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Shure SE535 vs Bowers & Wilkins P7

Poll Results: Which one?

  • 31% (6)
  • 68% (13)
19 Total Votes  
post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm not a bass-head by any means so detail is a priority for me. The fact that the se535 are more portable is a big bonus for me but also don't want to sacrifice sound quality. Also, since I will be listening in places like the library I really don't want any sound leakage. 



post #2 of 18

I think this is quite an extreme comparison, considering that you're judging one of the largest portable headphones against an IEM... If you're after portability, go for the SE535 by all means, I don't think you'll be sacrificing any sound quality with the SE535. Unless there is a particular reason you've chosen the P7 to compare against the SE535?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

There is no specific reason I'm choosing between these two because I just narrowed these two for my tastes.



-Sound stage

-Replaceable cable

-Songs I listen to: A Day in LifeTwist and ShoutWild Honey

post #4 of 18

This is a really interesting comparison thread. I hope that people who have experienced both can give us some feedback on how they compare in terms of what is comparable (their sound quality and signature) and not just point out the ways in which they are different (form factor, etc). So it's "if nothing else but SQ and signature mattered to you, which would you prefer and why?".


Unfortunately I can't really contribute because I haven't heard the SE535, but the P7s are my favourite over-ear portable to date.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

I've personally heard a lot of great reviews from both but I still have no idea which one is the best for my taste of music. :frown:

post #6 of 18

The P7s are available to demo at my local Apple store. Have you checked if yours have them out?

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm living in Iran for the next 2 years so no real apple store for the next 2,000 miles. :(

post #8 of 18
I've owned the SE535s and it's a no brainer, the P7s are much better, bigger and truer to life sounding. The SE535s still give you the "in your head" IEM sound and the treble roll off was too much to bare...thus selling them off twice. I tried to like them, I just couldn't in the long run.
post #9 of 18
Hey MH, big fan of your portables comparison thread. Do you think you have to start paying jh13-like prices to find a competitor for the p7s/hp 50s, or do those expensive customs smash the over-ear portables?
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by audioops View Post

Hey MH, big fan of your portables comparison thread. Do you think you have to start paying jh13-like prices to find a competitor for the p7s/hp 50s, or do those expensive customs smash the over-ear portables?

Thanks! I'd love to hear the new JH Roxannes, but my ears and IEMs that deeply insert into them don't seem to mix very well. I can get away with the Bose QC20i's because they're almost like earbuds; they barely go deep. 

post #11 of 18

Here is my take on it.


First off I don't have the 535's but do have the 425's so a little off on the comparison but most of this isn't the sound signature.


As a whole I like both for different reasons and they both excel at different things.





Sound better strait out of phone or Ipod

Do get better with a better source but not a huge improvement

More comfortable for longer periods of time



Size they have to go in a medium to large bag to be portable

Don't completely isolate


Shure se425



Smaller can pack up and throw in a pocket

Completely isolate you

Vast improvement with better source (I actually like the sound of these over the P7 with a good source)



Can have in ear discomfort after long periods

It is hit or miss on if you like the in your face sound most iems have




No sound leakage


My overall vote would be for the P7.


Sound wise the Shure's are more mid centric with heavier roll off on the higher end than the P7 (which I like as some of the higher tones just don't jive well with me) which still has some roll off.  Also, the bass is heavier with the Shure's than the P7. The P7 opens up more than the Shures to me on the soundstage.


Hope this helps.

Edited by Oklahoma - 2/23/14 at 6:17pm
post #12 of 18
Hi,good comparison ,I also have se425s and recently addedp100 comply tips and wow amazing now !!!

I am also thinking of getting p7s ,will I be happy ??

Do they improve on the 425s ?

Still trying to find a good over ear to match these shures .
post #13 of 18
Definitely give them a try I am really enjoying mine. They do have more on the upper end than the 425s do and more separation in the instruments. I like the smoother low end that the 425s have more but the P7s sound phenomenal and are very engaging.

Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
post #14 of 18

I've got both the SE 535 and the Bowers P7, unfortunately my SE535s are no longer in original shape. I upgraded the sonic filters on them and the cable. The Bowers p7 are original unchanged. Since you only provided 3 points of comparison between them i'll try and answer as best as i can for you.




- Both headphones are extremely clear. Instrument separation and vocals are unbelievably clear and will detour you from 99% of the headphones out there once you've lived with either for a while since nothing in the non-audiophile world will be able to satisfy you. The Se535 with a set of acoustic dampeners can change its clarity. They have the ability of going from harsh, excessively clear headphones (gray filters) to being very close to the signature of the P7 with a mild warm sound yet still maintain clarity in treble and a tight bass (brown filters). If i was to choose only a single headphone based on clarity it would the SE353. 


I know you didn't ask, but dynamic range is also something interesting. The p7 outperform the SE535 here. This is also to do with the fact that the p7 is somewhat colourful whereas the SE535's are a little more flat in response up until the highs. The P7 does have a phenomenal way of creating shift in sound while not going overboard. 


-Sound stage


This one is easy. IEM<Closed Back<Open Back


There is no way around it. No IEM will ever come close to an Open pair of headphones, my Grado's have a sound stage that make either look like a dorm-room. That said for IEMs the SE535s have a very good soundstage and for closed backs that P7 have a very very good sound stage. So the P7 sound stage will win over the SE535 here. 


-Replaceable cable


Another for the p7 i'm afraid but i say that only cause you'll be in Iran. The SE535 cable IS replaceable but the connectors on the ends are not generic. You can't find the ear plug cables everywhere especially where you may not have access to the online market. The p7 cable, though oddly shaped is still a simple 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable that is more likely to be available locally and cheaper. For basic SE535 cable your looking at $30-40min, upgrades around $100-150 and overprices at around $500. The P7 Cable can be replaced directly from Bowers for $20, upgraded for around $100 and overpriced to only god know how high.



If i had to pick between the two as my only pair it would be the SE535, but not because of your criteria. The SE535 isolate better so better for both louder environments, leak less sound so better for quite areas, more portable so easier to carry when travelling, moving around etc, gym use, and less cumbersome to easier to have in your ears when just going about doing things than the Bowers P7. I've lived with the SE535 only for 4yrs and have no complaints, well sorta, had my grado's :-) but only got the closed hp's a few months back. 


hope that helps...

post #15 of 18


S E R I O U S L Y?!

Are you ******* comparing a pair of over-ear headphones with a pair of in-ear monitors?! Obviously the over-ear will win, also if the quality of the SE535 is absolutely stunning for a pair of in-ear earphones, for me this thread it's absolutely ridiculous.

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