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It should be common knowledge by now that with the iPod shuffle the play/pause button effectively replaces the screen other players still offer, with such quaint archaism. Hold it and you'll have first the current artist and track name read out, then a list of available playlists with a further click selecting that last mentioned. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it does work.
On the undeniably positive side, the output on these 'phones seems to have been improved over that of the SE115s. While still bass-heavy, the low end reproduction of the SE115m+ 'phones doesn't feel as forced and overpowered as the SE115s. As such, listening for long lengths of time proves less fatiguing.
If pushed, I’d probably have to concede that if it's low-end presence and warmth you want, then overall the Klipsch Image S4 earphones are probably a better choice but the Shure's have the edge in mid and high end clarity and precision.
Alas for Shure, Etymotic's excellent hf2 headset has a successor too - the hf3 - launching imminently and adding iPod shuffle support. While we obviously can't do more than speculate about their performance, it seems likely that they'll be every bit as good as the hf2s. Having used a set of those (albeit with custom tips) with my iPhone for several months now, I still find myself impressed that any single-driver earphones can sound so good.
That said, I just know that if you asked the average hoodie-wearing, backwards baseball cap-rocking 'yoof' on the street which sounded better it would be the Shure's they picked. Because "they 'ave more bass, like, init." And as much as such sentiments annoy me, I'm sure some of you might agree. Besides which, I can't really go around calling personal opinions wrong. It’s the price, therefore, that is the SE115m+ earphones' Achilles' heel. Unless some UK resellers can knock a good £30 off what they're currently asking, these 'phones are simply too expensive.
It's great that Shure has a decent sounding set of in-line remote-packing earphones available for those looking to upgrade the awful examples bundled with the iPod shuffle, iPod touch and iPhone. Unfortunately the asking price just isn't realistic right now.
Scores In Detail
- Sound Quality