Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shure SE535 Initial Review + FiiO RC-SE1 cables

Lately, I have been playing around with some audio gear. After buying a decent good pair of headphones, I decided the default Apple Earbuds weren't doing any justice to the music I was listening to. Went through all the reviews on various In-Ear Monitors (IEM) and after trying various models from a selection of 2 brands, I decided to go with Shure SE535. The SE535 features triple balanced armatures in the configuration of a dedicated tweeter and two woofers to deliver rich bass.

Box design, simple packaging

During the initial sampling of the IEMs at the store, I didn't play attention to "other" fine details other than the sound signature of the earphones. It was only when I took them out of the box and I realised that the default cable (EAC64BK) that came along with the Shure SE535 was 1.6m (64")! Running thru the Internet, I found out that the Shure SE846 was the one that came with a 1.16m (46") cable as an extra in the packaging.

Went with the brozne metallic color. Turns out it will be a big mistake.
With such a long cable, most daily commuters would have to wind up excess cable into their pockets or carry a reel in their hands.

Decent looking, comes with the default soft foam sleeves (size M).

Carrying case for transporting those IEMs.
Decent looking carrying case was included, plus a 1/4" adapter, a airplane adapter and a volume control adapter. Except implanting the volume control would be not practical as the volume control would be near the output port of your device.

Various accessories inside, including soft rubber flex sleeves (S-M-L), soft foam sleeves (S-M-L) and a triple flange.

Another look at the SE535
SE535 with soft rubber flex sleeves.
The default soft foam "olive" sleeves that came with the SE535 was not really suitable for my ears. I was not able to get similar bass performance to the ones that I sampled at the store. It boiled down to lack of sound isolation for the soft foam sleeves, which seemed to be pushing itself outward. Switching to the soft rubber flex sleeves gave a firmer bass, and it will be the choice for my hearing needs. With regards to cleaning, the soft rubber flex sleeves are able to take a few wash cycles in mild warm water, whereas the foam ones are perishable if water comes into contact.

(From top, clockwise) Yellow foam sleeves, soft rubber flex sleeves and soft foam sleeves that look like olives.
FiiO RC-SE1 replacement cables (length 1.2m)
So with the "problem" with the long cable, I decided to look for replacement cables. I found a really cheap alternative in the FiiO RC-SE1. However, the microphonics on this is really horrible. Any movement/rub/collision with this cable would vibrate mechanical noise and it would be most probably be picked up in the IEMs, unless you are listening to very loud music!

Specifications from manufacturer:
Sensitivity119 dB SPL/mW
Frequency Range18Hz – 19kHz
Cable Style64" Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
ColorsAvailable in Clear or Metallic Bronze
Speaker TypeTriple High-Definition MicroDrivers

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