Shure KSE1500 Review - Shure KSE1500 Sound Isolating Electrostatic Earphones

  1. sklonchpower
  2. sklonchpower
    Does anybody connected Hugo 1st gen via analog output? I mean RCA's? And how's result?
    Thank you
  3. figaro69
    Recently got the KSE 1500s. I had great hopes, as I am a Shure fan (i.e., still own the 846s and 530s, which I have greatly enjoyed throughout the years). I am not sure that the KSE 1500s are much better than the 846s. I'm thinking that it's not the fault of the headphones per se, but rather of the electrostatic amplifier. I am not sure that the amp has enough power/voltage to drive the headphones to optimum level. Some people have said that the problem is that the earphones are too sensitive and that they tend to distort at higher volume levels, but I have the suspicion that the power requirements are simply not there for electrostatic headphone to work properly, even small ones like the KSE 1500. I am left listening to these at lower-than-ideal levels to avoid overloading and distorting/clipping (even with the sound pads are engaged in the amp!). This is specially troublesome with classical music given the high dynamic ranges inherent to orchestral pieces. Moreover, there is nothing really to write home about with regard to tone, airiness, soundstage, etc. In my opinion, any full-size mid-level headphone bests these. Even the SE846s are running head to head with the KSE 1500s and have the advantage that they will not distort/clip at higher-than-Average levels or when faced with wild dynamic range swings in orchestral music and that they cost $2000 less!. Unfortunately (as far as I am concerned), I would have to consider this (at the high price for entry) to be something of a fail. You can get a Focal Utopia for this price, for God's sake!.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  4. plinth
    Something is not adding up. First, are you using line in or USB in and what is your source. The only way I can hear clipping is by using line in and have the source too high, When it is clipping are the Vu bars in the red? Do not lose faith, I have mine in now and they sound so much better than my HD800s. Let's see if we can help find out something that is causing your disappointing start.
  5. figaro69
    Will keep tinkering with it. It does not want to play nice with my Samsung Galaxy phone either (lots of hissing and distorting).
  6. Roscoeiii
    Agree. Something isn't adding up. Can you give us further details on your chain. Don't forget that there are variable gain settings that you can use depending on the strength of the source. Maybe we can help. But ultimately you probably want to contact Shure or your dealer.
  7. csglinux
    A Samsung Galaxy phone won't be the ideal source for the KSE1500. It would be a bad idea to use a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable (because this will use your phone's DAC and amp, plus this can potentially cause clipping and require you to lower the input-pad sensitivity), and not ideal if you're connecting via USB (because this will use the KSE1500 DAC, which is ok, but not the world's best DAC).

    How are you connecting it?
  8. jude Administrator
    @figaro69, way earlier in this thread, I posted some helpful tips and tricks for KSE1500 owners. You can find that post at the following link:

    trellus and kubig123 like this.
  9. DeeKay10
    Regarding line-in (based on the SHA900):
    1. Menu >> Utilities >> Factory reset.
    2. Menu >> Disable charging >> Yes (for the sake of the test).
    3. Menu >> Audio >> Output gain >> Low (assuming it has the feature).
    4. Menu >> Audio >> Input pad >> -20 dB (not present with USB-in).

    If it still clips through any or all sources, and you don't see the audio lighting up the red bar (see attached image; Photoshoped), it's a bad unit.
    Regarding audio quality, I only ever heard planar-magnetic headphones, but I imagine electrostats are the next step in sounding smooth as butter. If you don't exhibit that feeling, the unit once more, may be bad.
    Finally, it's possible that the unit works fine, and your opinion and experience is absolutely plausible. If that's how you feel, that's also cool. Don't let no audio Führer dictate your preferences (edit: Generally intended to the audiophile community).

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
    junix likes this.
  10. TYATYA
    Dont claim sq of your new iem. Read manual first to know how deal with input level.
    I have just go to a hiend show yesterday and enjoy tracks I usualy listen to (mean I can compare even that is not A/B). I love kse more.
  11. TYATYA
    Totally agree kse sounds much better than hd800s. I am learning from internet if have any tips to make my 800s sound closer to kse.
    May be, bcs of lucky my ear and kse sound flat - near to perfect - from 50 to 8000khz. This is actual hearing, not via any measurememt by microphone. While in 800s I must Eq 5000 and 7000 to flatten the peaks (800s sounds sweet by beqing those narrow band but detail and transparent is far from kse)
  12. Allegroz
    With proper setting n pairing.. this gems best my stax 007 n hd800s.... only 1 step below stax 009... yeah I listening classical..

    This iem is so magnificent... so dynamic. Best dynamic range for iem.. the other ba iem n hybrid n dynamic driver sound flat in classical music.. I owned tia forte and it so so for classical... for setting n best sound dynamic, I let input pad always 0db... setting -10 and -20 it will compress dynamic range. Just turn down volume the source/dac. So that clipping not happening/ prevent red colour in indicator kse amp.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  13. timeslip
  14. csglinux
    I also own and love the Utopias. It's a different listening experience, for sure. But going back and forth, I hear more fine-scale detail with my KSE1500 than I do with my Utopias.
    I can't really comment on the Noble Encore. They sounded good from the brief listen I had, but the housing and nozzle are just too big for me to be able to get a proper fit and seal.
  15. timeslip
    The encore's are no where near as revealing, but I dont like carrying around two devices + earphones on a portable system. Technically three, if you include my phone =)

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