Pros: clarity, space, quality, build, isolation
Cons: treble extension, presentation is very tip dependant
>>as tyl herstens said - "Ahhh! Someone slipped liquid gold into my ears! The genies at Shure did some
real magic here."
>>just wonderful ...handsome bass , rich and forward mids , in-offensive treble
Impressions after 6 months :-
I thought of pimping this review and adding on to the above after a full 6 months of listening .
I hated the Shure Olives at first, so started using the flex tips that came with it for most of this period except recently when i switched back on to the olives and came to know what I've been missing.
With the flex tips any one can easily point at the disorganized presentation with a 'here and there' soundstage that is loose, flabby and not so convincing in height.
Let me start with the paradox that these IEMS portray.
They have more of a dynamic sound to my ears and show lotsa timbre and texture, which essentially takes away its 'armature' nature. They are on the meatier side of things, which 'sounds wrong' in some of the fast music i listen to occasionally . I tried my hand at almost everything to get a fast sound out of them but none worked.
Another thing that these were not showing were some of the texture in treble, which in head-fi terms is a roll-off. I EQ'd my source for treble to pop out but FR charts proved me wrong there and the treble EQ gives it a piercing sound with some of the electronica that the shures handle very well.
So I decided to take a look at some faster IEMs out there and found a great deal on the CK100 pro, that's when a great head-fier pointed me to the option of after-market cables, hell he even made me a custom one, a 6N OFHC SPC.
I noticed better seperation and better treble, not instantly but you could say I sank down to it. The bass might be a bit tighter with the custom cable as well, but this is something I still have to verify.
However the flex tips were still limiting them from providing any coherency, so I went back to the olives.
Now if you can't get out of a problem, you might as well go further in. (implying my search for improving the shures at what they are good at)
So i tried the olives again, and this improved the texture even further, yes even the treble had some
body with the olives and the custom-cable.
They can be only worn over the ears.(Below is an on the ear picture of them with stock cables)
Evaluation of the sound and Conclusions:
The sub-bass of these are very much there, all the way down low, provide great texture but at the lowest of lows can sound abstract.
The mid-bass is great as well, but they don't really hit you like my DT-990 Pros do.
The mid-bass is more like a water balloon that someone threw at you, but it didn't break on impact(with your FACE) and neither did you close your eyes.
The mids are the magic. Amazingly open and very forward mids that might get annoying to some. But as much as it wowed me at first, it has still remained a great pleasure and can provide one too many eargasms. The forward mids really provide superlative clarity that still stands as a reference to my ears.
With the flex tips, I even found a lot of sibilance in the mids, this goes away obviously with the olives, comply foams etc. an example here for its mids is 'lullaby for cain' by sinead o'connor that with the 535s actually sounds like it was sang to scare a baby to death(beautiful vocals with lots of raw emotions - what did you think?)
The treble with the stock is 'very' inoffensive and sound only extended to make details audible and provide great resolution .This is the place where higher pitch toned instruments lack air and you can find deficiencies .In other words, most of the instruments like flute, trumpet, clarinet, cymbals of drums, oboe etc sound thin and bodyless once they go to the higher registers of the instrument pitch. It might be unsatisfying to many, atleast to me it is.
the solution > custom cable starting from the 6N ofhc SPC available for 60 $ all the way to the OCC 7N pure silver dream cable for 300 $, provide great compliment to the overall sound(see link below). I wouldn't say the treble just improved to sheer awesomeness or anything. It was much more strong and slightly more extended from its original presence.
The shures have a very inorganic presentation with no rawness to it imho(mind you its just the presentation and not really the sound which is supremely realistic), the music sounds forward and mesmerizing and the details sound slightly in the distance. I know the music I listen to from back to front, sideways to centre, so the 'detail' i listen to is more or less part of the rythm now. this i deem to be the characteristics of the shure magic and does not really work with the other iems I've tried.
Like a dad riding a bicycle who is helping his kid balance on a bicycle at the same time.
P.S>What most IEMS represent today are great transparency, a technical nature of revealing details and brilliant transients.
The shures might not be the best for any of the above sonic properties and signature , but the quality of sound they put out is one of its kind.
they are a good all rounder and provide a near full view of the music without sacrificing too much of any part of the sonic spectrum.(with SPC to my ears)
AFTER P.S>What I mean to say is that these are an amazing product, but more or less an acquired taste(easiest one in that way) and very expensive. They are very sensitive and provide me with deafening volumes at around 70 percent of my i-pod volume bar.
The build quality is just superb, one of my fat assed friends sat on it for hours while I was asleep and NO-THING at all happened to them, super tough build( made for audiophile construction workers out of their hard hat material) !! The microphonics of the stock cable is near to NO-THING.
The isolation is just stupendously superbly divine. A few months back, I roamed for around 3 hours in the city with the shures on, and don't even remember hearing a private bus honk reminiscent of ship horns(very present in my part of the world). Comfort again is good, but not really great. They don't really disappear into the ears, you always know they are there and cutting you off from this world in 2 ways :
1. you have them on and walk around your house, don't here the phone ringing (probably your boss who wants to fire you)
2. you have them on and walk on the road, take your DAP to change the music, forgetting you are on the middle of the stupid road and get hit by a kidnap van.
Hope you enjoyed this.
Thank you for reading.