The second-weakest link in consumer earphones is the seal the earphones create in the user's ear. Shure's included "Fit Kit" is one of the best around, offering multiple sizes and types of earphone fittings (foam and rubber) to create what is hopefully a well-sealed and comfortable fit. Without a good seal in the ear, even a $500 pair of earphones will sound thin and tinny, so we're happy Shure didn't skimp with its sub-$100 product. A zip-up carrying case and cleaning tool are also included.
The SE110 earphones take advantage of a single balanced-armature driver designed by Shure specifically for this model. Shure's previous sub-$100 set of earphones, the E2c, used only dynamic drivers, which were incapable of matching the detail produced by balanced armature designs. While the SE110 doesn't offer as much high-frequency clarity or low-end detail as the SE310 model, at less than half the cost, most people will have a hard time spotting the difference. When we compared the two, we noticed the differences mainly in the high-frequency ranges, places where the sparkle and twang of acoustic guitars or the flourishes of orchestral strings live. On the upside, the SE110 earphones do not lack for bass. Hip-hop and electronic music sounds fantastic. We did notice, however, that the more defined low-end sounds of upright bass were hazy compared to the SE310.
Labeled as a "Sound Isolating" earphone, the Shure SE110 earphones do not disappoint when it comes to offering peace and quiet. We were more than happy with the SE110's ability to isolate us from background noise, but again, finding an earphone sleeve that provides a tight, yet comfortable, fit is crucial.
All in all, the Shure SE110 earphones have the highest quality construction of any earphones under $100. Their sound signature leans a little more on bass than high-frequency detail, but in our experience, that's a good thing. Competing products such as the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 or V-moda Vibe also favor bass, but use a dynamic driver technology, instead of a balanced armature technology--giving them a different character.