I love testing earphones and headsets as much as I love any other part of my job and it’s great chance for me to show off my tastes in music by dropping in mentions in the review – so be warned of the gratuitous name dropping below.
I tested the SE110s over a number of different artists, styles and days. Walking home from the office, I plugged them in to my awfully generic and non-descript music player and nodded my head to one of my favourite songs – Aside by The Weakerthans.
I told you there would be some hideous name-dropping.
Now, the thing that I noticed most about the SE110s at this point wasn’t the music, but the constant sense of pressure in my ears. It wasn’t caused by the earphones themselves though, but the foam tips which had come with them. The idea behind using foam tips is that they can fit comfortably inside the ear and then expand to form a tight seal.
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The problem was that I couldn’t help shake the constant feeling that they were trying to expand too much, hurting my ear a little. It’s at this point that I would have normally changed to a smaller size of foam tip, as Shure headphones are supposed to come with a selection of different sizes. Unfortunately, my review sample only came with the one set, so I had to go begging to a different journalist and had to borrow a new set of thin plastic tips.
Unfortunately, these were a little too small and would move in my ears as I walked. I changed up to a slightly bigger size.
You shouldn't necessarily take this kafuffle as a bad point though – it’s just the process you have to go through to get a good fit. For newcomers to in-ear headphones though it’s something to bear in mind before you have the immediate “These aren’t comfy, I’m taking them back” reaction.
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In fact, once I found a size of tip that fit well, the SE110s were perfectly comfortable and didn’t bother me at all. I took the time to appreciate some of the finer details of the product, such as the cable itself which divides at about sternum height (assuming you have the earphones in and hanging down) and travels up to each earphone.
At that point, the cable can break down into two pieces; the upper part with the earphones, and the lower 40cm cable extender. The extender is pretty important though as the upper cable really isn’t very long and won’t reach to your music player unless you keep your music player in your breast pocket. Not even I’m geeky enough to do that.