Let’s face it, £419 is a lot of money to ask for a pair of earphones. But could it ever be worth it? You may be cynical but one listen to Shure’s new E500PTH earphones could be enough to change the way you think. If music is your life, then get ready to hand over some serious cash.
Shure has introduced a set of precision headphones packed with immoderate quantities of technology to transform your tunes. These triple-driver, in-ear canal headphones divide the low, medium and high frequencies between three incredibly small microspeakers inside each earpiece (two woofers and a tweeter). The jack connectors and associated cables are gold-plated for the best possible sound. These are the portable equivalent of a 5:1 surround sound system. You’d have to have ears made of stone to ignore the difference.
The sound output from these babies is astonishing. In our tests, we heard David Gilmour coughing, clearing his throat and breathing when he begins playing “Wish You Were Here”; a whispered “we need to turn it up” at the beginning of a David Gray track; and a short incantation we didn’t know existed during a slice of banging techno. Your music collection will resonate across bass, treble and mid-range. Beware – you’ll be overwhelmed by the E500PTH experience. And probably miss your bus stop.
We must admit to not being huge fans of in-ear headphones – that sensation when your prise them into your ear and the feeling of alienation from the world. You’re vulnerable when unaware; so you can’t ride a bike, drive a car or hear to announcements on the train using these.
Fortunately, Shure has thought of this and ships these headphones with a PTH (Push-to-Hear) box. At the touch of a button, this battery-powered device (which contains a microphone) overrides the music so you can hear what’s happening nearby through the headphones. It sits between the headphones and the music player and will be available as a separate £39 accessory.
Even without the PTH box, there’s no denying the incredible sound quality provided by these earphones. If you love music and have the cash, buy them. Otherwise, if you ever get the chance to try them out – take it. These earphones transform the way you listen to music.