music coming from her iPod mini while the jumbo jets were taking off and landing in the background.
As you can see from our highly scientific methods, the Shure headphones were light, comfortable, and natural on Emily. The only hassle we ran into was her actually fitting the set into her ears. The Shure E2c headphones come with three sizes of earbuds, but she had a little difficulty, even with the smallest size. Then again, it was about seventeen degrees out, and it didn’t seem like Emily’s fingers were working properly in the cold. We recommend being comfortably warm when putting in the earbuds, and also having some familiarity with using earplugs, as it can be a bit tricky the first time you try it out.
Once they are in, however, it’s fairly hard to shake them loose. Their great design has them fit snugly in your ears, specifically designed not to fall out. One could even shake them like a Polaroid picture (did you even turn on the radio in 2004?), they do not budge.
We at LIVEdigitally do not have any sound measuring technology, other than the arm-based applause-o-meter. But there were 747s taking off every 10 minutes or so. It’s loud. We brought with us the Shure E2c and a pair of the Panasonic RP-HC50 Noise-Canceling Stereo Earbud Headphones (click here for info, but please do not buy them).
The Panasonic set (with batteries and all) did dampen the noise somewhat. By somewhat, I mean not at all. The music was all but inaudible.
The Shure E2cs provided a solid music experience. There was still some rumbling in the background, but since we could practically feel the exhaust of the planes, I think the point is moot. Bottom line here, is the headphones performed great. As much as the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 2.0 Powered Speakers created deep, loud music, the Shure E2c headphones created listenable music in a deep, loud environment.
These go into the laptop bag, forever. Well, that’s until I upgrade to the even better ones Shure has to offer (and frankly, I can’t imagine how to get any better).
As for letting out your inner rock star? Go ahead, I’m wearing the E2c headphones, so I can’t hear you anyway.