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MP3 Players

Hear the silence with Shure's new sound-isolating earphones

CES has barely begun and already we wish we could block out the hubbub of Las Vegas with a pair of Shure's new sound-isolating earphones

While other companies threaten to bewilder us with flashing lights, loud music and tokens for the slot machines, Shure is taking a quieter approach to CES. The audio specialist has announced the SE Series, a whole new family of sound-isolating earphones that combine the clear, detailed audio of the previous models with a more stylish new look.

The range starts with the sporty SE210 ($150 or about £80, pictured left), continues with the more upmarket SE310 and SE420, and is completed by the flagship SE530 ($450 or about £230, pictured right). The SE530 earphones are basically the same as the Shure E500PTHs (rated 9.0 Spectacular), but don't include the push-to-hear control. If you still want to be able to press a button to let in sound from the outside world, an extra $50 (£25) gets you the SE530PTH, which includes the push-to-hear unit.

The new earphones are smaller and sleeker than the previous models. They look less like hearing aids and more like regular earphones, although you're still expected to wrap the cable round the top of your ears. The squishy foam sleeves still mould to the shape of your ear canals, but all the new models have tapered black sleeves instead of the geeky yellow cylinders that used to advertise your audiophilia. Each pair comes with three sizes of foam sleeve, three sizes of silicon sleeve (pictured) and a pair of triple-flanged silicon sleeves, so if you can't make them fit your lugholes, you're probably a pointy-eared alien. You also get a carrying case and a wax guard (ugh).

The new earphones should be on sale in February and we'll bring you more information about the UK pricing when we can. -ML