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Ears-on with Shure's SE115 headphones

CNET's Donald Bell gets his hands and ears on Shure's new budget-friendly and colorful SE115 headphones.

Photo of Shure SE115 headphones.
Shure's new SE115 headphones are as tough as they are pretty. Donald Bell/CNET Networks

Shure unveiled its new SE115 line of in-ear headphones today at Macworld 2009. Aside from being colorful (offered in red, blue, or pink), the SE115 share the same design as the SE110 headphones we reviewed last year, with the exception of the audio-driver technology, which has changed from a balanced armature driver to a dynamic driver.

Shure was nice enough to let me try on a pair, and the sound was undeniably beefier than I recall hearing on the SE110 but a bit lacking in the crispness associated with the balanced armature driver found in its predecessor. I only listened to the Shure SE115 for a few songs from my Zune 80 (yes, I brought a Zune to Macworld), so I'll reserve judgment until I get to spend more time with them. My first impressions, however, weren't earth-shattering.

Sonically, I think Apple's $79 dual-driver in-ear headphones offer better detail and overall balance. However, nothing can beat Shure when it comes to construction quality.

Still, at $99, the Shure SE115 are great for bass-heads and offer the same awesome build quality and professional cabling you'd find on any of its higher-end models. You also get Shure's unique "black foam" ear-tip fit kit and a generous two-year warranty.