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Money No Object: Are The Top-End Shure E500's Really Worth

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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September 19, 2006 11:09:20 AM

You pay your money, you make your choice and if you have the money to spend, the Shure E500PTH earphones deliver a superb sound and great sound isolation. The Shure E3cs are still great headphones but they pale in comparison.
September 19, 2006 11:50:40 AM

Couldn't you have done some kind of quantitative analysis? That was the most rediculous review I never read.
September 19, 2006 4:37:30 PM

Quote:
Couldn't you have done some kind of quantitative analysis? That was the most rediculous review I never read.


Sound quality is extremely difficult to quantify; how do you prove that something sounds "better" with a chart?

Oh, and btw, it's "ridiculous."
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September 19, 2006 7:20:57 PM

Have you heard of the term "specifications"???

frequency response
sensitivity
impendance
power handling capacity

I'd like to know what these are so that I can make a definitive comparison.
September 20, 2006 1:50:05 AM

Quote:
Have you heard of the term "specifications"???

frequency response
sensitivity
impendance
power handling capacity

I'd like to know what these are so that I can make a definitive comparison.


Specifications are only half the story; sonic "signatures", whilst not really affecting sound quality, will affect your enjoyment of the music. The only was to make a definitive comparison is with your ears.
September 20, 2006 5:37:04 PM

True, but if I saw a frequency response curve and a few specs, I could see if the 500s were worth the premium. I know I like my speakers/phones on the bright side with the ability to dish out low bass(~25hz) cleanly and I could tell, simply with graphs, which phones I would prefer.
September 20, 2006 7:33:26 PM

You argue this as if you're actually planning to buy a pair of $500 headphones...

Would anyone seriously buy these? I can think of a million things I'd rather spend money on.

If I had $500 dollars to spend either on these headphones or a pile of shit, then I'd have one hell of a pile of shit.
September 20, 2006 8:53:38 PM

Some would say the same about a $600 graphics card....to each their own.
September 20, 2006 9:09:12 PM

Quote:
You argue this as if you're actually planning to buy a pair of $500 headphones...

Would anyone seriously buy these? I can think of a million things I'd rather spend money on.

If I had $500 dollars to spend either on these headphones or a pile of ****, then I'd have one hell of a pile of ****.


Quite the opposite!!! I would NEVER spend that kind of money on a pair of headphones, regardless of what kind of exotic materials, fancy technology or audio performance it had.

My point was that I prefer to see the specifications for something before I make any comparison, especially if I cannot "see and touch" the actual item in a brick-and-mortar store. The fact that the article omitted to mention any specifications simply shows that it was written by a poor reviewer.

Whether they really are an expensive pile of **** or not, I don't know, but without being able to listen to them for myself, and without any specifications to go by, the reviewers claims that these are "the best headphones to listen to" has absolutely no value or meaning to me.

If you are going to review a product and recommend it, you need to do a proper job and back up what you state.
September 20, 2006 9:13:15 PM

Shop smart, shop S Mart. Buy a pair of Etymotics, better sound, better feel, and you will have enough left for a new video card.
November 23, 2006 12:57:10 PM

It would be great if Tom's could do an independant review to find the best earphones including Shure, Westone, Ultimate Ears, and Etymotic. For example, here's a good review of earphones, but they also sell earphones, so I don't consider this independant.
November 24, 2006 3:55:21 AM

Quote:
True, but if I saw a frequency response curve and a few specs, I could see if the 500s were worth the premium. I know I like my speakers/phones on the bright side with the ability to dish out low bass(~25hz) cleanly and I could tell, simply with graphs, which phones I would prefer.


So you want lots of low bass AND bright highs...

You should just get a good equalizer, lest ye spend more on headphones than videocard... :) 
December 16, 2006 1:30:20 AM

Quote:
Couldn't you have done some kind of quantitative analysis? That was the most rediculous review I never read.


I second that opinion. What an idiot. i could see this guy reviewing a Ferarri and saying.."oh its a fast car and handles nice." I guess 0-60 times and 0-100 times, braking, skidpad and so forth are just numbers that give me no idea of the how the car rides.

Fricking fool.

What a schmuck.

Look,... how about giving me frequency response so that people that are audio saavy enough to know what a good response curve looks like could make a decision as to whether it was worth their time to hear them.

For instance. looking that the Frequency response of the ultimate Ears hybrid model on their website... I see a huge dip in lower midrange which would sound lousy. Looking at the UE-10 I see that the sound has some dips and so forth but they are not long pronounced dips which are IMHO much more audible as suckouts- which sound like you are missing something.

So I went to Shure's website ...why...? because I still hear 20hz- 20khz (yes I was recently tested at 43 years old) and when listening to products with steep rolloff at 15=16khz I really notice a lack of sparkle and presence. It is like I am listening through a heavy curtain.

So I expected a review with a measured frequency response at the very least.

This reviewer is such an amatuer BS artist it robs this entire site of credibility. It's like a 6 year old doing wine tastings- the guy is just guessing and has no idea what a good reference is , how to quantify it, or how to describe it.

A pity really.

Of course I am suspicious of Shure for not posting their specs.

IMHO most IPOD lsiteners don't know what to listen for as they ripped so much at 128kbs...the 128kbs sound has become their reference. They notice more bass- or the tooth etching titanium tweeter treble (horrible) and think that more is better. Well, perhaps that is fine for club music (which I also enjoy) but if you reallyw ant to hear it ALL- you must have good smooth frequency response. It is a lot easier to EQ a steady rise, than a choppy waveform.

I do care about sound, however, and will easily spend $700- $2200 for a set of headphones that delivers isolation and chills down my spine everytime.

There are a lot of people out there who won't spend more than $2 for a beer, $15,000 on a car and wouldn't bother ot take the girl of their dreams out for a dinner costing more than $35. I don't think of these people as frugal or cheap.... I just find them boring, bland, and devoid of excitment. Their idea of a beautiful woman is Britney Spears.

I say- let them keep their spending limits to $45 , let them enjoy summer vacations on the Jersey Shore, and dinner at Applebees, and Sketchers sneakers. But don't criticize me for spending $15000 on an epic heli ski vacation, dinner at Le Cirque, or wearing $400 Gucci diving loafers.

There are things in this world worth spending money on. things that last for more than 10 years should get a larger budget- particularly things that don't degrade with age.

You spend 1/3 of your life in bed- a good mattress (5 years)
You spend time commuting- a durable quality safe car (12 years- Mine is a 1994 E500)
You spend 2 hours a day listening to music- fantastic headphones are a intelligent choice...but only if they deliver fantastic sound. and no a 16khz roll off is not fantastic sound worth more than $150.

Also a higher impedance headphone is easier to drive without bass loss.

This reviewer has a place in reviewing headphones. I say....let him review the ones they give you for free from each airline- that's his restricted niche. They are within his budget.
December 16, 2006 2:46:19 AM

Quote:
True, but if I saw a frequency response curve and a few specs, I could see if the 500s were worth the premium. I know I like my speakers/phones on the bright side with the ability to dish out low bass(~25hz) cleanly and I could tell, simply with graphs, which phones I would prefer.


So you want lots of low bass AND bright highs...

You should just get a good equalizer, lest ye spend more on headphones than videocard... :) 

You can't Eq in what isn't there to begin with. Eq's typically do more harm than good unless they are high quality parametrics or if they are dealing with atrocius freq. resp.
December 16, 2006 2:48:38 AM

Quote:
Shop smart, shop S Mart. Buy a pair of Etymotics, better sound, better feel, and you will have enough left for a new video card.


The Ety's are a good choice if you are older and have lost your ability to hear above 15khz.

Otherwise....they are in the same HF roll off boat with the Ultimate ears.
December 19, 2006 9:49:30 AM

Quote:


I do care about sound, however, and will easily spend $700- $2200 for a set of headphones that delivers isolation and chills down my spine everytime.



I have a pair of Sony MDR-F1 cans (not Sennheiser; shock! horror!) and I totally agree with you here. The cans only cost me the equivalent of AU$275 (purchased in Japan. Aus price is AU$669), which is an absolute bargain in any case.

However, some people still can't believe that I would pay nearly AU$300 for a set of headphones. However, I'm not going to have to replace them in 6 months (or 6 years even), they are super comfortable and it takes far longer for listening fatigue to set in. Not only that but I would lose my hearing before they distort (especially through my Hi-MD walkman at 1441kbps PCM...drool), and they are the only pair of headphones I have which let me listen, nay, FEEL classical music the way it was intended.

Anyway, you're right about spending the money. I feel sorry for people who criticize other people for investing in quality headphones when, as you said, all they've ever listened to is 128kbps crap on their iPods.
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