Review: Shure SE535

Shure SE535 Review

I would kindly like to thank for supplying me with this sample for review, they are Shure’s distributers in Portugal, I will try and write as honest a review possible.

These received more than 50hrs of burn in, no change was noticed.

Gear Used:
iPod Classic 7G (rockboxed) > Shure SE535
iPod Classic 7G (rockboxed) > Fiio L3 > JDS Labs C421 (AD8620) > Shure SE535
Sensitivity – 119 dB SPL/mW
Impedance – 36 Ω
Frequency Range – 18Hz – 19kHz
Cable Style – 64″ Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
Packaging is the simple Shure black box, with a window showing the IEM’s, and a flap that opens with information about the IEM’s, specifications are printed on the back, along with the accessories. I like the simple but attractive packaging, nothing over the top.

Accessories are great as usual, you get 3 pairs of the Shure Olive tips (S, M and L), grey flex silicone tips (S, M and L), one pair of triple flanges, one pair of Yellow Foam tips, airplane adaptor, volume control and a hard carry case. Great supply of accessories, guaranteed to get you a good fit and also protect your IEM’s when in your bag.

Build quality is great, as is expected from Shure, the housing is all plastic but good quality plastic, very well put together housing with detachable cables prolonging the IEM’s life and it  also allows you to upgrade from the stock cable. The stock cable feels good, but is very thick and a bit too long for normal portable use, the L shaped jack has very good strain relief, the y-split too, and the memory wire is convenient if you like it.

Comfort, Isolation and Microphonics:
Comfort is another of Shure’s strengths, being very ergonomic with the angle of entry being perfect, the memory wire preventing too much strain on the ears. The housing is light, and fits fairly flush in the ears, the housing doesn’t allow the deepest of insertion though.

Isolation, another strong point with the Olive tips, they isolate very well, perfect for noisy places like public transport, airplanes, concerts and more. You will not be able to hear outside noises though, so be careful walking about with these in.

Microphonics are low, as the cable goes behind the ear it eliminates most of the problem, but you still get some when the cable brushes against your collar or something similar.

Split into the 3 usual categories then a few more specifics.

The bass is very present, and I would call these warm, but these are no bass monsters by any feat. The bass they have is very well bodied and accurate, but lacks some punch and extension. You only get a faint notion of the sub-bass, but these handle most music very well. The bass never bleeds into the midrange and is very precise but decays a bit too quick. Separation in the bass is excellent, with kick drums being very well separated from bass guitars.

This is what Shure is known for, and these are no exception. Lush effortless mids, sounding warm and sweet but a little too forward in presentation. The mids never sound edgy or harsh, they bring out every detail in the music and present vocals and acoustic music with such a realistic tone. You will easily be able to pick out nuances in your favourite tracks with these, only a hint of sibilance can be detected in the upper mids.

Very smooth, again being very realistic in tone. Cymbals crash with authority and shimmer, but lack extension to really shine. I find that the highs roll off too early with these, and they don’t have sufficient sparkle to sound totally convincing. The highs are superbly presented in such a realistic manner, that you forget about the roll off, and detail is also easily picked out.

Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument Separation:

Soundstage was the first thing I noticed when I put these IEM’s in, it is very wide, especially for an IEM, I have had many a out-of-head experience with these and it is not presented in an artificial way.
Imaging is also very good as with most Shure models, panning is well done and never detached.
Instrument separation is good, but not the best, as these do become a little congested with fast music, despite being BA based.

Amping does help, not hugely, but the highs do sparkle a bit more, bass gains more body and the layering becomes even better. Overall adding an amp does add to the enjoyment, and they become even more lively and fun to listen to, amped they are full bodied with an effortless sound, never sounding artificial.

Although these have been around for a while, and the price has dropped (I don’t think they are totally worth their initial price tag) these are still excellent IEM’s, and are very competent, they are special in their own way, with a very natural presentation, and such amazing mids (albeit a little too forward). They don’t have the greatest extension on both ends, but the pros do outweigh the cons still, and I rate these highly for what they are, non analytical, fun sounding easy to listen to IEM’s.

VS SE425:
Well, they are different beasts, the 425 being more geared towards a neutral sound for performers and bands, wheras the 535 is more for enjoyment and easy listening.

Firstly the 425 lacks a bit of body in the bass, which is where the 535 comes in and adds more body to the bass. Then we have the mids, both do exceptionally well, but the 535 has the sweeter lusher mids of them both, the 425 is more balanced. The highs are fairly similar, but presented differently as the 535 has a wider soundstage.

So depending on your preferences, the 425 will excel if you want a more neutral sound, and the 535 if you want a laid back easy listening IEM, both with amazing mids, and detail retrieval.
I hope you enjoyed this review, comments and questions are welcome.

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)


  1. Great review as well as a quick comparison to the SE425. Being a SE425 owner, I think you nailed it right on. Not a lot of people recognize that the SE425 is a more neutral sounding IEM. Thanks again!

  2. Would you say that the Se425 sounds similar to the srh440, in terms of being flat/neutral?

    1. Yes that is correct. They are both fairly neutral sounding.

  3. Thank you! And Also great reviews! :)

  4. You mentioned 425 being better for bands but the 525 has extended bass. I am a bass player in a band. I was provides se-215 but they were inadequate. I currently have the sennheiser hd 280 headphones but want IEM that can handle modern hip hop and pop levels of bass. Thoughts? I appreciate any and all input!

    1. As a bassist I would not really be looking at the Shure range. SE535 has liquid mids, and more bass than the SE425 but still a Hybrid IEM would suit you better.

      Fender IEM's would be the ones to look at, they used to be branded Aurisonics. The FXA6 Pro would probably suit you well.

      Unless you can find a pair of Aurisonics ASG1 Plus.

    2. Thanks for the prompt reply! I have a half off deal on Shure IEM. If you had to choose, which is better suited for live bass (full drum kit but no amps just iems)?

  5. I am a drummer and have been using se215's for around 6 years. I was wondering which I should upgrade to the 425's or the 535's

    1. The 425 are very neutral and flat sounding so may not have the impact you need for drumming.

      The 535 however are rolled off in the highs making them also not ideal but they won't be fatiguing over longer periods of time.

      Out of the two, the 535 would likely be better, but I would also check out the Westone UM Pro series, and also the universal series of 64 Audio IEM's.

    2. Thank you so much for the fast response, I have been looking at the westone umpro 30's,but still not sure whether to get the 535 or the umpro 30

    3. No problem.

      Both have a more lush and warm sound which means no listening fatigue.

      I do prefer the fit of the UM Pro 30, it is tiny and is too dark for my tastes but is designed for onstage use where they will sound different than in a quiet room.

      I would personally be inclined to go with the Westone due to the superior comfort.


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