This is a Shure SE535-V review. These tipple high definition in-ear headphones are one of the most elite sets of earbuds on the market anywhere. On Amazon, at the time of this review, they sell for about $490 (that’s about $60 cheaper than the list price). Are they worth it? Before you buy Shure SE535 earphones, here are some things you should know.
These Shure sound isolating in-ear headphones first appeared in 2010. At the time of this review, they get a score of about 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Actually, this is a revised and improved model of the original Shure SE530 Sound Isolating Earphones which first appeared in 2001. The original SE530 model has now been discontinued. It was quite popular in its time (4.3 stars out of 5 on Amazon), but it left lots of room for improvement.
One of the most vulnerable parts of any earphone is the connecting cable. In the old SE530 model, if the cord was damaged or broken, you just lost a big investment. The new SE535-V solved that problem with a strongly reinforced Kepler cable which is also detachable and replaceable. In the unlikely event that the cable should be damaged, you can buy a replacement without having to throw away an expensive set of headphones. (More about the Shure earphone cable upgrade later in this article.) The newer model is also noticeably smaller and slimmer.
What Are The Specifications Of The New Shure High Definition Earphones?
Though there have been some notable improvements in the features of this product, the specifications are basically the same. Some of the most important specifications include the following:
- 18 hertz – 19,000 hertz frequency response range
- 119 dB sound pressure level sensitivity/mW
- 36 ohms of impedance at 1,000 hertz
- 15 dB – 37 dB sound isolation
- 64 inch connecting cable
- 1/8 (3.5 mm) connecting jack plug
- 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) jack adapter
- 2-year limited warranty
What Varieties Of The Shure SE535 Are There?
As mentioned above, the original Shure SE530 Earphones has been discontinued by the company. There are still a few sets available that you can get through Amazon from individual sellers, but they are very expensive: about $750 new or $350 used. They used the Triple TruAcoustic Micro Speakrs. The newer SE535 uses the Triple High Definition MicroDriver which are quite similar, but a bit different.
There are also a few sets of the Shure SE530PTH Sound Isolating Earphones available. These are also discontinued by the Manufacturer, but you can get a used set through Amazon for about $250. The main difference between this and the origional SE530 is that the SE530PTH has a the TPH (Push-To-Hear) control to turn the earphones on or off.
The present Shure SE535-V Sound Isolating Earphones with Triple High Definition MicroDrivers come in three different colours. There is the metallic bronze and the clear transparent (SE535-CL). The only major difference between them is the colour. The features and specifications are the same, and they both get the same score of 4.4 stars out of 5 in Amazon reviews, but the price is just a little different. The metallic bronze costs about $490 on Amazon, and the clear costs about $500. An on-cord remote and microphone can be purchased separately to use with Apple products like iPhone, iPod, and iPad.
Then there is the more elite model, the Shure SE535LTD Limited Edition Red Sound Isolating Earphones with Remote + Microphone. This variety comes with two different in-line remotes with microphones. A 1-button remote and a 3-button remote come in every package, so you can use whichever you prefer. On Amazon this model costs about $550 (a savings of about $50 off the list price). The remote lets you answer and drop phone calls when using a cell phone, and when using an MP3 player or an iPod it lets you stop, play, pause, and change sound tracks. The 3-button remote allows the listener to raise and lower volume.
The Shure SE846-CL Sound Isolating Earphones are now Shure’s top-of-the-line earphone. This model features a set of quad high definition microdrivers, and it includes a subwoffer and a low pass filter for an even deeper bass response. It also has changeable nozzle inserts which allow the user to change the frequency response and adjust the sound signatures between balanced, warm, or bright. This model costs about $1,000 on Amazon (a savings of about $250 dollars off the list price). Unfortunately, it does not include a remote and microphone.
The Shure SE425-V Sound Isolating Earphones can be bought on Amazon for about $300 (that saves you about $50 off the list price). You can buy it in either of two colours: silver or clear. This variety features a set of dual high definition microdrivers. Sound quality is still high, though not quite as impressive as with the SE535-V. An on-cord remote and microphone can be purchased separately to use with Apple products like iPhone, iPod, and iPad.
The Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver is a much less expensive earphone. It costs only about $100 on Amazon (a savings of about $100 off the list price). It comes in clear or black. A limited edition Clear Blue color is available for about $150. Also available for about $150 is the SE215-K Earphones and CBL-M-+K Music Phone Cable which includes a 3-button remote and microphone, compatible with Apple products like iPhone, iPod and iPad. Frequency range is not quite as broad as with the SE535 – only about 22 hertz to 17,500 hertz. Impedance is about 20 ohms, and sensitivity is about 107 dB. Sound quality is not quite as impressive as with the SE535-V model, but not bad for its price.
What Special Features Do The Shure Earphones Offer?
Shure SE535-V ear monitor headphones are more expensive than most ear buds because they come with certain features and accessories that no other set of earphones offers. Among other things, these features are designed to bring improved durability, sound quality, noise isolation, and comfort.
On the old SE530 the cable was a bit thin and fragile, and if it was ever damaged you couldn’t replace it. These newer earphones have a much stronger reinforced Kevlar detachable snap-on cable. In the unlikely event that this cord should be damaged (or lost), it can be easily replaced without the need to throw away a very expensive set of earphones.
The cable attaches with a gold-plated snap. The snap rotates 360° to avoid tangling and possible breakage. Gold plating provides for a much more solid connection. Next to the ear piece snap connection there is a 2-inch length of memory wire which allows the user to form the cable into a clip over the ear to keep the wires out of the way. The other end of the cable attaches to your listening device with a gold-plated, 90° L-shaped jack plug. The reinforced jack plug is quite thick, so the user could have some trouble plugging the jack in if he keeps his iPhone or iPod is in a case.
Triple High Definition Microdriver
The triple HD microdriver is a feature very unique to these earphones. Other earphones have a single driver. A large driver gives good bass, but can distort the upper pitches. A small driver may be great for the upper pitches, but might not be able to handle the lower bass tones. In general, when you improve one set of tones, the other suffers.
Instead of using a single driver, these Shure ear buds use three drivers, which include two woffers and a tweeter. The tweeter specializes in handling the highest treble tones and the upper midrange tones. One woffer handles the lower midrange tones, and the third woffer handles the bass tones. The result is less distortion and well-defined clarity.
The earphones come with hard, zippered carrying case to protect it, and in the case is a “fit kit” with several important accessories. Included in the fit kit is an attachable volume control, an airline jack (for the traveller to use on flights), an ear wax cleaning tool, and an assortment of 8 different pairs of ear tips.
The ear tips are important for comfort, for good sound isolation, and for keeping the ear buds snug and in place. Since every ear is a different size, and every person has a different preference, the user will have to experiment to see which pair of ear tips works best for him. There are three pairs of rubber tips: small, medium, and large. Foam-filled ear tips also come in small, medium, and large, and if you choose to use one of these you can roll the tip between your fingers before inserting it into the ear for a snug, customized fit. There is a pair of triple-flange rubber ear tips which some say they find to give the best combination of comfort and sound isolation. A pair of yellow, general use foam tips is also included.
What Does The Shure SE535 Sound Like?
Sound is the quality that users are most passionate about, and it is the only quality that justifies such a high price. Since the earphones are equipped with three sets of drivers, each brings out the best in the frequency range that it was designed to produce. Some users recommend using the new earbuds during a “burn-in” period of about 15 days for the earphones to reach their best performance.
Good sound quality isn’t just about what you hear. It’s also about what you don’t hear. You don’t want to hear noises from outside, and you don’t want your sounds to bleed out to annoy those around you. Depending on what kind of ear tip the owner uses, and depending on how good the fit is, the user can get near perfect sound isolation out of these to block out up to 37 dB of outside sound.
Sound isolation can have it’s advantages or it’s disadvantages. The advantages include being able to better enjoy your music or your phone conversation by blocking outside noise. It also means being able to keep your listening private so that your sounds don’t leak out.
But there are also some situations in which a listener may need to be aware of outside sounds. Mothers may need to be able to hear their small children at all times. A jogger or someone walking outside near traffic may need to be aware of the sounds of possible dangers around him. For such situations, consider headphones or earphones with some sound penetration.
What Do Amazon Reviews Say About This Product?
This product gets a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 in Amazon reviews for customer satisfaction. That’s pretty good, but far from perfect. Most are happy with their purchase, but a few disagree. Many who write positive reviews make their observations very soon after receiving the product while it is still new. Sometimes problems develop later on. Some of the most common observations are the following:
Sound quality is the feature which is most often and most highly praised by those who write positive reviews. Users describe the sound as clear, well balanced throughout the range, and very detailed. Even among those who are disappointed with the headphones for other reasons, very few have anything bad to say about the sound quality.
Another frequently mentioned quality is the new Kevlar cable which is much stronger than the cord used in the earlier SE530 mode. Reviewers describe the cable as, “detachable,” “replaceable,” and “almost indestructible.”
Some users mention their appreciation for the customer service, and how they honour their warranty. Buyers who received defective units say that, when they made their claims, the company promptly replaced the defective earphones with a brand new set. It is important to remember that, in order for the warranty to be activated, you must promptly register your purchase. If you wait too long, the warranty may not be honoured. Also, this site recommends that, whenever possible, you make your purchase through Amazon so that you can take advantage of the 30 day return policy without having to pay a ridiculously high restocking fee.
Not every one agrees about the quality of the ear tips in the fit kit, but positive reviews say that they can find at least one pair of ear tips from the assortment that fits comfortably. A properly fitted ear tip keeps the earphone firmly in place, even when used for jogging and for exercise. Sound isolation is great, and when used for flight travel, the tips block out the noise of the plane engines and the annoying sounds of crying children.
A few owners are disappointed with the sound quality. Most say that they find the sound quality to be good, but some say it’s not good enough to be worth the $500 price. A very few say that they find the sound quality to be no better that of a much cheaper set.
Though the connecting cable is much stronger and more durable, some users say they have problems with it because eventually the gold-plated connection snaps can wear loose. A worn out snap connection can make annoying static sounds, especially when the user moves around.
One common complaint is about the durability. A few reviewers say that they have received defective units which have lost the sound in one or both ear pieces in just a few weeks or months. If you decide to buy this, make sure you register your purchase promptly, and keep the box and all its contents, just in case you have to take advantage of the 2-year limited warranty.
Not everyone finds the earpieces to be comfortable. Some say that they can’t get them to fit right, no matter what size of ear tips they use. Others say that the feeling is alright, but it took some time to get used to it.