2003-09-02 – I’m wondering about what kind of headphones I should buy. I’ve started by taking notes of all the headphones at the local discounter and looking them up on, and I have browsed around Any other recommendations?

Based on what I read on and the web pages of a local shop [1], I’m thinkin of bying one of these:

Hm... Reading the threads about the Shure headphones on Joi Ito’s blog [2] [3], I decided that I probably want a Shure E2c [4]. The retailer in Switzerland is somewhere in Erlenbach [5]. Where the hell is that!? I then found a list of their resellers – now there’s already two middle-men! Oh well. I located the ones near where I live, and sent them some mail asking them for their price. The reseller in Switzerland says the price is CHF 220. We’ll see what they say. I’ve sent mail to the people at the following shops:,,,, and

The reason I switched from prefering the Etymotic ER-6 to prefering the Shure E2c is the rumor that the Etymotic headphones are very sensitive when it comes to disturbing the cable. As you move around, you will usually hear strange noises in your headphones as the cables brush your clothes. This really disturbs me. And the comments in Joi Ito’s blog seem to indicate that this sensitivity is much reduced for the Shure headphones.

2003-09-03 – The guys from Upbeat [6] say that he forwared my mail to the local agent, Dr. W. A. Günther Audiosystems, but that he believes they don’t have the headphones. Weird, since I checked there, first. I only sent mail to the shops after noticing that I can’t order from Dr. W. A. Günther Audiosystems directly.

2003-09-03 – The guys from Musik-Kuhn [7] say that they don’t have it in stock, but they can order it in three days and it will cost CHF 220. That is exactly the list price. Since nobody else replied today, I tell them that I want the headphones and that I’ll come and pick them up myself as soon as they’re here.

2003-09-04 – The guys from Audio Partner GmbH [8] are a day late. They say the phoned the local agent and expect to hear back today.

2003-09-05 – It took them another day, but now Audio Partner GmbH says that the model E2c is the cheapest one (the c stands for “consumer”), but that they don’t have it here in Switzerland. It would have cost between CHF 120 and CHF 150. The only one they have is the E2 model for CHF 220 (list price). They claim it is “better” and fit for “Live In-Ear”... Oh well, I don’t need “Live In-Ear” and Matt claimed on Joi Ito’s comments that all E2 models are the same accoustically. But since it is the only model they have here in Switzerland, I guess I will be getting the E2 from Musik-Kuhn...

2003-09-12 – Sent a mail the other day asking them about the expected delay and got a mail yesterday telling me that the E2 headphones had arrived (I guess that is not the E2c). Today I went there to buy them.

What they say is true: When the music is not playing, you’ll hear yourself breathing. If you click your tongue, this will also give you knocking sounds in your head. Nothing to worry about. While walking, every step you take will give you a little bass boom in your ears – unless you start sneaking around like a native American in a KarlMay book. This is a bit more of a nuisance. Especially since I wanted to have something to listen to my Minidisc while walking. At the time I was worried that small knock on the cable would produce sound artifacts; well that problem is solved. Moving the cable around produces no sounds.

I also haven’t settled on one of the earplugs; the default (medium) plastic one was ok. I tried the smaller one, and couldn’t get it to isolate as well. With the default plastic plug, however, I’m starting to feel uncomfortable after half an hour. Perhaps it takes some getting used to, or I will have to try the foam plugs.

2003-09-13 – I prefer the medium plastic plugs after all. I found that they have a little imperfection from the molding process which may irritate the ear, but you can turn it such that it points towards the cable and doesn’t touch the ear. A lot of discomfort disappeared after I learnt a new way of inserting the headphones into my ear; the entire cone must be within the ear itself...

The plugging of the ear causes all sorts of weird sound effects, however. I talked about the boom when walking, the breathing noises, and clicking your tongue. Today I also discovered chewing a croissant au chocolat sounds with your earphones on. Our ears must be works of wonder, compensating for all these internal sounds. When the ears are plugged, all this compensation doesn’t work anymore, and suddenly you notice all this stuff going on inside your hear.


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