When a company creates a product that's sufficiently remarkable to garner a spot among CNET's testing equipment, chances are that's a good direction to look for further quality products. Such is the case with Shure, whose E4c earbuds quickly become our headphone of choice for MP3 player audio testing. In fact, the entire E series is impressive, which is why the company didn't stray far from that blueprint when it created its new Sound Isolating line, the SE series. Shure's latest earphone collection, which offers new sound signatures and an improved design, includes the SE210, SE310, SE420, and SE530 (just a renamed E500). The $249.99 SE310 is the subject of this review.
On first glance, you might not notice the design tweaks that Shure has made to the SE line. But closer inspection will reveal that the SE310s have a more curvaceous earpiece than that of the E series. The material is also slightly different, giving it a more tactile feel. The model color--black or white--also applies to the color of the earpiece, rather than that of the cable. In the case of the white, the coloring is more silver than white, but I actually prefer the pearlescent sheen. These are subtle changes to be sure, but welcome.
Less subtle is the new modular cable. The main Y cable is just 18 inches long to accommodate listeners who carry their MP3 players in a shirt pocket or clip it to a bag strap. But Shure also includes a 37-inch cable extension for those who still prefer to stow their devices in a pants pocket or bag. The rest of SE310's Deluxe Fit Kit includes a sturdy canvas case, a "wax guard" (for cleaning the earpieces), and various ear tips: one triple flange, three sizes of soft flex, and three sizes of foam. The latter is now tapered for an easier fit, coated for easier cleaning, and black rather than yellow.