This is the second of my review of the new Shure SE range earphones, in this article I will be looking at the Shure SE310 – big brother to the SE210.
As this review mainly comprises of comparisons between the two I suggest you refresh your memory with my thoughts on the first one here.
At the £140 price mark these earphones are not cheap and at a huge £55 premium to the SE210, there is a lot of expectation built in to the price but can they live up to it!
The SE310 are based on the same single driver design as the SE210 using Shure’s Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker with the added addition of a Tuned Bass Port. You may be expecting to see this port but alas it seems to be of an internal type and once I described its function you will understand why.
Tuned Ports are actually a common occurrence on house speakers they allow the designer to get away with a much smaller enclosure size for the required low end response. In the case of these earphones the tuned bass port will have the effect of extending the bass response to lower frequencies as well providing a nice hump in the frequency response around the low end (at the expense of control or damping, but that’s another story and a story which is too complicated to go in to here!).
You’re probably wondering yes, I can see the port on my speakers but not on these earphones. In my previous review I briefly covered that these MicroSpeakers are infinite baffle designs and require a good seal between earphone and ear to produce any bass, well if we stay with the speaker analogy.
Think of the space between your ear drum and the earphones as your living room, the earphones as your speakers and the Tuned BassPort as the port on them speakers – are you beginning to see why the bass port is not visible? If the port was visible then it would be like your speaker manufacturer not installing the port in your speakers but expecting you to drill a hole in your living room wall and installing a port – sound from the speakers themselves would not change at all and at the earphone scales it would have the effect of leaking away all the bass response.
Packaged in a flowing curve like housing provides a nice elegant touch a far cry from the boxy look and feel of the SE210, however the shapely housing creates a longer earphone which some people may have trouble fitting to lay flat within the outer ear.
Waste issue is still there as the SE310 and SE210 share the same kind of packaging, so as I warned previously make sure you are tooled up and have the means to get in to this fort knox product. Please lend a hand to any elderly folk you know who may have purchased this item.
Inside all this packaging, you will find the usual suspects as supplied with the SE210. The deluxe fitting kit includes a selection of tips including newly designed foam types, 3.5mm jack extension cord (more on this later), storage case and short form user manuals.
The foam tips have been redesigned with a non permeable coating so they are wipe able prolonging their service life, also they are extremely pliable. If you have ever used the original Shure E range yellow foam tips you will know how course and well – foam looking they are, these new foams look and feel more smoother and softer. I would hazard a guess and say they are neoprene based and still exhibit a good expanding force so maintain a good seal between the earphones and the ear canal.
click on images for larger versions.