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Universal Fit item created by baka1969, Oct 29, 2010
Pros - Pretty much everything from sound to comfort.
Cons - Non thus far.
After owning a pair of Shure's previous model in-ears the SE-530's that were very impressive (apart from the non detatchable cable),I was thinking these new phones were going to have a hard time following my previous pair,I did order a pair of the more expensive Sennheiser IE 800's but thought they were pretty overpriced for their sound quality and overall design flaws.
The new Shure's are an absolute revelation in terms of both build and sound quality,even on the very first listen with no burn-in they instantly impress in terms of balance and overall soundstage,the previous issues with the 530's ie the cable having it's core exposed will not be as much as an issue with the newer models detatchable cable,although I do not expect as much of an issue this time as the overall build quality seems much better.
To round this off I got a great part exchange deal from Shure for my older phones and in total the new 535'S only costed me around £200,when ordering them the very helpful guy at shure said the "Clear" colour 535's had a more sturdy cable (not sure if this is true) but I was opting for that design anyway.
Pros - Incredibly spacious sound-stage, deep and extended low-end, amazingly smooth and clear mid-range, bright and lively high-end.
Cons - Price (for most), ruthlessly merciless to poor sources and source materials.
Received these beauties around early february, I then proceeded to initially connect them to my Nokia Lumia 800 and was moderately impressed by the sound quality. Before taking the leap to purchase these, I had read multiple reviews from Head-Fi.org and Google, suffice to say I was not thoroughly impressed with these; it sounded slightly muddy and distorted which prompted the realisation that I had just wasted my money ordering these from a Hong Kong retailer. I refused to give up yet, and my persistence on the web revealed that the Nokia Lumia 800 was infamous for its atrocious music playback quality.
I then decided to invest in a high-end portable audio player and after reading several reviews, I purchased the Cowon iAudio 9 and transferred my flac music files onto it. Now I truly understood why so many people had been praising these IEMs, the sound-stage was considerably wider, the lows had a signficant amount more impact and extension, the mids were amazingly clear, the highs were incredibly revealing and lively and the fantastic stereo seperation allowed me to pick out details in the music that I never knew were there - on some tracks, I was so shocked by the new details which I was hearing that I began wondering how I never knew they existed. This provided the perception of being in a live concert due to how lively and incredibly smooth these monitors sounded in my ears.
These monitors are EXTREMELY unforgiving to poor sources and source materials. Put rubbish in; receive rubbish in return. These monitors will reveal ALMOST everything you give them; providing the source and source materials are up to par.
If the bass seems light to you, mids sound recessed, highs sound bright/sibilant and sound-stage sounds small, then the problem could be one of the following: YOU DO NOT have a good enough seal, you've spent too much time listening to bass-heavy/coloured low-end earphones, you're using the wrong tips, your source is pathetic (YES - that applies to over 95% of all apple 'i' products; be it iPods or iPhones), your source material is pathetic (if you want to listen to low-bitrate music files, then why are you even reading this?!), you're pushing the ear sleeves too low on the nozzle (they should be right at the notch on the nozzle to prevent sibilant sounding highs and improve the sound stage).
Obtain all of the aforementioned factors and enjoy pure sonic bliss courtesy of the Shure IEMs engineers
The Shure SE535 is simply STELLAR and will NEVER be the limiting factor in one's quest for portable audio perfection!
Pros - great bass and mids
Cons - less than ideal treble
Comparing a bunch of universal IEMs, I'd rate the Shure se535 as one of the top tier choices. There are a few issues, but how much these affect you will be dependent on each person's ears physically and audibly.
Basically, I find the shure 535 to be a very pleasant smooth sweet sounding IEM with the major points being bass and midrange. The bass isn't basshead level or really that prominent per se, but it is very nice. I find that it is relatively level with the mid range, with the mid range standing out a bit as being more "forward". But the midrange doesn't really interfere with the bass. It is almost as though you hear through the midrange to the bass. The bass is relatively tight with a thick sort of "round" note hitting impact. It doesn't sound incredibly fast or precise, but it also doesn't sound at all muddy and inaccurate. Overall it is a pleasing, smooth bass that transitions nicely into the mids.
The mids, as many shure fans know, have a lusciousness to them that really pulls out information in music that many phones don't really render well. They do this in a musical almost artistic way. I say that meaning that they aren't strictly realistic sounding, but rather almost "colored" sounding, in a good way. Like comparing a painting to a photograph. The photo looks real, but the painting can still be very beautiful. Overall, the midrange is really the high point of this IEM, and from the things go south. Literally.
The treble takes a pretty big nose dive right as it starts to become "high" treble. I sort of drops like a roller coaster. It slowly starts to fall and then vwoooosh, it's gone down the chart. ha. To me, this it the crutch of the 535. It takes away all sense of real airy-ness and depth of soundstage leaving things sounding sort of soft, padded and lacking clarity and pinpoint details. The 535 still outperform a lot of other IEMs, and surprisingly pull out a lot of details in music despite this setback. However, for mer personally, the treble is the reason I wouldn't use the 535 as my own IEM. I'll be honest though, I'm sure some people might not even have the best hearing over 10khz so this may not be a problem for a certain group of listeners, and the positives of the rest of the spectrum would definitely be pleasing for most.
However, that is not the case for those who can hear up to at least 16khz. I think you'll find the rolloff to be noticeable. Not to say that everyone will steer away because of this. They are still a very nice sounding IEM, and for some the other areas may outweigh the treble deficiency. For me, that just wasn't the case.
I would rate these are very high quality, very good at retrieving details and just plain fun to listen to. They only suffer from a lack of true "realism" and a noticeable treble rolloff.
As for accessories, the case and tips are pretty nice. The cables of the IEM seem very durable but add a little heft. I didn't find this to be a problem. However, the other major detractor for me is the size of the housings. They are very very close, but simply don't fit my ears without putting pressure on my outer lobe that very quickly turns into pain. Not just discomfort. For that reason, I would recommend these only to those who don't have small ears, or simply try them first and make sure they fit without pain for at least 30 minutes or so.
For more details and a visual look at the IEM feel free to check out my youtube videos:
Overview and Accessories:
Pros - Natural, grain-free midrange. Good bass response. Fairly comfortable
Cons - IEM soundstage. lack of treble. Lack of punch.
When I tried the AKG K3003 and disliked the clinical presentation, I decided to try another high-praised universal IEM - the Shure SE535. I've read a lot about how these things have "bottomless bass", "fantastic mids" and "lots of detail".
Well, one thing is true. The midrange is great. These have a mellow, grain-free and natural midrange presentation. They are held back, however, by the rolled-off treble response and poor soundstage (like always with IEMs IMO). The result is surprisingly congested and dark sound, lacking in air, detail and sparkle. Using a broad selection of music, ranging from bass heavy beats, to sweet female vocal, to acoustic guitar, I was very unimpressed by the sound. Everything sounded veiled, frankly. The guitar strings sounded muffled and the little details hidden in the recording weren't audible.
Down the other end, the bass performance was good. The low notes were rich and well controlled. Extension was good. But the bass response sounded lean, lacking punch and weight.
And I just can't deal with that soundstage. The stage is small and flat, imaging is all over the place.
The end result? This is a mid-focused, dark sounding IEM. Ultimately, I found them muffled and boring. Too bad, since I really wanted to like them. I wanted a good IEM to easily take with me while traveling. But it didn't take long for me to realize the sound was not for me.
Heck, maybe IEMs aren't for me at all.
Pros - Good bass thump, good highs/mids, easy to drive
Cons - Can be uncomfortable, the cord can be anoying
DISCLAIMER: I am an audio appreciator, not an Audiophile. I hope.
I owned a pair of Shure 215s for a few days before I picked these up. My initial reaction to the 215s was disapointment. They provided great isolation, but the sound seemed flat to me. I purchased the Shure 215s to replace Sennheisers IE7. (Which is why they felt "flat" to me I think!) Currently I alternate from the 535s and Westone 4Rs.
I bought these in Korea, so I paid too much for them. That said, I'd say a good price point for them would be 350-400ish. That might be because I don't like to spend money. Value-wise, they feel really well made and the sound is good. The cord itself might outlast some DAPs!
Highs & Mids - (to me) sound good! Some things sound better to me out of the Shure 535 than my Sennheiser HD650. (Out of a Fiio E9 at least.)
Bass - This is what I like the 535s for. The bass actually feels like it makes an impact. Its clear and it's punctuated well.
Soundstage - Westone 4Rs beat out the 535s I think. That's not to say anything feels 'cramped' on these. Things sound good, its just not as spacious or spread out to me as the Westone 4 makes things sound.
Initially I had issues with this IEM hurting my ears if I wore them longer than an hour. The casing was big (perhaps my ears are small) so when the IEM rested against the bottom of my ear it would actually press down on it and cause my ear to hurt. Eventually I put an extreme kink in the cable at the base of the housing and it became comfortable to wear.
Cable - This is both good and bad. It's nice, long, and is very very sturdy. At the same time, if you're having to move it away, it can be a hassle. If it's lying against your neck, you'll definitely feel it.
Driveability - Anything can use this. It sounds better with a bit of an amp however. (Or so it seems to me.)
"Wow." Isolation-wise, this IEM has the best isolation of an IEM that I've tried. Those Shure Olives are pretty amazing at what they do.
It'd say it's a great buy, especially if you can get it for $400-$450. If you are looking for something that is;
durable, noise-isolating, good with bass...Then this is an IEM to consider.
If you'd like something with a wider soundstage and a bit more emphasis on highs with a bit less isolation/punchy bass, then look up the Westone 4Rs.
Pros - clarity, space, quality, build, isolation
Cons - treble extension, presentation is very tip dependant
>>as tyl herstens said - "Ahhh! Someone slipped liquid gold into my ears! The genies at Shure did some
real magic here."
>>just wonderful ...handsome bass , rich and forward mids , in-offensive treble
Impressions after 6 months :-
I thought of pimping this review and adding on to the above after a full 6 months of listening .
I hated the Shure Olives at first, so started using the flex tips that came with it for most of this period except recently when i switched back on to the olives and came to know what I've been missing.
With the flex tips any one can easily point at the disorganized presentation with a 'here and there' soundstage that is loose, flabby and not so convincing in height.
Let me start with the paradox that these IEMS portray.
They have more of a dynamic sound to my ears and show lotsa timbre and texture, which essentially takes away its 'armature' nature. They are on the meatier side of things, which 'sounds wrong' in some of the fast music i listen to occasionally . I tried my hand at almost everything to get a fast sound out of them but none worked.
Another thing that these were not showing were some of the texture in treble, which in head-fi terms is a roll-off. I EQ'd my source for treble to pop out but FR charts proved me wrong there and the treble EQ gives it a piercing sound with some of the electronica that the shures handle very well.
So I decided to take a look at some faster IEMs out there and found a great deal on the CK100 pro, that's when a great head-fier pointed me to the option of after-market cables, hell he even made me a custom one, a 6N OFHC SPC.
I noticed better seperation and better treble, not instantly but you could say I sank down to it. The bass might be a bit tighter with the custom cable as well, but this is something I still have to verify.
However the flex tips were still limiting them from providing any coherency, so I went back to the olives.
Now if you can't get out of a problem, you might as well go further in. (implying my search for improving the shures at what they are good at)
So i tried the olives again, and this improved the texture even further, yes even the treble had some
body with the olives and the custom-cable.
They can be only worn over the ears.(Below is an on the ear picture of them with stock cables)
Evaluation of the sound and Conclusions:
The sub-bass of these are very much there, all the way down low, provide great texture but at the lowest of lows can sound abstract.
The mid-bass is great as well, but they don't really hit you like my DT-990 Pros do.
The mid-bass is more like a water balloon that someone threw at you, but it didn't break on impact(with your FACE) and neither did you close your eyes.
The mids are the magic. Amazingly open and very forward mids that might get annoying to some. But as much as it wowed me at first, it has still remained a great pleasure and can provide one too many eargasms. The forward mids really provide superlative clarity that still stands as a reference to my ears.
With the flex tips, I even found a lot of sibilance in the mids, this goes away obviously with the olives, comply foams etc. an example here for its mids is 'lullaby for cain' by sinead o'connor that with the 535s actually sounds like it was sang to scare a baby to death(beautiful vocals with lots of raw emotions - what did you think?)
The treble with the stock is 'very' inoffensive and sound only extended to make details audible and provide great resolution .This is the place where higher pitch toned instruments lack air and you can find deficiencies .In other words, most of the instruments like flute, trumpet, clarinet, cymbals of drums, oboe etc sound thin and bodyless once they go to the higher registers of the instrument pitch. It might be unsatisfying to many, atleast to me it is.
the solution > custom cable starting from the 6N ofhc SPC available for 60 $ all the way to the OCC 7N pure silver dream cable for 300 $, provide great compliment to the overall sound(see link below). I wouldn't say the treble just improved to sheer awesomeness or anything. It was much more strong and slightly more extended from its original presence.
The shures have a very inorganic presentation with no rawness to it imho(mind you its just the presentation and not really the sound which is supremely realistic), the music sounds forward and mesmerizing and the details sound slightly in the distance. I know the music I listen to from back to front, sideways to centre, so the 'detail' i listen to is more or less part of the rythm now. this i deem to be the characteristics of the shure magic and does not really work with the other iems I've tried.
Like a dad riding a bicycle who is helping his kid balance on a bicycle at the same time.
P.S>What most IEMS represent today are great transparency, a technical nature of revealing details and brilliant transients.
The shures might not be the best for any of the above sonic properties and signature , but the quality of sound they put out is one of its kind.
they are a good all rounder and provide a near full view of the music without sacrificing too much of any part of the sonic spectrum.(with SPC to my ears)
AFTER P.S>What I mean to say is that these are an amazing product, but more or less an acquired taste(easiest one in that way) and very expensive. They are very sensitive and provide me with deafening volumes at around 70 percent of my i-pod volume bar.
The build quality is just superb, one of my fat assed friends sat on it for hours while I was asleep and NO-THING at all happened to them, super tough build( made for audiophile construction workers out of their hard hat material) !! The microphonics of the stock cable is near to NO-THING.
The isolation is just stupendously superbly divine. A few months back, I roamed for around 3 hours in the city with the shures on, and don't even remember hearing a private bus honk reminiscent of ship horns(very present in my part of the world). Comfort again is good, but not really great. They don't really disappear into the ears, you always know they are there and cutting you off from this world in 2 ways :
1. you have them on and walk around your house, don't here the phone ringing (probably your boss who wants to fire you)
2. you have them on and walk on the road, take your DAP to change the music, forgetting you are on the middle of the stupid road and get hit by a kidnap van.
Hope you enjoyed this.
Thank you for reading.
Pros - great sound, great entry to audiophiledom
Cons - stiff cable
this was my first audiophile product and for any considering audiophiles, its worth the pain of purchase