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Shure E3c Earphones

I made a list of essentials for a recent flight to South Africa: ibuprofen, gin, sound-isolating earphones. Two out of three I had, but what was I going to do about the third? After all, I didn’t want to be caught on a plane with some kid jibber-jabbering in my ears for 20 hours, no matter how much Tanqueray and Advil I could down. Thankfully, I found Shure’s E series of earphones, specifically the midline E3c ($179) versus the E2c ($99) or E5c ($499).

Here are the main differences in the models: the E2c has a single high-energy driver; the E3c has a single low mass/high energy driver for better bass response; and the E5c features two dedicated drivers for low and high frequencies, with an inline crossover that blends the two. If you’re like me, you listen to a lot of music on headphones while doing things: riding the bus to work, mowing the lawn, falling asleep on the couch. And if you’re like me, you break headphones all the time, which is why I picked the mid-level Shures. That’s my only reservation in recommending these pricey but otherwise excellent earphones: What happens when you crush them between the seat cushions? What happens when you stretch the cord while pushing the mower? What if somebody sits on you and your headphones on Route 9? Well, you’d be out $179. Me? I just returned them to my contact at Shure and got a new pair. (There is a limited two-year warranty, though it doesn’t cover mower accidents.)

In order to fit snuggly in your ears and provide maximum isolation, the Shure E3cs come with multiple ear bits, and I found that the yellow expandable foam ones worked far better than any of the variously sized rubber tips. Only drawback? The yellow foam snags and holds all the dirt and wax in your ears.

Still, if excellent sound and sound blocking are your needs, and you’re not afraid of a little investment, the Shure E3cs won’t disappoint. Just don’t loan them to the kid in the aisle seat.

Originally Published