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Newbie questions on the SE535

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi there Head-Fi!  I'm in need of some help here and am at a bit of a loss.

 

A while ago, 3-4 years ago, I decided to ditch low end headphones and go all out, I purchased a set of Shure SE535's and absolutely loved them.  But these days they seem to have lost a bit of their "Magic".  Their once brilliant balanced sound seems to have degraded to being very fat around the middle with very little detail in the mids and highs and the right monitor seems to be significantly under powered now, requiring a good deal of balance correction to bring the sound back to center.

 

I already did some reading online on how to maintain them and carefully removed any wax buildup from the stems without damaging the little filter inside.  Even went as far as to get new foams and cables, as well as cleaning out the connections for the cable.  Nothing seems to bring back their old sound.

 

So I guess my question is this:  Is it possible for the drivers in IEM's to age with use and eventually lose their brilliance?  I'm driving them with a Galaxy S4 outputting USB audio to a Fiio E17 DAC and no amount of EQ seems to be able to bring out their old sound signature.

 

If they have been damaged what would a good replacement be?  Should I just get a new set of 535's? or should I be looking at some of the other IEM's that seem to be well liked here (Sennheiser IE8/IE80 or Westone 3 / UM3X)?


Edited by biglightbt - 12/10/13 at 7:25pm
post #2 of 10

Hi,

 

 

How do you find the SQ of the E17 connected to S4 via USB? Is it much better than connecting through audio-out? because I don't find much difference connecting my GS3 to E17 via audio-out. What player app are you using? Recorder Pro?

 

Have a look at the Vsonic GR07BE. People here who has both the GR07 and UM3X rate the GR07 higher.


Edited by zamorin - 12/10/13 at 7:55pm
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I can't really comment too much on the finer points of the sound because of the problem with my SE535s but I can tell you the DAC is way better on some other points.

 

Most android phones put their on-board DAC into a low power mode when it's not actively processing anything.  This gives a false sense of what kind of background garbage bleeds into the audio when its actually playing and in its active, high power mode.  My GS4 has always produced an audible, rhythmic ticking noise even when the chip is idle.

 

When you actually give the built in DAC something to do, even if its just playing silence, it will "wake up" and its output can vastly change.  It seems like on just about every android device I've ever come across, that if you play a track with the volume fully turned down (powering on the DAC but giving it nothing to amplify) you will hear a disconcerting amount of background garbage bleeding in from nearby cellular components.

 

The Fiio being physically isolated from the other cellphone parts, both by power source and distance, doesn't experience all the garbage noise bleeding in, meaning silent parts of the music, are actually silent.  My Fiio does produces a slight, barely audible "hiss" but this seems to be and expected thing.  All the funny high frequency warbles and noises the internal headphone DAC's produce really shouldn't be there.

 

 

I'm not entirely sure the Vsonic's are what I'm looking for here.  I'm looking at either getting a pair of Shure SE535 Red editions or Westone 4R's.  I just want to be sure that my headphones are really the problem here, I can't tell if my taste in audio quality has changed or if my current 535 Bronze's has actually had some kind of internal progressive failure.

 

Oh, I also use PowerAmp for the moment coupled with the Viper4Android audio processing suite.  Although these days I'm beginning to wonder if all of PowerAmps built in audio modification doo-dads is actually degrading the audio quality.  My second choice would be Apollo, which does seem to have slightly better playback quality than PowerAmp, although it seems to be significantly more glitchy.

post #4 of 10

Thanks for that detailed response.:beerchug: 

 

Does the USB OTG work with Poweramp alone without Viper4Android? because the instructions for that app is in Chinese.


Edited by zamorin - 12/10/13 at 7:59pm
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Whether or not the USB OTG output works seems to be an Android version thing, rather than a music player thing.  The stock GS4 ROM has USB out for all applications, as does CyanogenMod 10.2 (what I'm currently running).  PACman ROM, for some inexplicable reason, does not support USB audio out.

 

Viper4Android or V4A, is an utterly massive equalizer program at its roots.  It includes some impressive tools for audio equalizing and multiple virtual surround sound generators along with a slew of other things like automatic replay gain.  It's not required to use the USB OTG, I just was using it to try and get my SE535's to sound right again but its extremely easy to over-equalize with V4A leading to everything sounding like crap and needing to go back to square one.

 

Edit:

 

Heres the thread on XDA on Viper4Android.  It's in English and very useful, the Apps original developer is Chinese and the entry in the Google Play Store is also Chinese.  When you install it though it will load in English.  Just be aware that I think you still need root for V4A to work right.

 

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2191223


Edited by biglightbt - 12/10/13 at 8:12pm
post #6 of 10

Thanks. Mine is rooted but still using the original Kernel with crDroid ROM and Android version 4.12. I'm planning to upgrade it to CyanogenMod 10.2. After that I'll try USB.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

No problem.  I'd definitely say that for on the go music a USB DAC coupled with an Android device is probably one of the highest quality audio sources you could get.  Although I'm defenitely no elite audiophile with years of experience, so take that with a grain of salt lol.

 

So I'm pretty sure I'm either going to go crawling back to Shure and pick up one of their SE535LTD-J units, or go with the Westone 4R.  I did enjoy my Bronze SE535s in their hayday so I kinda wonder if I should just stick to Shure.  I mainly listen to JPop/JRock although I tend to mix in all sorts of stuff.  Billy Joel, Bette Middler and my mishmash Purchased playlist from iTunes thats 400+ more or less random tracks that I happen to like.  Also as the avatar might indicate I have a thing for Vocaloid music, which can be tricky to reproduce well because of the unusual vocal characteristics.

 

The price difference between the two really isn't a deciding factor for me.

 

Any other opinions would be much appreciated!!!

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Made sure it was off the front page beforehand, but BUMP.

post #9 of 10
Contact Shure's customer service, as they are probably out of warranty, they may offer you an upgrade at a greatly reduced price. A friend of mine's SE530 died and Shure offered to him to upgrade to the SE535 at half retail price.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I thought the SE535LTD-J model was only available in Asia, not sure they would be able to work around that (Not that you cant purchase them through Amazon or something though).  Plus I'm still not entirely sure the earphones are the problem.  Without some kind of professional objective testing device I keep second guessing myself as to whether the earphones are the problem or if I just don't like the way they sound anymore.  I already tried a replacement cable and new foams and even wax buildup removal but they just don't quite sound right.  They sound like the mids are way more emphasized than they used to be with the treble roll off significantly worse than the slight roll off they always had.  I did not damage the little wax filter in the ear tube either when I cleaned them.



 



They are a good 4 years old and have spent a good deal of time in my cargo pockets in their carry case.


Edited by biglightbt - 12/11/13 at 6:20pm
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