Shure SE210

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Shure SE210

Pros

  • Great sound

Cons

  • Costly

Bottom Line

Another great IEM from Shure, the SE210s offer excellent audio quality that will impress most listeners.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

Walking through a noisy downtown is a lot more enjoyable if you're wearing a pair of Shure's SE210 sound-isolating earbuds. The preproduction set we tried delivered full, rich sound and kept all but the loudest noises from intruding on our music.

The set costs US$150, which may sound like a big investment considering the low price of some of today's portable audio players. But one reason those players are so affordable is that they come with mediocre headphones. We compared the Shure earbuds with those included with an Apple iPod and found the sound quality of the SE210 set much better, adding depth and reproducing subtleties we hadn't noticed with the Apple earbuds. In addition, we thought the Shure product outperformed the Creative Zen Aurvana In-Ear Headphones, which suffered from a harsh-sounding upper midrange that was unpleasant to listen to and likely to cause ear fatigue over time.

The SE210's full bass response and crisp highs make for a pleasant listening experience. In particular, the Shure earphones demonstrated how much changing the iPod's equalizer setting alters the audio; when we used them, the difference over listening without the EQ seemed far more pronounced than when we listened with Apple's earbuds.

The SE210 set is the entry-level model in Shure's new SE product line, and has a single micro-speaker for each channel. In comparison, the more expensive SE420 earbuds each have a dedicated tweeter and woofer. I tried the SE420 also, and appreciated that pair's better defined low end and subtly smoother response in the upper frequencies. That additional fine-tuning, however, comes with a price tag that's more than double the cost of the SE210.

The short cable of the SE210 is ideal if you have a small flash player you want to clip to your jacket or put in a shirt pocket. The included 3-foot extension cable allows you to stash your player in a bag; it also offers a convenient way to unplug the earphones without having to hunt down your audio player (even without music playing, carrying on a conversation while wearing sound-isolating earphones can be difficult). In addition, the design lets you easily add a Shure Push-To-Hear module (which has a microphone that pipes in outside noise). The only drawback is that this connection adds a little weight to the cable.

The SE210 earbuds may seem expensive, but the price is a small one to pay for full-bodied sound and music enjoyment without any interruptions from the noisy, outside world.

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