Review: Shure SE425

Shure SE425 Review
I would like to thank Shure for sending me this pair of SE425 to review.
I will try and write as honest a review as possible.

I am by no means an audiophile, I love my music and I like to enjoy it through good headphones and speakers.

All opinions expressed are my own, and this is a subjective review, so others may not agree with me.

Gear Used:
iPod Classic 7G 160gb (rockboxed) > Shure SE425 (small olive tip used)
iPod Classic 7G 160gb (rockboxed) > Fiio L3 > JDS Labs C421 (AD8620)


Specs:
Speaker Type
Dual High-Definition MicroDrivers
Sensitivity (1kHz)
109 dB SPL/mW
Impedance (1kHz)
22 Ω
Noise Attenuation
Up to 37 dB
Frequency Range
20Hz – 19kHz
Input Connector
Gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8″)
Cable
64″ Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit


Packaging and Build Quality:

Nice simple box, with a window to see the IEM, specs are on the side, with details of included accessories on the back. the front tab opens via magnet to show more info and a diagram showing whats inside the IEM.
The housing is all plastic, but the joints are very good, and being plastic they are nice and light. I love the design of the housing and think the colour is great, a brushed metal colour.

The cable is detachable which is a nice touch, and at this price point makes sense, the socket clicks into place perfectly, and tightly, so you wont be loosing the drivers when they dangle around your neck. I fear though that the socket will become loose after lots of use though.

The cable is quite thick, and has a memory section to help keep it behind your ear. It has a more plastic feel than rubber, the strain reliefs are very well built and the cable looks like it should last.


Accessories, Fit, Isolation and Microphonics
Inside are plenty of tips to get a good seal. with S,M and L single flange silicone tips, S,M and L foam tips + 1 pair of yellow foams, and a pair of medium triple flange tips, also included is a very nice good hard clamshell case, a wax cleaning tool and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor.

The fit is great once you find the best tip for your ear, i love shure olives as they last a long time and are super comfy. Once inserted properly they are comfortable to wear for a few hours.
The fit is medium depth i would say, not crazy deep like Etymotics, but deeper than most IEM’s, they do not fall out of your ears once inserted.

They sit pretty flush in your ears, which means they should be fine for sleeping in too.
The isolation is great, and as these are geared for monitoring on stage so they have to isolate well, perfect for planes and trains and the likes.
I can notice very very slight microphonics sometimes, but they are hardly noticeable as being worn over the ear pretty much takes away all microphonics.



Sound:
Split into the 3 usual categories, with a conclusion at the end.

Lows:
The dedicated woofer seems to do its job well, with bass that punches when needed with good extension, that still rolls off gently in the sub-bass. The bass is excellent quality in a nice quantity, never overwhelming other parts of the spectrum. It is tight and accurate but also very articulate. The bass can sometimes lack a bit of body and sound a bit hollow (amping helps). Kick drums and bass guitars are separated brilliantly.

Mids:
Shure is well know for its amazing mids, and the SE425 are no exception. The mids are the highlight of this IEM, being slightly forward in presentation (good for stage use) with every detail easily picked out, every breath, every finger on the fretboard of a guitar. The mids are fairly smooth with only a hint of sibilance in the upper mids (track dependant). Vocal sound like the singer is right in front of you, and acoustic guitars seem so real, electric guitars have great power too, never sounding harsh or thin. Excellent control and tone is where its at.

Highs:
This is where i think these don't fair so well, but i’m a bit of a treble-head so take this with a pinch of salt. The highs don't have enough presence for my liking, making them sound a bit too far back in the mix, and also the extension isn't great either, and they decay too quick. The highs just lack some energy, as they have sufficient sparkle and great detail, portrayed in a very realistic manner. I am shure that most will be satisfied with the amount of treble, but i would prefer a bit more presence and extension (you cant have everything)


Soundstage, Instrument separation and Imaging:
The soundstage is impressive, without being artificial. With a great sense of space and depth, with fairly good width too. Height is fairly average.

Instrument separation is very well done with a real sense of air around every instrument.
Imaging is another one of Shures strong points, with out sounding detached the center image is bang on center with all the sound coming in from all over the place, i love the panning of L and R done well.

Tone is generally very good and realistic, with vocals being spot on, even orchestral sounds fine with these.
Layering is a term i have learnt with these, you can pick out every layer of a recording, i was listening to a Deolinda track with male and female vocals at the same time, instead of sounding like 2 voices merged together you could separate each voice so easily with space between the 2.

Amping:
Being pretty sensitive these do not need an amp for volume, but i much prefer the sound with an amp.
Using just my ipod they sound a bit flat and lifeless, but when i use them in combination with my C421 amp they come alive and sing, they are a match made in heaven i think as they are still so detailed but much more fun to listen to, the bass/highs balance is improved, with the bass gaining some body and the highs more defined, without messing up the mids.
I would say amping isn't a must, but paired with the right amp they will sing.

Conclusion:
A very good sounding dual driver IEM, with a mid centric signature that is smooth and easy to listen to, but with all the details that you expect to hear. The soundstage is very impressive and these fair very well with orchestral music. I find these to sound good on nearly all genres apart from the ones that you need heaps of bass for.
Paired with the right amp, they will sound even better.

For the price i’m not Shure i can fully recommend them, i would say that if you have the money go for it, you will not be disappointed if you know what your getting, but with a few TWFK driver IEM’s in the sub $150 zone, you may find another that suits your needs and budget better.
The detachable cable is a very good addition though, and i still think that these would be an excellent buy, and you won’t be disappointed.

I can see these as great for stage use, as they feel very durable, with a mid centric signature for singers and the likes.
I really like these, and I will be sad to be letting them go back to Shure, so i will enjoy the time i have with them.


I hope you enjoyed this review, any comments are welcome with tips to make my reviews better

Tracks Used:
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)

Comments

  1. What a great review! I own a pair of Se425's too and I was considering getting a amp (maybe something from JDS or Headstage). Would you say that there is a huge/obvious difference to the sound characteristic/quality, when paired with a amp? Especially the sub bass response, because as mentioned, sometimes the bass sounds a bit thin?

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