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I used the E3m’s on my Apple iPod Nano and really enjoyed the plush sound across all genres of music, including alternative, jazz, classic rock, world, and R&B. I thought imaging was excellent, and at certain points I had forgotten I was even listening to earbuds, as there was the illusion of three-dimensional sound on well-recorded material. There was also very good insulation from outside noise. These are not active noise cancelling earbuds per se, but they were great at not letting competing ambient noise in.
My wife used the E3m’s on her iPhone 4S for music and phone calls. She concurred with me about fit, ergonomics, and sound quality. On phone calls, the built in microphone proved to be very good indeed. Obviously a lot of engineering went into the E3m’s performance and the microphone and volume control are not just tacked on features.
Paradigm has yet again done their homework, developing a great sounding product that is well built and ergonomically impressive. I must admit that the overall warmish sound may not appeal to all, but I made it clear that I lean that way for headphone listening, especially for portable devices. Bass was clearly the E3m’s strong suit; its rendering of the lower frequencies provided excellent body to the music.
E3m’s also lived up to their billing as tangle free and great fitting. The volume control and microphone worked flawlessly, and the earbuds themselves and the connectors were well above average in build. Certainly, at $130, E3m’s are not geared towards the cheapo market. However, their performance is in line with, or even surpasses, headphones and earbuds I have owned costing the same and even much more. If you are shopping for an upgrade to the crummy earbuds that come with your iDevice, put the Paradigm SHIFT series at the top of your list.
Paradigm E3m SHIFT Earbuds
Warranty: Two years parts and labor.
Paradigm Electronics, Inc.
205 Annagem Blvd.
Mississauga, Ontario Canada L5T 2V1
Apple iPod Nano Generation 4
Apple iPhone 4S