The unique Shure method of fitting the earphones into your ears by twisting the buds down and in, coupled with the spongy earcups, creates a seal that cuts out most ambient noise.
The Shure SE110 earphones come with a bag of replacement earcups, which are either black foam or rubber flex – both did a good job of achieving sound isolation.
The frequency range of 22Hz-17.5kHz and Balanced MicroSpeaker gave us a listening experience that was acceptable but lacking in sparkle. The audio was clear and kept its shape at high volumes through both the lows and highs, but paled next to Denon's AHC-751s, or Jay's q-Jays, both of which really bring music alive.
We were also disappointed with the earphones' heavy weight. The root of this problem is that they have a short lead length and so ship with an extension cable, which you need to use if you're listening to your MP3 player more than 30cm from your chin – so pretty much all the time, then.
However, it appears little or no effort has been made to keep the plastic cable-housing lightweight; the join between extension and earcup cable is particularly chunky. The result is that the whole cable drags on your ears and, in our case, caused them to ache after a while.
A third, more minor problem is that the earphone jack is too wide to work with first-generation iPhones.
The price of the Shure SE110 is competitive, but the comfort issues and often bland acoustic display didn't endear them to us.
They're not a bad choice as an upgrade on a limited budget, but we recommend saving your money for something more special.