To begin, I own a Shure E2c and RE0. I bought the RE0 due to the rave reviews around here. I wasn't that impressed. It sounded like a more refined E2c, especially the treble (of course). I don't find my E2c to sound horrendously bad even after months of using them and suddenly switching them back. Also, I can't tell the difference between MP3 and lossless, even with a RE0. I thought I must be either deaf or got a bad RE0.
I needed new tips for my RE0. Since foam don't last nearly long enough, I decided that triple flange tips are the next best isolators. So today I went to my local audio shop to buy some Shure triple flange tips for my RE0. It turns out it didn't fit. So I thought to myself, I can't just waste 30 minutes coming here. Since they have a demo model of every single earphone/headphone they sell, I decided to have some fun and try out some high end buds.
I listened to the entire Shure line except the SE420 and the IE8. Here are my impressions. The Archos 5 is the source for all these earphones. It has iPod level sound quality.
SE115: Sounded slightly worse than the E2c but with much more bass.
SE210: Surprisingly, they sounded terrible, worse than the SE115. The sound is so harsh, and sounded really dry. I don't know why the SE210 is so bad.
SE310: Much better. The clarity is all around better. But as always the treble is recessed. Good bass, good, forward midrange.
SE530: Now this is what I was waiting for. First of all, they're sensitive. Immediately I had to lower the volume. The SE530 has a very forward, warm midrange sound. They are bassy. The treble, as always, is laid back and recessed.
I was not impressed. I was expecting the SE530 to sound amazing, considering its price tag. It didn't blow me away, or my RE0. You can't compare the RE0 to the SE530 because they're so different. The SE530 has a predominate bass + midrange sound, where the RE0's treble just shines.
Now I know why the RE0 is so highly regarded here. The sound quality is excellent (compared to the SE530 and IE8). The treble is truly superb. Even though the RE0 sounds excellent, I really wished it had more bass. Yes, the bass is ample, in a quiet room. I use them in a subway, and the background noise just drowns all the bass out.
Now, unimpressed, I decided to try the IE8. The IE8 is much better sounding (to me at least) than the SE530. It is a fun sounding earphone with the amount of bass it has. The treble is much more pronounced and detailed than the SE530, but not as good as the RE0. The midrange, not SE530 good, but still very good.
Now back to my RE0 impression. I said the fact that the RE0 didn't impress me is either I'm deaf or I have a bad RE0. Now I know I don't have a bad RE0. So am I deaf? The main reason I ask is because I can't hear the difference between MP3 and lossless. 128Kbps (or V5, using LAME's highest quality mode), sounds transparent to me. They sound transparent to me on a RE0, SE530 and IE8. Yes, I can hear a slight difference, but I have to carefully listen for it. In a double blind test I honestly couldn't tell which one is which. I thought you can easily tell the difference between a 128Kbps MP3 and lossless with high end earphones, but even with the detail maniac RE0 I can't hear a difference. How is that possible? I don't have exceptional hearing (of course), but I don't have bad hearing either. I listen to my music pretty quietly (around 60-65dB). What's wrong?
Now I think about it, I really should have tried some UEs and the Klipsch X5.
Edited by chengbin - 6/11/10 at 5:37pm