11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The sound is good but the rest isn't,
I recently got me this pair of earphones after doing a lot of researching, in the end I decided to buy these instead of the (much!) more expensive Shure 425/535 and make an end to my everlasting quest to buy the best (for my eclectic taste). Overall I'm satisfied with them but there are a few non-negligible aspects which disturb me.
First the main reason why we buy these: the sound quality. From an objective perspective, the sound quality is very good. Although these are very bass-centric, it can be a real advantage depending on what kind of music you listen to, and in what way YOU prefer to listen to it. As for myself, I listen to all kinds of genres that exist on our small planet, and for this reason I can never give a perfect score for this kind of earphones, due to the unbalanced reproduction of the sound.
I've tested these with a variety of genres, such as classical music (a few symphonies, piano and violin sonatas), (different kinds of) metal, techno & trance, some soft romantic music, rock and some general pop music. I've compared them against Sennheiser IE 80 and Phonak 112 earphones on a smartphone and a Cowon J3 player. After all this, I concluded the following: these earphones are a good combination with my (SE) smartphone, because they already produce a sufficient amount of bass in combination with decent mids and highs, without having to do some (mostly pointless) tweaking. Since smartphones, iPods and most mainstream MP3 players by default produce some kind of flat (maybe neutral is a better term) sound which is compatible with most genres and where the major part of the sound reproduction depends on the ear- or headphones you're using, these make a very good choice, because they won't sound too flat (like cheap or Phonak 1x2 earphones) where bass is needed and in the same way, they won't sound too bassy where a flatter bass with an emphasis on mids and highs. But keep in mind that this is just my opinion and the sound I THINK is acceptable to listen to on such "cheap" (read: hardware that cannot produce high quality sound that is approved by audiophiles) hardware. These are certainly a great choice for the music fanatic that can't or doesn't want to spend more on good equipment.
If you're an audiophile with hardware like a Cowon player, Sony Walkman or an ipod or something similar in combination with a good amplifier, these ears still make a good - sometimes even better - choice. Since I use a Cowon player with these ears, my conclusion is only based on my experience with this combination. As I said before, these are very bass-centric and while this probably will be very annoying in the beginning, hope is not entirely lost. The Jeteffect audio quality can be tweaked to a level where the bass doesn't overwhelm the other details. Even the built in equalizer settings are sufficient to mask away the bass. For example, some metal songs have too much bass with the equalizer set to metal (sometimes it sounds like the rest is coming from another room), but this was easily fixed by setting the equalizer to rock, which dimmed the bass enough to make the mids and highs clearer. This is the same for other genres, you just have to do it the Cowon way, i.e. tweak the sound settings for every genre until you found the perfect sound. For me, the built in presets were always and still are sufficient.
The Bad Side
Now the bad... These Shure earphones are built so that they stay firmly put inside your ear with the cable worn over your ear. The problem with this in my case is that the outer part of my left ear hurts when wearing the ears. Maybe this is because I'm not used to wearing Shures, but I didn't have this with my Sennheiser IE 8. There's a clear difference in size between these two, the body of Shure ears are a bit on the big side, not too big because they fit perfectly in my ear, but clearly my left ear has some problems with wearing these. As for the cable, the upper part is made of a harder substance which ensures that the form of the cable around your ear is remembered. I don't really like this a lot because they don't cover my ear entirely like the Sennheiser IE 80 does, so instead of being able to comfortably wear the cable loose, I have to tighten it in order to keep the cable in place. Both issues are small ones but here's the most annoying part: when walking or running while wearing these earphones I actually HEAR the shocking of my steps, this is probably because the earphones cover the mid part of my outer ear completely. If you're the type that hates cable noise, this doesn't even come near to it! Hearing the steps while listening to music is not only extremely annoying but it's also impossible to enjoy my music.
Sound quality for audiophile hardware 7/10
Sound quality for mainstream equipment 8/10
Good, strong & removable cable
A lot of bass for the kind of music that requires it
Tips & wax removal tool
Not recommended for walking and running!!!
Over-ear can be a pain
Price of a new cable
Sometimes too much bass with masked mids and highs
Sennheiser IE 8(0)
If you want better mids and highs with less (but enough) & tweak-able bass. I don't know what the differences between IE 8 and IE 80 are, except for the aesthetic difference. If I remember correctly, before trying the Shure 215, the IE 8 bass made me react like: WOW! After trying the 215, the IE 80 made me react like: was this all the bass the IE 8 had to offer?
Phonak Audéo 112
If bass means to you "Bad And Stupid Sound". If you care more about mids and highs then these are a great choice. Note that if you don't have the hardware for it and you need some bass, these can sound very flat. If you have a Cowon, no need to worry.