Shure E2 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Shure Model E2
Headphone Type Canal Headband Type None
Weight (g) 30 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 20
Impedance (ohms) 16 Cable Length (cm) 146
Frequency Response (Hz) 20 - 20000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$75
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 4.7 Bass Impact 4.8
Bass Quality 5.2 Mids Quality 5.5
Highs Quality 5.3 Soundstage 5.3
Detail 4.7 Portability 7.8
Isolation 8.5 Comfort 6.3
Durability 7.0 Improvement With Amplification 2.5
Value for Money 6.3    
Overall Score 5.6 Total Reviews 6

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member j-pak on 23 Jun 06  07:54
Individual review
Bass Extension2
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality2
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality3

I bought these for isolation to use with my DAP in the library. I've used them unamped 99% of the time since at the time I found amping them with my RSA SR-71 provided absolutely no difference to sound quality.

Build Quality - I've found these to be very durable. They have a good weight to them and the cable is very thick for an IEM/earbud (which can be a bad thing as well). The included hard molded Shure case is very nice, and is so durable I'm sure you'd be able to run over it with a car and they'd still be fine. The cons are that this IEM is very bulky, and heavy. It takes some time to getting used to the weight that you'll be supporting. I'm positive that Shure is aware of this, and one of the main selling points with the E3 is that they're sleeker and more comfortable.

Sound Quality:
Let me say that for the street price I think the E2 provides excellent sound. However the number scores I gave the E2 may be a little unfair since I was comparing them to much higher priced headphones.

Bass extension: (2)
Not very good with the E2. Can't hit the very low or lowest of low bass notes. Not a big deal for me with IEMs.

Bass impact: (5)
Fairly average to good. The E2 has lots of bass. And because of that the impact isn't so bad compared to other IEMs.

Bass quality: (2)
The lowest scoring category. The E2 has a very pronounced midbass hump that makes it almost unlistenable for some genres of music. This includes classical and jazz mainly. You would think that it wouldn't be bad for rock music, but even then I find this gets in the way of the music.

Mids quality: (6)
The E2 has an above average midrange, albeit it a bit dry. It might be ever so slightly recessed when compared to the bass, or it might be the midbass overshadowing the midrange. Most male and female voices sound very pleasant, and same with electric guitar.

Highs quality: (3)
Treble is rolled off quite a bit. Extended guitar solos sound particularly dull and lifeless at times.

Soundstage: (4)
Poor rating compared to full size headphones. Though for an IEM not so bad. On large symphony works the soundstage does become appparent and placing instruments in space isn't that difficult to do. Still an obvious "in the head" sound since it is an IEM.

Detail: (5)
Not very detailed, but doesn't hide anything either. The treble roll off hides plenty of higher frequency detail.

"Fun factor"
The E2 definetly has the fun factor and PRaT going for it. Good for rock music, gets the toes tapping.

Isolation: (8)
This will depend on fit. I find the small ultra soft sleeves most comfortable but they don't offer as much isolation of the foamies.

Comfort: (7)
Takes some time to get used to. But much better than any Etymotic product (ER4). Easy to insert and foamies and ultra soft sleeves are comfortable and I'm able to use them for about 2 hours before I need to take a short break. Weight of the IEM driver and enclosure can be an issue.

Despite all the negatives, at the street price of around $60 it's a very good buy if you need cheap isolation and fidelity isn't absolutely critical. I did throw in the fun factor as an extra descriptor since thats an area the E2 excels in. To improve on everything above and retain the fun Shure house sound, you can do just that by moving up higher in the Shure lineup.

Review by Senior Member epb613 on 30 Aug 05  10:22
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality4

In terms of the sound quality, I find the E2's just barely able to contend with similar headphones in their price range. Thus if sound quality is your only concern, I feel you should look elsewhere as there are many better sounding headphones for the same or less money.

However, the E2's do have a couple of very strong points going for them:

1. Comfort: Some people can get along with nearly anything, but those of us in the "people with smallish and sensitive ears" community may value the E2's as being one of the very, very few truly confortable headphones out there. That is - comfortable enough to use for hours at a time. The fact that there are now 3 different materials (foam, flex, and ultra flex) and 3 different sizes of tips (plus tips can be modded from other phones - my personal favorite - sony ex71 tips) that are compatible with the E2 really helps alot here.

2. Isolation: The E2's provide a very good level of isolation, again something hard to find among non-IEM's.

3. Portablility / Durability: I group these two catagories together as I feel they go hand in hand with each other. The E2's are quite light-weight and small - they can be carried anywhere. On the same token (and this is what I feel really seperates the E2's from the Sony EX-71's and the Sharp MD-33's) the build quality is excellent - both in terms of the cord (the rubber is thick enough to avoid getting caught/snagged, even under a bit of pressure - something the ex-71 failed horribly at, while it's not so thick as to be heavy; additionally the connecting plugs are quite well built and should'nt present a problem of the wires getting pulled; lastly there's less microphonics compared to other IEM's) and in terms of the ear buds - they are solid hard plastic and I don't anticipate anything (of reasonable weight) to be able to crush them; I weigh 245 lbs and even after stepping on them numerous times, they've held up fine.

In summery, I would call the E2's a more sturdy, and SLIGHTLY better sounding version of the EX-71's. If someone is happy with the EX-71's, I wouldn't tell them to upgrade, but if someone was like me - constantly being annoyed with the slightly cheap feel of the ex-71's then I think the e2's would be perfect for them.

Again, it must once more be stressed: if sound quality is your main concern, you can do MUCH better in this price range; my personal recommendation would be to pick up a pair of Grado Labs SR-80 (assuming open headphones don't present a problem to you).

Review by Member spoot on 15 Jul 06  19:39
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality5
Mids Quality3
Highs Quality6

I purchased these headphones in attempt to replace my sony mdrnx1b. Initially out of the package, these headphones were very flat, but as they wore in, the soundstage developed signigicantly. I kept the E2C's becuase I hoped that they would mature into a pair of $150 headphones, but they did not. They do have fantastic isolation though. It's a little scary walking through the streets becuase of the inability to hear cars. The thick sturdy cable was a huge improvement from my sony's. Overall, the E2C's are not worth the money that they ask for. $90, would be a more reasonable price for the quality of sound.

Review by Member anonymous on 26 Jul 05  14:23
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality4

I aquired these phones in an effort to have some decent sound on-the-go with isolation, and they haven't let me down.

Bass: The bass definitely isn't as punchy as a Grado, but it makes a good overall presentation. It's pretty neutral in terms of it being analytical or fun when it wants to be. Extension isn't the greatest, but it does a decent job reproducing what it is told to do. A little on the bloated side.

Mids: Mids aren't particularly liquidy, but they aren't scratchy either. At first they can be pretty awful but once burned-in properly, they aren't half-bad at all.

Highs: Highs have a pretty decent amount of detail considering how laid-back they are. Don't expect much here, this is probably the worst aspect of the E2c, but I wouldn't say they're as bad as everyone on Head-Fi makes them out to be.

Comfort: With the standard flex sleeves, comfort is not good at all. I notice a burning sensation while wearing them for some reason which can be unfomfortable, and the pressure also causes discomfort. Sound is decent. With the foamies, isolation is the best and the sound is vastly improved and balanced. I would recommend you use these if at all possible. Comfort is also better. With the EX71 tips, you lose a bit in the sound area but gain a lot in comfort over the foamies and flex. I have yet to try the soft sleeves but will edit once I have tried them.

Soundstage: Soundstaging is surprisingly good. The forward to back dimension is much bigger than my Grados and a 360 degree soundstage is portrayed pretty well. Not home-theater-like performance, but good.

Overall these are excellent performers considering the price. They cover all of the bases very well, all for a price tag under $100. I got mine for $50, which is an absolute steal. If you need isolation on a budget and are comfortable with earplugs, these are the ones for you.

Review by Member infiskik on 22 Jan 05  01:27
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality8

Highs - are nice, present and at times can get a little tinny and "blah", but still good on the average.

Mids - very nice, very rounded not bloated or recessed and are easy to listen to.

Lows - At first it was weak and the extension was a sound but had no feeling to it, after time it got better and now a bit more present in the low lows.

Comfort - im using them with soft sleeves and can be worn for over 4 hours with minimal if any ear pain.

Isolation - very good, maybe not custom IEM good, but good enough to let block out everone in my classes and study halls, and ambient noise while out an about.

Value - for 60 bucks you really cant go wrong with these, they are a first step into canal/iems and good one at that.

Review by Member Dura on 08 Jan 05  07:09
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7

I love these phones for their smooth sound.
Lots of others, very likely including our beloved webmaster, will hate them because of their rolled-of highs.
But I like that, perhaps because I always have felt digital treble has something annoyingly artificial.
This sound is not at all fatiguing, yet still vivid enough to let me enjoy music. But it's a matter of taste.
I found the large transparant body ugly, and hate the way the thick wire will not stay put over the ears, and compared to my beloved E3's they sound a bit muddy.
For me, they sound best and are most comfortable when used with Sony71 tips.
I found these phones very suspectable to occlusion (thumbing sound when walking), far more then other canalphones, perhaps because of the large body laying inside the earshell. On the other hand, the thick wire keeps microphonics low, and hardly gets tangled.
They are a very clear step up compared to the Sony and Sharp canalphones, and can be found for very reasonable prices on-line.

Shure E2