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SE535 vs SM3 - Page 6

post #76 of 80
Originally Posted by slaters70 View Post

Agree, wrong tip on the DBA, harshness ensues (for me, Ety triple flange completely solves it). But the channel imbalance should not occur if the phones are not defective. You might have tried this, but what about different sizes. I know my ears are different L to R because of the custom sleeves I own (you can see it). I have in the past used one size on one ear and another size on the other. Could be a solution for you in terms of channel imbalance. As for sibilance, unless you can get rid of it via tip, the DBAs may not be for you. If I was stuck with short tips, I would not have kept mine, for example.

Anyway, we are off topic here, as this is an SM3 v. 535 thread. Not a DBA vs. SM3 thread. So back to topic. It is interesting, and the 535s would be a consideration except they cost too darn much. I doubt they are $300 of an improvement over the DBAs ( as a $500 custom might be).


sry for sidetracking.. that was just an example of how wrong tips or wrong insertion can affect sound.. i do notice at some certain similar depth, i'll get the channel balance.. that's already personal ear problems tho.


i agree that $300 is not gonna give THAT much improvement.. but sometimes those little2 tiny things in music, that mere 5% extras would combine everything to give 200% satisfation when listening..

post #77 of 80

No doubt. At this point, time to leap over universals to customs for me, but not right now.

post #78 of 80
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

Originally Posted by thenightman View Post

I think there's an established consensus around here that the SM3 is pretty much the best universal IEM out right now. I've yet to run across a negative review of them, despite running into many negative reviews for the 530 (535 has the same SQ). 

Rule #1: There never is a consensus on head-fi.


4 headfiers in a room = 5 opinions.


They were really good when I heard them, but they were not my favourites.


Oh and based on many SE535/530 owners (including myself) and Shure there are some real improvements to the SE535s that IMO beat the SM3s. Not by much, but enough for my 2 cents...(or $499 whichever way you look at it ).

... they mop the floor to sm3!  lol   rolleyes.gif



post #79 of 80

The SM3s, in my opinion, are like a louder, more playful version of the SE530s. The SM3s are definitely mid centric, but their mids (compared to the Shures) sound a little bloated and a little less realistic than the Shures (especially for vocals). However, the SM3s simply mop the floor against the SE530s in terms of soundstage. In my opinion, the SM3 bass is large but kind of uncontrolled. I understand why it's rated the #1 IEM on Headfi, but for me, the sound signature never really clicked. Everything you hear is great and you simply cannot lay any serious criticisms against the SM3s sound quality, but something about it seemed "too playful."


I suppose for those who like fun IEMs, the SM3s are probably the best choice. It bests the SE530s in terms of instrument separation, sound stage and highs. However, I find the SE530s have a more mature and solid bass signature, and its mids are fluid and realistic, while the SM3s (actually, across its whole spectrum) seem a little exaggerated. The sound is very very good, but the sound signature is definitely not for everyone. In brief, the SE530s sound more mature, in my opinion, while the SM3s are more for play.


Sonically, I find the SM3s are probably more articulate than the SE530s, but I reckon it's not a failure on Shure's part. I think it's because Shure specifically focuses on the midrange and wants their IEMs to be stage monitors for vocalists, thus rendering vocals as realistically as possible above all else (they are, after all, one of the leading stage mic companies). However, in consequence, the SE530s kind of neglect the air and instrumental separation some people love in other IEMs. As I said in my SE530 vs UM3X post, the SE530s give one solid sound, while the UM3X gives a more separated sound.


Speaking of that, when I first listened to them, the first thing I thought was the the SM3s were in the middle between the SE530s and the UM3Xs. The SM3s stole the articulation from the UM3Xs, but aren't as articulate or analytical, and also stole the midforward lean from the SE530s, but renders it very colorfully and exaggeratedly. So, you could say it excels at being the middle ground between the two. If you assume the aforementioned, I think you will be able to appreciate the SM3s capabilities, but not thoroughly enjoy them like you would your other IEMs if you really love the UM3X or Shure SE530 signature.


SM3: Playful, colorful, mid centric, huge soundstage, unrefined/uncontrolled bass, exaggerated, good articulation/separation, very good sound overall.

SE530s: Mature, very mid centric (otherwise very neutral), extremely realistic vocals, reserved and neutral "proper" bass , great lows, very fluid and natural, okay articulation/separation, mediocre highs, above average soundstage,

UM3X: Highly analytical, cold, very punchy bass, phenomenal instrumental separation and articulation, good soundstage, very accurate and sparkly highs.

Edited by Pepper - 11/14/11 at 5:01pm
post #80 of 80

I happened to of own both the SE530 to the SM3 so I'll try to give as best a comparison as I can. I reckon the SE535 shouldn't be too far off the sound of the SE530 so here goes in comparison of the two and I'll put down the key differences between the two and the parts that I like from each:


- SE530 sounds "lusher" especially in the mids. So vocals sound fantastic (if a little colored) and tending a bit on the dark side. The lush mids would also mean that the acoustic strings or piano notes that ring in that range would sound very articulate.

- SE530 sounds a little laid-back and makes the right type of music sound comfortable. I sense some roll off on the top end, which is not really a bad thing as not all music works good with excessive bite.

- SM3 (when the volume is pumped up) reveals a lot of space and dynamics

- No competition, instrument seperation on the SM3 is simply superb. This is possibly what contributes to the dynamics and space.

- The SM3 mids are fairly forward with a lot of attack speed in the top range. The bass in the SM3, while less rounded than the SE530, is powerful and thumping.

- The SM3 is probably what you call analytical, but I don't mean it as being cold. Contrary, it sounds rather liquid and organic. I can only describe the sound as being clean.


All in all, I think these IEMs are better suited for different music. I find myself swapping between them as my musical tastes are quite extensive. Jazz, RnB, vocal centric music and some acoustic music works well for me with the SE530 while electronic, rock, metal and classical music works good for me with the SM3.


I hope this helps.


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