Shure SE425 Earphone

Average User Rating:
3.97917/5,
  1. Dinerenblanc
    5.0/5,
    "Shure done a good job. ;)"
    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.
  2. sdshannon
    5.0/5,
    "Great upgrade from e4s"
    Pros - Bendable wire near ear, great fit, beautiful isolation, smooth bass, clean highs
    Cons - cable gets twisted easily, the cable with the built in mic is poorly made
    I used the e4's for about 6 years, loved them, never had one problem until one day I was lazy, forgot to throw them back into the case and the cat got ahold of them. I emailed shure and they said they no longer produced them however that they would upgrade me to the 425 for the same cost as repairing my e4's would have been. 
     
    I was a bit skeptical since the fit and design was completely different. 
     
    My mind changed quickly.
     
    After finding the right sleeve, and doing the weird over,behind my ear deal (shure iem users know what I mean) I was in love. Out of the box.
    The isolation was the first thing I noticed, the world was just shut out. Such a great and comfortable fit.SQ was on par with my worn in e4's and have since got better. Nice meaty bass, creamy mids, and sharp but clear highs.Not much I can complain about in regards the sound. They are my go to whenever I leave the house, gym, or on the iPad.
     
    Only complaint is the cable, its can get a nasty twist in it. Not a like spaghetti tangled but it almost looks twisted down to the solder. Replacing it for the mic'd version is a bad idea. The mic version does not have the awesome bendable cable that connects to the monitor.Maybe look at buying an extra cable just in case, like the cool clear model :wink:
     
    I am not an audiophile by any means, however I have been through several in ear headphones over years from crap ear pods to custom fitted 535's and for the money the 425's are the jam.
  3. Skysryan
    5.0/5,
    "Solid Sound stage and Crisp Clean Quality for Acoustic"
    Pros - Sound Stage is very wide, Dual Driver separates tones, Comfortable Fit
    Cons - Lack of bass, Tips are hard to remove
    I've been holding off the write this review because I wanted to give myself a good long time with these headphones before I broke them down. Starting off with look and comfort these are above par, the clear models give you the sense of technology added to the already quality given by them. At first I was skeptical about using IEM on a daily basis because my ears tend to be sensitive, but after just seconds of trying to figure out how to wear them properly they fit like a glow and with the right bit rated song these seemed to melt into my head, in other words I began to forget they were there. Although these are the least bass heavy of the SE models they create a very warming feeling sound stage even though there are pretty much flat response. I use them for about 2-3 hours a day and have so since the day I bought them, the burn in time was almost none existent and the build quality on these were quite remarkable. I'm very rough on my headphones and tend the throw them around and they've endured my torment for over a year. So overall I say for the right person who it's all about there heavy bass genres (ex. Techno, Hip-Hop, and Rap) then these headphones will serve there purpose and then some, they have yet to let me down and there level of quality blew me away with in seconds of wearing them. 
  4. soong
    5.0/5,
    "Shure SE425"
    Pros - Excellent sound quality, fit, and soundstage
    Cons - None, from my perspective
    I'm not as experienced as other members here in headfi, but I can assure you that you won't be disappointed a single bit if you are coming from sub 200 dollars price range. I've been using earphones all the way from Apple's stock earphones, Audiotechnica sub 100 dollars, to Sennheiser sub 150. This SE425 just rocks. Of course, I got a deal for used pair for 152 USD, but that doesn't mean the sound quality degraded (actually, the previous owner burned-in, so it was a good sounding IEM from the beginning for me.)
     
    One thing that I like about this design is that you can sleep while wearing these without a problem. It doesnt protrude from your ear, so no worries about them breaking.
     
    Have a great listening experience! :D
  5. jz9chen
    5.0/5,
    "Why is it still ranked 86?"
    Pros - Flat sound, over ear design, eartips hard to get off
    Cons - Eartips hard to get off, hard for audio newbies to put on
    Value
    I got mine open-box off of ebay for 249.99 compared to other prices of 299.99. Couldn't tell the box was opened.
     
    Audio Quality
    Initial/Pre-burn-in
    My other and only "high end" headphone was the bass heavy Turbines. Initially, I was disappointed by the 425's as they were really flat and lacked that bass punch.
     
    "Burn-in"
    My friend suggested I burn them in, though I doubt it would do any difference. What I did was listen to my favorite song by Leehom Wang - Forever Love and noted what it sounded like. Because I was still used to the Turbines, I didn't really remember how the 425's sounded like to an extremely accurate level. But I do believe my impressions after burn-in was same as my impressions pre-burn-in. Flat, didn't have the boomy bass.
     
    Post-Burn-in
    The cord of my Turbine was dying so I started using the 425's more and more. Like anything, time fixed my brain's inability to accept the new sound. Every instrument seemed to be played as if it had its own speaker, whereas the Turbines sounded like every spammed together.
     
    Bass
    On a flat EQ using Foobar, it sounds very ... natural. Simply put, the way it should be. It's there, but it isn't overpowering. Kind of cliche, but that's the best way to put it.
     
    If you want bass, however, it can output bass like the Turbines can but more tonally accurate. Using my Samsung P2, the bass output was outrageous. Smooth, round, and free of distortion. BUT, if you want bass just go for Turbines and you will have bass no matter what device you use.
     
    Mids
    There were some tracks that sounded like the vocalist was singing right next to me. Guitar and other strings sounds decent, but because of my lack of experiment with other IEM, I cannot comment much.
     
    Treble
    Like many have noted, they could be a bit brighter. If you really want that treble, use the EQ or go for the UE's.
     
    Pros
    Hard to remove tips mean you won't lose them
    Flat sound is preferred for most audiophiles, can produce bass if device is good
     
    Cons
    Hard to remove tips mean it's pain in the @$$ to remove
    Most of my audio newb friends can't put these on without my assistance
  6. kochiyadragons
    4.5/5,
    "One of the best option for whom always like to have music"
    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.
  7. jdpark
    4.5/5,
    "Great IEMs, scale up well, and maintain balance"
    Pros - Balance, imaging, speed from top to bottom, mids
    Cons - High roll-off, no air in the bass
    First of all, I don't think we should be comparing these to anything else but in ear monitors (IEMs), and generally in the price range.  However, my only experience is with Sure SE 110s that I used for over 5 years.  Those were about $99, and I got the 425s for about $270.  I've now had them for about four months, and have gone through the slightly disappointed stage which seems to occur for a lot of people with a lot of headphones.  No matter how much you read before purchasing, it still takes time for your brain to get used to a new sound signature.  These really blow away the 110s in every way.  They have energy, speed, focus and simply amazing imaging.  I can't say the last part enough.  It's not soundstage, per se, (because there's not much air) but rather the ability of these phones not to get bogged down with complexity.  They just keep up, keep up, and keep up.
     
    So, as others have noted, the bass tones are all there, and in fact I've noticed these IEMs are great for rhythmic music based mainly on acoustic instruments and vocals ranging from jazz to funk, reggae, to many kinds of "world" music.  Also baroque music and small to medium sized classical ensembles sound great.  This is because they really neatly lay out the different textures well.  Marvin Gaye's remastered "What's Going On" for instance, is fun to hear.  On the other hand, music that tends to be a bit dull and lacking in rhythmic or tonal variety to begin with might sound even more dull on these.  
     
    Moreover, the mids are great: smooth, musical and accurate whether you're listening to vocals or basically any other acoustic instrument.  After all most acoustic music takes place in the mid-ranges.  The main thing lacking is the sparkle on the high end, but even there, I would hesitate to say they have no highs.  They can make some music sound pleasant though, where my Grado 80s (old version) become grating. 
     
    I think technically they lack some treble, but the roll off is nothing like the 110s, and since the sound is going directly to your eardrum, the dampening of piercing highs is not such a bad thing.
     
    If you're really into genres that use a lot of what I call 'artificial' highs and lows, you would probably want to avoid these phones.  They are also not amazing for large-scale orchestral work, and can at times be a bit boring for non-acoustic rock.  I don't listen to any of these genres much, except for some hip-hop** and orchestral music.  In both cases, you still have a great musical experience, but not to the level of good $300 over-ear phones, that's for sure. 
     
    They sound significantly better, as can be expected, with lossless and high bit rate tracks, but are very sensitive, and so don't do well straight out of the computer jack, even making amping a bit difficult.  I use the Fiio e10, which is fine when listening at moderate or high volumes, not necessarily low volume though, as I get buzzing from the computer (Lenovo thinkpad) when it's charging.  I also have a Music streamer ii dac and schiit magni amp, which do open them up a bit, and especially on high bit rate tracks show off what these IEMs can do.  They are elegant and have excellent instrument imaging and separation, for example.  This combo also brightens them up, which is good.  You still can't listen on very low volume, however, as you'll probably get some channel imbalance.  
     
    They are a bit annoying with phone calls, because as they don't have phone capabilities (without a cord upgrade), you have to take them out and reinsert them each time you get a call.  It can affect your relationships negatively if every time you answer the phone you are annoyed--both that you had to stop listening to the music, and because it takes a few seconds and some effort to put them in and remove them each time.  
     
    Conclusion: These are fine for acoustic music, which in my opinion, is essentially what music should be.  The imaging might make them good for electronic music, too, but bass heads won't like them.  But the advantage of these is the external noise attenuation, portability, and sensitivity, making them great for portable devices.  With these on my daily bus ride in Tel Aviv, I can block out virtually everything except the vibration that comes up through the seat from the bus itself.  Plus, in a hot climate you don't want anything on your ears when you're on the go, not to mention that some phones are just plain heavy, and as a backpack carrier, I also don't need extra weight.  I briefly thought about selling these and getting Sennheiser 25ii headphones, but backed out due to my own portability concerns.  Probably a toss up, with the se425s coming out a bit on top with respect to mids, imaging and balance, but 25iis, to my experience, having more bass impact (but not more bass tonality) and better high extension.
     
    **If you actually want to hear the words of the hip-hop, these can help you with that, as they're quite detailed and can show you where there are several voices going on at the same time.   They just won't give you anything like a club feeling because of the lack of air in the bass.  
  8. ag8908
    4.5/5,
    "Amazing noise isolation beyond anything I expected, good enough sound for its purpose"
    Pros - Noise isolation. It's like wearing hearos earplugs.
    Cons - The wires are really stiff, sound isn't anywhere close to a similar priced over the ear headphone
    I use these when exercising next to cars. I used to use sealed closed back headphones which didn't block out noise well, but these definitely do. When outside in a loud environment and wearing these, I set the MP3 player's volume to the same level I use when listening to these IEMs in a quiet room. The isolation is that good (I use comply sleeves, but the sleeves included were also pretty decent).
     
    However, I was definitely disappointed by the sound quality, relative to a $300 over the ear headphone. I will never choose this over a headphone if listening to music in a quiet environment. The selling point on these isn't sound quality, but rather noise isolation. I won't take more than 1/2 point off for sound, though, because I imagine all IEMs are like this and that this is good IEM sound for $300.
     
    One other problem is that the wires are really stiff, a design feature I don't understand. Lastly, putting these on isn't as simple as putting on a pair of regular headphones, you'll have to spend 15 seconds or so seating them correctly to get a proper seal.
  9. MrAvenger
    4.5/5,
    "Smooth and Natural"
    Pros - New modular cable design feels very solid and well executed, relatively flat sound signature, Bass is present but not obtrusive.
    Cons - Getting a proper fit is difficult at first.
    These are my second pair of Shure IEMs. I had enjoyed the SE210s for a long time before taking the plunge on these. Since these are meant to be worn up only and the cable rotates freely where it attaches to the monitor, it took some getting used to the new cable design. Sound quality is definitely leaps and bounds above the SE210s. The bass is IMO much more substantial on the 425s but very fitting to the music I listen to (all shades of rock). I tried sampling some electronic music with these IEMs and was quite impressed but I will warn that these IEMs do not produce "Pounding" bass.
     
    Design and Fit
    The new modular cable design seems almost perfectly executed - The cables break free from the monitors easily but will never remove themselves. The added memory wire adds some comfort and assistance when putting them on and helps them stay in place. The cable has a bit more weight than that on the SE210 but it is more flexible and microphonics are almost nonexistent.
     
    As expected from Shure IEMs supplied are a pair of triple flanges, three pairs of silicone tips sized S M L and four pairs of Shure's signature foam "olives" again in size S, M, and L but with an extra medium set preinstalled on the earphones. I prefer the large Olives on this set while the medium Olives provided me with the best fit on the 210s. With some trimming I'm sure I could get some more enjoyment out of the triple flange set, but the large olives have a slightly more warm sound quality to my ears and are more comfortable for extended listening.
     
    Sound
    My biggest worry when buying the 425s without hearing them before hand was that the bass was going to be under emphasized but that is surely not the case. I was pleasantly surprised that the bass response was everything I could have wanted out of a pair of IEMs; Present, detailed, but not all-consuming.
    Like everyone says, the mid range is clearly the most emphasized. Very smooth midtones that lend to amazing vocal clarity. There is roll off on the high frequency but its not distracting, nor do I feel like it takes much from the listening experience. I personally like a little added brightness to most headphones so with a touch of the EQ these IEMs are very moldable to my tastes.
     
    Final Thoughts
    The SE425s quickly made themselves my new favorite pair of earphones. The sound quality fits my musical preferences very well and with a little acclimation they are quite comfortable for extended listening. I managed to pick up a set for $230 before tax which in my opinion is a steal. I was however more than prepared to pay $300 for and at that price I still feel like these are money well spent.
  10. ericpeters
    4.5/5,
    "Very good quality but perfect fit is mandatory"
    Pros - Neutral correct sound, extremely deep bass when fitted properly
    Cons - More difficult to fit correctly than previous Shure IEM, neutral sound might not be liked by the average loudness and boom bass lover
    I bought these at an online music store for a price much lower than elsewhere. This is my 3rd pair of Shure In ear monitors. The first pair where E2's which broke the tip when replacing the foam cushion, I tried to repair them but they lacked bass after this. The second pair where E310 in black, I loved these but unfortunately left them on a plane. I wanted to buy the SE325 but I found these 425's for the same price online 
     
    Fitting
    These monitors are (for me) far more difficult to fit then the E310 mainly because the angle of entering the ear canal is more or less predetermined and there is a limit to how far you can push them in your ear. Next to that they are quite thick outside the ear canal and that sets a limit for manipulating the ear canal fitting with your fingers. 
    The 2 previous models worked best with the yellow foam cushions but I cannot fit the 425s properly with the yellow foams, basically in my case only the white triple layer tips would work.
    As long as you don't fit them properly or you have not found the right earcanal-tips these earphones will sound terrible, almost no bass at all and hardly any treble. If this is what you hear, you have not found the right fit. 
    I guess some might never find the right fit.
     
    Sound
    After they're fitter properly it will take about a minute more for them to settle but then the sound is completely different: they are extremely neutral, very detailed and they take out almost all ambient noise. The bass range is exceptional. I've read other reviews that say that the bass does not go deep but I totally disagree, the bass goes extremely deep. A lot of "modern" speakers and headphones emphasize frequencies around 100hz to make people think there is a a lot of bass but when frequencies go lower they lack bass pressure quickly. These earphones are in a different league; they seem to go all the down to 20hz and the curve appears to be flat. But again, if they are not fitted properly you will not hear any of this.
    I have used several other earbuds and in-ear headphones for comparison and at home I use AKG-K240 Studio's or Sennheiser HD580 but sometimes I also use these Shures.
     
    Design
    The overal built quality is very good, the cable quality and the fact that this is detachable and rotates is also positive. The cable remembers its shape near the ear which is much better than the previous models I owned.
     
    Comfort
    The comfort level when wearing them is not as good as would like, after a couple of hours (I use them a lot on intercontinental flights) they sometimes start hurting or itching. That said I sometimes keep them in-ear during an entire cross-atlantic flight which might take 9 hours depending on the destination.
     
    The only other thing I don't like is that there is not L-R indication on them, they have a a color dot which is different for left and right but I'm always trying to figure out which monitor go where when I'm on a flight.