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Shure SE425 sound terrible?

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  1. HiFiChris Contributor

    It's been mentioned multiple times already, but I'll just do it again.

    The SE215 and 425 don't have much in common except for the basic shape and manufacturer. One is very warm, full and bassy, whereas the other is neutral to mid-centric. If you were looking for an upgrade to the SE215 but with a more or less same tonal direction, perhaps with somewhat more treble sparkle and brightness, then the SE425 was one of the worst choices you could have made.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend the T20(i) all that much these days - imho the iBasso IT01 does a better job at half the price, however with a more realistic (yet still not 100% perfect) treble compared to the RHA, and the cable quality is superior as well (some users have experienced defects and torn insulation around the ear guides). Or for a treble that is relaxed, just like the SE215's, the EARNiNE EN210 would be a nice option as well. Mentioning the Oriveti Basic doesn't hurt either, however it's more of a sidegrade in my opinion (somewhat softer bass than the Shure, slightly higher details overall).
    papa_mia likes this.
  2. MarkF786
    For a great deal, the Klipsch X11i is available new on eBay for $53. It's a single-BA IEM but sounds better than the SE215 or SE425, and has a warm frequency response. The list price of it was $299, and the sonically-equivalent X12i is $349 (though with a nicer cable).

    That's the best IEM value I've seen lately. I bought two, one to keep in my backpack and one as a spare.
  3. Arthur Li
    I live in Hong Kong (which is packed with head-fi stores, sort of) and have demoed countless iem in the past 3 years. SE425 is the worst sounding BA-driver iem I have ever heard. Just awful.
  4. Brooko Contributor
    Different strokes for different folks I guess. I've owned the SE420, 315, 425 and 535SE. Of those - the best sounding for my tastes was the SE425. Very neutral - just lacking a bit in sub-bass, and could use a little more lower treble (easy to EQ). Lovely mid-range though.

    I've often considered buying another pair. Its rare to get such an uncoloured IEM nowadays.
    Colors and Oscar-HiFi like this.
  5. bermitanyo316
    I agree Brooko. I've had the SE425 since 2011. Some might consider it mid-forward and bass light but it is one of the best mids you can hear. There's a reason it's price never fluctuated throughout the years, even with arguably better or more affordable options. It's really very good for its intended purpose. Clean, clear and accurate mids.
    Colors likes this.
  6. MarkF786
    Here’s an entertaining post from another forum,

    “The 425 was a running joke on HeadFi a while back for being so mediocre that people would pretend recommend it to new people.”

    Cruel joke, guys!!!
    audiogeekery likes this.
  7. Colors
    I'm telling you guys. The Shure SE425 are great mid-centric (vocals) IEM. I've listened to the 846 before and I actually prefer the 425 to it because there's a lot of IEMs that do what the 846 does but not very many 425-like IEMs.

    The vocals on it are very clear, clean and realistic. If you're a vocals lover, it's definitely a recommended IEM. The comfort and isolation are also great (standard Shure).

    If you like bassy, balanced or v-shaped IEM for genres like pop, EDM, rap, trance, etc, it may not be your cup of tea but if you like to just relax to the sound of vocals, it's perfect. I've listened to the Legend X, N5005, Andromeda, Xelento, Bravado and I still think of the SE425 sometimes because of what it gives for the price point.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
    monitoringsound70 likes this.
  8. monitoringsound70
    Said it many times, it's all down to what you hear.
    I still have and adore my 425....Just so flat and neutral, Incredibly engaging and perfect for on stage.
    And any music style I throw at them
    Colors likes this.
  9. phillyd
    I've heard $25 earphones I liked the sound of better.

    Uncolored is not accurate for SE425's. They may do mids more true and accurately, but uncolored would be a neutral frequency response. Their mid-centrism is definitely coloring. They are severely lacking in mid-bass as well. I cannot appreciate them because my vocal-heavy music isn't 100% vocals, it relies on instrumentation as well

    This seems like the correct view. Some people like you and some of the others in this thread will absolutely adore this. Depending on your music and your ears, they may be amazing. The issue I had was the pairing of the mid-boost with the drop in the low-treble. It makes them sound veiled and mids without treble just sounds bad IMO. I also don't listen to any music that relies so purely on the midrange. The closest I get is stuff like Melody Gardot, but she implements percussion with plenty of bass and treble in most of her music at the least.

    Again, this seems to be the correct view. They are vocal-centric and if you don't listen to music that doesn't rely on the bass or treble, they're not for you. I can't appreciate the mids because good mids without low-treble to match sounds bad to me.

    I really can't agree that they're flat or neutral. They are so severely lacking in bass. Excellent mid-response, I'm sure they're excellent on stage. They may sound neutral for some but they definitely don't measure that way. See the Innerfidelity measurements. Compared to the SE315 and SE525, they are lacking in bass.

    All of this being said, I returned them and got RHA T20i's. They were $170 (down from 250 retail) have an in-line mic, some beefy connectors and a really nice design. The filter choices are nice, though I'm just using the neutral. One of the Bass filters had bad threads on it, and RHA sent me a whole replacement pair free of charge, so they're customer service seems great! Their sound is much more to my tastes, though I'd prefer just a little more mid-range representation. The filters included really just affect the treble. By adding more foam in each filter, they reduce the treble level. I'd like to also reduce the bass a bit.
    Arthur Li and Colors like this.
  10. monitoringsound70
    Yeah I understand what your saying completely.
    But that's the way your ears and brain process the sound. If it's not for you its not for you.
    I've never took any notice of graphs. Yeah I know that's how they are measured but once again it's down to the individual and how they process that sound.
    I've had many headphones, iem's etc and they sound nothing like what they are technically supposed to lol.
  11. Colors
    Look into the iBasso IT01! They may be for you. Punchy and deep extension to sub-bass, clear (slightly recessed male) vocals and average treble presence. Only $99 as well.
  12. Arthur Li
    I remember demoing the 425 with some string quartet tracks and hearing very unnatural string reproduction - smeared transients, lacking "bite"......I also listened to something with lots of cymbal crash, perhaps jazz, and heard unnaturally "muted" cymbal hits. Bass lacks punch and texture, perhaps due to unnaturally fast decay. I use "unnatural" repeatedly when describing my sonic impression of the SE425 because I remember vividly how weird everything sounds through this earphone. People really do hear differently. No offence to people who appreciate the 425.

    Btw, I remember demoing the 425 with TheBit Opus 1, which has low output impedance, so there was no issue of impedance mismatch.
  13. MarkF786
    I really want to like my SE425, and repeatedly give them another chance. Heck, I thought maybe I had counterfeit units because they sounded so bad (lacking in bass & treble - and with a grainy sound in between) - but then I remembered I got them straight from Shure.

    I love Shure's products, especially their IEMs, so I'm not bashing them. And I acknowledge tastes vary, but I just have a hard time relating in this instance.

    Maybe I'll try my SE425 again today.
  14. phillyd
    I felt basically the same way about my 425's. Thought they were broken or fake.
  15. audiogeekery
    I’m so confused!

    I just got a pair direct from Amazon and they feel even more unbalanced and dead. Perhaps they’re not broken and the sound just isn’t for me? Using an iPod Classic they really were so sad compared to my se215.

    Switching to an AKJR they are the same. Fast, yes but it almost feels like the right channel has more dynamics. Anyway, I’m sad about this as I was really looking forward to them. Perhaps they are defective?
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