The 2004 Products of the Year Accessory

2004 Accessory
Shure E3c in-ear headphones (review) ($179; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.27 No.5, May 2004)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Acoustic Sciences Corp. SubTrap (review) ($438; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.27 No.9, September 2004)
AudioQuest Kilimanjaro speaker cable (review) ($6400/8' pair; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.27 No.1, January 2004)
PS Audio Power Port (review) ($50; reviewed by Art Dudley & Robert J. Reina, Vol.26 No.11 & Vol.27 No.3, November 2003 & March 2004)
Shunyata Hydra Model 8 AC conditioner (review) ($1995; reviewed by Michael Fremer & Paul Bolin, Vol.27 Nos.1 & 8, January & August 2004)

With music becoming more and more portable as data-storage devices like Apple's iPod (our 2003 "Budget Component of the Year") become increasingly fashionable and accessible, it only makes sense that we'd seek out a comfortable, adaptable solution for in-ear listening.

The Shures use a small earpiece with a protruding tube that fires sound directly at the eardrum, while a foam or soft-plastic sleeve fits around the tube and seals the ear canal, providing good isolation from external sounds and making the E3cs ideal for city living. They were always easy to fit and never felt intrusive as JA, true hipster that he is, enjoyed listening to Franz Ferdinand and The Killers on his daily commute from Brooklyn to the Stereophile offices in Manhattan.