So this is my first pair of more than $100 in ears, the Shure SE535 LE. I am going through and re-listening to my entire music library. Listening to rock songs with a lot of drums in it sounds really bad to me though. That is through spotify at highest setting (320 mp3) but it might be lower kbps depending on what they have available, it doesnt tell you though. Even listening to some of my lossless itunes stuff (mostly J-pop ripped from CDs) rock songs sound muddied at higher levels, like they would if you plays compressed songs too loud over a cheap speaker. Not sure why this is, maybe they are defective? Maybe my ears are crappy? Or maybe its because im playing straight from my macbook air and my iphone 5? Any tips would help
Shure SE535 LE Sound Bad
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shure 535 isn't meant to be used with rock music that i can tell you that much, much better at female vocals and brighter sounds like pianos. The bass in the shures aren't exactly what you would call engaging.
It's a case that you bought the wrong IEM for the music rather than the IEM being crappy
try borrowing a different IEM from someone and test it out, preferably an IEM more bass heavy
the shures are my second favourite IEM out of all i've tested, it does some things brilliantly but others quite badly. I bought the Westone 4 in favour of shures just because it is the jack of all trades for music types.
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Spotify. J-pop. No amp. I have identified your problems
Download the sampler from hdtracks: https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=login&redirectto=samplealbumdownload&ialbum_id=13598
Do any of those sound better?
The 535s aren't made for pop and certainly not for streaming music. The 535s let you hear how crappy that stuff really is.
In my experience drums and cymbals in particular sound terrible when the quality of the recording isn't up to par. I'd say that includes everything you're going to get from streaming.
Also, have you tried the black foam tips? The rubber ones never gave me the right seal, which messes with the bass.
This talk about how one earphone simply not being able to play a genre in particular is ridiculous IMO. Unless their bandwidth and signature is so off-kilter and skewed to an extremely dehabilitating point where it genuinely limits them I'm inclined to believe that there's a lot of hyperbole going around. And as much as I'm not impressed with the SE535 they are not that flawed. Keep in mind this is coming from a SE535 hater/skeptic.
I still have no idea what he wants. I do know what he does not want but that still isn't very specific or helpful. And it's not like the Shures are excessively boomy in the grand scheme of things.
If he can report back with some more details that'd be great though.
Thanks for all the replies. I downloaded the samples, and man does it sound a lot better. Which of course just sucks, because most of the stuff I listen to I have no way of getting that kind of quality. So.... Does that mean I should just use crappier headphones? I guess what are the best IEMs for spotify and pop?
Edited by pnewelljr - 4/15/13 at 12:00am
Any way you can define/refine terms like "worst" and actually explain what is happening? What is bad about the cymbals .....
Also - are these the SE535 Limited Edition (sold in Nth America), or the SE535 Special Edition sold in Asia/Australasia? The two are apparently different IEMs (look the same - but different tweaking), and it would be helpful to know which ones you have.
Are you listening with any type or EQ applied?
I wish I was more knowledgeable about terminology. The best way I can describe it is if you were to go get a $20 speaker from target, and turn it up really loud, sort of like the speaker is blown? It sounds muddied (staticy?), it almost sounds like it is a low quality audio track, but they are flacs I ripped myself. They are the Asia version of the LEs. No EQs, just straight from iTunes and the music play on my iPhone 5.
OK - so you have the same IEMs I do - the "Special Edition" - which have more treble extension than the regular ones.
The 535s are pretty sensitive IEMs - so it's not like you need extra amping to drive them. Straight out of an iPhone is fine.
What you are talking about as far as sound issues go - seems to be distortion, and probably clipping. If you're getting static as well - then it could be the headphone-out on the Macbook - but those are actually supposed to be pretty decent.
Can you list a couple of albums where this is occurring - ie the ones you've ripped? If the music you're listening to is badly mastered / brickwalled - then you may get clipping at high volumes. It doesn't matter if you've ripped straight of a CD either - if the source (music) is poorly mastered - then there is not a lot the transducers can do to make it right.
IME with the SE535 Special Editions - the sound is very smooth, forward mids, well defined and clear. I've never had a problem with cymbals on mine. The bass actually extends pretty well but it is flat - really well defined, but not 'thumping'. If anything the bass is neutral in quantity. If thumping is what you want - you bought the wrong IEMs. If a lot of the music you listen to does not have the best mastering, and you're looking for more bass - then consider selling/returning the SE535 SE, and going back down the line to the SE215. You'll get more bass, and a more "forgiving" presentation - especially if the source music needs it.
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I own a pair of standard Shure 535s, so I can't really speak for the LE but I'm assuming they're not too different.
To say they're not suited to rock music is ridiculous and completely incorrect. They're accurate, neutral IEMs, they can reproduce any genre well. The majority of the stuff on my DAP is progressive metal and classic rock, and the 535s perform perfectly. The sound is simply amazing. It's a smooth, accurate sound, with clear treble and just the right amount of bass. I infinitely prefer them to my Sennheiser IE80s or my Klipsch X10s.
I would recommend a couple of things to the OP:
1.Make sure you have a proper seal. The difference in sound quality between a proper seal and an okay seal is huge. None of the provided tips really worked for me, so I use Klipsch S4 Large tips. If you want to make sure it's not a tip problem, I suggest you try using the yellow foams that came with the 535s. They're not very practical to wear on a daily basis but they're almost guaranteed to rule out any sealing problems.
2. Try a better player. I use my 535s on a Cowon C2 playing FLAC files with the BBE turned up high, and a neutral EQ. The sound is spectacular. Trying my 535s on an old Creative Zen playing 320kps MP3s, the sound was pretty boring and muddy.
As mrip541 mentioned, these headphones really let you know how crappy music can be. They'll highlight any faults and will emphasize lossy compression to a jarring degree. I stand by a statement I made on a different forum which not many people may agree with: focus first on the sound source, then on the player, and lastly on the headphones. Good headphones should be the last thing you purchase.
Edited by Orkboy - 4/15/13 at 5:13am
Yah, I am thinking that these headphones are too nice for the kind of music I listen to. Which is to bad because they seem like great headphones. I just ordered a E11 and I am gonna try running them through that when it gets here. Otherwise I might switch them out for the SE215 which seems crazy to me haha