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Shure SE535LTD RED

  1. manukmanohar
    Overall, a good package; but not for everyone
    Written by manukmanohar
    Published May 12, 2018
    Pros - Amazing Mids, Excellent comfort plus good isolation
    Cons - Lacks treble extension, sub-bass rolled off, Pricey
    Shure SE535 Reds have served me very well over quite a long period now. It has been one constant while I shuffled through other earphones. This review is long overdue, but better late than never :)


    Although these are not having a metal housing, they still feel solid, and have held up remarkably well. The pre-included cable, while having very good build quality, has become quite stiff, and I use it with other MMCX cables now.The only thing which I’m afraid of, and am very careful with are the nozzles, which have a very small diameter and are very long. However, this long nozzle ensures also means that with the right tips, it gets rather good isolation while still being very comfortable to wear for long periods.

    I love red colour, and these look gorgeous in shiny red. :) (and the colour has also held up very well). Over this long period, I have use the IEM with a lot of sources including LHL Geekout V2+, iBasso D14, SMSL M8/Sapphire, various Bluetooth cables including NiceHCK HB1, and directly through One Plus 5, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Exynos phones. I have found that having a good DAC, definitely improves the sound for better, but it works decent directly from the phones, if necessary.


    Sound Quality:

    Importance of tips: This was the first IEM where I encountered significant different in overall SQ depending on the tips. I remember, the first time I tried playing these with the stock silicone tips and being very disappointed. There was basically no-sub bass (say in songs like Limit to your love or Teardrop). It was only after I got my spinfit tips, that I was actually able to enjoy these earphones. I find using foam tips to be cumbersome because of the setup time (in office use, I might have to unplug/plug them more frequently), so didn’t spend much time with the foam tips, but remember that the olive tips also hadn’t worked.

    So, how do these sound? Off the bat, what impresses you most is the amazing mid-range response. It picks up lots of micro-details, and is overall exceptional for any songs with prominent vocals. The bass quality is rather good, except for the sub-bass region, where it is not able to extend that well into sub-bass region(but still decent). Overall bass quantity, I found to be slightly lacking for my taste (+2-3 DB in 40 hz region was good enough), and although it is quite fast, it is not able to generate the bass slam.

    Treble is where Shure SE535 Reds are supposed to differ most from the standard SE535’s. But, even with the improvements, I still felt there was treble roll-off. Any songs with large dynamic range such as classical, orchestra, many soundtracks, suffered a bit, as it was not able to fully bring the “liveness”.

    It terms of soundstage, these have great imaging and slightly above average soundstage volume. Instrument separation is very good, and the music never sounds congested, even when it gets very busy.

    These have been my daily drivers for long periods, while I cycled through other IEMs. (admittedly lower priced ones). One of the main reasons for the same has been that it is able to deliver the combination of good sound quality (great mids), good isolation and excellent comfort.

    I have had the pleasure to try a lots of IEM’s, but unfortunately most of them have been in the sub-250 USD and a very few are in the above 1000 USD range. Because of this, I can’t claim to give a direct comparison with its competitor in this range. However, I have a feeling it would really struggle if judged solely based on sound quality in the 500 USD range, as I see lots of promising IEM’s now that cost much lesser, and outdo it in some aspects.

    So, overall I feel at this price, you are likely to get a better IEM now if you are looking just for great SQ(especially if you don’t like the treble rolloff), but have seen this IEM go for half (or below) the price used, where it may have a strong value proposition. (Wanted to rate it 3.5/5 because of that)
      B9Scrambler and vishal2410 like this.
    1. vishal2410
      Your right...if you can scavenge for them in the used market for 200-250$...they are quite a steal...nice review !!!
      vishal2410, May 13, 2018
      B9Scrambler and manukmanohar like this.
  2. Dte102
    Overall Good IEMs
    Written by Dte102
    Published Oct 14, 2016
    Pros - Clarity is great, Mids are great, Highs sound good as well, Execelent soundstage, Detachable cables.
    Cons - Lacking in the bass department
    So I decided to jump ship from my old SE215s to the SE535LTDs.  Originally I thought these IEMs sounded like crap and I thought I got a chinese copy or something.  Though then when I attached one SE215 bud on one ear and a 535 bud on another, I came to realize that wow the 535 is lacking in the bass department compared to the SE215s.  I decided to screw it and keep them and burn them in to see how the sound changes. 
    After burning these guys in, it's safe to say that these were a great investment, the sound stage is excellent, the highs are crisp and the in house shure mids are great as always.  Listening to one of my favorite bands Yes, the acoustic guitar is so crisp and clear I get goosebumps every time I listen to them, and the vocals mixed in just give me a sense of high thanks to their clarity and great sound.  As stated before, these IEMs are lacking a bit in the bass department but turning up the bass in your EQ should fix the problem.
    I've always liked Shure's IEMs because they were always comfortable in my ear and I can usually listen for an endless ammount of hours.  Shure's regular olives are great isolators and feel great in the ear as long you put them in correctly.  I'm using UE900 wires that I've modded so that they don't have the memory wire from my 215s, but the stock wires that come with the IEMs are pretty good and comfortable when I worn them, though some people may not find the memory wire comfortable to wear.
    Anyways, these were a great investment and I'm glad I've bought them, the only reason why I wouldn't recommend buying these are if you're a bass head, you'll most likely will not enjoy these IEMs.
  3. erisearth
    The best iem on earth for the 549$
    Written by erisearth
    Published Jan 19, 2016
    Pros - Everything
    Cons - Nothing
    Most people are looking for assurances that the reviewer of a product is qualified, so allow me to indulge briefly: I'm a lifelong musician, sound engineer, and headphone enthusiast/general audiophile. I love music not only for the artistry and quality of arrangement, musicianship, etc, but also for the beauty of sound that comes from the recording/mastering process, ultimately delivered through your speakers or headphones.

    The first thing most listeners will notice with the 535's is their phenomenal mid-range response, which is largely out of style in most of today's popular (read: crap) audio products. The tight, clean bass is delightfully present in the mix without clouding over other ranges. The treble is bright and organic, not harsh and overpowering. The improved bass response, build design, and crossover sets these apart from earlier and lower models (I actually did an A/B test with the 425s vs 535s since I own both - the 535s won by a huge margin). I love cranking these puppies up...it feels like the music is emanating FROM MY BRAIN. Make sure you get a good seal on the 535's and they will change your life. Boom.

    I have been very loyal to Shure for the past 5 years or so for their honest sound, quality builds, and great customer service. I had the E4G's and SE425s for several years, and when the cord broke on the former pair, they shipped me a brand new pair without question.

    Bottom line: these aren't for "pop" audio listeners looking for destructively rumbling bass and over-cranked, shimmery highs. Try Bose, you will be more happy with the inaccurate replication of the music. For those seeking full, powerful, honest sound with a great build and innovative features, buy these and don't look back.
      kobed7, XM4N and Paulus XII like this.
  4. mayi
    Shure could have made it better
    Written by mayi
    Published Sep 21, 2015
    Pros - sounds great, looks nice
    Cons - pricy, fragile
    Every thing about the se535 was great, but you have to stop it from falling apart, that just not great.
    The connecting parts of the headphone is fragile, all the silicon parts just don't stay where they are.
    I think it's unforgivable for this universal great brand and the price of it.
    I mean the free headphone of sansung is much tougher than it.
    I know it's a great item for it's sound, but these little issue would also drive a customer mad.
    Shure, you've made it great, why don't you try harder and make it greater, it's all about the details.
    1. whitemass
      Honestly, I gonna point the blame on you.
      IEMs from Shure have always been great, not really fragile unless you're a rough, or reckless person.
      I'm not saying you're doing bad for this review, but only due to the responsibility of the products damages.
      IEMs are always gonna be products you've gotta be gentle with, same with the cheaper products, and customs.
      whitemass, Oct 7, 2015
      Nani900 likes this.
  5. hicrhodus
    Excellent isolation
    Written by hicrhodus
    Published Jul 13, 2015
    Pros - good sound precision, replaceable cable
    Cons - High price, expensive cables
    very solid stuff, the main cable is a bit too long. Since I got it, I never felt like needing another one.
    1. interpolate
      This is one that's on my hitlist either that or the 846 whichever is more financially feasible on the day.
      interpolate, Jul 16, 2015
  6. CalvinXC
    Amazing, but not for everyone
    Written by CalvinXC
    Published Jan 2, 2015
    Pros - The mids..velvety
    Cons - Bass, not reaching low enough and not like in your face.
    So this is my first review and please bear with me.

    I had the SE535ltd for 6 months now, so I think it's time for me to put on a review. I bought this set as a birthday present for myself and I bought it after a 30 minute session at Jaben with the brown 535. As all knows, Jaben sold it slightly more expensive than street price but I still bought it because they showed me good service and reputation.

    I don't have a pair of good ear, right ear got injured before so it's not perfect I assume, and I do not know how to describe a sound like writing novel.

    Bass :
    The 535ltd do have bass, I don't know what those guys that said 536 got zero bass, you probably have a faulty ear, or a super basshead. But I do have to say the 535's bass is not something like the 846, in fact, far from it. It have the punch, but not slamming in your face. It have subbass, but not ear shattering vibration that you feel. But they are there, just not reaching deep enough and slamming your face.

    Mids :
    This is the strength of SE535. Velvety smooth mids, lots of details, very interesting vocals. I had the Hifiman RE-400, switching back and forth and I'm always finding myself looking for the 535 for certain genre of songs.

    Highs :
    Hmm...I can't find the problem of retrieving details and the clarity is good. Just in certain moment, you will feel it's not quite there. But this didn't turn me off.

    Rant :
    The 535 seems to be having very high sensitivity that it make noise with lots of sources, even my iPhone 5 couldn't escape from hissing. My laptop, my Cayin C5, the DX50 that I sold, all of them make a noise with it, but the staff at Jaben advised me to bring it back for them to check, it might be a problem with my unit.

    Mods :
    Well, I didn't mod the earphone itself, but just trying with different tips. I've modded a set of Ortofon tips to use with it, IMO it's the best sounding tip but not inserting deep enough. The bass if good and the highs are more pronounced.

    I'm a newbie so bear with what I wrote, and it might be totally wrong. Well, I haven't change the cable, hope it will bring the earphone further.
  7. hardbop
    Analyzing the Analytical
    Written by hardbop
    Published Jul 12, 2014
    Pros - Details are plentiful, especially in the mids
    Cons - Treble Roll-Off, Bass lacks punch, price vs. sound quality
    I was looking for an excellent universal IEM with multiple drivers to fit my portable listening needs. Ideally, I would have my beloved LCD-2's in a portable package. I have become addicted to the effortless brightness of those headphones and their versatility. I'm sad that I can't wear them all the time, which is why I need something portable.
    I have listened to and enjoyed many low end IEMs (including a sub $100 set of Shures) since my first pair of IEMs (Etymotic ER-4P's) were destroyed, but none of them were able to completely satisfy my needs. Towards that end, I had been eyeing custom molded IEMs, but I'm always too impatient and decided to try the upper range universal fit IEMs before trekking to the summit.
    The SE535 came highly recommended on many sites, including this one. I wanted the clear ones, but they weren't available in a timely manner (again, impatient) and I was able to get the special editions for only about $20 more than what I would have paid for the bronze or clear versions
    The resolution of these IEMs are immediately apparent as is their comfort and build quality. 
    Up to this point, these were the most comfortable IEMs I've used. The construction of the driver housings are top notch and the detachable cable is an important detail. The cable connections rotate freely, allowing for multiple fitting styles, but it makes them more fidgetty to insert and keep in the right spot, sometimes requiring two hands to adjust them.
    I tried most of the included tips (which are mixed up in the same baggy), but none of them were as comfortable as the Complys I bought along with the 535's. The fake Comply's came closest, but they have a thick plastic wax guard that altered the sound signature for the worse. As comfortable as these are, they still made my ears slightly sore after long listening periods, plus they required adjustments fairly often. I will put up with a lot of pain to hear the highest quality sound and, fortunately, these deliver their sound quality without much discomfort.
    The included grey cord is too short, but it isn't very microphonic. The splitter is kind of clunky and it is terminates in a very chunky plug. It looks like it's getting ready for an 1/4" jack.
    These IEMs are easy to drive, but they don't play well with poorer sources. I originally planned for them to be connected to my phone through the FiiO E-18 Kunlun (which didn't work out so well). I also used them with my Headroom Portable Desktop. I listened to all styles and qualities of music and the SE535 again were not well matched with some songs, even within the same genre.
    Since I will primarily use these in a portable setting, my in depth listening was done with the FiiO X5 (which replaced my Kunlun), using FLAC files from ripped CDs and high resolution sources. I did compare with a couple higher end amps and DACs, but the results didn't vary enough to be noteworthy. I will write out my listening notes at the end of this review.
    Overall sound quality is abundantly detailed. These are very revealing, very analytical IEMs. Unfortunately, they are also cold and quite lifeless. They don't sound good with large dynamic ranges either. They sound uneven at lower volumes and tend to be too harsh at high volumes.
    The bass end is fast and defined, but is usually hollow and lacking impact whatsoever. There isn't much extension to speak of either. The SE535's don't seem to pull out much texture in the recordings, so while the detail of each note is reproduced, the feel of the instrument is behind the note is sometimes lost.
    Mids are the sweet spot for these little guys, but there's a noticeable hump in the upper mids, which correlates to vocals and tends to exacerbate any bloat found at those frequencies in the recordings. The most detail and resolution is found in the midrange, but there isn't much warmth to speak of. Speed is again very quick and there is a little more room for the decay than in the higher frequencies.
    Highs are rolled off.  The details are there, but they tend to become absorbed by the lower ranges once the roll-off begins. You won't find any warmth here either, just more analytic coldness. The highs are bright, but not particularly airy and they can become very harsh at the peaks. Cymbals, especially, attack very well, but the decay tends disappear too quickly.
    Overall, the Shure SE535LTD IEMs are not all that musical. They become fatiguing with their cold edginess and analytical nature. They might be considered neutral, but they don't pair well with enough sources or genres for my tastes. The best qualities that they have are the fit and comfort, their speed and their clarity. I do feel that the might be too fast for their own good, however. The attacks are great, but there isn't any decay and they don't seem to allow for the textures of the instruments to shine. It's like the notes are always trying to get out of each other's way. As it stands, they are remarkably detailed, but they leave me wanting a more lifelike representation of my music.
    For $500, I can be analytical right back. These are very detailed IEMs, but the resolution alone isn't worth the money when they aren't a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
    Personal note: I was able to buy a different brand of IEM in the same range and try for a better sound signature while still being able to compare them. My previous daily use IEM was the Audiofly AF78's, which are a hybrid design. I got them about 6 months prior for 1/5th the price of the Shures. While they have a few issues of their own and they can't stand up to the SE535's in the detail department, they did have abundant texture, comparatively, and warm musicality, which I had been missing.
    I ultimately went with Audiofly's new 4 driver AF180's for the head-to-head test. These also retail at the same price as the 3 driver SE535's and I will compare these two universal IEMs below. Spoiler: I will be keeping the AF180's and I'll have to do something I've never done before since I entered this hobby: send something back.
    Good-bye, Shure SE535LTD! May you find a home in someone else's ears.
    AF180 vs SE 535
    X5, no amp
    Norah Jones "Don't Know Why" 24b/192k FLAC
    AF180: Highs are bright and well detailed, with a touch of warmth. Mids and bass are even and detailed. Piano sounds realistic.
    SE535: Vocals are bright and detailed, but way too harsh at the peaks, percussion is veiled, but detailed, piano is a tad strident.
    Baroness "Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)" 16b/44.1k FLAC
    AF180: Lows are deep and ominous. Highs are crisp. Impact is felt well into the mids. Vocals are a little strained and veiled. Timing is precise despite the distorted vocals
    SE535: Lows are deep, mids are crisp and highs are thin. Vocals are strident and pushed too forward. Percussion is too quick, sounds almost mechanical, tinny and has zero warmth.
    Pixies "Dig for Fire" 16b/44.1k FLAC
    AF180: Opening percussion is very twinkly, guitars and drums are fast and transparent, vocals are laid back.
    SE535: Highs are veiled and mids are thin. Voices sound like they're coming from a tube. Details are present, but analytical and thin. They're quick, like they don't want to get in each other's way. These IEMs do this album no favors.
    Goat Rodeo Sessions "Quarter Chicken Dark" 24b/88.2k FLAC
    AF180: Instruments are dry and snappy, very engaging. Double bass doesn't overpower the mandolin or vice versa, very balanced throughout. Back up instrumentation are still very detailed behind solos and duets, while instrumentation in the main focus is still well detailed and finely textured. Slight bloat in the midrange warmth. Good attack and release in the instruments.
    SE535 is transparent, if a lacking warmth. Mandolin is too quick, all attack, no texture or decay. Bass has texture, but no depth, sounds thin when the full quartet plays. Highs are lacking in extension, mids are powerful, but somewhat hollow. The bows sound are harsh and edgy on strings.
    Chet Baker "Easy Living" 24b/192k FLAC 
    AF180: Just enough warmth and evenly detailed throughout spectrum. Baker's breath on the microphone is felt. Flute is bright and effortless, even over the low saxes and heavy bass notes.
    SE535: Highs are very detailed and cold. Bass lacks warmth and weight. Baker's voice is smooth and sweet. Saxes sometimes step on his decay, though. Piano drowns in other mids and bass. Cymbals are thin, but quick and without decay.
    Project 86 "The Spy Hunter" 16b/44.1k FLAC 
    AF180: Guitars are appropriately heavy and remain fast. drums and bass are impactful. Vocals are detailed. Every growly noise can be heard in the throat. Cymbals are ever present above everything, but not very bright.
    SE535: Mid treble is slightly overbearing, vocals are edgy and bright. Bass is thin, but detailed, not enough separation to discern details.
    St. Vincent "Black Rainbow" 16b/44.1k FLAC
    AF180: Clark's voice is sweet and warm.  Bass sounds synthesized and has plenty of impact and texture. High details are quick and bright, no harshness in any frequency. Many sounds appear outside of headspace. Bassoon is deep and clear. The ending crescendo section is busy, but all details seem present.  The constant bass remains impactful and it tickles the ear. The ending decay is still high without too much shrillness 
    SE535: Vocals are cold and slightly brittle. Woodwinds are very harsh, sound overblown. Bass is present sonically, but no impact. Distortion is grainy and violins are textured. Mids are slightly muddy until crescendo section becomes strident
    Horace Silver "Song for My Father" 24b/192k FLAC
    AF180: Sax and trumpet are punchy and slightly warm. Cymbals have good attack and decay, rides well over the rest of the music. Good texture all around. The snare rolls are absolutely stunning. Piano is smooth. Sax solo slightly laid back, but natural, drums and cymbals still won't let go of the song, bass is slightly punchy. 
    SE535: Sax and trumpet attacks are super quick. Cymbals are recessed, but details are present. Piano is cold, but gentle and well defined. Snare is poppy. Sax solo is transparent and smooth. Bass lacks presence.
    Sansa Zip Clip 16/44.1 FLAC
    AF180 are warm, but there's bloat in the mid treble with female vocals on certain recordings.
    SE535 is cold/analytical. Treble is harsh until it reaches the roll off point. Details are very present, but require EQ help to become palatable.
    Note 3, Ampless, 320kbps MP3 streaming, 16/44.1 FLAC
    SE535's: Cold, harsh highs, thin bass, Details are are plentiful, if a bit hollow in the higher treble, Cymbals and bass lack impact. 
    AF180 Cymbals are twinkly and extend, mids and bass are impactful and textured, less separation than the Shures. Highs are warm and detailed. Overall resolution is slightly lacking across the board.
      Brooko and Mikkling like this.
    1. Shini44
      got to agree on that, the reason why i moved from V-shaped sound sig to more Detailed IEMs was this IEM , the mids on it are so dreamy and epic you won't be able to be happy with V shape anymore ,

      but yes for 500$ its a super rip off, Rolled off treble and not a punchy bass, and a very bad cable too,  even going custom with Custom Art will give you better options for that price. 
      Shini44, Jul 12, 2014
    2. piotrekfronc
      Try Phonak 232.
      piotrekfronc, Dec 20, 2014
    3. Wilderbeast
      Enjoyed this review. Well written.
      "For $500, I can be analytical right back."
      Brilliant :)
      Wilderbeast, Aug 19, 2015
  8. MattiaFalsetti
    They're astonishing.
    Written by MattiaFalsetti
    Published Apr 7, 2014
    Pros - Astonishing mids, awesome trebles, great construction quality.
    Cons - Maybe not so many bass frequencies.
    First of all, before the SE535 I had a pair of Monster Turbine Copper Pro, so I was habituated with many bass frequencies and forced to put them repetitively inside of the ear because of their weight. I’m absolutely not saying that the Turbines wasn’t a good pair of earphones, in fact they were my personal favorite pair in spite of their defects. After 2 years of happiness with my Monsters, I decided to go to the next level, with a more comfortable and more detailed pair of earphones, but without spending more than 500 dollars.. I finally opted for the Shure SE535. The first time that I wore them, it took me about 30 minutes or more just to understand how to put them in my ears, but at the end of that complicated process they were so magnificently comfortable and well inserted in my ears.. that I struggled to understand that they were in my ears.
    However let’s go directly on the sound review: I use them with an iPod Classic 7th Generation and rigorously all WAVE format songs, with a Fostex HP-P1 amplifier with DAC and an AudioQuest silver plated high definition cable; simply I've never heard Mids and Trebles so perfectly in a pair of earphones like in these, I can hear details, voices, instruments and effects that I’ve never heard before with other earphones. The voices of the singers are so greatly evidenced, pure and naturals that seems to have them in front of your eyes, amazing details with an astonishing speed of response, really.. I’ve never heard something like these beasts. I simply can’t describe the sensations that I feel when I use them, just with words, you have to try them before judge.
    The only defect that I could find in these, is the bass frequencies.. yes, there’s so many basses don’t worry, but not so many as I expected.
    Final Judgments:
    TREBLES: 8/9
    MIDS: 8/9
    BASSES: 7
  9. drewfig
    the last hole in my wallet
    Written by drewfig
    Published Feb 22, 2014
    Pros - great soundstage and mids
    Cons - stock cable is short, expensive
    will write a review soon :)
  10. FromSoftware
    one of the best in the market
    Written by FromSoftware
    Published Oct 28, 2013
    Pros - Sound quality, punchy bass, great cable.
    Cons - finding the perfect seal will take some time
    I will write a short review soon :)