Pros As good as it gets in sound isolating earphones
Cons Price, price and, uh, price
Summary I decided to buy some ridiculously expensive earphones about a year ago because I travel a lot and work in a loud office. I tried a friend's top of the line Etymotics and I also grudgingly tried a friend's Quietcomfort Bose headphones (I already decided I'm not halling around those giant things). The Etymotics were quite nice, but I ended up trying the SE530's at CES a couple of months ago and was blown away. I bought them last week and couldn't be happier with them. Absolutely crystal clear in the high and midrange with an enveloping bass. I think the base is significantly better than the Etymotic's, although those are fine phones as well). I was sitting on an airplane today, got lost in sound and actually forgot where I was at for a minute - it was a bit startling to have forgotten that I was on a plane (yes, I've been working too much - you have to to afford these things). Needless to say, the sound isolation is outstanding. My next step may be getting custom molded earplugs for them, the final step in my quest for perfect sound reproduction Bottom line: If I was a Pharaoh, I'd definitely put these puppies in the pyramid for the afterlife, right next to the Anubas statue....
Pros Great sound, really. Compact, comfortable design. More comfortable and secure tips. Excellent warranty service.
Cons Needed warranty service
Summary I originally purchased an e500 PTH, and my review was posted on CNET for that product. Unfortunately, a cable problem developed, but showing extraordinary service, Shure didn't just repair them, they shipped me the SE530! No refurbs, like you get with some vendors.I had ANOTHER warranty issue with the cords. Here's the story, according to Shure.
So, the SE530 is supposed to be the same as the e500. It's not. First, they put the PTH out as a more expensive option, which does, in fact, make this a price increase. Second, the sound is different. Whether it's manufacturing variation, or evolution, I can't tell you, and Shure doesn't seem to say. However, what I can say is that everything in my review below still holds true, except that these actually sound better.
The difference? They are a touch brighter from abuot 4KHz up. Maybe 1dB. It's just enough to add some presence, and a little sparkle to cymbals, or presence to violin. The result is quite pleasing, as I noted in my first review that the unit seemed a bit muted.
Two details; the new ear tips are more comfortable. The soft-foam ones can be fitted, and the round soft-rubber tips are textured for a more secure fit. One change for the worse: the product includes a short cord for users with arm-mounted ipods (my config), and for a Nano with the connector on the bottom, it's now about 2" shorter than the e500 cord, making it too short to use.
It's enough to push these little beauties to a perfect "10."
Attached is the review...
I'm an audio engineer, and have about six sets of headphone and earphones, including Shure e4c, Sony MDR V6, little Panasonics, Bose Quiet Comfort 2.
The fit and finish of the Shure are top of the pack; light, but clearly extremely high quality construction.
The Push To Hear device is way larger than I would have expected, and feels cheap. That's a dissapointment.
Sound: The first impression was that the bass was boomy and a bit over-blown (I'm a bass fan). However, within two days, the sound completely transformed; the bass became taught and well balanced, and blends incredibly smoothly throughout the who range. THere is no discernable gap or hole where driver overlap/interference detracts from the sound.
In listening to old-favorites, on CD, AAC (192K), or 128MP3, EVERYTHING was audible. I have listened to some of my source material for years, on the highest-of high-end gear, and this little beauties were so revealing I was hearing not just a little, but a LOT, or ambience, detail, production overlays (and yes, CODEC artifacts, especially with MP3).
I was simply floored by the level of detail. Not the least of reasons being that, in a sense, these phones are not in-your-face tipped up with sizzly treble (like the Panasonics or Sony's), and the midrange is so clear and free of grain that at first, I thought detail was *missing* from some of my recordings.
This was a surprise, as vocals which used to have a bit of grain, or cymbals and snare drums, sounded almost soft. But, the incredible detail and transparency makes it clear that many of these "details" were sizzle and hash created by the drivers in the other phones.
Needless to say, in comparison to the Bose products, the Shure's provided a more compact travel solution, better noise reduction, and vastly superior, more transparent and extended audio.
The PTH was usefull for knocking about in the office, I could talk to people without "unplugging" myself. I just wish it were more compact and solid. But, this is an extra, it's not the reason for existence for a product such as this.
This is without a doubt the best headphone/earphone I've ever heard. Improve the PTH, and it'd be a 10 for sure. Thanks Shure!
Updated on Sep 23, 2008
A "small percentage" of users have sweat that includes a chemical that interacted with the original cable housing to stiffen the plastic, resulting in a failure by the strain relief. Cables that will fail were indicated by the housing that wrapped around the ear retaining the "ear shape" and becoming less flexible around the ear area.
Shure claims that recent product has re-formulated cable housings that will not react with sweat/oil. The new cable should stay supple from earbud to connector, and not retain shape when removed from the ear. That said, they did recommend periodically wiping the cable down in the area in contact with skin.
"probably the best earbuds in it's class, but does not compare to high end oversized headphones"on by f00fighters
Pros blocks out most ambient noise, and overall sound is good
Cons the bass tends to drowned out a bit of the highs and mids, and the befenfit does not exceed the cost
Summary For this review I have been using nothing but Apple Lossless formats from Sound Garden, Collective Soul, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, U2, etc.
I bought these primarily for my iPhone. Unfortunately, the problem with these earphones, is if you create an airtight seal, you'll get plenty of bass, but your highs & mids are a bit convoluted. I guess that's the problem with in-ear buds. I even tried using the "treble boost" in my equalizer settings on the iPhone which made only minor improvements. These headphones sound AMAZING when plugged into my mac pro, with "sound enhancer" option checked in iTunes as well as the manual settings enabled in my iTunes equalizer. Unfortunately, you don't have those options in the ipod/iphone. You can only use the preset EQ settings in the iPhone and there's no sound enhancer option. The sound cannot match that of over the ear cans, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, these are probably the best in-ear buds money can buy, and they do sound great if you have the right equipment. But the combination of only these headphones and an ipod, I have to say I'm not all that impressed. Now, I believe with a portable headphone amp, these headphones will show their true potential. I love bass, but clear highs and mids are equally as important, and I believe that they are a bit lacking because of too much bass. I believe the expense of these headphones for use with an ipod, is not easily justified unless you invest in a portable headphone amp.
Pros GREAT sound! Very light and comfortable. Nice cord options & case. Affordable : -)
Cons Hmmmm...I need 10 characters here. None.
Summary There simply are no negatives to these headphones. You can get them for $100 cheaper and brand new on eBay. I have the Shure e4c's. I thought they sounded great. I bought these and compared the two. Well, I was astonished! Everything sounds better with these. The sound balance is incredible and the bass is perfect (bass sounds a bit empty with the e4c's). The sound isolation is top shelf, especially if you fly often.
The new soft tips are a welcome change (they also fit the e4c's) as is the cord options. The e4c's cord was hideously long and always in the way. The oval shaped carrying case is also very nice.
In short, you will not be disappointed with these in-ear headphones. They are expensive so don't lose them!
Pros Crystal clear, Excellent sound response to low, mids and highs, portable, excellent isolation
Cons Shure SE530 is perfect in everyway
Summary To start off, once you listen to these In-Ear-Monitors, you would be blown away by the sound isolation and sound quality. However, to unlock the full potential of the Shure SE530, there are a few things that have to be done.
-A high quality music player
-High quality music encoded, eg: 320 Kbps Mp3 or lossless formats.
By not having these "essentials", there is no point of buying these In-Ear-Monitors, as the music that is played would be very distorted and a big "mess". This is how accurate these earphones are being able to pick up the slightest sound played, whereas the cheaper ones cannot pickup certain sounds.
Many of people, may ask 400$+ for earphones is too much and fear of breaking them. Well I have got news. The Shure customer service is EXCELLENT, even if you are outside the U.S like I am. These In-Ear-Monitors, will be replaced in most situations such as broken cables & broken nozzles. However, be aware that if it is broken by major mishandling then it is your own fault.
The sound isolation from the Shure SE530 is impeccable. I would not recommend people to walk on the roads as if they were normal earphones, as you would not be able to hear musc of the ambient sounds.However, the isolation may also save battery power of the player, as the isolation of the ambient sounds decreases the volume at which the player has to produce compared to other earphones which has to be at a higher volume to be cancel out with the outside.
These IEM will not disappoint you, but make sure the music files are highly encoded and a high quality MP3/music player such as iRivers or iPods (I would recommend iMod for even higher sound quality from the iPod). Remember, you are not only paying for the IEM but also the good customer service.