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Shure SE535 Impressions

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 

 

Having owned the SE535 for just over a month (prior to recently selling them) I thought I'd post some quick points on the SE535
 
Build quality: The build quality of this IEM is pretty phenomenal, these are by far the most robustly built IEMs I've owned. The cable is thick and strong, yet plyable. I doubt the cracking issue from earlier models will plague this IEM, but even if it does, the cables are replaceable.
A head-fier commented that these cables are so thick that you could probably 'jump rope with them and not break them' - I agree, the cables are thick, strong and quite long! There are beefy strain reliefs across the whole IEM
 
Fit: Fit is clearly a personal thing, so my experiences may not ring true for others reading this. The earpieces are somewhat smooth though they are a few ridges on them (including the imprint of SE535 on the inside). I'm not sure what caused my fit issues but I found I couldn't wear these IEMs for much longer than an hour without the insides of my ear getting really tender and hurting. I think the insides of my outer ear are smaller than the average and a part of these IEMs dug into them causing irritation. I didn't have a big issue with the ear guides on these, though some might.
 
 
The SE535 sound in 3 words: authoritative, mid-focussed, full
 
Highs: These iems have good treble detail but the treble isn't crisp, instead its smooth and somewhat understated. This may result in less perceived clarity than some other brighter phones. Don't be fooled though, the treble is there and it is well extended, its just that the way its presented may sound a little dull. The treble produced by these allows for fatigue free listening. depending on treble tastes this could be a pro or con 7.5/10
 
Mids: Dominant and smooth. Very clear and revealing. Given that these iems are quite mid focussed; they can sound somewhat unusual at first, depending on how comfortable you are with Shure house sound. Once you do get used to it, it really does allow you to pick out new details in  the music, and at least in my case, identify a very unique sound signature to music 8.5/10
 
Lows: good bass extension without an over-emphasised impact. If the song requires a lot of bass, these will produce it. But they'll never drown out the rest of the music (unless it was intended that way). The bass is also fast and textured. There is rarely any boom to it. I lobe the bass on these. I think they are just right in the main. If I'm listening to dub step, hip hop or any other bass heavy music, these wouldn't hurt to have another few dBs on the bass. 8/10
 
Soundstage: These iems have a very good soundstage/head stage, its not artificially wide, but its wide when it needs to be. Sound placement is also great, as one would expect at this level, you can easily locate sounds in 3D space; whether that be forward and backwards or above and below your ear line. 8/10
 
If I could change these IEMs soundwise I'd increase the treble sharpness by a few notches, as I think its just a tad underepresented. Saying that changing the sound characteristics of an IEM is no simple task, modifying the treble response would likely affect the lovely midrange, and the way the overall sound is presented. In addition, this may result in an IEM that is fatiguing to listen to. 
 
 
In summary these are incredibly well built IEMs that produce a unique, mid centric, yet balanced sound, if you are a fan of the Shure house sound you will really love these. The recommended retail price for these IEMs are very much on the high side for universals, but if its the Shure sound you want then this is it. They work well with certain genres of music but not so well with others for example such as electronica.
 
Anyone thinking about getting these IEMs should really think about the kind of sound they are after, I don't think these are for everyone, but if its a detailed, balanced sound with a lovely smooth midrange these are a great fit. However don't expect deep pounding bass and sparkly treble here.
post #2 of 68

Nice impressions. Have you heard the SE530 as well? I'd be interested in your comparison if you have.

post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Unfortunately I've only heard the SE530 as a brief audition. What aspects did you want comparisons around?

post #4 of 68

Nice write-up.

I agree with mostly everything. Fit was a real issue for me, especially the wire and it's plastic sheathing. With my glasses, it just didn't work well.

Construction is amazing. Solid and sturdy. The 'rope'-like cable is a good match for the tank build of the earpieces, though a bit much for me. I prefer smaller / lighter (DBA-02, SM3, UM2, etc...), but if someone likes a solid, thick durable cable, look no further.

 

Sound-wise, I felt it a bit too mid-centric (like an upside-down 'U'), with the bass and treble rolled off too early for across-the-spectrum neutrality. But what is emphasized is truly gorgeous and relatively flat (that's a good thing). And for some music (without bass or extreme highs), I don't know of anything better. The sonic problem for me was not the lack of deep bass, it was the highs. The roll-off prevented me from pin-pointing the instruments. It seemed to produce the notes, but the presence was missing. That 'air' which places the instruments in the sound-field is not produced as I tend to require.

 

I also think list price for these is way off the mark.

 

Cheers

 

shane

post #5 of 68

For what it is worth, I had fit issues where housing was rubbing my ears canal the first few days until I realized they need to be orientated in your ears so the cable are projecting almost forward (not upwards) before going behind your ears.  That fixed the fit for me.

post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onza View Post

Thanks. Unfortunately I've only heard the SE530 as a brief audition. What aspects did you want comparisons around?


Specifically treble extension and detail. I'm wondering if you found that the SE535 really does improve upon the SE530 in this area. If so, is it a marked or subtle improvement? 

post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post

It seemed to produce the notes, but the presence was missing. That 'air' which places the instruments in the sound-field is not produced as I tend to require


I know what you mean here, although I didn't see it as much of an issue as you did. Can you say which of your current IEMs do this well SM3s, DBA-02?

post #8 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

For what it is worth, I had fit issues where housing was rubbing my ears canal the first few days until I realized they need to be orientated in your ears so the cable are projecting almost forward (not upwards) before going behind your ears.  That fixed the fit for me.


Yeah I tried all sorts of orientation setups with mine, but nothing seemed to fix the pain after long periods. Saying that when they were in these isolated very well, better than my Etymotic ER4s in fact

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpenkelink View Post


Specifically treble extension and detail. I'm wondering if you found that the SE535 really does improve upon the SE530 in this area. If so, is it a marked or subtle improvement? 

 

From what I heard of the SE530 the SE535 does seem to have a better extended, though its still not bright or sparkly. The difference is somewhat subtle - the overall sound signature hasn't changed a great deal. To put it another way its an iteration of the SE530 sound as opposed to a revolution of it.

 

Hope that helps. Maybe those who have heard the SE530 more extensively could comment on this further.
 

post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onza View Post

I know what you mean here, although I didn't see it as much of an issue as you did. Can you say which of your current IEMs do this well SM3s, DBA-02?


The DBA-02 produce brilliant highs and a very natural and neutral tonally (to my ears). If any complaint, it would be that they are slightly light in the bass, but the extension is there. They go deep, just not forcefully. SM3's (long gone) were the exact opposite of the DBA-02 which are now my current fave. The SM3's were all bass and depth, and dropped off substantially in the highs and upper mids. There is a filter-removal mod which is said to restore the highs in the SM3, but some claim it makes them sound brittle and sibilant.

 

shane

post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post


For what it is worth, I had fit issues where housing was rubbing my ears canal the first few days until I realized they need to be orientated in your ears so the cable are projecting almost forward (not upwards) before going behind your ears.  That fixed the fit for me.



Yea you have to get the cables just right; I normally just put thm in to where they aren't anywhere near right then turn each iem upwards until thy fit snugly in my ears.
post #11 of 68


 

I have the same fit problem with the SE535. I find them very uncomfortable. They press on certain areas in the earlobe because they are designed to sit "nestled" in the earlobe rather than protruding. The problem is that if that area of your earlobe isn't large enough to accommodate the fairly large case of the SE535, you'll be in discomfort and pain. This picture shows what I'm talking about:

 

http://ces.cnet.com/2300-31045_1-10002122-5.html
 

My ear is larger than that, and the area of the earlobe behind the case still hurts. You need a fairly large cavity in that area of your earlobe to be comfortable with the SE535 case sitting there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onza View Post



Yeah I tried all sorts of orientation setups with mine, but nothing seemed to fix the pain after long periods. Saying that when they were in these isolated very well, better than my Etymotic ER4s in fact

 

post #12 of 68

SE530/535, when fitted properly sound just about prefect for my tastes and I am the kind person who is after a completely balanced sound which is airy, musical, smooth, revealing and natural all at the same time and the only headphone I've heard thus far that successfully combines all of these qualities is the Shure SE530. To my ears a properly fitted SE530 sounds just natural - the best thing apart from actually being there in the studio or concert and hearing the music live. If you hear it as mid centric or bass light or whatever, chances are that you are not getting a good fit. Even it feels comfortable and seals well, that doesn't mean that the fit is right.


Edited by Pianist - 10/19/10 at 1:41pm
post #13 of 68
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post
 Even it feels comfortable and seals well, that doesn't mean that the fit is right.


So how do you know you have the right fit?

post #14 of 68

just got these =) had no problems with fit (lucky me) as I have quite large ears cavitys or whatever you want to call them. I'm not going to go into details (I pretty much agree with the write up on this page) but basically these are a million miles better than the ie8's I sold to fund these. I never realised just how much the senn's bass interuppted the mids and detail perception until I tried these. I think the bass is perfect on these; like the writeup says, if there is bass in the track it you will hear it. Simple.They just sound right; when I listen to them, I feel like I am hearing the music exactly as I should; a little cliche maybe, but I'm just happy to have cured my upgraditis for iem's. Now to get the headstage arrow, and hopefully complete my portable rig for the foreseeable future.

post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onza View Post

 


So how do you know you have the right fit?



Actually you can't. I only knew that I got a much better fit with my SE530, when I started hearing much better sound out of them. Sometimes (actually most of the time) I was very disappointed with the sound even though the IEMs were comfortable and isolated very well. But there were times when I put them in and the sound was suddenly amazing and my jaw just dropped. I just couldn't believe the difference some seemingly insignificant changes in fit could make to the sound - it was night and day. I really don't know how to explain this, but I think that these IEMs are extremely picky about how you position them in your ear - the angle at which the nozzle is inserted into the ear canal has to be just right. It's kind of like listening to speakers - the acoustic properties of the room have to be just right and you also need to sit in a certain sweet spot in order to hear the speakers perform at their full potential.

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