I am going to attempt to give some short impressions on Shure se535 and Sony mdr-ex1000.
Firstly, i would like to state that i am not very good at picking out subtle differences or even putting to words what i hear.
Nonetheless i will try to pen down what i note and hopefully give some insight to people who are considering a purchase of either one of these 2 IEMs.
I have been using these 2 IEMs periodically on a random basis and i roughly clocked about 50 hours on each of them. So burn in shouldn't really be an issue in this case.
My source is a Sansa Fuze running standard resolution FLAC files.
Comfort wise, i find the 535s to be very good especially in terms of fit on both the tips and the housings. Once they are on the ear, they are supremely comfortable except for the fact that you are still aware that you are wearing them. Personally i use medium olives on the Shure and they give me a very good seal.
On the ex1000 i swap beween medium comply T400s and medium hybrid tips. the comply T400s are my choice when i want a slightly better fit on the move or to attune the highs on some tracks. Otherwise when i am not on the move, i like to use the hybrids. In terms of fit, the Sony is not as good as the Shure, I can never get a 100% seal due to the shape of the ear guide shaping towards the top of the ear guide.
Refer to the yellow circled area in the picture below.
However, the Sony does feel though it is almost weightless and once it's on, the feeling of them being there just seems to disappear over time.
In general, i do believe, that both these IEMs do not only appeal to people with particular acquired tastes. They do perform well with most genres though they go about doing it rather quite differently.
Unlike V-shaped IEMs, instruments do take a slight back stage on the 535s. In my opinion, i like the lows as they do not tend to emphasize the mid and high bass that many IEMs have a problem with controlling. It is there when it is supposed to, just that it is served in small quantities.
The 535s charms listeners with it forward and full bodied mids. The lack of sibilance is also great because it complements vocals so well.
The highs roll off somewhat towards the higher end, but once again, it's totally fine for me as i find all of it to blend together very well for an IEM that is comfortable for listening to hours on end.
With the ex1000, Sony has retained certain traditional traits and tuned that sound in my opinion. As with most Japanese enthusiats based audio products, (okay i'm stereotyping), the sound signature is analytically biased.
However, the ex1000 does it effeortlessly, the bass is plentifully (not basshead heavy), articulate yet wonderfully textured. The mids do take a slight backstage compared to the bass, yet not as recessed or nasal as the TF10 pros.
Highs are a double edged sword on the ex1000. Highs are detailed, yet be warned that it does borderline excessive brightness to my ears in certain tracks.
That is why i prefer to leave my complys on to attune the brightness on the ex1000. I do lose abit of details when i have the complys on, but since details are delivered in spades on the ex1000, i find it still very acceptable.
On Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Autumn in New York album, listening to the track 'Summertime' on the 535s did surprise me as it was the first time i found horns to be almost harsh sounding on the 535s. The ex1000 sounded airier, gentler and more laid back in presentation.
Instrument separtion did sound more distinct as instruments on the 535s carried more impact. Timbre was the ex1000's forte and the weight on instruments sounded just nice.
On the mids, i would have loved a forward presentation of the 535s combined with the ex1000s rendition of Louis Armstrong's robust vocals.
Overall, both IEMs did a good job on this track and i would have been happy listening to any one of them.
Next i listened to Herbie Hancock's - Gerswin's World album. Overall, i realised that 'St Louis Blues' track has a very important aspect to it's appeal and that is the kickdrum. The 535s rendered this track poorly in that regard and even though the 535s did bring out Stevie Wonder's distinctive vocals which helped to salvage the presentation, switching over to the ex1000 really did the trick for me on this track. The presentation sounded live somehow with wonderfully textured midbass.
To affirm my findings on the previous track, my friend recommended that i try out Jim Keltner & Ron Tutt - Sheffield Lab Drum & Track Disc. The track 'Drum Improvisation 2' did extablish the fact that the 535s were really missing the mid bass presentation that would make this track sound great. I hate to say this but my 535s were nowhere near my ex1000s on this track, the mid bass on the 535s were delivered in too small amounts and they were not half as textured or detailed as the ex1000. I enjoyed this track immensely on the ex1000, on the 535s, it was a very rare disappointing moment.
Now, pls understand that i love my 535s alot for they do alot of things well above the run of the mill IEM, but they almost always do it in a way that is never in your face, nondescript if you will, but nonetheless very good all rounders in terms of sound, quality and build.
For all things that the 535 are, the ex1000 are very different in character. They strive to do alot of things well, but somehow i find bass and timbre (instrument and vocal) to be their strongest forte.
For what Sony did try to do throughout the range, they probably did not do that well entirely. Morover, the ex1000s are hopeless outside of home at least for me, performing much like earbuds in terms of isolation. Do note that they are open backed and not closed like what Sony states on their website.
To wrap up, the 535s are like a Lexus to me, ever so reliable and doing almost everything well but they never scream for attention or set your pulse racing.
The ex1000s are more like an Alfa Romeo, not the fastest or the best technically. But when it engages you on those occasions, you just know it's magic.
Finally just some pictures of both of them.