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Shure KSE1500 Review - Shure KSE1500 Sound Isolating Electrostatic Earphones

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  1. Chris Younkman
    I would definitely go direct. Adding whatever your preamp or other component is in the middle will just add more amplification stages and reduce the purity of the signal. In my case, I tried running the KSE1500 from the headphone out (or perhaps the rear RCA outs?) of my PS Audio BHK, a reasonably high-end tubed preamp. But it added audible noise. I got much better results running RCA directly from the outputs of my DAC (also PS Audio).

    It sounds like you need an RCA stereo (your source) to 3.5mm cable (KSE input). I have one from ADL which is fine, and a very nice Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 for more money.

    But removing intermediate gear is going to make a lot more difference than the cable. Use the best source you can, and connect to it directly.
    robm321 likes this.
  2. Student_Driver
    Hi Head-Fi Community

    Been awol for several years. Sadly, I broke the part of the plastic shell which hold the foam tip off of one KSE earpiece. Sure is quoting me $1,000.00 to replace the cable. That sounds crazy to me.

    Did a search on this thread on repairs and only found posts related to cable issues.

    Does anyone know of a company that can repair or replace the shell? I considered a sensonics silicon shell as an alternative but there are many reviews saying that the silicon sleeves degrade/alter the sound.

    Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!
  3. robm321
    Thanks, I was thinking the same thing. I have an adapter for now but I'll have to get a higher quality one for long term.
  4. csglinux
    Ouch - sorry to hear about that. The plastic nozzles breaking always seemed like a concern, but you're the first report I've heard of that actually happening. If I read that right? Did you break the shell/nozzle? If so, why does Shure want to replace your cable??

    Can you post a pic showing the problem? If it's just the plastic shell, some folks have had success repairing that type of damage with Bondic or cyanoacrylates (superglue). I don't think Sensaphonics shells are going to help you, because they go over your existing nozzle. It might be an issue if you have no existing nozzle for them to fit over. Also, Sensaphonics' shells do change the sound a lot - they increase the effect bore length and this lowers the resonance peaks significantly. I personally didn't like the resulting change in sound, but YMMV.
  5. thatonenoob
    Yea that sux send pics plz.
  6. Tachikoma
    Either would be fine, its just a question of whether you want to use the -10 dB input pad or a preamp to keep the source's output levels low enough for the KSE1200's input stage.

    I'm using a Schiit Sys instead of the input pad on my KSE1500. I _think_ it sounds slightly better this way, and the Sys won't add any noise since its just a volume pot.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    robm321 likes this.
  7. robm321
    Good points.
    bosiemoncrieff likes this.
  8. iDesign
    I am deciding between the KSE1500 and KSE1200 and I'd like to hear arguments for or against either model irrespective of price (e.g. longer battery life, resale value, reliability, sound quality, on-the go-practicality, overall and secondhand market desirability etc). The KSE1200 appeals to me because of its smaller size but the KSE1500 has some appeal in terms of practicality in the event my Chord Mojo has a dead/weak battery while on-the-go.
  9. csglinux
    KSE1500: More use cases (can't use a KSE1200 with most new phones) plus the ability to quickly and easily EQ, if needed.
  10. robm321
    Yep. If you're willing to spend the extra grand, it would cover all your bases. I went with the 1200 because I have other phones/amps that I use while out and about.

    I think the 1500 would be a better fit for you.
  11. bobeau
    I dunno... I can hardly tell the difference between headphone out on my iPhone SE and my Mojo when used as a source for the KSE1200 (I can certainly tell more of a difference when used as a headphone out for other things tho). It's there, but like a 5-10% improvement at best. Certainly would fail a blind test. And the Mojo is supposed to be a nice step up from the built-in DAC.

    As to phones without a headphone out, Apple's dongle measures really well, not too far off from the Mojo as well


    Even if offered at the same price I'd still take the 1200 for the smaller size and battery life.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  12. cj3209
    Get the 1200, the 1500 DAC is an emergency option only at this time with so many great DAC options out there. The only advantage of the 1500 is if you are using a phone with no headphone jack.
    Turdski and Kitechaser like this.
  13. Chris Younkman
    I bought the 1500. It's a desktop setup - transportable but not portable. As such I never use the built-in DAC as it doesn't hold a candle to the Hugo 2. Curious cable provided a marginal improvement. I can't imagine walking around with the 1500 tethered to an iPhone. So I just don't see the point.
  14. iDesign
    I can emphasize with your sentiments. I hardly like wrestling with cables and carrying the Mojo, iPhone XS, and dealing with the antiquated ergonomics of the Etymōtic ER4SR. However, on long international flights, I "think" I can manage with the KSE1200/1500 so as long as they are all stowed inside of small bag on my lap/seat. I thought about purchasing the Hugo 2 but adding an even larger DAC to an already cumbersome mess is not an option. Its also annoying that some devices like the Mojo have in/outputs on opposing sides which makes cable management a nightmare.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  15. TYATYA
    I found there's difference of the sound on 1200/1500.
    1200 has more clarity. Bass kick tighter. More constrast.
    1500 is softer, spacious, larger soundstage.
    To compare, 1200 on stock black foam tip bring quite similar sq to 1500 on spinfit silicon tip.
    robm321 likes this.
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