Shure SE420 Headphones Review
The Shure SE420 headphones should be taken into consideration if you’re looking for in-ears.
The Shure SE420s' ear buds are one part sparkling gray and one part slightly-darker sparkling gray. The ear buds themselves have nozzles that protrude at an angle. The tips of these nozzles are open to the air, but there is a guard at the very bottom. The headphones are meant to be worn with the cord around the back of the ear, as indicated by the 'L' and 'R' markings on the back of each ear bud.
The cord is dark gray, and truncates at a heavy-duty junction where the two channels meet. This split has a 1/8-inch plug, which you can connect to a media player or the included extension cord for additional length.
In the Box
In the box is a treasure trove of sleeves (4 sets of foams in three sizes, 3 sets of soft plastic in three sizes, and a set of triple-flanged). You'll also find the headphones, their extension cord, an optional in-line volume switch, a 1/4-inch adapter, an airplane adapter, and a firm-covered carrying case.
In terms of durability, the Shure SE420s seem to be in good shape. The cord is thick, has robust junctions with the ear buds and plug, and seems to be well constructed overall. The one, somewhat minor issue we found was with the neck split slide-adjuster. As on the SE210s, the slider ripped quite easily. The cord guards tend to whiten with stress, which might not bode well for durability. Another issue is the open nozzles. The nozzles don't have a guard at their front, which exposes their interior to all kinds of gross stuff. While there's a cleaning tool included, it won't reach far into the nozzle. This means the bottom of the nozzle could accrue rogue ear wax and dust which, over time, will both decrease audio quality and just be really gross in general.
These issues aside, however, these headphones look and feel quite rugged. You don't feel like you need to treat the SE420s with kid gloves, which is definitely a good attribute. As long as you watch for the issues mentioned above, then your Shure SE420s should stay healthy.
In-ear headphones don't have a lot of space to work with. Even a really great design is likely to go unnoticed due to their innocuous size. This being said, the Shure SE420s look nice. These headphones have the typical Shure bent nozzle, which means you either have to loop the cord around your ears or the headphones will stick straight out of your ears (which isn't particularly flattering). The headphones themselves look fine enough, however. They're different from the iPod headphones out there, but they just aren't particularly attractive or unattractive. Like the Shure SE210s, these might not look overly fancy, but they look nice enough.
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