The innards of the SE310 aren't much different from those of the E4c. In fact, the technology is the same. Shure has just changed the name from High-Definition Driver to Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker to clarify that it is indeed a piece of hardware, as most people think of "drivers" as software. Unlike the V-Moda Bass Freq, which uses an inexpensive coil speaker (hence the low price), the tiny units in the SE310 are balanced armature speakers, which allow for more precise sound.
There is one internal factor that differentiates the SE310 from the E4c, and that's the size of the port. That is, the size of the hole where the music comes out is larger on the SE310, which means the earphones offer an enhanced low-end response. Truthfully, I expected it would be pretty hard to tell the difference, but I could indeed detect a noticeable difference: the SE310's bass response is weightier and more encompassing than that of the E4c.
As far as overall audio quality is concerned, the SE310s sound as you might expect from a $250 pair of headphones: fantastic. I experienced excellent response, range, and warmth across all genres of music. The triangle in Jem's "Finally Woken" pinged away with excellent clarity, and the underlying bass in The Chemical Brothers' "Block Rockin' Beats" made me feel rather as if I were inside a speaker. I did notice one potentially negative quality: the bass can overshadow other low-end sounds in beat-heavy tracks. In Kanye West's "Gold Digger" for example, there's a blues piano accompanying the rhythm. The piano is quite clear with the Shure E4c, but slightly less so with the SE310.
So the question remains: should you upgrade from the Shure E4c to the SE310? Well, that depends. The E4c earphones offer a more balanced sound spectrum overall; as a result, you get a bit more detail in your music. However, if you want to experience more bass response, the SE310s will please your ears the most.
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