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E500: Shure's next-generation Sound Isolation Earphones

E500: Shure's next-generation Sound Isolation Earphones

If Shure's existing E Series Sound Isolation Earphones are anything to go from, my ears will be pleased as punch with the Shure E500s. Unfortunately, no set was available when I stopped by the Shure booth, though one of my colleagues stopped by the next day and had a listen--she attested to the fact that they sound sweet. Unlike the consumer (that's what the c stands for in Shure E4c, for instance) line of earbuds, the E500 earphones are black in color--a welcome change from iPod white. The E500s are also the first of Shure's earbuds to utilize three "precision-engineered drivers"--one tweeter and two woofers--meaning you'll get superprecise highs and rich, chest-thumping lows from something small enough to conceal in a closed fist. How do they do that? I imagine with really good eyesight and nimble fingers. Like all of Shure's premium earphones, the E500 'buds come with the full assortment of ear fittings and a premium accessories kit that includes a cleaning pick, a level attenuator, and a 1/4-inch adapter. The coolest feature, however, is something Shure calls Optional External Sound Monitoring. These earphones have a Push to Hear switch that activates a microphone, allowing you to hear external sound without having to remove the 'buds--sweet. The price you'll pay for the luxury of flawless sound and useful features? About $500.