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View Full Version : My Review of an iPod and SHURE E2C earphones


Zelda_fan
07-16-05, 10:59 PM
So I finally decided to buy an MP3 player. I did my research and found that the 20GB iPod suited my needs the best, so I went ahead and ordered one off of Apple.com for $299 + tax (apple ships free). Since I was paying so much for a music player, I decided to actually buy some decent earphones for it as well so I snagged a SHURE E2C off of eBay for about $70 after shipping.

First let me start off this review by saying that I am VERY critical of anything that apple makes. Anyone on this forum who knows me knows that I hate apple with a passion, so if I say anything good about an Apple product, you can take it to the bank. With that being said, on with the review.

IN THE BOX
(iPod)
http://www.apple.com/ipod/color/specs.html
-an iPod
-white earphones
-USB 2.0 connecter cable
-charger
-CD w/ iTunes software
-documentation
-2 Apple logo stickers

(SHURE E2C)
http://www.shure.com/psm/earphones/default.asp
-E2C earphones
-carrying case
-an array of different size fittings



iPod
-looks, style, and portablity
My first impression is that this thing looks very cool. The color scheme has a "soft" feel to it and matches perfectly. It size is well balanced. Very small, but not so small that you have to strain yourself to use it. To give you an idea, it's about the exact same size as an audio casset. In otherwords, you can drop the thing in your pocket, and no one would ever know you had it if it wasn't for the earphone cord. Even if you did take it out, it is so small and natural looking that you would look quite stylish with it. I do have ONE complaint though. The back side of it is a polished metal surface which smudges very easily (ie fingerprints). However, this is only a minor gripe as no one would see the smudges unless they inspected it very closely. Overall, I give it an "A-" in this catagory.

-Battery Life
On the Apple website it says the iPod has about 15 hours of battery life, and after useing it I have to say that this is pretty accurate. You can play games and look at pictures while listening to music, but this will of course make the battery life shorter. It has a power saving feature on it where it turns off the backlight after 10 seconds of idleness. This feature is very intuitive and the second you touch the controls, the backlight comes back on.

To recharge the battery, you simply plug it into your computer via a USB cable. Alternatively, there is an adapter you can plug into the wall which will connect to the iPod via the USB cable. It would have been nice if they included 2 USB cables (1 for the adapter, and 1 for the computer), but overall, recahrging via the computer's USB is very easy and hastle free.

Overall, the battery is adequate, and as long as you plug in your iPod to your computer before you fall asleep, your iPod will never run out of battery life. However, and extra USB cable would have been nice, becasue there are times where I might have my computer off and I just want to plug it into the wall adapter. For that reason, I the battery function an "A-".

-iTunes
Now I will tell you right now, I'm not a big fan of Apple software, but iTunes is actually kind of nice. On my computer I have USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 and I tried connecting the iPod to both. One thing that does suck, is that when you connect via USB 1.1 it makes your system lag while iTunes is accessing the iPod. However, I think this is just the nature of USB 1.1, becasue when I use USB 2.0 these problems go away with ONE exception. When you initially connect the iPod via USB, iTunes will hang for about 5 seconds. It won't effect the rest of your system, but it is sort of annoying.

iTunes allows you to organize your music pretty easily. You can import all of your MP3's by simple selecting the menu option "Add folder to library." There is a button with the picture of an eye on it called "browse" that lets you filter your music by genre, artist, and album. You can also change the music's name/artist/etc by simply clicking on what you would like to change. Makeing sure your music files are properly tagged is very important because it will make your music MUCH more accessable in your iPod as you will see later on.

The Music store is absolute geinus. ANY song ever published for 99c. It uses your account from the apple.com store, so it basically 99c on your credit card, and you get the song in an MPEG4 file (CD quality I think). I've used it a few times, and it's very quick and hassle free. None of that Microsoft digital rights crap, just a straight .m4p file that you can do whatever you want with. As a matter of fact, you are given very generous rights once you pay 99c for the song. This is just off the top of my head, but I think it is something like you can put it on an unlimited number of iPods, burn an unlimited number of CDs, and transfer it to up to 5 different computers. So basically you are allowed anything except putting the file up for download.

There music store also has something called podcasts which are very cool. First off, they are absolutly free which is the best part. Basically what it is is a pre-recorded radio show that you can download in a file then iTunes will transfer it to your iPod next time you sync it. It can range from trivia, to talk radio, to music radio. You subscribe to podcasts through iTunes, and iTunes will automatically download the new episode when it is released, and in turn sync it to your iPod. Podcasting is very new, so there aren't a TON of quality podcasts, but there is still a decent amount. After 10 minutes of searching, I subscribed for about 5 podcasts that I was interested in. Podcasting is a very awsome idea, and I have a feeling it is going to be HUGE in the future, so having an MP3 player that makes podcasting so easy is a BIG plus.

When you use USB 2.0, you can sync your music library with your iPod VERY quickly. I put about 400 (about 2gig) songs on my iPod at first, and it transfered them in under 1 mintue. USB 1.1 is about 10x slower, but that is to be expected. In short use USB 2.0.

Overall iTunes is a good program for managing your music library, and it is an EXCELLENT way to purchase music. It's fairly intuitive, but I had a little touble figuring out how to transfer photos and subscribe to podcasts. The iTunes freezing for about 5 seconds on connecting your iPod is annoying, but not reall a bid deal. The software is probably the best out there, but no perfect, so I'm giving it a "B+"

-Interface and Controls
The iPod has a simple, yet brillant control system. It's basically a wheel with four buttons on the side and one button in the center. You can move you thumb in a circular motion around the wheel, and that is how you highlight things, as well as change the volume. To select, press the white button in the center, and to go back, press the menu button located on the north part of the wheel. Pause/play is at the south part of the wheel, and Back/Foward is located on the west/east parts of the wheel. Another noteable feature is the "lock" switch located on the top of the iPod. You switch it on, put your iPod in your pocket and you don't have to worry about bumping into something and screwing up your playlist. Very very simple, and it just works.

The menu interface is sleek looking and intuative. If you tagged your mp3 files properly, you can select the music you want to play in a matter of seconds. For example, I want to listen to all my Billy Joel songs. Well I can do that in about 5 seconds. Or say I want to listen to all my Rock music. I can have that playing in 5 seconds too. It's that quick. You can also create your own playlists in iTunes and sync them to your iPod. You of course have standard optionsBottom line, the iPod does a near perfect job of putting thousands of songs right at your fingertips. I'm giving it an "A+" in this category.

-Sound Quality
The sound quality on the iPod is top notch - even with the included earphones. You will hear instruments and sounds on your songs that you didn't know existed. To be honest, I enjoy listening to music on my iPod more than I do on my THX certified 5.1 surround setup. My one gripe is the included earphones. They are very good for included earphones, but you really cannot truly appreciate the quality of your iPod unless you plug in some high end ones. So with the included earphones, sound quality is an "A-", but with some top notch earphones the quality is absolutly "A+" stellar.

-Skip-Free music
Simply put, the iPod dosen't skip, end of story. I dropped the iPod in my pocket, and shot some hoops on the goal in my driveway. I juked and dodged and tried my best to immitate Michael Jordan, and the iPod didn't skip a beat. A good solid "A+" in this catagory.

-Storage Size
20g is a lot bigger than you think. Right now, I've got about 25 hours worth of music, 5 podcasts, some pictures of my loved ones, and I'm only useing 2GB (10%) of the hard drive. It can also act as a removable USB hard drive by simply plugging it into the USB cable. I'm not going to assign a letter grade, simply becasue if you want more or less space, you can just buy a different modle (they make a 60GB model - enourmous).

-Photo Viewer
The iPod can also act as a photo viewer. The color LCD is actually pretty good. Not as good as the PSPs screen, but IMHO it gets the job done. The iPod's screen is 2in, which is bigger than you think at first. As long as you aren't looking at the screen from an angle the photo's look just fine. However, you look at it at an angle (especially outdoors) and it isn't that good. Still, I can listen to music on the couch while I look at pics of my friends and family, and that's nice thing to do. Overall I give the photo viewer a "B". It's good and is definatly useful, but make no mistake, this is mainly an MP3 player.

-Extras
It has a decent amount of games on it. You get solitare, bricks, parachute and a music trivia game. None of the games are really that great, but are a nice way to pass the time while listening to music on the subway or something. Music Trivia plays a random song from your MP3 collection and gives you a multiple choice question to "name that tune."

The other extras are a clock, notes, contacts, and calendar. The clock I admit is kind of nice if you have a watch, but nothing to write home about. The calendar and contacts you import from Outlook. You can't change or enter them in your iPod so it really is not that useful. With notes, you can copy a txt file onto the iPod's HD and view it in your iPod. Again, not really that useful.

The extras are nice tech demos, but other than the games and the clock, they are really useless. But that's ok becasue this is not a PDA this is an MP3 player. I guess the Photo viewer is really an extra, so I'll go ahead and give it "B" on extras.


Overall I give the iPod and "A". It isn't perfect, and there are a few things that would be nicer, but what it was meant to do it does damn well. No matter where you go, you will have all your songs at your fingertips, and it will play them at impeccable quality.



SHURE E2C
For those of you who don't know, Shure is a company that makes high quality audio devicies for musicians, film, and studio use. They have other more expensive earpiece models (E3C, E5C), but to be honest, it didn't make much sense to me to pay $400 for earphones. The E2C's retail at $100 but I got them brand new for $70 off of ebay.

These are the earpieces that SHOULD have came with the iPod. The sound quality is really just amazing. With these I can listen to my favorite songs and can pick out invidiviaul instruments or voices. You also get a good sense of bass with these. Obviously it isn't an earthshaking subwolfer, but for earphones it is awsome. Coupled with an iPod, you feel like you are really "in" the music.

However, before you get these, there is one thing that I must mention. READ the instruction manual before you use these. You MUST seat them in your ears properly to get quality sound. If you don't your music will sound hollow and weak. There is a technique and a learning curve associated to placing them in your ears, but once you learn how to do that it sounds incredible.

Even though they go deep into your ear, they are very comfortable earphones. On the ends of the earphones are removable tips that help the earpieces fit snugly into your ear. They give you 3 different sizes of tips so you can comfortably wear them no matter what your ear size is. Once you fit and insert them properly, they are very comportable. In fact, they are so comfortable, I can fall asleep with them in. That's something I can't say about any other earphones or headset.

They also have a good quality cord. At the part where the cord splits into two wires (left and right) there is a slider thing you you can adjust the cord to fit properly around your head. Also, the earpieces are designed so that the cord wraps around the top of your ear. This give you the option of having the cord go down your back instead of your front. That means if you put on a jacket, listening to your iPod with these is virtually invisible.

Two gripes. One, the cord is black, and it would just look better if it was white like the iPod, but honestly, with the quality sound it produces I could care less, but still a gripe none the less. Two, these earphones are so good that you will literally not be aware of your sourroundings. You cannot hear anything but the music comming out of your iPod. That is obvioulsy a good thing, but it can be bad at times. For example, you don't want to be crossing the street while wearing these. So for times you have to pay attention to other sounds, use the earphones that come with your iPod, but otherwise use these.

Overall I give these earphones an "A." I'm sure the E3C and E5C are better, but at the price point, you can't really beat these. They take an excellent product like the iPod and make it that much better. $70 well spent.

Clay
07-16-05, 11:50 PM
Nice review! :cool: Now you've got me wanting a pair of Shure's again. :D

oldsk00l
07-17-05, 12:00 AM
holy crap dude

what a glowing review......

six_storm
07-17-05, 12:04 AM
holy crap dude

what a glowing review......

:snicker:

Dude, the iPod kicks some serious arse and everyone (should) knows it. I love my iPod 20GB Color and no other MP3 player could even match it's possibilities.

Nice review though!!! :D

oldsk00l
07-17-05, 12:07 AM
:snicker:

Dude, the iPod kicks some serious arse and everyone (should) knows it. I love my iPod 20GB Color and no other MP3 player could even match it's possibilities.

Nice review though!!! :D

I guess I was meaning to infer that Jonk saying anything better than "I guess it doesn't suck" meant a rather huge event.

Slyder
07-17-05, 03:08 AM
First let me start off this review by saying that I am VERY critical of anything that apple makes. Anyone on this forum who knows me knows that I hate apple with a passion

So why buy an Apple product in the first place when there are 100 other makes out there which serve the exact same purpose giving the exact same quality and which are a lot more affordable then an overated MP3 player :confused:

LBJM
07-17-05, 03:39 AM
the ipod is not overrated it has the most third-party hardware accessories support of any of the mp3players and it supports mp3s. what overrated about the ipod in the itunies store.

I brought sony noise cancelling ear buds that were only half that price $50 AT bestbuy and they came with their own case too.

Zelda_fan
07-18-05, 06:00 AM
So why buy an Apple product in the first place when there are 100 other makes out there which serve the exact same purpose giving the exact same quality and which are a lot more affordable then an overated MP3 player :confused:

I simply did my homework, and found that the iPod best suited my needs on paper. It's not overrated :p Yeah, it's $300, but it's $300 well spent imho.

Vapor Trail
07-18-05, 06:15 AM
Nice review!!!

I'm thinking of buying an Ipod just to plug into my home stereo sytem. Much of my music collection was on (gasp) vinyl, and I'm since converted or replaced 90% of it with quality MP3's (along with all my CD's).

Does it come with a stand of some sort or is there one avail?

Also is there any problem with keeping the Ipod plugged in to the wall permanently???

The Ipod seems like the perfect device to play all my old tunes and has the added bonus of being portable. :)

Zelda_fan
07-18-05, 06:29 AM
yeah you could do that with an iPod. You'd need to buy an accessory, but it could be done. Check out these two accessories:

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wo/StoreReentry.wo?productLearnMore=M9868G%2FA

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wo/StoreReentry.wo?productLearnMore=TC100LL%2FA

Clay
07-18-05, 07:06 AM
So why buy an Apple product in the first place when there are 100 other makes out there which serve the exact same purpose giving the exact same quality and which are a lot more affordable then an overated MP3 player :confused:Two letters: UI :)

netviper13
07-18-05, 02:31 PM
So why buy an Apple product in the first place when there are 100 other makes out there which serve the exact same purpose giving the exact same quality and which are a lot more affordable then an overated MP3 player :confused:

Best UI, no hands down. ITMS is the easiest, most complete collection of digital songs available in legitimate form. And the thing just oozes sex appeal. Sure I could have bought a Creative or Dell mp3 player with the same storage for less cash, but I might feel ashamed showing it off in public. The iPod just has an air of class about it, and that to me is its biggest selling point.

Zelda_fan
07-19-05, 06:22 AM
Best UI, no hands down. ITMS is the easiest, most complete collection of digital songs available in legitimate form. And the thing just oozes sex appeal. Sure I could have bought a Creative or Dell mp3 player with the same storage for less cash, but I might feel ashamed showing it off in public. The iPod just has an air of class about it, and that to me is its biggest selling point.

yeah I really have to admit, I like the apple music store a lot. I can find every song I can think of. Can't say that about other legit music download programs (ie ruckus, napster, etc).

|JuiceZ|
07-19-05, 12:40 PM
Great review my friend :thumbsup: you've got me wanting some SHURE earphones to couple with my 40gig ipod photo now :D

LBJM
07-20-05, 03:49 AM
Juicez I like seeing your posts ;) I look more at the avatar than what's written lol

|JuiceZ|
07-20-05, 08:42 AM
Juicez I like seeing your posts ;) I look more at the avatar than what's written lol

hahah, always wondered why I was being ignored :D

Sazar
07-20-05, 08:49 AM
Apple's supposed to be coming out with a new product with video playback capability init?

Also, does the shure earphone set come with KY for easy insertion :o

npras42
07-20-05, 09:40 AM
lol.

Those shure earphones look like a similar in-ear design to my Sony ones. If so then they are actually really comfortable, less easily fall out and are much better than any other kind of earphones at keeping the sound out. Even if the mp3 player is turned off the outside world is noticeably hushed...

The Shure ones are probably better than my Sony ones (they cost more, so I'm guessing so), but since they seem to use the same principal design I bet you'd love them. It will just take you half an hour to get used to having somethin IN your ear as opposed to next to it.

Zelda_fan
07-20-05, 02:46 PM
Apple's supposed to be coming out with a new product with video playback capability init?

Also, does the shure earphone set come with KY for easy insertion :o

Yeah, if the video player can live up to the iPod it's gonna be sweet. I personally hate portable video, but if Apple manages to do it right like they did mp3s I might give it a shot. It will be a while though lol, the iPod sort of broke the bank for me.

What exactly is a KY? The E2C's come with 2 "sets" of fittings for your ear. Each set has small, medium and large sizes. There is a foam set, and a rubbery plastic like set.

Sazar
07-20-05, 02:50 PM
KY == KY jelly. For smooth insertion :angel:

Son Goku
07-20-05, 03:21 PM
KY == KY jelly. For smooth insertion :angel:

LOL, now I've heard that one before. But it wasn't related to ear plugs :o :rofl

|JuiceZ|
07-22-05, 09:49 AM
KY == KY jelly. For smooth insertion :angel:


hahahah! :condom:

npras42
07-22-05, 11:40 AM
Have you seen the ad for KY? They showed it in the UK a few months back.

"KY, for that tingly warm feeling."

Also, this is probably one of the best ads, but not sure its real:

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=12647&stc=1

Sorry, for the off-topic.