Audio company Shure recently released its SE500PTH line of sound-isolating ear-bud earphones. Each ear piece features three balanced armature drivers, two woofers for low frequencies and one tweeter for high frequencies. The pieces use reeds to push the air, rather than a traditional speaker cone. Each ear piece also utilizes a crossover to isolate high frequencies from lows. “The task was to place the crossover circuitry and drivers into a small enough space to allow for the shock resistance and manufacturability without growing the earphone to an uncomfortable size,” says Sean Sullivan, associate product manager for earphones.
The Shure SE500PTH line of earphones was designed by the Chicago office of Radius Product Development, headquartered in Clinton, MA. The new line lists a frequency range of 18Hz-19 kHz, but Shure claims the SE500PTH line exceeds this range. The company does not find it necessary to declare this expanded range since it is unperceivable to average human hearing. “Do you state massively wide frequency range capabilities, even though they are meaningless in reality,” says Sullivan, “or do you try to give the customer a fairly stated frequency range that might give them an idea about the perceived sound of the product?”
The earphones feature an ergonomically designed shell made of PC/ABS blend with a tinted VMD coating, a nozzle designed to channel sound into the ear, a damper that filters the sound and shapes the frequency response and a sound isolating flex sleeve made of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which blocks outside noise and creates a comfortable, tight seal around the ear cavity. “Our acoustic engineers worked for months prior to and during development to hone the desired sound,” says Sullivan. “We have found that comfort and ergonomics play a key role in the listening experience, especially when dealing with earphones.” The SE500PTH earphones list for about $500.