Selective Hearing

There are some times when a pair of headphones is the only way to make it through the day.  To be able to block out all the surrounding noise/chatter is crucial when trying to concentrate on a project. I acknowledge that it is just trading one noise for another, but for me it is much easier to tune out music than whatever else is going on around me.

I’ve always been an audio fan.  I was big into car audio in my late teens, then home audio after that.  At my last job I worked with a few guys that were big audiophiles and they opened my eyes/ears to high end headphones. I had a $30 pair of headphones and I had never even thought about upgrading, but these guys were raving about how much better the sound is in a good pair, so I started looking into it. I knew from my own experience how much difference good equipment makes in the car/home arena, so I figured that it made sense that if I invested a little more that I’d get better sound.  These guys were probably spending between $300 and $600 on their headphones though, and I wasn’t willing to spend that much on something that I couldn’t even try before buying.  At least with home and car audio you can go to the showroom and try out the demo models, but I’ve never seen anywhere that lets you do that with headphones.

The “good” headphones were starting around $100, so that is quite a jump up from $30.  The wires on my pair were starting to crack so I needed to replace them anyway, but I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money for something that didn’t really sound any better. I lucked out and found a pair Shure E2G’s on sale for $55 (which normally sell for around $100).  I figured that even if they didn’t sound any better, I could live with risking the $25 more. The E2C/E2G line was really the low end of Shure’s offerings, but let me tell you that the sound they produce was incredible compared to my $30 pair!  The sound on the E2G’s was so clean and crisp, I could hear parts of the music that I had never heard with headphones before.  The cheapies did have stronger bass than the Shures, but everything else was so muddy that I could never go back.  The extra bass is just not worth missing everything else.

Fast forward a year and a half to about a month ago.  My Shure’s started developing cracks in the wires, both wires, about an inch from the earpieces.  The fact that both wires were cracking in the same place, which also happened to be a stress point when they were in the supplied case, made me think that it was a design flaw.  I was still within the 2 year warranty period, so I decided to send them in.  It took about 2 weeks for the replacements to arrive.  During that time I had to rely on the freebies that came with my iPhone, which are buds that don’t block out any sound (I prefer the in-ear style) and don’t sound nearly as good. It was a long 2 weeks.  In the end, Shure sent me a brand new pair and I am SO happy to have them back!

And it turns out that the case design has been changed since I bought my original pair, so that seems to back up my theory that there was previously a design flaw.  Either way, hooray for companies like Shure that honor their warranties!

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 12:33 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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