Excerpt: You guys know Shure; it’s best known as a microphone manufacturer, but millions of vinyl lovers have had long-term affairs with Shure’s phono cartridges. The company jumped into the earphone market in 1997 and focused on pro users—musicians and sound engineers—but audiophiles quickly got the word. Microphones, cartridges, and earphones have one thing in common: They’re all “transducers.
Conclusion: There are few in-canal earphones available that offer the stellar sonic experience of the high-end Shure SE846.
Pros: Stellar sound quality. Includes two detachable cables. Tons of accessories, including hard shell case, multitude of eartip options, inline volume adapter. Includes ear nozzle pieces to adjust sound signature to personal tastes.
Cons: Extremely expensive for a non-custom molded pair. No inline remote or phone controls for mobile devices.
Conclusion: Recommending a pair of headphones that cost close to £1,000 is difficult, because the law of diminishing returns is ever present. This pair being truly stunning examples of what can be done with audio engineering in 2014 does not make the next-best pair that costs less than half the price bad. Indeed, Shure's SE535s remain stunning performers in their class and for most people are as expensive as anyone needs to go.
Pros: Tremendous sound quality, exceptional detail and balance, sturdy design, customisable sound signature using nozzle filters
Cons: Expensive choice, unlikely to suit very small ears