Product Review

Ear Phones for MP3 Players - Bench Tested: Shure E2c, Shure E2g, Shure E3c, Ultimate Ears 3 Studio

Part I

June, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.


Shure E2c




● Transducer Type: Dynamic

● Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW

● Impedance: 16 Ohms

● Weight: 30 Grams

● MSRP: $119 USA




Back in March of this year, we reviewed a number of ear phones that could be used with MP3 players. The results were surprising in that the most expensive did not necessarily test out the best.

We continue our series of ear phone tests here, with the Shure E2c, E2g, E3c, and Ultimate Ears 3 Studio.

As with the first set, Shawn McGloughlin, of Full Compass, sent the current phones to me for review. All of these ear phones can be purchased on their website.

First on the list is the E2c, which has an MSRP of $119 and can be purchased for less than $100.

These ear phones have dynamic drivers and an impedance of 16 ohms.

The Sound

Like the previous ear phones, I tested the current batch with an 80 GB iPod.

The E2cs sounded just a bit nasal, due to the peak above 4 kHz. However, they have very low distortion, so it is a matter of EQ to get the nasality down (iPods have a Treble Reducer setting in the EQ menu).

They fit reasonably well, but did tend to slip out of my ears. The phones with curved ear pieces seem to have that problem, as compared to the phones that insert straight into the ear canal.

On the Bench

The measured frequency response indicated very good bass (flat down to 20 Hz), but a significant peak at 4.5 kHz.

The SMPTE/IMD test resulted in extremely low IMD, coming in at less than 0.06% at 90 dB. Notice the scarcity of side peaks around the 2 kHz fundamental. This is really good performance.

At 20 Hz and 90 dB output, there was 1.6% THD+N. Excellent.

At 1 kHz, THD+N was 0.3%.

And, at 10 kHz, 0.42%. Overall, these are all good numbers.


I gave the E2cs a rating of 6 for Fit and 8 for sound. The phones have very low distortion, but that peak at 4.5 kHz necessitated some EQ. I hope that Apple and other MP3 player manufacturers begin to offer a more powerful EQ menu, with about 10 EQ bands across the spectrum so we can flatten those peaks that most ear phones seem to have.

Go to Part II.

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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