First Looks: Shure SE535 Sound Isolating Earphones
Small Step Forward
Since its launch, the Shure SE530 has always been a popular choice for audiophiles who have the cash to splash on high quality audio. It’s been with us for a couple of years now and while its audio performance is undeniably top notch, a good number of users have made complaints about the SE530 cracking too easily from normal use.
To address the issue, Shure has recently refreshed the SE530 with the new SE535. What has changed significantly on the SE535? Most notably, the cables are now detachable for easy replacement, and not only that, the cables are also slightly thicker and sturdier to withstand the stresses of daily use.
However, this has come at the cost of weight. When worn, you can feel the weight of the SE535 on your ears, especially since the cables are meant to be worn over and above your ears. Thankfully, the added heft isn’t overbearing, but it could still put off users who are concerned about comfort.
Elsewhere, Shure has also made minor changes to the earphones’ housing. The SE535 housing is slightly smaller and they sit closer to the ear, providing an even better fit than the already excellent SE530, enabling users to enjoy their music even in the noisiest of environments.
And lastly, to help buyers protect their considerable audio investments, Shure has also added shock protectors to cushion the delicate triple high-definition microdrivers against impact.
Where audio performance is concerned, Shure has decided to go with the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Therefore, the SE535 uses the same single tweeter and dual woofer balanced armature drivers that the older SE530 employs, and hence audio quality remains top notch.
To fully evaluate the new SE535, we also requested for a set of the older SE530, and considering that the newer SE535 uses the same balanced armature drivers, we were not surprised to find the two earphones sounding similar. The SE535 retains the signature SE530 lushness and strong bass performance, allowing it to excel on rock, hip-hop and dance tracks. That’s not to say the SE535 isn’t capable of handling subtler material; far from it, as vocals sounded wonderfully smooth and clear. We especially liked the way strings sound on the SE535 - delicate yet precise.
That said, we did notice that the new SE535 was a tad sharp and brighter than its predecessor, and at times, slightly harsh even. Given that the two share the same microdrivers, we believe this could be due to the slightly smaller enclosure of the SE535 or the fact that being new, it hasn’t had the chance to be properly burnt in yet.
As a refresh of the SE530, the new SE535 isn’t a revolutionary step forward, so owners of the former would probably still want to hold on to their earphones. Furthermore, at S$729 we aren’t entirely convinced it is worth the money to upgrade to the SE535 from the SE530, considering how similar the two are in terms of sonic performance. But if you are a new buyer, have the cash to splash, and want a suitably high-end audio solution for your travels, the Shure SE535 won’t disappoint.