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Shure KSE1500 Review - Shure KSE1500 Sound Isolating Electrostatic Earphones

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  1. bosiemoncrieff
    So I can no longer use KSE1500 on the go because the Lightning to Micro cable I was using has suffered too much stress and now the Micro port has bent too far to deliver data, apparently. The placement of the data/charging port on the bottom makes a lot of sense for desktop use, when the data is expected to come out of a laptop port and into the DAC, but it makes no sense for mobile use, with the cable having to make a U at the bottom of one's pocket.

    Should I...

    (1) Chuck the KSE1500 in the trash
    (2) Only listen w/ line in
    (3) Buy a new $40 cable from moon audio because "hey it lasted a year" and try to treat it gentler this time
    (4) #3, but get one of these to take the stress off https://www.amazon.com/Ksmile®-Right-Degree-Female-Adapters/dp/B01C6031MA/
    (5) #3, but get one of these to do the above https://www.amazon.com/4433265-Micro-B-Extension-Syncing-Charging/dp/B00W6URQPE/
     
  2. named name
    2) link your KSE1500 with a better source.
     
    Turdski, siruspan, TYATYA and 2 others like this.
  3. acia
    Android could be good source.
     
  4. Ni3tzsch3
    Hey, could you comment on the state of your KSE1500 headphone cable? Has it developed kinks or degraded?

    I don't have the headphones, but this was my consideration and may help you (or just heresy)
    For mobile use, hook up a fiio btr3 (bluetooth) line-in into the KSE1500 and wirelessly connect to the source. Assuming its in the pants pocket...you can clip the btr3 to your pants.
     
  5. joshnor713
    I actually have a BTR3 and just tried it out with the KSE1200. Works pretty good! Great mobile/traveling solution, especially if you have a newer Android phone that can output LDAC. I'm able to with my Note 9.
     
  6. bosiemoncrieff
    I don't want anything else in my pocket though.
     
  7. cheznous
    When the KSE1500 first came out I was intrigued but the presence of the DAC was superfluous to my needs.
    I never listen to music on my phone, it's a phone not a DAP, and have a number of better DACS. I get the fact they limited the DAC capabilities due to the limitations of the Apple and Android
    phones and the adverse effect a better DAC would have on battery life.
    Once the KSE1200 was announced I thought that is just what I have been waiting for and bought one, primarily for use with AK SP1000.
    That was six months ago now and I have refrained from comment until now simply because first impressions are not always the best especially when one has paid a fair amount of money out.
    Not only that but sounding different is not the same as sounding better so I thought I would wait.

    So after six months I can honestly say this is my favourite ear/headphone. My previous listening was mainly Layla and Utopia and I find I never listen to the Layla now and whilst I still enjoy the Utopia
    I prefer the Shure. For me who often listens to music whilst reading a magazine or a book I found with he Shure I no longer do that, I simply listen to the music and lose myself in it. Books and mags are a distraction to the sound.

    For those who worry the Shure do not do bass then worry not, a quick listen of Massive Attack Mezzanine will put that thought to bed. Deep and controlled bass as it should be.
    What I appreciate more than anything though is the clarity and detail I get from this combination. The soundstage is not as good as utopia but it is still very good.
    Yes you have to get the input correct to avoid clipping, 1.2v fixed on the AK and minus 10 on the KSE but that's it.
    Comfort is a big thing as well, I always struggled with the Laylas but persevered because of the sound quality but the Shure as so comfortable with the snug size and the Comply tips I can wear them for hours on end.

    After six months I cannot find a bad thing to say about them. I will not sell the Utopias as they have a place in my heart and ears but I totally recommend these for those who are considering but hesitating.
     
  8. TYATYA
    20190224_212514.jpg
    Before kse1500, I have (include in the past) shure535, Sen Hd650, hd800s those are not bad.
    Since 3 years ago I start to use kse1500. Since then I know I must stick to this one.
    On this Match I lost my 1500 then I go for 1200.
    I can guess 1200 even better for me.
    More detail it is the amp : 1200 amp is better in comparision v.s 1500 amp (earpiece is the same but the amp).
    A true music will ease the pain : even during headache, I put it on my ears then music on....
    P.S below is 3 component mod ear tip on my 1500 b/f it lost.
    Will try again on 1200 when colleted materials
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  9. jeffhawke
    (edited)
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  10. jeffhawke
    Thank you pal, I'm one of those "considering but hesitating"! I would be using them primarily with my LG V30 as it has a pretty good DAC, or with one of two BT receivers I use, ES100 or Hiby W5. Once I finally get hold of my KSE1200 (I'm looking around to find a great deal somewhere, hopefully I don't have to wait until Black Friday), I may PM you for some tips.
     
  11. TYATYA
    I dont know what was his source. But I think it could be ok if it was an Iphone6/s.
    It seems he use digital line in via usb port while the move. So got many unwant things as signal loss/pause, disconnected, losen cable.... and also the internal is so so, not a good one.
     
  12. FidelityCastro
    Really enjoyed reading this, @cheznous. Especially with the pause to let the new toy / honeymoon period end before you posted observations. I recently got an SP1000 SS and am looking at the KSE1200 as an optional pairing.

    I was particularly interested in your point about the soundstage not being as good (wide?) as the Utopia (I’m a big fan of a wide soundstage and listen to the SPK balanced for that reason), and that you would keep the Utopia as a different option whilst still really liking the KSEs for what they do. I suspect I will be the same (in my case, Angies and Cosmic Ears).

    We do all have a habit sometimes of wanting the new toy to be the end game / massive upgrade, rather than perhaps something that does a new flavour fantastically well, without putting the other great flavours out of business.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    tekkster likes this.
  13. Misson07
    I just got these babies for a few hours and I would say that they exceed my expectation. Probably the best iem I ever owned except maybe bass and soundstage expansion and I own/had owned a lot of totl iems (IER-Z1R/Solaris/Tia Trio/Zeus, to name a few). I afraid that they might sound harsh as I heard a lot of people calling them bright but they are actually very smooth with a hint of harshness shows only in a few badly recorded tracks. Soundstage might be smaller than 64 Audio stuff or my Z1R but they are very servicable though it would be nice if they have more height. Bass is admittly rather light for my taste but they already better than I expect from Electrostatic driver. I think they do well with almost any genre of music except maybe rock and metal as the mid is a bit too forward (for my taste) but I got my Audeze for that kinda stuff so it's fine I guess.

    My very first impression of them is actually somewhat lukewarm as I can't find anything that stand out about them apart from the fast transient response and ultra-high resolution but once I got used to the sound, everything just sound so correct. I don't know what is actually considered to be "correct sounding" but that honestly what I feel about them even though I don't think their tonality is perfect for my taste.

    The only other iem that I think they are able to do everything so well is probably the 64 Audio U18t and I still think they are more versatile than the Kse all thing considered (ease of use, more bass while still maintain excellent technicality). However, the Kse is more special and unique sounding of the two for sure. I really hope that they will stay with me for long and not just being honeymoon period hype haha.

    Edit- I want to add that while the sq is sublime the build quality does not inspire confidence while using them at all. It's look cheaper than the SE846 and did't look much better than the SE215 and I feel like I might break the bore while changing tip if I'm not careful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  14. tekkster
    For the last decade, talk of DAC chipsets (mostly starting with the old Cirrus Logics in iPods and moving through ESS, Burson, Burr-Brown, AK, etc. etc.) has really dominated the industry and discussion forums, and still does, which makes sense since there was so much room for improvement.

    But the conversation really overshadowed amp discussions, which is the world I grew up in in the 80's and 90's.

    I mean, obviously, when an amp alone is being reviewed, it's all about amps....I'm just saying in general people seemed, over the last decade, to care more about DACs chipsets than discussing amp chipsets.

    Really love how much the amp (or "energizer", if anyone prefers, since the KSE1200/1500 is an electro, either or is fine with me, hehe) is discussed with the KSE products. These days, the only thing I really care about the DAC (since they're all so good compared to a decade ago) is what it can decode, and even then, I don't own music that really needs the higher end encodings, so it's just a point of curiosity for me. If the DAC can handle 768kHz PCM, a middling range for DSD (256 is fine for me, don't own anything in 512), I'm fine with it.

    Yes yes, I know that how a converter architecture manages the conversion matters. I realize that each proprietary technology has a unique method of converting digital sample measurements into a wave, and then re-interprets that wave into voltage instructions sent in micro-volts per micro-second, but, even then, the technologies from each proprietary method have improved so much that while there are sound profile differences, it doesn't bother me so much.

    What I grew up caring about was how the amplifier handles those micro-voltage instructions. How fast doesn't it react, what is the slew rate, how exaggerated is the 1 micro-second ringing (which exists no matter what, since slew rates are so steep for audio).

    Without having measured it yet, I believe the KSE1200's energizer/amp is exceptional. I'm picking up a new oscillator next month, so looking forward to testing the slew and ringing and noise floor, etc. of the 1200. The information probably won't be super accurate, and I'll leave real test result graphs to the serious hard core folks writing review on audiosciencereview.com, but will be a fun hobby/past time for me just to test gear (really just hoping to enjoy reliving my teenage years)

    Anyway, no opinion, just thought I'd share my joy in seeing such a big amp focus on this thread.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  15. tekkster
    One small opinion. I think the KSE1200 is so good an amp, and I get so much joy out of it, that it really does sound good with lower end DACs. Sounds better with high end DACs, of course (better transients, etc.), but the form factor fits well with the Hiby R3, and frankly, I enjoy this player for the KSE1200. Very convenient.
     
    masterpfa likes this.
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