This thread was inspired by a quote from the SE215 thread: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/542003/new-shure-se215-first-impressions.
First and foremost, I'd like to share my thoughts and experience, and hopefully other Head-Fi'ers can post any critiques and their experiences. Note, my views are purely based on personal experience and not on hard data like Flavio T in the SE215 thread.
I've had the pleasure of owning: SCL2, SE530, SE425, SE535 and was fortunate enough to audition: SCL3 and the SCL5 from a friend.
I had originally purchased the SCL2s and although the sound quality was great (coming from stock earbuds), I was very disappointed due to the fact that the cable cracked prematurely numerous times. The build quality was pretty atrocious and I had to file for warranty many times and my impressions of Shure weren't great. I had babied them and eventually figured out the cable cracking issue wasn't based on my usage but was a well documented and known issue where the human oils harden and eventually split the cables.
Although the SE530s sound signature was pretty good, I was once again disappointed by it's flimsy cable on a flagship IEM.
Fast forward to the new SE line with the MMCX connectors. I bit the bullet due to the cable improvements with the SE535s and 425s and to be completely honest I am very satisfied on my purchases.
The new Shure cables gives the end-user a certain sense of assertion and flexibility. The sense of assertion comes from the cable construction itself, kevlar reinforced cable and the superior MMCX connectors (as opposed to the inferior 2 prong standards imho). Additionally, because it is replaceable, it gives the end-user options after the 2-year warranty. I can't argue against Flavio T's quote (his statement is based on hard data) but logically it did not make sense to me.
"When the cable fails on an earphone with replaceable cables, the first and most common action is to buy a new set of cables. This could be big business.We sold many thousands of cables back in the day. Customers wouldn't think twice between trying to enter a warranty claim with the manufacturer or simply buy new cables."
However, why would anybody purchase a new cable when the warranty covers it? Unless it's extremely urgent or some other extenuating circumstance, I can't fathom why anybody would spend more money when the warranty covers it for free.
That being said, my thoughts and reasoning is outlined below. [R#] = reasoning.
Thought #1. Purchase an SE model and enjoy for 2 years worry-free [R0]. After the warranty period is over, if the cable is faulty, purchase a replacement cable [R1][R2][R3].
R0: Preferably a higher-end model such as the SE425/SE535.
R1: Why spend money when warranty can be filed so easily?
R2: If I had invested $300/$425 (CDN) initially, I believe a supplementary $40 to prolong the usage of my initial investment isn't that bad of a deal.
R3: The cable is 13% of the SE425, and 9% of the SE535s.
Thought #2. Very insignificant in proportion, however, I believe it isn't ideal to purchase a cable for the rest of the SE series - including the SE315 and SE215 [R1].
R1: The initial investments are $200/$100 (Approx.) which means the cable is worth 20% and 40% of the IEMs respectively. The proportions are questionable because when you purchase a new pair, you have a guaranteed 2 years of enjoyment.
Note this is based on a lot of assumptions and just hypothetical situations. While I would like to hear your opinions, please do not point out that everything outlined above is too situational, as I understand this very well.
Opinions and experiences please Maybe I'll add a small poll. .