Shure SE535 review: Shure SE535

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 9.0

Average User Rating

3 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Shure SE535 headphones offer exceptional clarity; deep, tight bass; rich, enveloping sound; and great noise isolation. They are also relatively comfortable and include some useful extras such as an in-line volume control and an airplane adapter.

The Bad The Shure SE535s are expensive, and the earbuds are on the large side.

The Bottom Line Anyone looking for ultracompact headphones with top-notch sound quality should consider the Shure SE530 Sound Isolating Earphones. This set will cost you a pretty penny, but it'll be worth it.

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Shure has been churning out impressive-sounding in-ear headphones for consumers for more than 15 years, and any new models from the company have featured mainly evolutionary changes from their predecessors. The latest update to the Shure consumer line is no exception, with the new SE models featuring a few fairly minor--but mostly welcome--tweaks.

At the very top of the line, we have the Shure SE535. This $499 follow-up to the SE530 is definitely a luxury item, but anyone looking for stellar audio quality in a compact package should consider this investment.

Unlike the rest of the SE line, the earpieces of the SE535 are similar in design to those of its predecessor. In fact, the SE530 is where Shure originally implemented the contoured mold that's meant to sit inside the outer ear. The good news is the company did make some tweaks where it counts: the earbuds are now noticeably slimmer, which should help more users get a more comfortable and secure fit. That being said, the overall size of the SE535 earpieces is still large when compared with other in-ear models, so these won't work for everyone.

Due to the contoured earpiece shape of the Shure SE535 earphones, the earbuds need to be twisted in just right, with the cable then being looped over the top of the ear. Shure has built in a few inches of memory wire right near the earbuds to help with this. Still, not everyone will like the feel of the cord over the top of the ear, and the initial tweaking to get the earpieces just right is tiresome at first; practice helps over time.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Color Clear
  • Additional Features Noise isolating
    Gold-plated plug
  • Weight 1.1 oz
  • Type Headphones
  • Sound Output Mode Stereo
  • Headphones Form Factor In-ear ear-bud
  • Connector Type Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
About The Author

Since 2003, Jasmine France has worked at CNET covering everything from scanners to keyboards to GPS devices to MP3 players. She currently cohosts the Crave podcast and spends the majority of her time testing headphones, music software, and mobile apps.