Pros: Natural, grain-free midrange. Good bass response. Fairly comfortable
Cons: IEM soundstage. lack of treble. Lack of punch.
When I tried the AKG K3003 and disliked the clinical presentation, I decided to try another high-praised universal IEM - the Shure SE535. I've read a lot about how these things have "bottomless bass", "fantastic mids" and "lots of detail".
Well, one thing is true. The midrange is great. These have a mellow, grain-free and natural midrange presentation. They are held back, however, by the rolled-off treble response and poor soundstage (like always with IEMs IMO). The result is surprisingly congested and dark sound, lacking in air, detail and sparkle. Using a broad selection of music, ranging from bass heavy beats, to sweet female vocal, to acoustic guitar, I was very unimpressed by the sound. Everything sounded veiled, frankly. The guitar strings sounded muffled and the little details hidden in the recording weren't audible.
Down the other end, the bass performance was good. The low notes were rich and well controlled. Extension was good. But the bass response sounded lean, lacking punch and weight.
And I just can't deal with that soundstage. The stage is small and flat, imaging is all over the place.
The end result? This is a mid-focused, dark sounding IEM. Ultimately, I found them muffled and boring. Too bad, since I really wanted to like them. I wanted a good IEM to easily take with me while traveling. But it didn't take long for me to realize the sound was not for me.
Heck, maybe IEMs aren't for me at all.