Shure SE110 Sound Isolating Earphones – User Reviews

Shure SE110 Sound Isolating Earphones are excellent for blocking out external noise while providing good sound quality, allowing you to listen to music at lower volumes, thus helping to prevent hearing damage. This feature, called sound isolation or noise isolation, is a primary feature of the Shure SE110 Earphones.

These earphones are most effective and show their true value in noisier environments including when traveling (buses, trains, airplanes), on the street, or when others are talking loudly in the background.  They provide a definite improvement in sound quality and comfort when compared to standard headphones usually included with mp3 players or cell phones.

The Shure SE110 Earphones are an entry-level model of Shure earphones, so there are other earphones available that have higher quality audio and better specifications. But, if your focus is on sound isolation and construction quality, then the Shure SE110 Earphones provide good value and are built with durability as a top priority, while also being covered with Shure’s highly-regarded two-year warranty. These earphones are no longer a new product but at current prices, they provide excellent value for your money, especially when compared to their original price when first released.

The goal of this article is to filter out the noise, and to accurately present the common issues and widespread views related to the user friendliness of the Shure SE110 Earphones, from the average user’s perspective, based on user experiences. In other words, comments, views, and personal preferences (positive or negative) that are not supported or repeated by others, are not the focus here.

Shure SE110 Sound Isolating Earphones

Highlights of the Shure SE110

  • Blocks background noise: Largely blocks out background noise heard when travelling (bus, train, or airplane), from appliances (fans, air conditioners, or heaters), from nearby construction, from street traffic, or from others talking loudly. They almost function as earplugs while they play your music, thus you should avoid using them when your full concentration is required, like when riding a bike on a busy street.
  • Preserve hearing: Sound isolation (or noise isolation) helps prevent hearing damage, that can otherwise be caused by listening at higher volumes to compensate for external noise.
  • True sound isolation: In-ear earphones are more effective than over-the-ear headphones for sound isolation, due to the tighter seal it forms with your ear. This is a more natural way to block out external sounds, compared to over-the-ear headphones which are heavier and require batteries to cancel out the noise, rather than block it.
  • Durability: Well-designed, includes an extension cable that is much thicker than standard earphone, which helps avoid tangled cables that can cause damage to the earphones. Any damage to the extension cable would also not require the earphones to be repaired or replaced.
  • Custom fit: Included “Fit Kit” of earphone covers provides more choices for a better earphone fit and seal, for different ear sizes and shapes.
  • Longer listening: Improved sound quality and comfort over standard mp3 player headphones, especially for longer listening sessions.
  • Warranty: Shure’s 2-year warranty is highly-regarded by users and will replace or repair products without any hassles, while customer service is very responsive and helpful.

Potential Inconveniences for Some Users

  • Cord length: The included 3-foot extension cable may be longer than some people prefer, and may sometimes get it the user’s way when moving about. The actual earphone cable is short, so it is not likely to be used without the extension cable.
  • Adjusting: For some people, in-ear earphones may not be as comfortable or may take some time to get used to. Without a proper fit (using the included appropriate-sized earphone covers), users may find that the quality of sound that they hear, does not match the quality of sound produced by the earphones.
  • Bass preference: While not weak on these earphones, bass levels may not be strong enough for some users.
  • Cleaning unavoidable: In-ear earphones (canal phones) can get dirty with ear wax, quicker than other types of earphones/headphones; though the included cleaning tool is effective and easy to use.
  • Moving about: A “cable thump” effect can occur when wearing in-ear earphones in general, where you hear a “thump” sound when the earphone cable is touched. This may be a distraction for some people while active (i.e. running or exercising), but is generally not a major issue.


Shure SE110 Most Helpful User Reviews

These are user reviews & comments, both positive and negative, that are rated as being very “helpful” by larger amounts of users (generally over 80%) for the specified web site.

Topic: How They Feel & Sound Quality
95% of Amazon users found this review helpful – Full User Review
“These are very good. Yes they fit tight in your ears … I travel a lot and love the heavy cords as they are less likely to break if snagged… I don’t understand the negative comments regarding having to loop the wires over the ears, I let them hang with no problem… in short they couldn’t be better. I bought a pair of Bose over the ear headphones prior to these and the sound quality of the buds is as good as the Bose.”
Topic: The True Test
87% of Apple Store users found this review helpful (original review is no longer online)
The true test in my opinion is the train ride to work in the morning and these perform great. They drown out most of the surrounding noise and all of the ranges come through beautifully.

Topic: Proper Use
97% of Amazon users found this review helpful – Full User Review
“Although I was initially frustrated with the sound, I learned from reading that I wasn’t using them right. The secret is to compress the foam and insert them into the ear and hold while they expanded back to make a snug fit. Once you figure this out, the sounds is amazing. For me, the fact that they are small and easy to carry around, plus are only 1/4 the price of the Bose headphones, I am very happy.”

Topic: Very Good Noise Isolation
95% of Amazon users found this review helpful – Full User Review
“They do not disappoint… once the foam expanded again, noise isolation was very good… I found that dance, techno, hip hop is where these phones really shine. The warm slant really works to their benefit. When playing rock and acoustic, it didn’t detract from them. But when I put on the Brandenburg Concerti, something interesting happened. It exposed their lack of spatial dimension, and balanced sound.”
Topic: If Noise Isolation Is The Priority
86% of Apple Store users found this review helpful (original review is no longer online)
The foam earbuds on the Shures do a great job in blocking outside noise, better than the rubber ones. Another thing is that the earphone connection fits into the iPhone’s recessed jack. If you’re looking for a quality pair of earphones and don’t mind having less bass than the average pair of earphones or you’re just not a fan of bass than you will like the Shure SE110s.”

Topic: Shure’s 2-Year Warranty (Same Warranty, Different Model, Not Shure SE110)
100% of Amazon users found this review helpful – Full User Review
“After 16 months, the flex where the cable curls around each ear perished. Despite having lost my warranty card etc, I sent them away to Shure with my Amazon email-receipt and hoped for the best. 2 days later, Shure provided me with an entirely new set of headphones, freshly boxed. That is, the 2 year warranty is outstanding! The new pair they sent did, in my opinion, use a more flexible material for the cabling – could Shure have learnt their mistakes and changed this previous flaw? Maybe, and if not at least there’s always the warranty to fall back on.”

Topic: Noise Isolation & Comfort
78% of Amazon users found this review helpful – Full User Review
I have found that they cut outside noise down sufficiently for me to listen at a comfortable volume. I use the foam pieces and have found it tricky to loop the wire over your ear… [but after seeing some suggestions, it seems that] tightening the wire at the bottom helped greatly as well as forgoing the ‘loop’ over the ear. They actually fit better without ‘looping’. I also took the suggestion of ordering ‘flange’ tips made of silicone… excellent idea.”

From the Forums – Related User Experiences

Forums are often the best places to find answers. Thread summaries show the key points & conclusions of the thread authors, to save you the time of searching the full thread for answers.

Topic: Shure 2-Year Warranty
Full Forum Thread
Thread Summary: Users are very pleased with Shure’s customer service and warranty. The product warranty is 2 years with the receipt. Without receipt, they use the manufacturing date code of the product to determine your warranty status (which may mean you do not get the full 2-year warranty in relation to when you bought them, if they were manufactured over 2 years ago). Users report generally simple and hassle-free repair/replacement of their Shure earphones, within the warranty period. For best service, you should contact support for the original country of purchase. There is no upgrade program, where you can trade in for a better model. If the warranty has expired, there is a replacement fee.
Topic: Shure Warranty Repair Experiences
Full Forum Thread
Thread Summary: Several users reported receiving replacement earphones for free, even after the warranty expiry. Contacting customer service with the receipt would lead to the quickest resolution. But Outside of the 2-year warranty period, Shure may ask for a replacement fee before sending you a replacement, but the users here reported that no fee was required in their experiences. The general consensus here is that Shure has excellent customer service.
Topic: “Burn In” Earphones & Sound Quality May Improve
Full Forum Thread
Thread Summary: For new headphones, “burn in” refers to playing music continuously through the headphones at a regular listening volume, for a similar purpose and effect as breaking in a new pair of shoes, since to some people, a brand new pair of headphones may not sound as good as a well used pair. The method of “burn in” and its effectiveness can vary with different models of headphones. Common recommendations are to “burn in” between 100 to 200 hours. It is not an exact science, and some may not agree that it actually works. But for some, it may help with improving general sound quality for brand new headphones.

Major Online Reviewers

Reviewed by: PCMag.com
Full Review
Review Highlights: “The design of the SE110 is perhaps its strongest feature. Sturdy cabling meets earpieces that are fairly bulky… but lightweight. The foam tips provide an excellent, stable fit without much fiddling… The SE110 has an even bass response — more flat than booming… The SE110 was, nonetheless, a joy to listen to… One common problem [for in-ear earphones is] “cable thump.” Simply put, you hear a deep thump that is nearly as loud as the music [when the cable is touched]. Cable thump makes these earphones a less suitable choice for the gym… but I don’t consider this to be an issue otherwise…””Like most people, I’m not doing much critical listening on my iPod. I’m doing a lot of casual listening on the subway and on the go. The SE110 provides what I want from a pair of earphone in these scenarios: It delivers quality audio performance and a very secure fit… [An] excellent [option] for those who don’t want to spend a mint but do want better sound and fit than what you get with your MP3 player’s bundled earbuds.
Reviewed by: CNET.com
Full Review
Review Highlights: “If you’re looking for a relatively affordable pair of earphones that can withstand both audiophile scrutiny and physical abuse, the Shure SE110 can rise to the challenge… Shure’s SE110 earphones are one of the best values you can find for under $100… With the included two-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects, there’s a good chance that your Shure SE110 earphones will outlast your MP3 player… Shure’s earphones (including the SE110) hold one of the highest standards we’ve seen for construction quality…””Shure’s included “Fit Kit” is one of the best around, offering multiple sizes and types of earphone fittings (foam and rubber) to create what is hopefully a well-sealed and comfortable fit. Without a good seal in the ear, even a $500 pair of earphones will sound thin and tinny… Labelled as a “Sound Isolating” earphone, the Shure SE110 earphones do not disappoint when it comes to offering peace and quiet. We were more than happy with the SE110’s ability to isolate us from background noise, but again, finding an earphone sleeve that provides a tight, yet comfortable, fit is crucial. All in all, the Shure SE110 earphones have the highest quality construction of any earphones under $100.”

Key Specifications from Manufacturer

THE BASICS
Sound Isolation Yes, blocks over 90 percent of ambient noise
Warranty Yes, two-year limited warranty
FEATURES FOR USER CONVENIENCE
Extension Cable Included Yes, 3 foot cable for standard 3.5mm headphones
Carrying Case Included Yes, soft case with zipper and inner mesh pouch
Extra Earphone Covers Included Yes, “Fit Kit” includes 6 total Flex & Black Foam sleeves (S, M, L)
POTENTIAL EXTRA COSTS
Replacement Earphone Covers links to compatible earphone sleeves
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Speaker Type Balanced MicroSpeaker
Sensitivity (1mW) 113 dB SPL/mW
Impedance (1kHz) 27
Frequency Range 22Hz – 17.5kHz
Cable Length/with Extension 18 in. / 45cm (54 in. / 136cm)

Notes: For all quoted, summarized, and linked text, all content credit goes to the original authors. This article is meant to provide a solid start for your research into this product, by showing what other’s have experienced.

Review Sources: Amazon.com, Apple Store, CNET.com, Head-Case.org, Head-Fi.org, PCMag.com, Shure.com

Related Information

» Shure SE110 Sound Isolating Earphones @ Shure Online Store

» SE Series Earphones: Black Foam Sleeves @ Shure Online Store

» MP3 Players: How Loud Is Too Loud?

» Sound Isolating Earphones vs. Noise Cancelling Headphones

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