Shure SE535 Review

Shure SE535 Review

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Shure SE535 Review Summary

Magical sound. Amazing experience. Enjoy top quality audio with no compromise.


  • Superb, audiophile level, sound quality. Great sound clarity.
  • Great noise isolation.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Detachable, replaceable cables.
  • Nice set accessories.


  • Price.
  • iPhone remote cable sold as optional accessory.

Quick Stats

MSRP $549.99
Design in-ear headphones
Mic no. Optional accessory
Remote control no. Optional accessory
Compatibility iPhone (all models), iPod (all models)
Colors metalic bronze, clear
Accessories carrying case, airplane adapter, silicon tips (2x S, 4x M, 2x L, 2x triple flange), foam tips (2x S, 4x M, 2x L), volume control, 6.3 mm (1/4") stereo adapter, cleaning tool

Shure SE535

Shure has done it again. They took an almost perfect pair of headphones, their top of the line SE530, and...perfected it!

At CES 2010 in January, Shure unveiled the new SE535 as an improvement of their glorious SE530. The previous Shure SE530, like I wrote before, were nothing short of magical. Top audiophile quality with no compromise.

The market of high end headphones is pretty crowded, and it’s not easy to pick a winner. All the big manufacturers offer their own flavor of audiophile level in-ear headphones. Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10, Sennheiser IE8, Westone UM3, and Shure SE535 are among the best and most popular top end universal-fit (i.e. non custom) in-ear headphones.

These audiophile level in-ear headphones are not cheap: they go for about $500. So, they’re targeted at people who want absolute best sound quality without compromise on the budget.

The Shure SE535, like the 530 before, are my favorite in-ear headphones, because of their exceptional sound clarity and neutral sound response. They are the best allrounder of all the top in-ear headphones.

So, what was improved in the Shure SE535, with respect to the old SE530?

The main improvement is in the cables: they’re now detachable and much more durable than the SE530 ones. Cables were my main complaint with the SE530.

Sound quality is slightly improved from the already exceptional SE530, with a very similar, clear and neutral, sound signature.

The SE535 now come also in white color, and not just the bronze one already available on the old SE530.


Sound Quality

The sound quality of the these headphones is amazing. If you are used to more common, budget range headphones, your reaction will be! The clarity of the sound is breathtaking and pure, and you’ll feel totally immersed in an environment populated with instruments and music.

This sensation comes from the fact that the Shure SE535 mids are extremely well defined. So instruments and vocals end up being very detailed.

The sound signature is very similar to the previous SE530, with a slight improvement in the sound-stage, which feels even wider on the SE535.

The Shure SE535 features a triple set of balanced armor drivers for each ear-bud: two woofers and one tweeter. The two woofers produce a very good bass response. Basses are definitely present, but not boomy. This contributes to the great sound clarity of the SE535, since basses are not muddy and don't mask mids in any way. The overall response of the SE535 ends up being quite neutral. The Sennheiser IE8 have certainly much more bass than the SE535.

The SE535 do show some roll-off at the highest frequencies. Trebles are definitely present though, and this is not really a problem. Sound detail is good.

Isolation from external noise provided by the Shure SE535 is fantastic. Using the supplied foam ear-tips you are in your own world, and you won't be able to even hear loud persons nearby or other external noises.

New Detachable Cables

Shure SE530 Review

Detachable cables

The big new feature of the SE535 is the new set of detachable and replaceable cables. Cables were my main complaint with the SE530. And in fact several users reported them breaking down after using them daily for a few years. This is a problem considering how expensive these headphones are.

With the new replaceable cables of the SE535 this problem is no more: were the cables to break after years of use, you can just order a new cable, and continue to rock with your beloved headphones.

The cords themselves are now reinforced by Kevlar, giving it a more durable and long-lasting feel.


Comfort is the second best feature of the Shure SE535, after sound quality. Usually high end in-ear headphones that feature three drivers for each ear-bud tend to be bulky, and they end up being uncomfortable. The SE535, with their Balanced Armor "Triple TruAcoustic Microspeakers", are a marvel of miniaturization. It's hard to believe there are three high quality speakers in so little space. The result is that these headphones are very comfortable, and won't lead to fatigue even after hours of use.
The SE535 are even slightly smaller than the previous SE530, adding to an already great comfort factor.

The cord is formable in the area around the ear. These headphones, like many top range in-ear headphones, are designed to have the cable hang behind your ears. So having this extra form increases the level of comfort.

A unique feature of the cable is in where it connects to the housing. The housing is free to swivel around.  This provides more freedom of movement while wearing these headphones, avoiding that the ear-buds move too much.

Build quality

Build quality of the SE535 is fantastic, as it is to be expected for expensive high end headphones such as these.

The cable is built like a tank. It feels almost indestructible, but it being replaceable makes it a non-issue.


The Shure SE535 comes with the same generous selection of accessories of the previous SE530: several kinds of ear-tips (silicon, foam, triple flanged, each in three different sizes), an airline adapter,in-line volume control, cleaning tool, and a nice carrying pouch.

Shure SE535 Review

Shure SE535 accessories

There are several kinds of ear-tips (silicon, foam, triple flaged, each in three different sizes), an airline adapter, a 1/4” jack adapter, volume control (level attenuator), cleaning tool, and a nice carrying case.
This wide selection of ear-tips will allow anyone to obtain a good seal. The ones I prefer are the foam tips, that give me a good seal, and a great sound response.

Shure decided to discontinue the PTH accessory that was available for the SE530. People probably didn’t find it so comfortable to have to push a button in order to talk to other people nearby.

A very useful optional accessory is the Music Phone Accessory Cable, called CBL-M+-K. This is a replacement cable that features an in-line, that plugs into the headphones, and transforms them into a fully functional headset, allowing to switch seamlessly between listening and taking calls with your iPhone. The remote is the official Apple 3-button remote that takes full advantage of the iPhone and iPod remote control functionalities: play/pause, track skipping, track restarting, volume control, VoiceControl, VoiceOver, send/end call.
I highly recommend this cable over the standard one to all iPhone users.

Finally, More Colors

Finally Shure decided to add different color versions of their top of the line headphones model.

This may not be that important, but one complain I had with the SE530 was that they came only in bronze color. Bronze was by all means not ugly, but it didn’t really match so well with the iPhone.

The Shure SE535 are now offered also in a “Clear”, besides the Bronze version, where both the ear-pieces and the cables are of a whitish colors that’s extremely cool and is a great match for with the iPhone.



The Shure SE535 are very expensive. There’s no denying of that. They go for a MSRP of $549, even though they can be bought for less.

Are they really worth that much? Yes, they definitely are. The quality they offer is simply amazing, and this kind of sound quality has this price. Similarly top of the line ranged models from other manufacturers cost about the same.

So, these headphones are really for those who want to go for top quality without caring too much about their wallet.

iPhone Remote Not Included

For iPhone and iPod users, it would have been nice if the headphones offered the 3-button remote right out of the box, like the Klipsch Image S4i do. For this kind of price, it’s annoying to even have to buy optional accessories in order to get the full experience.

Bottom Line

The Shure SE535 are my top recommendation if you are looking for the best sound quality. Their clarity and definition, coupled with great comfort, are unmatched by any pair of universal-fit in ear headphones.

This awesome quality comes at a high price. However, if you are looking for the best sounding in-ear headphones, don't want any compromise, and budget is not your main issue, you really can't go wrong with the Shure SE535. They're worth every penny.

With the new detachable cables, these headphones will last, and keep your ears happy, forever. So, consider them more of a lifetime investment than a temporary gadget.

Product Specifications

Speakers Triple high-definition MicroSpeakers, triple balanced armature (2x bass, 1x mids/treble)
Sensitivity (1kHz) 119 dB SPL/mW
Impedance (1kHz) 36 Ohm
Noise Attenuation Up to 37 dB
Frequency Range 18Hz – 19kHz
Input Connector Gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8")

Where To Buy

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