Shure SE425 Earphone

  1. Brooko
    SE425 - silky smooth - just plain enjoyable
    Written by Brooko
    Published Apr 19, 2011
    Pros - Great fit, wonderful isolation, superb mids, good clarity
    Cons - Could use a little more treble extension, hard to remove the olive tips
    Shure SE425 - Highly Impressed - Great Build, Great Sound
    I received these as a replacement for my SE420 - which unfortunately had to be replaced due to the cable splitting at the relief (luckily inside warranty).  Kudos to the fantastic team at Now Sound in NZ for their prompt work replacing them.
    The biggest change from the older model has been the addition of a detachable cable - and the design for this is wonderful.  It now includes a memory wire (some love it, some hate it - I find it handy).  The housing is now hard plastic (the old one had a rubber cover which would keep splitting).  The hard cover makes it a lot easier to insert and remove.  The housing also seems smaller than the 420 - and once inserted fits flush to your ear.
    Fit / Comfort
    The new housing makes it very easy to fit - and get a great seal every time (for me).  I did have to change from medium to large olives.  The insertion is a lot shallower than the 420s - but the change in olive size ensures I get a perfect fit.  The housing fits flush to my ear, and I have no issues with discomfort.  These are comfortable enough to sleep in.  I've also been running with them - and have had no issues with them falling out.  The new memory wire makes looping over the ears very easy.  The memory wire on the 425 is not as stiff as on my 315s - and is very comfortable.
    To remove the iem's, all I do is swivel the cable out of the way, then grip the body and gently twist.  It is very easy.
    The microphonics on the 425 are very much reduced compared to the old 420's.  I'm finding virtually no microphonics from the new cable.  The fit I have is amazing for isolation as well.  These isolate for me a lot more than the 420's did (and as I said above, the insertion is shallower).
    Well I guess this is the main sub topic.  Couple of disclaimers - I really like the Shure sound - I started on SE102's, went to SE420's - then got a set of 315's while my 420's were being replaced.  I haven't heard much in the way of high end iem's - so can't really give a comparison / benchmark.  So the following is solely based on my thoughts of the SE425 in isolation.
    Bass - while the 425 is not an overly bassy iem, the bass is present, it extends well (better than the 315 or 420), and is tight and controlled.  The best thing about the bass is that it doesn't bleed into the mids.
    Mids - the Shure strength.  Silky sooth and absolutely fantastic for vocals.  Also great with acoustic guitar.  Nils Lofgren's Acoustic Live album is simply blissfully enjoyable.  The mids are very present  - probably even accentuated, but they don't seem overly forward IMO.  They are just really well balanced.
    Highs - probably the only thing that I wish there was slightly more emphasis on (it can be achieved with a touch of EQ though [​IMG] ).  The highs do roll off quicker than I'd like - and IMO this is the 425's only real weakness.  They just need a little sparkle to make them great.
    Clarity - another strength.  Instruments are well separated, and the music is very well detailed and clean.  I love listening to acoustics and picking up every nuance - fingers moving on a fret board etc
    The 425's are a really good iem - well designed and built (these will last for years), superbly comfortable and really smooth and detailed.  The mids are the strongest point - but the entire sound to me is balanced and relaxed.  The one weakness (for me) is a slight lack of upper treble - but easily fixable with EQ.
    1. jdpark
      Totally agree. 
      jdpark, Sep 6, 2015
  2. Dinerenblanc
    Shure done a good job. ;)
    Written by Dinerenblanc
    Published Oct 24, 2014
    Pros - Clarity, Balanced, Noise Isolation, Comfort, Flush Design, Detachable Cables
    Cons - Subdued Bass
    Shure has definitely outdone themselves with this wonderful product. Never have I experienced more clarity in a pair of IEMs. For someone who listens to alternative rock, pop, and an assorted array of indie music, I say that few IEMs can do better. The amount of detail displayed is extraordinary. Vocals are crystal clear and forward, especially female vocals. However, the bass is lacking a bit in quantity, but they're by no means flat. It's still punchy enough to satisfy most listeners. No, these IEMs are not for bass-heads, but for those who want precision. If you're someone who prefer to have lows that accentuate exceptional mids and highs, these are the headphones for you. They're the quintessential headphone for the intimate listener.
      Szadzik likes this.
  3. CavemanSponge
    Accurate Stage IEMs
    Written by CavemanSponge
    Published Apr 19, 2018
    Pros - Overall Fit, Midrange Quality, Signature (for some)
    Cons - Cables, Lack of treble extension, Lack of bass (for some)

    I know this review is quite late, as this IEM has been around the market for at least 7 years now, dating back to late 2010-2011 when it made its debut. However, I also understand that audio is a hobby, and one way or another people might want to get their hands on this piece of kit even if it has reached its saturation point, so I thought I'll make a review about it, for good or for ill :)

    Now there are some points I would like to address before going more in-depth. First, my preference in sound signature lies more towards neutral/bright rather than warm/full. Second, I use silicone tips that were provided by Shure and I swapped out the original cable in lieu of a thinner, more comfortable FiiO Cable. Okay now with those out of the way lets get into the review!

    --Design & Build--

    Shure is undoubtedly one of the best if not the best designed IEM when comfort and fit is put into consideration. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember correctly Shure and Westone collaborated in their IEM design, so Westone comes at a close second when it comes to the overall body design. Even when compared to higher-end IEMs like the likes of Campfire Audio, Noble, 64Ears, and Dita, the Shures still stood out as the most comfortable IEM in my lineup due to its size and form factor. The shells are made out of plastic which keeps the body lightweight, and although I am quite disappointed since I got the silver version, I felt that plastic is better as it does not get cold in the winters and does not have rough edges that might irritate my ears. I give the Shures a thumbs up in this regard.


    This section is where Shure gets its first yellow card. Cables.

    Now I understand that Shure has always gone for this 'studio quality' thing as they claim that their IEMs are the industry standard used by musicians, sound engineers, and in studios all around the world. While I appreciate the addition of removable cables via the MMCX connection, I absolutely hate how the cable looks and feels. On paper, the cables provided are strong and durable, made with reinforced kevlar and a super sturdy, chunky wire splitter in the middle. However, on practice, I felt this to be quite uncomfortable, as the cable is quite stiff and they never 'relax' when worn, holding their shape over time, which makes it hard when you need to stuff your cable into your jacket or pants pocket if it gets too long. In addition, since the cable did not conform well, a change in posture (i.e standing to sitting) can also be a little awkward, as the cable stays stiff and you basically have to re-form the wires again.

    Now I sound like I absolutely despise the cables, which is not true since I appreciate that Shure is one of the few mass-market companies that pays attention to cable quality, and the idea of imbuing kevlar into the cables is super smart. However, I value comfort and flexibility when it comes to cables, except if they sound amazing to the point that I can sacrifice my values. Shure sadly does not tick those boxes (for me), which made me swap my cables.

    --Sound Quality--

    Before we go here I want to quickly touch on the genres of music that I normally listen, and what I used to test this IEM. For my everyday, I am a J-Pop and Anisong fan (it makes up ~70% of my library). However, I also listen to others like Rock, Pop, Classical, and Smooth Jazz (~30%). I tested this IEM with all genres mentioned, with a couple of EDM tracks to test out bass.

    Bass: Starting out with bass, people might have different views about it. Some will say the bass is just right in quantity and quality, but some will also say that the bass is lacking. Imho, I feel like the bass is really good when it comes to quality, but meh when it comes to quantity. Bass notes in tracks like Hidamari Days by SisterS and Break Free by Ariana Grande feel really tight and punchy, but is lacking in weight. Tracks like Miss You - Nick Talos Remix lack the rumble down low, which makes the track less pump-y. Overall, bass is just right for me, and it will for you, too, if you choose the right genre and tracks. I would also say that DAPs play a role in enhancing this region, as bass notes sound weightier and fuller out of my X5iii compared to my AK100ii.

    Midrange: Mids is generally Shure's forte, and it is no stranger in the 425s. Midrange is very forward, grabbing all the heat and attention from the audience. It is also very smooth and silky, with full-sounding notes to give listeners a more intimate time, and make them feel like the singers are singing right there in front of them. This is the part which amazed me the most, as Shure is able to compete against the higher-tier JH Audio and the likes of Layla and Dorado when it comes to pure midrange smoothness. I never said they came out on top, though so keep that in mind :wink:. Detail is very good too in this region, with good micro-detail retrieval (this is where people say "I heard things I never heard before"). However, what Shure is offering in the plate here is intimacy and smoothness, not detail. Search too extensively, and you will be disappointed. Tracks like Beauty and the Beast by Ariana and John Legend sounded amazing, and it feels as if I am in a concert, standing front row center listening to their duo. Vocals shine beautifully and overflows with realism, while the other instruments dance around in the background. I believe by Il Divo sounds amazing as well, with the 425s reproducing the group's mesmerizing vocals with beautiful fullness and clarity. Finally, Deatta Koro no You Ni by Takahashi Rie's beautiful guitar rythms are presented with beautiful realism, and again vocals are reproduced effortlessly until the end. Overall, Mids are AMAZING here.

    Treble: This is where I feel like again people have different opinions on, including me. In my opinion, treble is the weakest part on the 425's sonic signature, and honestly this is also the part that turned many people down when they first give this IEMs a listen. In terms of quality, treble is detailed, with a good sense of air and separation between the high notes. However, the quantity here is EXTREMELY lacking, and for me it brings down all that goodness the quality brings.*I need to apologize beforehand that I only have Anisongs and J-Pop music to showcase here* Okay so, as a general intro, Anisongs showcases midrange, treble, and air in an equipment. Gear that lack even one of those qualities will make Anisongs and J-Pop sound a little 'off'. Beautiful World by XX:me sounds okay with the 425, but it lacks the air and sparkle it once had when I listened even with my Orions. Asayake no Starmine by Asami Imai sounds a little off to me, with sparkles and synthesizers gasping for air, and sometimes even missing entirely in several sections of the track. When I listened to this track with the 425s, I feel like things are missing, as opposed to finding new details in the track. Overall, this is the dealbreaker for me, as I cannot listen to ~70% of my album at its fullest potential with the 425s. However, I am not surprised as well, as all IEMs in Shure's entire lineup never possess amazing treble. Not even the famed 846s.

    --Soundstage & Overall Signature--

    Soundstage in this IEM is good, not great, with better width than depth. Imaging is quite precise which is surprising, given the circumstances. However, due to the lack of air and treble, complex tracks tend to sound a little congested, and imaging alongside spacial accuracy degrades the more complex a track gets. I would say this IEM is more on the dark, thicker side, with smooth vocals, non-invasive bass and polite treble.


    In conclusion, this is a niche IEM that will serve a specific group of people. You enjoy vocals and don't care too much about the instruments taking the backstage? go for it. You enjoy a more organic, full sound like the old times? buy it now. You a metalhead? plz stop. You listen to J-Pop and other genres that require great air and treble? don't come any closer. In all seriousness, this IEM will please a crowd but will turn others away. Similar to its bigger brother, the 535s, this is not a jack-of-all-trades IEM, and it favors a certain genre over the other. I would say get this for a specific purpose, but don't expect your entire library to sound amazing in these, except if its vocal-strict.


    *Bonus Section: Cables*

    I put this as a bonus because people who believe in this, read; for those who don't, the conclusion is up there :). So I tried a couple different cables with the 425s in hopes of getting a better treble response. Note here I am going to focus on adding treble, not warmth or bass so that is what I will focus on.

    1. Lavricables Pure Silver: This cable has to be a quick, not too expensive fix for people who want higher quality cables than stock. In terms of sound, there is definitely an improvement in the treble region, with added presence and shimmer. The low end seems to tighten a tad bit too, but is barely noticeable as the 425's bass are tight enough. However, even if this is a good cable, I will not justify the purchase as the improvements are not night-and-day.

    2. Effect Audio Ares II: This cable is copper, and oh boy does it add more warmth to the 425s. Treble is extended just a tiny bit, and the overall sound gets more intimate. A good pair if you want a very smooth and warm sound.

    3. FiiO Replacement MMCX Cable: This is the oddball but I definitely recommend you to grab it if you hate the cable ergonomics. The FiiO cable is way softer and more flexible, and it also has a mic (yeah yeah interference, etc). To me it hooks to my ears better, and is very comfortable and does not feel stiff nor bulky. Does not change sound, but yea for 16 bucks what can you expect?

    Thanks for reading!
  4. kochiyadragons
    One of the best option for whom always like to have music
    Written by kochiyadragons
    Published Apr 15, 2017
    Pros - Isolation, spacial expression,
    Cons - subdued bass, too referential for some music genre like rock or metal
         Now, I own Sony MDR-EX800ST, Etymotic Research ER-4S, and Ultimate Ears Triple fi. 10PRO as daily use IEM. But still SE425 is my all time favorite for its accurate relaxing sound. I am a guy who always like to have music. I need music for walking, working, reading and forget about daily life. This is open like canal earphone. Sound is not too closed, bass is weak but deep, treble is transparent and relaxing. 
         I believe this SE425 has the best cost performance as your life partner through my 6 years of experience with this IEM. Of course, if you can afford over 300$, that is different story, but I know not many people can really dare to pay that much from their very first time to start expensive IEM. SE425 will be the good start for the wonderful audiophile world for who has first try high end model, and it will be the great reference IEM for all audiophile too.
         Ultimate Ears Reference or Reference Remastered have slimier sound tendency. They are all flat, accurate, and boring (with not negative meaning) . SE425 is just like them. It has typical referential sound with easy, and highly qualified beautiful mid sound. Probably I should paraphrase boring as relaxing or referential sound. I have learned a lot through this IEM about the sound of music itself. This honest IEM told me how quality of the audio source affect to my listening experience and overall satisfactions. This is the great IEM overall.
         I will still update in later when I get good word to describe this my favourite item.
  5. flognarde
    Takes time but finally getting into it !
    Written by flognarde
    Published Jun 21, 2016
    Pros - After some adaption, some sort of refinement, tight base, well sorted mids, and non fatiguing highs, well built
    Cons - They don't like to be pushed, timbres not that realistic, I sometimes miss my $40 Zero Audio Temore's honesty and energy
    It was a big investment for me. I was very pleased with the fit of my SE215 not so much with the bloated bass section and the warmish signature.
    At first, I was disappointed, switching from Tenore's, the shy sound appeared muled and even more worried by tweaked timbres (Only classical music in my Fiio X5II).
    After 2 weeks, my judgement had to be revised.
    First of : don't push the volume ; they don't like it. They have enough details to cope with it.
    Anyway now, I rather like them, especially when music has complex messages like, let's say, a Bruckner's symphonie. The bass are so clear they never interfere with the rest, they are precise and tight, just the way I like. The rest of the spectrum is well defined never fatiguing with no sibilance. It's very refined, the instruments are well placed and well balanced.
    What remains from my first impressions are the timbres. Hard to describe but let's say I know how a cello sounds and I am not convinced the IEM's are fully accurate. On big ensembles, it's not a problem but on a Bach's partita for solo violin it's a bit more annoying. It's smoothed out and veiled at times.
    It all depends on the recording, as usual...
    Whatever, the more I use them, the more I like them. Four hours of Wagner Siegfrid ? No problem, the message is clear, articulated. I might not have found my perfect IEM's but I get Shure's intentions.
    I wish I could compare them with dozens of others in the same price range to be more precise on my impression, the music lover rather new in the headphone world. 
    I didn't find the Graal but will try hard.
  6. Vividcard
    Shure SE-425: Mid-Centric gold with little to desire
    Written by Vividcard
    Published Sep 29, 2015
    Pros - Fantastic mid centric dual driver, exceptional clarity, godlike isolation, Durable detachable cable.
    Cons - Can be difficult to determine right tips for best seal, highs may leave something to be desired.
    Hello fellow head-fi members. This will be my first official review of a product that I have published. As such, I would appreciate any input you can provide to allow me to make my review better. Likewise, if you have any questions regarding the SE-425’s. Let me know, as these are my daily IEM’s at the moment, I can usually answer the question or at least find out. With that said, let’s begin the review!



    The Shure SE-425 is one of Shure’s higher tier IEM products, having only the SE-535 and SE-846 above them. The 425 uses a dual balanced armature setup with passive crossover. They also sport one of my favorite features, the detachable cable. This means that the cable can be replaced if damaged, or simply upgraded if you want a better cable. Before we begin the real review, let’s take a look at the specs.


    P_20150921_133146.jpg P_20150921_133204.jpg P_20150928_103804_SRES.jpg

    The box for the SE-425 is your standard windowed retail box. Nothing hugely fancy, but more than enough information for someone to make an educated decision on the phones and have the real specs (You know, that information Bose doesn’t include). Inside, you will find the following:

    1. Warranty card
    2. Instruction manual
    3. Hardened fabric style carrying case
    4. Ear wax picker
    5. A plethora of different eartips (more on this later)
    6. 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter (gold plated)
    7. And of course, the headphones

    The Shure SE-425 is built in the same type of housing found on pretty much the entire SE line. The plastic seems hard and resilient, but is still plastic regardless. It doesn’t feel as durable as the RHA 750’s. nor is it as sexy as the JVC FX850. But it does the job. The cable feels very durable, which is ironic as one of the big selling points for me was the detachable cable in case the cable was damaged.

    There are two main worry points for me on this device. The first being the nozzle or tube that the ear tips are attached to. In fact, I managed to break the nozzle on my first pair when trying to remove the originally installed ear-tips. There are a number recommendations on how to properly and safely remove the ear tips. However, I did not read these recommendations and proceeded to grip with all of my might to remove them. This resulted in a cracked nozzle and a 2 week exchange period without my new toy ☹.

    Shure recommends a few methods, including putting the headphones in the freezer for a bit to break the seal from the factory tips. I found this helped remove the tips. Once the originals are removed, things are easier (but not too easy) to change. As a personal recommendation, if you know the factory tips are not going to work for you, simply cut them off with an x-acto knife. This is an easy way and allows you to avoid the headache.

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    My other concern is easily avoidable. This concern is with the detachable cable, or rather the connection. I love that these cables can be replaced easily. But, the type of connection leaves the male connection on the monitor. This means you have a tiny pin that can easily be bent (and not so easily put back in place). To avoid this, simply avoid detaching the cable. If you need to detach the cable, make sure you are attaching the cable completely straight. Issue avoided!

    Some people report that the design of the Shure’s just simply do not fit, either not making a complete seal or they have a short length of ear, making the IEM not fit completely. For me this is not the case. If you find that the seal isn’t getting it done, try a different tip. If they simply don’t fit… They just don’t fit. There isn’t much to be done.

    SPECS: (from the box)

    Speaker type: Dual Hi-Def Micro Drivers (Balanced Armature)

    Frequency range: 20 Hz-19kHz

    Sensitivity: 109 dB SPL/mW

    Impedance: 22 Ω

    Noise Attenuation: (sound blocking) Up to 37dB

    Cable length: ~63.75 inches (162 cm)


    I’m going to split this portion into a few categories to make this a simpler read. It is worth noting that before writing this review and testing, the headphones had roughly 100 hours of burn in. If you find something missing here that you wanted to know about, please let me know and I will try to add it into the review.


    Being that these are dual driver IEM’s, they have a dedicated woofer for each ear. Provided the fit is right (more on this later) the Bass is well placed. It is tight and concise, and usually extends well enough. On my computer the Bass is fantastic, but for some reason when using my Fiio X1 the bass is almost non-existent and needs to be EQ’d to show. Even then, the quality of the bass is not as expected. This issue, does not seem to replicate with my Zenfone 2. Perhaps this is due to issues with the Fiio X1?


    As far as I’m concerned, Shure is god in this arena. Details are clear and crisp, making for a weird experience when you didn’t realize a specific background instrument in songs you have listened to for years. You can hear the subtle breaths in between lines, Vocals are fantastic, Guitars are all on point, to a scary level almost. Overall, practically perfect, with a forward lean on the mids.


    Probably the weakpoint in the phones. Not enough to complain in my opinion. But some people will want more here. Highs are theye, they sound proper, but with a lack of proper extension. The highs don’t carry (last) as long as I feel they should. To me it still seems to capture the life of the highs, just not to a degree where a song full of mainly highs will be replicated properly. This isn’t so much an issue with me, as most of my songs live in the mid with some high details.


    While the following doesn’t have to do with the product abilities to reproduce music, I feel it needs to be in this section. The first is Microphonics (noises from the cord rustling), this is practically non-existant. This is likely due to the over the ear style, but is almost not worth mentioning.

    Isolation is FAN-TAS-TIC… BUT!-only if the fit is right. This is key! Not only to isolation, but for the proper sound. Perhaps this section should be at the start of the sound section, but it’s too late for that. This IEM can go from sounding superb to sounding terrible due to improper fit. Find the right size, and stick with it. I find that the Shure olive mediums are the winner for me (Ironically, the ones that come pre-installed). The grey tips didn’t seem to get as good of a seal for isolation. The yellow foam are actually great (possibly better than the pre-installed for me), but they tend to pull a lot of ear wax from me and are more difficult to clean… To me they are not worth the hassle. There is also the white triple flange that like to violate my cranium. Ultimate seal from these, giving even more bass, but I just cannot handle the cranial invasion these provide. Your mileage may vary…


    Regardless of which tips you choose, make sure they are right, and that you get a proper seal. During the burn in period I had to take a four hour flight. As luck would have it, I was placed on the wing, next to the engine, with a crying two year old behind me. So I prayed and squished down the foam of the Shure olives and placed the IEM. After getting both in it was incredibly quiet. Then, after hitting play the world went mute. No crying baby, no engine. Just the soothing sounds of music and a smile across my face.  I particularly enjoyed watching the increasingly frustrated face of my neighbor as he attempted to deal with the baby with an infinity lung. It will take time to really figure out how to get the phone in properly, if this is the first of the style you have owned. But once you figure it out, it’s a simple installation for plenty of comfort and sound!


    Soundstage has always been something of a difficult thing for me to understand when using IEM’s. For me, almost every IEM has a very close soundstage. This is not to say that it is non-existant, more that I cannot comprehend the stage. Musical separation is fantastic, and each can be picked out separately. Vocals from multiple people is easily distinguished. But for me, when using IEM’s I have always had issues visualizing an actual stage to them. I don’t think this is an issue for the headphones, but more an issue that I have. In the end, the things important about a soundstage are all present and fantastic. Sorry I can’t help more with this portion.


    The Shure SE-425 is a great all-round IEM. The bass is tight and concise, musical separation is superb, and the mids are solid gold. The bass can be lacking if the seal is not correct, so make sure your using the right tips. The treble may leave some things to be desired. But overall, for the price these can be obtained at (can be found regularly at about $249.99 despite the $349.99 MSRP) they are a great deal for me.



    Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer  (320kbps)
    Believe – Mumford & Sons (320/192/128kbps)
    Let the Road – Rixton (320kbps)
    Space Age – Library Voices (320kbps)
    The Impression That I Get – Mighty Mighty Bosstones (320kbps)


    Believe – Mumford & Sons (96/24bit)
    Crazy (Live – A Little South of Sanity Vinyl Rip) – Aerosmith (44.1/16bit)
    Give Life Back to Music (Vinyl Rip) – Daft Punk (96/24bit)
    New Beginnings – Noah Guthrie (44.1/16bit)
    Give It Away (Blood Sugar Sex Magik Vinyl Rip) – Red Hot Chili Peppers (96/24bit)
    Ashes – Embrace (44.1/16bit)
    Fiio X1
    HP Pavilion DV6T-QUAD with HD audio
    ASUS Zenfone 2 (Z550AD) using Spotify premium/Tidal
    1. whitemass
      My issue with these has always been their price. And as most of my reviews show, I always stick well within the $45-$200 Range. And this is where I see these being a bit of a waste for monitoring, & on stage use. They're not precise enough, I feel that the M6 Pros I personally reviewed do a better job at what these were built for. I've demoed them, and liked them, yet never understood the range. 
      I don't like to be a basher on the things people love. 
      And I certainly like these, though I think they're another home listener IEM, and fit well beside the Westone W4R as a competitor, another IEM I think one ups, or does things differently in the same range.
      Overall, great review!
      whitemass, Oct 7, 2015
    2. Vividcard
      I have no problems admitting this either. This was my first intro into mid-fi. And as such I enjoy them in comparison to what I had before. I am a home listener, I don't use them for stage monitors like they are advertised. Sadly, I couldn't report how they perform for this. But being able to mute my co-workers while being able to enjoy crisp sound isn't bad.
      Sadly, until I decide to drop some more money at this price level for IEM's I will likely be blissfully unaware. Or at least until the next meet I can attend :wink:
      Vividcard, Oct 7, 2015
  7. Voyageur
    Average for the price
    Written by Voyageur
    Published Jun 26, 2015
    Pros - Good soundstage; little listening fatigue; great fit and good isolation; detachable cable; rugged feel.
    Cons - Unrealistic instrument timbres; veiled sound; rolled-off treble; average detail; value for money
    Design/durability: The SE425 feel very nice indeed. The silver finish looks very appealing. The earpieces seem very durable as well, and the cable is very thick and sturdy with a lot of strain relief. The latter is detachable, which is even better.
    Fit/Comfort: One of the most comfortable IEMs out there, especially with Shure's olive tips. Easily forgettable when in your ears. Plus they don't stick out of the ears, meaning that you can almost sleep wearing them.
    Isolation: Excellent, blocks out most ambient noise. Microphonics are low as well.
    Sound: A let down. The sound signature is highly colored in a way I particularly dislike: mids are well defined but way too forward, the worst part being the rolled-off highs and their terrible lack of extension. Decay is disappointing. On a good note, the bass is punchy and well articulated, with just the right amount. Speed isn't bad. Soundstage and instrument separation are good, but the very warm sound sig makes the whole presentation suffocating and claustrophobic. The resolution is also far from being impressive for the price, as a lot of details are reported missing. Some instruments are very badly replicated: drums sound like someone's hitting on cardboard, strings sound terrible, overall timbre of many instruments are just *not* realistic enough, and it's not a source/file problem. Overall the sound feels veiled, unnatural and unrevealing at best, almost as if you were listening to music while covering your speakers with a curtain. Good for some genres, like jazz or acoustic guitar, and laid back listening though. Having paid FRP I tried to like them, w/o success. The just average resolution and the seriously anemic treble ultimately killed it for me. I was expecting much more from a double driver, $250 headphone, I even have some single armature IEMs that sound better than the SE425 at barely half the price.
    Bottom line: The SE425 got me disappointed. Far from being accurate enough for critical listening, yet not fun sounding either, these headphones are heavily colored, and not in a way I'd like them to be. The excellent design, nice soundstage, and the suitability of the SE425 for casual listening are here to compensate though. Sent them back after a few weeks of testing, since they seem vastly overpriced and overrated to me given the just average sound quality they provide.

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    2. jdpark
      Yeah, I also disagree with the issue relating to natural timbre, though I understand the treble problem. It seems like an oxymoron that IEMs could be light on treble and realistic, but actually, I have these hooked up to what I consider to be a very good set up (Lehmann BCL and audio-gd Dac-19) and the timbres are very good, in my opinion. The sound is 'in your head', but the instruments are well separated and spaced out, while rhythms are in fact very well represented by the speed and agility of these IEMs. It's true that drums don't have the high-end punch that maybe they should, but the overall groove makes a lot of music sound good to me, that's not fatiguing.
      jdpark, Sep 6, 2015
    3. Voyageur
      Thanks for the comments guys! 
      My problem isn't the pace of the SE425 nor its very good imaging, but definitely its excellent ability to make most instruments sound dull, grainy and lifeless. The orchestral works and soundtracks that I so far enjoy listening to with any type of sound signature, from the warm Westone/Sennheiser to the bright Etys just sound plain bad with the Shure, no matter how I want to look at it. The 425 just don't move me. At all. It is the first time I'm having such a huge disappointment. "Natural sounding" never, ever came across my mind while listening to these, and I find myself having the same problem with basically all IEM of the SE line, from the 215 to the 846. I *might* spare you a review on the latter, as it could be considered pure blasphemy here on Head-Fi.
      That said, I look forward to listen to the old gen Shure E4, as some people say that these had much better clarity and definition than today's SE series.
      Voyageur, Sep 8, 2015
    4. flognarde
      I do agree on most... I just need to curb it a bit. It actually depends on the recordings. On some complex messages (let's say Bruckner's symphonies), they do somehow very well (of course only listening to acoustic musics).
      you may have noticed as well that they work much better on reasonnable volume.
      Basically there main quality is that they are fatigue less.
      flognarde, Jun 11, 2016
  8. interpolate
    A good introduction
    Written by interpolate
    Published May 4, 2015
    Pros - Detailed with most things
    Cons - Not for bass heads
    Ok, I've had these for a while now and decided to leave some feedback on these. First thing, the sound from these IEM's (earphones) are nothing short of excellent with a few minor dislikes.
    At times, some music demands a bit more low end although to be fair that is what an equaliser can be used for. Like any good quality headphones, they will reveal any bad traits in your music source; so often, what sounds exceptionable on more tuned earphones will sound flat out trash on these. The fit can be a bit fiddly and it takes a bit of time to locate the best buds for your own ears although the supplied kit is plentiful. 
    After using these for a little while, you may start to notice small nuances in familiar music you never with cheaper or alternative earphones. It's a dual-driver design with one mid/treble and bass driver each ear. One thing that occurs to me, the lacking bass power can lead vibrant mids although with a declining treble starting under 17Khz could explain the highs not being as present. Once the drivers have been run for a while, you notice your ears will warm into the detail produced by these.
    By comparison with my older Sennheiser CX880 which also did a commendable job, they also had problems with "too much treble" in some modern music or badly mastered digital. So often this was corrected by using an equalizer on the Creative Zen player. 
    Listening to soundtrack music on the SE425 shows how detailed and the soundstage of the IEM by the way instruments are panned & placed virtually "in your ears".  In direct comparison to AKG K702 they put up a good fight. Which is ironic because the retail more now and have a lesser output.
    For the moment, they will do the job although I do hope to get an extra higher grade pair at some stage.
    1. interpolate
      "One thing that occurs to me, the lacking bass power can lead vibrant mids although with a declining treble starting at around 17Khz  onwards could explain the highs not being as present".
      Slight edit/correction.
      interpolate, May 7, 2015
  9. cuiter23
    Vocal Bliss
    Written by cuiter23
    Published Jan 28, 2015
    Pros - Smooth mids, Detailed and analytical but not dry, Scales well
    Cons - A bit slow, Mid-Focused, Lack of extension on both ends
    Please check out my video review of these:
    (Sorry for the lack of images as I have since sold these IEMs)
    Background Information:
    Before I begin, I picked these up from a friend of mine for $280 CAD. They currently retail for $379 CAD and $299 USD. Street and used prices vary widely with the SE425s.
    First of all, the reason I rated these 3.5/5 is because of the value it presents in terms of build quality and also accessories out of the box. It also has a great vibrant midrange. However, what is holding it back is the fact that these are not the best all-rounders at this price point.
    Being a dual-BA configuration, these produce detail quite admirably however they are by no means a detail monster. Some microdetails are lost due to the lack of extension on both ends.
    Packaging is great with a bigger box than the SE215s. Inside the box you will get the usual Shure Fit Kit that comes with the SE315 and up. Compared to the SE215s, you get more tips including yellow foams as well as triple-flanged tips. You also get a hardshell carrying case as well as 1/4inch adapter which is also missing on the SE215s. A cleaning tool is provided as well.
    Build Quality
    Very solid build quality from the SE425s. You get the same rugged build as every other Shure SE model (with the exception of the SE112). The cable exudes confidence and is very robust. All the strain reliefs are reinforced heavily and at no time I feel that they are going to give-in or break. If they do, the cables are replaceable for a small cost (in comparison to the IEMs)
    They are very comfortable out of the box. The housing is slightly smaller than the SE215s which provides a more snug fit in my ears. I currently use the Sensaphonic Custom Sleeves with the SE425s which brings comfort into another level. Isolation is improved as well. These are great for sleeping as the ergonomics let you lie on the side while in bed. 
    They might be a hassle to put on at first but once you get used to it it is like any other IEM.
    Sound Quality
    Ever since picking these IEMs up, they have been my go-to pair for slower vocal-oriented music. They provide a great balance of neutrality paired with extremely forward and lush mids which do not make the IEMs sound dry at all in comparison to some other neutral IEMs.
    Although there is good sub-bass extension, the perceived bass will mostly be mid-bass as the frequencies of this IEM all seem to creep towards the midrange. However, the bass does not bleed into the midrange too much thanks to its dual-BA configuration with a dedicated bass driver. The quality is quite good but you are not going to get the tactility or low end rumble when compared to other IEMs. The quantity is definitely flat and never elevated. The bass you get is what your music provides you. Nothing more nothing less.
    Simply Beautiful! Very lush and well bodied midrange. The mids are presented forward in the mix and the texture and detail is presented great. This IEM is great for singer-songwriter guitars, slower vocals, and also ballads. (James Ingram - Forever More)
    The highs could use more shimmer. Cymbals and female soprano vocals struggle to punch through with authority but do sound quite good as they blend well with the extremely detailed and forward mid-highs around the 4-6k region. However, fast and convulated tracks that are demanding leave a lot to be desired with these IEMs as the SE425s fail to provide listeners with a engaging top end. The SE425s are not the fastest kids around the block and faster more demanding tracks may leave the SE425s breathing for more air. (Earth Wind & Fire - My Promise)
    A very closed soundstage with an extremely forward in-your-face midrange section. I prefer a closed soundstage when preforming as details are presented right at me. However, for critical listening, I would have preferred a wider soundspace which incorporates more air. Therefore, because of the closed off soundstage, instruments are slightly harder to pick out and microdetails are often lost. 
    Imaging is average due to the lack of a wide soundstage. 
    Overall I would recommend these IEMs to almost anyone who strictly listens to vocal-extensive music. The SE425s has probably the best mid-range out of any IEM I've heard. However as an all-rounder for the price unfortunately I cannot give the SE425s a whole-hearted recommendation.
    Tracks Discussed:
    James Ingram - Forever More
    Earth Wind & Fire - My Promise
    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
  10. freeryder05
    Sounds great, but a few problems
    Written by freeryder05
    Published Aug 14, 2014
    Pros - Comfortable, clean sound stage, no bloat
    Cons - tips are hard to get off, putting them on can be a struggle, price
    Comfortable: Coming from a few different buds and a few different IEMs these felt like a dream to wear for more than 4 hours at a time. That's my biggest complaint with headphones and IEMs is the fatigue that comes with wearing them for long periods of time. The around the ear shape shifts the weight from the canal to the back of the ear, making them infinitely more comfortable. Because I have two different sized canals, I had to use to different tips on each side. It does help in recognizing which way to put them in :)
    Clean Sound Stage: Nothing sounds bloated to me in one way. They're not as clean as my ER4PT, but I like these better due to the comfort. (I thought the ER4PT were the most uncomfortable headphones I had ever used). Because I am no longer in pain while listening, I can really grasp the strong lows and mids that were absent from previous headphones.They can be a little bassy, but I just compensate with the EQ.
    The Tips: I thought I actually broke the headphones trying to heman the tips off. I also thought ripped every pair of tips that I tried to get off. Neither of which are true, but man did they make it hard. I ended up using the glide style tips because I could never get the foam ones in before they had already reformed -_-.
    Putting them On: This is my first time with IEMs that go over the ear, and I spent about 2 hours trying to get them on right. Lots of youtube videos and fiddling. I found the right way and got the isolation that I needed to make these headphones shine.
    Overview: They don't sound nearly as good as the ER4PT for the price, but for the comfort, the tradeoff worth it for me. If I had the money I would have jumped to the 525, which I recommend, but se la vie. Hope this helps someone a little bit. 
    1. francopro
      I owned the ER4S and it doesn't sound better than my SE425, the sound signature is quite different , both have their own + / -
      francopro, Aug 14, 2014
    2. Jeff Y
      just try to change tips on Jays.
      Jeff Y, Aug 14, 2014