But it's when you dial things back a bit that the SE110s really shine. Firing up the hauntingly acoustic Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's proved that these earphones can definitely uphold Shure's reputation. The SE110s created a lovely warm sound, with each pluck of each acoustic guitar string beautifully resolved, and the vocal arrangement flowing effortlessly over the top. Unfortunately this is the only decent track on an otherwise below par album, so do yourself a favour and by the single track from your favourite online music store.
Like all Shure earphones, the SE110s benefit from the excellent foam tips that ship in the box. I've used a lot of high quality earphones, but no other manufacturer has managed to produce tips that are as comfortable as the Shure foams, while the seal is equally impressive. Using a set of foam tips really does block out the vast majority of ambient sound, so you don't have to crank the volume up on your player and can save yourself from going deaf!
The SE110s also differ from their more expensive siblings when it comes to the bundle too. Although you still get multiple foam and silicone tips, the carry case is very different. Gone is the rigid case that ships with the other Shure SE range earphones, and in its place is a soft canvass carry case. Although this case isn't as sturdy as the others, it does have a belt hook on it, which may well appeal to some users - not me, but some.
The real point of the Shure SE110s is to open up the world of high quality, third party earphones to a wider market, and I think that many MP3 player users would consider paying the £55 price. However, the biggest problem for the SE110s doesn't come in the shape of a competing product from another manufacturer, it comes in the shape of a competing product from Shure itself. With the SE210s available for around £69 on the street, I would definitely stump up the cost of a CD and buy those instead.
The SE110s offer a solid entry into Shure's latest earphone line up. Unfortunately, price erosion on the SE210s means that the SE110s don't look like the bargain that they should be. The price differential may well change over time, but for now, my advice would be to save a bit more cash and go for the better sounding SE210s - you'll be happier in the long run.