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SE530 impressions....(where's the bass?)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I realize I'm late to the party on the SE530's, but after a couple months of lurking, trying mid-priced ($100-200) IEM's I finally decided I wouldn't be happy without giving some high-end products. Mucho reading here led me to guess that the SE530's would be the best fit for my needs.

Well after a couple of days of listening here are my thoughts so far...

Great comfort! Far better than the Super.Fi 5's I'd tried and infinitely more so than the ungainly Triple.Fi's. No surprises here. Consensus said they're comfortable and they are!

SQ is...well...let's say the jury is still out. Again as expected, the mids are beautiful. Voices, guitars = stunning. And I really like the highs. I'm not a lover of bright or cranked trebles, and the Shures seem right on the money to me. These are VERY musical and easy to listen to. Soundstage is WAY better than the other IEMs I've tried.

My only concern so far is bass. I'm definitely not a bass head - or didn't think I was - but these seem to be missing some bottom end that I was expecting. Most reviews suggested that, while the bass is not on par with IE8 or W3, it was still solid and enjoyable. Well, so far I'm not feeling it. Using the black olives, getting a good seal, it's a tad lacking. If I turn on the dreaded "bass booster" on my iPhone 3G it does seem to help, but I'm wondering if I'm going to have to try one of the two aforementioned, more bass-heavy IEMs.

Has anyone had similar experience or impressions or the SE530's?
post #2 of 32
This, to me, is the biggest untold story of the SE530. Everyone talks about its bass extension and supposed thump, but brief A/B tests with the Triple.Fis and Westone 3 convinced me that the SE530 lacked both bass quality and quantity. The SE530's bass is more than sufficient if you mostly listen to acoustic rock, jazz, or classical, but if you're a fan of house, trance, hip-hop, or drum & bass, I would be surprised if you're satisfied with the Shures vs. the other top 3-4 IEMs.

Then again, some find the TF10 and W3's bass to be "overpowering", "colored" or characteristic of a "midbass hump", so maybe it does depend on your personal sensitivity to bass. But anyone who has spent some time in a house or hip-hop club would probably tell you that they need more subwoofer impact than the SE530 can deliver.

If you generally like the SE530's sound signature but want more bass, I would suggest getting Comply tips or custom UM-56 tips. But brief comparisons of my SE530s with my W3s with custom tips exposed the SE530's lack of bass extension and impact.
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post
This, to me, is the biggest untold story of the SE530. Everyone talks about its bass extension and supposed thump, but brief A/B tests with the Triple.Fis and Westone 3 convinced me that the SE530 lacked both bass quality and quantity. The SE530's bass is more than sufficient if you mostly listen to acoustic rock, jazz, or classical, but if you're a fan of house, trance, hip-hop, or drum & bass, I would be surprised if you're satisfied with the Shures vs. the other top 3-4 IEMs.

Then again, some find the TF10 and W3's bass to be "overpowering", "colored" or characteristic of a "midbass hump", so maybe it does depend on your personal sensitivity to bass. But anyone who has spent some time in a house or hip-hop club would probably tell you that they need more subwoofer impact than the SE530 can deliver.

If you generally like the SE530's sound signature but want more bass, I would suggest getting Comply tips or custom UM-56 tips. But brief comparisons of my SE530s with my W3s with custom tips exposed the SE530's lack of bass extension and impact.
Thanks. How do you compare the rest of the W3 sound spectrum to the SE530's?
post #4 of 32
i have never felt my SE530s to be bass light, in fact i have found them to be quite the opposite.

this seems strange?
post #5 of 32
poor seal
needs some burn in
you have some EQ setting that you forgot about
defective
try another DAP/PMP
try different tips
expected a lot more than you hoped
post #6 of 32
Tip: Shut off all EQ and use trimmed triple flange tips, sometimes the foams damper the response if they are too deeply inserted or tight around the ear.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teeter View Post
Thanks. How do you compare the rest of the W3 sound spectrum to the SE530's?
SE530 has the most forward, rich mid-range of any IEM I've heard (including UM3x). But perhaps as a consequence, the soundstage seems more closed and congested than any IEM I've heard.

Treble clarity and sparkle can't compare to either TF10 or W3, but is similar to Um3x (but Um3x is still probably superior).

If 90% of your music taste involves bass-neutral/bass-light and vocal-centric music, you probably can't go too wrong with the SE530. But if you need a large soundstage or heavy bass impact, SE530 would be my last choice among W3, TF10, Um3x, Klipsch X10 and (I assume because I haven't heard it) IE8.
post #8 of 32
The bass may be adjusted to your likeness if used with a Laptop or PC with a sound card and a great player such as Foobar2000, you could adjust your EQ and get that bass that the SE530 is capable of delivering. I love my iPhone, but its not the best for audio quality and the EQ is useless.
post #9 of 32
I find the bass of the SE530 to be tight but it doesn't go as deep as the TF10's, which I prefer and it is not as big as the IE8's.
post #10 of 32
hmm almost every time i see "im not a bass head" instantly it means "oh hell im so a bass head"

the 530 till not too long ago was regarded as bit of a bass monster, it can spit out vast amounts of bass if its instructed to but if its not it wont add in bass that shouldnt be there. the thing is we've largely become used to things adding in a big heap of bass so when its not there we feel somethings missing.

so you have a couple of options (im assuming youve got a seal) give your ears a few weeks to get used to them. get a bass boosting amp. replace them with something more bass heavy.
post #11 of 32
^ Yep, there's no shortage of bass with the SE530's. However, there is something one-dimensional about the way it's rendered to my ears, particularly when I compare it to the TF10, which I think does a better job of reproducing tone and the lower register.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
hmm almost every time i see "im not a bass head" instantly it means "oh hell im so a bass head"
lol..thats the first thing that came to mind when i saw this thread

i think either u dont have a good seal or the bass is there but just not enough for you.
post #13 of 32

???

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post
This, to me, is the biggest untold story of the SE530. Everyone talks about its bass extension and supposed thump, but brief A/B tests with the Triple.Fis and Westone 3 convinced me that the SE530 lacked both bass quality and quantity. The SE530's bass is more than sufficient if you mostly listen to acoustic rock, jazz, or classical, but if you're a fan of house, trance, hip-hop, or drum & bass, I would be surprised if you're satisfied with the Shures vs. the other top 3-4 IEMs.

Then again, some find the TF10 and W3's bass to be "overpowering", "colored" or characteristic of a "midbass hump", so maybe it does depend on your personal sensitivity to bass. But anyone who has spent some time in a house or hip-hop club would probably tell you that they need more subwoofer impact than the SE530 can deliver.

If you generally like the SE530's sound signature but want more bass, I would suggest getting Comply tips or custom UM-56 tips. But brief comparisons of my SE530s with my W3s with custom tips exposed the SE530's lack of bass extension and impact.
I would say that the bass on the SE530s is very neutral, present and deep. If you like coloured bass, then the IE8s are the best, followed by the Westone 3s.

My only complaint with the SE530s is the rolled off treble. The bass is full, deep and neutral just as it was recorded.
post #14 of 32
These threads amuse me. I have the JH13 Pro and the SE530. I listen to them both almost daily.

The SE530, has just as much bass as the JH13. Well, almost. It has MORE mid bass, but slightly less lowend bass. Slightly.

This isn't a knock at all - but look at what what is going on here. You have a guy named DJ NELLIE telling you the untold story of how the SE530's bass doesn't sound like a hip hop club's soundsystem.

Do you honestly think thats a good comparison? You don't think a hip hop club's soundsystem is designed to emphasize the low end spectrum? Do you think top tier IEMs should heavily emphasize any spectrum?

Maybe you do and that's fine. And don't get me wrong, I EQ up the bass on the JH13's when I'm listening to electronica sometimes. But, from a design standpoint - it's really a bad idea to have a frequency response that does that out of the box. The older I've gotten the more I've realized the negative impact that overblown bass has on the music. After a while you get over the "COOL" effect and realize it's masking a lot of detail and energy in other spectrums.

You ever wonder why you hear murmurs of the IE8 "veil"? Seriously, it's all relative. Listen to an Ety IEM for a week then go to to the Shure's. HUGE MASSIVE OVERPOWERING BASS.
post #15 of 32
The SE530 is light on low frequency bass information. Most people simply hear the higher bass/midbass region and go "wow, these have a lot of bass" because the higher bass range is there and has good energy. However, the low end drops off rapidly. From frequency response tests I did as I tried out most of the top end IEMs I found the SE530 to have the earliest bass roll off of all. According to my testing, my ears and listening volume, I found the SE530 to already be down -3dB by 125Hz and -6dB by around 100Hz and -12dB by 50Hz.

Here's a frequency response graph I made after doing EQ tests of the high end earphones I owned.


You really do need to have the bottom end response to create a full visceral bass response. Not a lot of earphones can dig real deep to do this. Out of all the high end univerals IEMs I used, the UM3X and IE8 were the only ones that provided a full, visceral experience. For someone specifically concerned about bass, the SE530 would be the last one I'd look at.
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