It has taken much longer than I planned to write this review of Shure’s newest high-end earphones, because the music sounds so good that it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m writing. I often stop and just listen, much to the chagrin of my editor’s concept of a deadline.
That’s what can happen when using earphones that cost $500. (That’s not a typo, Mr. Editor.) But if you can afford such a luxury and consider yourself an audiophile, you will not be disappointed with the Shure SE535 Sound Isolating Earphones. You hear tones in the music that standard models miss—the touch of drummer’s cymbal, a tight bass line and a startlingly crisp sound often overlooked in the age of digital music as background noise.
This rich sound comes from what Shure calls “triple high-definition microDrivers,” as each earphone includes a tweeter and dual woofers. In non-audio terms, that means when you listen to a song with a wind instrument, such as flute, you’ll hear the distinct whistling sound as if you were in a proper concert hall.
The Shure SE 535s do such a good job of isolating sound that I hear nothing around me—casual conversations or screaming babies—and only the music piped into my ears. I can listen at lower volumes, too, healthier for my ears.
Shure addressed a problem that vexed the SE530s, the company’s previous top-end product. In that model, the casing around the wires next to the earphones would eventually rip because it wrapped around your ears for a proper fit. If you listened a lot—and you did if you spent $500—you had this problem.
For the SE535 earphones, Shure uses a detachable cable that plugs straight into the earphone. This allows customers to replace just the cable should something happen.
Shure ships the SE535 with a “comfort kit” that includes several types and sizes of foam cushions (sleeves) for humanity’s different ear sizes, headphone adapters for airplane seats and home receivers, plus a carrying case. The earphones do not include a built-in speaker for taking calls if you’re listening to music on a smartphone.