I listen to everything but mostly rock, alternative, slightly indieish stuff, pop, and singer songwriter acoustic type of stuff. I want something with a wide, but natural sound stage, impactful, but not overwhelming bass, good vocals, good separation, good isolation, all that stuff. I narrowed it down to the shure 535 limited editions and audeo pfe232s after reading tons of reviews. I like the 535les because they have an even wider sound stage, better treble, good bass, and amazing mids. But I'm afraid that they might not have the best separation for more complicated things like rock. What I like about the pfe232s is they are extremely comfortable and maybe even better to sleep with than the shures, better bass, maybe a more natural slightly less wide sound stage, with better instrument separation. I've read that the mids aren't as good as the shures but still good, and the isolation isn't quiet as good which is sort of important. Anyways that's what I learned from the conflicting reviews so I'm not 100% sure about all that. I can't audition any of them locally or anything. So what ones would probably be best for me? Or anything better around $500-$600?
Shure se535le or Audeo pfe232?
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I haven't heard the 535, so I really can't comment on that unfortunately :( I can tell you that the PFE232 has a nice, wide soundstage (partially due to the slight-v-shape signature). They work well on all the genres you've stated as well and fit your audio description:
- Natural soundstage: The 232 will provide a wide soundstage, I will be honest and say that it may sound a little artificial.
- Vocals: this is still one of the PFE's strong suits. I don't know how it'll compete with the Shure's vocals as they tend to be the king of vocals :p So I'm just going to leave it at that. The PFE does have good vocals, the Shures may (more likely than not) be better.
- Impactful, but not overwhelming, bass: This is also something that the PFE232 has. The bass is focused between the low and mid bass, so you'll get what you're looking for. Good impact, punch, and depth (great for rock ;)).
- Separation: separation really comes from the soundstage. They do a great job with separation.
- Treble: although some have said it's sibilant, I haven't gotten any sibilance from the 232s, but you may...
Isolation would be my main concern. I'm willing to bet that the Shure will isolate a lot better than the 232. The 232 are about average when it comes to isolation with other IEMs.
The more open the area, the better. If you're trying to isolate from a high school hallway, the 232 may not suffice. If you're in college, the halls are less crowded, so the 232s will suffice.
I'm leaning towards the 535le's, and if I did get them in the future I might upgrade the cable but anyways. My only concern is that some say they aren't good for fast music? Like with rock music (mostly stuff like blink 182, my chemical romance, the offspring, black veil brides, we came as romans, etc.) I want the separation to be good and I don't want it to sound like a jumbled mess like my se215s. Also how would the bass compare to say the 215s?
Edited by computeruler - 12/16/12 at 11:31am
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I had both, for Rock both of them will fail. For acoustic/vocal music Shure 535LTD will excel. PFE232 got good soundstage and laid-back signature, got great comfort, it is more like jack of all genre kind of earphone, excelling in nothing but technically very good up there with top tier universals and it is also how you see it as it is both advantage and disadvantage. For fast/pop music you should try something else IMHO.