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Shure SE425 Earphone

89% Positive Reviews
Rated #21 in Universal Fit


Pros: Clarity, Balanced, Noise Isolation, Comfort, Flush Design, Detachable Cables

Cons: Subdued Bass

Shure has definitely outdone themselves with this wonderful product. Never have I experienced more clarity in a pair of IEMs. For someone who listens to alternative rock, pop, and an assorted array of indie music, I say that few IEMs can do better. The amount of detail displayed is extraordinary. Vocals are crystal clear and forward, especially female vocals. However, the bass is lacking a bit in quantity, but they're by no means flat. It's still punchy enough to satisfy most listeners. No, these IEMs are not for bass-heads, but for those who want precision. If you're someone who prefer to have lows that accentuate exceptional mids and highs, these are the headphones for you. They're the quintessential headphone for the intimate listener.


Pros: Great fit, wonderful isolation, superb mids, good clarity

Cons: Could use a little more treble extension, hard to remove the olive tips

Shure SE425 - Highly Impressed - Great Build, Great Sound


I received these as a replacement for my SE420 - which unfortunately had to be replaced due to the cable splitting at the relief (luckily inside warranty).  Kudos to the fantastic team at Now Sound in NZ for their prompt work replacing them.





The biggest change from the older model has been the addition of a detachable cable - and the design for this is wonderful.  It now includes a memory wire (some love it, some hate it - I find it handy).  The housing is now hard plastic (the old one had a rubber cover which would keep splitting).  The hard cover makes it a lot easier to insert and remove.  The housing also seems smaller than the 420 - and once inserted fits flush to your ear.




Fit / Comfort

The new housing makes it very easy to fit - and get a great seal every time (for me).  I did have to change from medium to large olives.  The insertion is a lot shallower than the 420s - but the change in olive size ensures I get a perfect fit.  The housing fits flush to my ear, and I have no issues with discomfort.  These are comfortable enough to sleep in.  I've also been running with them - and have had no issues with them falling out.  The new memory wire makes looping over the ears very easy.  The memory wire on the 425 is not as stiff as on my 315s - and is very comfortable.


To remove the iem's, all I do is swivel the cable out of the way, then grip the body and gently twist.  It is very easy.





The microphonics on the 425 are very much reduced compared to the old 420's.  I'm finding virtually no microphonics from the new cable.  The fit I have is amazing for isolation as well.  These isolate for me a lot more than the 420's did (and as I said above, the insertion is shallower).





Well I guess this is the main sub topic.  Couple of disclaimers - I really like the Shure sound - I started on SE102's, went to SE420's - then got a set of 315's while my 420's were being replaced.  I haven't heard much in the way of high end iem's - so can't really give a comparison / benchmark.  So the following is solely based on my thoughts of the SE425 in isolation.

Bass - while the 425 is not an overly bassy iem, the bass is present, it extends well (better than the 315 or 420), and is tight and controlled.  The best thing about the bass is that it doesn't bleed into the mids.

Mids - the Shure strength.  Silky sooth and absolutely fantastic for vocals.  Also great with acoustic guitar.  Nils Lofgren's Acoustic Live album is simply blissfully enjoyable.  The mids are very present  - probably even accentuated, but they don't seem overly forward IMO.  They are just really well balanced.

Highs - probably the only thing that I wish there was slightly more emphasis on (it can be achieved with a touch of EQ though bigsmile_face.gif ).  The highs do roll off quicker than I'd like - and IMO this is the 425's only real weakness.  They just need a little sparkle to make them great.

Clarity - another strength.  Instruments are well separated, and the music is very well detailed and clean.  I love listening to acoustics and picking up every nuance - fingers moving on a fret board etc





The 425's are a really good iem - well designed and built (these will last for years), superbly comfortable and really smooth and detailed.  The mids are the strongest point - but the entire sound to me is balanced and relaxed.  The one weakness (for me) is a slight lack of upper treble - but easily fixable with EQ.


Pros: smooth mids, detailed and analytical but not dry, works well with any device but scales quite well

Cons: stock earbuds may not fit everyone but can always upgrade to custom sleeves

Ever since picking these IEMs up, they have been my go-to pair for almost every genre of music. They provide a great balance of neutrality paired with extremely forward and lush mids which do not make the IEMs sound dry at all in comparison to the Etymotics. Bass extension is awesome and imaging is fantastic with awesome instrumental placement giving almost a 3D soundspace to well mastered tracks.


These also scale well although not as well as some others. Due to their impedance levels, they work well out of almost any device natively but paired with an amp it changes the sound slightly. My E07k gives a more neutral sound in comparison to a more full-body (slightly more bass) compared to directly out of my iPhone 4S. 


These IEMs are without cons although I believe there is a lot more to love about these than to hate. First of all it may not be comfortable for everyone due to its unique over-ear design and their tips. Out of the box, the tips did not fit my ear too well but YMMV. For a lot of people complaining there is not enough bass, I feel that it is plenty for me and is definitely present although they do not take the mainstage in the mix - the mids do. However, the highs could use more shimmer. Cymbals and female soprano vocals struggle to punch through with authority but do sound very good as they blend well with the extremely detailed and forward mid-highs. 


Overall I would definitely recommend these IEMs to almost anyone who is just getting into audio or someone who wants to add an overall neutral and detailed IEM with probably the best mid-range out of any IEM in my opinion. I like these so much that I ordered custom shells from Sensaphonics and the fit issue is no more. Bass is tightened up with a more tactile feel and I can listen to it at much lower levels without damaging my hearing. I think these IEMs fit the bill for a $300 IEM.


Pros: Comfortable, clean sound stage, no bloat

Cons: tips are hard to get off, putting them on can be a struggle, price



Comfortable: Coming from a few different buds and a few different IEMs these felt like a dream to wear for more than 4 hours at a time. That's my biggest complaint with headphones and IEMs is the fatigue that comes with wearing them for long periods of time. The around the ear shape shifts the weight from the canal to the back of the ear, making them infinitely more comfortable. Because I have two different sized canals, I had to use to different tips on each side. It does help in recognizing which way to put them in :). 


Clean Sound Stage: Nothing sounds bloated to me in one way. They're not as clean as my ER4PT, but I like these better due to the comfort. (I thought the ER4PT were the most uncomfortable headphones I had ever used). Because I am no longer in pain while listening, I can really grasp the strong lows and mids that were absent from previous headphones.They can be a little bassy, but I just compensate with the EQ.




The Tips: I thought I actually broke the headphones trying to heman the tips off. I also thought ripped every pair of tips that I tried to get off. Neither of which are true, but man did they make it hard. I ended up using the glide style tips because I could never get the foam ones in before they had already reformed -_-.


Putting them On: This is my first time with IEMs that go over the ear, and I spent about 2 hours trying to get them on right. Lots of youtube videos and fiddling. I found the right way and got the isolation that I needed to make these headphones shine.


Overview: They don't sound nearly as good as the ER4PT for the price, but for the comfort, the tradeoff worth it for me. If I had the money I would have jumped to the 525, which I recommend, but se la vie. Hope this helps someone a little bit. 


Pros: Bendable wire near ear, great fit, beautiful isolation, smooth bass, clean highs

Cons: cable gets twisted easily, the cable with the built in mic is poorly made

I used the e4's for about 6 years, loved them, never had one problem until one day I was lazy, forgot to throw them back into the case and the cat got ahold of them. I emailed shure and they said they no longer produced them however that they would upgrade me to the 425 for the same cost as repairing my e4's would have been. 


I was a bit skeptical since the fit and design was completely different. 


My mind changed quickly.


After finding the right sleeve, and doing the weird over,behind my ear deal (shure iem users know what I mean) I was in love. Out of the box.

The isolation was the first thing I noticed, the world was just shut out. Such a great and comfortable fit.SQ was on par with my worn in e4's and have since got better. Nice meaty bass, creamy mids, and sharp but clear highs.Not much I can complain about in regards the sound. They are my go to whenever I leave the house, gym, or on the iPad.


Only complaint is the cable, its can get a nasty twist in it. Not a like spaghetti tangled but it almost looks twisted down to the solder. Replacing it for the mic'd version is a bad idea. The mic version does not have the awesome bendable cable that connects to the monitor.Maybe look at buying an extra cable just in case, like the cool clear model ;)


I am not an audiophile by any means, however I have been through several in ear headphones over years from crap ear pods to custom fitted 535's and for the money the 425's are the jam.


Pros: Balance, imaging, speed from top to bottom, mids

Cons: High roll-off, no air in the bass

First of all, I don't think we should be comparing these to anything else but in ear monitors (IEMs), and generally in the price range.  However, my only experience is with Sure SE 110s that I used for over 5 years.  Those were about $99, and I got the 425s for about $270.  I've now had them for about four months, and have gone through the slightly disappointed stage which seems to occur for a lot of people with a lot of headphones.  No matter how much you read before purchasing, it still takes time for your brain to get used to a new sound signature.  These really blow away the 110s in every way.  They have energy, speed, focus and simply amazing imaging.  I can't say the last part enough.  It's not soundstage, per se, (because there's not much air) but rather the ability of these phones not to get bogged down with complexity.  They just keep up, keep up, and keep up.


So, as others have noted, the bass tones are all there, and in fact I've noticed these IEMs are great for rhythmic music based mainly on acoustic instruments and vocals ranging from jazz to funk, reggae, to many kinds of "world" music.  Also baroque music and small to medium sized classical ensembles sound great.  This is because they really neatly lay out the different textures well.  Marvin Gaye's remastered "What's Going On" for instance, is fun to hear.  On the other hand, music that tends to be a bit dull and lacking in rhythmic or tonal variety to begin with might sound even more dull on these.  


Moreover, the mids are great: smooth, musical and accurate whether you're listening to vocals or basically any other acoustic instrument.  After all most acoustic music takes place in the mid-ranges.  The main thing lacking is the sparkle on the high end, but even there, I would hesitate to say they have no highs.  They can make some music sound pleasant though, where my Grado 80s (old version) become grating. 


I think technically they lack some treble, but the roll off is nothing like the 110s, and since the sound is going directly to your eardrum, the dampening of piercing highs is not such a bad thing.


If you're really into genres that use a lot of what I call 'artificial' highs and lows, you would probably want to avoid these phones.  They are also not amazing for large-scale orchestral work, and can at times be a bit boring for non-acoustic rock.  I don't listen to any of these genres much, except for some hip-hop** and orchestral music.  In both cases, you still have a great musical experience, but not to the level of good $300 over-ear phones, that's for sure. 


They sound significantly better, as can be expected, with lossless and high bit rate tracks, but are very sensitive, and so don't do well straight out of the computer jack, even making amping a bit difficult.  I use the Fiio e10, which is fine when listening at moderate or high volumes, not necessarily low volume though, as I get buzzing from the computer (Lenovo thinkpad) when it's charging.  I also have a Music streamer ii dac and schiit magni amp, which do open them up a bit, and especially on high bit rate tracks show off what these IEMs can do.  They are elegant and have excellent instrument imaging and separation, for example.  This combo also brightens them up, which is good.  You still can't listen on very low volume, however, as you'll probably get some channel imbalance.  


They are a bit annoying with phone calls, because as they don't have phone capabilities (without a cord upgrade), you have to take them out and reinsert them each time you get a call.  It can affect your relationships negatively if every time you answer the phone you are annoyed--both that you had to stop listening to the music, and because it takes a few seconds and some effort to put them in and remove them each time.  


Conclusion: These are fine for acoustic music, which in my opinion, is essentially what music should be.  The imaging might make them good for electronic music, too, but bass heads won't like them.  But the advantage of these is the external noise attenuation, portability, and sensitivity, making them great for portable devices.  With these on my daily bus ride in Tel Aviv, I can block out virtually everything except the vibration that comes up through the seat from the bus itself.  Plus, in a hot climate you don't want anything on your ears when you're on the go, not to mention that some phones are just plain heavy, and as a backpack carrier, I also don't need extra weight.  I briefly thought about selling these and getting Sennheiser 25ii headphones, but backed out due to my own portability concerns.  Probably a toss up, with the se425s coming out a bit on top with respect to mids, imaging and balance, but 25iis, to my experience, having more bass impact (but not more bass tonality) and better high extension.


**If you actually want to hear the words of the hip-hop, these can help you with that, as they're quite detailed and can show you where there are several voices going on at the same time.   They just won't give you anything like a club feeling because of the lack of air in the bass.  


Pros: Noise isolation. It's like wearing hearos earplugs.

Cons: The wires are really stiff, sound isn't anywhere close to a similar priced over the ear headphone

I use these when exercising next to cars. I used to use sealed closed back headphones which didn't block out noise well, but these definitely do. When outside in a loud environment and wearing these, I set the MP3 player's volume to the same level I use when listening to these IEMs in a quiet room. The isolation is that good (I use comply sleeves, but the sleeves included were also pretty decent).


However, I was definitely disappointed by the sound quality, relative to a $300 over the ear headphone. I will never choose this over a headphone if listening to music in a quiet environment. The selling point on these isn't sound quality, but rather noise isolation. I won't take more than 1/2 point off for sound, though, because I imagine all IEMs are like this and that this is good IEM sound for $300.


One other problem is that the wires are really stiff, a design feature I don't understand. Lastly, putting these on isn't as simple as putting on a pair of regular headphones, you'll have to spend 15 seconds or so seating them correctly to get a proper seal.


Pros: Sound Stage is very wide, Dual Driver separates tones, Comfortable Fit

Cons: Lack of bass, Tips are hard to remove

I've been holding off the write this review because I wanted to give myself a good long time with these headphones before I broke them down. Starting off with look and comfort these are above par, the clear models give you the sense of technology added to the already quality given by them. At first I was skeptical about using IEM on a daily basis because my ears tend to be sensitive, but after just seconds of trying to figure out how to wear them properly they fit like a glow and with the right bit rated song these seemed to melt into my head, in other words I began to forget they were there. Although these are the least bass heavy of the SE models they create a very warming feeling sound stage even though there are pretty much flat response. I use them for about 2-3 hours a day and have so since the day I bought them, the burn in time was almost none existent and the build quality on these were quite remarkable. I'm very rough on my headphones and tend the throw them around and they've endured my torment for over a year. So overall I say for the right person who it's all about there heavy bass genres (ex. Techno, Hip-Hop, and Rap) then these headphones will serve there purpose and then some, they have yet to let me down and there level of quality blew me away with in seconds of wearing them. 


Pros: Detailed sound. Lovely mids. Wide assortment of tips that isolate well.

Cons: Bass perception is an issue.

Excellent IEMs for detail, clarity, and flat response across the whole sound spectrum. Love them, especially with the stock yellow foams. For a factual reprsentation of your music, really,really good. Not recommended for low bit files. For "fun" listening, it lacks a bit of bass.

I use an AK100. AK100 comes with a very slight v-shaped EQ. When making the V-shape more pronounced I could get more bass from these things, at the expense of some detail. Still, very satisfactory.

I tried third party cables and these changed the signature somewhat. Some added a bit of bass. Others added some soundstage. Satisfactory, but never quiet sold on the changes, so for now I settled back on the stock cable, because it still has a great sound signature and is Kevlar reinforced.

As mentioned best results were obtained with the stock yellow foams, but later switched over to ultra-soft, ultra-isolating Comply foams (I tried many, many third party tips along the way, never quiet sold on them). I alternate between these and the yellow foams nowadays. I'm finally content, it seems. I couldn't get along with any of the other stock tips. The shape of your ear canals and how much isolation you can get will be different from person to person, and Shure has to be commended for including as many tips as they do.

Compared to the SE535 LTD - J, I found the sound on the more expensive IEMs to be a little less detailed. For some reason, voices sounded as if coming from a tube, although bass and treble extension seemed pretty good. I eventually sold these off and kept my SE425s.

Latest mod is having added Knowles 1000 OHM (brown) filters. This, coupled with a completely flat EQ on the AK100 gives a warm sound with full bass extension and detail. Incredible! Other filters exist and reportedly give the sound signature other characteristics, but I haven't tried them.

This is the story so far with the SE425. Hope you enjoy them!
Shure SE425 Earphone

Designed for the demanding audio specifications of live performance, the SE425 is engineered to provide reference quality audio. Hear all the details of your music with Dual High-Definition MicroDrivers that deliver an incredibly accurate and balanced listening experience. Featuring Dual High-Definition MicroDrivers, the SE425 uses a dedicated tweeter and woofer for an accurate and balanced sound. Detachable cable with formable wire enables easy replacement and secure, comfortable fit. Sound Isolating sleeves in multiple sizes provide up to 37 dB of isolation.

FeatureFormable wire ensures secure placement over the ear
Height6.2 inches
Length7 inches
Weight0.5 pounds
Width2.2 inches
LabelShure Incorporated
List Price$349.99
ManufacturerShure Incorporated
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherShure Incorporated
StudioShure Incorporated
TitleShure SE425-V Dual High-Definition MicroDriver Earphone with Detachable Cable (Metallic Silver)
Batteries Included1
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Special FeaturesExperience your music at its best, whether you're listening on-the-go or performing onstage.
Model NumberSE425-CL
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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