Shure E5c

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Shure E5c
  • Shure E5c
  • Shure E5c
  • Shure E5c
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Left us at a loss for words to describe the sound quality


  • Extremely uncomfortable, Costly

Bottom Line

If they happen to fit you properly and you can afford to not eat for a few weeks you’ll be in for the audio experience of your life.

Would you buy this?

Coming in at the premium end of price spectrum, the Shure E5cs have a lot of expectations to live up to. For a price that rivals the economy of New Zealand, users are expecting something special, and whilst the sound quality is most definitely exquisite, the model itself has a few problems that stopped it from being a top rated product.

By far the largest of these is comfort. The E5c is an In Ear Monitor (IEM) and they always take a little getting used to as they sit in the ear canal, rather than the outer ear. Having said that, we found the E5c to be incredibly uncomfortable. We've had several IEMs come through the office in the last month or so and all of them have fitted us perfectly, but not this model. The E5c is bigger than all of the others, with a bulky shell housing two separate drivers. The result? An extremely sore ear after more than 20 minutes of listening and a brutal confrontation between your new purchase and a hammer. We simply couldn't listen to these for a long period of time and after we developed sore ears, we had to wait days before we could use them again. It may have been a case of the IEMs not suiting our particular ear structure, but we passed them around the office a bit and other people experience similar problems. They could have the best sound quality in the world, but if they aren't comfortable that is irrelevant.

Sadly this is almost the case. Out of all the universal IEMs currently on the market, these sound the best. They combine all the wonderful features we raved about on the Shure E4c (the model down from this), but also add high quality bass and smooth the sound significantly. This is what the Shure E4c should have sounded like.

The resolution and detail of these headphones is absolutely stunning. You can hear everything going on in your songs, down to the tiniest details. It is incredible the difference this makes. Music is no longer just a wall of guitars and drums - there are bells, multi-layered riffs, eerie voices - the works! Going from stock earbuds to a pair of headphones like these will be like hearing your music all over again for the first time.

As cheesy as it sounds, the E5c is a bit of a chameleon when it comes to sound signature. This baby does it all. Parts of our Radiohead test tracks were so phenomenally smooth we completely lost track of what we were doing; but at the same time other songs were filled with gritty, powerful guitar that really hit us in the face. The E5c uses a similar driver to the one in the Westone UM2, and the bass is reminiscent of that. It extends extremely deep and has a lot of power to it; the key thing missing from the href=;2136212602;pid;1586;pt;1 target="new">E4cs. It also sports a similar soundstage to other IEMs, presenting music in a fairly close, intimate fashion, as opposed to the gigantic, operatic feel of most over the head models. We cannot emphasise enough how great this model sounds. It is vying for not only the position of 'Best IEM we've heard' but it is in the top three out of all types of headphones.

Sound quality isn't all this model has to offer however; as an IEM the E5c also brings noise canceling prowess to the table. The large design of the unit means it cancels even better than the smaller IEMs. Rather than using noise canceling technology, they simply create a seal between your ear and the outside world. It is almost spooky how quiet things sound, even when you're on a busy train surrounded by hustle and bustle. Hell, we've been wearing them at work just to block out our colleague's regular updates on how long till the Xbox 360 launches, accurate to the second. If only we hadn't given him our MSN...

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