The first buds I tried were the plastic ones you see in the picture on the previous page. Much to my suprise, music sounded completely deviod of bass - as if it had been completely cut-out and as a result the mid-range also suffered. However, the upper end did sound crystal clear. We tried all the ear buds provided with similar results and my conclusion was essentially one of disdain.
This was however, until I used the foam buds. Similar to ear plugs that you might use for aiding sleep, you squeeze the foam to make it fit into your ear. The foam then expands, conforming to your ear canal perfectly. With these, the sound was completely transformed, with the bass finally being added in to the equation. However, there is no denying that even with these buds, the e4cs bass is lacking – despite claims of “brilliant highs and extended bass”. This problem stems from the fact the driver is so small. On the plus side - the highs really are brilliant with amazing clarity. I could pick out every instrument individually without any problems and I could hear new detail in familiar music that I'd never heard before.
The down side to the foam buds is they do get dirty very quickly and also lose their ability to expand over time. A quick bath in hot water soon sorts this out, but they won’t last forever and £7.99 is a lot for replacements.
The two year warranty is reassuring, but at £156.89 you would expect nothing less. This price is too high for my liking however. I'd quite happily pay around £70 for the quality these headphones provide but believe anything more is extortionate.
The Shure e4cs deliver a very pure sound that's true to the recording, but for the most part they lack bass - though but this can be countered using EQ if you find it necessary. If you listen to complex, layered music, that doesn’t rely on a repetitive “boom” to carry it along however, then these headphones will give you even more appreciation for the music you love. Even so, the price is still too high for my liking.