My trendy, hip, relatively poor quality ipod earbuds totally broke down a month ago. I have some good Sony DJ-ing cans that I use at home and when I’m stationary, but I had nothing portable. So I had been using these cheapo, ugly earbuds made by poor Chinese kids and sold by poor Mexican kids that I got while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago when I forgot my ipod earbuds at home. (That sentence itself is worthy of a blog post or two.)
So yeah…I needed a replacement. Christmas came and went and I decided to put some good, portable headphones on my shopping list for myself (I do shopping for myself after Christmas…a short list of stuff I really want/need and could get through the comforts of the internet). Now I could’ve gotten some regular, everyday 30 dollar earbuds (like the Apple earbuds), but I decided my Christmas pretty much sucked and I should splurge a little. “Splurge” meaning I collected all my change from my car, pockets, desk, bed, and sidewalks, took it all to a Coinstar machine and printed out a nice $42.74 gift certificate to Amazon. That is more than enough right? Well, I then used that to buy a $200 (msrp) pair of Shure E3 ear-BUDS!
Update: Shure recently replaced the E3 with the current model…which is the exact same thing in all aspects, except the name. They changed it to the Shure SCL3.
I guess I did splurge…with the help of American Express. But being the savvy consumer that I am, I found a merchant selling them for $99 (no longer available), so I really paid around 60 bucks, since change-money is basically the closest we can get to magical, grown-on-tree money — comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really count.
But yes, you read right. $200 Ear-buds. Not a surround-sound mini home stereo system. Not a crazy pair of studio monitoring headphones. I bought little, small earbuds, which are probably smaller than the ipod earbuds they replace. And they’re a very plain charcoal-grey, not the pristine Apple-white that everyone wants. (The white model was about 40 bucks more expensive. Damn viral Apple marketing. Infecting every brand in sight.) But don’t be fooled by the class, size, or color of the product (you classist, size-ist, racist bigots).
They arrived in the mail a week or two ago, and after unpacking them and tinkering with all the different pads and tips that come included, I found some foam tips that fit my ears the best. It took a while to learn how to put them on properly though. They go deeper into the ear and the wires are supposed to go over your ears, which is actually more comfortable and secure. They go on like so (picture obviously snatched from earphonesolutions.com):
But after getting to know how they work and fit, I was pretty damn satisfied with the product. Now I know what Amanda Holden felt when Paul Potts gave her an ear/mind orgasm on Britain’s Got Talent (it should be the 2nd clip for Paul Potts that’s posted on there. Pause at 1:57).
Seriously. I listened to Arcade Fire’s “No Cars Go” and was almost rendered speechless. Then I heard some tracks from Justice’s album and sincerely believed they were electronic dj-ing GODS. Then I was almost brought to tears (of joy? awe? sadness? probably every kind of tear possible) by Sufjan Steven’s masterpiece of a song, “Chicago.” (Okay…all that stuff happened before without these earphones. But after 45,000 listens, it is quite an impressive feat to have those feelings stirred again.)
The sound isolation these babies provide is almost as impressive as the actual sound they generate. In the middle of my music listening orgy, I had to take a bathroom break and go number 2. And from the beginning of my journey to the bathroom, to the flushing of the toilet, and through the washing and drying of my hands, I did not hear a single door opening or closing, any bodily sound effects, water flushing, or hands washing. All I heard was Justice’s electronic sonic landscape of bliss reverberating through my brain.
After going back and listening to my ipod earbuds (they still work if I hold the cord at certain angles) and puerto-vallarta-buds, I don’t know how I listened to music on those things. I know people say stuff like this all the time in product reviews but this…is…like WOW. These aren’t even close to being the best earphones on the market either. I’m kind of scared to try the better, and more expensive, ones out.
Okay, I don’t know why I even wrote this long review on my blog. This isn’t a technology or electronic equipment blog. I’m totally not going with my target audience or my readership. (Can I really call my visitors a “readership”?) Oh well. These earphones are good. Really good. They’re FAN-TAS-TIC. (These last lines are intended to be said in the Jack Black voice from Nacho Libre.)
As a reward for reading this post, for today’s songs you guys get the music the shure e3 earphones used to put me in a state of shock.