Published: Jun 10, 2009
Category: Gifts and Gadgets
Considering the quality, the Shure E3c headphones were a bargain at $160. Sadly, after five years, they died. Now I am beyond thrilled to enjoy the same quality with the SE115-CL Sound Isolating Earphones --- at $88.
No sooner do you push these phones into your ears than the world vanishes and you are alone in the world of music with your favorite musicians. Is this heaven? Well, it’s close, it’s a glimpse.
You may think I’m kidding. You’ve got an iPod, and it’s fantastic --- what’s wrong with the earphones Apple gives you? Nothing, if you don’t mind the treble sharpened to laser precision and the bass deepened to make you think you’re getting the real thing. Nothing, that is, if you don’t mind putting crappy sound into your head.
Music lovers have caught on to the Apple earphones. And because Bose advertises and has a good reputation, many have moved up to Bose. I’ve tried them. I find them muddy. Worse, you can’t crank the volume --- they were, I feel sure, designed by a parent who didn’t want her son to go deaf at an early age.
I say: You want to plug your head into music and experience more than you ever thought possible. You want to hear the instruments as a unit and as separate elements. You want the singer performing just for you. And that means you want Shure phones, the choice of professionals, The Wall Street Journal and yours truly.
The first reason you want these is because they’re “Sound Isolating.” What does that mean? This Amazon commentator nailed it: “I went home on day one of having these and cut my grass. Once I got them jammed into my sweaty ears, I could barely hear the lawnmower --- even with low volume music! I literally could not tell when the mower was stalling because the sound was so blocked by these earbuds.”
The Shures give you new problems --- like crossing streets without getting killed. If you buy these, please promise me that you won’t use them anywhere you’re endangering your safety, or the safety of others. And a lesser problem: You’ll listen to music more, your taste will sharpen, you may find your tastes change. Worse, you may find yourself raising the cultural bar in every way.
So....what will you hear with the Shures? What’s there. I’m on my knees listening to Richard Goode playing Beethoven. The Green Day wall of sound takes me to new levels at the gym. Old Aretha Franklin --- again and again, I’m astonished by her piano playing. I can really hear Keith Jarrett humming during The Koln Concert. On top of everything else great about Welcome to Mali, I now grasp that Amadou Bagayoko is one of the greatest guitarists since Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.
Or you can buy
Shure SE535-V Earphones for $438. I’m sure they’re unreal great. And so addictive that, if I had them, you’d find me drooling in a corner in a matter of days. No, I’ll stop with the 115s. They’re as unreal great as I need.
Shure earphones come with a two-year warranty. And this company is so good that, if you have problems, they usually send you a new pair. Which is also sweet, sweet music.