The SE210s may seem expensive for headphones at around £80, but they're actually the entry-level model in audio expert Shure's new sound-isolating range.
Unlike their more expensive cousins, which use two or three drivers, the SE210s utilise a single driver to drive the entire audio spectrum into your ear.
Building on the successful E series, Shure is promising better design and improved noise isolation.
The SE210s come with a short 0.5m headphone cable and a detachable 1m extension cable. This keeps things neat for those who prefer to keep their MP3 player in a jacket pocket, while not irritating those who need the full 1.5m.
The SE210s come complete with a useful fit kit. The kit includes different sized ear-shaped bits of foam, or 'sound-isolating sleeves'. When fitted properly, ambient sound is blocked to the point that it becomes close to impossible to hear voices even at conversational volume. On a train journey, ambient sound is noticeable but at a greatly reduced volume, resulting in a much improved listening experience.
As for audio performance, aided by gold-plated connectors, the SE210s are a good all-round performer, with noticeable strengths in defining mid-range frequencies. When put to the task of playing the powerful live rock performance of Endless Sacrifice by Dream Theater, the SE210s rendered John Petrucci's melodic guitar harmonies exceptionally well, while still letting Mike Portnoy's frantic drumming to pound into our skull like a war drum.
Cut to the instrumental climax of Endless Sacrifice and the guitar's distortion cuts into the skull with force, without taking anything away from the impact of the drums or the furious keyboard performance -- the screaming of the Japanese crowd can still be heard in the background. Even with the volume cranked up almost to the maximum, definition is almost unhindered, and although no frequency powerfully stood out, no frequency took a significant drop in clarity either.